For the love of God.

Obsidian Portal, a fine site that offers free wiki pages for your rpg campaign, just sent out a tweet about Jack Chick. (Yes, that’s his real name.) He’s appears to be a fundamentalist Christian who cries out against the evils of Catholics, Mormons, Masons, and yes, roleplaying games. I must respond, not to OP, but to Mr. Chick and his buddy, William Schnoebelen, who wrote a pair of articles claiming D&D will lead to Satanism. The last article, Should a Christian Play Dungeons & Dragons, was written in 2001, so this stuff isn’t that old.

The basic argument, which I have heard many times in the 80s, goes something like this:

  1. D&D is based on real occult rituals and teaches you how to cast spells.
  2. D&D is a “gateway drug” to Satanism, perverting good folk into evil people.
  3. D&D is against Jesus and his teachings.
  4. D&D encourages people to act evil.

First, let me state this: I am a practicing Catholic and have been gaming since the early 80s. I know both sides of the story, so I feel qualified to comment. And my comment? What a load of bullshit.

No rpg teaches about spells because magic doesn’t exist! I’m not trying to offend any Wiccans out there, but c’mon! Magic in the style of D&D or Harry Potter is fake, has been fake, will always be fake. As for real occult practices in the game, I have never seen any, not even in a LARP. No one mutters arcane phrases beyond made-up gobbledygook that sounds weird, and even that would weird out most gamers. Having candy and Moutain Dew nearby is the closest thing to a ritual used by gamers, and while not doctor recommended, it’s not evil.

I cannot vouch for all gamers, but I have met plenty in my life. Some have been atheist, but most have been agnostic just like most Americans these days. They may not live exactly according to the Bible, but they are not carving pentagrams on floors and skulking about drinking blood and sacrificing puppies either. We are all sinners, so I won’t claim that gamers are 100% good. That said, gamers are the most loving and nonjudgemental group I have ever met. We don’t care about your race, ethnicity, or religion–we only care about having a good time, and if you can play nice, you’re welcome at the table. You cannot say the same about fundamental Christians.

The common themes of Jesus in the Gospels is love, forgiveness, and following God’s law. Try working the Love and Forgiveness angles for a while. (And don’t disguise hate as “tough love” or “love for the soul”. Hate is hate is hate.)

More to come ….

  1. Perhaps, but it fills me with such anger and offense that I feel forced to respond and defend my hobby. I know I won’t change his mind, or any of his fundie friends, but maybe I can put some balance into the debate.

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