The Biblical Themes of Mass Effects ending(spoilers)

#1 Edited by Jackel2072 (2235 posts) -

 
The biblical references at the end of Mass Effect 3 are laid on pretty thick and i feel should be further explored. I realize there are about 10,000 threads about the ending to mass effect here so i hope i can offer a more unique perspective that warrants the creation of this topic.

The Grey area of Mass Effect is that no one character is inherently evil. The Reapers only want to destroy life so it can continue, the illusive man only wishes to secure humanity's future and organic life is ultimately interested in self preservation. (the genophage, the geth, destroying the Reapers ect) remember the quote “The Road To Hell is Paved in Good Intentions”

which brings us to the biblical nature of Mass Effects ending. Shepard is raised to the Heavens where she/he apparently meets God. God Tells shepard without his influence the universe would destroy itself.. So like in the bible where God floods the earth for 40 days and 40 nights because mankind has become so corrupted with sin it need to rebooted in a way. God has no faith that mankind would overcome its struggles and decides it better to start over rather then allow the  scenario to play out. The Reapers do the same thing. Every 50,000 years the Reapers come and “flood” the universe so life can continue.


Shepard is the first organic to reach the top of the citadel thus God’s plan has failed (God has been proven wrong) and decides that maybe Organic life should be given a choice rather than its fate decided for them. depending on what you choose at the end the same bottom line happens. you either choose to Become God (control) Merge with God (synthesis) or kill God (chaos) Either way you are now removing God from the equation of life. Now Organics are truly the masters of their own destiny. you have now truly removed fate. The Mass Relays are destroyed, this further shows that Organics are now in the drivers seat. divine intervention no longer exists. if man wants to travel the stars again it has to do so on its own.  

Furthermore when we cut to the Normandy, that has crash landed on a tropical paradise. the same thing always happens. Both Joker and a Female stand next to one another over looking their new kingdom. Joker and the female are now Adam and Eve. Ready to start life over again, but this time on mankind's own terms. The final piece of the puzzle is the star gazer ending. Which shows Organics are now in direct control over their own fate. anything you want awaits you out in the stars, no guiding hand, no intervention. Shepard is even referred to as “the Shepherd”


This by no means gives any “closure” to the narrative side of Mass Effect, but more goes in line with a overarching theme in Mass Effect. Freedom. Every race in the game wants to be its own Master The Geth want to be free of their creators, the Krogan want to be free of the genophage, the humans want to be free of their self induced oppression and so on and so on. Even, you,  the player wants to be his or her own master in the choices the game provides you with.

Thats what i took away from ending of Mass Effect.   

 
Edit. i wrote this in google docs, so sorry for the formatting... 
#2 Posted by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

@Jackel2072 said:

The Grey area of Mass Effect is that no one character is inherently evil. The Reapers only want to destroy life so it can continue, the illusive man only wishes to secure humanity's future and organic life is ultimately interested in self preservation.

I don't know, abducting people to perform experiments on them sounds pretty evil to me.

#3 Posted by DillonWerner (1522 posts) -

Cool theory, but what I don't understand is why they would put a biblical ending when throughout the whole series religion wasn't focused on at all and when it was they were saying how stupid and worthless it was.

#4 Posted by Jackel2072 (2235 posts) -
@BraveToaster said:

@Jackel2072 said:

The Grey area of Mass Effect is that no one character is inherently evil. The Reapers only want to destroy life so it can continue, the illusive man only wishes to secure humanity's future and organic life is ultimately interested in self preservation.

I don't know, abducting people to perform experiments on them sounds pretty evil to me.

In the case of the reapers they are trying to preserve Life that consider to be most valuable. in the case of the illusive man, the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few. again the quote the road to hell is paved in good intentions. 
#5 Posted by Jackel2072 (2235 posts) -
@DillonWerner said:

Cool theory, but what I don't understand is why they would put a biblical ending when throughout the whole series religion wasn't focused on at all and when it was they were saying how stupid and worthless it was.

its just symbolism. there is no religious agenda. its usually a widely use theme in fiction. 
#6 Edited by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

@Jackel2072 said:

@BraveToaster said:

@Jackel2072 said:

The Grey area of Mass Effect is that no one character is inherently evil. The Reapers only want to destroy life so it can continue, the illusive man only wishes to secure humanity's future and organic life is ultimately interested in self preservation.

