This is a note to all my video gamer Catholics.
Recently a child asked me, “Is playing Call of Duty a sin?” My response, as someone who grew up playing video games with my brother and who is now in formation to be a Sister in a religious congregation, is as follows:
Now personally I was more of a fighter game kind of girl; Soul Calibur was my relaxation and venting method. Nonetheless, the idea is the same. The game in itself is not a sin, but consider: Is your inclination because of the game sinful? Take a moment and evaluate yourself.
When you play the game do you:
-Get frustrated more easily at people around you?
-Do you get angry more easily?
-Are you impatient or irritable when others approach you?
– Are you disrespectful to your parents?
-Does playing the game keep you from being present to others?
Again, playing the game is not a sin. However, has playing the game led you to sin?
Another thing I wanted to touch on was: When do you know the game is your “god”? My dear gamers when you start seeking consolation, peace, joy, and even love in a videogame, then you have made it your god. Now I often would play games to vent or to relax, and to a point this can be healthy, but when you start to think that it is only in playing video games that you can get this then maybe it’s time to step back and seek something less temporary and more eternal. The game is your god when you cry for it. When you think only about it. When you are still thinking about tactics to get to the next level instead of being present to the people in your life. It is then that the game is “god”, and that is a sin. No matter how real the game graphics may look there is a power button to that world, but this world is infinitely different and the love and fulfillment that one gains from relationships in this world is infinitely more valuable. Particularly, the love, joy, consolation, and peace given by always ordering God first in our hearts is eternally more valuable. It is the difference between the water that leaves you thirsting and the living water that once you drink, you never thirst again.
If you were to put a remote in my hands, my giddy gamer self would still come out ready to button-mash the final battle, to my opponents’ great annoyance. The game itself is not the sin, but if I react to the game with sin, be it in my actions, my character, my thoughts, or my lack of action, then I have allowed myself to be led into sin. We have to be responsible gamers, ready to put the remote down when we are at risk of losing self-control, and ready to press the power button when we honor the game as God. We must remember always that the real goal of our lives is union with Christ who gives us the eternal love, peace, consolation, and joy that the game can only provide for the moment we are playing and winning.
God’s will be done,