Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Different Duty Calling

 Today was the first time in months that  I got a chance to play my family's Wii console. So when my turn came around, my first choice was one of my favorite games: Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest. It's a classic Lord of the Rings fare: Riding your trusty steed through the lands of Middle Earth, fending off the powers of darkness with your magical elven sword. Lots of fun, for sure. Heroic deeds battling the dark, evil foes, it's good stuff. But as I played through a few levels, the fun ,while it didn't diminish, took on a far more somber tone for me.

I've played many of the popular First-Person Shooters that dominate the charts these days: the Halo franchise, Call of Duty, etc. While I don't own them (nor will I ever) I admit that they're VERY realistic, well-crafted, addicting games. The designers who came up with them are clearly not wanting for money, seeing as their concepts have grossed millions of dollars and hit record-breaking sale rates.

But as I play through many video games, whether it be running across an alien world in Halo or riding through Middle Earth on Horseback, I can't help but wonder what message games like these are implanting in the minds of their players. In virtual worlds where killing is not only survival but achievement, and the finness with which you do it can give you extra points, it's no wonder that in many way's we're a culture that is constantly pushing the envelope with the level of violence and graphic material we expose ourselves to. Most of the best-seller games on the market today not only promote heavy violence, but graphic content in other areas as well.

I was watching a clip of Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns, talking about being a youth pastor at his church. He was saying how he often gets asked about different music, what's good and bad to listen to, etc. His response was that it doesn't really matter how "not bad" something is, because it really matters what messages you're putting into your head. And if we as Christians are trying to lead a life of sanctity and purity, we shouldn't be consuming media that's dragging us into the life we're leaving behind.

Only to compound this, I couldn't help but think of all of the brave men and women in our military forces, serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. For them, horrific battles aren't a recreational activity to play on their flat-screens. It's their job. And in stead of getting "achievement points" for the lives they might claim in battle, they're haunted by them, maybe for the rest of their lives. So while many in my generation would run onto a computer-generated battlefield fearlessly and pull the virtual trigger without a second thought, men and women only a few years older than we have to fight on a real battlefield across the sea and muster an almost super-human amount of courage to fight for their very lives.

As I look at the real-life applications these games are presenting, I feel called to a different duty than to fight for endless hours on a virtual battleground that is far more realistic than it needs to be. I feel the call to have a clean mind free of the images, language, and other raw materials that these games bombard you with. That, in my humble opinion, is a far more valiant duty to be called to.

1 comment:

  1. hi Caleb
    My name is Jenna and I came across your site. U are making a difference in this world, by teaching people about god, and touching peoples lives. You are one awesome wonderful person. I am not a christian but I do believe in god. I was born with a rare life threatening disease, and love it when people sign my guestbook.