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Old 11-12-2011, 06:04 PM   #1
11clock
 
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*ENDING SPOILERS* The Meaning Behind Binding of Isaac?

We all know that Binding of Isaac has religious references. As a Christian, I enjoy finding references to the Bible. I just unlocked endings 10 and 11. After seeing these, I think I realize what the whole plot is. This is what I get, based on the game's events.

We have a religious mother who suffers from mental illness and abuses her child, Isaac. To get away from this abusement, Isaac creates a story about his mother hearing the voice of God telling her to sacrifice him. Isaac escapes into the basement to find many lost siblings he didn't know about. The story ends with Isaac finding his own corpse in a chest. The body gets up and smiles at Isaac. That's when Isaac snaps out of his imagination and proceeds to hide in a nearby chest to get away from his cruel mother.

I'm starting to question Binding of Isaac's theme, if it has one. There is also the fact that the Bible can kill 2 of the major bosses in the game, and many of the items found in the game are biblical and help you get through the game. I now have mixed feelings for Binding of Isaac. Do you think Binding of Isaac is attacking Christianity, supporting Christianity, or do you think the game has no theme and is taking no sides? Please share your thoughts below, and please don't say anything offensive.

Last edited by 11clock: 11-12-2011 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:16 PM   #2
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It used Christianity as a fuel of sorts, yes, but it seems more like it parodies religion by using it.
That's my opinion.
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Old 11-12-2011, 07:24 PM   #3
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It used Christianity as a fuel of sorts, yes, but it seems more like it parodies religion by using it.
That's my opinion.
This is what I thought at first, a parody of a Bible story. After beating the game and finding out that Isaac is currently dead, though, I'm starting to question this game's theme. The new credits music is rather disturbing, too, yet it's saying "Jesus Loves Me."
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:15 PM   #4
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I feel one of the major, if not main theme of this game is child abuse. The items isaac finds paint a rather ed up home life. When you pick up the wooden spoon, red welts in the shape of a spoon appear all over his body, he is fed dog food and rotten milk/meat, and the cut sceens inbetween levels show things like seeking attention from his mother only to be kicked away. The game shows that all the characters are just different personas crated by Isaac, and it is strongly believed to be a link between multiple personality disorder and physical and sexual abuse as a child.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:58 PM   #5
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where do you get that the mother has a mental illness? most abusive parents were once abused as children. child abuse has little or nothing to do with mental illness. many mentally ill people do fine with children and many child abusers arent mentally ill. however you will find a correlation with child abuse and strongly religious people (which you did mention she was religious).

the only possible indicator that she may be mentally ill is that she hears the voice of god. however, OP, you dismissed this as a story Isaac created.

---

the game parallels the story of Abraham and Isaac (aka the binding of Isaac). it uses it to tell a story about child abuse and neglect. its not a stretch to say the story from the bible is a famous example of child abuse (whether real or not). simply replace Mom with Abraham, then the bible ending is the story from the bible. god intervenes and saves Isaac.

however, the gameplay and the final ending makes it very clear thats not what really happened. its clear all the characters are really Isaac (which should be obvious cause they all look the same and Mom calls them all "Isaac"). it also seems Isaac climbs into his chest to hide, since he is powerless. he imagines becoming powerful and fighting back.

now there are different ways to interpret the ending. im going to stick with the child abuse theme. child abuse is on going. children may wish they were dead. i dont think Isaac is really dead. if he did die, id say mom killed him, probably finding him in the chest. but i think the binding of Isaac is a metaphor for how trapped children are with abusive parents. i dont think god really spoke to Mom. i think for some kids their parents seem like a paradox, especially abused kids in a religious home (i can actually speak on this firsthand). its hard for kids who dont understand much to rationalize how their parent can be both good (a follower of god) and bad (a child abuser). at some point the child might wonder if their parent is truly a follower of god; they might seem to be more a follower of the devil. i think fighting the devil at the end kinda fits into this theme.

i dont think this game is really statement on religion. it really just uses religious symbolism to tell the story of child abuse.
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by abort_user View Post
where do you get that the mother has a mental illness? most abusive parents were once abused as children. child abuse has little or nothing to do with mental illness. many mentally ill people do fine with children and many child abusers arent mentally ill. however you will find a correlation with child abuse and strongly religious people (which you did mention she was religious).

the only possible indicator that she may be mentally ill is that she hears the voice of god. however, OP, you dismissed this as a story Isaac created.

