Now, what we basically have here is yet another person who decided that Dungeons & Dragons is chipping away at the moral fabric of our youth, derp herp derp. The argument is obviously much older than 2001, considering Mazes and Monsters (starring Tom Hanks, mind you) came out back in 1982. I'd speak about that movie, but I think that you'll find a much more comprehensive and entertaining review of it by going here.
So, we know that Mazes and Monsters (both the book and the movie) had an overblown super-paranoid psycho-Christian agenda, so I'm sure I can expect much better from this article... oh wait, what's this at the bottom of the page?
A special note of thanks to Wendell Amstutz, Steve Lansing, Ph.D., and Richard Noe for their excellent work on D&D in their masterful book, EXPOSING AND CONFRONTING SATAN AND ASSOCIATES.
Wow. Just...wow. So, a lot of this article was inspired by a book called "Exposing and Confronting Satan and Associates." I can tell this is going to be a fun-filled romp through an enchanted forest! Well, may be not an "enchanted" forest, because that would be Hell, according to these people.
Now, we're obviously not going to take on the entire article, as that could prove to be fatal to my sanity, but we are going to go over a few rather wonderful quotes that are nestled in the loving embrace of this article. One such example lies in the third paragraph of this article.
Just a quick survey shows the cultural impact of D&D and its offspring. Just recently, a spectacular movie called Dungeons and Dragons was released. Additionally, the pop culture is virtually drowning in sorcery and occult related topics.
Now I'm not saying that calling "Dungeons & Dragons" a spectacular movie throws everything else you say into question... wait. Yes I am. Even children were offended by how horrible that movie was. In fact, the only remotely enjoyable part of that movie is watching Jeremy Irons chew apart the landscape for an hour and half. He still may have bits of the Empire of Izmer stuck between his teeth (yeah, I know I'm a nerd. Lay off.) Also, "the pop culture"? You don't get out much, do you? Even back in 2001 no one used the definite article when referring to pop culture (grammar joke, ftw!).
...in the 1970's, it was one of the major cultural phenomena that planted the seeds that have sprouted into Harry Potter and all the occult books and movies.
Okay, sure. Bring Harry Potter into this. Look, one of the big deals back in the early part of the millennium was "Is Harry Potter evil?" This still, to this day, remains one of the dumbest arguments made by Christianity in the entire existence of the universe. Why is it dumb? Because it's freaking Harry Potter! Do you really think that J.K. Rowling was during her best Montgomery Burns impression, rubbing her hands together while saying "Excellent, everything is going according to plan... soon, all the children will be turned to the blissful arms of Satan!" Actually, that's a pretty funny image.
*ahem* No! She wasn't saying that! She was writing a children's book about magic and wonder. Why the hell are you attacking her? I don't see Christianity getting all up-in-arms over Disney movies, do you? Okay, maybe you do sometimes, but still...
...the [monk] does not appear to be any sort "Catholic monk," but rather a monk from more eastern religions, with high levels of martial arts and occult expertise.
Huh? I get the martial arts expertise, because, y'know, Monk. But what "occult expertise" is she referring to? The fact that the D&D Monk is based on the Asian monks? That's pretty flimsy to say the least. Sounds more like just another way to throw the word "occult" around. By the way, "occult" is often time used as the Christian translation for "don't understand it".
By the way, the word "occult" (or some variation of it) is used 31 times in this article. Damn. And in total, there are 44 references to the world "cult"! Wowzers!
One other issue needs to be raised about alignment. The morality expressed in D&D is fuzzy at best, and is certainly NOT the morality of the Bible. The same handbook tells us "…that goodness has no absolute values. Although many things are commonly accepted as good (helping those in need, protecting the weak) different cultures impose their own interpretations on what is good and what is evil."
The irony of this paragraph is palpable.
For example, you can have a "lawful evil" character. A handbook states that: "A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard to whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty and order, but not about freedom, dignity or life." Talk about a mish-mash of moral ambiguity. Our young people are having enough trouble getting their values straight without being immersed in this sort of material!
Also, as Christians, we do not teach our children about people like Julius Caesar, who would fit the bill of Lawful Evil pretty well. As would Hitler, it could be argued. So, we don't want our children to be immersed in history?
