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Violent Video Games


 

Steve Wohlberg

“Steve, my son is addicted to violent video games. Please write an article or book about this!” urged a concern parent in an email that showed up in my Inbox. First, let’s look at the Bible. Jesus Christ said, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37). This means that the days before Christ returns will parallel the days of Noah. What were “the days of Noah” like?

See for yourself: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:11, italics added). “And God said to Noah, the end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Gen. 6:13, italics added). Thus one defining characteristic of Noah’s pre-flood planet was violence. Yet God wasn’t only concerned about cruel physical acts, but about people’s thoughts, for He is smart enough to know that sin originates in the mind. Notice carefully: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5, KJV, italics added). Noah’s day was filled with violent acts preceded by evil imaginations. Jesus predicted it would be the same before He returns.

Teenagers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris saturated their minds with violent video games before their 1999 killing spree at Columbine High School. One killer used a sawed-off shotgun nicknamed ‘Arlene’ after a character in ‘Doom’ – a savagely violent video game. Four years later teenagers William and Joshua Buckner went to Interstate 40 in Tennessee with a .22 caliber rifle and started shooting. “Why did you do it?” the stepbrothers were asked after murdering a man and injuring several others. Their answer? They were acting out a violent video game called ‘ Grand Theft Auto’ because they were bored. Both disasters sparked lawsuits against video makers and a whirlwind of should-we-blame-the-game? articles in the Press and on the Net. The controversy rages to this day.

Paul wrote that through “beholding” God’s goodness we are “changed into the same image” (2 Cor. 3:18). This reveals a law of the mind: what we “behold” we are slowly changed into. Of course personal responsibility was involved, and yes, many factors were at play in those Columbine and Tennessee slaughters, but did violent video games have no influence? “They don’t affect me!” kids often contend. Are you sure? How do you know? Alcholics start out saying the same thing about liquor. “I can handle a few drinks!” they boast. But when stress hits, many turn to the bottle. Peter confidently commented, “ Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). Peter believed this, but he didn’t know himself. Within hours he denied his Savior.

The human mind is not only impressionable – but proud. At the same time that interactive violent video games lead the mind into gruesome scenes where players hack, maime, obliterate, dismember, decapitate, explode, slaughter, and destroy, participants defend their love of gore with “I’m not being affected!” Dear reader, this is impossible. You are being affected, whether you realize it or not. True, you may not rush to a nearby school with a sawed-off shutgun, but your mental ability to appreciate human life is being dulled, blunted, and desensitized. When people view pornography, does it affect them? No doubt. Constantly viewing violence affects the mind also.

The seventh commandment states, “Do not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14). Yet Jesus said a person doesn’t have to commit physical adultery to be guilty of sin, but only to cherish lustful thoughts in their heart (see Matt. 5:26, 27). What about the sixth commandment, “Do not kill”? Can we break it in our hearts, even without doing it? Satan is “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). Think about it: If we kill kill kill in our hearts, whose character are we slowly being changed into? Lucifer is smart. He knows what he is doing. He knows if he can instill a love for violence in our hearts, we’re being molded into his image. May God wake His kids up – before it’s too late.

“There are six things the Lord hates.” One is “hands that shed innocent blood” (Prov. 6:16, 17). “The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates” (Ps. 11:5, italics added). Did you catch that? Pastors, parents, teachers, and students, take note: God hates violence. This means that if we love violent video games, or allow our kids to love them, then we love what God hates. Would Jesus waste hours playing ‘Doom’ or ‘Grand Theft Auto’? Let’s get serious. We’re in the end-times.

A second email from that same concerned father showed up in my Inbox. Thankfully, it has this happy ending:

Now, for the good news, our son has broken his addiction to these games, mainly because we have removed ALL such games from our home, strictly cut his computer time to ‘as needed for school only,’ etc. He has also come to realize that these games were overtaking his life, and I think he is also glad to be free of them. PTL!

I will conclude this article, not with man’s opinion, but with God’s Word. In these last days which parallel the days of Noah, let’s follow Paul’s advice:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you (Phil. 4:8, 9, KJV, emphasis added).