Star-Fired Beef

Spiritual Gaming


This post is another case of me sticking my nose in where it doesn’t really belong, after last week’s blog topic – reconciling one’s religion with the hobby of gaming – did the rounds. It feels like an intrusion, because unlike a number of the bloggers who have written about this, I do not share that concern with a possible conflict between my hobbies and my beliefs. It has honestly never come up in my thinking, until reading the blogs of others forced me to examine my situation.

I am strongly agnostic. I have no formal religion, but I have cobbled together a loose system of moral and spiritual beliefs from the various sources I have encountered over the years. If I were forced to choose a religion to identify with, I suspect that I would gravitate towards a pagan, Wiccan, or Druidic form. I have no idea if what I believe is the truth, let alone the Truth, but it feels right to me. Plus, it is always a work in progress.

However, I have done a decent amount of reading about various religions, particularly Christianity. Thanks to Karen Armstrong and her History of God, I feel like I have a good understanding of the way the Abrahamic faiths have developed and changed over the centuries, and I think I can empathise with the faithful of those religions a lot better. I do have problems with the way some beliefs are framed, and that has been the one major influence that religion has had on my gaming life.

To me, the act of gaming itself is no different to any other hobby. If your faith has issues with you watching movies or tv, or playing competitive sports, or making artwork, then you should be applying the same judgement to games, too. But I think the main concern people of faith have with media is the content, not the medium. Sure, there were massive fears over the rise of ‘rock and roll’ when it first became mainstream, but nowadays Christian Rock is a huuuuuge genre.

With regards to the concern about losing oneself in gaming, that you might be neglecting your faith because of it, well…one of the central tenets I find is useful to keep in mind in many faiths, is balance. You inherently know when you are out of balance, and although you may not be aware what it is, exactly, simply stopping to examine your life and priorities should make it clearer what needs to happen to bring yourself back into equilibrium. It is much harder to practise the good of your faith – love, joy, compassion, charity, etc – when you are out of balance, and so I think it is necessary to re-evaluate yourself regularly to right the ship, so to speak.

I don’t know whether any of that makes sense, even to me, so I’ll just leave it there. Turns out this topic was harder to write about than I thought.

 Árstíðir – Heyr himna smiður


4 thoughts on “Spiritual Gaming

  1. No matter what someone believes in, I really do feel it comes down to finding a life balance.

    If you take a good look at some of the old Christian “thou shalt nots,” a lot of them were there to conduct folks in common sense and moral things way, way back in a more ancient culture than ours. Apparently, they really needed things spelled out like that. So, things don’t always make a lot of sense to us, but some of the weird things that we see as “rules” in the old books actually addressed survival and extending life expectancy. I’ve learned some pretty interesting facts about the connection of old culture and the Old Testament especially through my theology classes! 😀

    But, yes, balance is one of those things universal through time and faith, I feel. Too much of anything, even what you love, is bad for you when it keeps you from doing everything else. Good thoughts!

    • Yes, it is important to remember that religious thought is a product of a different time and different culture. No matter how carefully you try to uphold traditions, you cannot help but change as society changes around you. Unless you isolate yourself, of course – that would be why the common image of a “cult” is one that aggressively isolates its members from wider society.

      I would go by the rule of thumb that, the further away from your life a teaching is, whether through time or culture, the less you should be taking it literally, and the more you should be using it as a guide, a message or general principle.

  2. I agree. Religions work best as ethical and moral systems, less so as binding documents of “truth”.

    I’ve read a lot of Karen Armstrong’s books, too, mainly to counterbalance Richard Dawkins’ numerous atheistic texts. Dawkins appeals to me on an intellectual level, but I like Armstrong’s litmus test of practical compassion when trying to gauge the worth of a religion. If a religion isn’t actively trying to make the world a better place but is caught up in dogma instead then it deserves its place on the scrap heap of history.

    • Yeah I think a lot of the reasons atheists like Dawkins find religion silly or irrelevant or stupid, is that they are making the same mistakes that fundamentalists make – taking the texts at face value and disregarding the nuances and subtleties of various teachings. Religion can never beat rational atheism on an intellectual playing field. You just have to realise that they are operating in separate spheres.

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