A Buddhist organisation has called for a gaming company to stop selling a street fighterstyled game titled "Fight of God", in which depictions of Jesus and Buddha battle each other, saying the game engendered misunderstanding and entailed disrespectful acts in regards to Buddhist symbols.
Withdrawing the game would not only prevent disrespectful acts towards religious symbols but also raise humanity's sense of self respect, according to a letter sent by the Knowing Buddha Organisation, a non-profit organisation in Thailand, to the Taiwanese developer of the game, Digital Crafter.
In "Fight of God", deities from different world religions battle each other, including Jesus fighting Buddha and Zeus taking on the Viking god Odin. Digital Crafter developed the game in partnership with the UK publisher Pqube.
A trailer for the game states "The son of God is back, and he's cross" and "Your prayers have been answered".
Manat Chareekote, of the Knowing Buddha Organisation, described his group as a Thai non-profit agency seeking to protect Buddhist symbols from being subjected to disrespect by spreading knowledge about the proper treatment of Buddha images and statues.
The organisation's website is knowingbuddha.org.
In the letter to the gaming company, Manat said the Buddha image had been wrongfully appropriated in the game.
"It desperately saddens us to see the image of our respected father used in such a role in the game like this. It really breaks Buddhists' hearts all around the world. How could you and your team hurt and offend others' beliefs?"
Religious and historical images were meant to be respected, he said, adding that it was inappropriate to use them for entertainment or commercial purposes.
Manat also said Digital Crafter's goal was to entertain people, but the game instead spread a misunderstanding about Buddhism.
"This game, on the other hand, spreads disrespect and disparages Buddha for millions of people in various countries. Should the game be supported?"
His organisation proceeded to request that Digital Crafter cease selling the game in every country where it was distributed.
Malaysian authorities have also said the game degraded religions and religious leaders.
The country blocked the digital platform that it was being distributed on, but access was eventually restored after the platform disabled access to the game.