Borderlands and the Bible: Cult of the Gunbringer

Video Games and the Bible Borderlands Intro

*Sources of screenshots are listed in their respective file-names.

The Borderlands franchise is known for its off-the-wall (frequently off-color) humor, giant guns and crazy level design. One thing Borderlands is not known for, are the cults found in-game.

There are several cults in the Borderlands series, from the Cult of the Vault (concerning the symbol of the series itself), to the Cult of the Firehawk, to the Cult of the Sirens…

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This story begins with a man named Marcus Kincaid.

Marcus Kincaid Screenshot from YouTube--Jayzaire - The Borderlands King channel

Marcus is the lecherous, amoral gun dealer of Pandora (the planet Borderlands is set on).

At the time of Borderlands 2, the Crimson Raiders are attempting to eliminate the bands of Bloodshot bandits terrorizing the settlers of Pandora. In this conflict, Marcus sees a grand business opportunity…

The following are the ECHO (audio) recordings detailing the event:

#1:

Bloodshot Memories ECHO Log Photo 1 from YouTube-Fluffy's Gaming channel

Marcus Kincaid:
Dear [Roland,] I can’t help but notice the [Bloodshots] you are fighting pack some seeeeerious firepower. If you are going to have a chance against them, you’ll need to up your arsenal – you could always arm your men with some high-quality munitions from my store. If you buy from me, those [Bloodshots] will be dead in no time!

As you’ll see in a moment, Marcus is trying to profit from both sides of the war and uses nearly the same message to do so.

#2:

Bloodshot Memories ECHO Log Photo 2 from YouTube-Fluffy's Gaming channel

Marcus Kincaid:
Dear [Bloodshots,] I can’t help but notice the [Crimson Raiders] you are fighting pack some seeeeerious firepower. If you are going to have a chance against them, you’ll need to up your arsenal – you could always arm your men with some high-quality munitions from my store. If you buy from me, those [Crimson Raiders] will be dead in no time!

Considering the fact that Marcus actually lives in Sanctuary–Crimson Raiders HQ–the bandits are more than a little suspicious…

#3:

Bloodshot Memories ECHO Log Photo 3 from YouTube-Fluffy's Gaming channel

Flanksteak–Bloodshot Leader:
Bloodshots: Roland’s raiders are tearin’ us up. Their guns are just too [expletive] good. But I’ve come up with a solution to this problem: sack the [expletive] up and stop dying all the [expletive] time! And quit suggesting we buy weapons from the Marcus [expletive] – he lives in Sanctuary [the Crimson Raider HQ], so he’s just as much of a double-crossing, holier-than-thou [EXPLETIVE] as Roland and his raiders.

To gain their trust and business, Marcus sends a “sampler” of weapons to the Bloodshots.

#4:

Bloodshot Memories ECHO Log Photo 4 from YouTube-Fluffy's Gaming channel

Marcus Kincaid:
Hey, Bloodshots! I notice you’re not buying any of my guns. Maybe you’re worried my wares aren’t deadly enough for you. With that in mind, please accept this complimentary crate of Marcus Munitions. If you like what you find, maybe we can make a deal! ‘Once you go Marcus Munitions, you never go back…us munitions.’

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” (2 Timothy 3:1-4)

The Bloodshots’ reaction to Marcus’ wares:

#5:

Bloodshot Memories ECHO Log Photo 5 from YouTube-Fluffy's Gaming channel

Bloodshot Bandit:
Flanksteak! FLANKSTEAK! Can you – can you BELIEVE these guns Marcus gave us?! There’s a shotgun in here that shoots FIRE! [EXPLETIVE] FIRE! I been usin’ it to roast my food and girlfriends – Marcus is a – is a GOD!

And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” (Leviticus 10:2)

But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.” (Jeremiah 10:10-11)

[continued] “Me and the boys got an idea – a good idea, you see? Great idea. We build him a shrine. Big shrine. Beautiful shrine. And he’ll keep givin’ us guns. More guns! MORE GUNS! MORE GUUUUNS!

And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. 

For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.

Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” (Acts 19:23-28)

After construction of this shrine to Marcus, “The Gunbringer,” we get to hear a recording of the Bloodshots’ worship:

#6:

Bloodshot Memories ECHO Log Photo 6  from YouTube-Fluffy's Gaming channel

Bloodshot Bandit:
Chant louder, boys! Marcus can’t hear us! GUNS! GUNS! GUNS! GUNS! GUNS! WE LOVE YOU, MARCUS THE GUNBRINGER! WE LOVE YOUUUU!

This scene is reminiscent of the confrontation between Elijah and the Prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.

And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.

And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.” (1 Kings 18:26-29)

To recap, Marcus wants to profit from both sides of the Bloodshot/Crimson Raiders war (betraying the city he lives in-Sanctuary-as a result). However, even though the Crimson Raiders are winning by using Marcus’ armaments, the Bloodshots refuse to deal with him.

To overcome this temporary obstacle to future business, Marcus sends the Bloodshots a complimentary crate of weapons from his store (at least one of which harnesses elements like fire). The bandits are amazed by this level of technology and regard Marcus as a (capital-G) God. They then build a gigantic shrine in his honor–worshiping him–in an effort to acquire “More guns! MORE GUNS! MORE GUUUUNS!“‘

Let’s take a closer look at that shrine:

Gunbringer Shrine Pic 2 from YouTube-Halaster channel

Shrine of the Gunbringer

First, I’d like to point out some of the imagery surrounding the statues (AKA idols) of Marcus, the Gunbringer.

