Why the “religious” piss me off…
The title of this post will confuse some of you, and it SHOULD. For those who don’t know why it should, it’s because I am a very religious man. I’m not using religion as a metaphor or anything, like “I play Dungeons & Dragons religiously.” it’s just a fact. I pray before meals (even at restaurants), I’ve made theology a study, I meditate on the Word and pray daily, I’m a creationist, and my first career choice was to be a pastor. If I haven’t lost you already, I’ll get to why I’m a bit incensed at the moment. It isn’t my beliefs I’m upset with. It’s the people I keep getting lumped with whenever people hear the word “Christian.”
I usually don’t like to delve in to either religion or politics, but I felt I had to share it this time around.
I recently saw a disturbing video on a friend’s wall on Facebook, and it got my blood boiling:
Thank you, Jehovah’s Witnesses. As if we gamers didn’t get enough flak as it is, you equate innocent fantasy with Satanism. What pisses me off more is how you’re using a kiddy “Toy-Story-esque” animation to make your crap more appealing. It’s deplorable. It’s harmless fantasy! It’s like reliving the lectures my friends and I got from “concerned adults” about the soul-crushing evil that is playing Magic: The Gathering back in the day. Let’s see… I was twelve when I started playing Magic, and here I (and my friends, for that matter) am at THIRTY ONE, still one of the faithful, which is more than I can say for some of the other “good kids” that I went through parochial school with.
Poor Caleb just wants to play with his Sporloch the Warlock toy that a buddy gave him (Gee, that’s actually a generous friend!). I’m dead certain that he didn’t have any evil designs for starting a witch-cult in his room. Then along comes mommy, telling him that “Jehovah doesn’t like magic.” She sits the poor kid down, and guilt-trips him into thinking that he’s in Satan’s grasp, and that he’s liking “what Satan likes.” Then, being a dutiful (far more than his mother, anyways) son, he turns away the evil plastic toy and, upon his mother’s suggestion, does something FAR more fun…goes and rides a bike with his mother! How much do you want to bet it’s going to involve going door to door trying to push their religion on people, or bothering the local Lutheran in a vain and futile attempt to get him to convert?
What REALLY kills me is that the mother doesn’t have Caleb return the toy…oh, no. The bitch has him TOSS IT IN THE TRASH!!! If I were Caleb’s friend, I’d understandably be a little upset. If I were the friend’s parents, I would be knocking on mommy’s door demanding a $9.95 +tax compensation for a replacement Sporloch the Warlock for my kid. So what does a good JW do when they think the toy/book/game you let them borrow is in league with Satan? Give it back to you? ‘Course not! They throw it away, because YOU should be rid of it, too!
Of course, this leads me to ask “what does this all add up to?”
My answer? Fear-mongering about a harmless bit of fun, and spreading a bad reputation for Christians in general.
Every time I see a sign that says “God hates Fags,” or a preacher say that soldiers getting killed “is a good thing,” or that “drinking Coke makes you spiritually impure,” or that “Dungeons & Dragons is Satan’s game,” I get physically ill. This is because I know that there are people out there that now think that because I’m a Christian, I believe all of those ridiculous things. I can’t tell you how many people are utterly confused that I’m religious AND have two nights a week where my friends and I play D&D (or other game).
I play Dungeons & Dragons (or other RPGs).
I attend the Renaissance Festival.
I attend Anime, Comic, and Gaming Conventions.
I have an internet alter-ego where I am a wizard who reviews games.
I read and watch The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice & Fire (A Game of Thrones)
and other fantasy.
I listen to a wide variety of secular music.
I collect video games, and enjoy a wide variety. Most of my games are rated “M.”
I enjoy violent movies.
Regardless of my personal beliefs, I have made many wonderful friends who include atheists, pagans, liberals, and the homosexual. I don’t try to change them, and they don’t try to change me.
I am a Christian.
…but any time I make any of the above statements, I always get “But isn’t that against your religion?”
No. No, it isn’t. As for explaining “why;” I have neither the years required nor the desire to indulge people who buy into all of the stupid crap all Christians get lumped with.
I wish I didn’t get so upset about all of this, but gaming and fantasy are my lifelong hobby, and I hate it when people keep telling me it’s evil. I can’t tell you how many conventions I’ve been to that had “christian” protestors standing outside holding signs that make absolutely NO sense whatsoever.
