Is enjoyment of virtual violence a sin?

Generally, we think of pornography as the explicit depiction of sexual subject matter. And as we know, it is a mortal sin to view pornography. However, we see today a pornography of violence in the virtual violence in video games, with all kinds of killing, blood and gore. If you virtually murder and blow out the brains of people are you committing a sin? If pornography is a mortal sin, then why is it not wrong to virtually murder someone in a video game? Generally, is it not a mortal sin to deliberately put sinful thoughts in your mind? In the case of violent vidoe games, it is putting thoughts of murder, killing and brutality in your mind.
Question: Is it not a mortal sin for a Catholic to enjoy the watching or playing of violent video games?

Heck, I’m thinking that the enjoyment of actual violence is not necessarily sinful. Otherwise the devotees of the various martial arts would have to be in confession every day.

On the other hand, virtual violence can entail a lot more blood and gore than actual violence, so perhaps it is actually worse.

It is a psychologically dangerous activity for some people, as it may lead them to act out what they have done on a computer. Physiologically, individuals playing such games can experience hypertension and other physiological responses that may harm them.

Even soldiers in wartime cannot just kill indiscriminately, everything that moves – or they’re not supposed to.

Let’s put it this way. Does it glorify God and promote Christian values? Does it help us to learn to love our neighbor? I’ve never played such a game, but I rather think not.

It would be incongruous to play such games after Bible study, wouldn’t it? I’d stick with the Bible study.

I remember this one cartoon had an alien go into an arcade and noticed all the kids playing violent games. The alien immediately deduced that the games were training games for war to improve reflexes, and get them used to violence. Of course she was mostly looking at piloting games, but you get the idea. Oh well, inevitably the reason why you play those games would determine whether or not it’s a sin. My pastor was always telling me to avoid violent games and movies, especially because it encourages an attitude where you see something extremely violent and turn to your friend to gush, “That was so awesome!”

In all honesty, I never much liked games that didn’t give you the option of avoiding violence or awarded you points for killing something. I will admit that it’s very difficult to play something like Baldur’s Gate as if it were MGS. I actually lose points for killing someone unnecessarily!

Don’t soldiers use video games for training now?

Anyway, I don’t know why anyone would derive pleasure from blowing out brains in video games. I don’t think it is the same as pornography. It shouldn’t be stimulating at all.

I can understand if someone were excited of winning a game, but getting excited by the blood and gore by itself is not exactly a typical human reaction.

I thought that was exactly why they put the blood and gore into video games–because the players liked it! Same would apply to the movies. Actual martial arts are a lot tamer.

I would say that for movies, people derive pleasure from the adrenaline rush, just like what riding a roller coaster would do. The movie places them in a situation they fear in the safety of a fictional world. They are not “turned on” in the same sense that pornography provides stimulation. In fact, they are so turned off, a survival mode chemical reaction occurs to give them a certain type of pleasure.

As for martial arts, I believe the pleasure dervies from competition and how one can prove himself to be the stronger opponent, just like any other sport. That’s why they have belts in karate to symbolize merit.

Most martial artists, well, certainly all that I’ve known, would likely be found the most calm natured of all men, not in the least bit prone to violence. I will admit, discussing with them the various strikes and holds has caused my stomache to turn more at the description of what can be done to the human body than any artificial representation thereof.

Indeed, Martial artists, again, them that I’ve known, do it more for the dicipline, excercise, and the ability to defend themselves should they be threatened.

As for the adrenaline rush, do you know why people struggle with pornography? Because they also get a rush! Endophines are pumped into their systems, they are literally drug addicts, but instead of going through a mechanical process to get their fix, the inject images into their brains.

The question should be: Should any form of entertainment be enjoyed purely for the sake of entertainment or enjoyment itself?

I think not. The latter is hedonism. The former folly. We should be filling our minds, what is it St. Paul said? With all that is good, and holy, and pure, and wholesome. Does this prohibit violence? Possibly. :blush:


Possibly! Aha hah hah hah ha ha!

Yes it is.

Depends on the context, the user, the specific game we’re talking about. GTA4? Very possibly sinful in at least some respect. HL2, or even MGS or Deus Ex? I sincerely doubt it.

There’s certainly no bright-line ruling on this as there is with actual pornography, and it’s difficult to consider the idea of “pornography of violence” to be any more than a somewhat strained metaphor.

Full disclosure: I game. Mass Effect was wonderful (excepting the sex), and I am a regular player of Team Fortress 2. Steam name BCSWowbagger, if anyone wants a good Medic for a Heavy combo.

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