Comments 5

  1. Ok, so how does Darwinism/survivial of the fittest-themed games glorify God and everything we are taught in the Bible about loving ones neighbour or turning the other cheek? These game objectives go against most concepts the Bible teaches, yet we humans will always try and justify our violent fun.

    Matthew 5:21-30 warns about how we imagine/meditate/practise murder in our hearts. Murder and throughts of murder are equally destructive, although it has different consequences. No matter how cunning/ premediated/ decisive the murder was, or how much strategy or maths it required, murder in your mind, thoughts or imagination is negative, not a fruit of the Spirit and your brain goes through the motions, even worse when it is fun, or justified for your own survivial. Fortnight and many other violent games reward these Biblically unapproved behaviours, either with points/levels/rewards or survivial. Does this not go 100% against the ways we as Christians are supposed to walk in this world as we follow Christ? How do players deal with death, or the killed people they are responsible for? Do they have funerals, apologise to their families, show any remorse? Thats ridiculous, right? (I have tried commenting morally/Biblically on players’ actions whilst seeing them engaged in this game, and they either find this hilarious, or very annoying when I say: “Oh dear, I think you just made a mistake, you killed someone by accident”, or “how about inviting that person over there over for dinner or blessing him?”). No, in these type of violent games, there is no grace and there are no negative consequences for any of these terrible socially inappropriate behavious (It is chilling to hear children respond to my “Biblical comments” with phrases like: “No, I wanted to kill him, thats what I am supposed to do, silly!” It almost feels like the enemy is mocking us from behind our children). In fact, they are rewarded and being trained away from Godly principles of interaction. No matter how you try and chalk this up as positive, it will never be justified. No amount of calculating, strategizing, regulating or “measuring of agression” or any kind of psycho-developmental babble can make this right, even if it is founded on worldly research. It is certainly not “beneficial to think of kids playing Fortnite as roughly equivalent to playing any other game”. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist against the enemy, I would go as far as to say, these kinds of statements promote thinking straight into being deceived by the enemy. It gives children the power in a game to “kill, steal and destroy”, without anyone blinking an eye or seeing what we are training their attitudes and affinities into. Yes, without drugs they might not switch these behaviours over into literally opening fire into a school or public place, but are we willing to take the risk? Just listen to the enthusiasm of gamers as the utter:” I got him… get out of my way… yes, I killed him” etc. and reflect upon what we really want our children’s hearts to overflow with. Now try and read Matthew 15:18-20. Ouch. Try and read Colossians 3:16, James 1:26, 2 Timothy 2:16-17. The list goes on as the Bible has so much to say about what we keep our hearts up with and what we utter.

    Apart from the addictive aspect, playing these games “online with friends” is really a poor substitute for real relationships. It lacks depth, interaction, reality, love, appropriate conversation, meaningful interaction, physical exercise, body language amongst many other things we are designed to do. Any reasonable person can see this. It teaches children how to “do” awesome things, only using their thumbs, constantly expecting something awesome to stimulate (or rather assault) the senses.

    This is not in line with reality, and it makes the real world boring by comparison. It also short circuits the possibility of real confrontation and potential rejection from others when they are showing socially unacceptable behaviours. It also programs their neurodevelopment and brain setups to expect a high turnover of excitement for life. Look at research done on the effects of TV on children under the age of four. Even adult mice shows a higher level of ADHD when they were exposed to a high turnover of entertainment/ flasing lights/ sensory overload when they were in their “toddler years”. We can only guess why so many children find real life situations (like washing dishes or making their beds) and school boring. We parents and game developers have created this and now we are unfairly requiring them to function “normally or like us” in reality and in schools. We are rewarding them for practising violence for hours on end in a fun and virtual world, then reprimanding them for being inappropriate socially, only giving them a negative experience of reality. We are training our children to repsond to rewards of Coke and chocolate, and then expecting them to eat their vegetables.

    Why are we seeing more ADHD and childhood depression? Which grandpa’s fireside story, devoid of special effects, visuals and action, can compete with an action packed multi-billion dollar animated blockbuster? Think “The time Grandpa almost missed the ship and would have never met grandma” vs “Ice Age 5”. Thus real life with infinte possiblities becomes boring vs an entertaining blast of meaningless escapism.

