Before reading this FAQ, it's important to understand which frequently asked question it i

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Before reading this FAQ, it's important to understand which frequently asked question it is intended to answer. The question is "I have that some Christians are opposed to D&D. On what ground?" Thus this is not intended as a balanced presentation of D&D. (I would however be happy to accept a response if someone wanted to give it to me.) Path: christian Newsgroups: soc.religion.christian From: (David Fisher) Subject: Re: Role Playing Games Organization: Sydney University Computing Service, Sydney, NSW, Australia Approved: In (KELLY, MICHAEL PATRICK) writes: > I am part of a group that plays a popular Role Playing Game, Advanced >Dungeons and Dragons. I have played off and on for eight years. Last week >one of aour group told me he was stopping play because he felt that he could >not "give the game over to God". I do not understand this, but was supportive >of his move if the game was dulling his spiritual life. > I know some Christian groups think (or feel) Role Playing is evil, or >God does not want us to take part in such games. Please explain your position >on this topic, I await your reply with an open mind. I became a christian about four years ago, and played AD & D from when I was 12 until I was 18. For a little while after God rescued me I still played it, but he showed me very directly that it was (for me, personally) very dangerous to my relationship with him to continue - so I stopped. There have been certain other times when I explained to someone why I believe it is wrong to play it, and I think I unintentionally came across quite forcefully. Therefore, before I say why I believe what I do, understand that I am neither condemning anyone nor commanding anyone to do anything - any decision to stop playing AD & D should be from a personal conviction that it is wrong in God's eyes, not from someone else's (my) words. There are 3 reasons I will give :- (1) Role playing and our thought life. We are commanded to meditate on scripture (Joshua 1:8), think on good, healthy things (Philippians 4) and to be transformed in our thinking (Romans 12:2). It is therefore quite important what we let in or don't let into our minds. The idea of AD & D is to role-play characters who, if they are playing according to the rules and with the stated aims of the game in mind, go around killing, casting spells, deceiving and being deceived, greedily searching for treasure, worshipping pagan gods or even demons and living for themselves. In real life, such people are condemned by the Lord, no exceptions, as stated very explicity in many places in the Bible. I have been through years of filling my mind with warfare, elves, magic, powerful swords and gloating demons, and having experienced the effects of this on my life I heartily warn any christian away from playing AD & D. I do not mean to offend christian role-players, but you do not realize how much AD & D is affecting your life, especially your thought life - I had no idea until my mind started being filled with scripture, what a devastating effect it had had on me. A man called Selwyn Hughes (I think) said once that you become what you behold. If you "let in" the things you commonly find in the Dungeons and Dragons world it will have a dramatic effect on you. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus, not the things of this world - and certainly not dark worlds full of evil and bloodshed and magic. And AD & D worlds are designed to be pretty captivating ! Inevitably (and I say this from experience, so naturally I can be contradicted, but it also seems quite logical), people whose minds are captivated by the concepts and world views of AD & D become more and more accepting of evil things. I heard one non-christian boasting of how totally evil and mercenary his character was. I have friends who, several years ago, refused to play AD & D because it seemed slightly repulsive to them, but they started playing after being convinced by friends, and I observed that they are now happy to role-play characters doing things they were previously thinking was repulsive (this was a change over time). It is a foolish thing to do, to submit yourself in some way to someone else's world view - for example, if you knew someone who hated God and lived with a prostitute and was constantly drunk, it is not a great idea to spend a lot of time with him ("bad company corrupts good character", proverbs) - unless you are there as an ambassador for Jesus, of course. Being around such a person a lot, you would tend to "catch" his world view from him. There is an extremely strongly presented world view in AD & D. The character of the auther, Gary Gygax and everyone else involved, is in severe doubt in my own mind - he has obviously used black magic books (see below) as background material while creating the game; God does not exist, Jesus' death is for some reason unneccesary (implying no sin), "evil" and "good" are just opposite and roughly equal powers, and "goodness" is just morality. In a role-playing game, the idea is to imagine you are there, and to develop your character, working out what they would do in different situations - your eyes are fixed not on Jesus but on your character and his world, and you are infected by the godlessness you see there. You start to accept things you would never have accepted before, and become more like what you see. (2) Occult connections I have had several years of experience with the occult (black magic). It left deep scars on me (including physically) which God has been dealing with in lovely ways. There are some things which may not seem very obvious to people who have had no such experience : if you play around with evil (ouji boards, tarot cards, horoscopes, occult books) it will affect you spiritually. My own playing around with black magic caused me