Chaplain's Corner

The Christian Gamers Guild has many facets to its ministry, as we seek to reclaim the imagination to be conformed to the image of Christ through the use of gaming as a creative art form.

One of those aspects is support for Christians involved in gaming. Much of that support is realized through our interactive e-mail group, as Christians from around the world who are gamers share their thoughts and experiences with each other. But the mission goes beyond that. This section of the web site contains articles and links geared to edify and challenge Christians as they live their faith in their games.

The links to the left below lead to articles on other sites which have been recognized for their support of Christian gaming, or for other values which make them useful to Christian game referees and players. Those on the right connect to the growing body of articles on this site, written by members of the CGG in our efforts to better understand how to bring our faith alive within our gaming experience.

Questions about any of this can be directed to the Christian Gamers Guild Board of Directors; some of the authors of individual articles have also included e-mail addresses in their biographical materials, linked from their articles individually.

Links to Off-site Resources

Confessions of a Dungeons & Dragons™ Addict:  If you've ever been told that role playing games were evil or satanic and weren't sure how to answer, this article would have been useful.  It examines most of the major arguments raised against games and shows why they fail, but does so in a format which acknowledges that it is right to be concerned about how we spend our leisure time and to raise such questions.

Difficult Question:  What if Non-Christian Friends are Interested in Magic?:  An answer from a Bible teacher and gamer to a question from a young gamer about his concerns on this topic considers what it is about magic that attracts people and how we can respond to that need.

Difficult Question:  How Can Faith Be Expressed in Gaming?:  This page continues the discussion mentioned above, on another question.  Several ideas are presented about how players and referees can shine the light of truth into their game worlds.

The Minstrel's Song:  This web site delves into theology and gaming, and has been recommended as a source of inspiration and direction in world design.  It includes thoughts on the nature of unfallen worlds, the theology of play, and much more.

The Problem With PokEmon:  Responding to an article circulated through mailing lists in 1999, this page written by the Christian Gamers Guild board at that time provides answers to common criticisms of the PokEmon collectible card game and other aspects of the PokEmon phenomenon.

My View on Magic in RPG's:  Written by former CGG Chaplain and President Reverend Rodney Barnes (M. Div.), this page examines what the Bible intended in its prohibitions against magic, and suggests a way to include magic in Christian role playing games.  Elsewhere on the site you'll find material for running Christian role playing games, including some adaptations for some popular games.

Dispelling the Myth:  Jenny Hein writes a guest editorial for The Escapist, the gaming advocacy website, in which she suggests that Christianity and role playing are not incompatible, and we should not make them seem so.

Most Real Fantasy:  Douglas Jones writes the theme article for this issue of Credenda Agenda, in which he defends fantasy from several directions as an essential part of Christian expression.

Potter's Magic:  Ben Merkle suggests that the problem with Harry Potter isn't that it's magical, but that it doesn't understand magic well enough, in this article in Credenda Agenda.

Incarnational Apologetics:  In Credenda Agenda, Nathan Wilson argues for the value of story as an apologetic tool.

Harry Potter vs the Muggles:  Myth, Magic, and JoyCornerstone Magazine's Imaginarium takes a look at the value of fantasy, examining J. K. Rowling's work as it relates to that of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.  Author Mike Hertenstein suggests more danger comes from Christians condemning these books than from the books themselves.

Don't Let Your Kids Watch Buffy the Vampire SlayerChristianity Today published this on line article by assistant online editor Todd Hertz, presenting the positive messages in the popular vampire show.

Horror in Roleplaying:  CGG Publications Director Ernest Barnes gives extensive advice on running horror games.

Myth Matters:  Louis A. Markos explores the importance of connecting myth, art, and faith, in Christianity Today, and discovers its importance in answering the needs of the world today.

Harry Potter, Christ Figure?: sponsored a discussion between John Killinger (God, the Devil, and Harry Potter), Richard Abanes (Fantasy and Your Family), Patrick Madrid (editor, Envoy), Thomas L. Martin (Florida Atlantic University), Andrew Blake (King Alfred's College, Winchester), John Morehead (editor, The Expositor), and others into a discussion of the popular series.  Excerpts are provided for browsing; the full discussion is saved for registered users.

