Blog Post

Addicted to Dungeons & Dragons

dungeons and dragonsKO writes: “My son-in-law has been playing Dungeons and Dragons with a group of friends for many years. Is this a harmless pastime? Should I be concerned?”

No pastime is harmless that involves pretending to murder, rape, torture and maim while resorting to all kinds of occult arts.

Dungeons & Dragons is one of a genre of games known as fantasy role-playing games or FRP’s. While there is nothing wrong with fantasy (God gave us our imagination!) this doesn’t mean all fantasy is just harmless fun – especially not fantasy that is laced with occultism, such as Dungeons & Dragons.

The game started out as a fantasy table-top role playing game in 1974. Designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, it is considered to be the granddaddy of today’s role playing video games.

The Christian Research Institute (CRI) gives a good description of Dungeons & Dragons for those who are not familiar with it. The game involves various players who interact with each other in an adventure that they create. One player is named the Dungeon Master and it’s up to him/her to make up the “maps” of play which include, monsters, dungeons, traps, magical devices, etc. The other players assume characters such as druids, clerics, thieves, etc., and each character receives certain powers and abilities. Players then band together to fight their way to whatever goal has been assigned.

The game is quite addicting and the internet is full of testimonies from players who say they sometimes begin to think like their characters and even get upset when the game doesn’t go their way. This blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality can be problematic and is why some police departments routinely ask suspects if they are participants in any kind of role playing game (RPG).

They have good reason to do so.

Some of the more violent role-playing video games are a common denominator among several high-profile mass killers such as Eric Harris and Daryn Klebold, who were obsessed with a game named Doom when they murdered 12 classmates and a teacher in 1999 in Colombine, Colorado. Seung-Hui Cho, the 23-year-old who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech University in 2007, was a big fan of Counterstrike and Adam Lanza, the troubled 20 year-old who killed 20 children and six adults in Connecticut was obsessed with violent games such as Call of Duty. Andres Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo was a fan of the same game.

dungeons & dragonsAlthough researchers have not been able to establish a link between these games and the compulsion to mass murder, it is definitely being given serious study.

But the possibility of reality distortion isn’t the only serious problem with Dungeons & Dragons. This game also involves the use of occult practices such as spell casting, divination, communion with pagan gods and the dead. As the CRI reports, “Most spells have a verbal component and so must be uttered.”

Fans of the game argue that even if they are saying the words, it’s all just make-believe. True, a person can be playing the game without any intention of contacting spirits, but that doesn’t mean the spirits won’t respond when called upon. The devil couldn’t care less if you mean it when you call him. This is why contact with the satanic realm through the playing of games such as Dungeons & Dragons can and does occur. But even if it doesn’t, the CRI points out that occult-laced RPGs “can create a disposition toward the actual occult activity.”

As the CRI explains, “The various magical abilities that players exercise in these imaginary worlds can also whet their appetites for power. The same young man who is unable to prevent his parents from separating, or to make the cute blonde in his history class notice him, can, through FRP, conquer a kingdom or obtain immense treasure simply by casting a spell.”

What happens when this same young man meets someone who introduces him to occult powers that he can use in the real world rather than just in his gaming world?

“He would like nothing more than to believe that he can divine the future, project his soul outside of his body, perform healings, or cast a spell — and get results. The transition from make-believe sorcery to actual sorcery would not be all that difficult.”

Elliot Miller, editor in chief of the CRI’s Journal, recommends that Christians who want to engage in role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons invent their own games that are unlike those currently on the market.

“These games should be structured so as to finish within a reasonable, fixed period of time. They should be designed with a view toward leading the participant to a more creative, Biblical approach to confronting life’s challenges, rather than providing him with an illusory escape from having to face them. And, finally, they should not require the role player to aggressively act out (and thus, identify with) any activity (such as violence, immorality, or occultism) that is expressly forbidden in God’s world.”

Like too many other games these days, Dungeons & Dragons is not a healthy use of one’s time.

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