The Church of Scotland has given its backing to a new video game which allows players to role-play as Jesus.
The virtual reality game - called I Am Jesus - was first reported by Premier last month https://premierchristian.news/en/news/article/new-virtual-reality-game-that-allows-kids-to-be-jesus-divides-christians
It allows players to heal the sick, fight demons and carry out many of the acts described in the New Testament.
The game, which is being released by developers SimulaM and PlayWay in time for Christmas, has been designed to help people learn more about Jesus and his work and to make them more familiar with the Bible.
In a statement to the Telegraph, the Church of Scotland said :
"For centuries, the story of Jesus Christ has been retold in different ways - from mediaeval mystery plays to Hollywood blockbusters.
"Anything which helps people to think about him and discuss his life, mission, ministry, death and resurrection in new ways can only be a positive thing.
"However, people don't need to buy video games to learn about Jesus, they can come to Church and meet him in bread and wine, love and service and learning and caring."
Gavin Ashenden is a former priest and missionary bishop in the Church of England who became part of the Catholic Church in 2019. He told the Telegraph :
"We have no evidence that high culture produces an encounter with the living God, and that being so, it's most unlikely that low culture will.
"The attraction of the gaming videos is that they involve a direct engagement with Jesus.
"It may be Jesus as an action man or near superhero, but nonetheless the context appears to be faithful to the drama of the gospels and so provides a real possibility of a subsequent and developed encounter with the historical Jesus.
"It is the provocation of a 'curious encounter' with the historical Jesus that is exactly the kind of initiative the church should be engaged in or supporting."
Speaking to Premier Christian News last month, Maksym Vysochansky - who created the game - said: "I hope that kids will use this game to learn more about who Jesus Christ is.
"If you are, for example, from a Christian family and you see that your child is playing games, why not give them this game as a test and say 'hey, check out this game and maybe you'll learn something.'
"You can learn more deeply about Jesus Christ and then later you can learn by yourself, by reading Bible stories, whatever you want it to do.
"This can be a first step, especially for a young generation of teenagers, to jump into the environment and to see the whole story behind Jesus Christ."