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Role Playing Games and Christianity

An essay donated by "D.B."

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I am a Game Master and player of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)

Between Christians (or any other religious group) and D&D players there has been a certain animosity about whether D&D is sacrilegious and/or blasphemous. I have found that there is a definite solution for this problem. I myself am a very religious person, though some may scoff at this since I am a D&D player and GM (Game Master).

The rules of the game are simple, the GM sets the "world" and the players "live in it". What is forgotten by most people is that the GM determines a very large portion of the game. In fact he or she has control over almost the entire game in their hands. With this control over the game they have the ability to allow the mentioning of other Gods, Satanic magic, and/or any other thing that may be considered blasphemous by the general public. The fault introducing these things into the game of D&D belongs to the expanders of the game, not the players or GM's . Unless the GM goads the players into using those specific ideas in the game, then it is up to the situation to determine whether or not the PERSONS in question are BEING blasphemous, not whether or not the game itself is blasphemous or sacrilegious.

Imagine yourself as a child again, playing with sticks in your backyard, as children do. One of your friends says he has killed you because he hit you in some specified place. You argue with him that he is wrong -- because obviously you want to win; it is innate in a child. You argue that you are still alive because of 'so and so' -- a reason. This is exactly what D&D is, except for the actual stick hitting. I see children play-fighting with sticks all of the time and never have I heard their parent tell them that it is suggestive of crude violence or blasphemy. The only thing that would make it blasphemous would be the introduction of Gods into the stick game who are false as far as the parents are concerned). So why should people judge the game when it is the players, in the end, who really have the choice to imagine and introduce 'sacrilegious ideas'.?

Maybe if a certain set of players is claiming false gods (according to the perspective of the accusers) then the PEOPLE may be considered for potentially "wrong beliefs", but then that is in the eye of the beholder.

Consider super heroes such as The Fantastic Four™. They have abilities such as "Flame On" and becoming invisible. No one can say that that is not the same thing as D&D magic because the "Human Torch" has the ability to throw massive fireballs just like the "spell" fireball in D&D. Yet the general public allows that as a "Superhero". In case it is not known already, the word Superhero (according to the well known Merriam-Webster Dictionary) is:

  1. A fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers;
  2. An exceptionally skillful or successful person. 1

Therefore it is hypocritical to say that D&D is blasphemous if "Superheroes" are are accepted as simply extraordinary "Fictional" people who are exceptionally skillful or successful.

In the game of D&D, all of the players have characters to use "In Game". These characters reflect the players as they move and live throughout the game of D&D. These individuals (the In Game characters) all are exceptional in multiple skills and are all FICTIONAL. How can it be that we use Superheroes as examples to young children as role models when they are fictional people with extraordinary abilities and skills, but simultaneously reject D&D characters as occult and blasphemous? I know more people than I have appendages that do just that and don't even stop for a single moment to think about it.

In order to understand the many facets of a gem you have to observe it carefully, examine every piece of it, every corner and how it is cut, hold it and compare it to every other rock you know exists. Only then can you estimate its worth. People have failed to completely evaluate D&D's worth, but instead immediately reject it due to the ideas that only a handful of people have introduced into their D&D games. Just like the game of backyard stick playing, if you don't like the way the other people are playing, then go find a different yard with a different stick game that is more to your liking and beliefs of fairness. Just because a select group(s) have played their D&D games in a manner that may be considered by some to be either blasphemous, sacrilegious, or evilly occult doesn't mean the entire world of D&D players and game masters has to be slandered and shot into worthlessness.

D&D, in fact, teaches many valuable lessons that even some "superheroes" occasionally "forget" to include in their glorious conquests, such as:

bulletTeamwork and fair play: The players have to work together.
bulletTrust and charisma : Players have to interact with other "people" in the world of D&D.
bulletThinking and interaction skills: Players are constantly being place in situations that require brain work and puzzle solving.
bulletDetermination and will: It is constantly stressed in the game of D&D to enhance your "characters resolve" in order to achieve the fruits of your works.
bulletFriendship: Players meet new players as a group grows in size and they all play D&D together.
bulletThe list goes on.....

D&D also doesn't differentiate or segregate players by their race, ethnicity, age, sex, background, scholastic abilities, or any other aspect.

In short, it is the players who allow certain acts or ideas to be impressed upon each other not the game itself. But that goes for everything in life. Just as you make your choices in life, consequences are involved with your decisions. The entire Earth is not judged by what one man does in his house is it? Of course not. So why judge D&D in that manner?

I personally do not allow any more than one God in my D&D games and He has no more a name than a piece of dust has a name. In order to keep a neutrality present between my players, we simply call Him "The One" and leave it at that so as not to offend any different religions. If some player comes who, in real life, worships multiple gods, then it is his prerogative to do so in game as well therefore reflecting upon his true personal beliefs and incorporating a larger sense of realism into the game -- because life has people with many different religions.

I personally do not play the part of god or angels or Satan or anything of the sort, so as not to offend anyone and not to be blasphemous in my own beliefs. It is MY choice as a GM and/or a Player to realize where that line is and the difference from realism and blasphemy (according to the eye of the beholder).

Anyone who claims that D&D is worthless, blasphemous, occult, or any other negative connotation has:

  1. Obviously not looked into D&D and all of its valuable aspects completely, and/or
  2. Not compared D&D to all of the other things that they consider morally just or as "good examples", and/or
  3. Accepted a general statement by a portion of the general public, and/or
  4. Rejected anything not pertaining to their religion. I find this impossible since D&D has many good aspects (see above), and almost every religion has at least one of these aspects at its core.

Please note that I have no malice towards any one religion or multiple religions. I also consider my religion my business. It is not Satanic in the least, in case anyone would consider calling me satanic. in fact my religion is very much against Satanic proceedings, beliefs, and/or habits of mind. I simply have a realization that PEOPLE control what they get into therefore their separate personal actions are what should be judged, whether or not they employed those actions through D&D or not, because they could have chosen those same actions in life just as easily.

This is my essay, but everyone's truths.

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Reference used:

  1. Dictionary definition of super hero at: http://www.m-w.com/

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Originally posted: 2005-NOV-29
Latest update: 2005-NOV-29
Author: "D,B,"

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