Religion and… video games?

I’m a gamer, and I have been since I was a little kid. The first system I played was the ColecoVision, and I’ve owned/played just about everything else since. If you played the NES, perhaps you remember attempts to create successful Christian video games, such as Bible Adventures or the classic Spiritual Warfare. Some of those games were actually respectable… but in recent times, Christian games have just plain stunk.

Not only have Christians attempted to create content for gamers, they have also done their best to keep content they feel is inappropriate away from us. The Grand Theft Auto Series, for example, has created an enormous backlash from Christians and non-Christians alike.

Just this week another game has created quite a stir, but this time Christians are not among the offended (at least not yet). An upcoming title, Spore, has apparently ticked off a group of ‘militant atheists.’ In this title, you play as God (though not in a Christian sense) as you guide the evolution of a species from ameba to space-faring travelers. It actually looks like a heck of a good game, but that’s beside the point.

The bigger issue here is obviously religion in the media and what is and isn’t appropriate content for Christians. Many conservative Christians strictly regulate what they do and do not watch/play, taking their cue from passages such as 1 Thessalonians 5:22 On the other hand, some Christians take their cue from some of Jesus’ teaching on purity which Paul seems to echo in his correspondence with the Corinthian Church. Here, one does not become impure by what comes into the person; rather, purity is determined by what flows outward from the person. Obviously, Jesus and Paul did not have movies, video games, and other forms of modern media in mind, but it seems to me there is a strong parallel upon which to draw, no matter which side of this debate you end up on.

So what about you? What type of filter do you use when it comes to entertainment? And what biblical and theological themes do you draw upon when making that decision?

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One thought on “Religion and… video games?

  1. Okay so I will start off by saying that we all have to work out our own salvation. We also cannot be a stumbling block for others. This means it is a delicate balance. I myself am a gamer on the back burner because of my other commitments. I play online games on Facebook for now and that is about it. This would have to be my first comment. God keeps me in check with the amount of time I spend on games. It can become addicting if you are not careful and affect you life and those around you. Concerning the content I would have to say it depends. There are some who become so involved they are influenced and almost live the game out. You have to know your weaknesses too. Though you may think nothing of it, all it takes is a little clip to trigger something that could cause one to stumble later on without him or her knowing. However, at times games can be a stress reliever for me. Whether the best way, it is better than me taking it out on my family, friends or coworkers. So I am torn between the two and say it is a balance of working out one’s salvation.

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