Last time I talked about the plot of the game. More specifically, I talked about one of the game’s primary antagonists and how he has nothing to do with plot. The character is question is Seymour, who was a maester of Yevon, an oppressive religious organization and the leading political power in Spira. This leads me into the religion in Final Fantasy X.
First of all, before I get into Yevon, let’s talk about the obvious. A few weeks back I wrote an Oh, My Pop-Culture Jesus post about Aerith from VII as a female Christ figure. I should note that I could probably do the same for Yuna, but I don’t feel as though I would be able to write a decent OMPCJ about her that didn’t repeat most of what I said about Aerith. And to be honest, it would just be a cheap way for me to fill that monthly quota. I should note that the two of them are the same character type; they are both presented as selfless Virgin Mary figures, but have more in common with Jesus than Mary. In some ways, Yuna is a more obvious Christ figure than Aerith, especially because VII doesn’t really talk about religion, whereas X does. And Yevon is partly influenced by Catholicism, although I should mention that Yevon is also influenced by Buddhism and Shintoism.
So before I get into Yevon and another very big plot hole involving Yevon, let’s go over some of the Christ-like traits Yuna has.
- She can give the dead passage into the Farplane—the Heaven, if you will, of Final Fantasy X.
One role a summoner must perform is guidance to the dead. In the FFX universe, when people die, their souls, known as pyreflies, do no automatically go to the Farplane if the death is not a peaceful one, or if those people feel as though they have unfinished work. While some people’s ghosts can remain intact in the mortal world, most of them transform into fiends, angry monsters who resent the living. If the Farplane is Heaven, being a fiend is hell. Because so many souls lose their way and transform into monsters, it is imperative that summoners perform a Sending ritutal and guide the dead to their final resting place. And in a world like Spira, many people are killed by Sin.
The Christian belief is that people either go to hell or heaven. Physical death means nothing, because in Heaven there is eternal life. However, there is spiritual death. Spiritual death occurs when someone goes to hell. And people go to hell because of sin. So, sin causes death.
Though we see other summoners perform Sendings when people are murdered by other people, the only summoner we ever see perform a sending in the wake of Sin’s destruction is Yuna. And vice-versa, we never Yuna perform a sending for people killed by other people, only for people killed by Sin.
- Yuna can walk on water.
Like, seriously! She can walk on water! The very first sending Yuna performs takes place in the beachside town Kilika. For this Sending, Yuna walks on water!
Her ability to walk on water is never questioned, nor does anyone else seem capable of it. Everyone just accepts this as if it’s a normal occurrence. The focus of the scene is the Sending, not how she does it. I suppose we can also argue that this may be indicative of Shintoism, since it involves water and the cleansing of spirits, especially at the part where the water rises, but actually walking on water is very symbolic of Christianity.
- Yuna is also the healer of the group.
Though the fighting system in Final Fantasy X is more or less a class system, the characters are still able to learn each other’s abilities, meaning that Yuna is not the only character with white magic. And though she is the first character to learn the Life spell, it is Rikku who is first able to learn Full Life. This is a weaker argument than some of the others here; however, it should be noted that for the majority of the game, Yuna is the only character with mystical healing abilities. Rikku, her cousin, only fills in for the role with Al Bhed potions whenever Yuna finds herself separated from the group.
- Yuna reforms Yevon and calls out religious leaders for being corrupt.
Like Jesus, Yuna throws away beliefs and traditions that are false. She doesn’t put up with the corruption of Yevon and calls out religious leaders, namely Seymour, for their corruption. In the Bible, Jesus does not have much patience for the Pharisees, and he doesn’t put up with what he considers to be false beliefs.
Yevon’s false belief is that the Final Aeon is needed to defeat Sin. But the Final Aeon is also the reason Sin keeps returning. After destroying Sin, the Final Aeon will be transformed into a new Sin. By throwing out this tradition and defeating Sin without it, Yuna manages what the leaders of Yevon and the people of Spira find impossible. The people of Spira believe it’s impossible to kill Sin without the Final Aeon, and Yevon believes that as well as believing that Sin is eternal. By proving them all wrong, Yuna manages to reform the world.
- Yuna’s on a pilgrimage to pray at temples and save the world through her death from something called Sin.
Jesus came down to earth to die for our sins. The Christian belief, as I said, is that sin is death. So when Jesus died for our sins, he killed death with it. That is why we may enter Heaven, because Jesus graciously gave his life and descended into hell for our sins. Then, he rose again, showing a defeat of hell. So in other words, he defeated death, which is sin. Yuna is on a religious journey with the intent to give her life in order to kill Sin, the main cause of death in Spira, for good. Though Yuna does not actually die at the end of the game (Tidus dies instead), she is still willing to give her life to save the world. And she manages to do what no other summoner does; she defeats Sin without the Final Aeon. Yuna comes to believe that the Final Aeon is a false tradition that should be thrown away. And when Sin is gone by her hands, the Eternal Calm begins.
All of these reasons help enforce the idea that Yuna, like Arieth, is a female Christ figure. But Final Fantasy X deals with religion in other ways as well. Next time I’m going to go over Yevon, the leading political and religious power in Spira.