"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, think on these things" (Phil:4:8).
Several years ago, when Doonesbury was still occasionally humorous, cartoonist Gary Trudeau ran a strip in which two mothers were lamenting the violence of boy's toys. One of the mothers noted that she had bought her son a "boy" doll as a solution. The final panel of the strip shows the boy popping up from behind the sofa yelling, "rat-a-tat-tat!" while holding the doll as one would hold a submachine gun. The point was, "boys are boys," and violence is a natural element in males.
Regardless, violent and often occult games and toys go far beyond a boy picking up a stick, pointing it a friend, and saying, "Bang, I shot you!"
Today, video games offer unending opportunities for how best to slaughter one's opponents. In 1992, Mortal Kombat's depiction of the winner ripping out the heart of his onscreen opponent raised parent's concerns.
It's not gotten better. Grand Theft Auto's violence (with generous blood spatters) may be interrupted to pick up prostitutes. Other games are just variants on a theme. A player's hand holds different types of firearms. Only the background is different--catacombs, fortresses, space stations, or other structures containing opponents to be hunted down and killed, amid splashes of blood.
Evidence strongly suggests (for those without a financial interest in the game), that this violence influences real-life violence. Even a writer for Salon (a liberal publication) said, "It's been a while since I last played Quake or Doom. But when the news came out that Littleton [Colorado] killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were devotees of those games, and that their appalling revenge on the world was perhaps shaped in part by playing them, I had to reflect on my own experience with first-person shooters--and acknowledge that, yes, they very likely did have something to do with it" ("Quake, Doom and blood lust," Salon, May 12, 1999).
"Christianity" has embraced this culture of violence through the Left Behind series video game. The goal is to convert the unsaved, but should that not prove possible, the next best thing is to blow them away in a hail of gunfire, providing "great occasion" (2 Samuel:12:14) for the enemies of God. "This game immerses children in present-day New York....The game rewards children for how effectively they role play the killing of those who resist becoming a born-again Christian. The game also offers players the opportunity to switch sides and fight for the army of the AntiChrist, releasing cloven-hoofed demons who feast on conservative Christians and their panicked proselytes...." ("The Purpose Driven Life Takers, Part 1," Hutson, Talk to Action, May 29, 2006).
Along with violence, many toys today are literally soaked in the occult, bringing violence to the soul. From the still-popular He-Man and the Masters of the Universe to newer and yet more grotesque combinations of man and beast, many of today's action figures have the names of pagan gods, and nearly all look quite capable of lopping off heads with their stylized medieval weaponry. One of the companies designing toys is suggestively called "Four Horsemen." The world seems to have a good idea of where their inspiration comes from. So much for the 1960s' dream of a time when "peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars."
Of equal concern are the numerous role-playing games appealing primarily to boys. Once again, the world recognizes the dangers of games like Dungeons and Dragons. Psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Redecki (chairman of the National Coalition on Television Violence), testified at a number of murder trials involving defendants with links to Dungeons & Dragons. He has said, "I've found multiple instances of attitudes, values and perceptions of reality that were strongly influenced by an immersion in these games. When someone spends 15 to 30 hours a week dreaming of how to go out and kill your opponents and steal treasure, it's not surprising that the desire to act it out in real life occurs." (Debbie Messina, "Playing with Danger? Fantasy Game Debated," The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, March 17, 1991, p. A6).
Wizards of the Coast is the game manufacturer responsible for Dungeons and Dragons as well as the newer Magic: The Gathering. This card game originally featured a number of cards with demons. With negative media attention, Wizards of the Coast removed these cards for a time. "Later, believing that the concept of ‘demons' was becoming less controversial, Wizards of the Coast abandoned this policy and started reprinting demons and cards with ‘demonic' in their name in 2002" [our emphasis] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic:_The_Gathering).
Some say Magic and its clones are just card games. Nevertheless, even individuals who have previously invested their time in discrediting Christian concerns have been shocked to grim reality by paying attention to the evidence.
"I always thought this was the most tremendous crock....That is, until I started reading sites like Barbelith, where people talk about using RPG's [Role Playing Games] as "hypersigils" and to do magickal workings. I'm curious as to how that type of thing got started: when did ritual magick actually start finding it's way into role-playing games? It seems to me like a very recent development, although hysterical Christians would have us believe it was there all along" (http://www.timboucher.com/journal/2005/06/24/role-playing-games-gateway-to-occult/).
Mr. Boucher needs to do more investigation. The occult elements were always there. Satan always seeks an opening for establishing a foothold. As Christians we should know better. Paul wrote the Ephesians, "Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians:4:27). There is a reason why these characters, games, and other toys have the names of gods from various mythologies. This world is being led into the darkness of paganism, away from the uncomfortable light of the Gospel: "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John:3:19).
As Christians, we have better promises: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter:2:9).
Let us therefore walk in this knowledge and do what we can to communicate these truths to our children.