I don't know, abducting people to perform experiments on them sounds pretty evil to me.

In the case of the reapers they are trying to preserve Life that consider to be most valuable. in the case of the illusive man, the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few. again the quote the road to hell is paved in good intentions.

Okay, you have a point, but there are other methods of defeating the Reapers that don't require experimenting on abductees. The Illusive Man was delusional.

#7 Posted by DillonWerner (1522 posts) -

@Jackel2072 said:

@DillonWerner said:

Cool theory, but what I don't understand is why they would put a biblical ending when throughout the whole series religion wasn't focused on at all and when it was they were saying how stupid and worthless it was.

its just symbolism. there is no religious agenda. its usually a widely use theme in fiction.

At least it makes more sense than the indoctrination one.

#8 Posted by Jackel2072 (2235 posts) -
@BraveToaster said:

@Jackel2072 said:

@BraveToaster said:

@Jackel2072 said:

The Grey area of Mass Effect is that no one character is inherently evil. The Reapers only want to destroy life so it can continue, the illusive man only wishes to secure humanity's future and organic life is ultimately interested in self preservation.

I don't know, abducting people to perform experiments on them sounds pretty evil to me.

In the case of the reapers they are trying to preserve Life that consider to be most valuable. in the case of the illusive man, the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few. again the quote the road to hell is paved in good intentions.

Okay, you have a point, but there are other methods of defeating the Reapers that don't require experimenting on abductees. The Illusive Man was delusional.

true, but again to barrow another quote, when your hunting monster, be careful not to become one your self. 
#9 Posted by NTM (7233 posts) -

This was kind of my first thought on what was going on. Especially when it came to the part where Joker and whoever else landed on that planet, it showed leafs of a tree at the beginning of the cut-scene, and I instantly thought "Adam and Eve". It's an interesting ending that can go a few different ways, that's why I don't consider the ending to be bad, but it is true that it'd be nice to have closure. I still don't fully understand when the Stargazer part takes place, is it like thousands of years into the future from the end of ME3? And what planet can we assume it's on? The one Joker ends up on?

#10 Edited by Jackel2072 (2235 posts) -
@NTM: Yeah i like to think it takes place many years after the events of ME. its kind of referenced to a degree that Shepard has become a myth, again referring to "the Shepard" comment.  as for what planet it is, who knows? could be the planet Joker crashed on, could be another human colony but over explanation tends to be the downfall of most stories so i see why it was left ambiguous. 
#11 Posted by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

Bible? What's that?

#12 Edited by PSNgamesun (394 posts) -

Thats kool I kinda felt the same way but I felt the Jesus figure was establish In the first one with Shepard not really knowing what he is getting into or being chosen To be n in the second one he dies n comes back with the laserus project(religious theme here to) Similar to Jesus. So he goes n recruits the 12 desiples lol finally the third one puts Shepard In the position to beat evil in which he does thus ending his life n he goes to heaven when everything is done I would go hardcore n explain myself more but I'm on a iPad so it kinda sounds all childish lol But still urs sounds real kool n so does the indoctrination theory I really dig how the fans r coming up with this stuff makes it more interesting

#13 Posted by Jackel2072 (2235 posts) -
@PSNgamesun said:
Thats kool I kinda felt the same way but I felt the Jesus figure was establish In the first one with Shepard not really knowing what he is getting into or being chosen To be n in the second one he dies n comes back with the laserus project(religious theme here to) Similar to Jesus. So he goes n recruits the 12 desiples lol finally the third one puts Shepard In the position to beat evil in which he does thus ending his life n he goes to heaven when everything is done I would go hardcore n explain myself more but I'm on a iPad so it kinda sounds all childish lol But still urs sounds real kool n so does the indoctrination theory I really dig how the fans r coming up with this stuff makes it more interesting
pretty much, and like i said in a post above. religious themes are common in fiction. the  best example of this is Star Wars really. however Star Wars barrows from a  wide range sorties and lore, which is why its quite a popular movie for philosophers  to pick apart. matter of fact there is a pretty good documentary about the all the themes and how Lucus pulled from so many sources.  
 
here it is 
  
#14 Edited by bushpusherr (760 posts) -

My ending had Joker standing with Garrus and Jarvik. Not exactly an Adam and Eve analog.