A Parent's Guide to Role Playing Games:  In addition to her pages on apologetics, Carmen Hudson provides some basic information to help parents understand what role playing games are, along with some links to other resources.

Concerns Christians Should Have About Dungeons & Dragons:  This piece by Jeff Freeman is buried in an answer to a question on a newsgroup FAQ; it looks at the origin of the arguments against role playing games and finds them suspect.

Dungeons and Dragons (TM) and Other Fantasy Role Playing Games: provides a brief look at both sides of the faith and gaming controversy, complete with links.

Deconstructing Rowling:  Dave Kopel reviews John Granger's book, The Hidden Key to Harry Potter, and shows some of the many Christian symbols J. K. Rowling has incorporated in her popular fantasy series.

Dealing with Morally Difficult Situations in RPGs:  Rick Staats asks what to do when the player characters decide to join the villains, and gives some practical situations for enabling Good to triumph without making the players feel like they were unfairly trounced.

Fantasy's Fertile Field:  Author Celeste Allen makes a cogent argument in favor of fantasy as a Christian medium in this article in the ninth issue of Facts for Faith.

The Adventure Continues:  Role-playing games hold magic for a growing number of adultsThe Boston Globe's Erica Noonan recognizes that Dungeons & Dragons and other role playing games, although still regarded by many as pastimes for adolescent geeks, are now a popular entertainment of many highly successful adults.

A Potion too Strong?: Challenges in Translating the Religious Significance of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings to Film:  Union College's Jeffrey Mallinson tackles the questions of whether it is possible to capture the religious meanings of Tolkien's work in the medium of film, and particularly the degree to which Peter Jackson's films have done so.  The article appears in The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.

Fans for Christ:  This is not an article but a forum-based site discussing faith and fandom, including various facets of gaming, science fiction, anime, and medieval/renaissance interests.

Why We Love Comic Book Movies:  Writing for Christianity Today, Frank Smith considers how comic books, and movies related to them, point the lost toward the truth, revealing the need for God and our own certainty that good and evil really do exist.

How 'Dungeons' changed the world:  Writing for the New York Times (but picked up here by the Boston Globe), Peter Bebergal reflects on the positive impact Dungeons & Dragons™ has had on our world through the people whose imagination it has awakened.

Christians Playing Dungeons and Dragons:  Author Steve Weese bills himself as "A Christian who plays D&D", and makes a case for why that's not an oxymoron.

Local Articles

Frequently Asked Questions by Christians about Role Playing Games:  The effort by Lynette R. F. Cowper, M. Joseph Young, Reverend Paul Cardwell, and members of the Christian Gamers Guild to address the many questions and objections Christians have heard about RPGs is now here.

Christian Game Designers, Writers, and Publishers:  To help answer the question of whether the hobby games industry is entirely run by Pagans and Satanists, the Christian Gamers Guild has begun a list of those professionally involved in games who would publicly declare themselves Christians to whoever wants to know.

Faith and Gaming Series

Faith and Gaming:  Preliminaries:  CGG Chaplain and Multiverser author M. Joseph Young begins (in April 2001) a series of articles about integrating faith and gaming.

Faith and Gaming:  FundamentalsM. Joseph Young's series continues in a May 2001 installment with how to integrate our faith into our gaming at the most basic level:  the social aspect.

Faith and Gaming:  Mechanics:  The third installment in June 2001 of this series from M. Joseph Young looks at resolution mechanics in games, and finds in them both glories and hazards.

Faith and Gaming:  Settings:  Is it wrong to imagine a world that isn't the one God created?  M. Joseph Young's monthly series in the July 2001 installment looks at what's wrong with creating other worlds, and what's right about that.

Faith and Gaming:  Bad Things:  In July, the discussion of settings raised a question that it didn't address:  what of the dark side of settings?  The August 2001 Faith and Gaming article from M. Joseph Young addresses whether dwelling on bad things violates the principles of our religion.

