Ace plays Final Fantasy X: The Oppressive Religious Plot Hole

So I’ve already gone over Seymour and Yuna, and now I’m talking about Yevon. Yevon is the main faith in Final Fantasy X. Just about everyone follows it, and it makes sense that they would. Yevon’s teachings are the only thing providing the people of Spira hope, and it’s been the only thing providing that for the past thousand years. Sin keeps killing people and Yevon is their only way out. Summoners pray at temples run by Yevonites, which probably only enforces the belief that it is through following Yevon’s teachings that Sin will ever truly be destroyed. And when you have a world living in such terror, with their only escape being the church, it also makes sense that Yevon is the leading political power in Spira.

Yevon is actually a very interesting faith, and it is unfortunately not explored to the extent that I wish it would have been. It has a lot in common with Buddhism, Shintoism, and Catholicism. It requires a lot of disciplines for its followers—not using machina, which is what the people call machines—and some of its iconography is indicative of Buddhism. The temples and all the ritualistic practices are very similar to Shintoism, and as for the Catholic Church, it has a very similar hierarchy. Yevon is led by a Grand Maester (basically the Pope), and beneath him are three other Maesters (Cardinals). And then there are the people under them, so on and so forth.

People who don’t follow Yevon, like the Al Bhed, are frowned upon and considered heretics. Though the game does show people being killed for not following Yevon, it honestly surprises me that it doesn’t happen more, and it can even be argued that the Al Bhed who are killed are murdered for other reasons. The amount of scorn non-Yevonites face makes me surprised that executions based on faith, or lack thereof, are not common, especially considering that there are orders to kill Yuna after she is excommunicated.

But when a faith is established as the leading political power, while it’s not a big surprise that the leaders may be corrupt and while we can also argue that Yevon may have brainwashed the people of Spira, that doesn’t mean it can get away with some of the things it does. It doesn’t matter how corrupt an organization is, if it purposefully flaunts its hypocrisy people are going to notice every time. And that’s what happens in Final Fantasy X.

In my one post, I mentioned that Seymour, one of the Maesters, forces Yuna to marry him, and naturally, Tidus and the others come to Yuna’s rescue. This takes place in the city Bevelle, which is the largest city in Spira, and also the center of the church. It’s pretty much the Vatican. So the plot hole I’m going to explain is more or less useless and baffling as Seymour’s entire existence. Normally, when I see a plot hole, it’s because the story for one reason or another needed something to happen and didn’t know how to go about it. In this case, the game needed a way to show the player that the leaders of Yevon are corrupt, and it chooses to do so in the oddest way possible.

As the players, we already know the church is corrupt. First of all, it’s Final Fantasy, so we know the leading political power is bad on some level, and second of all, our characters were just attacked by Seymour, who murdered his own father and then sent the Guado people out to annihilate the Al Bhed for… reasons. But the game takes it a step further.

At the wedding, in order for Yevon to stop Tidus and the rest of the party from saving Yuna, the people of Bevelle start using machina. Let’s keep a few things in mind here:

  • Yevon has spent the past thousand years teaching the people of Spira that machina are evil and the reason for their suffering at Sin’s behest.
  • Yevon has also taught the people of Spira that Sin won’t go away until the whole world obtains complete atonement, which requires not using machina, because it incites wars, laziness, and arrogance.
  • This wedding, filled to the brim with armed guards wielding machina, is being broadcasted to all of Spira as far as I’m concerned. Tidus and the others only know Yuna is in Bevelle because of a video feed. This probably means other people can see it too.

So the people of Bevelle, who are all Yevonites, willingly using machina makes no sense within the context of the game. Our party is fighting religious zealots who believe machina is evil and the cause of Sin and suffering, and yet these Yevonites are all using machina without hesitation. So I don’t understand what is happening here.

This would be like the Catholic Church organizing a gay pride parade. We may not have problems with it, but it might just raise a couple conservative eyebrows.

Actually, you know what, scratch that analogy.

This would be like if the Catholic Church hosted a gay pride parade one thousand years ago and no one batted an eyelash. At all.

