Are Video Games Stupid? Or Waging War in my Heart: True Combat Evolved

Mark Driscoll said video games are not “sinning, they are just stupid.” Specifically, he made these comments about video games:

Driscoll made some people mad apparently. Ok, not mad, necessarily. Some people just “took issue” with it. Pastor Drew Dixon, who plays video games and has “written about their value” has this rather lengthy response to Driscoll’s youtube clip.

As for where I stand, I’ll tell you. I play video games. I like to play video games. I have two consoles in my den and if I get a chance to play Madden, Assassin’s Creed or Wii Bowling, I enjoy it. I even enjoy getting slaughtered in a slayer match of Halo if I am at a place that has Xbox live. So I am not anti-video games. I have other issues to attend to. There are great injustices, false gospels and broken people that require urgent care and attention. So the anti-video game coalition will not get my membership dues this year.

But that having been said, I’m with Driscoll on this one…exactly because there are urgent issues at hand with  eternal consequences. Video games are stupid by comparison.  So is playing tic-tac-toe. And reading the comics.  And eating doughnuts.  And watching the Superbowl (ouch.) And playing fantasy football. (bigger ouch.)

It’s a matter of faulty comparisons.

Because there should be no comparison.

Ignatius said “Apart from Christ, let nothing dazzle you.”  A.W. Tozer, in concluding the second chapter of his Pursuit of God wrote an appropriately convicting prayer:

Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all Those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Isn’t that what Driscoll is saying? Give up the toys.  Not because they are sin, but because they are rivals to an unimaginably greater cause.

Don’t break your new controller just yet. Don’t go burn your Halo collectors edition box set.

But instead do deep inventory of your heart. Ask God to show you if you have rivals in your heart. Be scared at what He might reveal, but be honest and ready to deal with what He does show you.

Maybe you need to put down the controller for awhile. Or the doughnuts.

I need to put down both.

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6 thoughts on “Are Video Games Stupid? Or Waging War in my Heart: True Combat Evolved

  1. Excellent point. I Struggle with my time wasters, often refering to words with friends/angry birds. Perhaps I should begin calling them or at least checking myself to see whether more than merely time wasters they are actually idols.

  2. Candice Hair says:

    I love this babe – linked to it on my blog. Great point. And, though my rivalry is not with video games or doughnuts, there is still a great war. Everyone has their thing…

  3. Shaun says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jeff. I am a iphone worshipper for sure. I actually named it the Widowmaker 2.0. It is crazy how much time I spend looking at it. Definitely a time waster/idol.

  4. Drew Dixon says:

    Hey Shaun,Thanks for the link. My article actually wasn't about the value of videogames. It was about how we speak to each other. It was actually about how we preach against things. I no where claimed that videogames aren't time wasters or that Driscoll or anyone else shouldn't preach against their dangers. I said as much in my article. My issue is that the way Driscoll makes his argument is dishonest. I don't think he meant to be–but he is. He stereotypes gamers which amounts to about 183 million Americans. I think that hurts his message–which I agree with. Let me say that again to be clear–I agree with his message. I hope more Christians will engage in kingdom matters and spend less time doing that which doesn't matter. I am with him–I think however, he makes that point through stereotyping (technically its a inductive fallacy) and stereotyping is not honest communication–its not based in fact. Here is the issue—everyone seems to agree that he wrongly stereotypes/generalizes gamers but then everyone seems to go on to say, but his main point is really great. I agree that we should focus on things that matter unto eternity—amen to that. But to stereotype gamers in the process of making that point is not good and it hurts his argument. He stereotypes people he would presumably like to reach with the gospel or influence for the sake of the kingdom. That actually hurts his main point. It understandably keeps people from hearing him out.Its like going to a library and telling people “books are stupid” then proceeding to say some really wonderfully helpful things. No matter how helpful what you have to say is, people aren’t going to hear you out because they are thinking about the unfair generalization you just made. The only difference is the “library” in this instance is 183 million Americans.And for the record I greatly respect Driscoll as I do any preacher of the gospel. But why can’t we just say this video isn’t helpful because its clearly makes an inductive fallacy that stereotypes a rather large group of people?I have written about the value of video games and believe in them as a valid artistic medium–that is an entirely different discussion and not relevant to my article.Thanks again for the link. Blessings.

  5. Shaun says:

    Drew, I really appreciate your comment. I may need some further clarification though. Are you saying that if Mark had said "some young men," instead of "young men" then you would be satisfied? Let me clarify my position: While I think his "main point is really great," I do not agree with your premise that "he wrongly stereotypes/generalizes gamers." I believe Mark's point is that it is stupid try and find eternally meaningful victories in a video game. Who disagrees? If I am not doing that, its clear he is not speaking to me. But if I have potential for idolatry in my heart (and I greatly do), then I need to heed the warning.Other than that, I have no problem painting with broad strokes if the painter paints with truth and love, which I believe Mark does.For example, in the passage from which Mark is preaching, Jesus told the listeners to hate their own parents. Who thinks that Jesus wants them to hate, despise, detest their parents? That could offended some, but Jesus spoke a hard truth because much was at stake. Apart from Christ's grace, teaching Gospel truths will offend and be a stumbling block (1 Cor. 1:23). "The Gospel is veiled to the perishing." (2 Cor. 4:3) When teaching, we have to worry more about truth than feelings. (A preacher should never be reckless with others' feelings.)Much is at stake and Jesus modeled divine boldness when preaching to the lost, yet He told us that He is Love. In my opinion, Mark's generalization was neither unloving nor dishonest. It revealed hard truth about our human nature. Any other kind of teaching just tickles the ear.

  6. Drew says:

    I am totally fine with speaking hard truths–the Bible obviously does this. Again, that is not my quibble with Driscoll.He actually is speaking to all gamers–whether he intends to or not he is. He says "video games are stupid." That is a categorical statement leveled at all games and therefore anyone who might play them. As you realize he did not say "some young men" thus his big point here is marred by a statement not grounded in truth.I think categorical statements not grounded in fact like this do not serve Christians or non-Christians well. Bottom line is that we are called to speak the truth, not half-truths.It is abundantly clear that Driscoll's words are leveled at all gamers (again he may not have intended it that way, but that is i fact what he did). So if we can agree that it is an unfair generalization–then I am not ok with the way in which Driscoll makes his point.To put it simply, let's not utilize half-truths to bring attention to full-truths. That is what Driscoll does. Its cool–I still like him,I would just hope that he and all evangelical preachers who would take the time to read what I have said would take note and determine to make their points honestly without making generalizations.This is an issue of communication–let's strive to communicate honestly–surely that is required of the Christian and even more of the Christian preacher.Amen to speaking hard truths but lets speak hard truths without half-truths attached to them.Again–thanks for your response and your interest in the blog.

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