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Dispelling the Myth

Jenny Hein

There is a tendency amongst gamers to feel that the entire Christian community is out to get them. Certainly there is some basis for that idea - far too many of the most vitriolic anti-gamers profess some kind of God-directed mission. Unfortunately, this means that when any Christian expresses an opinion detrimental to gamers, there is a tendency for gamers to erect the barricades and bring out the defensive weapons.

However, this attitude is actually detrimental to our cause. It also makes life extremely difficult for those of us who are Christian gamers.  Fortunately, anti-gaming sentiments are rare where I live, but I sometimes find myself defending my being a gamer as being compatible with my faith while the gaming community is taking pot shots at that same faith.

The average Christian is a reasonable, normal human being. They have no direct experience of gaming, so they listen to the opinions of others. If you believe in the supernatural force of God, if you believe in the devil and that he is out to subvert God's people, then who will you listen to - someone who professes the same faith as you or someone who scoffs at your beliefs?

In the mail this month, I received the newsletter of the Australian Church Library Association. Half of the issue is devoted to the Harry Potter books.  You may be astonished to learn that all of the articles are positive. They talk about the importance for children to see that evil can be defeated and they point out how the love and sacrifice of Harry's mother can be used to explain Jesus' sacrifice to children. Most importantly, it points out that the books are not a DIY manual on Satanism, but are completely fictional.

We must be very careful not to add fuel to the anti-gaming fire. By far the majority of Christians can be persuaded with calm, reasoned conversation.  I can't say I have had complete success at converting Christians who have doubts about gaming, fantasy and similar 'dubious' practices. However, I do know that I haven't confirmed those doubts with subtle digs at the stupidity of someone believing in the devil anyway.

Jenny Hein is a member of the CAR-PGa and has been Christian for 26 years and a gamer for 21 years.  She holds a B.A. in languages from the Adelaide University, and has just started studying a Graduate Diploma of Christian Studies at the Bible College of South Australia. Jenny and her husband have 2 children, the oldest of whom has begun to dabble with gaming. 
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