Good thought-provoking piece! It presents a dark and twisted reality, inherently violent and gory and depressing and shocking. The important point to note here, though, is that it was SUPPOSED to be that way; the creators of the game wanted us to be shocked and revolted by what was going on in the city at the bottom of the sea.
Other games, on the other hand, offer gore and graphic violence in ways that make them much more commonplace. My argument is thus not that all video games are good — far from it! But only that video games CAN be good, and that a gamer is not necessarily a degenerate or a sinner just for playing.
Human beings have always found tales of epic and violent struggles between good and evil, and we use this struggle as justification for our violence. What epics lack battles? If, however, there remains a doubt, then that doubt should be probed. And, once more, this could most likely be said for loads of our daily choices. He uses his time playing games to reach out to people with the Gospel!
Gods and Games: Toward a Theology of Play
There are people engrossed, nay, addicted to video games, a culture unto themselves, and they are in need of the Gospel. Is playing video games a sin? The questions come into play with how much time, what KIND of video games are we playing, what kind of money are we spending, and what affects does it have on the souls of men and women? Those are the kinds of questions we should be asking about EVERY activity that we engage in, not just video games.
GODS AND GAMES Toward a Theology of Play | David L. Miller | First Edition; First Printing
I game for about hours per week, maybe a little more. Mostly, I find it relaxing. Games are art no matter what Roger Ebert says — one of those things in life that serves no purpose except to be enjoyed, or to be provocative. I really do believe that enjoying these parts of life glorifies God — and certainly, it glorifies God more than spending my time striving to find the best possible way to spend my time.
Thanks for coming back! Let me simply ask you this, that you may dwell on it: Is playing video games of any sort the best use of your free time? Thanks for the question, Sam — though I must say, it comes across as pretty condescending. You make it sound as though the answer is obvious, or even that the question is rhetorical; neither is true. This is a question that we should all ask ourselves, and not just about video games! I have many things that I do in my free time; in fact, I have many more ways to spend my free time than I have free time to spend!
This is true, I suppose, but I could also say the same of every hobby or leisure activity that exists. This is not an issue that is limited to video games, even though it seems to be applied to video games more than anything else. You could even ask the question of what most of us do for work: is serving coffees, or digging ditches, or managing a business, the best thing that I can be doing with my time?
Hobbies are, generally speaking, not productive. Hobbies are a form of self-care, a green-light stress reducing activity that usually has elements of self improvement to it — whether it is developing or honing a skill, or allowing for self-reflection or -expression. Sports build up our physical fitness; puzzles and games build up our mental fitness.
Fighting games, with their long command lists to perform moves and combos, are memory games. And as I mentioned extensively in this post, many games today also work on our moral or ethical decision-making skills. All of this to say that video games are probably the most beneficial of all hobbies, as most hobbies work on one particular skill or area of development, while video games simultaneously develop us in several ways. Also, most hobbies are solitary activities. Reading, or playing Sudoku, are single-person games.
Some hobbies have team or group elements: Playing cards is quite social, and playing team sports is highly social. Video games also include a social element, perhaps moreso than even most team sports. Entire communities are built around particular video games, bringing people together from across the planet to partake in a shared hobby. But unlike sports teams, there is no hazing, or physical abuse, and generally no pecking orders or hierarchies in gaming communities. Everybody needs a break, a green-light activity, to find rest.
Rest is a command, and a high value, to us from God. Of course, I guess I could always watch television…. Ideally, I would think that we should mostly remove from our lives any hobbies that are focused on self. Even though I think we would ultimately have some disagreements in our theology and even philosophy to some degree, I still respect and appreciate the contributions that Berry has made.
Thanks, and sorry if I seem rude. And as I said above, one of my favourite art forms happens to be video games!
I think the trick is not to conform all of your activities to a particular type of activity, but to conform all of your activities — whatever they are — to an attitude and expression that glorifies God. I actually really love video games, and would give a positive review to most of them. Halo is a masterpiece on just about every level.
I love it! That said, Halo is incredibly smart, funny, tells powerful stories, has brilliant music, and is a ton of fun. Soul Calibur is one of my favourite fighting games, but it definitely objectifies its female characters and uses their portrayal to manipulate its predominantly male audience. What do you think about Far Cry 4?
Im just curious. You seem to have a good perspective on what you are talking about in this blog. Thanks Kristian! I agree with you. If you decide to play it, please let me know what you think! Thank you for replying to my idea. We would also have to dig into more secular sources and get the names of the people that were not mentioned by name in the Holy Scriptures, namely of the kingdoms that opposed the Kingdom of Israel.
I like the idea that I mentioned because a. Koei Tecmo kind of went over similar ground with Bladestorm: the Hundred Years War which took place around the aforementioned Hundred Years War and it proved to be a moderate success, and c. People are simply missing a huge opportunity with not covering other more historically exciting times and kingdoms, empires, nations, and the like, such as ancient Israel and it is a big shame.
I would love to go into depth with you on this topic, sir. I have actually wanted to discuss how Dark Souls portrays the bible in these ways:. Johnson is the Fr. Her book The Fear of Beggars: Stewardship and Poverty in Christian Ethics Eerdmans, drew on historical studies of beggar-saints and debates about mendicant religious orders to illuminate shifts in Christian talk about private property. Her ongoing critiques of stewardship, as a rhetoric that sidesteps questions of just acquisition and scriptural teaching on the dangers of wealth, has been developed in publications such as "Blessings, Curses, and the Cross" in the Ex Auditu volume "Money and Possessions" Vol Her current project concerns ways to say grace truthfully over meals produced within an unjust food system.
In the podcast with Jon Ward, Sullivan briefly addresses your concerns about the omission regarding race. Looks like you won a free book, Josh. Merry Christmas! You can send me your address at kelly. You must be logged in to post a comment. Previous Advent, Christmas, and Hospitality. About The Author. Kelly Johnson Kelly S.
- Gods & Games: Toward a Theology of Play?
- God is dead.
- Tough Love!