Friday, April 19, 2013

God and Gaming--Are They Compatible? Part 2

Well, there it is, another swipe at Dungeons & Dragons by Pat Robertson...

Roberston says I'm "literally" destroying my life or the lives others by being involved with anything involving magic, even make-believe magic. Dungeons & Dragons included.

I can only shake my head, because what's the use arguing?

Robertson has made a pile of money promoting his brand of protestant fundamentalism and will continue doing so until he dies. In the meantime, the rest of us have to put up with people influenced by his words. And people are under his influence. There wouldn't be a 700 Club otherwise.

I got the video itself from Right Wing Watch. Not that read that website much, I don't. Because agencies like that are more about attacking and showing people at their worst, rather than the whole story. I'd have liked to have seen what happens before and after Robertson's swipe at D&D.

But what we really get is no better than Fox News covering only Obama's Speech for only 17 Seconds. (Well, not even that--literally).

So let me put this another way. I think God and gaming are compatible. Robertson doesn't. Okay, quick: Who's wrong? Who's the heretic or apostate?

Perhaps I am. Maybe its a sign from God that, because I play RPGs, I'm not rich. I don't have the "stewardship" over wealth like the Protestant Work Ethic teaches. But I have found my "calling" as a writer and historian who just so happens to also play D&D. 

For that matter, I've always wondered what folks like Robertson think when they read the story about Jesus telling a rich young man to sell his possessions and give to the poor. The rich man goes away sad. And then Jesus tops it off with: "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:14)


Oh yes, and on top of this, the New Testament makes numerous references of Jesus's comeback. The Book of Revelation is the capstone to all of this. If you take this literally, and people do and have done, including Robertson (who predicted the world would end in 1982, and later 1987), then you're going to be sitting around, waiting for the world to end, often subject to the whims of a charismatic leader.

I'll just go ahead and say: More people have been harmed by taking the Bible literally in the last 40 years, than from people taking D&D books literally. Yeah, I know. Its not a fair assessment, the Bible has been around far, far longer--and in many, many, more "editions" than D&D.

And yet in the last 40 years, since Gygax first published D&D...

...I have never heard of a D&D player selling all of his possessions to play D&D.

...I have never heard of a charismatic Dungeon Master telling his players to drink the poisoned Kool-Aid.

...I have never heard of a bunch of gamers forming a commune, building a compound, stockpiling weapons, and waiting for the world to end, but they're plans get foiled when the authorities come to raid the place, so they burn the place down--killing even the women and children inside.

...Nor have I heard of players reading a bunch of RPG books, and then interpretting every natural and man-made disaster, or Obama becoming President, as "a sign of the times." Nor, as far as I know, does Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, or the multitudes of other RPG companies out there, mass market books, movies, and other media promoting Millennial beliefs.

I have, however, seen "edition wars." But most of the vitriol spewed comes nowhere close to the anger I've seen when certain people argue over the meaning of scripture. Has anybody stated, "You're going to HELL because you play X edition!" and meant it?

So with that said: which is more dangerous, the Bible (in whatever edition) or say, the Player's Handbook (again, in whatever edition)?

My apologies. It's a trick question. Books aren't inherently dangerous. People are. As I've said, in my last post about God and Gaming, we are all capable of great weal and woe.

It's not the Bible or the Player's Handbook, but what you do after you've read them.




  1. I see a lot of people who claim themselves as Christians spend more time criticizing the way others live instead of looking at ways they themselves can live more Christlike lives. Its very similar to the way the scribes and the pharisees would criticize Christs actions as violations of the law of Moses.

    1. Warren, that's the big issue. You've hit on a core tenant of Christianity here - we as Christians are instructed to be wise, and to understand the root of the dangers we face. This was one of the reasons the Pharisees failed to heed Christ's message - they sought to obey the laws and traditions of their faith as precisely as possible, rather than understanding their purpose and effect.

      Robertson's repeating an old misunderstanding here: Games like D&D have plenty of fantastic content, and some people who played (and play) D&D have done terrible things and have strayed far from that straight and narrow path. But those people got out of the game what they brought into it - as we all do. In those dark instances, which are thankfully rare, the games these people played served to reinforce existing problems and behaviors, because no one in their gaming group helped turn them away from that self-destructive path. In many other cases (including my own) gaming created new friendships, gave me a way to explore some issues and concerns, and has I think ultimately strengthened my relationship with God.

  2. So Pat Robertson is still an idiot. You make an excellent series of points about the lack of certain types of events occurring since D&D was published. I do not lose sleep over whether some fundamentalist D&Ders might set up a cult compound in my neighborhood.

  3. Amazing! I've never heard of anything so stupid. So how is it okay for Robertson to judge when I thought I read somewhere
    "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven" Oh yea... the bible!! Luke 6:37.
    My husband plays video games to help with his coordination. He has MS and the video games help!
    A to Z-ing to the end
    Peanut Butter and Whine

  4. They say that everyone is entitled to have his or her own opinion so I guess Robertson is entitled to having his. However, I have to say that I cannot understand what his problem is. He would have been more productive and more Christian if he would instead do more to help the less fortunate instead of making comments about D&D.


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