Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quick Note on Faith and Dungeons & Dragons

While doing  asearch to see if I could find any listing for pre-sales of Next I came across "A Christian Response to Dungeons and Dragons" a book written in the 80s that follows the stereotypical line of Dungeons and Dragons being a gateway drug to EVIL.

Now, I've never been the best Christian ... far from it actually. However, there is a lot I still have to learn and come to gripes with in terms of faith. Everytime I see one of these types of things though I get a bit sad. Not only are others of my faith bashing me, but I feel disconnected from my faith as well due to stuff like this. Flat out being reminded of this type of book is a bit annoying, and even if my church wouldn't care, I have yet to tell them the job I like to do (game blogging/designing) because I don't want to be perceived negatively.
 
I honestly don't understand this outlook, I do wonder if that makes me a bad Christian at times for it is yet another aspect of the community that I don't agree with. I listen to almost all forms of metal, I thoroughly enjoyed Venger's adventures and I have logged more hours playing D&D and its clones than most people do World of Warcraft.
 
There really isn't a point to this post ... I just don't understand ...

8 comments:

  1. Both authors have published numerous books since the 1980s, making careers out of fighting the culture wars in America. But Leithart may have went too far--he was tried for heresy in 2011 (but exonerated).

    At least they cracked open the core AD&D books, even quoting the Monster Manual.

    But they also quoted economist Gary North. North supports the US becoming a christian theocracy, capital punishment for women who lie about their virginity, homosexuals, etc. Very Old Testament.

    Oh yeah, he also runs his own investment advice website--its where I found the pdf available for download.

    (Don't just take my word for it, feel free to do your own research)

    But ultimately what I'm saying is that the problem isn't you. How your faith works out is between you and God, nobody else.

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  2. As a person of faith myself, I find much more positive value in roleplay gaming in general than I do potential evil. And even when others have tried to tell me otherwise, I simply ask them, "So, what are your favorite movies?" Usually they'll point out at least one movie that contains magic, satan, etc. At that point I 'remind' them that by watching those movies, they're condoning people being unconsciously led into black magic and satanism. Those actors spend much more time studying their parts and 'becoming' their characters than us roleplayers do, which means they're so much more open to losing their grip on reality.

    Of course, this is not true, as time has proven, but it proves a heavy point. Writers and actors spend hours, day after day, BEING their characters, while most gamers spend maybe a few hours a week, even then spending more of that time out-of-character at the table checking stats on the characters sheets, figuring out the map and other mundane stuff than actually being in-character.

    Allt his hype born in the early 80's is just a witch-hunt, seeking to destroy an evil that doesn't even exist.

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    1. Edit: ...seeking to destroy an evil that doesn't even exist, creating innocent victims in the process.

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  3. I disagree with the authors, of course, and I fear that they were far too shallow in their analysis; cracking open the Monster manual and seeing what looks like evil is not analysis anymore than quoting Judges out of context is exegesis. For example, the authors contend AD&D is 'New Age' [how quaint that term sounds a quarter century later!] ignoring the fact that the primary author, Gygax, was a devout Christian!
    They also don't understand the mechanics of the game [thinking a range of 1" means literally 1 inch, for example] and totally miss that the evil creatures listed are there to be opposed and destroyed by the players.
    As a theologian myself I find this sort of laziness offensive because it indirectly impacts my own reputation.

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  4. You know, my brother (an ordained minister and evangelist) has a stance on RPGs and general nerd culture that I embrace.

    We (Christians) are meant to be "... a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:14), and to "be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2). There are some things a Christian just shouldn't touch (people disagree with me on this, but one example that springs to mind: the Infernals from Exalted 2e. There is no way to use them in a positive manner in my opinion). There are also things that are definitely okay to partake in, as long as they don't interfere with your responsibilities and duty as a Christian (prayer, bible study, spreading the gospel, etc.).

    So far, that stance has worked for my brother and me through video games, RPGs, and MMOs.

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  5. I'm a Christian of the Mennonite denomination, and as you might know our denomination can be quite... well... afraid... of things that are not considered typical for Christians. Believe it or not, the only thing my church really doesn't know about me is that I play D&D. They even know I play in metal bands and love death metal and black metal (although I've taken a stance against some bands where the blasphemy levels were too much for me to take anymore). But D&D is one thing I won't bring up. The "Christian ghetto" effect - where Christians focus so much on being around other Christians - has had the effect of continuing the opinion of D&D generated during the "satanic panic" of the 80s. The younger folks who have brushed up against the game (likely in college) are not generally like this, but the older folks only know about what they've heard. And in the Church (capital C, all denominations), most of the older folks all stick together and don't play outside the church sandbox very much. I do agree that there are things Christians should not touch, even within a given game. It's why many of us don't gamble, etc. And I wouldn't want my kids to play the "murder hobo" style of D&D where anything and everything is killed and stuff taken on a whim. I think a game, even something as harmless as a card game, can go to unintended extremes if misused, and D&D is the same. It's all in how it is used, much like anything else of human creation. I affirm Daniel's statement above, that as long as it does not interfere with your discipline as a Christian, then it is not bad. And I know I am one Christian in particular that has enjoyed D&D since the age of 12, and will always enjoy it!

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    1. Yeah, the Christian ghetto is a major reason American Christianity is nominal, people who actually live in the real world area alienated from taking their religion seriously because of how dumb and ridiculous the Ghetto Christians act. I'm not remotely Christian, but you Pele need to cut that shit out or you're going to evaporate; which means the well be nothing but liberal Humanist cultists left, and God save us from those Puritanical Secularism.

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  6. http://www.radixjournal.com/altright-archive/altright-archive/main/blogs/zeitgeist/sex-and-violence-traditionalsim I had a long post but system memory limits ate it, to put it briefly the Bible movies with soulless tape recorder Jesus, the Veggie-Tales sterilized hide-from-reality until God brings the Apocalypse is basically a product of American Protestant (mainly: Baptist) anti-intellectualism, and it's why the Humanazis have such an easy time ridiculing American Protestants. This rapture stuff is all part of the same symptom, they've given up on influencing their culture and are hiding in their little ghettos of ever decreasing size and relevance.

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