God and Gaming: Is it Wrong to Play Video Games?

In 2020, the global video game industry is predicted to generate over $150 billion dollars, more than the movie and the music industry combined! With over two billion gamers in the world today, video games are and will increasingly play a major role in society generally and the nature of human relationships in particular. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? On this week’s Ask Away, Vince and Jo respond to a teenager’s question, “What is your opinion on violent video games and video games in general? Is it unholy to play them?”

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Greetings Robert, @Robert_Repke

The $150B is a staggering number, isn’t it! I’m kind of glad these games weren’t around when I was young as the great outdoors was a worthy option. That said, I can appreciate how some video games are so alluring.

I read your question as: Would God be pleased with a person’s time spent on violent video games and are they unholy? “Violent” is the operative word here. I believe scripture says two very important points: Moderation is key, and play with caution.

We know God rejoices when we are happy. But God tells us He won’t be replaced by such things. “Replaced” has a range of definitions from time spent with/for Him, to worshipping pagan Gods. Psalm 143:10 is about the prior: Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! In application, will the amount of time one plays violent (or any) video games prevent them from hearing God’s Word? And on the more extreme end is Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God… This might apply to someone with a serious video game addiction. Lastly, #1 of the 10 Commandments is Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Clear and to the point!

To address the “violent” aspect is critical. God’s Commandment #6 is, You shall not murder. Obviously virtual murdering is not remotely close to murdering, but does it desensitize the gamer? Murder is sin, sin is therefore of Satan. Is desensitization bringing the gamer closer to Satan? I believe Christian Counselors would say yes, as would I.

God expects believing parents or leaders to do their job… use His Words to guide youth towards Him. If I were talking with my son about violent video games I would start with a gentle story of moderation perhaps best be found in Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Do any video games permit the player to “think about these things”? Not if they are compulsively playing them. Time must be reserved for thinking about God out of respect for his Son’s sacrifice, to know His love and to walk further down the path to Him.

If you are struggling with a loved one on this topic Robert, consider letting the Connect Community know so we can join with you in your struggle through prayer. We all in for you!

God’s blessings,

Paul D.

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Thank you for your reply, Paul. I am a middle school special education TA and the outright addictive behavior I am confronted with every day is alarming. I have witnessed tantrums, violent behavior and have even been attacked when a student has not been allowed to engage in gaming or to be on their phones during class time. Unfortunately, some teachers allow it and even use it as a daily reward for their students. Though the environment I work in is unique because it is special ed, it shows me that gaming and internet use can clearly be addictive in a very, very destructive way. I have tried to make people aware of this because I see it as a growing and increasing problem. Parents need to be aware and cautious, and educators must do the same. So glad this topic is being addressed.

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