Faith and Gaming:  Weaker Brothers:  In September, 2001, the monthly Faith and Gaming series takes a look at the argument most often raised against role playing games:  that they might cause someone to stumble.  M. Joseph Young answers this in relation to games and in relation to many other issues in life.

Faith and Gaming:  Magic:  Just in time for Halloween, the October installment of the series looks at the inclusion of imaginary magic in our games in light of the scriptural prohibitions of the real thing.  M. Joseph Young suggests that not only is this kind of imaginary magic unrelated to that condemned in the Bible, it's also very important in reaching the world.

Faith and Gaming:  In Vain:  The problem of deities in fiction is discussed by M. Joseph Young, recognizing that whether we include one God, many, or none, we face important questions which must be addressed.

Faith and Gaming:  Appearances:  It looks bad, perhaps--but does that mean it is bad?  And if it looks bad but it's good, what does a Christian do?  M. Joseph Young addresses these questions in the December 2001 installment of the series.

Faith and Gaming:  Walking In Darkness:  What does it mean to walk in the light?  M. Joseph Young considers whether gamers are in the darkness or the light.

Faith and Gaming:  Cults:  What is it that makes an activity a "cult"?  The February 2002 installment of the series from M. Joseph Young looks at whether role playing games have anything in common with cults.

Faith and Gaming:  Making PeaceM. Joseph Young goes back to the fundamentals from the beginning of the series, and discusses how sowing peace brings forth righteousness.

Faith and Gaming:  Christian GamesMultiverser author and Christian Gamers Guild chaplain M. Joseph Young considers the place of so-called Christian games, and what sort of games Christians should be creating.

Faith and Gaming:  Characters:  The series from M. Joseph Young continues with a consideration of how we come to better understand people by playing characters, and why this is a good thing.

Faith and Gaming:  Devil's Game:  The question is often asked as to whether there are any games Christians should not play.  Series author M. Joseph Young names one that would surprise most people, and in so doing sheds some light on the question itself.

Faith and Gaming:  Mind Powers:  To some Christians, the idea that we can do fantastic things by thought alone is just a way to pretend magic isn't magic.  M. Joseph Young suggests that this is not so, and looks hard at what psionics really suggest.

Faith and Gaming:  Good Guys:  Beginning a new direction for the series, author M. Joseph Young how we can bring our faith into our games by playing characters who exemplify what we believe.

Faith and Gaming:  Bad Guys:  Continuing the search for how to bring our faith into our games, M. Joseph Young suggests that playing the villains is a viable option.

Faith and Gaming:  Fantasy:  Going against so much popular opinion, M. Joseph Young suggests that magic is one of the best tools for bringing Christian ideas into role playing games.

Faith and Gaming:  Justice:  Is the universe fair?  M. Joseph Young contends that our faith may be expressed in our games when the universe itself works for the good guys, and why this is a perfectly fair idea.

Faith and Gaming:  The Best:  If we bring our faith into our games by glorifying God, M. Joseph Young contends that one way to do this is by doing whatever we do, even playing games, as well as we can.

Faith and Gaming:  AweM. Joseph Young continues the series with a consideration of whether as players we can bring our faith into our games merely by having that sense of wonder at whatever gods exist in those game worlds.

Faith and Gaming:  Wisdom:  In the February, 2003, installment of the series, M. Joseph Young suggests that we can bring our faith into our games by being the voice of calm and reason, the character who makes good choices; and that building this reputation for our characters may point to us as the wiser players.

Faith and Gaming:  ImageryM. Joseph Young finishes the second year of this monthly series with consideration of how to hint at the gospel by dropping snapshots of faith into the game.

Faith and Gaming:  Pagans:  Changing focus again, the monthly series opens its third year with a consideration, in very real and practical terms, of how Christians ought to respond to Pagans, as author M. Joseph Young relates some recent events which should be of some concern.

Faith and Gaming:  BattleM. Joseph Young comes to the defense of simulated physical violence in this entry in the ongoing series.

Faith and Gaming:  War:  Picking up from the May discussion of combat violence in games, this entry in the monthly series from M. Joseph Young gives some consideration to the extremely difficult theological question of whether war is ever right.

