Is God OK With Video Games?
Is God OK with video games? This is a question that has popped up in a theology discussion group I’ve been in 2 or 3 times? Is God ok with people playing video games in their spare time. As Christians, we want to be sure that whatever we do, God approves of it and that what we are doing is not sin (see John 14:15, 1 John 5:2-5). So it’s a good thing to run what we do past The Lord to make sure we aren’t doing something that may count as sin. So the question of video games certainly would come up. So, is God ok with people playing video games? I think the answer to that question depends on the circumstance. So let me give an analysis of each circumstance.
Is God OK with Video Games? Not violent video games!
God certainly would not be happy with us focusing on and fixating on evil and sinful things. Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” The implication here is that if something is not noble, wrong, impure, ugly, evil, depressing, etc. then you should not be dwelling on those things. Dwell on the opposite of things that are ugly, evil, depressing, unrighteous, not noble, or in any way impure. Don’t think about bad things. Keep your mind on positive things, on clean things.
Now, I think this command in scripture would prohibit anyone from playing extremely violent video games, that is to say, video games that are gorey, where the main goal is to kill as many people as possible. It would prohibit games that seem to glorify sins. I can’t give very many examples of games like this, since I’m not into these kinds of games and have never bothered to remember the names of many of them. And this isn’t necessarily for the reason I stated above. Even before I became a follower of Christ, these types of games just didn’t appeal to me.
Now, I don’t have a problem with games depicting cartoon violence. Games like Pokemon, the Mario series, Zelda, and the Super Smash Bros. games. I find this type of “violence” to be a non-issue. When Pikachu zaps a Caterpie with a thunderbolt, or when Mario stomps on a goomba, it’s no worse, in my opinion, then an anvil falling on Wile E. Coyote, or Jerry the mouse slamming a piano down on Tom’s fingers. I’m talking about games that really make the violence come to life. Games where the violence is really graphic, really gory, almost real looking. Or video games that either contain nudity or semi-nudity. By the way, I’m making no comment on whether games to this degree of violence makes the people who play them violent. I’m not a psychologist, so I really don’t know. All I’m talking about here is what I think scripture prohibits. Although if (IF) it were true that violent games really made people violent, then that would just be an additional reason to stay away from them. But I'm not sure if I believe that or not. It seems implausible.
Is God OK with Video Games? Not if it conflicts with important things you should be doing in life.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
The Bible says in the passage I quoted above that there is a season for everything. King Solomon (the one who wrote this book of The Bible) contrasts many opposites and says that there is a time for each of these. Since they’re opposites that obviously means you can’t do them both at the same time. There are different times for these mutually exclusive actions. What this means is, is that there are times in which doing something (whatever that something may be) is appropriate, and there is a time when doing that something is inappropriate. The same can be said for video games. You shouldn’t let a game take up all of your time, such that it causes you to neglect important things in life. Don’t give any video game the time you should give to…prayer, or bible study, or spending time with your family, or worshipping God, or anything that you should be doing. Make sure to set a time aside to do your gaming. And also don’t make sure you give it more time than you give God. The Bible is clear that God should be number 1 in our lives.
"Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’" – Matthew 22:37 (cf. Luke 10:27, Mark 12:30)
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” – Exodus 20:3
Is God OK with Video Games?
Yes. If the kind of video games you play are not gorey, violent, depict semi-nudity, or glorify sin in any way, and if it doesn’t consume your time, then yes, I see no reason why God would have any issue with you entertaining yourself with a video game. So have no fear. You can continue training your Pokemon, gobbling ghosts as Pac-Man, or rushing to save Princess Peach with a clear conscience.
However, if you cannot do anything with a clear conscience, stay away from it. While playing certain video games is fine with me (I’m more than certain I’m not sinning), if you do not have that same level of certainty, then refrain from it. The Bible says “Anything that does not come from faith is sin” – Romans 14:23. This passage says, in context, that if you are doubtful that what you are doing is right, and yet you do it anyway, you sin. You sin, if for no other reason then that you didn’t obey your conscience. It would be sin because you thought God would disapprove of what you were doing, and yet you did it anyway (regardless of whether He actually did disapprove of the action or not). If you don’t have faith that what you’re doing is an ok thing to do, then don’t do it. As Jiminy Cricket said “Let your conscience be your guide.” Although I would add to that; Let the Word of God and The Holy Spirit also guide you. Our conscience is not infallible, but the Word of God is.