to be demonically oppresses (not the same as possessed) and I needed deliverance; about a month after I became a christian, I had some prayer and saw Satan defeated in my life. You can't touch fire without getting burnt. If you have some problems with these ideas, some good books to read are "The Satan seller" by Mike Warnke and "Devil on the run" by Nikie Cruz. Here are a few occult connections in Dungeons and Dragons : (a) demons, well described and illustrated (including pornography, the succubus), with names and powers copied directly from occult books (b) descriptions of spells which are REAL, including certain spells with material components (neccesary for the spell to work) such as human and animal blood and body parts (c) descriptions, spells from and worship of REAL pagan gods - which are demons (1 Corinthians 10:20) (d) accurate drawings and descriptions of "magic circles" which are used in REAL LIFE by practicing witches and warlocks to summon up demons and do sorcery, which is condemned in the Bible (Rev.22:15) I myself became very interested in occult things due to the constant reference to it in AD & D, and I believe that over a period it would be very hard for a non-christian to resist the attraction of the descriptions of evil things in the AD & D rule books. Satan is like a roaring lion, prowling around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). How delighted he must be when someone starts becoming interested in him due to descriptions in the AD & D rules. (3) "it's just pretend" Why pretend to be someone who God condemns, anyway ? I believe many players of AD & D do not realize what they are going along with - the most common argument is, "it's just a game, we don't take it seriously." My answer to that is, would you happily play a game where there are complete descriptions of tearing babies apart piece by piece, or a game where you go and rape every innocent child you can find ? The typical activities which you role play in AD & D are just as disgusting and repulsive in the sight of God, as is clear from the Bible. Just imagine for a minute if what happened in an AD & D scenario really came true. A world where there is no God, where people aim to kill and get treasure, a world where death is commonplace and powerful sorcerers intimidate weak peasants. (As an aside, people referred to in the AD & D manuals as "cannon fodder" - peasants and poor people - in real life are of incredible value to the Lord our God; their lives are cheap in the AD & D world.) Would you happily send your young children there, or go there yourself ? Would you take up a sword and learn sorcery yourself, then go and kill, get treasure in order to "gain experience" ? What kind of experience is being gained by such people, anyway ? Proficiency in power and ability to kill quickly. To anyone who is a christian and plays AD & D : Everything in our life should be pleasing to God (2 Cor 5:9) I just finished reading a book by a freemason who became a christian. He couldn't see anything wrong with freemasonry, and didn't like it when people told him that it was against God. Finally, someone said something like, "Leave it on the altar before God. Let him show you whether it's right or wrong. I can guarantee you that within six months God will have shown you." This he did, and four months later he was totally convinced that freeemsonry was incompatible with christianity. A question : is AD & D something you would not be prepared to give up if God made it clear to you that he wanted you to ? "We make it our goal to please him." Therefore, let everything in your life be open before God, and let him add what he wants to add, and take away what he wants to take away. With love in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour and Redeemer and Shepherd and King and Judge and Burder-Bearer and Life-Giver and God, David Fisher. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed - Daniel 7:14 [I should note that AD&D is a specific role playing system, which includes a particular imaginary world. People tend to use "dungeons and dragons" generically for a whole class of activities that I would call "fantasy role-playing". However the world of AD&D is just one possible world for role-playing. It's possible to have games with explicit Christian content. But it's also possible to have systems that involve more explicit evil than AD&D, such as a role-playing game based on the Cthuulu mythos. There also appear to be variations in how games are carried out. My experience with role-playing is entirely in a church context. A couple of them were role-playing games with explicit Christian purposes, e.g. one taking place in a society where Christianity was outlawed, examining what it would be like for Christians. I was also involved in expeditions using the AD&D background, but ignoring its magical implications. That is, spells were treated as simply an unusual piece of techology. E.g. you might find an object that would heal all wounds. You used it by saying "I use the wand of healing". No rituals or wording was specified or used. Nor were they associated with any religion. We also didn't go in for back-stabbing, etc. It was simply adventure in an unsual setting. I mention my experiences to point out that there seem to be somewhat different overall "chemistries" among different groups, and this is likely to affect the spiritual impact on its members. There are certainly role-playing games I would want nothing to do with. Where I agree with David is that it's important to look at how you spend your time and imagination, and the effects on you. This does not necessarily mean it's always right to play basketball and wrong to play D&D. Basketball can be played for blood, and a D&D-like game among Christians can be perfectly OK. But there are certainly dangers in role-playing games that one should be alert to. --clh]


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank