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TOPIC: Parenting, Families and Gaming
#7757
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years ago  
Fundamentalist Christian here...

...I also wargame and roleplay....


So, Tdaraa, what you're showing us is that the two ideas need not be mutually exclusive.

I'm very interested in your perspective, especially whether or not you feel there is a conflict between your beliefs and your gaming. To what extent does your faith influence your gaming choices? Are there any games you will not play on moral grounds?

And to get back to the point that started all this, what are your views on DoE?
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#7758
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years ago  
I can't vouch for the mentality of all Americans or all Europeans, but you're definitely onto something when you talk about the psyche of war-scarred nations. Ever travel in southern Germany? It's like Disneyworld, all this medieval architecture that was clearly built in the sixties. Munich was particularly hard hit -- beautiful city, utterly destroyed. Then there's Dresden.... (which, okay, is much more central, but still...)

It's almost inconceivable for anyone, maybe anywhere on the planet, to grasp what it must have been like for Europe in the aftermath of WWI. The whole "lost generation," the pointlessness of the war itself... I don't think any set of ideas -- political, religious, artistic -- was unaffected by that. Our whole way of looking at the world was irrevocably determined by that period of time, and it's so easy to lose sight of since most people today grew up long after it had taken hold.

L
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#7759
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years ago  
I like roleplaying games. I like toy guns. I like model tanks. I like DoE. And I think they are all fine for kids of the appropriate ages.
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#7760
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years ago  
While I don't agree with his theology (He's Latter Day Saint, I'm Baptist) Tracy Hickman covers this ground very nicely, and more comprehensivly than I ever could in this series of essays.

www.trhickman.com/essay.html

Long and short, I put most fantasy gaming in the same broad catagory as I would CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Having said that, I know some Christians who would not read The Screwtape Letters because they are about a demon, go figure. Ignorance of the enemy is inexcusable in my view, tho that may be somewhat tainted by my spending 12 years as an active duty Marine.

God bless,

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#7761
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years ago  
I had an interesting exchange with him online (really sweet guy) but unfortunately he got busy and we never had a chance to finish.


Basically, I was asking about the ethical framework of the Dragonlance books, because I don't think they are consistent.

They frequently depict "evil" as a destructive force that necessarily brings unhappiness, very Old Testament, very Tolkien. If you are evil, you will suffer. That makes it quite easy to show someone why they shouldn't be evil -- it's not a matter of listening to my opinion or my judgments, it's a matter of seeing that you will suffer. Evil is, in short, not in your best interests.

But they also depict evil as "just another lifestyle choice," in trying to show the dangers of dogmatism. When people become too convinced of their goodness, it's just as bad as being evil. For that matter, there are these aspects of Caramon and Raistlin's relationship that treat Raistlin as making a perfectly valid lifestyle choice rather than walking a dark road that will end in tragedy. (It's amazing how much Chronicles is unaffected by reading Raistlin as discovering he's gay rather than going evil -- "Oh, that's my brother. He's evil. It was awkward for a while, but I love him, and I don't want to judge him. It's important that I let him make his own choices.")

I pointed out that this fear of "too much good" is really just fear of dogmatism, which is in fact not good at all. Intolerance, overconfidence, hubris -- these are not virtues. The Kingpriest of Istar was not TOO good, he was just bad in white robes.

We were having a neat talk about it. He really pays a lot of attention to these issues, even if I don't always think it works perfectly.

L
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#7762
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years ago  
Okay.

I've been facinated with Intellectual History and the developing texts contributing to the modern notion of the western individual, as I was raised in a religious cult.

To me the dialogue of the individual seperating oneself from those inculcated and contrived templates of gender identity, economic identity, religious identity, cultural identity, national identity, et. al. is a very personal conversation.

I was raised believing certain necessary truths that I began to question as soon as I was no longer an very young child.

To the conversation of gaming and morality I would add an even different question.

Let's assume for the sake of a gestalt experiment that there definitively is a higher power of the type as listed in the Judeau-Christian literature. That the particular rhetorical and literary devices employed in this narrative depict real a real cosmology and historically accurate events.

There are two sides a God, and an angel recast as the devil, both with minions and that there really is an epic conflict from which we all have a vested interest in some undefined subscription called eternity.

Once we fiat that scenario and Joe Gamer makes an actualized choice to be a Christian and live by that ethos, and to be a gamer, is there a morally dangerous ground if Joe plays games that include references to Demonic or just evil symbollogy?

I would venture that in that cosmology, fallen angels (demons) are actively involved in a game versus God and his codex it just might be pretty dangerous temporally, eternally, psychologically, and perhaps even physically to become intimate with the side the fallen angels. If the available media is accurate, and if these fallen ones really and truly represent the epitome of intrinsic evil, then I would imagine that nothing could be gained from lifestyle choices that bring a proximity to these forces and/or beings.

If you accept that God is good and you accept that there is something happening that is very real, then moral relativism has no place in the conversation. God in the end, presumably and predictably, will pass judgement, however loving, in a manner that is defined to be just.

That justice is probably not going to be distributed in a relativistic way taking into consideration the western notion of what's right for me. We can imagine on some level there will be some universal standards.

Then again an omniscient and omnipotent being wouldn't really struggle too much with extenuating circumstances and multivariate considerations either.

However, the prevailing Christian ethos is that there is a mandate to Christians to spread the word as this system of things is temporary and not of consequence. That is not relativistic. It applies to all who subscribe.

In that model, I would charge that an individual who identifies as a Christian, and that spends significant time, energy, and money gaming is not in accord with their very mandate.

So from that perspective any distraction, activity, or pursuit in this temporary sphere that is not directly related to the mandate, falls by default into a category of evil.

Whether sports fanaticism, outdoor pursuits, business ventures, mainstream entertainment, whatever it may be a lifestyle that involves significant time spent in any activity that is not spent in the mandate of spreadin' the word is a series of choices in discord with the spiritual mandate.

It doesn't matter if the game is Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, or Sorry as much as it matters that the individual is obsessed, and distracted from their responsibilities in this current system of things.

Obviously, assuming a standard distribution of intellect and naivete, not all the people unlucky enough to be caught up in this cosmology are going to be willing to go and hang out at concern that has a big sign on the front that says "Eternal Damnation, or at the very least loss of eternal life but interesting and fun nonetheless."

The Axis of Evil in this cosmology is going to have to dress up its product in slightly better clothes than the true consequences. However, as these Evil folks are fallen angels, they are probably more than up to the task.

Ask yourself, if it is possible to create a certain image and perception that promulgates the inhaling of certain carcinogenic substances merely by casting into the zeitgiest that it is cool what the heck else might our pathetic little minds be deceived and manipulated by.

In reality it isn't hard. Each character class has its own foil. Some people can be had for mere access to food and gluttony. Others need only the scarcity of material possessions to drive them toward a single mindedness to pursue the collection of such, while some others aren't even interested in the utility or ownership of the actual possession, but can be distracted by merely attempting to acquire the means to secure the material goods, the goods themselves being secondary, the means purchasing some identity much more valuable a commodity than any available substitute good. For some scarcity dominates not material things but concepts like relationships, be it sexual, familial, platonic, national, cultural, or regional. Jealousy as regards these capricious interactions may suffice to dominate the attention of an an unlucky few. Scarcity will lend some to take what others have obsessively acquired without some pareto exchange of utility. Scarcity may prompt some to take the very lives of others, to satisfy the need to acquire, or the need to defend some arbitrary cultural or regional identity. In defining a we a them is created. In the invention of a thing, a group exists that has it, and another by definition does not. In creating an us conflict is invited with a group not inclusive.

The idea is that if a Christian gamer in this model is to decide that they won't play some games because it is morally wrong I would consider that an invitation to begin a conversation with that Christian about what they believe, about what they read their holy text to mean, about whether they are living their life in accord to the very principles of their chosen faith.

