The inspiration for this #tbt comes via Jason Welle, SJ who dug up this gem about the dangers of Dungeons and Dragons. In the 1980s, the popular role-playing game drew the ire of Christian folk fearful for the health and future of their children. Of course, as a jock and fratboy, I came up with my own conclusion about the dangers of playing D&D:
However, my list of issues with D&D did not match the list some Christians made against the game. While I cited pocket protectors and coke bottle glasses, they cited “demonology, witchcraft, voodoo, murder, rape, blasphemy, suicide, assassination, insanity, sex perversion, homosexuality, prostitution, satanic type rituals, gambling, barbarism, cannibalism, sadism, desecration, demon summoning, necromantics, divination and other teachings.” I had to admit that’s a pretty cool list to be accused of, though of course as a Christian I find more than a few of the above morally reprehensible.
But when the moral authority fire alarm sounds, do we Christians arrive on the scene with water or gasoline? The article referenced the efforts of some to list D&D as a possible cause for the suicide of one James Egbert. That’s a pretty heavy charge laid against a game in particular and the arts in general, especially as the arts are frequently the salvo for a person’s pain.
And it’s not the only time that the arts have been blamed for tragedy. The most egregious example was the connection of shock rocker Marilyn Manson to the Columbine shooting. With this spring being its fifteen year anniversary, let’s reacquaint ourselves with Manson and his take on the event. [Some brief NSFW language]
Wait, Marilyn… listening? Odd concept that is. I wonder how many people asked James Egbert why he played D&D and whether they listened to his response. I teach in a high school so now I know what it feels like to be an adult who cares for the future of our children. It’s very easy for me to judge my students as they direct their teenage angst and rebellion towards me from 7:40am to 4:30pm everyday. But as I remind my students, God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we talk. That’s a lesson I and others in authority need to practice so that we can actually encounter and treat the brokenness of others instead of affixing blame on the one thing that can be giving them life.
Cover Image, Dungeons & Dragons / Magic The Gathering, by Scott Beale via Flickr Creative Commons