Sunday, July 23, 2006

It’s a game stupid

When does doubt start? It is a question I often ask myself. When did I start to lose my faith? I can point back to a time in late 77 or early 78. I was starting to discover the joys of rock music when my youth pastor Walt Pitman went out of his way to show me the hidden satanic messages in some of the most popular music of the day. I remember sitting on the floor of the youth meeting room listening to Led Zeppelin backwards trying to hear the hidden subliminal message in Stairway to Heaven. My friends all claimed they could hear "Oh here's to my sweet Satan". Not me, I heard music played backwards. Pitman went on to interject Christian rock music into my Consciousness – doubt quickly followed. Christian rock music blew. Rock, played by musicians who had a passion for their music talked to me. My youth pastor’s message of evil intent did not ring true.

The second blow came when Dungeons and Dragons was declared verboten. I was an early adopter. By 77, I had already been playing avidly for a few years. D&D was a game, no devil worship, demonic possession, or heavy violence occurred in any game I participated in (and there were hundreds). One geeky kid build a complex puzzle, other geeky kids tore it to pieces. It was glorious and safe fun conducted with coke, potato chips, and pimple cream. Then one day the Youth Pastor declared it evil. They actually asked us to burn our books. My Christian friends stopped playing. Another crack in my faith developed. I knew from experience that D&D was tame – they (they church) were lying to me.

I no longer play D&D – AOE III has replaced that obsession. I would play D&D again if given the opportunity; it is a fun and a harmless waste of a few hours time.

I was researching AOE III when I followed a link to a D&D post that looked odd: Harry Potter and Dungeons & Dragons: Like Peas in a Pod? it is a few years old, but brings back a few of my 1970 era memories. Are D&D and Harry Potter really evil? I don’t think so. Ah - the doubts begin again.

I decided to check with the ultimate moral authority in America today – that un-credentialed religious morality expert Dr. James Dobson.

What is your position on D&D? (He is against it)
"D & D" includes many elements that are occultic in nature. We’ve even been told by some who were formerly heavily involved in the game that it eventually brought them into contact with demonic activity

What is your position on Harry Potter? (He is against it – subtly)
Our advice comes from verses such as Philippians 4:8 which says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

His website then points you to a review of the movie that states:
First, Rowling's stories—unlike Lewis' or Tolkien's—are neither a Christian allegory, nor do they subscribe to a consistent Christian worldview. And second, we live in a culture that glorifies and promotes witchcraft and the occult. No matter what the essence of Harry’s magic, the effect of it is undoubtedly to raise curiosity about magic and wizardry. And any curiosity raised on this front presents a danger that the world will satisfy it with falsehood before the church or the family can satisfy it with truth.

I can translate - if Dobson says its bad, put on your thinking caps and look a little deeper - it is most likely OK.

Got to go - it's time for another thrilling game of AOE III - I think I'll be Spanish today. Dado como un cerdo!

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1 comment:

Agkyra said...

Guess what? I love D&D too. I could never really get over Robert Plant's voice, so Led Zeppelin isn't a favorite of mine. Black Sabbath is, though, and if that's not a "Satanic" rock 'n roll band, then I don't know what is. Boston remains my all-time favorite band, although they're pretty tame compared to, say, Sabbath or Dio. I was introduced to D&D in '84 and played pretty steadily for years--mostly AD&D. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars I sank into the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, MM, MMII, Fiend Folio, Unearthed Arcana, all that stuff. Plus Gamma World, Top Secret, Star Frontiers. I bought all the genre games but mostly only played AD&D. I bought the 3rd edition rules and got into a good campaign a couple years ago but then had to stop. I would love to find a new group to play with.

All that to make a few points. First, Christians can disagree on things. Second, those kinds of peripheral things have nothing to do with the heart of the gospel. I'm sorry your youth pastor put so much emphasis on do's and don't's rather than what really matters. Third, Dobson may be wrong on some things but that doesn't mean he's wrong on everything.

Also, doesn't Dobson have a medical degree in psychiatry from USC? Maybe he's a psychologist and not a psychiatrist. Anyway, I think he does have credentials, broadly construed. I'm not sure whether he's ordained. But his credentials are at least as good as yours and mine.