Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

September 21, 2008 -

Violent video games are not quite sinful but can involved "departures from God's will," according to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

The issue was raised as a question by a reader of the Synod's website:

Q: I'm very sure that killing/suicide stealing and anything like that is not accounted as an actual sin if it's only in video games. But I'm still not very sure, when I play video games, I'm not murdering at heart because I would never try to take the life of any living thing. And whatever is a video game can't die because it's not alive in the first place, video games are a false alternate reality...

A: As normally defined, taking the life of another in video games (as in acting or in any other fantasy situation) is not a sin against God's prohibition to murder. If, however, what is done in the video game is an expression of hatred or callous disregard for human life, then the heart and motives are wrong, and then it is sin in God's eyes...

 

For the record, however, obsession with video games can involve other departures from God's will... Typically, this can involve a colossal misuse of valuable time and also end up diverting time and attention from more useful and valuable pursuits that better glorify God and serve our neighbor...


Comments

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

 If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what's stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals? travesti i am.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Gallagher can araç kiralama say all he wants, but I strongly rent a car believe it's due to his crappy leadership and E3 being a joke. ESA's Board of Directors need to find a way to get out rent a car of this horrid contract with this Bush cronie before there's no one left on the Board.

Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing ttnet vitamin or little and need to start saving costs.

YES.

Now I don't have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

Wait... I think that sounds like a good idea.

But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God's Sake... least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

 

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Whoa, back up a sec...

If some one in a film was a bad guy and done something bad (e.g. Killed the good guy's son or something like that) and I hated the villian for doing that and felt good when the bad guy was killed by the good guy, does that mean I sinned?

 

What kind of bizzare logic is that?  

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

I guess every "method" actor is doomed, too.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

You all raise some very interesting comments. However, I have a question: I am not religious, I respect life and such.  I get bullied frequently at my school, when I get home I play 'Manhunt' to release my anger and stress. It is cathatic to me. Have I sinned?

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

There are times when I accidently kill someone playing GTA.  The moment is sometimes followed by an apology to the screen.  Yes, I run over people and then say "Oops!  Sorry!"

All kidding aside, while it is sad to see some people misuse thier time here on earth, there are organizations created by gamers to help their fellow man.  Some of them are even listed down below in Gamers Doing Good.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

To all the previous commentors, I am so much more glad you've all decided to take on a religious topic with some sense of respect and dignity to the topic. My thanks to the regulators as well. As for discussion on the issue itself, does it not interest you that such a topic has risen. Instead of simply calling it entertainment, shouldn't we ask ourselves, What is virtual reality? what does it entail? why does one indulge in it? etc....

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Agreed, then we would have some tools to help those who become too engrossed find their way back to Real Reality.

Without a doubt, there are those who take matters too far, and understanding what leads them to become over-dependent on virtual worlds and dealing with that is far more important, to my mind, than attacking those virtual worlds themselves.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Sinlol

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

I agree that all of the constant attacks on gaming tends to make people here paranoid.

However, this man didn't say anything wrong. By "Serve our neighboor," he means that we should help our friends and those around us. Is that really such a bad thing? He has good intentions and was fair towards all forms of media. The religion bashing on here is getting ridiculous and needs to stop.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

I agree with you, for two reasons. Firstly, this is not Religionpolitics, and secondly, regardless of what anyone says, be it pro- or anti- religion, it isn't going to change anyone else's stance one whit.

There's an old saying that goes 'don't preach to the choir', I think it applies here, because the only people who are ever going to agree with someone elses' religious position is someone who already agreed with it.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

I agree with you that people aren't going to neccessarily "get" a religious message if they aren't already in a position to understand it. But these are exactly the type of people we need to reach to at least show them that we aren't the hateful bunch of hypocrites that get all the air time. None of us are perfect - not one, it's what we strive for in our relationship with God and what comes from the heart that matters. I just find it so sad that as soon as God is mentioned in an article that pretty much agrees with the general consensus on the non-existant threat to morality that is gaming everybody has to turn it into a battle of teenage wits that never moves past the Old Testament... PAT ROBERTSON DOES NOT REPRESENT US...

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Come on guys, this guys response was aimed at someone who already has faith, so of course its not going to carry the same meaning to an atheist. You should all just be happy that he didn't go on a "video games are evil" rant.

Just out of curiosity, what exactly will make you people happy? Not everyone in the world is going to like games, end of story.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

I call it the 'Thompson effect', spend enough time around someone who hates you enough to wish you dead and you start to get paranoid.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Thompson Effect is too often inflicted.

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I AM DOOMED TO HAUNT JACK THOMPSON'S DREAMS UNTIL HIS CRUSADE AGAINST VIDEO GAMES ENDS.



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I AM DOOMED TO HAUNT JACK THOMPSON'S DREAMS UNTIL HIS CRUSADE AGAINST VIDEO GAMES ENDS.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Wonder if they feel the same way about people who paint pictures of a murder or something to that effect?

