QUAERITUR: World of Warcraft

From a reader:

I have a question. I have a son who is into World of Warcraft. I am not peaceful with this game and asked him to pray about the occult possibilities of the game. Can you advise about this, please?

With all things having to do with children, especially young kids, parents should be directly involved and know what they are doing.

I don’t know much about World of Warcraft other than what I have seen, and briefly, at the home of a friend. 

I think I would be less worried about the problems that you might imagine from "occult" references as I would to the addictive power of these role playing games and the potential harm it might do to motivation.

All these things need to be used in good measure.

These games have a powerful ability to capture you and, before you know it, a great deal of time has been lost to you which might have been spent also on other things.

My own experience with other games is that they can exercise a strong draw on your time and mind.  I use one of those console games solely during the time when I exercise, such as the time I spend on an exercise bike.  I alternate with audio books, too.  They really help the time pass quickly.  They are so engaging, as a matter of fact, amazing in their technology, that I can stay on that bike or whatever machine for far longer than I would have otherwise if stuck in silence or with music or with TV.  In itself, that is an indication of the powerful influence they can have on you.

So, again, I think I would be more concerned about the power of these games to form habits or addictions.

There might be an additional question: Whether children should be give such compelling and realistic ways to be nearly godlike in the ambit of the game.

I am no expert on this topic, but those are my few personal observations.

At the end, however, I should also add – and WOW aficionados will get this – that a character in a novel outline I have put together is Leeroy Card. Jenkins!

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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64 Responses to QUAERITUR: World of Warcraft

  1. Catholicman says:

    I do the much the same Father. I enjoy playing Tiger Woods Golf and baseball games on my xbox 360 while riding my exercise bike or running/walking on my elliptical. You’re right in that it helps pass the time very quickly. Otherwise, I reserve my gaming time to once a week for an hour or so on Tuesday nights when my wife is out with friends. I remember back in college how easy it was to spend hours and hours playing and totally lose track of time. Glad I’ve grown out of that!

    Just curious, what games does Fr. Z enjoy?? :)

  2. Allan S. says:

    I play Warcraft, as done my son. I joined so as to be a part of something he enjoys. The role-playing game clearly avoids any overt Christian references, but includes crusaders, churches, knights, priests and the like. It is fantasy.

    On the plus side, it teaches economics (one must have professions to generate in-game gold to spend on things, etc.) It also teaches team dynamics, dividing up loot, etc. So there is an educational aspect. Children can assume leadership roles, even over adults, that simply would not be open to them otherwise. Tactics rule…teams must be used to achieve certain game objectives, and characters can acquire only certain talents to support their team one way.

    The “burn Harry Potter books” crowd will not be pleased though; there are warlocks, demons, etc. and players – as in real life – can choose evil over good, regardless of the “side” they choose (Horde or Alliance).

    FWIW, my son and I have a started a Horde Guild (team of players), on the Demon Soul server (yeah, yeah, I know) called “Sorrowful Mysteries” – a monastic order of knights! So…like minded people can come together anywhere it seems!

  3. The Reverend Archbishop of Pago Pagonensis, His Eminence LEEROYYYYYYYY Cardinal JEEEEEEEEEEENNKINSSSS!

  4. Singing Mum says:

    If I worried about the occult in anything my children did, I would consult the professionals dealing in that area- exorcists. My own preferences and casual ‘oh, its no big deal’ outlook would be of very little value next to their experience and knowledge.

    Prominent exorcists have spoken out (negatively) about the Potter stories. Maybe they have commented on this game, too?

  5. JayneK says:

    “Whether children should be give such compelling and realistic ways to be nearly godlike in the ambit of the game.”
    This reminds me of a book called _God Game_ by Fr. Andrew Greeley (not, in general, a favourite author of mine). It is about a man who enters into a computer game he is playing and becomes one of its characters. From their perspective the player is a god who has become one of them. The story uses this premise to explore themes of incarnation and free will.

  6. Magpie says:

    I flunked my A-Levels because of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, and Resident Evil 2. These games are highly addictive and can really impact on a young person’s life and future!

  7. MargaretMN says:

    Kids always role play about power because one of the first lessons they learn is, that they have none. That is what the magic, monsters, heroes etc. are all about. It’s part of how human beings develop. The problems come in when they can’t leave that behind (arrested development) or willingly stay in that world because it feeds their baser instincts (addiction). Regardless of whether technology is involved or not, parents should watch to see whether this is just harmless recreation and creativity or something worse. Similarly: Imaginary friend at age 5: cute. Imaginary friend at age 15, sign of a serious problem.

  8. Mark M says:

    Give them more productive hobbies, I say! For example, I was fascinated by my Family Tree when I was a lad… sadly the Internet didn’t really exist then, and I’m making up lost time now!

    That said, I’ve heard vocations being acted out in youth, so I can understand the role of fantasy and role-play…

  9. seanl says:

    As a college student, I’ve seen many a’ student who’s fallen pray for all sorts of addictions. Video games definitely can be one of them. I’ve stayed away from WOW myself because of how addicting I’ve heard it is. Not to mention with all the readings you have for Christology and Patristics, I don’t really have time for video games anymore.

  10. Bill in Texas says:

    Warlocks, vampires, “magickal” powers, etc., are all the stuff of fiction. They are myths. In my opinion, a Christian need not be concerned at all about mythological, fictional beings and powers. In the case of WoW that extends to “demons” (though I’d be careful the kids know that there are actual demons outside the context of computer-generated games).

    Beyond that, Father Z has given the same advice I’ve given to other parents. Be sure the kids know the difference between reality and fantasy, all things in good measure, make sure the gameplay doesn’t encroach on the time for studies, talking to the rest of the family, sleep, etc. The only thing I’d add is that, while the characters in the game are fictitious, mythical, and totally imaginary, the other players are real. “Every avatar has a real person behind it,” as we say in Second Life. Most of the other players are harmless and only interested in the game. They aren’t trying to act this stuff out in reality, or to adopt a dysfunctional lifestyle based on mythology. A few, though, may be genuinely scary in their own right. A parent wants to be aware of whom the children are associating with, in the real world and in the virtual.

  11. Laura T says:

    My best friend’s husband plays WoW, and shortly after they were married, he informed her that 4 nights per week he needed to play or he would be left behind by his guild (or something- I apologize for my lack of actual knowledge about the game). It sounded like he would be shunned from the group of players he was in. He did this in spite of pleading from his wife, because he would come home from work, then play until he went to bed, having no contact with her.

    Within the first month of their marriage, he was not eating dinner with his wife, and 4 out of 7 days of the week she barely got to communicate with him. Games like this can certainly have adverse affects on relationships when proper priorities are not made.

  12. Melody says:

    As a person in college I have several friends who play WOW. I have heard nothing bad about the content of game, but rather its addictive nature. I have two friends who bluntly described the time they got into WOW as “losing a year.”
    Laura’s story is quite plausible. WOW is best played in teams called Guilds, who work together on the more difficult quests. Some Guilds demand an unhealthy amount of playing hours for membership.
    My advice is to tell your son not to join any of the guilds that will demand too much of his time. Work out a schedule of when he is allowed to play, for example, three nights a week, assuming all homework is finished.