You are of course free to interpret the game as you wish and draw your own conclusions, but I think you are totally grasping at straws on this one. This just reminds of me of what Sam Harris said

"Well, with the eyes of faith you can make magical interpretations out of any text. So, I literally walked into a book store, the cookbook aisle of a book store, randomly opened a cookbook, found a recipe for wok-seared shrimp with ogo relish or something, and then came up with a mystical interpretation of the recipe. And you can do it! I mean, you can play connect the dots with any crazy text and find wisdom in it."

Basically what I'm trying to get across is that I don't think any biblical references you can concoct seem at all intentionally put there by the developers. You can literally look at anything and try to spin it to have a religious context.

Also, the "religious themes" that we see so often in fiction are not unique to the bible... similar stories to the ones in the bible have been told for years before hand in other cultures.

#15 Posted by Jackel2072 (2235 posts) -
@bushpusherr:  
 
Connecting the dots- i agree, fiction is extremely subjective. i think music gets that point a crossed the best. some consider Lady Ga Ga to be an amazing artist some consider The Beatles, Beethoven ect, there is no right answer, only what your mind perceives.  same thing could be said for religion in general 
 
-Grreus and Jarvik- hmm most endings i have seen always had a male and a female. there is even one ending i saw with Traynor standing next to joker so i assumed that was the games way of inserting a female into that scenario if you took a all male squad.   
 
Religious themes are nothing new, and almost at times impossible to pin point there origin, for example there are a lot of gods or Jesus like figures in history that share the same birthday of December 25th. a nother reoccurring theme. 
#16 Edited by bushpusherr (760 posts) -

Born of a virgin, resurrected after three days, 12 desciples/followers, etc. etc. All of them recycled from numerous other traditions.

I personally just didn't feel that they connected at all (the game and the bible I mean) lol. Only in the most generic ways that nearly everything is.

#17 Posted by Clonedzero (4036 posts) -

i god damn hate biblical themes in things. not that im against religion or the bible or anything. its just the whole biblical themes thing is SO overdone. i was really hoping they'd avoid it, but shepard becomes space jesus lolz :(

#18 Posted by bushpusherr (760 posts) -

@Clonedzero: Not really lol Everyone always draws connections to Jesus when someone sacrifices themselves to save people, but I think it is pretty thin here. Shepard even lives in one of the ending variations.

#19 Posted by Jackel2072 (2235 posts) -
@bushpusherr: yup its a fascinating subject to see how most if not all regions have reoccurring plot points.  
 
Jesus Christ welcome to Giant Bomb philosophy 101... what have i done?! lol 
#20 Posted by bushpusherr (760 posts) -

@Jackel2072: Lol with Bible in the title I think people should know what kind of thread they are getting into. At least it hasn't devolved into the stereotypical filth that religious discussions become on the internet.

#21 Posted by Funkofages (66 posts) -

Ya, this is pretty good so far, so kudos to everyone. I don't recall them focusing on religion to say how stupid or worthless, in fact, I believe several party members are pretty open about it. If I recall correctly, Ashley was a form of Christianity, Thane was deeply religious, and Mordin hoped for his Salarian religion, focused on reincarnation similar to Hinduism. Garrus and Shep even go into it pretty deeply in the third game.

Your eyes are a paintbrush, and like referred to, you can look at anything and see anything. The first time I took a math class with imaginary numbers, I immediately though "Wow, even science is kinda bullshit." Anything you see has your previous experiences and knowledge interpreting it, so some will see it, some won't, and some will see it negatively. Prolly more options that that, but that's for simplicities sake.

#22 Posted by bushpusherr (760 posts) -

@Funkofages: They also addressed the Asari religious tradition in the third game as well, when you go to Thesia. Having Jarvik on this mission was essential, where he basically explains that the Asari's religion is all bullshit and the "Goddess" they worship was actually a Prothean. Liara wasn't too pleased lol

#23 Posted by pyrodactyl (1852 posts) -

The first valid argument I see that makes me hate the ending a little less. ''The ending is weird and that's why it's good'' is the only other one I've seen so far and it's kind of a stupid argument.

Even still, religious analogies in fiction (sci-fi in particular) are hardly original. Sure the ME3 ending has it's own christian spin but that doesn't fill in the plot holes or make the characters actions make sense in the last 10 minutes of the game.

#24 Posted by DonChipotle (2693 posts) -

I like to think of the ending as an homage to 2001's ending because in a franchise so inundated with sci fi references and tropes it feels natural.

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