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A Biblical View of Dungeons and Dragons

Scott Jones

Links to Topics:

History and Background.
How the Game is Played.
The World View or Philosophy Contrasted With the Word of God.
Assessing F.R.P. Games.


Scripture Reading: I Thessalonians 5:21-23 "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."

It has been estimated that over 3 million Americans play a game called Dungeons and Dragons. On Saturday mornings there are cartoons which your children can watch that are based on this and other Fantasy Role Playing games ("F.R.P."). The games can be played almost anywhereby anyone. With the increase in popularity of this and other F.R.P. games in the last two years, and with the increased availability of the material to play the game it is essential that Christians know just what the game is all about in order to "Avoid every kind of evil" as the Bible instructs us to do.

The information for this topic was taken from a book called Playing With Fire, written by John Weldon and James Bjornstad. These two men have presented a very clear and verifiable study that objectively looks at F.R.P. from the Bible's view.

History and Background.

F.R.P. games of which, D & D was the first, got their start as a spin off of strategy simulation war games.

Gary Gygax founded a society called the "Castle and Crusade Society" as a special interest group of the International Federation of Wargaming.

Gary Gygax took some ideas from a man by the name of Dave Arneson and developed the first D & D game called "Greyhawk."

Originally the game was introduced to college campuses around the country. However, now 46% of the games and materials sold are bought by the 10 to 14 year old age group and an additional 26% of all games are bought by 15 to 17 year olds.

The game initially received a lot of attention due to the disappearance and subsequent suicide (which occurred about a year later) of an undergraduate by the name of James Dallas Egbert III, who was an avid D & D player. An investigation into his disappearance and suicide did not produce conclusive evidence of a connection to D & D.

How the Game is Played.

Although there are game boards available along with other game materials, the game is mostly played in the mind. This is one of the reasons that the game attracts so many people of above average intelligence.

There are no rules only guidelines.

There is no time limitation, thus one game could last indefinitely.

There appear to be no absolutes or boundaries.

Three or more players and a Dungeon Master are needed to play the game. (REFER TO P#31)


These are role playing games, which means that the player must assume the part of the character to the point that he must think how the character would accomplish any given task.

The roles that can be played, are not desirable according to Biblical standards.

In the past, role playing games had a historical setting, but today in F.R.P. games the setting is fantasy and mythology.

Today there is not only violence and a quest for power found in war games, but add to that immorality, idolatry, and occultism found in games such as D & D, one has to wonder just what kind of effect these games might have on one's own philosophy and morals!

Unfortunately, most players participate without ever considering the world view in which the are playing, and the Christian players who participate may not consider just how far the game's ideology is so in conflict with the principles of the Bible.

The World View or Philosophy Contrasted With the Word of God.

Each F.R.P. game has it's own universe (i.e., world view or philosophy fashioned by words or concepts that work together to provide a more or less coherent frame of reference for all thought and action.

In order for a player to be able to play one of these games he has to comprehend the universe of the game and thus the game's outlook on life.

The comparison:

  • The subject of God:

    F.R.P. games in general support polytheism.

    In these games one is supposed to have a patron god and is expected to have contact with him (or her).

    The Bible clearly states that there is only one true God and that we are to Worship Him only. (Ex. 20:3)

    The Scriptures state that there are many things called god but there is by nature only one True God, the God of the Bible. (I Cor. 8:4f)

  • The subject of creation:

    F.R.P.s in general suggest a non-theistic universe(s), that is, without an infinite creator God.

    The Bible maintains a theistic universe, one that begins with the personal, infinite God who "created the heavens and the earth" out of nothing. (Gen. 1:1).

  • The subject of man:

    Most F.R.P. games say that man can better himself and progress through various levels by means of cooperation skill and luck.

    In some games it is possible to attain the level of a divinity or deity.

    The Bible states that man has disobeyed God, thus alienating himself from God. (Rom. 3:23) Payment for sin or atonement is needed, but sinful man is incapable of producing or providing this. God loves us so much that he took the initiative in history by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead to pay the penalty for sin by His deaths on the cross.

    According to the Bible, Jesus Christ alone is the only way to life and to God. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; John 3:36)

  • The subject of resurrection:

    F.R.P. games address immortality in two areas; resurrection and reincarnation:

    Resurrection meaning resuscitation or revival of a person after death by means of magic or by petitioning one's patron god.

    Reincarnation is the belief of bringing back a dead in the form of a new incarnation (or in a new body).

    The Bible clearly states one conclusion for man after death: a resurrection to Heaven for the believer, or resurrection to Hell for the unbeliever, depending on your relationship with Christ, whether you've accepted Him as your personal Savior. (Rom. 8:23-24)

  • The subject of morality:

    F.R.P. games see an an amoral world at best. Good and evil seem to be presented as equal and opposite sides.

    Such activities as rape, stealing, murder, mutilation and human sacrifices are incorporated into the adventure of the Games.

    The Bible maintains a moral universe, based on the integrity of God. Thus there is an absolute standard by which all moral judgments can be measured.

    God has revealed this standard to us in the various laws and principles expressed in Word, the Bible. These laws and principles are given for our instruction that we might know what is right and what ought to be done in a given situation.

  • Principles:

    The theology found in F.R.P. games is an outright denial of much (if not all) of Biblical theology.

    The theology found in these games is not true and there is a false understanding of the supernatural and the gods and demons one calls upon and imagines may not at all times be purely imaginative and nonexistent after all.

Assessing F.R.P. Games.

To categorically declare that all F.R.P. games are "evil" and of the Devil would be simplistic and erroneous, just as it would be an error to accept them all unquestionably as "good" and "harmless." In order to make an intelligent assessment of these games we must critically examine at least four basic areas. First, the role of fantasy; secondly, morality; thirdly, escapism and lastly, occultism.

  • Fantasy:

    Neither fantasy or fantasy role-playing is wrong in and of itself. When carried out with in the context of the Christian world view, it can serve as a useful and creative activity.

    We are creatures made in the image of an imaginative God and we should consider it a privilege to possess and exercise this gift of imagination. However, we must also recognize our obligation before God to use this gift in a wholesome way and to guard against any misuse, (I Cor. 10:3-5).

    If Christ taught that looking at a woman with lust was committing adultery in the heart, would it not follow that if you lust after power given by false gods that you are in fact committing idolatry in the eyes of God?

  • The morality of the games:

    In D & D and games of its kind there are no moral absolutes, nor are there any moral conclusions. Good does not have to triumph over evil in the end.

    The good morals that might be brought in to the game have no effect on how the character is played. If your character is an evil (alignment) thief then that is how he must be played.

    Where there is power and violence there is often sexual immorality. For example, in D & D "non-human soldiers" are expected to "rape freely at every chance."

    Remember, in these games, not only does the player become the character, but in some games the character becomes a model for all to emulate.

    The bible is the final authority on right and wrong, and if God declares in the Bible that prostitution, rape, stealing, mutilation, murder, human sacrifice, worshiping other gods, casting spells, using magic, and practicing necromancy are wrong, then should one pretend those things or become involved in a fantasy game in which one participates by imaginative role playing? NO!

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