I would indict American religious conservatives, as hypocritical in the greatest degree. The construct of our particular, and arbitrary, economic political and social regime is so contradictory to any interpretation of a Christian ethos as to be laughable.

Attending a Church on sunday while living in a suburban temple of consumerism, professing oneself to be Christian but in practice devoting more time eating, watching television, working, shopping, rootin' on the local nine, enjoying the initimacy of physical contact, and working than in respecting and following the very mandate of the faith.

The precept of Christianity, as I interpret the literature, is fundamentally two things, to treat others as you would want to be treated and to earnestly try to be the person that our shortcomings prevent us from being and secondly, to have the love of your fellow man such that you would attempt to invite them into the Kingdom of Christ.

To me buying resin terrain manufactured in a country wherein a peasant class suffers in a vaccuum of religious, political, or economic freedom, and is essentially an oppressed manufacturing caste subservient to the purchasing power of the world is not in accord with a Christian ethic. However, even if the freakin' terrain was handcrafted by zealous monks of the most pious degree, for the sole sake of supporting their proselyting (not mispelled as you may think), the terrain and the Candyland or Chutes and Ladders game it improves are still morally indefensible.

These are worldly pursuits, that due to the investment of time, energy, and financial resources are not in accord with the cosmology of the Christian, and expressly not in accord with the mandate given to Christians.

The gamer Christian would have to reconcile how fallacious their gaming is in the construct of their own faith.

All vice has something that is attractive to the indulgent, we just so happen to have actualized ourselves, or are merely indoctrinated and predisposed to prefer, to game for whatever gaming offers us individually.

Then again one could take the arguement a step further...

If the individual is to divest themselves from the inculcated, artificial, and capricious contstruct that creates our perspective of self and that same individual begins to indict their very personality to separate inherited notions of gender identity, economic identity, cultural identity, political identity, and whatever ideas contribute to the sense of self, such that they can complete a process of actualization to become a being of choice rather than a puppet of reflection of social indoctrination, that journey would not be complete unless that individual also asked an altogether more difficult question:

Assuming that there is a God and a group of fallen Angels interlocked in some epic conflict of which we are all pawns and from which the very nature of our human history and existance has derived, the question must be asked, by each attempting to become an individual of choice and not a automaton of indoctrination, who would I choose to be absent this holy conflict?

That question is more heretical than it appears. If one accepts that a omniscient and omnipotent power is God, then that power has to be accountable to the alternative, that of creating a system of things absent the litany of heinous, abominable, and flagitious aggregate of events that is the human experience.

If the creator, he who causes to become, has created this cosmology, a true believer has faith that the cosmology is necessary, that is that all the pain, suffering, murder, theft, exploitation, tyranny, genocide, the sum total of moral crimes the human imagination has produced to inflict on our fellow man is also necessary.

That is a very large leap to make.

How many tyrants have not been able to justify their rule toward some greater end?

In thinking through the moral consequence of scary looking terrain, as perceived by the western gamer, something can be added to the conversation of what is the good side, who is morally right, who are the heros? Questions that usually preceed choosing a character or army prior to the running of the game.

That contribution may very well disturb the very cosmology of their lives.

Next time choose the character that defends the regime of the tyrant that is responsible for creating the very fabric of existance from which all the suffering and misery of the human condition result. That's right play the good side against the evil sect that had the hubris to question the benevolent dictator.

Are we all not oppressed on some universal scale with our eternal salvation at stake allegorical to the condition of the Chinese peasant that contributes to the terrain of which we are all so proud?

The infusion of western capital justifies the oppression that those individuals suffer under doesn't it? Interjecting hard currency into the Chinese economy will be the poison that undermines the unjust regime and house of cards that is Chinese Communism won't it? We shouldn't feel bad that these peasants are defacto economic slaves to a system wherein a corrupt few hold them in servitude should we? In fact by buying the terrain, even though they toil without freedom to create it, we are in some small way combating their system for them aren't we?

