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DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
by Lyle W. Larrigan,
Sooner or later many Christian parents will be faced with the question of whether or not they or their children should be involved in playing fantasy role-playing ( FRP or RPG -Role Playing) games such as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). There are several of these FRP games on the market, but D&D is by far the most common one.
The Christian Community has had a mixed reaction to these FRP games, but growing evidence indicates that heavy involvement with such games has resulted in many crimes of violence. The biblical warnings, most notably in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 are now being given the attention they rightly deserve. The Province (a Vancouver newspaper) of March 24th, 1986 on page 23 carried an article titled, " 'Fantasy' leads to murder".
This article relates how a fourteen year old Ontario boy murdered two preteen children. "The trial revealed that the boy was obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons and had difficulty separating fantasy from reality." In 1988, three young men in British Columbia were convicted of the murder of the mother of one of them and the attempted murder of the father and sister. A lawyer for one of the murderers argued that his client who spent up to 60 hours a week playing D&D, could have been unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. It was also reported that a group in the United States called "Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons" had complied a list of 90 cases linked with D&D. The majority were murders with suicide being the next most common cases. The Vancouver Sun issues of March 22 (page A3) and March 25 (page A12) carried stories on these tragic topics.
The Christian should take note of the fact that this supposedly innocent game is heavily involved with elements of witchcraft, demonology, gods and demigods. The players assume roles of thieves, assassins, magic users, fighters, paladins, clerics and illusionists. In the fantasy of the game players are killed, maimed, raped, murdered and offered as human sacrifices to appease the particular god to which the murderer had pledged allegiance. Many players begin playing the game ignorant of the spiritual overtones involved. Many later proceed to become more serious and become heavily involved. A "Dungeon Master", (usually the most knowledgeable player) directs the game. According to one serious ex-player of the game (known to the author), the instruction manual encourages serious players to seek additional information in references from occult sources.
In 1987 in Richmond, British Columbia, the Public Library had promoted D&D in the newspaper and held special sessions for school children during spring break. Concerned Christians made a brief and presented a petition to the Library Board. While the board would not acknowledge any potential dangers that could result from playing the game, the Library no longer advertises D&D, the posters inside the library are down and the game materials are kept in a filing cabinet- - available only on specific request.
For the Christian the bottom line should be that not only should we avoid overt involvement with witchcraft, casting of spells, making an allegiance to other so-called gods, etc., but that we should not play at or pretend to do such things. As a parent, we should be quick to see that such role-playing activities involving violence have potential in promoting anti-social behavior and that the dangers of demon oppression or even possession are very real. Ask yourself this question, "Would Jesus be pleased to sit around a table with you and/or your children and participate in such a game?".
For further information one of the following books can likely be obtained in your local Christian bookstore.
Turmoil in the Toy Box by Phil Phillips (Starburst Publishers) 1986, (191 p.)
Playing With Fire by John Weldon and James Bjornstad (Moody Press) 1984, (86 p.)
A Christian Response to Dungeons & Dragons by Peter Leithart & George Grant (Dominion Press) 1987, (17p.)