So you want a video game for Christmas? Chances are that stores will have most of its stock filled with video games that practice shooting, killing, destroying, bombing, and blowing up buildings, people, and whatever stands in the way. Some of these games made news in the last few weeks by breaking sales records beyond any other game in history. People buy them! We love to play with violence! (As long as it does not really hurt.) Gone are the days were kids played tennis or soccer or football (whether outside or on the computer). These are the days of brutality, horror, and warfare. Does this topic really deserve a long post?
I cannot imagine why any parent would let their kid play sharpshooter or killer. Why would any father or mother spend their evenings destroying virtual lives? Being a soldier is an honest vocation, but impersonating a soldier in a video game knows nothing about the horrors of war. We are ignorant of the reality of War that shaped people’s thought in the twentieth century. Most of us are far removed from the reality of war in the world. For others, the video games glorify the violence they experience in the streets. Oh, yes, violence is real. But it does not need glorification!
“Set your mind on things above” are the words of the Apostle Paul (Col. 3:1-2). Hurting, violating, and killing are not the things any person should contemplate. I am happy to throw into this lot movies that glorify violence and horror (yes, including Vampire movies for teenagers in love or the more explicit versions of walking dead that now occupy our television screen). Tell me just one good thing that comes from this violence on our television screens and computer monitors! Just one way these things lift up and edify our lives! I cannot find one. They are time-wasters, mood-changers, character-killers! Christians have come so far as to excuse their own participation in violent movies and games. From a Christian perspective, our world of violence desperately needs renewal. As long as the violence of the cross is seen as an excuse and not the end of violence, there is much work to be done. As long as cooking shows and home improvement shows and children’s programs and sports events can be seamlessly interrupted by advertisement of violence, we have a long way to go. As long as Christians participate in justifying violence, Christianity has not understood its own gospel.
If you think about buying these games for Christmas this year, think again. Pray about your involvement in these things and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if God truly desires for your eyes to see violence, for your conscience to become desensitized to the hurt, pain, and suffering glorified in 3-D effects in front of you, for your children to be exposed to violence, gun fire, and the screams of technologically created virtual reality. I think you know the answer. You just don’t like it.