Sinful or No?
#11
(07-24-2014, 01:16 AM)Poche Wrote: It would only be considered a sin if it took up so much of your time that you missed Holy mass on Sunday.

Great answer.
"Punishment is justice for the unjust." Saint Augustine of Hippo
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#12
It sounds like this is just how you play.  It's no more sinful than me declaring war in my worldbuilding games (I stamped out the protestant reformation and unified europe under the papal states!) without being concerned with whether it's a just war.

Now, if you're intentionally rude or gloating, that would be a different matter.  But attacking someone, even vengeful sorts of attacks, are part and parcel of the game.
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#13
It's sinful...Now go to the virtual Confessional!!!  :grin:
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#14
Games are an interesting concept.  I have often pointed out that, essentially, a game is a self-imposed limit on freedom that we undergo for fun.  If I want, I can do anything with chess pieces: throw them, break them, melt them down into a blob, pretend they're people and have them talk to each other, etc.  But if I'm playing chess, I have to use them in certain, pre-set ways.  Things that are morally neutral in "real life," like moving a piece of plastic two inches while the person on the other side of the table isn't looking, become "cheating" in the game.

Thus, it seems like certain thing that would be sinful in real life might become morally neutral in a game.  Obviously, this is within reason: a game where you're supposed to cheat on your wife is  an immoral game, and you shouldn't be playing it.  However, a lot of things that would be wrong become okay in the game.  For instance, knocking someone down because they have a brown, flattened object that you want is wrong.  If you're playing (American) football, it becomes acceptable.

Of course, games could become sinful under a variety of circumstances, but overall I worry more about the morality of a game before I buy it or start playing than I do about my conduct within the game.
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#15
(07-30-2014, 12:20 AM)Optatus Cleary Wrote: Games are an interesting concept.  I have often pointed out that, essentially, a game is a self-imposed limit on freedom that we undergo for fun.  If I want, I can do anything with chess pieces: throw them, break them, melt them down into a blob, pretend they're people and have them talk to each other, etc.  But if I'm playing chess, I have to use them in certain, pre-set ways.  Things that are morally neutral in "real life," like moving a piece of plastic two inches while the person on the other side of the table isn't looking, become "cheating" in the game.

Thus, it seems like certain thing that would be sinful in real life might become morally neutral in a game.  Obviously, this is within reason: a game where you're supposed to cheat on your wife is  an immoral game, and you shouldn't be playing it.  However, a lot of things that would be wrong become okay in the game.  For instance, knocking someone down because they have a brown, flattened object that you want is wrong.  If you're playing (American) football, it becomes acceptable.

Of course, games could become sinful under a variety of circumstances, but overall I worry more about the morality of a game before I buy it or start playing than I do about my conduct within the game.

That's an interesting line of thought. I'd like to see you or someone else expand on it.
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#16
Thanks, Dirigible.  From what angle would you like me to expand on it?  Psychologically? Morally?  I only feel slightly qualified to take it beyond a mere thought.  It's something I use with my students.  I point out to them that rules don't always ruin the fun...sometimes they make things more fun.  A card game without rules would stop being fun quickly (I know...my sister invented one when we were little that always devolved into her punching everyone  :LOL: ).  With rules, you can spend hours playing cards enjoyably.

Another aspect to this is the difference between against the rules and "against the rules."  I feel like in some games, there are certain expected deviations from the rules.  These often have penalties within the game.  For instance, in the card game "Uno," if you don't say "uno" when you have only one card, you have to draw some additional cards if you are caught.  However, what if you aren't caught?  Did you "cheat"?  Is it morally equivalent to, say, hiding cards up your sleeve?  I feel like the existence of an in-game penalty for an action changes the action.  Maybe there's a difference between "cheating" and merely "playing dirty"?