After all guns are bad, war is bad we shouldn't play nor practice these things should we? Shouldn't we banish these very notions from our consciousness? Nothing is worth fighting for, once we have our freedom and access to opportunity, right? Since we have our suburban temples of consumerism why should we concern ourselves with the plight of others?

We have cable TV, alcohol, a wife starved to perfection and the envy of every man in the township, a car that announces to all that we are King of the Road and that we have an ACTIVE OUTDOOR lifestyle, we have an American flag sticker on that automobile announcing to all that we are a good American and that we are right thinking in unity with all other right thinking Americans, that the sacrifice of all those who have purchased our political freedoms have not been in vain, as we are soundly supporting our country and our freedoms, by not questioning or dissenting our Administration or the extra-Constitutional manner in which it arrived because we are in a time of crisis and as true patriots of freedom we must all come together. Our economic freedoms give us access to games which we enjoy, and a surplus of food at our disposal, and a standing of living that is inomprehensible to the millions of refugees and impoverished displaced by genocide or instability.

We have a military which will defend our freedom to unite in support of the one perspective which is patriotic and American, anywhere in the world.

We enjoy our indentity of individuality, and the indentity that we convey with our automobile, we enjoy its comforts and the sheer power and luxury that it conveys, we appreciate the sacrifice made by our volunteer military (held four years beyond their active commitment and two years further due to Stop Loss) that is made in securing our right to have access to its fuel from the more unstable places in the world.

Right now we have games to play, we can't be bothered if others may not have the freedom to ever accumulate the means to play, we are Christian though, even though we freely choose to participate in in activities that are not in accord with our prime Christian mandate.

However, we we must each make the choice to determine whether miniatures, terrain, or games that attempt to convey a campaign against evil and those denizens that threaten our way of life are suitable, appropriate, or moral.

Maybe our very souls hang in the balance of whether we collect and play a Chaos list, or we choose to play the side of hero in fighting the tyranny of evil.

Maybe demonic symbology invites deceit, corruption, and distraction into our lives, or maybe these symbols are useful in some cathartic exercise in combating the idealogy that they represent.

Maybe we play the good and sometimes the bad guys, but we do it in parody, because it is just a game nothing more than an bit o'recreation as friends get together to enjoy each others company.

Maybe it is not always clear who the good and the bad guys are, so we take it on faith from the codex.

Mabye this alien race does suffer from some historic and fateful choice made by some long distant ancestor that all now are held as subject under, but maybe that same race is embattling some altogether greater threat to the very fabric of existance.

Maybe that army has flavor text that demonstrates a history of evil that must be endured to fight a greater evil so that in the end they can be free to serve the common good, the regime.

Maybe it makes for a good game, maybe it is immoral, maybe nothing is.

However, why everything may matter in some epic scope, it is certainly true that religious conservatives in Idaho don't to the sales targets of a specialty manufacturer of terrain like Dwarven Forge.

Several Nietzsche quotes are appropriate here:

The he who gazes into the abyss (monster as sometimes translated) lest the monster gaze back, into him quote.

Okay, if you play with terrain that has demonic symbollogy maybe you are inviting the essence of evil, deceit, and discord into your world.

L has commented that the context of Nietzsche famous quotation was in dialogue to toward his contempt of Christianity.

I commonly abuse the context of Nietzsche's words to transpose a dialogue toward the tradition from which they came, that the individual who is attempting to reconcile the history of existance versus that which it has been inculcated should beware not to remove all such layers.

Once everything is gone from the individual, it may know right from the communal wrong, but it will be lost from having spent too much time looking into the abyss. I've always like to project his statement out of context to the evolution of that dialogue to which he contributed, however contradictory at times.

Then again he also said, "In every party there is one member who, by his all-too-devout pronouncement of the party principles, provokes the others to apostasy."

So you probably shouldn't have read this.

Either that, or something someone else writes, I'm not sure.