  13. Discipulus Humilis says:

    Excellent points, Father. I have had the same experience – these games really do suck up way too much time. I’m not sure about how much the magic spells and whatnot could affect a young mind, but the drain on motivation, as you put it, is terrible. I used to play games similar to WOW back in high school and I wish I hadn’t.

  14. Discipulus Humilis says:

    Rather than “the same experience,” I would have done better to say “reached similar conclusions.”

  15. hzab says:

    I played WoW for a full year, then quit (a benefit of a paid subscription game, not being able to just pick it up again for ‘only a few minutes’ helps counteract a weak will). I wouldn’t worry about the plot of the game itself (though there are some controversial quests in there) nor the game mechanics, as I would place it on the level of things like Lord of the Rings.
    My only concern is the other players. While there is a bad language filter it is trivial to circumvent, and pretty much anything goes as far as topics of discussion. I do remember fascinating and surprisingly intellectual arguments on the day of the Presidential election, for example, going on the the trade channel. So if the person playing is “impressionable”, I would have reservations.

  16. Jonathan says:

    Intellectual arguments? On WoW? In trade chat?!?

    That’s like (hypothetically) asking a 3 year old to be Harvard’s president. I can’t believe it ever happened.

  17. Davidtrad says:

    Get away from it. It’s evil. Period. I’m speaking from experience.

    Seriously, how can anyone jive these kinds of “games” with their Christian faith? The avatars are pornagraphic. the game is full of occult images. The plots and subplots are obsessed with death. Whole character races embody the occult and death!

    These aren’t games, people. They are tools to condition you for hell. [Sounds like a "No" vote.]

  18. DC says:

    “These games have a powerful ability to capture you and, before you know it, a great deal of time has been lost to you which might have been spent also on other things.”

    It is my observation that just about anything with a screen can be a “time thief” if you are not careful to discipline yourself. Computers, TVs, handheld devises, video games can waste your time. A half hour comedy show, an hour long drama, 90 minute movie, 2.5 hours of sports, news and commentary, surfing the web, even reading blogs. All are okay, but prudence is needed.

  19. DavidJ says:

    Video Games, in and of themselves, are just like any other hobby. They are fine as long as the person playing them holds them in the proper perspective of being entertainment, and not much more (perhaps a social vehicle at times even, but not a substitute for in-person socialization).

    If you want to tackle the subject matter of WoW per se, I’d say it depends on your child’s ability to recognize the difference between fantasy and reality. It also depends on the people he meets up with in the games, as there can certainly be a lot of mature talk that goes on.

    If you’re a parent, and you’re uncomfortable with it, do some looking into it and see if your gut feeling is justifiable. If you’re still uncomfortable with it, then disallow it.

  20. DC: You mention the other modern tools of time loss. This is one reason why I rarely watch live TV anymore. I record nearly everything. In this way I can cut commercials and stupid bits, and thereby save time while cutting down on brain cell destruction. I throw fewer things as well.

  21. Oleksander says:

    The game itself is as harmless (even more harmless) than Lord of the Rings, having played it with friends

    However, I vote ***NO*** for the fact that it is a waste of time and money and the people on it are rather mean and they by themselves bring the rating up a 2 or 4 notches. I think kids under 13-14 range have no business playing it(the game keeps track how many hours you have played, my one friends little brother had put in OVER 1/3 of years of play – He actually spent over 1/3 of a year of his life on earth wondering through virtual azeroth)

    besides money is better spent getting ready for when Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out, now that will be a mmorpg! too bad my chances are that i will no longer live in USA by the time it comes out and therefore not be able to play… sigh oh well

  22. worm says:

    This game is incredibly addictive. I taught a college course that dealth with computer games. On the first day as students introduced themselves I ask them to tell everyone what their favorite video game was. There were about 40 students in the room and not a single person said WoW. This caught me off guard and I voiced my surprise because I knew it was a very popular game. One student said, “Anyone who would have said WoW, is at home playing it right now instead of coming to class.” I am sure he was correct.

  23. ghlad says:

    Like some others here, I am compelled to vocalize about WoW. I am a relatively heavy gamer and am a 7th year graduate student. (Sorry for the background, I’m a long-time reader, but first-time poster, as it were.)

    There are two objections that are possible:

    1.) Playing around in a fantasy world that involves evil forces, making light of witchcraft-ish or occult themes (shadow magic, some of the spells require multiple people to perform a “Ritual of Summoning” for example, etc.)

    2.) Time commitment, cultivating addiction, etc.

    Regarding the first point, I must say that basic catechesis is a heck of a tool to fight against growing lax in faith. I am aware that real occult matters are inappropriate, perverse and offensive to myself and my creator. It seems to be a matter of personal determination whether or not this is serious enough of a reason to not play. For a young person, it is perhaps not. For myself, though, I can guarantee that the concept of the occult is completely absent from my thinking when playing the game. I’ll click on a Ritual portal (something that helps teammates instantly teleport to each other) without thinking “alright, we’ll offer a demonic sacrifice in order that the offering might bring us power” and instead think merely “let’s get everybody here so we can get going.” I don’t think this in any way compromises my ability to understand real-world occult practices (like, for example, our Life-Teen Mass! Okay, sorry, sorry – couldn’t resist!) or inhibits my ability to understand objective Evil as it exists in the world around me.

    My feeling would be that if a parent is concerned enough about the subject matter of a video game that their child is playing (which they should be, as responsible parents) then it seems *exceedingly* unlikely that those same parents would otherwise fail to provide their children with a religious upbringing and awareness of the reality of Evil, sin, temptation, etc. In other words, a parent that is legitimately concerned with their teenager pressing a button in order to cast a spell in a game that channels shadow magic is already doing the right things as a parent. Note that this means that the real danger of games and situations like these, then, isn’t really with the vigilant faithful, but with the lax majority of the population who might easily grow desensitized to such matters if such desensitization actually happens.

    Also, it bears commenting that the antagonists of the game are all very, very evil. As in, taking over the world to destroy it and kill everyone, enslave them, etc. Every person’s character in the game performs quests and achievements in order to stop the advancing armies of evil, so at least it reinforces a Just War mentality (at least it seems to according to my limited understanding of Just War theory). The two different factions that players can play are at war with each other as well, and the game goes to great lengths to highlight the difference between the (relatively) pointless and counter-productive and less-justifiable killing of opposing faction players as compared to the noble fight against a seemingly insurmountably powerful common enemy that threatens total dominion.

    Regarding the second point, I would say that this is the real danger of the game: addiction and compulsive playing. World of Warcraft is designed specifically to provide something (actually hundreds of things) for a player to do each and every day. Special weekly events, game play designed to require 10 or 25 people a very very long time to learn how to beat the game, an economy that rewards time spent playing the game with in-game monetary rewards, etc. It is quite literally the case that if you tried to fully explore all of the facets of the game, you could play the game every day non-stop and still never finish the game. This is a crime, as far as I’m concerned, and it is purposefully set up this way to reward compulsive, repetitive and socially-isolating game habits.

