Should Christians Play Video Games? Are Video Games Sinful? Video game use (“gaming”) has become extremely popular in recent decades. Popular platforms–such as the Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation, and Microsoft Xbox–decorate entertainment systems in homes all over the world. Children and adults spend endless hours mastering these games and playing with friends online, and many games are even being played on smartphones or computers. However, what does the Bible say about playing video games? Should Christians play video games? Is the act of playing a video game a sin? Are there Bible verses condemning video games? These are all questions a Christian may ponder. Let’s see what the Bible says about being a “gamer.” What the Bible Says About Playing Video Games The Short Answer: There is nothing wrong with playing appropriately rated/themed video games on occasion. The Bible never mentions video games directly, but this would fall under the “Christian freedom” category of life issues. Video games can be used in a way so that people can enjoy recreation (and even bond with family or friends). However, like most things, playing a video game can become sinful if it is done in the wrong way. Games that contain inappropriate sexual themes, profanity, witchcraft/satanic content, brutal violence/bullying, and other similar content should be avoided. In addition, video games should not become an idol that interferes with other activities that God has commanded us to do. Anything we set before our eyes, whether it be a filthy television show or blood-thirsty video game, can influence us dramatically. Therefore, we should use wisdom and discretion in all of our activities. Playing Video Games that Contain Profanity (Curse Words) Many “online gaming” cultures are filled with trash talk and profanity. In addition, many “role playing games” (RPGs) contain profanity (cursing) in the video game itself, but the Bible warns us to avoid profanity: “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man” (Matthew 15:11). “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26). Inappropriate Sexual Themes or Pornographic Content Some video games feature inappropriate sexual behavior, such as fornication, adultery, and so forth. The Bible clearly condemns such behavior. Furthermore, some video games contain characters dressed in skimpy clothing, or they feature nudity (pornography) or erotic themes. The Bible warns against pornography and similar sexual content: Psalm 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes. Matthew 5:27-28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Playing Video Games that Promote Violence or Bullying Some video games also promote killing, brutal violence, or bullying. It is truly alarming to watch clips of some of the video games being marketed to our children. Playing (or viewing) this type of brutal violence–even if it is in video game format–is a sin: The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. (Psalm 11:5) Magic, Witchcraft, and New Ageism Some video games promote satanic characters (or goals), new ageism, or themes that come from false religions such as Buddhism. In addition, games with wizardry, magic, spells, witchcraft, etc. should also be avoided: There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) Video Games Can Become an Idol When most people think of an “idol,” they think of a carved image. However, that simply isn’t true. An idol is anything you love more, serve more, or fear more that God. An idol can also be anything that you allow to interfere with God’s commands. Jesus said that we cannot serve two masters. How can video games become an idol? If you play video games when you should be studying the Bible or going to church, it’s an idol. If you spend hundreds of dollars on video game systems, games, and memberships–rather than tithing or taking care of important financial matters–it is an idol. If you play video games when you should be spending time with your spouse or child, it is an idol. If you play video games when you should be working or doing homework, it’s an idol. So long as you are taking care of the things that God commands you to take care of in life, there is nothing wrong with playing video games during short times of leisure. Sometimes, It’s Time to Grow Up While many adults still play video games for fun with their children or friends (and there’s nothing wrong with that when done judiciously), we must also learn to mature and grow as adults and Christians. Sometimes, it’s best to put down the controller and focus on more important things in life. I’m reminded by something the Apostle Paul wrote: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Adults should never allow their lives to be characterized or dominated by “gaming.” Again, there’s nothing wrong with an adult playing a game, but we should use wisdom when doing so. Conclusion: It is Not a Sin to Play Appropriate Video Games for Recreation There’s nothing wrong with kicking back and playing appropriately themed (or rated) video games. We have freedom in Christ, and God is not a tyrant who demands we deny ourselves occasional rest or recreation. Nevertheless, video games can become sinful if we choose to play games that contain themes, language, or images that are contrary to the Christian walk. Furthermore, we must never let video games become an idol in our lives that take away from things God has already commanded that we do (Bible study, church fellowship, tithing, training our children, cultivating our marriage, witnessing to others, etc.). If you or your children want to play video games, check ratings to make sure the game doesn’t contain inappropriate content. Ensure that any online gaming forums you plan to participate in are appropriate, and limit video gaming to short periods during times of leisure. Please Consider Sharing...
Should Christians Play Video Games? Are Video Games Sinful?
by hope4family | May 1, 2021 | Articles from Christian perspective | 6 comments
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I don’t believe pretending to be a mage is the same as being a mage. That is imagination. What you suggest is legalism. How can Humans enjoy anything if sin is not mentioned a bit. We were created in the image of God for writing, story telling, art etc. If playing as a mage/wizard is a sin then you are condemning little kids when they play pretend with knights and dragons. Or C.S Lewis when he made Narnia. Because the evil character, the white witch used sorcery. Yes this was used in the sense of an evil character but as a person who wants to write and talk about God’s mercy in my writings wants to use mages and wizards in his own writing, a mythos that will be known as a mythos. That is legalism. Not to mention star wars is condemned. Crap even Hamlet which has christian moral values written by Shakespeare.
Imagination is not a sin of itself. You do have some foot holes though about nude imagery which we know is 100% a sin which can imply if someone plays a game with profanity but these have two different meanings. One with nude imagery is lust and seeking lust. If someone wants to play a warfare game it depends on what they seek. Are they seeking competitive play? Or are they there for the crude language? There is a difference of rules we can apply. I am a christian whom is into mythos as a entertainment of the imagination, a christian who likes team fortress two for cartoon violence which isn’t much. The worse they have on occasions that I do not like in certain elements is when they turn God into something he is not, and the minor profanity and crude joking.