You see in deconstruction I've seperated myself from everything and questioned everything. Which leaves nothing, but makes for some really great material to make fun of everything.

So you see terrain is very dangerous, or not dangerous, or a distraction, or the lure that allowed you to realize that what you took to be good is evil, or that allows you to exorcize the demons under which you suffer, or creates an environment under which others suffer, or...

Anybody up for a game?
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#7763
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years ago  
Zug,

I did not even bother to read what you wrote.
2 Factors:
-Past diatribes.
-longer than reasonable; longer than mine even.

Can you chop your comment down to 10 lines or less;
that is if it not an attempt to belittle anyone, especially those folks who I was trying to convey their ideas?
Read you later.
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#7764
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years ago  
Well Zug, you said a mouth full. I'm not quite that complicated. To the one question, without getting too complex, my faith is in a Christ that I understand to have stepped into history to address the very condition of being vulnerable to petty temptations and being already fallen that you so eloquently ( and exhaustivly I might add ) presented. Stepping from that premise and looking further, from the book he wrote about himself, in Galations we find his agent Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) berating the recipients of his letter as being foolish for thinking they could complete or secure that work of grace through the efforts of thier flesh. In Romans starting in chapter 7 and culminating with the end of chapter 8 that same basic premise, with a further clarification that it is the very person of God himself (expressed in the 3rd person as the Holy Spirit) that protects the regenerated believer and seals him as protected and the litany of the things against which he is protected is impressive, going all the way up to principalities and powers (demons). Yah, you're probably right, from a spiritual standpoint this hobby is dross. If my presence here is a stumbling block for you I'll depart, tho I rather doubt such a methodically contrived model would shift in the favor of the Christian ethos one iota by the actions of one individual. Some believers *do* divest themselves of worldly distractions, they have my admiration. Would you condemn Job of the obvious wealth he had amassed while in the pursuit of God's good will? God didn't. While I will acknowledge my failures and shortcomings (they are legion) I am thankful that my expectation as to who will judge me after this life will not be judging my eternal destiny based on my works but His, and that the presiding official at that evaluation will not be from the ranks of mortals that presume to judge another's servant.
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#7765
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years ago  
Tdaara no one will ever be a stumbling block to my faith, I'm already and will probably always have that role jealously reserved for myself. Nobody could be the enemy to my peace, sanity, or spiritual well being that I can be.

Rabid,

I've said it before and I'll say it again, you at times have an almost desperate need to be relevant in your own eyes. In the vast emptiness of Idaho you have now recast yourself as the defender of Dwarven Forge versus religious conservatives.

Aside from the hypocrisy of Christians gaming, why do you feel that Dwarven Forge terrain needs to be defended? Why in Idaho?

I doubt if Dwarven Forge has sold $5000 of DF terrain to Idaho since the inception of the company.

Rest easy dear RabidFox* the freedom of gaming in Idaho is not at risk, you need not have the self image that you are the voice of truth in the face of an overwhelming ingnorance.

Even if we were to pretend for ten minutes that the religious convervatives of Idaho were to unite against gaming, could you really imagine for ten seconds that of all the games, texts, sourcebooks, fiction, minis, and terrain that Dwarven Forge would be a likely target to organize against?

For having some gargoyles built into the terrain?

You are a guy that likes some terrain and that plays games. That's relevant enough for any of us.
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#7766
Parenting, Families and Gaming 9 Years ago  
Zug,
Can you chop your comment down to 10 lines or less;
that is if it not an attempt to belittle anyone, especially those folks who I was trying to convey their ideas?


Rabid, I have a problem with anyone on this board criticizing others posts for style, length, or content as you've done in the past.

Considering that you authored this thread under the guise that others wouldn't let it go, when you felt you still had constructive comments that remained to be posted I find your comments disingenuous as usual.

How can you post ad nauseam and then have the gall to request that others restrict their viewpoints and opinions to ten lines?

