Hi Nicol,

Nicol wrote:

I am now belonging to the religious organization known as Jehovahs'
witnesses .We are strictly forbidden in our religion to play games
containing the supernatural. We are told that would mean gross
unfaithfulness to God.

My reply:

Nicol, I know that this is a serious issue for you, but before you
completely close the door on these games I think you might want to
listen to what I say. I know you have said publically on list that
your mother and her minister often keeps trying to convince you that
games dealing with the supernatural is sinful, bad, evil, whatever.
I've been in and out of Christian churches all of my life and most
people, most Christians that is, don't take such a harsh view of books
and games. I would say that many people would find these religious
views extremest and down right fanatical. How do I know that?

Well, for one thing we have fantasy authors like C.S. Louis who wrote
the Chronicals of Narnia. He was most definitely a born again
Christian, and all of his books dealt with fantasy, magic, and the
supernatural. So was he evil?

No, certainly not. Once you set aside all the magic and fantasy themes
of his books you definitely can see his Christian faith underneath it.
For instance, in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe there is a scene
near the end where the white witch wants to kill Azlan. Azlan like
Christ allows himself to be sacrificed for Narnia, to die for his
people, and at the end he is resurrected from the dead. This is not a
satanic or evil representation of the crucifiction of Christ. Rather
C.S. Louis wanted children to know the value of Christ's crucifiction
through a fantacy setting. To teach them the value of personal
sacrifice over our own selfish desires. To pass along what Christ
said, "there is no greater love than this than a man lay down his life
for a friend."

In more recent years the Harry Potter books, movies, and games have
come under extreme fire from religious groups like your mother's. In
most of the cases many of the things they say about the Harry Potter
books, games, and movies is absolutely wrong, and I get the Distinct
impression that most of them haven't even read the books. They simply
spout off religious doctrine without examining for themselves what the
books stand for. In other words they don't even stop to consider the
source. If they would shut up a minute and actually read them they
would find out that many Christian themes and Christian values are
throughout all seven books even though there is a magical and fantasy
setting for them. However, more over to get a sense of what the books
are about we need to look at Joanne Rowling, AKA J.K. Rowling,

Unlike a lot of authors J.K. Rowling has been very open about her life
before the Harry Potter books came out. What we know is that before
Philosopher’s Stone was released in 1997 Joanne Rowling was a divorced
mother, with a daughter, Jessica, and couldn't find steady employment.
To be frank the woman was flat broke with nothing else better to do
than to write stories. The idea for the books began on a lonely train
ride home, and sort of just grew out of an idea of a magic train
carrying children to school. The train of course in time would become
the Hogwarts Express. Over time she began to see the big picture of
her idea, and began writing Philosopher’s Stone  that would eventually
become a New York Times best seller.

>From everything I've read and from viewing her interviews etc I find
Joanne Rowling a very kind, very nice, likable person. She never set
out to make Harry Potter a best seller, she didn't expect it would
ever get published, but it happened anyway. Despite her success she
has never let success go to her head, and has tried to stick to
triditional family values, to Crhistian values, and we can see those
values all through her books. The stories aren't so much about magic
and witchcraft but about loving one another, of doing the right thing
despite the odds, and about being the best person you can be.

For instance, even though Draco was a constant jurk throughout the
seven books when push came to shove Harry Potter showed a willingness
to lay down his own life to pull Draco out of the fire in Deathly
Hallows. This fits the hero mold, and is based on Cristian values and
respect for others. A willingness to love everyone even your own
enemies even if they don't deserve it.

In Goblet of Fire Harry was ordered to rescue Ron, but instead he
tries to take it upon himself to help rescue Hermione, Ron, and
Fleur's sister. The best example of this is when Fleur fails to rescue
her sister Harry goes back to rescue her himself. It would have and
should have caused him to lose the contest, but his moral inclination
to help others in need was more important than winning or losing the
contest itself. It was for this reason he was given a high
score.Proving The moral of the story being that we should always help
those in need regardless of what we may have to sacrifice in the

What I'm saying is that I personally have no problem reading the
Chronicals of Narnia or the Harry Potter books to my son because
despite the fantasy storyline, the abundance of magic, etc they are
really good childrens books. The stories themselves are good, but I
think the values contained in them are what makes them best sellers
for parents. I think more children would do right by following the
example of Harry Potter being honest, willing to help others in need,
not boast about your own success, and so on. Hermione also shows us a
number of admirable qualities like being studious and dedicated to her
school work, a desire to set the elves free showing she has a
compassionate heart, and how she deals with being a muggle born wizard
in a school of mostly true blood wizards. I think many of us have been
an outcast for one reason or another, and Hermione doesn't let that
get in the way of becoming one of the brightest and best witchs in her
class. I.E. be all you can be despite the odds.

