Violent video games.

Can I be a good Catholic and at the same time play violent video games Only for entertainment? :shrug:

I will answer this question the same way as I responded to your thread on Family Guy and South Park.

I probably would not go so far as to say a Catholic could not possibly play any video game that contains violence. But not everything that is permissible is expedient to our growth in holiness. The key is to know yourself.

From your profile, it looks like you might be towards the beginning of your faith walk. Try doing without these things for a time and spend that time in prayer. See where that leads.

The notion that, because we are Christians that, we are somehow immune from the effects of irreverent, violent or pornographic media is foolishness. Many otherwise devout people and even clergy have fallen into this trap which is founded on pride and a false notion of our own holiness. Sadly many people see little or no harm in watching TV programs or media with sexual or anti-religious content or in playing violent games, thinking that they are mature or holy enough to be exempt from any negative influence it may have on them or their outlook on life. Garbage in, garbage out. While it’s true that the bible says Christians will pick up serpents and be unharmed but miraculous signs mentioned in Mark 16 were not performed to prove a believer’s faith or that one has a “special anointing,” as taught by the Church of God with Signs Following sect, but instead they were meant to confirm the truth of Christ’s message.

I know a priest who plays Call of Duty, for whatever that’s worth :rolleyes:

I would not recommend them, but it strongly depends on the context.

Any literature (which I would include video games in that category, as they are essentially interactive literature) can be for your growth or detriment. Violence in literature obviously isn’t inherently bad because the scriptures have extremely violent content on several occasions. But in the context it is presented, it is not sensually graphic or designed to sate a person’s appetite for destruction. If you’re playing Vice City and driving around the city running over people with your car, shooting cops, and hooking up with prostitutes, you tell me: is your leisure making you a better or worse person?

The ongoing assumption to it all is that what we digest with our minds somehow doesn’t subtly affect us. It’s a prideful assumption and you need to realize that how you spend your leisure time does matter a great deal. I was addicted to video games for many years and I am 100% positive that it damaged me.

I invite you to check my posts on a similar thread:

People love to blame inanimate objects for the sins of others. One’s sins are the responsibility of the sinner, not a thing’s or other person’s responsibility.

Is due in part or whole to not wanting to really discover the cause for troubled youth.

Evaluate the family structure and the closeness of the family, specifically, the father’s (non) involvement with his kids. You’ll find your source, or be on the right path.

A good explanation for folks not into video games is to ask them to evaluate a picture or statue of St. Michael. War is real wherever there is evil - in eternity, and on earth.

The reason I would say video games could be trouble is the realism of today’s games. From which a sense of numbness can occur to the reality of killing and it’s true horror.

This is not something to take lightly and it’s important to understand, you do put yourself at risk for this numbness by playing graphic, violent games. Numbness, in and of itself I would guess is not sin, but is an open gate, one only needs to walk through.

Back in the day we had Wolf 3D, then the first Doom which were bloody cartoons that were so fake it would be a comedy show today. Yet playing them had the same risk. I can’t imagine the level of risk today, it’s much higher from what I’ve seen advertised.

It’s important to understand there is risk. But a good family structure mitigates risk. A good dad is not going to let his kid sit in his room and play garbage all day long. A good kid is going to understand the risk and shut the machine off and go play.

In my house, we roll with Nintendo products since they are keeping the cartoon effect going. The kids love smash brothers where they can beat the stuffing out of each other on a screen.

Yes. As long as it does not become an obsession.

You can, although that doesn’t mean they’re good for you.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less concerned about what a story contains than how it is presented. I see nothing wrong with war games or non-graphic games that nevertheless tell stories involving violence. I see nothing wrong with competitive fighter games. I see nothing wrong with stories where extrememly violent things happen, if they are treated as truly horrific things. But if the violence itself is the focus of the game, and if the violence itself is meant to be entertaining, I find it both repulsive and terribly boring.

Ultimately, the best test is asking whether this is something that will help you get closer to God. I believe that some video games can, in fact, bring us closer to him. If it’s something that doesn’t, and especially if it’s something thatndrives you away from him, I would steer clear.

Ultimately, the question of whether you should play a particular game is something that only you can answer. (Provided it isn’t something obviously sinful, like playing a pornographic game.)

Of course. Same thing happened to me :smiley:

It is OK to play any video game that doesnt involve anything “Pornographic”. However, if a game is made with a good plot and amazing gameplay but with some pornographic scenes (Mass Effect 3), try making a barrier between you and these explict scenes and focus on the PLOT.