Anyone who would attempt to equate [the Cleric] with a Christian clergyman is obviously woefully ignorant of both the Bible and Christianity. Yet, amazingly, Christian D&D players write me and claim that this makes the game alright. Obviously, no true Christian would use spells as their main tool. Also, the first sentence is very telling. The cleric is a generic religionist of "any myth." In other words, religions are myths. Christianity is a myth; Judaism is a myth, etc. This makes the D&D cleric align with the theology of Freemasonry, where the Great Architect is generic and any old god (or goddess if you please) would do... ...Any Christian who thinks that the cleric is an example of a Christian man of God is deluding themselves.
I agree! The simple fact that you're expecting a Christian to justify the fact that he plays "Dungeons & Dragons" I think may speak more to the underlying issue with the very existence of this article, however. But, if you are a Christian, and your sole argument in favor of D&D is that you play a Cleric, then I do think your moral compass may be spinning the wrong way. More on this later.
...in the "universe" of Dungeons and Dragons magic is neutral, and can be used by "good guys" or by "bad guys." It is like "The Force" in Star Wars. This magical morality pervades D&D, and it is utterly in opposition to the Word of God.
Well, you see...
So-called "divine spells" draw their power from a divine source (i.e., a god). On the other hand, wizards, sorcerers and bards cast "arcane spells" and this involves the direct manipulation of "mystical energies." This further confuses the issues raised above and makes prayer sound like magic; and makes magic sound like it can come from a "divine source." Obviously, the God of the Bible is not the source of magic, in any form.
Okay, but what you're missing is...
Believe it or not, some spells can even revive the dead, mimicking the power of the Messiah Himself. Christians may take small comfort in the fact that divine spells are better than arcane spells for reviving the dead.
Whoa! Stop it! I'm laughing so hard that I'm unable to respond to all the crazy that you're spewing at me! First, you are making the assumption that Dungeons & Dragons players are so stupid that you think they will start to believe that they can cast down fire upon people through prayer? Uh... here's a news flash. If the person was able to understand the complexities of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (which is what was prominent in 2001), they are smart enough to know that the Christian religion does not work the same way.
Also, I love how at they end they threw in "Christians may take small comfort in the fact that divine spells are better than arcane spells for reviving the dead." Huh? Why!? You're whole argument is that this system is inherently evil and that no Christian should ever play it! Why would any of your target audience take comfort in that!? You are made of stupid! Oh, and leave Star Wars out of this! What did Yoda ever do to you?
But, hold on to your hats, ladies and gents! We're about to hop on board the CRAZY TRAIN!
I have played D&D a few times and spent dozens of hours talking with players and Dungeon Masters (DMs). Admittedly, my first hand experienced with D&D is from the 1970's-80's, but I would think it still counts for something. Has the game changed that much?
Uh... yes. Yes it has. The game actually intentionally started to try and distance itself from all the major occult-like stuff that existed back in AD&D and before. Also your "dozens of hours talking with players and DMs" from back in "the 1970's-80's" I'm sure makes you a friggin' expert in the field today!
For example, there is now a whole line of materials based on the hellish H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos, a form of magic that we practiced in the darkest days of our satanic career - a system of magic prominently featured in THE SATANIC RITUALS by Anton LaVey! Contrary to the ramblings of D&D defenders like Michael Stackpole, the Necronomicon and the Cthulhu mythos are quite real.
First, Call of Cthulu has nothing to do with Dungeons & Dragons. Also, by bringing up the existence of other role-playing games, you are basically admitting that you know that there are other games out there, and are simple shuffling everything under the D&D banner. Additionally if you really wanted to get into creepy occult stuff, you'd be best suited with something like Vampire: the Masquerade, instead of D&D. Also, I know it's not really what the author meant, but I love that he said that the Necronomicon and Cthulu (credit to Leslie!) are real.
However, let us look at the broader issue for a moment. Perhaps D&D has gotten more politically correct over the years. No more naked girls strapped to demonic altars, etc. Perhaps Hitler and rape are no longer praised.
That statement is so baseless that it could earn a reward. Here is where the downward spiral truly begins.
The total absence of Jesus Christ the Lord as sovereign from D&D and almost all FRPGs is what makes them so spiritually dangerous - not talking about Hitler or having girl characters dressed provocatively. Cleaning up that part of the game and leaving Jesus, the true God, out of what is essentially a SPIRITUAL quest is like rearranging the lawn chairs in hell - especially when you consider there isn't very much grass in the inferno!