    My current group gets together to play 2 nights a week. Because we focus only on the “easier” 10-man content, we have progressed and are currently working on the last “hard mode” fight currently in the game. I am happy that I have found a happy medium between never playing, and playing all the time. When my mom asked about how often I play, I related my playing to her Bridge group. The similarities are there: in both cases there is a group of other people relying on you to show up and fulfill your expected role. Because reliability is required, the best way to ensure that your group plays reliably is to schedule your WoW group outing or Bridge groups’ games well in advance. If you don’t show up, the teammates have to find a substitute in order to have the right number for either game to work. Reliability is rewarded with invitations to play in the future. Eventually you reach a stable group of friends to play with.

    Which is perhaps the real strength of the game: I have kept in touch with many friends that do not live near me but who play the game and who I chat with both in the game and on our voice chat program that we use.

    Another strength of the game comes from teamwork and cooperation, as well as goal-oriented behavior. You set your goals, and you work with your teammates just as on a soccer pitch or baseball diamond. I can’t say anything else about this other than the sense of accomplishment is great when you finally overcome a difficult fight because you and your friends worked really well together.

    The problem of course enters in when your group requires that you play 4-5 nights a week. While it’s true that many people watch just as much TV 4-5 nights a week, it gets very bad very fast when you’re obligated to play during that time. Because the end content in the game is so very difficult, if you ever hope to see and master it, you will be expected to spend 20-30 hours a week with your group working on it.

    The clearest example of this is to look at the groups that get the very first worldwide “kills” of a new enemy boss when World of Warcraft is updated. Do you know who gets almost every kill? European groups (“guilds”). Full of young men who are quite literally on welfare and who are compensated without employment. These groups require hours and hours and hours of focus and determination in order to work out the mechanics and the strategies needed to beat these hard bosses after they are released. I cannot deny that on one hand, it’s really inspiring to see a group of 25 people come together and perform flawlessly and perfectly, with each person fulfilling a vital and absolute required role to perfection. However, it’s a… video game. The hours and weeks following the introduction of new content in the game invested in nothing other than pixels moving around on a screen is mind-blowing and tragic, and ultimately accomplishes nothing. These are young men, most of whom are single, most of whom are gaining weight because they quite literally never do anything other than play a game.

    Now, the above is the cutting-edge extreme, but such things do exist. One of the online communities most well-known players who kept a well-read blog about his “hunter” pet recently was threatened with divorce because he invested more time in the game than with his wife and child. Even after that, he tried to cut back but couldn’t. When she left and asked for a separation, that was the kick in the butt he needed, and luckily his story is ultimately a happy one. It’s a fascinating story to read about if you’re interested. (Here is one of his last blog entries: http://www.bigredkitty.net/2009/04/02/your-response-has-been-overwhelming/ )

    I will say that “MMOs” (Massive Multiplayer Online games) are quite certain to be the future of electronic entertainment. If anything, I would argue that it’s best to expose your child to an MMO in a controlled, supervised environment while still living at home with you. Because God knows that when I went off to school and discovered the delight and wonder that MMOs like World of Warcraft can provide to gamers, I very, very nearly flunked out of college – (I’m getting a PhD in genetics now, though, so luckily I “escaped”). My roommate and I would stay up every night until we were tired, then go to bed, crawl to class the next morning or afternoon, grab some quick lunch, then repeat. This is NOT what you want for your child.

    Such temptations exist in everything we are surrounded with. Smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, TV-watching, World of Warcraft-playing, reading… anything can distract us from our vocations and the Things That Matter. I would put forth that responsible parenting can introduce a child to gaming in a responsible manner that minimizes their risk. Heck, if you play together (which is entirely possible – I know of an entire chunk of an extended family that played together for a while: nieces and nephews all the way up to Grandpa) you can even spend more time interacting with your child than you otherwise might.

    Sorry for such a long and rambling response. The things I wanted to convey are that I don’t feel the treatment of occult magic is a genuine danger to those who are well-parented, but the time commitment if left unchecked can be very damaging – catastrophic, even.

  24. Phil_NL says:

    I’ve been playing WoW since it was in beta (over 5 years ago now), so a few observations:

    1. I echo ghlad’s comments about any occult references. There would only be an issue if people held two things: a) that any reference would be more than just background color, and b) that there is something occult that actually exists (in reality) akin to that’s what presented. Anyone who even holds one of these two points will have a serious problem functioning in society, as in that case they must surely see the occult everywhere in fantasy (with a small f, rather than a capital one). This goes a fortiori for the ‘pornographic’ nature of the avatars – an average advertisement has more. The tasks inherent in the game are not such that they promote sin – only very rarely the storyline becomes questionable, which can be dealt with by a person with a reasonably developped moral compass. I would not be worried on this point. Some other players might have the ‘usual’ sexual related obsessions associated with puberty in this age, though this can to a very big extend be avoided (much more so than on the average schoolyard)

    2. “Whether children should be give such compelling and realistic ways to be nearly godlike in the ambit of the game” is not something I’d regard as a serious risk. Any player will at countless times be defeated by the game. You can try again and again (though there is some economic penalty for this) but a near godlike feeling is not likely to follow from the final succes. Often, the better analogy is the feeling when you’d finally managed to program and install your DVD player (on a bad day) or finally passing a difficult exam after many fails (on a good day)…

    3. Time consumption. As ghlad mentions, this is the big issue. There are people in the game who take it way too seriously, and pressure others into doing the same – while the content is first mostly playable alone or with a few others, at the higher end it’s based around teams of 25 (used to be 40 in the first years). But while vastly more important, it’s not just a question of finding a bunch of people to play with who take the game with a grain of salt – even the solo part can be addictive. On the other hand, like any sport or passtime that can be addictive (but isn’t necessarily by its nature) there are plenty of examples of people balancing WoW with fruitful careers and family life. It does require some self-knowledge and restraint though, which makes it highly advisable for parents to keep an eye on it. There is indeed a big danger here, especially with adolescents.

    4. Social effects. Played properly, the game can actually help developing teamwork and task-based interaction through electronic media (which is in fact more difficult to get right than face-to-face communication, as you miss valuable non-verbal feedback). Again, the danger can be in its excess. Personally, I watch a lot less TV since playing WoW – probably an improvement. I probably also read less – not an improvement. It’s about finding the balance.

    Conclusion: my 2c would be that this game is much more a danger for a (school) career, and probably never a (direct) danger for the soul. Any adolescent who has a go-with-the-flow mentality would need supervision regarding his playing times – spinal fortitude is a necessity.

  25. Phil_NL says:

    As a PS: Bill in Texas above has some useful observations too. It can sometimes be easy to forget you’re dealing with real people as fellow players (or opponents). That might also be a point for a certain age category (the original post doesn’t mention the kid’s age).

    Regarding the age issue, it might pay off to be more careful who the kid hangs out with online. In my experience, WoW players roughly fall into two categories: 1) people who are probably 15 or younger, and act it (that’s the relevant distinction), and 2) university students and older. As the second category is slowly bleeding from the game (due to gameplay issues, but also jobs, relations and indeed children being born), the first category might get more prominent. That would bode ill. it would be interesting to see where those kids are heading, as it doesn’t look like their stay int he game is a very prolonged one.

