Separation Of Church And Game: Reconciling My Faith With My Hobby

GR: I'm a Christian. You know, one of those Bible-believing "born again" folks who believe it's their purpose to bring glory and honor to God in all that they do. My faith in and relationship with my Creator is not only the most important thing in my life—it is at the very center of who I am and what I do.

Now before you write me off as some sort of self-righteous hypocrite, know that I am not here to judge, as I'm just as screwed up as anyone. I don't pretend to be perfect or a "good person" or better than anyone else; I see myself as a broken human being in need of a savior. It's not about religion, rules, or perfect attendance at church, but rather a relationship with the Creator of the universe.

That is why it has been such a challenge for me to reconcile my love for the entertainment industry (namely video games) with my wholehearted desire to serve God in all that I do. Now I'm sure some of you are rolling your eyes right now, and that is totally fine. I'm not trying to preach to you or convert you or anything; I'm just providing my own personal perspective on the video game medium, which we all hold so near and dear to our hearts.

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dbjj120881841d ago

Bioschock Infinite really brought this to the forefront in my mind because of the way the images clash with the extreme violence. One minute you're popping someone's head off with this spinning mechanical thing, the next you're having to wrestle with the themes of baptism etc.

alexcosborn1841d ago

So true.

The idea for an article like this had been bouncing around in my head for quite some time, and "playing" BioShock Infinite really compelled me to go forward with writing it.

joab7771840d ago (Edited 1840d ago )

Great article. I too am a Christian at the core. I am not aligned with any denomination and I do feel that Christianity's biggest enemy today are those that claim to be Christian while twisting scripture to their own ends. While Bioshock Infinite took jabs at religion, I believe its fair because its jabs were not at true Christianity but organized religion. And we cannot defend the evils that ppl have committed in the past and today in the name Christ.

Also, while I realize that I am a screwed up person in a fallen world in need of a savior, I am also to try and conform to His image. Its impossible but its my goal. Now, this doesn't mean to hide in the hills and stay away from everything either. There are many games and movies I just do not play. But, the world is more evil and screwed up than most works of fiction. Most of the time I do not feel like a game is altering my faith. I see things through a Christian prism so most games and entertainment ultimately strengthen my faith. That being said, it is a fine line.

I don't think games alone can cause violence etc. But I am a little older and didn't grow up playing MW so I am not sure of the entire impact. But before we begin to argue about games and their impact, we must talk about so many other problems in society that are at the root. I find it funny when Christians complain about gay marriage yet over half of Christians get divorved. We mustnt complain about the splinter in our neighbors eye while we have a beam in our own. That's not to say that we cannot be on the lookout for evils in entertainment etc. But its best if we are doin some work on ourselves first.

Again, great article. Its good to know others struggle with the same problem as me. Send me a message if u want.

Blacklash931841d ago

I think that's kind of the point, though. Columbia first appears to be a paradise, but then reveals itself to be quite the opposite. The first instance of violence in the game does a great job making reality come crashing down on the seemingly idyllic setting.

Booker's journey through Columbia first seems to be a simple rescue mission while manuevering through fanatical hordes, then you get the impression it's something far deeper and relevant to him.

Sovereign591840d ago

It's true hypocrisy to find fault with violence and or sexuality in video games or any other media and to not take issue with these things even slightly any of the many times that they appear in the Christian Bible.
As Richard Dawkins has written, "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

And to quote the late great Christopher Hitchens, "Faith is the surrender of the mind; it's the surrender of reason, it's the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals. It's our need to believe, and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated."

MostJadedGamer1840d ago

Excellent article. As I have grown spirtually as a Christian there are more, and more types of games that I will not play. I cann't ignore the conviction in my heart that there are games I just have to stay away from.

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pythonxz1841d ago (Edited 1841d ago )

First of all, I do like that you seem to be very sensible about games. Pointing out that the badly designed games are the ones that tend of focus on gratuitous violence and not intelligent stories and game-play.

There were religious people working at Irrational Games that resigned because of their faith. I'm sorry, but if you let your faith get in the way of your career, you don't deserve to be working in the industry. I know people will flame me because of this statement, but for those that would love to work at Irrational Games, they look like children. When someone challenges your faith, you stand strong, not act like a child and run away from the problem.

Let me add, I am by no means against religion, but I do think it runs peoples lives. That's my belief.

pythonxz1841d ago

In the end, I feel that YOU should decide what is morally wrong or right, and not let a belief system drive your existence.

ProjectVulcan1841d ago (Edited 1841d ago )

If your career >>> faith then you should probably rethink what faith actually means to you.

I am not religious at all, part of the reason for that is seeing lots of people that claim to have some sort of 'faith' dropping their beliefs or bypassing it or disregarding it when it becomes inconvenient for them.

It is laughable to me seeing people profess certain things when it is convenient, then excusing themselves at a point where holding their professed belief is somewhat difficult.

The world would be a lot better place if people were more honest with themselves and transparent.....

Donnieboi1841d ago

Why? I dunno, u should tell us. I mean, u took the effort just to tell us how much u don't care, when nobody even asked u if u care. Then, by some ironic twist in your logic, u assume that WE care about the fact that you don't [care] by having taken the time to post your comment in the first place.

Obviously u do care. Do I sense bitterness in your tone about this topic? ;(

brave27heart1841d ago

Do you think any of us care that you dont care?

No one forced you to read the atricle, which is well written, open and transparent about his views. You shouldnt knock a solid article just because its not about something you have an interest in.

Heisenburger1841d ago

Like he actually read the article before posting....

Baka-akaB1841d ago (Edited 1841d ago )

I dont get that need personally . I consider myself a good enough christian , and do see any rift between entertainment such as games - wich arent different in the violence offered , from movies - and faith .

More power to a christian that feel that way , if he also doesnt watch news feed , violent movies , erotica , movies wiht any kind of smut , any ill picturing of religion or parodies of them , or like minded books . Otherwise , feels hypocritical and a conveniently arbitrary choice .

If games arent good and mixeable with our faith , then neither does the rest .

"Am I stuck exclusively playing family-friendly games like Mario and Zelda until the day that I die"

I get that even less . Blood and gore aside those games are still violent and involved mostly killing . Hence my feeling about hypocrisy . Most of what separate a kratos from link is the amount of virtual ketchup on screen . Of course i'm exagerating with this example .. but still

BoneMagnus1841d ago

My faith does not impact the games I choose to play. I'm probably more of the nice guy in games that offer moral choices, but where my faith has the greatest impact is not being a jerk online and making sure my wife and kids come first - so time with them takes priority - and all my M games are locked up away from the kids.

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