Thursday, February 14, 2013

Desensitized Violence

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Deuteronomy 7:9

     Someone came up to me wondering if violent video games are sinful. Today I would like to answer this question. While violent video games have not always been around since Jesus’ day, violence has. The Bible has a lot to say about violence but not much to say about violent video games. Therefore, most of what I have to say in this posting comes from gleaning Bible verses about exposure to violence.
     Sometimes, in order to get a quick answer, we only have to look at the nature of God to know what He is not and what He doesn’t stand for. God is a God of love:

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV)"
     Because God is a God of love, He does not take lightly to violence. In Psalm 11:5, the Bible says, “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, He hates with a passion.” Violence doesn’t always take the form of bloodshed, according to God. Violence can come in the form of divorce, adultery, thievery — basically, the Bible defines violence as wrongdoing to neighbor or otherwise.
     The problem with violent video games is that they teach indifference to violence. The player will accumulate points with each person he or she kills. This is a reward system based on bloodshed. God has never wanted bloodshed for His people. When the earth started to become overly violent was when God decided to send a flood to rid the earth of the wicked (Genesis 6:11-13). It wasn’t as if God wanted just a few people to be gone. It was the entire earth that was consumed with violence and/or wickedness. There was only one righteous family left — Noah’s.
     God sees blood as precious. It is life-giving and contains the life of the animal or person who contains it. Science even confirms this. Blood contains our genetic identity. It is what makes us who we are. To God, our individuality, and the beauty and diversity of His creation are what make it precious. When Abel’s blood was spilled, God described the land being poisoned by it. Because of Cain’s unjust murder of his brother Abel, he was sentenced to be a nomad and to reap a harvest of thorns and thicket when he would try to get food.
     Indifference to violence also means desensitization to violence. If a video game depicts killing people and so does a news broadcast, what young mind can differentiate between the two? If a movie shows the violent deaths or mutilation of people with as much ease as you can show a wedding in the same movie what difference does it make to a child if it is happening in real life or on TV? Adults have somewhat of a filter between real and make-believe but children don’t. A newscast looks a lot like a movie to a kid. This is another reason why I hate Halloween so much. It is a violent holiday that comes too close to reality. The night prior, in Detroit, we used to hear of all types of violent acts being committed — especially arson. But people always assumed that the next day would be better because it involved kids and candy — innocent enough, right? Wrong. The two days are related. One day people act violent, the next they look it. To a child, what is the difference? When you look the part you get candy. It’s a scary proposition.

     I do believe that engaging in any activity that God sees as wicked is a sin. If God sees violence as a sin, my guess is that He would see violent video games as sinful material that defiles its user.



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