Christianity and Role Playing Games
Before I begin, allow me to state that I am a Born Again Christian. Raised in the Church, accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior on Thursday July 7, 1994 at 11:37pm in Greenboro, SC. Since that day I studied the Bible extensively. I didn’t just read Genesis and flip over to the New Testiment like so many. No, my favorite Bible Character is Elisha, disciple of the prophet Elijiah. (First appeared in the end of 1st Kings but had most of his life detailed in 2nd Kings.) I was at a Rich Mullins concert less than 1 year before he died. I’ve been to Promise Keepers, Billy Graham (in the chorus) and John Guest gatherings. I reignited my faith at Jouney #1 (Wyoming Confrence) in 1999. I’ve been on mission trips and participated in IVCF at a very secular college and served as a living witness to many non-believers there. Now I raise my daughter to love and fear God. I believe in Creation (not that Intelligent Design crap) where the earth was created in 7 (24 hour) days and that Adam and Eve were the first 2 people on earth. I am what many considered to be a Christian’s Christian.
I am also a Gamer. Infact, I enjoy role playing games so much, I started my own Role Playing company.
So when I see a fellow Christian posting non-sense like this, it bothers me. At college I was surrounded by many different view points and I searched the Bible for a way to reach them. It was the example laid out by Paul that helped me figure out what best to do. In the book of Acts, Paul presented Jesus through their religion. When talking with the slaves of Rome, he presented them with the promise of being God’s freemen. When talking with Jews he used the law. No matter where he went, he lived with them, got to know what they valued and presented Christ through those values and desires. That was the model I lived by.
Unfortunately, the author of the article does not share the same belief (or at least does not practice such a method in the referenced article). For example, the author stated:
In fact, when game defenders claim that the occult and violence oriented games do not include actual incantations, spells, etc., it is just not true. A trip to the local game store will reveal examples like four volumes of specific Wizards Spells and three volumes of Encyclopedia of Magica.
I ask you: Did you look in the books or did you simply judge the books by their covers? The titles and cover art are simply chosen to convey a theme. This is otherwise called “Marketting,” (a non-Satanic practice by which companies make money to stay in business). Had you opened those books, you would have found “spells,” but these spells are as akin to actual magic as a picture of food is to actual food. Eating a picture of food provides no nutritional value and would be harmful to your body’s digestive system (I do not recommend trying that). In the same way, “spells” in role playing games produce no actual magic (if such even exists). Allow me to demonstrate how a typical spell in Dungeons and Dragons works:
Player: I cast Magic Missile at the grimlin.
Game Master: Ok. Role your dice.
Player: *rolls a plastic die that has 4 sides* I got a 2.
Game Master: Ok. You did 2 points of damage.
That’s it. No incantation. No blood sacrifice. No calling upon some dark lord’s name and swearing to serve him for all eternity if he helps the Player to defeat the grimlin. Just a couple of geeks sitting around a table and doing the geek equivilent of poker night.
The author cited examples of people committing murder and or suicide because of role playing games. I find that rather odd considering that when you play a role playing game, you tend to play with the same group of people for prolonged periods of time. Over that time you make friends, build bonds, and care for those at your table. And if someone starts acting weird or on edge or similar, they are there to intervene and help them through whatever is going on.
Additionally, something frequently cited by BADD (Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons, and organization referenced in the article) why role playing games are so bad is because a person gets attached to their character and may kill themself should something bad happen to their character. I’ll ignore the inability to tell fiction from reality argument and move onto anothe argument that is not as frequently covered. The attachment a person feels for their character is similar to the attachment a person could have for a fictional character on TV. Myself, I loved the character Kutner on the popular TV show House. He killed himself recently. Shot himself in the head. Did I do the same? No. I have not heard about a rash of self-inflicted gun shot wounds to head on national media so I appear to not be the only one. Same is true with one of my characters. Over the years, I have had many, many characters die. None caused me to harm myself or others.
In 2 Peter 1:5-11, Peter lays out the path to spiritial growth. In Verse 5 (NIV), He says:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
He continues on from there, but he hit the part that is relivent here. Knowledge. In the greek, it is a kind of knowledge gained through experience. I urge you, therefore, brother to add to your faith and your goodness by gaining knowledge. I do not simply mean to go on the internet and find information that validates the ideas you already possess. No. Instead I urge you to go to your forementioned game store and ask the person working behind the counter if there is a role playing game that meets at the store itself. Odds are, there is. Ask when it is, letting the person know that you’ve never seen a role playing game actually being played before and would like to watch it. I recommend not going into some tyraid about how they’re Satanic and responsible for a myriad of social problems. Simply watch with an open mind. You do not have to participate, you can simply sit back and watch.
But most importantly, remember these are souls just like you. And God loves them, just like you.