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Lol God people still believe in him? please grow up and realize your gonna die and nothing good is gonna happen.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

All that I need to say is,

 

1. Killing in a Videogame is not like real life,

 

2. Playing GTA for example can give you a challenge of trying to finish the game without trying to kill someone unless if your own life is in danger or if it is related to the storyline that needs to be carried out.

 

3. Playing Videogames to some people may seem like a waste of time, but it is fun and having fun is time well spent.

 

Stuff what other people believe. just have fun playing Videogames because I don't give a stuff about what other people think as they try to make me feel bad about myself all because I am different compared to what other people consider as normal.

 

In God's eyes, I am who I am and no one can change that.

 

from TBoneTony

 

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Plus I was not commenting on the person's responce, but rather to the question on the title.

 

I am so happy at least that he did not go onto the same opinion that other people do like "Burn Videogames because they corrupt our youth"

 

I feel that this guy in some way has understood that even people of his own religion sometimes judges others  without getting to know them in return.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

In most games killing is in self defence. If you didn't kill them then they would kill you. Not to mention that they are bad guys trying to take over the world, capture the princess, etc.

I suppose you could turn the other cheek but that's a quick way to get your head ripped off and on a pike.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

I agree with the guy to a certain extent, the thing about computer games is the challenge, whether it's ducks or a bio-engineered Nazi killing machine, it's really about point and click, and most people understand that.

Unfortunately, you get people (on both sides of the divide) who don't.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

hmmmmm

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Honestly, I'm kinda impressed. It was a very reasonable response.

 

-Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007) Just to name a few...

Reality/////////////////////////////////////Fantasy. Seems like a pretty thick line to me...

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

no, it doesn't, but if you hate jews or black people or white people, and project your HATRED and ANGER against those virtual victims, THAT is what makes you a sinner, not the act of ending virtual lives, but the emotions connected with such an ending.

If you just like to watch people die, as entertainment and not bloodlust, then thats fine.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Wait a minute, I love over the top violent games, and I've complained that Saw isn't always gruesome enough (that and the plot seems far fetched and annoying). So does playing violent games partly because I like to see fake people die in horrible ways make me a sinner?

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Nope, not at all. If you hated and were angry with the fake people, the hatred would be wrong, and be a sin, but that is regardless to whatever medium is being presented.

"I'm not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

"I'm stel not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

So does hating a certain boss because he/she/it is annoying, very hard and uses what I consider cheap moves, a sin then?

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

SNK has damned us all.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Who cares if it does? There's no Hell.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

How do you know?

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Hmm...This guy's actually on point. I'm impressed.

I'm also impressed at Jack's ability to restrain himself this time. What a good little monkey.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

He didn't. He posted a lawsuit against a whole bunch of people in the Florida law system, and it got flagged. Oh, well....

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Ya know,I've always wondered that.I don't think it's a sin,cause the people/creatures you're killing aren't real.It's a game.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Come on people, are you actually reading what the guy said? Here's his entire response, with a couple of things bolded.

"As normally defined, taking the life of another in video games (as in acting or in any other fantasy situation) is not a sin against God's prohibition to murder. If, however, what is done in the video game is an expression of hatred or callous disregard for human life, then the heart and motives are wrong, and then it is sin in God's eyes. But if this activity is pure entertainment and not an expression of lovelessness against any fellow human being, it isn't murder.

For the record, however, obsession with video games can involve other departures from God's will for his dearly loved and redeemed people. Typically, this can involve a colossal misuse of valuable time and also end up diverting time and attention from more useful and valuable pursuits that better glorify God and serve our neighbor. The same, of course, is true of a lot of forms of entertainment or diversions from useful labor or education (e.g., watching TV, movies, constantly listening to music but doing little other than that)."

He's not saying killing people in video games is sinful. He's not singling out video games as a bad activity or automatically a misuse of time.

He's saying don't blur fantasy and reality and inject real-life hatreds against people into a video game. He's saying video games are entertainment, and therefore don't obsess over them to the point where important things suffer. Perfectly reasonable things, in my view, and in most people's views I think. If only more people here actually understood what he was saying instead of automatically thinking "Oh, a religious guy is talking about video games, it must be an unjustified attack by an ignorant fool."

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

On the same view as you. I read this as "It's fine to do what the game tells you to do, but don't mix it with your real-life lust for sin".

The average person has as much bloodlust killing virtual people as they do kicking rocks on the sidewalk or throwing beanbags at those cardboard targets in carnival games. Only difference is in the excitement involved. But that excitement in games shouldn't come from your fantasy of real-life murders.

Most people play aggressively so they can toot their horn and make others feel humilated if you are playing with others. It may be questionable as to whether humiliation is ok in God's view, and too much pride is considered sinful (and annoying too, if you ever encounter a guy who doesn't shut up). But usually it's all in lighthearted fun and nobody takes offense at losing unless someone throws a fit.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Exactly, basically, the response given is pretty much what people on this very site have wanted to see a religious group profess:

1. Video Games are not evil.

2. The individual gamer is responsible for his or her own actions.

3. Obsessing about anything (video games, TV, etc.) is generally unhealthy and not good.

"I'm not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

"I'm stel not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

I don't see killing in a video game as sinful.  I mean, technically, it's just pixellated images on a screen!