Oh, come on now. You're not even trying anymore. First, that is a terrible simile (more grammar!). Second, that statement can lead down all kinds of dark paths. Basically, if you were playing a role-playing game where you all played as holy man in the name of Jesus, that would be morally better for you, even if in that game you were also all KKK members? Remember that, everyone. If you play a D&D campaign where your goal is to save a kingdom from an army of evil undead, you're going to Hell immediately. But, playing Grand Theft Auto and running over prostitutes constantly is a way better option, since you're character said "Jesus Christ" once. This part of the article earns the always-popular, double facepalm!
Defenders of D&D often complain that it is only a game. Playing chicken with cars is "only a game" until someone gets killed. So is Russian roulette! I am frequently told to "get a life" or write about something more important than D&D, like social justice or world hunger. The devil would sure like that.
Read that again. Seriously, read it again, and tell me you didn't laugh at that! If you didn't imagine it was being said by a priest. There you go. I just love that last line, "the devil would sure like that." What!? Actually, I think the devil actually loves the fact that you're so focused on D&D and not the people playing Russian Roulette! World hunger is small-fry, we've got to stop these damned D&D players!
Additionally, unlike Russian roulette or chicken, D&D is an extremely challenging game intellectually and emotionally. It truly involves its players in ways few games do, because it does demand a high level of imagination and creative engagement. Playing "chicken" demands neither. It is very like the devil to engineer a pastime which draws on the best of young people and then grind their minds and souls under the millstone of his hate.
I... I can't keep this up. The stupid just keep rolling in. First, playing "chicken" in traffic is actually very challenging, on a physical, emotional, and intellectual level! You have to be able to judge when the car is going to go by, be fast enough to get out of the way, and be able to cry when Billy doesn't make it by the tanker truck! Which are you more likely to cry about, a good friend hitting the wrong chamber in Russian Roulette, or Fizby the elf getting impaled by a spike trap? Also, I am forever referring to any D&D campaign I play in as "the devil's millstone of hate" from now on.
Down through the ages, no institution has done more to help the poor, the orphans and the starving than has the church of Jesus Christ. I would just ask them where are the rescue missions and orphanages started by D&D gamers?
You apparently weren't at any of my Saturday sessions back in the early and mid-2000s. Xavier the Brave helped save many people from evil creatures during that time. Hell, the entire kingdom of Quintella is still in his debt to this day.
Let me illustrate. I was raised in a devout Catholic home where I never, ever heard bad language.
Oh trust me, we all already knew you had a sheltered life.
When you spend the large amount of time required to play [Dungeons & Dragons] seriously, your mind begins to become "re-wired" by its immersion into a world where demons, magic and spells are almost real. This is all the more true because of the high level of intellectual and emotional engagement involved.
Okay, you're stretching. You've already established that you had very limited experience with D&D back in the 70's and 80's, citing dozens of hours of contact. Considering the average D&D session is 6 hours and there are usually 6-12 sessions in a full campaign, you really have no basis of knowledge.
Now this is not to say that every serious D&D gamer is going to become a Satanist or demonized. But the odds are good that they might.
Now I'm not saying that you playing D&D is going to turn you into slavering maniac who vomits pea soup but...
Please realize that to be demonized does not mean you become a slavering maniac who vomits pea soup.
Oh. Well, so much for that joke.
He subsequently dismisses the disappearance of Dallas Egbert (the first youngster to draw attention to D&D's possible psychological peril) into the steam tunnels of his university. He claims - again without footnotes or documentation - that a private eye named William Dear revealed five years later that the young man "hadn't played much D&D at all, let alone any sort of live-action D&D in the steam tunnels." How are we to know or trust this information?
Of course it was going to come back to that, wasn't it. The "claims" of William Dear can be found in the book The Dungeon Master. That isn't wild claim or speculation, it was a true story. What the article's author is basically saying is that he doesn't believe us, which by elimination means that he's sticking with Mazes and Monsters. Leave it to a psycho-Christian to throw away all the proof and fact in the world to support their argument.
A lot of the rest of the articles deals with the author's sad attempts at disassembling other people's articles and statements, so if you really want to read the insanity, go ahead. I encourage it, because the author starts to sound like a raving idiot during some area's like...
Article in contention:
"Clearly, role-playing games are huge. If they were luring kids into cults, one would expect a mighty lot of cults. A large number of cults, meanwhile, would leave a lot of evidence of cult-activity. What evidence is there?"