I am intrigued with some points here though that makes me question and will pray and meditate before I make my decision to fully move on from tf2 or to stay. Video games fall under Romans 14:23 category. Where there is doubt there is no faith. I am torn between two arguments on the coin. Fiction and participation. Maybe our Faith is just weak via our conscience. Because Paul said you may eat food from sacrificed idols as long as conscience is not violated.
Hello, and thank you for your comment. I agree that sometimes ideas about certain subjects can venture into legalism. However, it is important to err on the side of caution. I agree it is not sinful to play a mage in and of itself, but it also depends on what you are imagining when you play. Are you pretending to be a wizard and in the process using the terminology wizards use and doing things that wizards do so that you are so used to doing it that it is not shocking when you come upon it in real life? You may become saturated with the technology and verbiage of the wizard so that you are not disturbed by its use outside of the pretend world of gaming and fall into cult rituals like séances and ouija boards.
I agree with some of your points, I don’t see the reason for a Christian to engage in a game filled with nude imagery and sex, unless he’s looking to lust. The key is to avoid anything that tempts or causes you to sin. It’s also questionable why a Christian would play something like Grand Theft Auto. But I strongly believe that you’re stretching in some other points, without necessity. While it is true the bible condemns things like witchcraft, profanity, and violence, it still doesn’t change the fact that the user is not really engaging in these things himself. It’s simply happening in a imaginary world outside our own, and it’s done by imaginary characters that are not us and don’t exist. Casting a magical spell in a videogame is not the same as practicing sorcery in real life, it’s ludicrous to say otherwise. So why should we attempt to make any Christian feel guilty over something he has not even done, but rather pretended to do? It’s also the same thing with profanity. I hate being around people that cuss, but just because a fictional character says one bad word doesn’t mean I will go out and sin. The same rule applies when you’re around sinful people, you don’t need to be influenced by them or assimilate foolish behavior. If you think a game should be completely condemned because a fictional character said something bad, how can we be expected to deal with sinners in real life? Let me also add, some of the “violence” in many of these games can be so cartoonish and unrealistic, rather than displaying explicit gore or attempting to simulate real life violence. Many times you’re just beating up bad guys in a comical way without actually killing them, fighting robots, or just jumping on top of them like in Mario. It all depends of the motives of the player and why is he playing the game. God cares about your heart, and whether or not you have malice in it. Personally I just like a good challenge, and playing games that involve a fun moral story of saving people and fighting evil. How my character acts and what kind of magical powers he uses is all just pretend. As soon as I turn off the Tv, I forget about everything and move on. Most of my daily focus is on God by far and nothing overshadows my mind more than His Word. God Bless.
See, this is the other thing; in one profile I made for Dark Souls 3, I played on a Strength/Faith build with a character named Malachi (obviously based off of the minor prophet of the same name), and in this way, this character casts miracles, fights demons & fights the darkness in the heart of all the bosses I face. In the Dark Souls series, which features many of the things mentioned in this article (wizardry, magic, spells, bloodshed, little to no profanity at all, and some inappropriate themes), I don’t feel it taking an affect on me because I would be the one fighting against all evils instead of embracing it. The lead pastor of our church, his name is Mike, said that Call of Duty reminded him of when he & his friends used to play with Nerf or toy guns as little boys. Now, if you also want an example of your character fighting against all evils, take Dante’s Inferno for XBox 360 & PlayStation 3; this has your main character literally fighting demons in the 9 circles of Hell, using melee attacks as well as miracles that have been brought to him through the power of Christ. Gratuitous nudity in games like The Witcher 3 (which have actual magic, those being what are called Witcher signs) do not have an affect on me either. An example of a game that has references to other religions besides Christianity is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which has a not-so-subtle nod to Buddhism (as one of the locations of the game, Senpou Temple, has corrupted monk enemies who betray the teachings of Buddha in order to experiment on their search for immortality). One game series I never really got into but that I understand exists was Grand Theft Auto (which has A TON of things to do with breaking the law), and that game has profanity up the wazoo as well; but keep in mind, I tend to cuss most of the time, and my mother does too. None of these games, nor their practices, have any form of affect on me, and that’s because Ik that they’re not real; in no way have videogames made me go out and practice witchcraft, go out and kill someone, go out and expose myself to pornography, nor do they make me go out and be an imperfect person. Why? Because I am already imperfect to begin with, as are all believers in Christ Jesus. No one true Christian will ever be free of sin unless they go to the Father through Christ (John 14:6).
I kinda agree. The word “wicked” used in psalm 101:3 is actually meaning “without profit”. So if you take that verse literal, it means it could be argued that you shouldn’t even watch sports, most tv shows/movies excluding educational videos(whether positive or not), video games of any kind, etc. I love to learn, but trying to not do anything “worthless”, as well as trying to judge what is “worthless”, seems to be almost impossible unless you just want to be miserable. Maybe, we take that verse too literal as it is, after all, just a “psalm” or song that David is singing in honor of God. It’s not necessarily instructions or law. Also, it was prob easier to do in his time as compared to ours. People probably spent time outdoors and being productive. Today, you’re lucky to find someone who will ride bikes with you or talk about anything outside of gossip, sports, trends, or politics. Also, I tried to set no “worthless” thing before my eyes and it about drove me insane from boredom and over exhaustion of my mind. Can only read books and watch educational youtube videos so much.
Thank you, I am doing a research project for LA on video game influences on young people. This has helped me a lot.