Question 26: Are video games/cartoons myths? Can Christians play/watch them?

***DISCLAIMER*** The following is far from an exhaustive answer to the question. It is simply an answer nonetheless.

Recently, someone asked me about video games, cartoons and how the Christian should view those things. Below is the person’s question followed by my response.

THE QUESTION

I need help. Are video games and cartoons myths? They are not real. Can I play and watch them? What about a special effects movie? I am talking about clean movies, cartoons and games. There is also one that I play in particular called Minecraft. Minecraft has potions and stuff, but I use the game for building things. Like the internet, I stay away from the bad things, but I feel uneasy.

MY RESPONSE

Greetings,

The term “myth”, according to Merriam-Webster, refers to those things that are “imaginary or unverifiable.” Video games and cartoons are far from fully imaginary. After all, video games require real attention devoted to a real game that takes up real time and requires a real set of skills of some sort (with coordination being the base skill). Cartoons require real attention that costs real time. Both things (video games and cartoons) require real people to develop and design them. As a result, one can easily play video games and watch cartoons. While their worlds are definitely imaginary, the time and attention it requires to play, view, develop and/or design them is far from imaginary. One can say the same thing about special effects movies and the popular game Minecraft.

The greater question to ask is whether or not it is wise to play video games and/or watch cartoons.

Video games mostly serve self, glorify things that God does not value, and kill time. Cartoons (which basically fall under the category of television) also serve the self and can easily become an idol. The apostle Paul states in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (NASB). Everything a Christian does is to glorify God. Paul also said something similar in 1 Corinthians 10:23-31 (NASB):

23 All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. 25 Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

While playing video games and watching cartoons (clean or otherwise) are lawful, do they edify? Do they do good to neighbor? Do they glorify God? Doing such a thing on the surface appears to seek after one’s own good more than either edifying the body of Christ or serving a neighbor (after all, it is about entertaining self at this point). While God’s Word does not condemn video games or cartoons verbatim in Scripture (for none of the words are found verbatim in Scripture), none of those activities glorify God on their own, especially if abused (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 & 20; Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Peter 4:3).

I hope this helps.

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