Even Jack Thompson would realize that, if he and that fat pig-faced talk-radio jerk Michael Savage could ever get their heads out of each-other's butts! (And I hope Jack relays this message to Savage, too!)

Tim (aka the Slipperman)

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Thankyou for your comment. It has added so much to this discussion.

What My Old Youth Pastor Told Me:

"It's okay to kill an enemy in games like Metal Gear Solid and SOCOM, but only a fool would kill somebody in real life or try to say that video games made them kill people!"

 

This came from an old youth pastor of mines, who was also a bit of a gamer himself.  \

 

Why can't other men of God could had been like my pastor?

 

-Snow_Storm

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

 If killing in games is a sin, then what about starting endless wars in the middle east for fun and profit?

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

But the point is that it isn't a sin. Contrary to the fundamentalist Bible-thumping whackos (of which, the WELS is not a part) who believe the Bible is against violence, the truth of the matter is it isn't. The Bible is against murder, which is a very specific kind of killing -- killing someone else for personal gain (like, killing someone because you hate that person and feel you'd be better off without him or her still being alive). Heck, the Bible is pretty full of all kinds of violence in it, some good, some not so good.

Violent video games are not inherently evil. They are a form of entertainment, and what the individual player does with the game, that could easily be for simple, good entertainment purposes. It is arguable that even using a game like that to dump otherwise uncontrolled anger and rage into the game, rather than into another human being is a noble cause, however there also is something to be said about confronting whatever has built that rage within yourself, and resolve that problem so then you don't need a video game to vent your anger, because you've separated yourself from your anger.

"I'm not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

"I'm stel not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

exactly, the bible defines murder as "taking one's life against the law"
self-defense is okay
war is okay
killing witches (Leviticus 20:27) is okay
killing someone when god tells you to is okay, though in this day and age, you'll get thrown in the loony bin

岩「…Ace beats Jack」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

I'd have to say no.  Igorning all the anti-religion that's going on in this thread, I'll just point it out plain and simple.  The people in video games like GTA or Saint's Row are not real, so honestly, I'd have to say no.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Whether or not those people in the video game are real is immaterial. The motivations and path your heart and mind are taking while playing the game, that is what is important. I personally have no problem with slapping in a GTA or Res. Evil game and blowing people/creatures away in it -- I bear no hatred or animosity in my heart for it, as I know it is a game, and that is part of the game. If I was filled with hate, and for some reason hated the monsters in the game (it is, after all, a game, right? Seems a bit silly to hate some batch of pixels...), and was doing it, the hate would be wrong.

"I'm not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

"I'm stel not responcabel fer my comuter's spleling errnors." -- Xlorep DarkHelm

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

I'd still have to say no.  Pixels are not living things, so I'd still have to say doing things against them still can't be considered a sin.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Lol.  God's to busy ignoring the real world to care about one does in a video game.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

While I personally agree with where they're coming from, I think they're ignoring one key fact about video games that negates whatever point they're trying to make.

The people in any video game are not real, living people that are going to care if you kill them or not. They are artificial constructs composed of graphics and code, generated by a hunk of circuits housed in a shiny plastic and/or metal case and projected onto TV screen. Any action they take for, against, or as a result of a player's actions are prescripted by a programmer and initiated by the same hardware responsible for their mere existence. They are robots made of code, nothing more.

The Bible covers interactions with real, flesh-and-blood human beings, not interactions with inanimate, graphics-and-computer-code constructs. That said, I believe that killing people in a video game is no more of a sin than cramming a firecracker up a Tickle-Me Elmo's butt and lighting it off just for kicks or putting a Furby into a microwave just to watch him melt. They're inanimate objects, they're not going to care what happens to them.

 

Now, I will agree that too much is bad for you. In moderation, video games are a great way to have fun with friends, but in excess, they can guarantee that you won't have many friends to have fun with, online or off. This is speaking from personal experience; too much gaming can ruin you.

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

"The people in any video game are not real, living people that are going to care if you kill them or not. They are artificial constructs composed of graphics and code, generated by a hunk of circuits housed in a shiny plastic and/or metal case and projected onto TV screen."

Who is to say that is not what this existence is?

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Then I choose to remain blissfully ignorant!

Re: Is Killing in Video Games a Sin?

Here's a question for you, though. What if a horrible racist were to get a hold of Resident Evil 5, and play the game, and then imagine that the zombies aren't actually zombies. He hates black people, and therefore imagines that he's killing normal people while he mows down zombies, takes pleasure from the thought.

Would you find that to be sinful behavior? And even if you didn't, would you find it odd for others to view it as sinful behavior?

 
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