Why Christians Should Play Video Games (with Discernment)

To some, the term “video game” is synonymous with the latest Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. Less frequently do the names of video games not focused on violence or sex come to the average mind. 

Those that practice the Christian faith may be in search of a game that reflects their values, but they’ll be hard-pressed to find even one. There is FIVE: Guardians of David (which I wrote a review for) and That Dragon, Cancer, but aside from those there aren’t too many “Christian games” around

As Christians, it can be difficult to figure out what games God is OK with, and which ones He isn’t. That’s actually a rhetorical question, as there isn’t really an answer. Everyone has different convictions. I highlighted this subject here on Geeks Under Grace, as I myself have dealt with this (and still do) as a Christian who loves to play video games. Within this article, I’d like to explore that subject further.

To Play Or Not To Play

As a Christian, I am very careful what games I expose myself to. Sometimes I play games that contain content I don’t like, but the overall good outweighs the bad. That said, how far can I go before my play time goes against the convictions I feel from the Holy Spirit?

I know Christians who refuse to play certain games that I am OK with playing, and vice versa. Personally, I hate profanity (Call of Duty, Saints Row) and in-your-face sexuality (Bayonetta, Dead or Alive Volleyball, etc), so I choose not to buy those titles. Yet, at the same time, games that delve into spirituality don’t disquiet me (Okami). As believers in Christ, we should listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, while not be afraid to tackle video games and find signs of God’s grace or values in them, even among the filth.

Bayonetta, a gun-toting witch out to kill angels and fight God.

Many Christians are afraid to engage the video game medium, and in many ways they aren’t without good reason! Look through any collection of XBOX, Playstation, of even Nintendo titles, and you will find more than a handful of games that are pretty violent and filled with other unpleasantness.

I consume and view video games just like movies, books, TV, and the Internet. I have to identify the good from the bad, use resources to guide me, and ask God to influence my choices. As, I said earlier, everyone has different convictions. Maybe you’re OK with hearing some profanity, but sexual images lead you to temptation. Whatever your limits, you need to know the lines that you should not cross. Once you are comfortable with what you will and won’t play, then enjoy the game and be on the lookout for themes, dialogue, settings, and other aspects that you can learn from. That’s how I find inspiration to write articles; I just play the game and find points that I can connect back to biblical or spiritual teachings.

A famous image taken from the first Legend of Zelda game on the NES. Classic!

Do Not Be Afraid, Play The Game

Many conservative groups are quick to bash video games as the cause of violence, hate, and crime. I do agree that media has a strong influence on us all, but I also see the redeeming value of playing through a game and finding God’s glory in it. Humanity has a unique ability to create–something that no other creature on Earth has. Yes, animals can make homes or tools on instinct, but we have the ability to imagine and reason–take a blank canvas and make something of value where there was once nothing. Video games are a work of art, and as believers we can find those biblical correlations in the game and relate them to others. Consder Link being the hero in a dark world (Legend of Zelda), Cloud Strife finding forgiveness after the death of Aerith (Final Fantasy 7), overcoming our inner battles (Tales of Symphonia) and more.

Being a light of hope to those in the gaming world/industry is important, as there are few influences in that field today. Talking to your fellow gamers about the love of Christ through an analogy of a game is a powerful way to convey the principles of Christianity to them. I hope that those of you who have never tried it will think about giving it a shot.

To me, this is how Christ lived during His ministry on the Earth, and how He calls us to live today. We are called to go into every sector of society, education, business–anywhere–and bring the Truth of Jesus Christ to the world (Mark 16:15). We cannot wait around for others to come to us before we minister to them, in the same way we can’t wait for a “Christian game” to be released before we’re able to use video games as a medium to reach others. We can find God’s fingerprints in everything, as long as we listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Always seek God’s will in whatever you do. And if you’re not sure, go to His word or just ask Him. He will answer you.

I am sure I am not the only one who’s felt this way, and I would love to know your own gaming preferences and what lines you do not cross, or are willing to cross, to play a video game! Let me know below, I’m looking forward to your replies.

Michael M.

Michael is a child of God, husband, teacher, business owner, anime lover and a life long gamer. When not conquering distant world's via console, he can be found reading, watching anime or Netflix, writing, or just enjoying life as a geek in the city of Miami. He aspires to travel to Japan and possibly...never leave.

4 Comments

  1. James Albert on December 9, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Thanks for the article! I really appreciate your point on relying on the conviction of the Holy Spirit for direction when playing video games. God certainly gives us freedom (and every good gift comes from Him James 1:17), but it can be dangerous to just play anything we want and not listen to our convictions. I personally struggle with certain games (that I love!) like Resident Evil 4 (due to the violence) and Dark Souls (dark and occultic themes). I’ve even been playing Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door, and the mention of demons in the game (even how light the game takes them), even tends to bother me. I’m recognizing that its important to not just “brush” these things off and say they don’t matter, its just a game. Our convictions are very important to God, and we shouldn’t forsake them for the sake of things. The Final Fantasy series has always been a favourite of mine, with great stories, soundtracks, gameplay etc. There are some alarming ideas/philosophies in those games that I have to be aware of, but they don’t (or shouldn’t!) drown out the God-given redeemable aspects and qualities that they have (FF 4 has one of my favorite stories/messages of any game). I really want to integrate my love of gaming with my faith (and be a better witness), and the only way thats going to happen is with discernment and honesty before God.

    • Samuru on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      Wow I really enjoyed reading your perspectives on video games and how you are honoring God with what you play. I appreciate your honesty and sharing the struggles with playing certain games. I am the same, for example, I have wanted to played Lightning Returns recently but will instead check it out on Youtube to see what it’s all about. I know it has a lot of anti-Christ dialogue, but not all Final Fantasy games are like that thank God. I recommend checking it out on Youtube to just see what it’s about. God bless you, and keep your faith in Him, the One who gave His life for you.

  2. Victoria Grace Howell on March 8, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Great post, Michael! I feel the same way about video games.

    • Michael M. on March 10, 2016 at 3:37 am

      Thanks for liking it. God bless 🙂

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