World religions stake out positions on Pokemon Go

Worried masses cross-check Revelations, Pokedex, take out insurance

Pokemon’s potential for precipitating the end of civilization has been starkly highlighted as the world’s major religions begin to take up positions on the game which sees grownups wandering the planet in pursuit of non-existent entities.

Time reports that Saudi clerics have taken a stand against the game, reiterating a pre-existing fatwa against the Pokemon phenomena. The 2001 edict said Pokemon violated Islamic law, due to references to evolution and the use of various religious symbols. It has now been bounced to the top of the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars’ website.

Meanwhile, Kuwait has warned players not to hunt Pokemon in mosques, shopping malls and oil installations.

The Catholic Church, on the other hand, is taking a far more benign view of the phenomenon. According to Rome Reports, players have been merrily tracking Pokemon around the Vatican, with the little sprites spotted in the fountains at St Peter’s Square.

The US Catholic Online website, which is not necessarily representative of mainstream Catholic thinking, has taken a cold, hard look at the game, and was forced to the conclusion that while the game does not necessarily “reinforce” Catholic teaching, it doesn’t explicitly undermine it either, and while the world is full of dangers for children, “Pokemon Go isn't one of them."

So far, we haven’t heard anything from other major religions on Pokemon Go, but in the meantime, we’ll be taking a close look at the Book of Revelations and the Pokemon Go website over the weekend. If there are any Pokemons with seven heads, we’d start getting very concerned.

Still, if the monster-catching game does seem to be a harbinger of the end of days, at least you can get insurance against some of your major Poke risks.

A UK gadget insurance firm, Row, has launched “Pokedex” insurance, starting at just £1.41 a month, clearly an essential for any dedicated Pokemon trainer. Except that a Pokedex is essentially just your mobile phone, so what you’re getting is a mobile phone insurance policy, in case you drop yours while hunting virtual beasts, or, perhaps more likely, having yours nicked when you’ve wandered into a dodgy part of town.

Meanwhile, Russian megabank Sberbank is offering “free” accident insurance to players - all they have to do is hand over their mobile phone number and nickname. Whether they’ll cover players who injure themselves being doubly distracted by the inevitable marketing calls is not mentioned.

The bank is installing Pokestops at its branches, so at least players can injure themselves on its premises, presumably accelerating the claims process.

While both institutions’ offerings might go some way to defraying Pokemon Go related costs, there’s no word on their payout policy in the event of the aforementioned clash of civilizations, and the arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, precipitating the Second Coming and/or the Rapture and/or Final Battle, depending on your doctrine of choice. Let’s face it, there’s bound to be an excess. ®


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