The game has fans in the conservative evangelical community. A reviewer writing for Plugged In Online (LINK), part of the conservative group Focus on the Family, calls "Left Behind: Eternal Forces "the kind of game that Mom and Dad can actually play with Junior -- and use to raise some interesting questions along the way. Production company Left Behind Games is pushing it as an evangelism tool for teens, and I can see that, too. You certainly don't have to be an eschatologically minded seminarian to appreciate it."
"LB:EF" has its secular fans as well. Writing in Wired (LINK), reviewer Clive Thompson praised the game as a "classic real-time strategy game" that surprisingly "actually kind of rocks."
Tim Lahaye, co-creator of the Left Behind book series (LINK), which has sold more than 60 million copies, subscribes to Christian teachings in which believers will be whisked to heaven during the Rapture, leaving behind non-believers and Satan's forces.
"People are reading the Bible like never before," LaHaye says. "They have questions about the future. We come along, in a fictional way, present the truths in the book of Revelation."
What LaHaye sees as truths, many Christian leaders dispute. And Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith adds, "The game and the belief system behind it are dangerous, because they teach that Judaism and other non-Christian faiths are not valid. Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians are seen as incomplete unless they convert, a concept that is contrary to the American ideal of respect for all religions."
True to LaHaye's books and this theology, the "Left Behind" game can be violent; it is rated "T" for Teen -- recommended for those age 13 and older -- though the game makers point out no blood or gore appears after characters are killed.
As Clive Thompson noted in Wired, "the ultimate, and gorgeous, irony of this game," seems to be that fans of the Left Behind franchise "are apparently more worried about simulated violence in video games than about believing an actual prophecy of the future -- endorsed by their spiritual leaders -- in which their friendly Jewish, Islamic and atheist neighbors have their tongues dissolved in screaming agony by a fire-eyed Jesus."
Left Behind Games CEO Lyndon argues that the game also teaches that violence has consequences.
"If you shoot, you lose spirit points," Lyndon says. "So it's more effective to use prayer and worship whenever possible."
Simpson, however, calls this part of the game particularly troublesome.
"When the player kills an individual, his or her spirit score drops and it's very important to keep one's spirit score high," Simpson says.
But he notes that after a player kills, he or she can click the pray button, raising the spirit points, "so then you are ready to go out and kill all over again and repeat the process. That is very different from the values of the Gospel."
It's up to consumers whether to give their children this game this Christmas, the birthday of the prince of peace.
ABC News' Ed O'Keefe, Terry Moran and Ted Gerstein contributed to this report.