Faith and Gaming:  DealsM. Joseph Young's monthly series raises the question of whether it makes for a more Christian game to present Christian stories, and tackles one of the most controversial of such stories, Faust, as an example.

Faith and Gaming:  Sex:  In response to a reader's suggestion, M. Joseph Young confronts some of the difficult issues surrounding sex between characters in role playing games, as the monthly series continues.

Faith and Gaming:  Gender:  Taking last month's thoughts in a new direction, M. Joseph Young considers the idea that male and female need not be the only genders in a game world, from both Christian and Pagan perspectives.

Faith and Gaming:  A Concern:  The author of the long-running series, M. Joseph Young, finally finds something in the role playing game world that bothers him.

Faith and Gaming:  Redemption:  Are stories of redemption particularly Christian stories?  M. Joseph Young's monthly series looks at whether a modern prodigal son tale calls basic concepts of the gospel into play.

Faith and Gaming:  Ouija:  The famous board that claims to be a game is considered by M. Joseph Young.  Is it harmless fun or dangerous demonism, or something between the two?

Faith and Gaming:  Losing:  In the wake of a Christian Gamers Guild election, M. Joseph Young considers whether our games, and indeed life in general, teach us to accept defeat instead of expecting victory.

Faith and Gaming:  Slavery:  The continuing series by M. Joseph Young examines a moral issue that has been resolved in our world, but may provide interesting dilemmas in fantasy game worlds.

Faith and Gaming:  Friends:  The series from M. Joseph Young wraps up three years by returning to a fundamental point:  how do we treat our friends?

Faith and Gaming:  Admonition:  As the series enters its fourth year, M. Joseph Young calls Christian gamers to stand up for the hobby, as something good God has given us.

Faith and Gaming:  Answers:  The question of why we play role playing games finds a narrower focus in this column from M. Joseph Young, as it looks at why we would want to play games in which serious moral and ethical issues are raised.

Faith and Gaming:  Archetypes:  A new topic is introduced in M. Joseph Young's continuing series, examining how character archetypes reflect and expose our true values and beliefs, and preparing to consider what they say about us in the months ahead.

Faith and Gaming:  Warriors:  The examination of archetypes begins in M. Joseph Young's monthly series by looking at the values and flaws in the common soldier.

Faith and Gaming:  Knights:  In a mood very similar to last month's look at the warrior archetype, Christian Gamers Guild Chaplain M. Joseph Young considers the values and temptations in our image of one for who fights for honor and principle.

Faith and Gaming:  Rogues:  The first two archetypes considered by M. Joseph Young's monthly series had elements of nobility and straightforwardness.  The question might be asked whether there are redeeming qualities to the rogue--a question this installment hopes to answer.

Faith and Gaming:  Wizards:  The October installment of M. Joseph Young's monthly series considers the virtues and hazards of that type of character for whom knowledge is power.

Faith and Gaming:  Holy Men:  Call them clerics or priests or preachers, many games contain a character from an archetype of religious ministers.  The November installment of M. Joseph Young's monthly series looks at the values inherent in this type.

Faith and Gaming:  Animals:  The December installment of M. Joseph Young's monthly series suggests that perhaps animals in our games can be used in many ways, including pointing us to spiritual realities.

Faith and Gaming:  Heavens:  The new year opens with a consideration of how celestial objects might in a fantasy game glorify God and speak to man, again from the pen of M. Joseph Young.

Faith and Gaming:  TeleologyM. Joseph Young continues the monthly series by dropping the other shoe--considering how God might be glorified through the presentation of the cosmos in our role playing games.  He finds the answer in one of the popular philosophic proofs of the existence of God.

Faith and Gaming:  SamaritanM. Joseph Young considers another story that might be specifically Christian, whether it can be told in a role playing setting, and the way in which it expresses Christian faith in that context.

Faith and Gaming:  Miscarriage:  Why does it matter whether people believe role playing games are cult activities?  Bringing an end to his monthly installments of Faith & Gaming, M. Joseph Young recalls two cases in which great harm came from such beliefs, reason enough to put an end to the lie.