Is there a difference? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I was watching a political commentator talk about the topic of pornography and faithfulness in marriage. Does watching pornography count as adultery and having an affair? It could be said you’re not having sex yourself, but you are watching simulated sex to some extent. Does this count as unfaithfulness to your marriage?
If you are married, I say 100% yes that it does. Some might say, “But we’re doing it together willingly.” Even so, then you are both breaking your vows together by inviting someone else into your bedroom. It’s a private place meant to be for the two of you.
When I was married, we lived this out. There was a time we had someone staying with us who was fleeing a hurricane in Florida. When it came night time and we went to sleep, I told him if you need anything, you can call us and let us know, but don’t come in there. That’s our private place. That rule was always upheld.
However, this is about a different issue. The commentator asked a different question briefly and I wanted to address it since it’s a real question and I believe asked in all sincerity and I have asked it myself. What about video games that involve killing? Is that engaging in actual killing?
At the start, I suspect war games have always been with us to some extent. Little boys grow up playing with toy weapons and I really have no reason to think it was different in ages past. I’m sure little boys back thousands of years ago dreamed of being fighters and soldiers and would play with one another. Boys do tend to be aggressive and we can roughhouse regularly.
Of course, girls do this also some as nowadays, a girl can grow up pretending she is Wonder Woman, for example. There are plenty of other female superheroes that girls can be like. When young children play pretend, they are assuming an interface of interaction where what they imagine is for the time being true. A little boy pretends he’s Superman and a little girl pretends she’s Wonder Woman and for the time being, they live out as if that is reality, knowing that it is not, but it is called pretend for a reason.
Now video games have provided that interface for us where when we play a game, we accept the reality of the game and to follow by the rules that the game has set for us. If you play a game as simple as Pong, you accept that you can only move your blocker in a certain direction and you have to score X number of points before your opponent does. If you play Mario Kart, you accept that you have to drive such and such a way on the track and that you can use power-ups on the field, but alas for you, so can your opponents.
So what about violence in games? Like the children playing pretend, people know it isn’t real. So when kids play a game in pure imagination and one of them “kills” the other, in the end they all get up and go about their own lives or play another game. They know it isn’t real.
However, I think what is really important to ask is why are you doing what you are doing? For most of us who play games, we don’t kill the enemy for the sake of killing itself. Now there is something good about the feeling of taking down a powerful boss in a game, but there’s also the sense of good vs evil and stopping an evil force from hurting others who are innocent.
That means it is not violence for the sake of violence, but violence to protect someone or something else. It is a battle for justice, much like going to war is supposed to be or self-defense. If there is anything tapped into inside of us, it is the idea that we want justice.
Now some have suggested that playing video games leads to violence. Unfortunately for those wanting to argue that, there is no hard correlation that has ever been found, but yet this has been assumed so long most people take it for granted. For those wanting a stronger case on this, I recommend reading Moral Combat: Why The War on Violent Video Games is Wrong.
Let’s also remember that this is not new. It just has a new target. When films started coming into their own, the exact same thing was said about them. Back in the 60’s, there was a war on comic books. I find it amazing that so many of my fellow political conservatives jump on these bandwagons.
Why is that? One of the ideas of conservatism is personal responsibility. We all accept that some people get dealt a hard hand in life, but like playing a card game, if you get a bad hand, well those are the cards you play with. You make the most of them and many people have and played very good games doing such and come out to be successful.
We say that if a man rapes a woman, he can’t blame the action on how the woman was dressed. If a couple gets pregnant, personal responsibility should be accepted and the baby brought to term. If you are able and capable, you need to be part of the working field and providing for yourself and your family.
Yet when it comes to people being violent, we try to blame anything else that is responsible for the violence, except, well, the person themselves. If anything, we should consider looking to what is often most immediate as influences first off before anything else, the family, realizing that this is not also hard-wired. What values and beliefs was a child raised with and how does that influence them?
I will present my own self as an example. I grew up in a Christian home and I was in church every Sunday and when I left home, that didn’t change. I have also played video games all my life and many of them involve combat and battle, yet I am the driver also who if it is safe, will hit the brakes before I hit a squirrel even and don’t relish the taking of life like that.
That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to combat. There is a time and place for it and if someone threatens me or someone I care about, I hope I will rise up to the challenge and take them on if need be. Had I grown up in a different environment and been raised a different way, I could have turned out very differently.
Now having said that, if you do have a problem with any sort of game and think it is wrong to play that game, then don’t do it. I have played Mortal Kombat with some friends before, but I could never do a fatality move. I don’t really like games that show a lot of blood in them. Gore is not appealing to me.
So how about pornography by contrast? When one watches porn, they watch because they want to see sex and sex they don’t really have a right to see. They want to take what is meant for the private sphere and put it in the public sphere. Sexuality is a means in itself and the person or persons being viewed are simply being viewed for their own pleasure and usage, which can affect easily how they see other people.
Not only that, but there is also reason to believe that many boys who grow up watching pornography can struggle with ED. Yes, I know porn is becoming a problem for girls watching it, but ED is not their struggle. It’s harder and harder to find men who are not affected as most of them have watched porn. I am thankful that by the grace of God I have avoided this temptation. It is a real one at times still, but it is overcomable.
But what about you? I have presented my thoughts on the matter of games and violence in them and about pornography. I am always interested in hearing what others have to say, especially my fellow gamers. Feel free to leave a comment.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)