Calvin, Dungeons & Dragons, and the Glory of God


Dungeons and Dragons was before my time. I never played the game although I did know of some parents who explicitly forbid their sons and daughters to protect them from the ‘occult’. So you must imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this:

There are two things I found especially interesting. First, one gets the sense that the group has suffered persecution before from Christians who condemn the game as being anti-Christian. Second, this quote struck me: “We do our best to honor God in our lives and in our gaming.” I imagine Calvin turning over in his grave. Theologically, I get the sense that that the group justifies its own existence by assuming that playing D&D brings glory to God, a common motif in Reformed theology. While I understand some theologians question this idea in Calvin’s theology (especially when one considers Calvin’s double predestination), I think Barth is right when he claims (I can’t remember the reference in CD) that the glory of God is explicitly linked to the glory of man. That is to say whatever brings God glory will likewise result in man receiving glory from honoring God.

However, I’m very suspicious whenever Christians justify their actions by claiming they did it all for the glory of God. First off – and this is why the group is so humorous – how in the hell is God glorified from people sitting around all night playing a board game? I mean I’m all for having fun (although this doesn’t suit my particular taste), but I never justify my actions by claiming God will receive glory from it. We detect a similar move being made by many an athlete who after winning the big game dedicates the victory to God claiming it’s all for God’s glory. Again, what in the hell does that mean? How does God derive glory from a game of football? I remember having a humorous conversation with one of my roommates in college (an avowed atheist) after watching a college football game. We both decided that if God existed He was probably quite confused as to why athlete X just dedicated the game to Him. In fact, my friend and I continued the conversation about God and agreed that God must be consistently confused by mankind’s actions and the bizarre relationship he assumes he has with the divine.

In Christian circles the glory of God of course often functions to end a conversation in much the same what that a Christian invoke the notion that the Spirit was working through me to justify action X (an inversion of the devil made me do it). The real question of course to be asked is what exactly brings God glory. Certainly the majority of actions we engage in every day are simply banal and cannot be justified by appealing to the idea of bringing honor to God. The Lord might work in mysterious ways, but I remain skeptical that playing dungeons and dragons all day in a basement is the way to honor Him.


3 Responses to “Calvin, Dungeons & Dragons, and the Glory of God”

  1. Austin Says:

    After a really good bowel movement, I usually give a shout out to JC… just so he (and my innocent girlfriend) don’t think I’m taking all the credit for my accomplishment…

  2. Jeremy Says:

    That poor girl…

  3. Chaltab Says:

    I don’t see why gaming needs some sort of religious justification, except in those few cases when you’re dealing with extremists who assert that it is satanic or whatever. Most people have figured out that nerds in the basement aren’t serving the prince of darkness.

    Though I suppose they could mean that they build their games out of positive themes like heroism and sacrifice instead of nihilism and greed.

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