---

the game parallels the story of Abraham and Isaac (aka the binding of Isaac). it uses it to tell a story about child abuse and neglect. its not a stretch to say the story from the bible is a famous example of child abuse (whether real or not). simply replace Mom with Abraham, then the bible ending is the story from the bible. god intervenes and saves Isaac.

however, the gameplay and the final ending makes it very clear thats not what really happened. its clear all the characters are really Isaac (which should be obvious cause they all look the same and Mom calls them all "Isaac"). it also seems Isaac climbs into his chest to hide, since he is powerless. he imagines becoming powerful and fighting back.

now there are different ways to interpret the ending. im going to stick with the child abuse theme. child abuse is on going. children may wish they were dead. i dont think Isaac is really dead. if he did die, id say mom killed him, probably finding him in the chest. but i think the binding of Isaac is a metaphor for how trapped children are with abusive parents. i dont think god really spoke to Mom. i think for some kids their parents seem like a paradox, especially abused kids in a religious home (i can actually speak on this firsthand). its hard for kids who dont understand much to rationalize how their parent can be both good (a follower of god) and bad (a child abuser). at some point the child might wonder if their parent is truly a follower of god; they might seem to be more a follower of the devil. i think fighting the devil at the end kinda fits into this theme.

i dont think this game is really statement on religion. it really just uses religious symbolism to tell the story of child abuse.
I got the idea of her being mentally ill because of the fight with Mom. It looked like she had...problems. Either that or Isaac was trying to show how brutal his mother really is by overstating. Thanks for your looks on the story and how it plays out. Child abuse is definitively a theme here. I'll continue playing Binding of Isaac to try to get a better picture of the game's theme. I've gotten all the endings, but the items say a lot themselves.

Now for the remaining thing that bothers me: The disturbing credits music. It's very distorted and disturbing and 'Jesus Loves Me' is being said over and over. What do you think of it?
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Old 11-13-2011, 06:30 AM   #7
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The final ending is a reference to Mulholland Drive by David Lynch: a mindtwist about multiple realities, in a box.

About the meaning of the game, I find it telling how someone could see it into a metaphor of a goody fight against evil. It's exactly the opposite, some ferocious satire of religion and focusedly one of the typically controversial episodes in the Old Testament. Anyone who's frequented catechism can recall a couple of these stories which are totally wrong by any present day standard - how about the prophet who has a bunch of kids slaughtered by bears, because they were noisy. That the chibi-gore style brings the taste and seriousness of the operation down, is a matter for the developer to discuss with his analyst.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:28 AM   #8
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i can see how you might see her as mentally ill now. however i think its from the perspective of Isaac. Isaac is unable to understand the things his mother does to him; she may very well look like a monster to him. i also think in Isaacs nightmarish fantasies Isaacs perception is skewed.

---

i took the distorted song 'Jesus Loves Me" to represent two things. one the perversion of religion, ie. an extremely religious mother who is also extremely abusive. but i also took the song to represent Isaacs mental and physical state.

the song 'Jesus Loves Me' is normally considered a childrens song. if Isaacs mother is religious he is likely to be religious too. he probably goes to church and is exposed to a lot of religious symbolism. the song is also a reminder to many of a time of innocence. to have it playing distorted can be a way to show this innocence being warped (like through abuse).

---

i do think there is more to the symbols of the game. i think some of some symbols show different types of abuse. however i dont think Isaac really had a coathanger stuck through his head. i think this is more of an abortion reference, alongside killing It Lives. im a little hazy on what the abortion imagery means. i dont think this game is about abortion. i think it has another meaning. i think its likely Isaac wishes he could undo his life, or perhaps Mom is pregnant and Isaac wishes to free his siblings from his suffering.

some symbols, deal with coping, or self-abuse. for instance, Moms pill bottle. many abused kids seek out drugs, some of which they find in their parents pill cabinet. i do not think every symbol is indicative of Isaac. some are what ifs and others nightmares fantasies.

i do contend still that this game isnt pro or antireligion. i think it uses religious imagery for juxtaposition.
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abort_user View Post
where do you get that the mother has a mental illness? most abusive parents were once abused as children. child abuse has little or nothing to do with mental illness. many mentally ill people do fine with children and many child abusers arent mentally ill. however you will find a correlation with child abuse and strongly religious people (which you did mention she was religious).

the only possible indicator that she may be mentally ill is that she hears the voice of god. however, OP, you dismissed this as a story Isaac created.