  26. Davidtrad says:

    So sexually explicit images and occult images are OK, as long as its just a little bit?

  27. Phil_NL says:

    Davidtrad,

    Excuse me, but if you call that sexually explicit, and really think this qualifies as ‘the occult’, then just about everyone outside a monastery has a problem. I fully agree there are things one better avoids, but if you place the threshold that low, and expect others to be held to the same view (there’s a big difference between saying ‘i don’t want that’, and ‘are OK’, implying they are morally reprehensible), you’re making a mockery of it.

  28. Davidtrad says:

    No, Phil. I’m simply taking a stand instead of being wishy-washy about it.

    There’s a big difference between that to which we are subjected because of the prevalent sinfulness of the society in which we live, and that to which we invite into our homes and our heads. There is much that can not be avoided because of the world we live in, but there is even more we can avoid by the choices we make.

    When we are subjected to dancing girls in cages during a Dallas Cowboys game for the simple reason we would never have dreamed Jimmy Johnson would have dancing cage girls in his new stadium, we aren’t culpable. However, when we decide to pause the DVR on it, that’s something entirely different.

    Playing these games is like pausing the DVR on Jimmy’s dancing girls. Playing WOW (Everquest/DofC/etc.) is a conscience choice to view sexual and occult images, and to dabble in undeath and demonic things. Horde player characters actually “hunt” human NPCs! This is a no-brainer, Phil.

  29. Davidtrad says:

    For anyone investigating this game, who may start playing this themselves, or for their children, simply look up the incredibly sick opening quest lines for player character class, Death Knight.

    That should be all that’s required to say no to WOW.

  30. Allan S. says:

    “For anyone investigating this game, who may start playing this themselves, or for their children, simply look up the incredibly sick opening quest lines for player character class, Death Knight.”

    Actually, the so-called Death Knight “lore” starts out with them being evil creatures, but by the end of the death knight starting quests, the knights rebel against the Lich King (read: evil overlord) and become “good” Knights of Ebon Hold.

    Evil repents and becomes good.

    My Death Knight is named Urbanus by the way… ;)

  31. 4mercy says:

    Thank you “Davidtrad” for speaking so clearly on this game!

    I have been very surprised reading through these comments on the easy-going attitude some of these posters have toward the occult! A couple of things:
    Yes, vampires, witches etc are myths. The evil they represent, however, is VERY real! The spiritual battle we are in for souls is also VERY real! I do not think it wise to be so laissez-faire towards the contents and images of these games. How do you think advertising works? We are affected by what we chose to spend time with, what we do and what we look at.
    For those who are saying (something to the effect of ) as long as this is not the sort of thing they are getting at home, I would suggest you take a good look at our culture. In this current culture we are swimming in a toxic brew of the occult and soft porn! If we are not extra vigilant and docile to the Holy Spirit we will imbibe some of the poison. Giving your children (or yourself) the go ahead on a game like this, is not what I would call being extra-vigilant!

  32. 4mercy says:

    ….and another thing!

    PLEASE do not drag Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings into this! WoW is about as comparable to LOR as “Family Guy” is to Hamlet!

  33. Personally, I’m addicted to patristics. You can’t read just one, and you’re always tempted to read just a minute more. Of course, those Fathers of the Church do talk an awful lot about evil stuff and the occult, so clearly no Christian should read them. Mea culpa…. :)

    I’d say this is really a case of “know your kid”, and of “keep tabs on your kid” if you let them play.

    And frankly, you won’t get any help from St. Jerome. Sure, he didn’t think you should be doing anything but godly work and study and prayer. But _he_ was also advising a teenage girl to stay up until the wee hours reading the Bible, and fall asleep every night on her scroll! Because that was his lifestyle!

    So yeah, I advise you to make your child stay up all night reading St. Gall’s library website. :)

  34. Allan S. says:

    “WoW is about as comparable to LOR as “Family Guy” is to Hamlet!”

    I guess this would be a bad time to mention that I play Warcraft WHILE watching Family Guy ;)

  35. Jaybirdnbham says:

    My online ‘vice’ is a different game, called “Ultima Online”. The same cautions apply, concerning the amount of time that goes down the drain so quickly. That would be the prime warning I’d issue to parents about the ‘multiplayer online’ games: they really are addictive!

    As to occult influences, to me that seems a negligible concern, unless the player has trouble separating games from reality.

  36. Allan S. says:

    Fr. Z wrote: “At the end, however, I should also add – and WOW aficionados will get this – that a character in a novel outline I have put together is Leeroy Card. Jenkins!”

    For more on the hilarious Jenkins story, see here: http://www.leeroyjenkins.net/ (watch the video!)

  37. Allan S. says:

    Jenkins cont: (bascially – a group of players was engaging in the kind of meticulaous planning needed to overcome a task in the game, when one of the group – who was away from his keyboard – simply returned and rushed into the dungeon screaming his character’s name (Leeroy Jenkins), blowing the tactical plans all to heck, leading to all players getting “killed”)

    Not sure what Leeroy Card. Jenkins does…. Have to buy the book I guess!

  38. 4mercy says:

    A Patristic quote: “flee the theatre like the plague!” St.John Chrysostum.
    How about St. Paul? “Have nothing to do with the works of darkness.” (I believe “nothing” would extend to simulated works of darkness) Or “whatsoever is True, Good and Beautiful, meditate on these things.” St. John: “light and darkness have NOTHING in common.”

    btw…I don’t think it is “over the top” for St. Jerome to suggest reading the Holy scriptures before bedtime.

    Leo XII: St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!…feel free to join in here…

  39. lofstrr says:

    Warning! Incoming Wall ‘o Text!

    I played wow for a few years. before that other online games like Everquest and before that I played DnD on the table top. All of these are roleplaying games at some level and make references to some things occult. Some one who has no religious back ground might become interested in a reference made and so go explore it further but this would be someone with no guidance at all. Don’t leave your kids without guidance.

    Roleplaying games are dynamic storytelling games. You make up the story as you go, like a novel that doesn’t have a set end. The trick to these kinds of games and influences is to trust, at least to a degree, those who you play the game with. Good people make good stories and bad people make bad stories. I played DnD with friends who were varying shades of Christian. Basically moral people. The result was that we always played the good guys. Fought against evil and that sort of thing. When I ran the game I would even explicitly reward good or heroic actions. But their were kids at school who played evil all the time and we never hung out with them or played the game with them. The problem was not the game so much as the people. Choose your friends wisely.

    In an environment like WoW, things are a bit more static, the game provides the background of the “story” and the players are the characters but many of the same elements remain. Players form groups called guilds and spend a lot of time playing the game together. You need to trust these people to a certain degree. Bad people do bad things in the game because they have a certain amount of anonymity. Some people wont be so much bad as perhaps selfish. Some are truly good and helpful. You have to decide who you will roll with and also how you will come across to others in the game.

    You must watch what direction the influence is going. Are you easily influenced by others? Most people who can answer this question probably are not, but you still need to watch yourself and especially watch your kid. Don’t get sucked into a bad crowd though having a positive impact on those who are in the middle would be a good thing.