I, particularly, love the horror genre. If what most people say about VGs are true, I’d be inside my room holding a knife waiting to slaughter anything that enters.

But I’m not am I? :slight_smile:

To put it bluntly, any form of entertainment that involves violence is OK so long as you don’t copy the things you do in the virtual world.

I disagree. Even if you don’t copy them, they are still affecting your mind and changing the way you think about violence. For instance, they may make one less concerned about or disgusted by violence. There may be some situations where desensitizing someone to violence could be a good thing, but for the most part it simply means we are less likely to take action to stop violence when we see it in the real world.

I won’t say that it is wrong to like violent games (there are definitely some great games that have a lot of violence in them), but it is good to be aware of the effect they have on you. Those unaware of the effects are the most likely to be greatly altered. If nothing else, make a point of asking yourself why you find each game appealing. If the answer is “I like to compete/survive” or “the plot is interesting”, so be it. If the violence itself is appealing, I would suggest stepping back and playing something a bit less intense for a while.

Ultimately, only the OP can know whether a particular violent game is having a negative effect on his mind and/or relationship with God. (Assuming the game is non-pornographic, again. It’s my understanding that the Mass Effect games are not pornographic, although I haven’t actually played them, so I suppose I wouldn’t know. :shrug:)

Are such games drawing you closer to God, stimulating you toward good things, or providing reasonable leisure?

Only you can answer this.

Okay, so I’m actually a game designer/game journalist of sorts for my college and I don’t think that what games you play should determine your faith.

Truth be told, I’m agnostic but look at games like this, they are on the same artistic expression as movies, books, pictures, and comics except games go the extra mile of PUTTING the player into the seats of the awesome main characters, pitting them in the struggles created by the developers. I mean, people read the bible and that’s actually pretty violent, so if that’s accepted by Christianity, then why not play games that can expand your thinking and meditation? I mean, I played a game with a bunch of squares and I was crying my eyes out because video games are a communication of ideas along with being a form of entertainment.

I’m kind of glad that I found at least ONE video game thread XD.

Although, if you play games and they differ from your original beliefs and you believe them, well, if you want to stay a good Catholic, you have to think of video games differently. You can’t think of them as violent and crude games that make you feel disgusting, there is emotional depth in every game with messages that actually make sense.

Here are some examples of WHY some games were made and WHY people play them.
Case study: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1

So, you know about the Call of Duty franchise, of course you have, over 20 million people do.
What does it tackle? Human weakness. We all want to feel powerful and that’s what MW does. But why do people want to feel powerful? Especially looking at today’s society. If we look at the “We are the 99%”, it gives off this feeling that people felt powerless to the millionaires, to the leaders, to the famous. People want to have power and Modern Warfare does that but with one added bonus, a gun. I mean, and I’ll mention this in the next case study, it’s pretty restrictive in the US if you want a gun (yeah, I’m aware that a lot of people have guns, anyway) so why not play into male power fantasies and give them a gun?
Of course, I hate this game for what it’s done to the industry as whole. Making everything stale and unappealing.

Case Study: Grand Theft Auto

Yes, everyone knows about the crazy amounts of blood, sex, and drugs this franchise has shown but look at it like this, how many restrictions are there in today’s society? I mean, you can even get thrown in jail for saying ONE dumb comment on facebook. With all of this stuff about security and the restrictions from gun control to even auto insurance policies, people turn to entertainment to let that stress out. Thus Grand Theft Auto was made. It was made during a time when people felt coddled and stressed and needed something to let loose. As people say it’s just one crazy stupid game, WHY is it ‘stupid’? WHY is it ‘crazy’? Because it was made with the intention to be a sort of stress reliever.

2 more examples to feel like I know what I’m talking about :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Case Study: Spec Ops: The Line

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, this game. Remember what I said about Call of Duty? How it’s a male power fantasy? Well I didn’t say that straight up, BUT I did mention how it stagnated the AAA games industry. Spec Ops, while shocking in everything it does, is a commentary ON THAT POWER FANTASY. Yes, you shoot people, but WHO do you shoot? In the game, you shoot OTHER AMERICAN SOLDIERS. Why? If you ever looked at military shooters that came out before Spec Ops and after Modern Warfare 1, who did you play against the most? People similar to yourself. Why were you an American Spec Op shooting American soldiers in Spec Ops: The Line? The developers made it that way AS A COMMENTARY TO HOW PEOPLE PLAY GAMES, TODAY. I never even PLAYED this game and I got that. The game’s stupidly easy but it’s shockingly depressing that when you reach that end, you just want the nightmare to end. Thus, sometimes, violence can actually teach people something. Sometimes to make us look at ourselves to see how wrong we are, sometimes.