I interpret this as just another example of not having tolerance for dissenting viewpoints or opinions other than your own. This forum is not a soapbox for any single poster to spread the word to their cult followers.

Please refrain from belittling posters which you disagree with.

Please refrain from attempting to limit the viewpoints and opinions of which you do not subscribe.

Please remember that your viewpoint is valid and relevant, as are all, and that it is one of many diverse perspectives, all of which are equally entitled to voice and space.
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#7767
Parenting, Families and Gaming 8 Years, 10 Months ago  
Tdaraa, " time will tell either way " this is of coarse SOOO right.
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#7768
Parenting, Families and Gaming 8 Years, 10 Months ago  
I Have Avoided Participating in this Discussion in the Past for Several Reasons which I Choose not to elaborate on, at least for Now...

However, I Think that it has become very Complex and as Unneccesary as that may be, it is also Very Kewl that it is Taking place at all...

In it's Simplest Form This Debate can be distilled down to Two Basic Concepts:

1) Who's Morality are we Talking about.

AND

2) Free Will.

As for the 1st, it "Seems" Evident that the Christian View is the Primary Moral Code at stake. And Regardless of the Current "Accepted" (Though I Do not Know why, not really, and I am Not interested particularly in Anyones Attempt to Explain it), Premise that The U.S.A is a "Christian Nation", there are Plenty of Examples of Behaviour regularly exihibited by the People of this Nation in the Name of Morality which is significantly more Disturbing then Playing a Game regardless of What it is Called or How it is Packaged.

Christianity Requires of it's Faithful that they are in Fact their Brothers Keeper. This I Find to be at the heart of Most Religious Debates. The Simple Directive that Must be exorcized at every opportunity, which is the Salvation of Everyones Souls Rather they Want it or Not. By Having such a Directive there is NO room for Compromise or Interpretation, either you are a Person of Faith or you are not, and either you are Doing the Lords Work or you are Not. Interestingly, there are enough Differences in how this is to be accomplished that even within the Christian Community there is often extreme disagreement, and Very Little true Cooperation.

As to the 2nd, According to that same Christian ethos, God has Given us free Will to Choose our Lives Paths. The Bible Does NOT Comment on What is or is Not Appropriate when it Comes to Such activities as Gaming. Apparently an All Knowing God, Intimately aware of the Future, was not impressed enough with this Imminent Debate to Tackle it in his Various Covenants with Humanity. According to the First Book of the Bible, the act of Eating of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge (Of Good and Evil), set in Motion a series of Events which would Condemn us to Seek Definitions to what apparently is already True in Our Hearts. If we are Convictious of Gods Laws and Follow them then We Must Seek Gods Guidance on Such issues when we become Confused. Free Will?

Anyway, The Freedom of Choice Demanded by God and Granted Both by God and the Constitution, sets a Simple principle, we may Choose. Either in Ourhearts we Find this Act of Diversion (Gaming) to be Acceptable, in Which case the Individual must Know and act upon those Convictions so long as they are not in Violation of Gods Laws. Or If we Find that in Our Hearts that such activities are in Conflict with our Faith then we must not Continue to persue such paths. If we do not Make this Choice in Good Concience, then we are likely to be miserable. It really is that Simple. In the Immortal Words of Master Yoda, "Either Do Or Do Not, there is no Try". Either we are going to take responsibility for our own Actions and Choices or We will not, But "Trying" to Rationalize or Justify such behaviour Suggests Confusion rather than Conviction.

For myself, I Choose to Game. I am not Conflicted by this Choice and I am not particularly Impressed by those Who are uncomfortable with their own, (Choices), yet continue to persue them anyway. If it is Wrong then do not Do it. If What Appears at First to be OK, turns out not to be then Stop. But No amount of Repackaging or Renaming of a Thing Can Change it's Basic Nature, nor Satisfy our own inner Conflicts.

So in Short Answer to Zug's Question... Sure, I'm up for a Game! What are We Playing?...<Chuckle>...
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