Walking in the (Computer Screen) Light

cw3I’ve been thinking about writing an article for Fervr about Christian gaming etiquette. How should Christians behave in the online world?

One parent has decided that his son should obey the Geneva conventions while playing Call of Duty. (I don’t know if the parent is Christian or not, but it’s still an interesting concept).

Is spawn camping a Christian thing to do? How should you treat your fellow guild members? Is it okay for Christians to play the Horde in World of Warcraft?

I’d be really keen to hear what suggestions you might have.

9 responses to “Walking in the (Computer Screen) Light”

  1. Heathen-1 says :

    In regards to w.o.w the horde have undead priests so most of the horde races have the priest class which is still a completely christian rip-off (in-game), i suppose the only one that would be frowned upon is the class-type: Shaman, who use totems and idols to summon nature spirits.

    Halo seems pretty straight forward, Intergalactic war with the human race fighting against a plague brought on by a religious alien race seeking to wipe out humanity.. its fun for the whole family and morally pure.

    Fable 2 is fun, if simply way too short and if i had to guess it was designed by polygamists. (unless i really could have 3 wives by buying them each a cake)

  2. Ethan says :

    I think its possibly an excample of how would jesus play? You have to be a good sport, dont swear, dont greif, dont spawn camp, dont cheat and dont mic spam (unless its appropriate too; I’ve found some Team fortress 2 servers where the established communities appreciate humerous comments and discussion, and even singing)

    As for playing the horde, saying that a christian shouldnt play evil characters in a game is sometimes like saying christains shouldnt game. I dont know a single shooter in which the protagonists, or even any of hte characters can be really described as “Good” characters, and are in more cases around a thousand times more evil than the horde. My favorite class, the Pyro, of tf2 for excample. Lunatic with flamethrower…

    However, you’d allow a christain to play an evil role in a drama or movie, right? I know its not the same, but its similar.

  3. spot says :

    well personally i don’t see any harm in playing computer games. I have seen many people act tough and talk themselves up, swear at others and pay each other out, team kill for no reason, spawn camp “camp in someone’s spawning area and take cheap kills”. if you play these games i think people should treat everyone fairly and with respect. it can also be a good way to spread the word of God.

  4. spot says :

    by spreading the word. in call of duty u can communicate with other other people by typing a message by pressing t it leaves a message on the screen for everyone to read and then pepole talk back some are interseted and u make friends even convert people

  5. hayden says :

    cod4 ftw, woot woot woot!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!

    but i think christians should act on computer games as they act in the real society. i no it doesnt always happen, as we lose our cool wen ppl hack, cheat and spawn kill. but we should all try. during playing the online cod4, i asked a guy what he thought of all the infinity ward call of duty games. his reply was ” u think this is a game”? *cool life* but we should try be respectful and play it as a game but not forget our christian values playing it.

  6. Dave Miers says :

    i reckon the best principle is to spend more time reading the Bible and in prayer than playing flippin computer games.

    (you can quote me in your article!)

  7. Dave Miers says :

    if it’s a computer game it’s flippin

  8. Alamanach says :

    From that Geneva Conventions article: “But the point of principles is that they govern your conduct; they’re not based upon your enemy’s behavior. It’s what it says about you, and not them.”

    As far as the Geneva Conventions go, this is false, and seems to be a common misconception. The Geneva Conventions are not some sort of higher moral code that the good countries of the world can adhere to while in war. They are not good things that we do for the sake of doing good. They are a pragmatic attempt to keep war manageable, and depend very much on the enemy’s behavior.

    The Geneva Conventions offer protections to uniformed military members who are captred during war. That “unformed” part is critical. If a military explicitly distinguishes itself from the civilian population, then it is much easier to avoid striking civilin targets. Right now in Afghanistan “innocent civilians” are killed by NATO forces on seemingly a weeky basis. This is because the Taliban and al-Qaeda wear no uniforms, and so it is easy to claim that a dead insurgent was a civilian. It is also easy for a person to be a civilian by day and insurgent by night. This behavior makes things extremely dangerous for any bona fide civilians, which is why the Geneva Conventions seeks to discourage it.

    Military order is also critical. If a military maintains a comprehensive command structure, then there are people at the top with whom peace can be negotiated. Such negotations require that the people at the top can control the soldiers below them. If there is no control– if an army is just a rabble of individuals each wreaking destruction in his own way– then there is no one with whom peace can be negotiated. The only way to come to terms with such an army is to kill every last one of them. The Geneva Convetions seek to discourage this as well.

    By holding out the promise of humane treatment in the event of capture, the Geneva Conventions offer an incentive for warfighters to stay in uniform and remain part of a bona fide military. The Conventions seek to avoid exactly the sort of situation we are in now with Afghanistan. The purpose of this is to channel war’s destructiveness away from civilians and to bring about peace more quickly. It is not an attempt to reach some higher ethical standard or act as a unilateral personal code.

    Furthermore, if the enemy refuses to abide by the Geneva Conventions, there is nothing to gain and something to lose if its protections are extended to him anyway. War is fundamentally unethical; it is the one condition under which it is permissible for an honorable person to lie. If that sounds horrible, it is. War is about as horrible as it gets. War has basically only one rule, and that is to win. For the individual Christian, there is much more at stake in war than his own life, and so there is no dodging war’s horrors through self-sacrifice; I cannot choose to let the enemy kill me and thereby avoid the difficult proposition of my killing him; if he kills me, he’s going to kill everything in back of me, and where will we be then? So, sometimes you have to fight. Now, the enemy is going to take every advantage he can. This is in keeping with the nature of war. So when we hear Afghan “civilians” or Guantanamo detainees howl about abuse and mistreatment, be assured, they are not howling because our actions are hurting them. They are howling because their howls hurt us; we unilaterally extend them Geneva protections, they quite naturally turn those protections into a weapon. In their shoes, I’d do the same thing. This is why I say there is something to lose when we extend Geneva protections unilaterally.

    Observing the Geneva Conventions in COD4 sounds like a worthwhile historical exercise, but let’s not be under any illusions about it being more ethical or inherently Christian, or anything like that. Keep in mind what Carl von Clausewitz said: “War is such a deadly serious business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst.” I may as well quote Augustine too, he said something to the effect of “Men living in peace do not go to war because they seek war, but rather they seek a peace which suits them better.”

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