Are Christians Allowed To Play Video Games?

The E3 Video Game Conference Raises Concerns on Whether Video Games Are A Sin

It is the yearly E3 Videogame Conference. All the major game publishers and platforms are showing off their latest products. One of the upcoming games is Doom Eternal, a game with players fighting the hordes of Hell:

With games like this it begs the question Christians have asked for more than a quarter century: Are video games a sin?

Video games have a complicated relationship with Christianity. One of the earliest video game systems, Nintendo, had several Christian games, including Bible Stories. Since that time, there have been fewer video games that are directly Christian. While some games, like a game based on the Left Behind Christian book series, include Christian values, religion is usually displayed as violent. Most games include religion as a catalyst for unrest or as a way to criticize religious zealots. Sociologists have pointed out that violence is a necessary condition of most video games. Therefore, religion is just another means to compel the player to act toward objectives, usually killing a group of enemies.

Some experts have even claimed that video games have replaced religion for millennials. More millennials play video games than regularly going to church. Video games give an immersive experience with their own code of ethics and morals that can have consequences for the player. This provides an individual with a sense of control over a world that can become intoxicating.

Several religious leaders have pointed out the dangerous nature of video game addiction. Christians point out that video games promote laziness and selfishness which disrupt the focus on doing good for others and God: “for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

While some pastors have argued that Christians should never play video games, most take the position of moderation: “everything is permissible—but not everything is constructive.” However, others point out that Satanists use video games as part of their religion. Satanists claim that video games follow three basic tenets that are linked to Satanism: inclusive environments, indulgence, and meritocracy. Because Satanism is a collection of individual beliefs that generally promote critical thinking rather than a belief in the devil, this does not automatically mean a conflict with Christianity.

Over half of Americans have at least one person in their household who plays video games more than three hours a day. Only 28 percent of Americans regularly attend church. Some churches have decided to harness this new medium by creating games that can be used to assist their teachings, as long as it occurs outside of attending church. While there is no definitive answer in the Bible about whether video games are a sin, it entirely depends on how games are being used and who is deciding.

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