Perhaps the most admirable character in the books is Snape. J.K.
Rowling does a great job of making Snape look like the bad guy, but in
reality he is much more to Harry than he first seams. Snape's story is
about a man who became a Death Eater, and eventually repents of his
evil ways and becomes one of the strongest secret allies Harry has.
This story  forces to try and see the good in people no matter how
evil they may appear. This is most definitely a Christian value we all
could learn from.

So getting back to the point here. Sarah is not evil, sinful, or
satanic or in any way shape or form. True there is magic in it, but
the magic isn't use to harm or kill anyone. The magic is used for
unlocking doors, escaping ghosts, putting out fires, and other
harmless tasks. These do not conflict with my Christian values in any
way shape or form. If anything it teaches us the value of with great
power comes great responcibility to use it wisely. Sometimes you have
to accept that magic is nothing more and nothing less than a story
device and is not intended to replace someones Christian values or
beliefs. This is where groups like your Jehovah Witnesses are going to

I know where they get their ideas, but it is a grose misinterpretation
of the scriptures. There is a line in Deuteronomy about not
communicating with familiar spirits, practicing divination, astrology,
etc.  Some Christians think this means that by playing video games and
reading books with that content is practicing or partaking of those
kinds of things. What they seam to fail to do is make a clear
destinction between reality and play. I personally believe there is a
huge diference between doing something in reality and acting out some
fantasy through game play.

For example, I am by nature not a killer. I have never killed anyone,
and I have never killed any animal either. I am a strong Proponent of
prolife, do not agree with abortion, and would not willingly harm
another human being  unless my life or someone I  loved was in serious
danger. That doesn't apply to games though.

In video games I have no problems chopping up storm troopers, blowing
away mutant humans, blowing apart skeleton warriors, or whatever else
gets in my way. When it comes to video games I am a one man army ready
to kick butt and ask questions later. How can I do that when I
personally believe life, all life, is precious?

Well, for one thing it isn't real. When I use my sword to wack off the
head of a centaur in MOTA that didn't happen in real life. I killed an
artificial being, in an artificial world, with a completely artificial
character. Nothing about that video game is real so in that light I
didn't kill anyone in reality. Same goes with magic or anything else.
If I'm playing Sarah and cast a spell to unlock a door it is just
harmless imaginary fun. I certainly know if I tried practicing that
kind of magic in real life it wouldn't work. In fact, I don't believe
in magic so for me it is nothing more and nothing less than a
completely imaginary story device to make the game or story more

I happen to know that there are some people who take religion to
extremes, and usually it is above and beyond what the authors of the
bible ever intended in the first place. About the most ludicrous and
insane case of this is when my wife and I went to my in-laws house for
dinner one night and I asked for one of the deviled eggs. After all,
that is what everyone in my family called them. My wife's family took
extreme offense to calling them deviled eggs. I got a five minute
lecture on their religious views that they don't talk like that in
their house hold and that I would not, never again, say deviled eggs
in their house again. They were to be refered to as pickled eggs.
Apparently using the word devil in any form was a blasphemy of some
kind. From their over the top reaction to me saying deviled eggs you
would have thought I had spoken a string of filthy sware words which I
hadn't. My only crime was not realising how extreme these people were
in their own personal theology. I disagreed with them then, and I
still do because there isn't one line of biblical scripture that says
I can't call pickled eggs deviled eggs.

However, my point here Nicol is you have to make your own personal
decision about weather these games are right or wrong for you. If you
listen to others they will give you an ear full of misguided and often
times extremest theology that is far beyond what the bible itself
actually teaches. I gave you the real life incident of the deviled
eggs to point out how extreme some religious people are in their
beliefs. Some people for whatever reason get religion and go totally
off the deep end of reality. They become obsessed with bending the
world around them to fit their own personal religious view instead of
basing things on their own unique maret and value.


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