First Person Shooters and the Bible

“What are your thoughts on whether first person shooter games are good or bad biblically, in regards to shooting people and seeing blood (this happened over CSGO)?” – elliot5445
Thank you for your question! I think my co-blogger is better qualified to discuss video games (and you’re welcome to weigh in, Isaac), but I’ll give it a…shot.

As I’ve mentioned once before, video games – especially first-person shooters – aren’t really my thing, not because I have problem with them as a Christian, just because I’m bad at them. As a result, this post required research, both into what CSGO is (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive), and what conclusions we can draw from the Bible about seeing blood and shooting people.
Guns are, of course, not mentioned in the Bible, but killing is. God told people to kill people quite a lot, especially when His people were trying to get into the land God had promised them. He actually said “Don’t leave anyone alive, or else they’ll lead you astray with their pagan ways.”
Many first-person shooters are about war. War is the sort of killing that God is usually okay with; senseless murder is the problem. The key is context. In the fictional universe inside your video game cartridge, God doesn’t exist and therefore doesn’t have an opinion on whether a line of code should go to fake war and kill fake people. It’s up to you to determine if the killing is senseless.
The next issue is blood, gore, and the realism of the violence. Even from a non-Christian standpoint, the worry is that real people will act out the realistic violence they are making fake but realistic people do to fake but realistic people.
We’re not supposed to set vile things before our eyes (Psalm 101:3). Do you define a fake soldier shooting a fake enemy soldier as “vile”? If you or the people you trust say yes, then sure, stay away. But do you consider a woman putting a tent spike through an enemy’s head as “vile?” How about a guy’s long hair becoming a makeshift gallows? How about someone being whipped repeatedly, wearing a crown made of thorns, and getting nails through his hands and ankles? The Bible includes realistic and vivid imagery of death. Something to think about.
Those are my thoughts, disjointed though they may be. Again, Isaac, feel free to comment if you like.

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Twitter: @noahspud and @CorrelationBlog

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One thought on “First Person Shooters and the Bible

  1. You make a fair point, Noah.

    For perspective: I’ve never played CS:GO, but I have played my fair share of FPS’s–my fortes being Call of Duty Black Ops II, Doom, and Borderlands, among others.
    As for “shooting people” in the digital realm, I agree with Noah. Don’t shoot real people, and you’ll be fine.
    In regards to “seeing blood,” that’s up to you and up to what you can take. And not all FPS’s have intense blood and gore. If blood is a concern, I would recommend picking up “Star Wars: Battlefront II” (the old one from 2005, not the upcoming one) and playing that. It’s only $10 on Steam (for PC), and a pretty solid game. And–partially because it’s a Star Wars game–there’s no blood. (The new Battlefront follows suit, but wasn’t as fun.)
    There are two things to factor in to whether an FPS is good or bad. First, the content of the game itself, which you addressed quite well. Second, the maturity of the player. As a twenty-something, I am fine playing FPS’s like Call of Duty or even Doom, but would I let a child play them? No.
    The passage that came to mind was Romans 14:13-18, where Paul writes in regards to the Roman church’s division regarding eating habits. (The words used are “unclean food.”) Paul writes, in verse 14, “I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.” The way I see it, if you are fine with playing them, then play them. However, do not play them if those who you could influence cannot or should not. (This coming from the guy who’s actively hidden his copies of Assassin’s Creed when children come over.) It’s up to the player as to whether or not one plays them.

    Also, to elliot5445, props to you for playing CS:GO. I’ve never had the patience for competitive online games, let alone “e-sports.”

    Like

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