This stuff just really gets under my skin. I hate it when people flagrantly use the Bible without actually knowing HOW to use it. Most people pick a single passage, take it wildly out of context, and slap it on a poster board, like this retard in the above picture. Okay, so it’s a photoshop job of the infamous “God Hates Fags” sign, but the cute little Romans 9:13 reference doesn’t make a single lick of sense for THAT, either. For those who are curious:
Romans 9:13 Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (NIV)
What does this have to do with either nerds OR “fags?”
…NOTHING!!! Five passages in, and five previous, this passage has nothing to do with anything.
No matter where I go, there’s some religiously paranoid idiot making the rest of us look bad. Now, we have kiddy-friendly propaganda to fuel yet more misinformation and gamer hate.
This isn’t the first campaign against fantasy or gaming that has been hatched. Dungeons & Dragons has gotten a lot of bad press in its infancy, and most of it has largely died out, but I can think of at least two instances where some paranoid idiot tired to point the finger at Dungeons & Dragons as the cause of their (or their family’s) malfunctions. I remember reading about an incident in the 80s regarding the disappearance of one James Dallas Egbert III from Michigan State University. The parents hired an idiot P.I. named William Dear to find their son, and he concluded (incorrectly) that he committed suicide over Dungeons & Dragons. He wrote a book in 1984 called The Dungeon Master to of course, capitalize on peoples’ fears of D&D, but that was already in full swing. A similar simpleton named Rona Jaffe had already taken the opportunity to run with the paranoid hatred of D&D craze and throw gasoline on the fire with her book Mazes & Monsters…which was made into a hilariously terrible made for TV film by the same name starring Tom Hanks in one of his earliest roles. What gets to me about these two folks is that they aren’t exactly known for being “religious.” Nope; their fear-mongering was totally secular. It’s the perfect example of how the
religiously paranoid can taint even people outside of their community, and
how these unfounded fears need not come from religious sources.
If this wasn’t bad enough, there’s a religiously paranoid comic strip artist out there named Jack Chick who wanted a slice of that fat hysteria cake for himself. He draws and publishes a pleathora of hilariously terrible “Chick Tracts” on the many evils that good Christians should flee from, and Dungeons & Dragons was on his hit list. His tract, Dark Dungeons is a favorite that keeps getting slipped onto our hotel room pillows at GenCon to this very day. According to Chick, we D&D players play D&D as training to join a Satanic witch coven. I must be very bad at it, because I’ve never seen or have been approached by a recruiter for the Church of Satan or any pagan groups in my 20+ years of gaming. Odd thing, that. In fact, I’m currently employed, I have a college degree, I have a wonderful fiancee, and a large circle of friends and family. Maybe I’m going about this Dungeons & Dragons thing all wrong.
Jack Chick, William Dear, and Rona Jaffe have absolutely no concept for how D&D is played, or why we play it. Gaming has become pretty mainstream nowadays, even to the point of it becoming “cool.” Celebrities have come out of the D&D closet, and now it seems to be a badge of honor that “I (used to) play D&D.” It’s like “nerd” is becoming a fashion trend. Still, you never seem to shake people like the Westboro Baptist Chruch from finding something innocent that is different from them and trying to convince people that it is in league with Satan. How joyless is your life when you’re terrified of a bunch of nerds who play with miniatures and roll funny-shaped dice who pretend to be wizards and elves? How low have you sunk when you consider a great enemy of your faith to be Harry Potter?
The bottom line, is that there is a giant section of the book of 1 Corinthians (8-11) that is about the very subject of Christian freedom, and our ability to enjoy anything we want so long as it doesn’t lead us to sin. For all you haters, I have this to say:
Dungeons & Dragons does NOT lead you into sin.
Comic books are NOT idolatry.
Video Games aren’t the reason your kid is acting like a little asshole.
Quit brainwashing people and teaching things that AREN’T in the Bible.
I’m sure this is a well-used statement, but it bears repeating: “LORD, please deliver me from your followers.”
…and for all the people out there to whom this article applies, I use the term “follower” loosely.
I’m pretty sure that J. C. is cool with my gaming hobby. Leave me and the rest of the gamer community the hell ALONE!