Case Study: Missile Command

This was the first game that anyone can ever consider a piece of art. Missile Command is game about defending cities from Missiles by shooting other Missiles to stop them. Sounds like missile interception. When did this game come out? 1982. Yes, this came out around the end of the Cold War but because it came out at such a time, nuclear threats were still an issue. The biggest part of this game is that, you always lose. Once defcon has reached a high enough point, everyone will eventually die to nuclear warfare. This shocked the creator for years, where he couldn’t sleep at night.

So yeah, if you have an open-mind to new ideas, you’ll realize that most games actually have good messages/important reasons in them and why people play them. It’s a good exercise. It might even help you on your faith journey, and I’m saying this as someone who doesn’t generally believe in religion, anymore.

This… :thumbsup:

It all depends on what game. Is the violence just stupid or repetitive like every COD? Where you kill hundreds or even thousand with any real context? Then maybe. The reason I say maybe is because even if it adds nothing it can be a great stress release.

Or does it have an amazing story behind it like the Bioshock series or the Walking dead (Telltale version, not Activisions travesty) or even Dishonored? Something that makes you think of the morality and the effect of your actions? Then I’d say yes, play away.

Spec Ops is also anti-American and anti-military, so yeah I don’t think it deserves the praise it gets.

Here is an intelligent catholic answer:

Video games
Question from D.Demsky on 5/5/2005:

I have recently seen a webpage that describes video{commputer}games that promote sex or violence a venial sin or immperfection as it makes no indication which is which in its list of sins.I have a collection of 1st person shooting games{soilder and science fiction}, a Zombie shooting game ,and two sword in a dungeon type games[Champions of Norrath] that I am getting ready to sell because of that list.Are these games venial sin?

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 6/7/2005:

Venial sin is any imperfection of a good act, or a mortally sinful act done imperfectly (without full knowledge or intention).

A morally good act is one that is good in its object (the act itself), intention and circumstances. When it comes to recreation - watching television or movies, listening to music, reading books, surfing the internet, playing games (video or otherwise), etc., the same theology applies. There are two questions therefore. 1) Is the recreation wholesome in itself, that is, is it morally good or at least indifferent. 2) If morally good or indifferent, is it done well, that is, with a good intention and in appropriate circumstances?

  1. The Act Itself. To watch TV, listen to video, read, or play games is not itself evil. Certainly, certain kinds of content can be an occasion of sin. In my opinion, this is the problem with many video games, which rely on violence, sexuality and occultism to entertain. However, just as such content in movies can within limits serve a morally good end, it can do so in a game. A shooting game that is essentially target practice could be justified, even a war game that tests strategy and tactics. A shooting game which relies on mayhem and bloodiness is not morally or mentally healthy, however. Thus, although as a general rule violence in movies or games does not generally lead to sin, over time it can deaden our moral sense, as the connection between screen violence and violent crime shows.

Less slow is the effect of sexualized and occult oriented movies and games. For instance, one may never promote the occult as a morally valid option. Worse, still, involvement in occult things can invite the immediate participation of spirits, even contrary to one’s intentions, or incline one to seek informatio nabout that world. Games which use occult ideas within a game wholely internal to the gameboard are bad enough. Gravely evil are those which actually appeal to the occult world, such as the Ouiji Board, though some may have used it innocent of this intention. As for sexualized games, a game whose effect was to arouse lust in most people would be gravely sinful.

  1. The Intention and Circumstances. Even good recreation can become sinful by its use. To play a game for vainglory, or revenge or uncharitable motives, would be sinful, even mortally (if, for example, hatred of the opponent was involved). Likewise, to play games in inappropriate cicumstances, for example, when we should be studying, or fulfilling work or family responsibilities, is morally wrong. Generally, the sin would be venial, unless there were some aggravating circumstance. If playing games deprived your employer of substantial services (grand theft), or if gaming cost a person money needed to feed and house their family, the sin would even be mortal.


Hope this was helpful. Feel free to ask any more questions regarding media:).

I dont think they are in and of themselves a sin. As long as you dont over play it and mimic the game in the world and say “That game made me do it”.

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven Ecclesiastes 3:1

This game hopes to spark back child friendly video games and away from the gore-hounds, a nice break from all those unoriginal gruesome shooters

Someone told me once that violence altough not reccomended is only a sin when you put yourself in the place of the character depicting it, let’s say that when your feelings and desires of killing or seeing someone get killed become something real, at least in your mind.

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