One is more tempted to ask, what evidence ISN'T there? As one who has been regarded for about 15 years as a "cult expert," I can say that the evidence mentioned at the beginning of this article: the vast proliferation of books, movies, video games and TV shows about the occult, witchcraft and sorcery is compelling. Additionally, the numbers of people involved in various occult practices are rising higher and higher each year, if book sales and the spread of related magazines and websites is any indication. There are witch covens in every major city and in many minor ones! This was not the case 30 years ago.
Do I really need to get into how far off our author is here? Firstly, what in the hell qualifies you as a "cult expert"? Do you have a certificate? Did you pass an examination? Can you point out a satanic cultist in a police line-up? Also, several times during his argument, he calls out Jeff Freeman, the author of the article being contested, called Concerns Christians Should Have About Dungeons & Dragons, for not citing his sources. You will notice that our author's statement of "the number of people involved in various occult practices are rising higher and higher each year" also doesn't cite anything. Impressive hypocrisy, Mr. Schnoebelen. Well done, indeed. Also, Jeff Freeman's article makes some good points, it's worth a read
Also in this article, our author lists 11 different deaths that are "linked to D&D", although there are a few that seem flimsy, and a couple involving people who seemed like they already had serious psychological issues. But, they played D&D once, so, evil.
Meanwhile, here's the counter argument to "D&D can teach you good things too!"
As anyone who has looked at the D&D manuals will confess, this stuff IS complex. It is certainly acknowledged that reading and memory skills would be needed to successfully play the game and interact well with peers in the game. That is all well and good.
However, we really need to look at the content of what is being read, memorized, etc.
- Teamwork - the gamers are working together to kill, destroy, steal or take whatever they want;
- Reading - they are reading about immensely complicated worlds of magic, spells and violence;
- Listening - listening to magic and violence being repeatedly acted out in the game;
- Memory - what on earth are they putting into their minds?
Here is the point. For a Christian youth (or adult) to fill their minds with all this occult (and pseudo-occult) gibberish is an insult to the God Who made that mind. How can they take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (see above) when they have to memorize "Phezult's Sleep of Ages" spell? Most peoples' minds can only hold so much detail. Sooner or later, all of this complicated eldritch verbiage is going to crowd out the scripture verses and Sunday school lessons these young people may have absorbed.
Take a breath, people. Bask in the glory. Okay, first, while I understand the point about teamwork, when you start complaining about the reading, listening, and memory content... you do realize that children are going to learn history, right? Plus, they usually read some form of literature, which could very well be dark and disturbing. I'm guessing our author also hates Shakespeare? Second, yes, I see what you did. You wanted to act like you know more than you do about D&D and picked one of the most bizarre spells in the game. Personally, I'm more partial to Bigby's Crushing Hand, but to each their own. The thing (well, amongst all the other things) that you're missing is that that you don't actually have to memorize a bunch of runes or other crap to cast spells in D&D. You have a character sheet with your spells written down, and you cast them. Seriously, you're harping on a point that literally does not exist. Finally, you intentionally used eldritch instead of weird because you are trying to pour on the occult stuff. We get it, D&D is Satan.
I used the metaphor of a porn role-playing game, where the participates play acted in various forms of sexual sin such as fornication, adultery or homosexuality. There was no actual sexual touching involved among the players, nor any nudity required. It was all in the mind. Would Jesus be pleased with that?
*sigh* No. I suppose he wouldn't. But since your argument is that all role-playing games are evil, does this point really prove anything? Face it, you wanted to roll porn into this as well for pure shock factor. No, that doesn't make you clever.
The question still stands. Why would a Christian wish to involve themselves in such a game?
If the content of your article is a good example of the BS they are facing on a daily basis, they would probably play it just to get the hell away for a little while.
Okay, seriously, people. This article is a doozy. And unless you are a super-Christian fundamentalist (and if you are, how the hell did you end up this far into my blog post?), you'll find plenty of entertainment in this article. For the record, although I'm an atheist (and therefore, definitely not part of the target demographic of this article), I spent plenty of time within the Christian religion and I do not believe this article accurately represents them. I do believe, however, there are plenty of people within Christianity that do go this far in their beliefs, and that scares the crap out of me. Just look at Rick Perry if you don't believe me. Also, if your kids are playing D&D and you are truly worried about them, try talking to them. It's amazing what an effect that can have on you.
I hope that I provided some to you, and until next time, take care!