Videogames, sinful?

Ai

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This Orthodox lady told me that video games are sinful and it's best if I stay away from them. So then, she advised me to go confess it. I love RPG video games so I dont know why this would be an issue in Orthodoxy  ???
 

Asteriktos

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I've been playing Skyrim again lately and having a ton of fun. And I can't wait for Dragon Age: Inquisition this Fall.

Anyway, like most entertainment you just have to keep some degree of balance IMO. If it is causing you to swear at random or want to assault people or neglect important things in life, then yeah, those are problems. Otherwise it seems like more of a judgment call.
 

Punch

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Sounds like that lady is sinful and needs to confess.  I play World of Tanks.
 

DeniseDenise

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Punch said:
Sounds like that lady is sinful and needs to confess.  I play World of Tanks.
why is that not surprising?  ;D
 

Nephi

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Asteriktos said:
I've been playing Skyrim again lately and having a ton of fun. And I can't wait for Dragon Age: Inquisition this Fall.

Anyway, like most entertainment you just have to keep some degree of balance IMO. If it is causing you to swear at random or want to assault people or neglect important things in life, then yeah, those are problems. Otherwise it seems like more of a judgment call.
+1

Any blanket condemnation of video games and such is silly, regardless of whether the source is Orthodox or not.
 

LizaSymonenko

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All things in moderation.

I don't play video games....but, I DO love my Hidden Object games on my iPhone...yes, I know...lame.  Honestly, some of them are really fun...great graphics, and wonderful music....

Anyway...as innocent as my Hidden Object games seem.....there are two possible issues with them.

1) The content.  Sadly, most of these revolve around something sinister or evil.  Death, haunted hotels, demons, etc.  I do try to avoid those, but, almost each one has something unsavory in it.  One shouldn't revel in evil things...and it does cause me to stop and review it before I download it.  If it's blatantly evil in content, no matter how good the reviews, I will skip it.

2) Time management.  Yes.  I said it.  We waste so much time on these games, instead of doing something productive....or even sleeping.  I usually play with my phone as I get in bed for the night.  One more look at the email, Facebook....have to check in on this Forum....and then a few minutes of some game.  I have at times, gotten so caught up in a game, or a book (on the phone), etc...that I've actually gone to sleep hours later than I should have.  That makes it even harder to get up, and I'm cranky due to lack of sleep the next day.  So, not only does playing games take us away from cleaning the house, spending time with family, praying, it also cuts in to our sleep.  :)

However, if done responsibly....while not neglecting "real" life responsibilities....I don't think there's anything sinful in playing a few games.
 

DeniseDenise

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Hinterlander said:
It's easy to excuse the playing of video games in a culture devoted to so many awful and expensive pastimes.

I think "purposeless walking" might be a better use of your time.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27186709
I think its easy to excuse the spending of time on internet forums in a culture devoted to so many awful and expensive pastimes... ;)


 

LizaSymonenko

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How funny....this just popped up on Facebook.

http://blog.petflow.com/this-is-a-video-everyone-needs-to-see-for-the-first-time-in-my-life-im-speechless/

It's a short clip about being preoccupied with our electronic devices. 
 

Nephi

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LizaSymonenko said:
How funny....this just popped up on Facebook.

http://blog.petflow.com/this-is-a-video-everyone-needs-to-see-for-the-first-time-in-my-life-im-speechless/

It's a short clip about being preoccupied with our electronic devices. 
I saw that come up on Facebook today too, but the "progressive" hipster types in my theology department were denouncing it saying that technology is somehow an "integral" part of human nature.
 

Mor Ephrem

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LizaSymonenko said:
The only problem with purposeless walking are the mosquitoes. 
I am no fan of mosquitoes, but I will take them any day over skunks, coyotes, and bears, all of which I've had to deal with while "purposelessly walking". 
 

NicholasMyra

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I enjoy video games, too.

But we can ask ourselves whether or not Christians should be, y'know, brutally killing human effigies.

It's done in traditional protests, though...
 

Gunnarr

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OK....
First, I will say this. I am addicted to video games. It is almost like my life is so miserable (of course only in my own head) that I have to sink hours into video games.

This forum has been over this quite a bit before, and I still have the same hypocritical opinion. I got in quite an argument over whether it is a sin to play video games. The argument ended with one saying video games can be played because a certain Fool for Christ played games on the population and thus this makes it not a sin, and one side saying it is a sin because it is in opposition to diligence.

