What role does media play in the life of a follower of Christ, if any? Are they an escape? An addiction? An art form? Are they evil, or can they be honoring to God? Why make a website about Christianity in media and video games at all? Our answer to that last question is: to equip you to answer the challenges to the Bible that are present in media.
Media has become a comfortable undercurrent, steadily growing in our technological and media savvy lives. Often overlooked as benign additions to our gadgets and living rooms, the nature of the medium can passively shape the worldviews of players who absorb the content they deliver. Even games rated “E for Everyone” or movies rated G maybe deemed safe by families, unaware of the spiritual warfare going on.
Video games function uniquely among other media formats. While most media are passive (sit and watch, sit and listen, sit and read), video games are interactive. The player is an essential part of ensuring that the content, and thus the message, are delivered. The player’s involvement in “achieving” the message by furthering the story, beating the game, or even playing at all can lead to subtle absorption of the “truth” as presented by the game. That is why our ministry does a lot with video games.
As gamers, we know that there are moments when you are much more focused on the emotion of the story, the adrenaline of accomplishment, and any number of other factors, than you are on carefully critiquing the truth or error of the character’s actions. Spiritual senses can be slowed because your current focus is on advancing, achieving, and beating the game! Likewise, in games where various temptations are presented to the in-game character’s choice, a gamer may feel the freedom to give into those temptations because “it’s just a game.” This choice feels disconnected from reality and consequence, even as it has a very real spiritual impact on the heart.
These secular messages are at times unintentional, a sad by product of a secular society rather than an open attack. Even so, they are present and worth discussion. At other times, secular messages are included to explore a theme, such as the value or danger of organized religion. Still other times, the secular messages are absolutely overt and amount to no less than an intentional attack on the truth of Scripture.
Regardless of why the secular messages are delivered, they present a critical opportunity to think critically. This is why Christians must know God’s Word, ask tough questions, and not let media teach them but challenge any statements with the Word of God. We must keep our eyes wide open! We want to teach you how to think, not what to think.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 says “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” That is the challenge under taken in our ministry. It does not set out to destroy the credibility of media or play ability of games. We have found a simple strategy to engage culture with the Bible is to “Know it. Live it. Share it.” The goal is to know God’s Word first, and how to use it as a filter for truth when we use media. Then we can live it out: not writing off what we see in media, but testing everything and holding on to the good. We can media as an open door to spiritual conversations and opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus with the world.