Home / Articles / A Short Defense of Video Games

A Short Defense of Video Games

photo-1429051883746-afd9d56fbdaf

Frankly, I don’t think the church has a solid and robust view of computer (or console) gaming.

“The fact is that there’s still somewhat of a negative connotation when it comes to gaming. People are fine posting about other interests like movies, books, TV shows, and sport, but as soon as you start posting about gaming, you’re dismissed as a geek, a loner, or someone that doesn’t have better things to do with their time.” – Riad Chikhani.

This may be due to the fact that video games are relatively new and many popular preachers condemn it as a waste of time. It’s true that many people (sometimes including myself) sin before, during and after playing games. However, the surface results do not discard a theology of gaming.

Here are a few reflections based on my many years of being a Christian gamer.

Gaming can glorify God

In John Piper’s book ‘Desiring God’, he proposes that “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him”. This doesn’t just mean that having fun while playing video games necessarily glorifies God. However, it sheds light on the fact that God has designed and given gifts to us for our enjoyment. The response to this is to thank and worship him. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” (1 Timothy 4:4).

Gaming can accomplish God’s mission

The gaming community is a mission field that is often repelled by the church (double meaning). The gospel’s message and effect will shine through in all parts of the world. God can, has and will use the medium of gaming to lead unbelievers to himself. God “uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (2 Corinthians 2:14b).

Gaming can sanctify a person

Video games are an opportunity for God to make you more like Jesus. This doesn’t mean that Jesus played video games and therefore we should too, but it does mean that for a Christian, God’s purpose in every situation is your sanctification. For example, getting frustrated in a game when you’re not in control can reveal a lack of faith in God’s sovereignty. There are unique opportunities for Christians to grow in their contexts, including a video game. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

Gaming can lead to your productivity

In Matt Perman’s book ‘What’s best next – how the gospel transforms the way you get things done’, he includes a chapter called “The Problem With Full System Utilization”. Many people would say to a gamer “don’t you have anything better to do with your time?”, and the answer is “Yes! I’m being productive.” This is because relaxing at home (while still exercising parts of your brain in a stress-free way) helps you do your other work better.

Consider also the research that gaming teaches you things like critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, collaboration skills, along with how to fail well and how to take on new roles. There are also a thousand other articles (like this one) on the benefits of gaming.

 

Nevertheless, sinful forms of gaming persist. If you’re someone that struggles with gaming addiction, please talk to a pastor or someone you trust. I have been (and sometimes still am) a slave to video games.

Gamers, I pray that 1 Corinthians 6:12 will be our battle cry:

“I have the right to do anything…
but not everything is beneficial…
I have the right to do anything…
but I will not be mastered by anything.”

Related Posts

I owe an apology, do you?   While listening to a sermon on apologetics by Michael Ramsden last Wednesday at my church’s community group, I was convicted by a few things, b...
50 Answers Non-Christians Don’t Think Christ... I thank the founder of Geeks Under Grace (previously Cross Console Gamers) Drew Koehler for inviting me to answer the next 10 questions in t...
Who owns the right to marry? A few days ago, Ireland became the first official country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. It seems as if the trend of society le...
Why do gamers rage, and how do I stop? What makes you angry while gaming? Is it when players on your team are bad? Is it when you’re not playing to your potential? Is it when your frien...
Top