Is it a sin to play violent video games?

I just want to know what you guys think of playing video games like grand theft auto. Is it a sin to play and enjoy these games? Im still arguing in my mind whether I should play these games or not because the civilians in GTA are just pixels right?

Im a young adult, I enjoyed these games in my teens. Now Im trying to carefully follow our faith and avoid sinning as much as possible.

I think in this case, video games are sort of like songs, and as long as playing them doesn’t cause you to think sinful thoughts or do sinful things, they’re perfectly fine (even if the stuff inside it might be violent). Just make sure it doesn’t cause you to want to do anything violent in real life–otherwise, it is probably better to stop playing that specific game :blush:.

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Different people have different sensibilities. My family loves scary movies, but personally, I can’t watch them. So it really depends on how they affect you emotionally. I think you’re more likely to sin by spending too much time playing them. You can sin playing something as wholesome as Stardew Valley if you end up getting obsessive about it.

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All that imagery, all that nastiness, all that desensitizing violence becomes a part of you and your perceptions, whether you like it or not… whether you can admit it or not. The more garbage that you put I’m your mind, the more garbage that the devil can use against you.

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I’m inclined to agree. While not exclusive to this era, we do have a broader societal problem with gratuitous violence being constantly marketed to young men as some sort of sensorial baseline. I can’t imagine any experience being less spiritually or intellectually beneficial than playing games such as GTA.

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I asked similar questions in the past and the thread was always flagged - because of scrupulosity. I hope this does not happen to your thread.

I would really like to know the answer, because I got confused - Fatima Center for instance is not just debating if it’s a sin, but if it is a mortal sin. Later I read that Fatima Center is in the realm of rad trads. I think that on previous forums I asked about Fatima Center and their founder and I got mixed feedback… So I have no idea. Like I said, there’s much confusion.

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There’s no universal answer to issues of art (whether fine art or mass media). Artistic portrayal of violence and audience consumption thereof is not, ipso facto, sinful. Many important examples of art have featured violence: Homer’s Iliad, Vergil’s Aeneid, and of course, the Bible no less. The difference between, say, the Aeneid and GTA is that violence in the latter is almost always gratuitous: violence is done for the sake of enjoying violence. In the Aeneid, Vergil deploys violence to develop characters, heighten the tension of narratives and often to shed light on the multifaceted nature of violence, compulsion and death.

A simple practice after playing a game (or consuming any media) that features violence is to ask oneself whether it has lead one to more nuanced perspectives as a Catholic. If all one has to say is ‘wow, it was fun robbing that convenience store and fighting a turf war with that gang’, then it’s most definitely an experience that one ought to shun.

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As saint Paul said, " ‘For me everything is permissible’; maybe, but not everything does good." (1 Cor 6:12).

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I don’t think we can be dogmatic about it either way. I personally believe that one should avoid games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty because they are bereft of compassion. Playing a game that’s primarily centred around killing people is not appropriate for a christian, in my opinion. The Lord told me that I’m not allowed to play those kind of games (and I love video games, so that’s significant). God has blessed me for walking in obedience to Him.

I’m not gonna be here and say that you’re going to Hell if you play violent games, but I am convinced that you should avoid them. It doesn’t matter what I think, though. It only matters what the Lord thinks. Ask Him to tell you what the best course of action is.

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I’m not sure that’s true. I’ve read books or watched stuff where a character has done something immoral and illegal, like pulled off a heist, where I enjoyed it and admired their cleverness. I don’t think that’s sinful. It’s fictional.

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What about Doom games? After playing Doom one could say. Boy it was fun killing demons from hell.

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I agree that it isn’t (and to be fair, I didn’t say that it was). From my perspective, topics such as these are prone to overly scrupulous, censorious behaviour as the boundaries between what is or isn’t sin are so porous and views so divergent that one works themselves into a tizzy attempting to find certainty.

What may be more helpful for the OP is focussing on his dilemma from the perspective of spiritual growth: does doing x activity help me (or, at least, not disadvantage) my vocation to holiness that is universal to all Catholics? Does it help, in some small way, to advance my growth as a disciple of Christ? Asking oneself such questions also helps to develop an independent capacity for spiritual discernment.

I don’t play games such as Doom because I think, again, that it is largely gratuitous violence. While some aspect of the violence may be attenuated as it is directed against demons, it doesn’t, from my perspective, redeem Doom as a spiritually beneficial past-time.

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Well. I came to realization that life is short and that games sort of steal the sense of presence of God in me. Which is often akready lacking because of my scrupulosity.

But every now and then I wish to play games like old doom and similar. I no longer give in and play though. Not worth it.

But when I did, i felt bored fast, those timess of my teenage years are far gone.

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I think these comments get to the crux of the matter. You have to pray and ask the Holy Spirit-- and be willing to give them up, if necessary. And ask yourself, does this somehow impede goodness in me? Does it
interfere with my relationship with God in some way? Does it make me feel yucky, and disturb my peace?

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I don’t think there’s anything automatically wrong with violent games (similar to violent movies), but GTA always felt a bit borderline since you’re encouraged to commit violent crime as part of the game and it glorifies gang culture to some extent. I think it’s still probably permissible if you think about it like the modern day version of cops and robbers. Something like Manhunt I would say automatically goes over the line for obviois reasons.

You could always play fantasy games like Dark Souls and Shin Megami Tensei.

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You could relate it to movies, which have ratings sponsored by bishops (USCCB). See the explanation of their “O” rating (morally offensive) and read some reviews which got that rating for violence. I think you’ll find the same reasoning is applicable to those games.

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Enjoy killing people is really bad, but enjoying GTA V’s graphics/lore/gameplay is ok.

Yeah but killing them is still bad, its not a sin against the 5th commandament since they are not real but its not ok to do the things you do at GTA, i’ve played GTA V some years ago and even though its fun i dont think that catholics should play it, not for the violence (check out my post about the subject) but for the gloryfication of it, and for the heinous acts you commit for no good reason (mass murder,manslaughter, rape, drug consumption, drug traffic etc…)

Even though everything is virtual, GTA games are bad when it comes to moral, i dont know if killing inocents in GTA is a sin but i know that going to that place and glorifying violence is.

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Sinful? No.

Bad idea? Maybe. If you play these games all the time (And I’m a big gamer, for the record) it could desensitize you and lead you into sinful circumstances in the real world.

Now, having said, I freely admit that 99.9% of people who play these games won’t sin in the real world because of them. But there is that .1% that might.

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Are you a minor? What have your parents said about this?

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Depends on your age and maturity. Assuming you’re old enough to recognize that it’s just a game and not reality, I don’t really see an issue.

The bigger concern, in my opinion, is the way young men particularly get sucked into video games and they consume all their free time. Gaming is fine in moderation, but if you spend literally hours in the basement with your computer, that’s not healthy. You need to see the sun, get exercise, interact with actual human beings, etc.

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