The people of Spira are mindless drones in the background with no agency all of a sudden. As I spoke to APerigren about it, he said to me in all mock seriousness:

“Why would they be anything other than static?”

It’s like using machina is suddenly a non-issue to the people of Spira, when they’ve had one thousand years of history telling them otherwise.

There is even a temple in Bevelle that is practically made out of machina. Other people besides summoners pray at these temples. Yevon is flaunting its hypocrisy to the utmost extreme here, and I don’t know how no one’s noticed. It would be one thing to have the Maesters corrupt, but the people as a whole would not follow along with all this. And unless the whole population is blind, Yevon should have some serious problems.

And like the characters’ excommunication due to attacking Seymour, which happens around the same time Yevon starts using machina, this amounts to nothing. It doesn’t matter that the characters are excommunicated, just like it doesn’t matter that Yevon has just betrayed its own beliefs. Because the characters leave, don’t encounter anymore towns, make it to Zanarkand, and then go to fight Sin, these issues are never really addressed. Then the game ends.

But the use of machina in Bevelle is also a big plot hole for another reason.

Sin was originally created one-thousand years ago to kill large congregations of people, especially if they had machina, in order to stop machina wars and halt technological advancements. That’s why Sin exists, which I’m going to assume given some of the things the Maesters say, that the Maesters know this. This is one of the reasons, if not the reason, Yevon has taught people that machina is evil. It attracts Sin. And Bevelle is both the largest city in the world and filled with machina. I do not care that it has a flimsy little dragon protector guarding it (which is another plot hole that I’m not getting into right now). Sin would utterly destroy that dragon. And then it would destroy Bevelle. If Sin went out of its way to attack Kilika Village, a little town of about fifty people, Bevelle should be obliterated.

I mean, Sin ruined all of Zanarkand. Yet it now leaves Bevelle alone for one thousand years? Why?

But now that I’ve talked about the church and Yuna being Jesus, I’m still not done analyzing the religion in this game. Final Fantasy X is just filled with it, and we can’t have a faith without some mention of the afterlife, after all, so next, I’m going over that.

5 thoughts on “Ace plays Final Fantasy X: The Oppressive Religious Plot Hole

  1. Pingback: Ace plays Final Fantasy X: The Dead | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

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  4. There are a couple holes in your argument.
    1. The great machina war destroyed Zanarkand not Sin.
    2. Machina do not attract sin, that’s why the crusaders needed sinspawn. That’s also the reason the airship and the people of Bevelle needed to sing the hymn of fayth.
    3. Wakka and Lulu state that the church differentiates between good and bad machina when Tidus asks the same question.
    4. You state yourself that the people cling to Yevon because it is their only hope. Given the way the al bhed and yuna’s entourage are treated, would you question the teachings or turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy?

    • Hello, and thank you for commenting and opening up this discussion.

      1. Zanarkand was destroyed during the machina war, but not because of it. Zanarkand had been losing the war, and when defeat seemed inevitable, Yu-Yevon and the citizens engaged in a mass summoning, creating the dream Zanarkand and Sin to protect it. Sin destroyed the real Zanarkand, and when Bevelle’s troops finally marched over Mt. Gagazet, they found Sin and the ruins of Zanarkand.

      2. Sin is attracted to its spawn, but it’s also attracted to machina and large congregations of people. Yu-Yevon gave Sin a couple of tasks, outside protecting Zanarakand. Sin is destroy cities that grow too large and rely too much on machina. This allows it to halt technological advancements and make certain that a machina war never happens again.

      3. Yevon does differentiate between good and bad machina, but good machina, such as the stadium, are few and far between, and weapons are considered bad. Furthermore, Sin doesn’t differentiate between good and bad machina, and Bevelle’s full of both.

      4. Given how Yuna and the Al Bhed are treated, it doesn’t surprise me that more people don’t question Yevon; however, that wedding was broadcasted to the entire world, and in the process of it, Yevon showed that whole world that it doesn’t even follow its own beliefs. All the people have been taught that machina is evil, and now they see Yevon using an abundance of machina weapons. They’re going to have a lot of people questioning that. Yevon cannot execute the entire world.

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