---

the game parallels the story of Abraham and Isaac (aka the binding of Isaac). it uses it to tell a story about child abuse and neglect. its not a stretch to say the story from the bible is a famous example of child abuse (whether real or not). simply replace Mom with Abraham, then the bible ending is the story from the bible. god intervenes and saves Isaac.

however, the gameplay and the final ending makes it very clear thats not what really happened. its clear all the characters are really Isaac (which should be obvious cause they all look the same and Mom calls them all "Isaac"). it also seems Isaac climbs into his chest to hide, since he is powerless. he imagines becoming powerful and fighting back.

now there are different ways to interpret the ending. im going to stick with the child abuse theme. child abuse is on going. children may wish they were dead. i dont think Isaac is really dead. if he did die, id say mom killed him, probably finding him in the chest. but i think the binding of Isaac is a metaphor for how trapped children are with abusive parents. i dont think god really spoke to Mom. i think for some kids their parents seem like a paradox, especially abused kids in a religious home (i can actually speak on this firsthand). its hard for kids who dont understand much to rationalize how their parent can be both good (a follower of god) and bad (a child abuser). at some point the child might wonder if their parent is truly a follower of god; they might seem to be more a follower of the devil. i think fighting the devil at the end kinda fits into this theme.

i dont think this game is really statement on religion. it really just uses religious symbolism to tell the story of child abuse.
The first thing I thought as soon as I bought this game and watched the opening was:
Oh ok, she heard the voice of god, so she has a mental illness
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ERRORx View Post
The first thing I thought as soon as I bought this game and watched the opening was:
Oh ok, she heard the voice of god, so she has a mental illness
yeah, i mentioned that. the first poster dismissed that as part of a story Isaac made up.

there are two possibilities:

1. Mom hears the voice of God
2. Mom doesnt hear the voice of God

if 2 is true, then the obvious conclusions would be either Isaacs Mom is insane, or Isaac imagined she heard the voice of god or made up a story about it, or Mom hears the voice of Satan. though 2 can be divided up almost infinitely if you really wanted to.

now the story of Isaac is often used in philosophical debates about the existence and nature of god. in the bible, it is God who orders the death of Isaac. it is not insanity or any thing else.

but as ive stated before, i dont think this is about mental illness (well not the mother, maybe the child). i dont think this is about religion. it seems pretty obvious the whole thing is about child abuse. there just happen to be some interesting parallels between the biblical story of Isaac and real life child abuse. thats why it makes such a great juxtaposition.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:33 PM   #11
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The whole theme was using bible references and the bible story The Binding of Isaac (the real story) to fuel the game. Nothing really attacking or defending christianity. It is only a game :P
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:56 AM   #12
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Isaac is now a god if you 100% the game. The title screen changes and everything.

http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/7...BindingOfIsaac

mmmmmmm Sorry I have to brag. I'm an like that.
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:14 PM   #13
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For me the 10th ending reveals that Issac is dead all long, he probably died from asphyxia in the chest since its where he finds his body in the 10th ending.

The whole game is a big limbo for Issac's soul, in the 11th ending, of the halloween update, Issac returns to the chest where his soul belongs, but due to the two memories, the trapdoor jump and the asphyxia in chest, I would think that his mother locked him in the chest thinking that he was dead but he wasnt, he died of starvation/asphyxia.

The monsters all seem to have a big festering theme, which is what would happen to a body forgotten and locked in a chest.
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:10 PM   #14
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Hmmmm

When I heard the "Jesus loves me" at nighttime [About 12:00 at night, with lights off ] I freaking jumped out of my chair and turned off volume! The wrath of the lamb update gives you more endings and SPOILER: One of the endings I got [The first one] was after you killed a boss who was, get this, ISAAC. You have to kill a angel version of yourself and then you open a chest. You wont believe me when I say this, but I forgot what happends next.. Sorry.. Northernlion's play through beat the angel Isaac too so he has it recorded! You can watch it on youtube!
SPOILER ENDED!: So maybe Isaac works for the Devil or something? Because you fight in a church-sort-of-new floor. I wont tell you how to get there though!
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryphos View Post
Isaac is now a god if you 100% the game. The title screen changes and everything.

http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/7...BindingOfIsaac

mmmmmmm Sorry I have to brag. I'm an like that.
I knew it I wasn't the only one. The the title changed to a dotted line of a rectangle, and I seen on the bottom left hand corner something. It must of been either a ripped piece of a picture, or a piece of a puzzle. I tried to take a screenshot of it, but it moved back to being the golden god picture.
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