It is my opinion that playing video games is as sin. For what purpose is video games? Or to say another thing, how does video games help one spiritually? I think it does not help anyone spiritually, rather the opposite. I still believe that every time I play a video game i am sinning. It is just my opinion.

What is sin? I have always had this definition in my head because I never read it in a dictionary before, simply meaning "Doing something which you shouldn't, or something in opposition to virtue" Well, that is not much of a made up definition, so I will simply google it. Sinning seems to mean, to be against God's will. Does God will me to play video games? NO! What about video games playing tanks shooting each other, or planes shooting each other? No! What about games where you pretend to be a noble? No! What about games where you simply play around with cards!? No! Did Adam and Eve play video games or cards or any other kind of game in the Garden of Eden? I cannot think so! I cannot think that in any way, that video games have any benefit at all for the soul.

Further, it is said the purpose in life is union with God. Does video games aid me in any way for this purpose? No, it does the opposite!


Another poster speaks about posting on a forum on the internet as a possible waste of time and even a sin. I would say yes!, I think it is a sin to waste time on this forum if it is not with a purpose of getting spiritual help or attempting to help someone. I think the off topic forum is a great example of wasted time. I think over 90% of my posts is wasted time and sinful posts. There is such a virtue of silence that I have forgotten. "Avoid vain speaking" Well what about "vain entertainment"? Isn't for example, world of tanks, which I play as well, a form of "vain entertainment"? How is that not a sin?

I think about something. I spent probably an hour once posting on the off topic forum explaining a video game. Just think, what if I was praying instead? How many jesus prayers could I have said during that one hour of talking about video games? What about all the probably thousands of hours I have spent on video games? How many "Lord have mercy!" could have been said then? Or what about the hundreds upon hundreds of worthless posts I have made on this forum and other forums? What if I was saying prayers instead? How would that tip the scales of judgement on my soul?

That is my opinion

 

Punch

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I think that it is a simple fact that videogames are sinful. So what? Since sin is imperfection, 99.999+% of what we do is sinful. We are told to be perfect as God is perfect, and to pray without ceasing. I would have a hard time explaining how blowing up tanks fits into either one of these. But then again, little that I do during the course of a day does. So, given that virtually everything that we do is an example of some degree of imperfection (sin), are videogames of a high enough degree to get overly worried about? If they are keeping me from praying and doing good works, then yes. If they are keeping me from masturbating to pornography, I think that a positive argument could be made for World of Tanks being somewhat God pleasing.
 

TheTrisagion

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Playing video games, like playing cards, playing golf, going to wine tastings, carving little wooden birds, etc, is a hobby.  There is nothing implicitly wrong with a hobby so long as it does not consume your life.  If you are thinking about video games during your prayers or during DL, then you have an imbalance in your life that needs correction.  The same thing could be said about golf or anything else.  Everything in moderation.
 

katherineofdixie

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Take this with a grain of salt, because I'm bored by any games, of any kind, video games, cards, Monopoly etc., so I don't comprehend the allure. There are things, actions, activities, whatever, which bring us closer to God, and things which do not. As Punch alluded to, if playing video games is keeping you from spending time with your family, cutting the grass, prayer, doing good works and any number of useful activities, then it is probably a sin to struggle against, like the myriad other things we do or don't do.
 

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I think it is only fair to have "downtime" to balance our work. As long as video games are not contributing to sinful outlooks/views/beliefs, do not necessarily require you to do sinful things (sure, you CAN run innocent people over in your stolen car, but if the game is not asking or requiring you to do that, that's your problem) even virtually, and that the game isn't taking priority in your free time (if there are better things you could be doing in your free time, and you haven't done them - idleness/laziness/slothfulness is an issue) then I don't think it's a problem. Spending an hour playing Lego Star Wars after dinner whilst my food settles, before doing studying/reading/praying, but still doing these things afterwards, does God count this against me? I'd like to think not, but hey. Maybe God doesn't know fun. Maybe God doesn't take a rest! Maybe God is just waiting for us to slip up because He wants an opportunity to deny us the inheritance He offered. What do you guys think?
 

Sam G

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Studies show they can be useful in a child's development, but I would largely say it depends upon what type of video game, what it is being used for, and whether or not it is preventing you from being closer to God.  I believe that somewhere one of the fathers warned about living vicariously through entertainment, but I can't remember who or where to cite the quote from.
 

