The Modern Warfare games are the biggest selling computer games of all time.
MW3 set a new record for most copies of a game sold in the first 24 hours of its release.
People love the game.
Without doubt it has sold so many because people love it. They love the way the game looks, plays and makes them feel. So its popularity is in one sense very superficial. And the game developers have been able to make maximum gains by the way they have advertised it, making sure they get people to buy it.
But I think there are other reasons why it is so popular.
It taps into a part of western human psyche.
One part of that is violence.
We love violence in the West. It comes from a love of power, coercion and manipulation. Violence is the way we control. And we believe that violence is actually the only real way that we can deal with the problems of the world. We use terms like 'just war' and 'war on terror' and 'justice' to justify our violent nature in the West. We think that violence is the best way to deal with evil. Violence is not simply physical, it is also a mental and spiritual problem.
Films, tv and video games all use violence as the main way to deal with the bad guy.
This does worry me. The use of violence will quite simply bring more violence. And if our thinking is so filled with violence as the best way, then the road ahead looks bleak.
Another part that makes MW so popular is our desire to live forever.
We are numb to death and constantly fight to stay alive, almost as if we believe that death is not actually going to happen.
MW puts us in a fantasy world where we are in control of our lives and destiny. It puts us in power. It means that we could live forever. And all of this made possible through our imagination in a game.
We don't want to believe we will actually die, so games like MW helps us pursue and believe this.
We need to be a people of greater imagination. We need to live in the new reality that violence, power and immortality are not our truth and not our reality. We need to believe in alternative ways to live in this world.
As we approach Christmas we are confronted with a God who does not use violence to heal the world, but comes to the world in total vulnerability in order that he would transform it.
Are we willing to give up all our desire to violence and live a new reality?