    While the game is just a game, the players are real people. Each avatar moving around on the screen is a real person with feelings and what you do to them in the game impacts the person at least a little bit. Be nice. be helpful. Don’t steal someones targets. Don’t ninja their resources if they cleared the way. Help them out if they are about to go under. It is amazing to see how people react to something as simple as landing a heal on them as you are passing by that obviously meant the difference between them surviving the fight or not. Or casting a buff that increases their strength. Kindness transcends virtuality.

    Most people don’t think about how they will impact the virtual world at large. Beyond how you impact individuals, you and your guild can create a lasting impact on your server. Choose to do something good with that. Again, it is a game and it is all for fun. but there is no reason why you cant use it as an opportunity to spread good influence. I call it “Playing with a Purpose.” Like someone else mentioned with founding a guild based on a monastic order. This can be a good vehicle to positively influence people.

    So what do you need to watch out for:

    1) Father is exactly right. It is very easy to spend too much time in these games. I would be way, waaaaaaaay more concerned about that than anything else. WoW is good about allowing you, the parent to set the game up with parental controls. What hours it can be played and how many hours. Even if you don’t use those controls directly or your kid plays another game you still need to set a limit. Just like TV. In fact I would make them choose between the two. I play computer games in the evening instead of tv because nothing on tv really interests me. Be somewhat flexible in this though. The difference between an MMO game like this and tv is that you can have other actual people depending on you in game. There is no pause button in this kind of game. If you want to cut it short it would really helpful to give a 30 min or more warning so that things can be wrapped up. You can also help your kids to learn to make hard choices. If they want to stay on a little longer on say Friday night because the guild is doing something then be flexible but tell them that they still have an overall limit on the time they can spend for the week in game. If they want to use an hour here to help friends that is great but it will cost them an hour tomorrow. Kids don’t manage time naturally. Teach them how to do so takes time, effort and sometimes conflict.

    2) Watch the direction of influence. This is no different from monitoring who their friends are. Sit and watch them play. Listen to the conversation with them that they have with guildmates over ventrilo or teamspeak. Tell them they should always have the kind of conversations and hang out with people that they wouldn’t be embarrassed to be overheard with. Personally I don’t think kids should have computers in their rooms and even if they do, never behind closed doors. Never do anything on the computer you would be embarrassed to have someone else see or hear.

    This is the time to teach your kids to choose their friends wisely. Don’t just fall into a group by chance. Choose. Choose a casual guild that encourages healthy, short playing times over they obsessive hardcore raid guilds. Choose people who don’t cuss on vent. Choose people who have ethical standards within the game and keep them.

    3) Head off any occult references at the pass. This is really no different than monitoring and discussing such things that can also be seen on TV or read about in novels. Most storytellers are not overtly Christian and so don’t usually think about what things could mean. In WoW, there is a warlock class that can be played. Talk to your kid about what this might mean. Is it a good idea to even play this class? Choices are always before us. On the flip side, there is a Paladin class that can be played. A Knight in armor that fights on the side of light and for all things good. I don’t think anyone was trying to suck people into demon worship by offering the warlock class, but the world sees these things as nothing more than fantasy and a way to maybe play the bad guys in a game. Everything is relative and gray to them. But for Christians, we should consider how we will even play a game and what sides we will choose. Their are good things and ‘bad’ things in a fantasy world. What do we choose to do about it? Also remember to talk with them about the difference between the fantasy conception of these things and the real world parallels and keeping things separate.

    4) This is a public world and you will need to help your kid to know how to navigate it and the real people in it. Or if you don’t think they are ready for it then don’t let them play. This is why it don’t think they game should be played by kids who are not actually playing it WITH their parents. Late teens? Depends on maturity levels and still requires monitoring. What I mean by this is that you cannot control what other players will do in this world. They will be rude, vulger, blasphemous, they will think they are atheists, though very shallow ones at best, Some will run around the middle of town in their underwear just because they can. You have to teach your kid how to handle these things. Stupid people exist in both the real world and in every virtual world. Some things are so wrong that you can report some players to the GMs. Others are wrong but it is not so realistic to report them. Some character names will be evil, some names will be offensive some will just be stupid. The upshot is that names will sometimes tell you enough about someone that you will know you never want to hang out with them. Your kid will need to make these choices and if you don’t think they are ready to do so then don’t let them play.

    There is also nothing wrong with simply saying no to these games but someday they will be adults and will need to decide for themselves. Many start playing these games for the first time in college and either have no guidance or bad guidance when they do. College kids have virtually no more wisdom than teens and children. Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. Let them experience the consequences of bad decisions in an environment that will keep them from going too far off the tracks.

    Keep in mind also that there are more games out there than just WoW. If you are not comfortable with the story and imagery of WoW then look at some of the other games and see if you find anything more appealing. WoW is actually probably on the tame end of the spectrum and the graphics bring it across very much like a cartoon. Most other MMO are probably worse in terms of gore or evil imagery but some might be better or at least different. Aion is brand new with a lot of beautiful imagery. It is not overtly Christian and so some things are a bit off but otherwise it is basically about a war between two races of angel like beings and a race of evil dragons. It lends itself very well to roleplaying an angel that fights to protect humans and for the side of good. The only things I found a little off were that you start as a human and then become a daeva(angel) by ascending. Reality is completely different but this is fine with me as you never want the parallels to be to close and to make things blurry. The other thing is that the “dark” angels don’t see themselves as evil, though the “light” angels sure think they are. Again, this is a necessary way to structure a game playable I think. You need players on both sides to make for a good “war” game. While the lore of the two sides have many references to Greek and Norse mythologies, the “world” of Aion is clearly other worldly and alien. In some ways this is nice as it doesn’t ever come across as trying to make some kind of statement about the history of our world. This isn’t an alternate, Gothic fantasy past of our world, it is clearly a completely high fantasy other world. I would also recommend Aion simply because it is a harder game to play, not by much but by enough that I can already see that their are less knuckleheads running around. Some still, but certainly less than WoW. At least on the ‘light’ angel side of the Elyos.

  40. Davidtrad says:

    “Actually, the so-called Death Knight “lore” starts out with them being evil creatures, but by the end of the death knight starting quests, the knights rebel against the Lich King (read: evil overlord) and become “good” Knights of Ebon Hold.”

    So it’s OK to pretend to do all kinds of sick, twisted, evil things through an online persona, because, hey, later you’re going to turn into a good guy. So it’s alright to indulge in all that vile online crap for the present, because later you will use the same evil powers for good! Oh, well, then, by all means indulge away… so says the Devil.

    lofstrr, I’m thinking about using the same strategy with my kids in regards to drugs. You see, I’m going to bring home a couple of joints and teach them to moderate their drug use. That way, when they are all grown up and on their own in college or whatever, I can tell them, “now, kids, remember when we used to toke it up at home? Yeah, remember, how we would stop with just a little buzz?”

    Give me a break!!

    There’s no argument here. If you take demonic realities as seriously as drugs, there’s no way in the world you would ever allow your children to come within a zillion megabytes to this game. It just doesn’t seem that you all are taking the demonic very seriously. It’s OK to give adolescents “guidance in playing” games with a constant barrage of demonic and sexual images, but everyone here would go nuts with a parent who would use the same logic when came to drugs, alcohol or premarital sex. What do you think is more harmful to young people? If you wouldn’t expose your children drugs, why would you expose them to the occult?