That's a whole separate issue, however.  What more would you like to explore about my post?
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#17
(07-30-2014, 12:42 AM)Optatus Cleary Wrote: Thanks, Dirigible.  From what angle would you like me to expand on it?  Psychologically? Morally?  I only feel slightly qualified to take it beyond a mere thought.  It's something I use with my students.  I point out to them that rules don't always ruin the fun...sometimes they make things more fun.  A card game without rules would stop being fun quickly (I know...my sister invented one when we were little that always devolved into her punching everyone  :LOL: ).  With rules, you can spend hours playing cards enjoyably.

Another aspect to this is the difference between against the rules and "against the rules."  I feel like in some games, there are certain expected deviations from the rules.  These often have penalties within the game.  For instance, in the card game "Uno," if you don't say "uno" when you have only one card, you have to draw some additional cards if you are caught.  However, what if you aren't caught?  Did you "cheat"?  Is it morally equivalent to, say, hiding cards up your sleeve?  I feel like the existence of an in-game penalty for an action changes the action.  Maybe there's a difference between "cheating" and merely "playing dirty"?

That's a whole separate issue, however.  What more would you like to explore about my post?

What first comes to mind is the question of when a game is sinful to play in the first place. For instance, some will argue that combat sports like boxing are sinful because they are violent, even though everyone involved has agreed to be subject to a certain amount and type of violence; no one will argue (I hope :grin:) that it's okay to bring a switchblade into a boxing ring and cut up the opponent.

An argument along the same lines might be that some games are sinful because they encourage sinful attitudes even if the playing of them is not per se sinful. To continue with the boxing example, someone might agree that punching someone when they agree to be punched is not sinful, but the fact that this might encourage a violent state of mind outside the ring makes it a sinful activity.

Thoughts?
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#18
I think that gets into the issue of the "near occasion of sin," which is always difficult to pin down.  If boxing makes you violent outside the ring, then you shouldn't do it.  But maybe it doesn't do the same for me, and so it's okay for me.  Similarly, there might be people for whom the rage they feel when driving a car is too much to bear, and they will fantasize about committing violent acts against other drivers.  Thus, driving is a "near occasion of sin" for that person, but surely it isn't for everyone.

I would say a game is sinful to play in the first place if it will lead to or involve an actual sin in the real world.  Thus, a game that features pornography involves the actual sin of watching pornography.  A game that requires you to kill a certain number of actual people involves the sin of murder.  A game that involves shooting at fake people on a screen probably isn't sinful (they're basically game pieces, like a chess piece).  But then again, sin can be "subjective" in a sense.  If you imagine that each of the people on the screen is your boss, or your wife, or your children, then you're committing a sin.  If you know that the images in the video game are likely to produce insatiable feelings of lust, then you're committing a sin. 

I guess the short answer is that I don't know.  I sort of feel like I can tell what "feels" sinful and what doesn't.  But I see a lot of people who seem very scrupulous, and a lot of people who seem very much the opposite of scrupulous about these things.  "It's just a game" is an excuse within reason, but doesn't cover everything.
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#19
I suppose that, strictly speaking, anything which causes you to forget God is, to that extent, a sin, but no one but the most advanced monastic is expected to remember God all the time. We all carry on doing things which are in that sense sinful because we're incapable of being saints all at once, and trying to be a saint at the drop of a hat is actually a form of pride, because sainthood is acquired through extensive ascetic struggle.
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#20
Yes, I agree.  However, the question is whether games inherently make a person forget God.  I would argue that they don't.  One can forget God when busy with anything.  One could forget God while building a church! One could forget God while stringing together Rosary beads!  One could even forget God while posting on internet forums :Hmm: . You're right that asceticism is the path to sainthood...but it's a hard and long path, and I think that fasting and feasting are both parts of the journey (though I admit to far preferring the feasts).

I still find the game question interesting though.  As we try to live out Christian lives, we are also living...lives.  We work, play, argue, relax, etc.  I feel like, in answer to the original question, a simple answer would be "stop playing games altogether and live a contemplative life as an ascetic monk!", but that also isn't the most helpful answer.  I think that some thought about what constitutes an acceptable game and what constitutes an unacceptable game can be helpful.
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