I am asking this question because the question about video games being sin was placed on hold, but I feel so compelled to answer it that I have decided to ask and answer my own question.
Every now and then a passage jumps up and sticks with me. Right now it's Romans 14. The entire chapter is summed up in the very first verse,
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. -Romans 14:1
If there ever was a disputable matter, it's video games. I've been a gamer my entire life. I've also been a Christian my entire life. The games I've played run the gambit from educational to religious to violent to outright demonic. However, no matter what, there's never been a game that's been able to distract me from God. If anything, there were games I put down because my relationship with God made playing them uncomfortable. But my point here in the next few verses.
2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. -Romans 14:2-4
I can handle games, video or otherwise, without losing sight of God and his purpose for me. And there are plenty of Christian game makers and gamers unions that say I'm not alone. But, here in Romans, Paul says that we shouldn't judge one another for what our faith allows us to do. Just because I play games, I'm not going to sit here and insist that playing games isn't a sin. Because while I can play a game without being desensitized to violence, death, and disobedience to God, that doesn't mean everyone can. I shouldn't judge them and they shouldn't judge me because both of us go before God who is our master and he makes both stand.
But, and this is how you know I'm a Methodist, it goes so much farther than I think it's right and you think it's wrong and we should all be OK with that. When I was 19, my father forbade me to bring my Magic: the Gathering cards into his house because he thought they were tarot cards. My father, the nerd, who handed me my first video games and my first fantasy novel couldn't wrap his mind around a card game because it said Magic on it. But, I never brought my cards to his house again because of what comes next in Romans 14.
14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. -Romans 14:14-15
Methodists were among the biggest supporters of the prohibition movement. The lasting effect on us is that we hold Romans 14 and other similar passages to heart especially this next bit.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
We know some people can't handle alcohol so we ask our Elders not to drink in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are struggling with addiction. We use grape juice and not wine in worship because it's better to make worship easier for those who are struggling than it is to follow the church traditions.
Now, I'm not giving up video games (or alcohol) anytime soon, but, I am aware of of the effect games have on others. I have put games up for the sake of other people and played them elsewhere. I also help my friends with kids to be aware of the content of certain games so they can make informed decisions about what their kids play. I'm something of an advocate for age appropriate play to help protect games from being judged en masse. That and this entire post is how I best understand Romans 14:16-18.
16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
Even though I agree that that question is an opinion question, I am going to answer it in my own way, because I feel that it one of our biggest problems in Society.
Satan knows that one of the best ways that he can entrap people and put a wedge between them and their God, to entice them with glitter and peak their desire.
He is also aware that one of his best attractions he can use is the challenge of being the best which man will accept every time it is offered. He not only uses that in things like sports and video games, but he is able to infect churches with it. How often do you see Churches and Pastors brag about their attendance or compare their Baptism numbers.
Competition is not bad within itself, but Satan knows that he can slowly sneak in things which may seen innocuous to start with, but over time he can work them around to desensitize people to not only sin but violence and sexual promiscuity.
We as Christians must never forget that there is a war going on between the forces of good and evil.
That was the reason God made the penalty for disobeying him and gaining the knowledge of good and evil, so stringent.
It was the gaining of the knowledge of good and evil that initiated the war for men's souls.
When God created man, man was perfect in the site of God, and that is why he looked at all he had made and said it was good. Remember that that man was perfect as God originally made him, and that was without the knowledge of Good and Evil.
The knowledge of good and evil within itself is not a sin, sin is disobeying God. What makes the knowledge of good and evil so bad is that Satan as the Prince of the World knows just how to make evil so attractive that it will tempt man away from the Grace of God. We as humans exist because of the grace of God, Since God is omniscient he knew exactly what was going to happen, so it was only because of his great grace that he made the world and man and even gave man the opportunity to go to Heaven for eternity. Heaven would be just fine without even one man or woman we need to be aware that we need God he doesn't need us.
So what does that have to do with your original question?? The reason for saying all of that is to make what I am going to say next make sense.
with the advent of video games Satan had a new and most valuable weapon. The first video games he used were somewhat innocuous that is to say that they started out games like pong and then progressed to Pacman and on to the games of today. What made these games so valuable to Satan was that he could combine dexterity and challenge with sight. He began slowly to build these games from the pong type games to the gore of modern games like we see played today.
For instance Pacman was a tiny step in the direction he wanted to go in that Pacman ate up his opponents, and before you say that's nothing consider that gobbling up the opposition was foriegn to that generation, we did not eat our enemies. So what Satan has done is to slowly desensitize us to violence, death and disobedience to God. We must remember that Man's third sin was murder.
But I will not stop with just video games Satan has used circumstance and greed and quest for power to slowly entice man away from the haven of God's grace. He has made man to kill maim and degrade his fellow man in seeking both power and greed. that's why we have wars and weapons of mass destruction.
And all the While Satan is laughing at how he is able have man rebel against God for such trivial and evaporative possessions, while ignoring the one valuable thing that man could have.
The way I see it, the sin in question here is idolatry.
As with anything we do in life, if we find that it's taking top priority away from God then it will begin to adversely affect our relationship with Him.
I find that to pray about these things helps because this means you're involving God with the pastime rather than shutting Him out. If you're conscious of God in all that you do then you're more likely to do what pleases Him, which may even be to stop playing a particular game! Prayer is a great way of preventing Satan closing the door on God in all aspects of your life.
No materials are by itself a sin. I knife is useful for cutting vegetables but the same knife can be used to kill someone. Wine itself is not a sin but when misused, it is chaos. Sex is not a sin but improper use of sex is a sin. I can't list all examples.
In the same manner, Video Games by themselves are not evil or sin. Misusing them is the cause of problems. Some video games are very useful and helpful. Strategy Video Games are my favorite. The first time I played Age of Empires, I was completely into it. Later I played Age of Mythology, Stronghold Crusaders, Knights of Honor, War Craft etc. and I still love them. I just wish that I still have time to play them but I don't have time for them anymore. I find strategy games very helpful for training the brain. Some are helpful for studying history and mythology.
We can misuse video games also. On Sunday, instead of going to church, if you play video games at home, that is obviously the instrument of Satan to enslave us with worldly things. Some games have wrong teachings or are too violent, which can transform a person to mindless and violent animal-like human. And I believe there is no need of mentioning Adult Video Games, which are designed only to satisfy sexual fantasies.
Therefore, let us spend more time in prayer and reading Bible, instead of wasting our time on worldly things which cannot give us salvation nor inner peace.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17, NIV)