    As 4mercy pointed out. If there are demonic images in this game, why would a self-respecting, responsible Christian parent allow their children to be exposed to it? Isn’t there enough of this crap in our society without having to pipe it in non-stop on your child’s computer screen?

  41. Jonathan says:

    “So it’s OK to pretend to do”

    Notice the key word there? Pretend.

    Please don’t treat people like they are stupid and cannot separate fact from fiction. It is a game. These things are pixels and as long as you have the mental discipline to understand they aren’t real, that’s all it ever will be.

  42. Davidtrad says:

    Jonathan,

    Pretending presupposes that you aren’t dealing with reality. No one pretends to do something real, do they? I certainly wouldn’t see the point in pretending to go work.

    In computer games like this, you take control of a pixelated avatar, and run around a fantasy world. How is that not pretending?

  43. Davidtrad says:

    Jonathan,

    Do you see anything wrong in pretending to rape a woman?

    If you do see something wrong with that, then I rest my case.

  44. Davidtrad says:

    lofstrr, Aion does sound different, but I wouldn’t say it’s original. Scientology has been preaching that storyline for quite some time now.

  45. Jonathan says:

    Davidtrad, of course I see a problem with pretending to do that. That is pointless violence, and there is no (that I have seen) pointless violence in the game. The violence is generally depicted against evil tyrants. And also, the violence is very unrealistic: you swing a sword at people ~15 times and they fall over unconvincingly. Sure, the death knight’s story is evil, but the reason for that is to show how evil the enemy is and the reasons why you turn against him. That is depicting what evil is, and you turn abruptly against that. It is, as stated before, a story of repentance.

    Besides that, nobody really pays attention to the story of the game anyway.

  46. Davidtrad says:

    No pointless violence in the game… because, of course, Horde player characters killing human NPCs over and over again to gain imaginary experience points and complete pretend quests to gain experience points to make higher levels to be effective in player vs. player… has a point?

    Granted, baseball has a similar point… but no one to my knowledge has painted pentagrams on the bases, and the umpires rarely strip down to their underwear and dance on home plate. (Rarely…)

    At any rate, if no one pays attention to the story of the game anyway, then what’s the use in defending the storyline? Then all that vile garbage in the opening quest lines truly is pointless.

    Pretending or fantasizing about evil things is wrong because it demonstrates a depravity, not because it is pointless. The fantasizing of sex offenders in treatment is monitored by psychologists and therapists because it is the number one indicator of the chance of recitisism. What a person pretend, or fantasizes about demonstrates what is in a person’s head, what makes that person tick, what indicates the course of their social actions.

    Call me crazy, but I think it best that parents try to steer their children away from pretending about the occult or games that involve sexual (necro-erotic even) or demonic images.

  47. Allan S. says:

    Davidtrad – just curious here – are you a parent? I’ve a got a teenage son who lives “in the world” and you gotta just do the best you can. It ain’t all sunshine ‘n lollipops walled off inside a monastic fortress ruled by a benevolent theocratic oligarchy with the support of willing, obedient masses.

    I made decision to involve myself in something he likes, spy on his chat and guildies, discuss the game and make sure he gets the whole fantasy vs. reality thing. I suppose I could have just ripped his keyboard out of his hands, screamed “heretic!” and doused him with holy water, but I went with Plan A.

  48. ChoirsofAngels says:

    Allan S. ~

    I don’t think the “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” philosophy is the best way to go when parenting…

    I have two teenagers & two preteens and I wouldn’t let them anywhere near any of these games. I am the parent, it is up to me to guide them to making good decisions for their physical and spiritual well being. If I let them, they would sleep till noon every day and live off of junk food. But you know, I don’t let them. Nor do I join them, as tempting as that may be at times. Instead I set rules that will help form them into the responsible, spiritually fit, good decision making adults I pray one day they will become.

  49. ghlad says:

    @Davidtrad – Stories from the Bible talk about lurid sexual misbehavior, lying and deceiving another or even murder. But of course they do so for a reason, usually to provide a context for God’s miracles or Jesus’ teachings. So, too, is the case in World of Warcraft, which is (very unlike the Bible) a casual, fictional, interactive story.

    In the final analysis it becomes obvious what the “point” of any story is – if it’s a Dan Brown novel, for example, it’s to glorify and solidify the idea that Catholicism is an evil empire that witholds the truth, for example. But the same ideas are discussed in many of the books debunking Dan Brown’s garbage. Surely you see a distinction between the two? In one case it can be poisonous to someone confused about Catholicism to read Dan Brown’s books, but in the other case reading about the same made up Dan Brown conspiracy theories but then reading further about why they are silly is surely not a bad thing. So we need to be careful when we demonize things like World of Warcraft merely because they include a quest where you are required to go kill 12 humans when you first start off as a Death Knight.

    If you can’t even begin to understand that to approach difficult ideas and be confronted with them in stories and fiction is a basic part of human story-telling and you must shun all such notions and ideas, then you and I live in very different worlds.

  50. ChoirsofAngels says:

    Some of the logic used in these comments is frightening. The suggestion that anyone who feels a certain game or book’s content have occultist themes are book burning fanatics. The extreme desensitization required to play game where players click on something and ” “offer a demonic sacrifice in order that the offering might bring us power” ” and it’s okay because they just don’t think about it?!? The idea that it is okay to play a game where you play a demon who kills innocent humans in gruesome & horrific ways (and you have control of them while they do this) as long as you know the character later “repents” of these acts?

    That the whole thing must be okay because the Bible has stories that involve killing? The idea that there are no morals or right or wrong as long as you are just pretending. The idea that we have no control over our own children so we should just let them do whatever they want. I would not expect to see these kinds of viewpoints from faithful Catholics. It is more than a little worrisome.

  51. 4mercy says:

    Isn’t it sort of amazing that people would take time out of their busy lives to defend a game that sacrifices to demons for power, has pornographic images, is known to have additive qualities and expresses a “hey! evil is fun, demons are your friends” message to kids! …and this on a Catholic blogspot. Does the phrase”occasion of sin” mean anything to anybody? How about “lead us not into temptation?”

    Count me in with “Davidtrad” and Choirsofangels”! The defenders of WoW might reflect on the “frog in pot” story and jump out of the pot! The water is boiling!

  52. Jonathan says:

    “Some of the logic used in these comments is frightening. The suggestion that anyone who feels a certain game or book’s content have occultist themes are book burning fanatics. The extreme desensitization required to play game where players click on something and ” “offer a demonic sacrifice in order that the offering might bring us power” ” and it’s okay because they just don’t think about it?!? The idea that it is okay to play a game where you play a demon who kills innocent humans in gruesome & horrific ways (and you have control of them while they do this) as long as you know the character later “repents” of these acts?”