DeniseDenise

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However, listen to your priest on this, rather than the possibly dubiously qualified 'some Orthodox Lady'

 

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As in anything you’re concerned about like this, you should first talk to your priest.

Now, what follows is the opinion of a very uneducated layman.

When I was a young teenager, I played a lot of video games. From ages 14 to 16, I spent approximately 8 hours a day minimum playing MMORPGs. On certain days, I would top out at 16 to 18 hours doing nothing but staring at the computer screen with barely a break for the bathroom and food. As a result of this, I lost a lot of things. I lost relationships with good friends; I started failing classes in school; I started ignoring family members and actively withdrawing from any non-gaming related aspect of my life. When I was just shy of 16 years old, my grandmother fell very ill. At the time, she was living in my house. Although I’m very ashamed to admit this, I didn’t visit her in the hospital. I was too busy playing that game to bother. After a month of being on life support, my parents made the decision to let her pass in peace. After all of this, my mother managed to pry me away from my game long enough to visit my grandmother for ten minutes in the hospice home. I returned home immediately afterward and began playing my game again. My grandmother died that day, about five minutes after I had left her bedside. Shortly after that, I put down that game for good. I was able to bring my grades up and graduate high school as salutatorian; I managed to get a girlfriend that became my wife, and a lot of good things started happening after I stopped spending my time on such a stupid thing.

Nowadays, I’m married and have a full time job. I work in a detox facility. With all the education and experience I’ve received in my time here, I can look back at that time and recognize what I was experiencing for what it really was: an addiction. I had a serious problem, and it took the death of someone very dear to me to pull me out of that hole. I regret every single day that I spent with that stupid game; I wish I could take it all back. I wish that I could have gone back to visit my grandmother when she needed me, and I wish I hadn’t ignored my friends as much as I did.

With all of that said, I learned many things from all of it. It sounds really stupid to hear someone say that they are “addicted” to a game, or “addicted” to the internet, or whatever else; personally, I’ve lived it. It might not produce physical withdrawal symptoms like I see in my alcohol patients, but it produces the same detrimental life effects that any other addiction does. Loss of friends, family, jobs, school opportunities, etc... all of these are things that can and do occur when you find yourself in such a position.

Personally, I do not necessarily feel that video games are sinful in and of themselves; to me, they’re a lot like alcohol: everything in moderation. As it stands right now, my wife and I do play video games sometimes. We even play them together and find that they can be a great bonding experience. However, I’m always mindful of slipping back into past patterns of behavior. I refuse to let video games take over my life again; for that reason, I am very strict about never getting involved in another MMORPG. I also make it a point to have other more constructive hobbies, such as writing poetry and recording music.

I know that I can never play certain games, and I am always very careful about buying new ones. I buy about one game every calendar year, and that’s it. In my life, video games are something that I must be careful with. I can enjoy them, but the very second that they begin to control me instead of the other way around, they become sinful and destructive.

Video games are not unique in this; there are many, many things in life that can become an addiction in their own way. The litmus test is simple: Is this thing interfering with your life in a negative way? If so, and you find that it’s impossible to control, you’re best off just dropping it altogether.
 

hecma925

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DeniseDenise said:
However, listen to your priest on this, rather than the possibly dubiously qualified 'some Orthodox Lady'
Not "some", but "this".  :)
 

TheTrisagion

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DeniseDenise said:
However, listen to your priest on this, rather than the possibly dubiously qualified 'some Orthodox Lady'
but what if the Orthodox Lady has naturally curly hair?  Surely that counts for something...  ;)
 

rakovsky

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I am not sure if I sinned in a video game today by playing a Map that gave me tons of resources without my opponent knowing:
But.... the map was designed that way......... and uploaded as a "Real Map" for India.
 

hecma925

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Video game cheaters will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I remember camping with a sniper rifle in Goldeneye and my friend telling me to "Go to Hell".
 

Asteriktos

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Hey, you, you're finally awake. Microsoft just bought Bethesda. Clearly there can be evil in video games. Let the reader attend.
 
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Microsoft just bought Bethesda
Traditionally, I'd be concerned about this. However, they've been moving to a unified game portfolio where xbox and pc share titles. Long run, I think all xbox and pc will share them. Bethesda has been a mess recently anyway, so we'll see what happens. I don't have any game platform, except an old wii, but maybe microsoft can publish quality games from them.
 

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They're not inherently sinful, but should be approached in the same way as any other normal activity with potentially negative consequences when done in excess - over-eating, etc. Harmless in moderation.
 
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