Ambiguous situations?


On an earlier thread, I asked about certain video games, and got mixed responses. As far as my research goes, there isn’t much the Church has said on it. This situation, I suppose, is an example of a question I have been struggling with for a while now.

**If consensus and Church teachings are divided/nonexistent on an issue/action, is it our choice as what to do in the situation? Or are there other factors to take into account, other than the believed sinfulness of said action? **

Whenever I have a problem with the above, I usually go the harsher route, as the thing I’m questioning is usually something that makes me happy, and I figured that if I was trying to rationalize it, it could be sin, and I should be safe rather than sorry.


Whether or not a thing is sinful in itself, there are other factors to consider.

Note that the Church can’t pronounce on every conceivable act that man may undertake; there are too many. So the absence of a Church teaching doesn’t make the thing up for grabs until there’s a magisterial decree. We are expected to exercise some common sense and apply principles of our faith.

One such principle is that we know a good or bad tree by its fruit. What are the effects of this thing in your life, besides it giving you some kind of happiness?

Another principle is that we are to avoid near occasions of sin. Each of us has particular weaknesses, some of us to the extent that we have to avoid certain persons, places, or things altogether, at least until they are no longer occasions of sin. Maybe the danger is that we will spend all our time recreating, and neglecting personal relationships in our life. Is it really worth that?


In discerning the morality of video games that one plays on the computer, I believe you should just try to follow an informed conscience. Games that encourage imagined violence do not automatically make us more violent in our real lives. “Aggression: a social learning analysis.” Bandura 1973
His contentions have been subject to academic debate, but it must be a subjective decision on your part as to the moral effects of such gaming has on you personally.
Not everything you enjoy is a sin. LOL.
I do see the possibility that a scrupulous nature is more likely to over analyse this sort of gaming. However, I believe we can on the whole differentiate reality from games from an early age. Just because your dragons destroy villages in a game does not make you a mass murderer. Role playing games are normally set parameters that may not accord with your personal morality. If this is a difficulty for you then just don’t play the game. If this form of role playing does not reduce your resistance to real life violence and you can easily discern that no one actually walks the plank in a pirate game, then there is little harm in enjoying a few games on the computer. I put aside any pornographic or extreme exhibition of violence from my view as these should always be sensible caveats to any computer usage.



Guns, let’s look at one reason that SOME are anti gun:

“I do not have the skills to have a gun therefore they are bad, people like ME shouldn’t have then”

Now see here we are not dealing in this case with a true moral arguement. But rather projection of a personal failing onto all others with a desire to impart that “If I suck everyone esle must too” which makes us feel better about ourselves…

What does this show?

Many in the religion circles project themselves and such. Therefore we have a set of non rule rules. We have claims of many non sin sins. All projected onto others.

What does this mean? Ambiguous situations are individual responsibility. YOU know who YOU are. Like near occasion of sin…

If I go hangout with a den of heroin junkies it would NOT be a near occasion of sin. I have ZERO inclination to engage in such sins. Period, so for ME this is a non sin.

A recovering addict or someone who knows they are prone to caving to those sorts of peer pressures etc… they might be at risk of non sin sin… not because of the situation but because THEY have problems. So this becomes an issue as MOST of them will tell you it is directly a sin basically (maybe dance around it alittle)

Now I used an extreme example and I can’t imagine any reputable reason to hang in such a circle and risk associated arrest… BUT in general the issue boils down to individual level of suck.

So since the only way to feel better about their own weaknesses and failings is to assume/pretend everyone else is just as bad they will all nay say. This IMO is why many leave such circles… we begin to think the rules are insane. The rules, the teachings are not insane. People are insane.

If it is not against the rules and you do not share in the failings of such people, you have no tug on your conscience to tell you it is sinful… it is probably not.


This roughly reminds me of St. Alphonsus and his equiprobablism.

But what I find to be a little confusing is why you are single-handedly attempting to figure out various aspects of moral theology, minus a bit of help from this forum.

If there is something in your life that you’re having moral difficulty with, why not simply make an appointment and discuss it with your priest? Or is this more academic and theoretical for you? and if so, is it really within your station in life to be attempting to unravel nuanced questions of theology all on your own?


I’ve asked my priest about what I should do when there’s no outside information to help me, and he told me that I could decide on my own, as God gave us free will. Because I’m more pessimistic, I assume that I would decide wrong on these situations, so I wanted more input on how to go about making these decisions.


Right, but the priest is a source of “outside information.”


No other outside information, I suppose. I know I could always have his input, but I can’t exactly talk to him about every tiny situation, which is why I wanted to have more knowledge on it.


Yes, but this is dependent on whether or not you are judged to be scrupulous.

A scrupulous person obsessively hunting down information they lack the education to understand is going to be … even more scrupulous and even more damaged.

This is why you have to take a particular issue you’re having and submit it to your confessor’s judgment.

Obviously, if you consider “every tiny situation” to be in need of analysis, you need help for the underlying cause of that perception, because it’s not healthy.

But most normal consciences, once in a while, will run into a problem. It is then that they seek counsel from Father. Knowing how to analyze the morality of playing video games seems like a great question to ask him.


I’d say I’m middle ground between scrupulous and okay, considering that I only have worries once in a while. (I suppose I over exaggerated with “every tiny situation” because it really isn’t) Anyways, I already asked him about the above that you suggested.


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