    1. It’s not “desensitization”, it’s the separation between fantasy and reality. Just pixels on a screen. If I saw someone in real life “offering demonic sacrifices”, I’d get out immediately, but these are pixels. Fake. Not real. It is a set of boxes on a screen arranged in a way that forms a picture. It is what you make of it. If you actually mean to “offer a demonic sacrifice”, then there’s a problem, but if you’re just thinking “okay, let’s get everyone over here”, it doesn’t matter because you realize that it is fake.
    2. Did you know that the first “credit” in the game’s credits manual is to……God? Our God?
    3. Gruesome and horrific ways? I wouldn’t call the game’s awful graphics where you poke a person with a sharp stick 20 times and they fall over like a 3rd grader in a school play “horrific”.
    4. As I said before, people don’t care about the story.

    “Isn’t it sort of amazing that people would take time out of their busy lives to defend a game that sacrifices to demons for power, has pornographic images, is known to have additive qualities and expresses a “hey! evil is fun, demons are your friends” message to kids! …and this on a Catholic blogspot. Does the phrase”occasion of sin” mean anything to anybody? How about “lead us not into temptation?””

    1. The game doesn’t “sacrifice to demons for power”. It is fake and nothing you do in it really happens. IT IS ALL MADE UP OF DIFFERENT SETS OF 0 AND 1. Please, people, this is not difficult.
    2. The “pornographic images” comment is completely unfounded and an absolute falsehood (at least of what I have seen, but Blizzard isn’t a very racy company; they appeal to the masses which includes regular people who are conscious about those kinds of things).
    3. The game doesn’t send an “evil is fun, demons are your friends” message because the game is about fighting against evil and demons. Obviously the one you fight is not your friend. Especially considering that the people who usually win are the people in the huge cathedrals and practicing a religion that’s really “Let’s make the religion of the good guys Catholic except not call it that so we can be subtle about it!”
    4. I wouldn’t consider a GAME an “occasion of sin”, because it is all digital. There isn’t a button you can press that says “Click here to learn how to perform a REAL demonic sacrifice!” It’s all a game! Anyone who has any idea of a difference between fantasy and reality shouldn’t be concerned!

    Seriously, this reminds me of that Jack Chick comic. I don’t see any reason for concern from a person who knows that fantasy is not reality.

  53. ChoirsofAngels says:

    So there is nothing wrong with looking at cartoon nudity and pornography? I am just trying to understand why the fact that it is just “pixels” makes everything and anything under the sun okay, where do you draw the line?

    I have no idea whatsoever what Jack Chick has to do with anything at all, care to clarify that statement?

    desensitization: 2.The elimination or reduction of natural or acquired reactivity or sensitivity to an external stimulus.

    The natural reaction to the external stimulus of “summoning a demon for power” no matter how “pixelated” or “unreal” for any practicing Catholic should be complete avoidance. Therefore no reaction whatsoever indicates desensitization as per the meaning of the word.

    There are players who make their female characters dance around in the towns in underwear for money. How is that not pornography? A simple Google search on this game will show that it is full of occult and sexual references.

  54. Davidtrad says:

    Allan, in fact I am a father to two teenage boys, and have more quickly approaching. While my family knows tragedy, one of my many faults as a father and husband will not include exposing my children to the occult or allowing them to dabble in games that contain demonic, sexually explicit, or occult images. No matter how they turn out, it will not be my fault that they are exposed to that vile, Satanic garbage.

    If one of my teenagers told me today that they were playing an online game like WoW, I certainly wouldn’t sign on, myself. I would most certainly end that kind of behavior in my house (because it is my house!), tell him to seriously consider going to Confession, and I would take away his privileges to the computer… Oh wait, my children don’t have any computer priviledges. Never mind to that last point, then.

    I will simply not condone my children dabbling in the occult in my own home. The same goes for any lesser infraction, such as shooting up on heroine, underage drinking, premarital sex, etc…

    Why? Because I’m their father, not their buddy.

    Here’s some advise I got from a good friend of mine. He has nine children. He has one son who is an engineer, another who is a brain surgeon, a daughter who was just accepted with almost full scholarships to the University of Notre Dame, etc… I asked him why it was that his children turned out so successful. He said:

    “Simple. Keep them engaged on intellectual pursuits. Don’t let them make excuses for wasting their time on the frivolous.”

    I think that’s a better course of action than your Plan A.

  55. Davidtrad says:

    ghlad,

    Did you just compare WoW to the bible?? Wow.

    Is World of Warcraft just a story, or is it a game in which players are immersed in a fantasy world and act out actions that often include references to the occult and the demonic?

    World of Warcraft is not a book, it’s a game in which people act out various plot lines. To compare it to a story (and especially the bible) is a rather silly equivocation.

    If you aren’t able to make the distinction between a story and online role playing games like World of Warcraft, then you probably aren’t able to understand the obvious fact that pretending to do evil stuff is a bad bad thing to do.

  56. ghlad says:

    I was merely attempting to point out that it’s unreasonable to point to WoW, say it contains inappropriate themes and ideas and end the discussion there with an emphatic comment about us going to Hell. Such ideas are in many stories that are wholesome and healthy to read. And although to call WoW a story is certainly not a silly equivocation, I apologize that bringing up the Bible as an example was over the top, just as Davidtrad’s first comment about us playing the game to prepare for Hell was.

    Look, I certainly understand why several people here shun the game. That’s fine. I simply disagree that *FOR ME* the game is truly an occasion of sin, or a temptation to join in actual Real World™ witchcraft in any way, or even desensitizing me to the very scary reality of things such as demonic possession and Satanism. If it is for you or your loved ones, you are very much in the right to deny entry of the game into your house.

    Davidtrad, it’s interesting to hear that you completely bar your children from having any computer privileges. Does that include when they are at school? Or are they home schooled? There’s a good chance that they’ll need computer skills for their professional careers in the future, and there are some excellent internet filtering software packages out there as well that can help keep them safe.

  57. Davidtrad says:

    ghlad,

    Good grief! Who said you were going to hell? That’s not what I wrote. I said it was a tool intended to condition people for hell. I think the same thing about Spongebob Squarepants. That doesn’t mean I’m judging the souls of those poor little kids, for crying out loud!

    I’m not judging you, I’m taking a stand against the attitude that Catholic parents should have no problem with their children pretending to use demonic and occult magic in a game that often has them pretend to do vile and disgusting things that are at odds with our Catholic faith.

    It’s simple. Is there occult and demonic images in the game? Are there sexual images in the game? If yes, how can we, Catholics, tell other Catholic parents that its perfectly OK for them to allow their kids to play this game?

    What is it that you disagree with? Do you say there are no occult, demonic or sexual images in the game? Do you think I’m wrong to think parents should not expose their children to such images? Do you think I’m wrong to think Catholic parents shouldn’t allow demonic or occult images to be piped into their homes via the computer? Or do you think that occult and demonic images aren’t that big a deal?

    In regards to the computer and the kids. (Yes, we home school, but what does that have to do with it?) I work all day at a computer. I’m over 40 years old, which means I had a typing class in high school, and didn’t use a computer until graduate school. I still work on a computer all day, and I do it quite well… despite the fact that I had no computer privileges until graduate school. My 7th grader is in Traditional Logic II and Algebra. I’m pretty sure he will be able to figure out point-and-click when the time comes. My children will get by just fine, but thanks for the concern.