    I feel we have traded the special and real life moments, for cheap alternatives, because we are promised, fooled and deceived that it is better. It never turns out to be the truth or better. Real strawberries(infintely complex, wonderfully designed and produced by God’s intelligence and provision) are traded for a man-made E numbered ice-cream with no nutritional value, negatively affecting our health and fooling our bodies into thinking we are being nourished. When we see that picture of the strawberry on the packaging, our bodies anticipate to absorb vitamins and minerals and anti-oxidants, only to be tricked with hormones and transfats and chemicals. Real music (incredibly powerful mathematically genius and scientifically mysterious real sounds) are traded for synthetic fake music, devoid of overtones, lacking in depth and fooling our ears. The list goes on with what we smell down to the synthetic fibres we clothe ourselves with. It is cheaper and easier (nevermind the planet) to manipulate, produce, it lasts longer, has brighter neon colours and we overstimulate our senses and greed to profit and be comfortable even more. Think about what we see on a tv screen vs real outdoor experiences etc, how we are creating layer upon layer of deception and isolation, to ultimately give us meaningless, mindless and depressed lives. Just because of our WANTS… wanting faster and cheaper food, music, visuals, entertainment, comfort etc., we have fallen into a trap of manipulating things to suit us, and we have blindly also fallen into the trap of being manipulated up to the point where we are justifying violence and deception and not realising this. We are training our children in the ultimate comfort zone to be lulled down to nothing but lazy, unhealthy, depressed, inconsiderate and immoral beings witout any purpose, who will ironically blame God for the world we have created. Please wake up from this, pray and read the Bible. Then try and watch a minute of Fortnite, or read this articile again.

    1. I am impressed that you are devoted to the standard of truth found in the Word of God! Amen and Praise the Lord! Thank you for being a voice of truth! Now I know why I felt the Lord was displeased when I considered what I was doing, in rather blindly allowing my boys to play Fortnite. The way they were talking while playing it alarmed me and I knew I needed to look into it! Wish I had sooner!

  2. Rick,
    Thank you for commenting, and my apologies for not reading this sooner, as I was not notified of the comment until recently.

    First of all, do you say the same things about children playing sports? Most of our organized sports have martial themes, and competition in them naturally takes a “winner takes all” form. Did you never play “King of the Hill” as a kid? Further, we call knocking out an opponent in Fortnite “killing”, but the person affected just logs into a new game. In most other games, you actually respawn and jump right back in. This simply isn’t killing in a meaningful sense. It’s scoring points in a specific way. Unless you believe that all competition in sports is inherently sinful, I just don’t think your premise carries.

    It absolutely is not the same thing as murder. First of all, as mentioned, the other person does not “die” in a real sense. They are not harmed in any way. Secondly, and more centrally to the Biblical context, you can (in fact, should) play these games without any malice in your heart toward another person. You’re making video games weirdly more real than they really are when you say that it’s a clear violation of the 6th Commandment to eliminate my brother’s character in a video game when I do not hate him in my heart.

    As to the social aspect. I really miss the chances I had to play games with my close friends in college and high school. It was a shared activity that provided common ground for bonding, but it wasn’t the only thing we ever did together. If that was all we ever did, then your criticism would hold, but as just one of the things we did, your criticism of it for not containing the whole constellation of human experience falls short. (After all, how would reading the Bible together give us physical exercise? If that was all we ever did. Sitting in a room, not moving, reading Scripture to one another, would we not similarly be failing to fully engage Creation as we are called?)

    I 100% agree with you that people should not have this children playing video games for endless hours every day. The “Coke and chocolate” analogy is, to a degree, apt, in that varied engagement is ideal, and just having a sedentary lifestyle or only doing one thing is poor formation for well-rounded, godly people. I never argued that it was ideal to allow children to just sit and play Fortnite all day. At the same time, there are terrible costs to having children do nothing but play a specific organized sport from an early age, too. A generation ago, we also criticized children who stayed in and read books and never got outside. Similarly, there is some disdain for the “jocks” who just played sports and never developed their minds. Fortnite is like other types of play in that it has cognitive benefits and drawbacks, and it should be treated as such.

    In the meantime, I will continue reading my Bible and praying, regularly. I played some Fortnite in writing this article, but it isn’t a game that wildly appealed to me, and I haven’t kept it up, but I still don’t agree with your assessment, whether that makes me literally a voice of Satan in your book or not.

  3. Hi JoAnn,

    Thanks for your comment.

    If your sons were using inappropriate language or showing signs of unhealthy aggression, I commend you for intervening. This is precisely something I recommended in the article. See my response to Rick, though, as I don’t think that “killing’ as it occurs in a video game setting necessarily implicates the 6th Commandment (although it may for some, depending on how they are interacting). If the game was stirring up hatred in their hearts, then that deserves loving correction, but the game itself is not demonic or compromised in any special way beyond most of the world around us. We must always be discerning in how we act.

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