Christians typically haven’t had much to say about the nearly ubiquitous medium of video games, and often when they do, it’s pretty negative. There are certainly real concerns over violence and addiction in video games. This article makes the case, however, that the church needs to give video games a more balanced treatment. Shooting, explosions, and gore in games are a significant problem, but the actual effects of playing violent video games are far from clear. And the moral character of video games is complicated by the many possible interpretations players may have of their involvement. Perhaps most importantly, many video games have no violent content. The issue of addiction is similarly complicated. Some video games employ principles of behavioral psychology to hook players, and other factors have similar effects. However, experts haven’t agreed on what counts as video game addiction and whether the medium itself is responsible for compulsive play. Without question, video games are the target of the well-established pattern of moral panics that each new medium encounters. More importantly, however, video games have tremendous positive potential: the escape they provide can be one of healthy renewal of appreciation for God’s creation.
In short, Christians need to evaluate both the good and the bad of video games.
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Kevin Schut about his 36:3 article, “Can God Fit in This Machine? Video Games and Christians“.
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