Dungeons and Dragons?

An excellent link courtesy of jjostm which highlights the arcane perils (not) of Dungeons and Dragons.

But seriously, I’m in 2 minds about fantasy role-playing. I spent years of my life in D&D (I’m a purist – AD&D didn’t do it for me) and don’t think that I was affected at all. Having said that I think I had a firm grip on reality.

But can these things really be a conduit to something evil? I know that some people get into the occult through stuff like this but I’ve always thought that Satan was a bit more subtle. We spend our time looking out for overt Demonic Worship as though he’s got a sign outside a building saying “come worship Satan here, every Friday evening” but fail to spot his more subtle side-attack – all the things that consume our lives.

So I’m not completely anti-D&D, in fact I think it can be quite helpful for children to expand their imagination. However, when my child grows up I may come to a different view.

What do you all think? Especially the dads and mums….

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10 comments on “Dungeons and Dragons?

  1. It seems to me there is plenty in D&D and its variants that would encourage a player to understand the differences between good and evil, integrity and deception, compassion and selfishness, etc. There’s also a lot to be said for the way it encourages people to work together as a team highlighting the strengths of each participant. I have seen DMs weave situations where the team got through by learning how to play to the individual strengths of each participant’s character.

    I know you sometimes hate the way I read scripture but I think I Corinthians 8 is relevant here. Paul wrote, “We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live” (I Cor. 8:4-6)

    What this tells me is that from the Christian perspective there should be no reason at all to fear the taint of “false gods” because they are “nothing at all in the world.”

    I think the same holds true of things like Harry Potter. Though Harry Potter and D&D put things in the guise of magic, most of us know that sorcery is just pretend. (Does it surprise you to see a self-described occultist say so?) Even children who are big Harry Potter fans do not seem to have trouble understanding that waving a wand around and shouting in broken Latin won’t make things magically happen.

  2. I also spent years of my life gaming, so I think I’m qualified to make a judgment.

    I think that, depending how they are used, Role-Playing Games can be:

    1. a creative way to explore ethical questions and teach values such as courage, diplomacy, teamwork and leadership
    2. a creative way to teach drama and encourage creative thinking
    3. an imaginative pastime
    4. an obsession, costly in time and money
    5. a social phenomenon that bonds a small group tightly, yet at the same time, tends to isolate them from the wider world
    6. a forum for indulging dark and unhealthy fantasies
    7. a light introduction to occult ideas (for those games that contain those elements)
    8. an aggravating factor for people prone to delusional thinking

    If I were a parent whose child were gaming, I’d just want to supervise to make sure that the good and/or harmless things were happening rather than the bad ones, just as with any of the child’s other activities.

    • This is absolutely the best short answer to this question that I have ever seen. And I have 5 kids, and have to deal with stuff like this.

      Bravo.

  3. Some people miss out on the Gospel…because they are too wrapped up in other things–be it politics, sport, or anything else, for that matter. D&D does have that added edge, however, inasmuch as it deals with “magickal” things.

    However, there is another “D” to add to the D&D: discernment. I think that any child who has been equipped–through Christian education, prayer, and love for God–should be able to separate the fantasy-based imaginative play from occultic practise. And in this day and age, where “entertainment” has less and less good within it…I think discernment is absolutely crucial. A kid who knows who his Lord and Saviour is can approach D&D, or PS2, or cartoons, or whatever, without worrying about Satan’s play in their lives.

    Personally, I never got into D&D. None of my friends really played it, so I didn’t. I was way more into Atari. And I still am. =)

    -j

    • Agree wholeheartedly.

      I would say that few gifts to a child could be more valuable than instilling a heightened, biblically based, sense of discernment.

      I also think that if one sees his child really going astray in this area, then one needs to be willing to make some hard decisions and exert another D word–discipline.

      • Another D word:

        *Ding!* Absolutely right-on.

        I think many parents today, at least in the USA, are almost afraid to discipline their children, for whatever reason. I saw it first-hand while working in children’s ministry. Many children had their parents wrapped around their finger…and they generally got away with murder.

        And they were surprised when I wouldn’t put up with it.

        I think that “fourth D” is, perhaps right along as important as discernment. For how can a child be able to discern what is right…if he or she is not corrected when wrong is done? Loving discipline can really make a difference in a child’s life.

        -j

  4. I played D&D (and later AD&D) for a number of years; also played other FRPGs like Warhammer and Call of Cthulhu. Yeah, they have occult elements. Yet none of us involved became members of the Reformed Church of Satan. (In fact, roughly half of us went on to become Christians.)

    I will agree with something another poster said. Like video or computer games it can be a distraction from what’s important in life; let’s face it, when you sit down to play one of those games you can eat up a number of hours very quickly. I think that’s the Enemy’s greatest weapon these days: distraction.

    I don’t think you can point your finger at D&D when some guy runs off and murders his buddies in his college’s steam tunnels. People that do bad things are making bad choices; if it’s not D&D it’s video games or watching the Sopranos or reading books or…

  5. Wandering in from , I find a uk.religion.christian person. Blast from the past (I left uk.r.c at the same time as I left the church). Anyhow, there was a thread on uk.r.c about this a while ago, where many reasonable things were said. Alternatively, you could follow the views of the inestimable Jack Chick. After all, I did RPGs and look what happened to me. <grins, ducks and runs>

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