The largest idol in particular echoes depictions of several pagan god/goddesses.

Shrine of the Gunbringer pic 1 from YouTube-Halaster channel

Marcus’ pose is similar to common depictions of gods/goddesses such as Kali (below).

Kali pic from Mahakali Wikipedia Article

Kali/Mahakali.

All of the statues are seated in the “Lilita Asana” pose of the Buddha/Buddhism (source).

Marcus Gunbringer in Lalita Asana Pose from YouTube-Halaster channel

Marcus seated in the Lilita Asana pose.

Laughing Buddha in Lilita Asana from Pendencrystals website

Laughing Buddha in Lilita Asana.

Shrine of the Gunbringer Lilita Asana 2 from Borderlands Wiki

Another view of Marcus in Lilita Asana.

Also, for those interested in occultic imagery (a subject we don’t typically cover on this website), a third eye is etched into the foreheads of the Marcus idols. An eye also happens to be the symbol of the Bloodshots, and is seen behind the main statue.

Shrine of the Gunbringer Eye Image from Borderlands wiki

The eye etched into the uppermost idol’s forehead.

Symbol of the Bloodshots from YouTube-Fluffy's Gaming channel

Depiction of an eye–the symbol of the Bloodshots.

Moving on, there are several messages written in blood along the walls of the Shrine of the Gunbringer.

Gunbringer Blood Messages from YouTube-Halaster channel

WE DIE – YOU DIE“, “MARCUS – GUNBRINGER” and a blood-smeared eye are all present…

He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Revelation 13:10)

The main feature of the Shrine of the Gunbringer is the sacrificial pit.

And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,

And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.” (Psalm 106:36-39)

Beneath the message “MARCUS – GUNBRINGER” is a pit of sacrifice–presumably one of the methods of worship to the Gunbringer:

Shrine of Gunbringer Pit Pics batch 1 from YouTube-Halaster channel (1)

The pit.

At least one player must jump into this pit:

Shrine of Gunbringer Pit Pics batch 1 from YouTube-Halaster channel (2)

One player jumping into the pit.

Gunbringer Sacrifical Pit from YouTube-Hbpharoo channel

The pit itself is deep and strewn with the bones of previous sacrifices.

Sacrificing another player is as easy as pressing a button:

Shrine of Gunbringer Pit Pics batch 1 from YouTube-Halaster channel (4)

Press the [E] key to sacrifice…

Shrine of Gunbringer Pit Pics batch 1 from YouTube-Halaster channel (5)

…and you’ll notice the hatch to the left closes.

The other player/players are then burned alive.

Gunbringer Sacrifical Flame pic 1 from YouTube-Halaster channel

Notice the plume of smoke rising out of the hatch.

What this looks like from the inside:

Gunbringer Sacrifical Flame pic batch 2 from YouTube-Hbpharoo channel (1)

The sacrifice is burned alive…

Gunbringer Sacrifical Flame pic batch 2 from YouTube-Hbpharoo channel (2)

…and deconstructed to respawn.

When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:29-32)

Finally, after sacrificing other players (or yourself–if you can pull it off), you are rewarded with a shower of money, Eridium (a rare resource) and high-quality guns:

Human Sacrifice Loot pics from YouTube-Halaster channel (2)

The “loot” flows from out of the skull’s mouth.

Human Sacrifice Loot pics from YouTube-Halaster channel (3)

An example of one of the many guns that can be given.

For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.” (Jeremiah 10:3-5)

What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” (1 Corinthians 10:19-21)

Article Summary:

  • Marcus is THE gun dealer of Pandora (the planet Borderlands is set on). He seeks to profit from the war between the Crimson Raiders and the Bloodshot bandits who terrorize Pandora by selling weapons to both parties. By doing this, he betrays the city he lives in (Sanctuary–Crimson Raiders HQ). (2 Timothy 3:1-4)
  • When the bandits refuse to deal with him, he sends a complimentary crate of weapons (at least one of which harnesses elements like fire) to pique their interest.
    (Leviticus 10:2)
  • Amazed by the armaments sent, the bandits literally recognize Marcus as a “GOD.” (Jeremiah 10:10-11) / (Deuteronomy 8:19)
  • To get “More guns! MORE GUNS! MORE GUUUUNS!“, the bandits build a shrine to their new God: Marcus, the Gunbringer. (Acts 19:23-28) / (2 Kings 17:9-12)

The Bloodshots worship Marcus in two primary ways:

  • Finally, if the player also engages in this act of worship, they are showered with “lootlike Eridium (a rare resource used to upgrade the players’ storage capabilities), money and high-powered weapons. The more people sacrificed, the greater the reward. (Jeremiah 10:3-5) / (Isaiah 46:6-7) / (Isaiah 45:20)

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*More articles from Video Games and the Bible.

About Nelson

Writer, amateur #gamedev, and Founder o' Video Games and the Bible. My interviews bring the boys to the yard. Featured from Kotaku to Rock Paper Shotgun. Dropsy.
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