Video Games and Spiritual Momentum

Article excerpt

A Christian Science perspective.

Video games have been characterized at times as either mindless time wasters or as fuel for real-world violence. But I think the real story goes deeper than that.

I've spent a lot of time playing video games and thinking about how they can fit into a God-centered life. I've found myself praying a lot about balance. Video games are a fun way to spend time with friends and to participate in thrilling stories - but if they're detracting from a sense of purpose in my life, then it's time to prayerfully reconsider my priorities. Video games can become an addiction for some, and it's right to prayerfully insist that no one's happiness or wholeness - qualities that are divinely impelled - can be taken away by a mindless obsession. Playing games can be a normal, mindful expression of the joy that's natural to each of us.

I like to think about it this way: To me, video games often offer a feeling of momentum. When I master the basics of a game, I'm often rewarded with more difficult challenges and new in-game abilities. It's fun to see the relationship between effort and reward. But at times I've let that dynamic serve as a substitute for real life. When I've felt stuck in a rut socially, professionally, or spiritually, I've allowed video games to become a surrogate for a sense of real-life accomplishment.

It doesn't have to be that way. Each of us has the right to feel spiritual momentum or progress as a result of our relationship with God. His love is permanent and changeless, and our expanding understanding of what that means and of how to apply it brings a sweet sense of progress.

The Bible is filled with passages that illuminate the relationship between God and His creation. …