    BTW, no we don’t burn Harry Potter books, though they aren’t read in my house; we don’t ascribe to the bigotry and hatred of Jack Chick, and I’m tired of people hurling such insults just because they can’t come up with a logical rebuttal.

  58. Davidtrad says:

    “Just pixels on a screen.”

    So is internet porn. Would you let your children look at that?

    Jonathan, your whole argument is summed up in that it’s just pretend. But, Jonathan, there’s nothing good about allowing children to pretend to be undead creatures, and pretend to do vile and disgusting things (which you already admitted is in the game).

    What a person pretends, or fantasizes about demonstrates what is in a person’s head, what makes that person tick, what indicates the course of his social actions.

  59. Jonathan says:

    “What a person pretends, or fantasizes about demonstrates what is in a person’s head, what makes that person tick, what indicates the course of his social actions.”

    But the problem is that when I play this game, even the thought of what the character is simulating doesn’t enter my mind. I don’t think about exactly what non-real actions the character is pretending to do, I just say “okay, let’s get everyone here so we can play”. So it can’t really have any effect on my actual life because the thought never enters my mind. I can definitely tell you that I am appalled by all things that really are of that form of evil nature. I also choose not to play games that are more realistic and promote obvious references to that as well.

    But, WoW is so unrealistic it should be more likened to the game of chess than an actual “evil-simulator”. The “killing” in the game is about as graphic as taking your chess piece and tapping over the opponent’s. Seriously, there is no blood or anything like that; it is a literally unconvincing falling over. It is not graphic in the least. I don’t play games that involve people actually realistically dying, but WoW is seriously like chess more than those. It is much more of a strategical game (unless you happen to play a mage…hah) and the “dying” is about as realistic as tapping over the opposing player’s chess piece or, literally, a text-based game telling you “You have died.”

    But personally, I play the game because I like the friends I have made on it (by the way, I am in a guild that is run by Christians on moral principles). If we played another game, I’d play that with them. The real reason I play is just to be with those friends and talk to them. The game itself doesn’t mean anything to me, really.

  60. Davidtrad says:

    Well, then, obviously this game is a core value in your life, at least at this point. It seems to be an important avenue for your social life. But not all values are good, nor are all social circles good. You will make your own decisions, good or bad.

    Objectively, the game, whether you think it important or not, contains occult, demonic and sexual images. It is an undeniable fact that there are individuals in the past and present who use occult and demonic images to work wonders by the Devil’s aid. These things, therefore, are the instruments of the Evil One. Objectively, no matter the medium, these things endanger and even attack the human soul by their very presence, and they are objectively not in accord with our Catholic faith.

    At least consider that bringing these images into your home endangers more than just you, but everyone who shares the home with you. Satan may be a fallen angel, but he is still an angel. Allowing him into your home is dangerous for everyone in your home.

    And finally consider the words of St. Paul:

    2 Corinthians, 6. 14-17

    “Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever?

    And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God saith: I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, Go out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.”

  61. Allan S. says:

    First, I think it’s pretty amamzing that the discussions here tend to be so civil, strong views notwithstanding.

    It’s a little disingenious though to compare WoW, surfing porn and shooting heroin as equivilents. There are shades of grey in there between these extremes, and parents need to model appropriate behaviour, give accurate information about risks and consequences (getting teenage boys to grasp the notion of consequences is a challenge) and set age-appropriate limits.

    As a side note, I have to admit that I have re-read the quote from 2 Cor more than a few times now, and have no idea whatsover what it means. I’m one of those guys in the pews who listens to the homily so I can have the readings explained to me. If anyone cares to translate it into plain English for me….

  62. paladin says:

    I have to go with David(trad), on this one. Speaking as one who was a Dungeon Master for AD&D for well over 10 years, and as one who plunged himself (despite his Christian intentions) into every avenue of “alternate-morality fantasy” that I could find (e.g. Piers Anthony, Steven King, Clive Barker, Mortal Kombat, etc.), I know–from firsthand experience, how inexorably that sort of thing dulls one’s conscience, bit by bit, until even gross immodesty (even if not technically using/portraying nudity or sex acts) is met with: “Meh. There’s far worse in the world… and at least I can explain this to my kids, give the context, blah blah blah…”.

    Not everyone will imbibe the “spirit of that genre” to my extent, where I started becoming fascinated with ESP, and then hypnosis, and then OuiJa boards, and then Tarot cards, and so forth… but it’s not exactly an aberration. The mere fact that you can do a spot-check of your “feelings” (see Jeremiah 17:9 for the questionable wisdom of doing that) and say, “Yeah, I’m not addicted, and I’m still a good Christian, and I can use this stuff in moderation, of course!”, that doesn’t say diddly-squat about the gradual corrosive effects on your conscience and sense of modesty, nor is it an accurate predictor of things to come.

    There was a time when I could read the most raunchy sex scenes in a Clive Barker book, and not blink; with my compartmentalized mindset (which this sort of genre *definitely* encourages–it’s the only way for a Christian to indulge it while still holding to the conviction that “all is well”), I drew a sort of (forgive the word!) “ineffable” boundary in my mind between “what I do” and “what would be morally dangerous”–since it was *I* who was doing it, y’know? Not like some pervert, or anything. Even if it *did* leave me a bit less quick, day by day, to turn away from lewd stuff on the internet. (Funny, that… but I’m sure it was just a coincidence… right?)

    I do assert: if you use completely objective standards, WoW (and the like) are morally and spiritually dangerous. Yes, I know (from bitter personal experience) how easily the rationalizations (and angry scoffings, retorts, etc.) came to my lips, when someone was outrageous enough to question my use of the stuff. “How dare they? What sort of Puritanical fanatics are they, that they can’t just have some innocent, well-proportioned fun?” That, friends, is the “yelp” of a guilty conscience… for now (until it gets too smothered to yelp).

    My vote? Get rid of it. Burn it. Recycle it. Delete every last pixel and byte from your computer. Yes, I know that you’re a good person who tithes, attends the TLM, loves the Holy Father, pats little birdies on the head, and the like. That’s not the point. I (and David, and others of like mind) are trying to warn you of a spiritual danger. If nothing else, do a reality check on the strength, rapidity and vehemence with which you defend your Wow, etc. When I was still immersed in that sort of thing, my reaction was that of a pit bull: lash out with lightning speed (with love and Christian patience, of course… except when I didn’t use it, and then it was justified!). Seriously, do a “self-check”, right after you come back from having made a good Confession (or retreat, or both), and see if your reaction is the same as it is, now.

    Imbibe that which will build up your soul, not titillate it with things that you would never dream of doing in real life. Fracturing your “internal” life from your “external” life is never a good thing… or does someone disagree with that?

  63. Davidtrad says:

    Paladin, you are welcome to my home any time for discussions of theology, politics or philosophy, and, of course, a beer or two.

  64. paladin says:

    :) I’ll have to horrify you, David, as I’m one of those from whom Chesterton (God bless him and rest his soul) would turn with a shudder: a dreaded teetotaller! I’d be honoured to chew the rug about various topics, though… if ever we bump into each other!