Yesterday I posted the following questions on both my Facebook wall, and my Twitter feed:
Is it possible that playing/making a video game could be considered an act of worship? and, is it possible for a video game to stir or invoke a feeling of worship in the same way a painting/picture or a song can?
It was a question that had been on my mind for a big part of the day – having come to mind during a discussion of worship (and the variety of things that my church does to create an atmosphere where people can worship God) during the creative ministries team (band, painters, dancers, and other creatives) practice.
My opinion* is that games have the potential to evoke a sense of worship – after all, people have made games designed to evoke a variety of different questions and feelings, with differing levels of success – but I haven’t come across one that does at this point (I’d like to at some point in my life though – get on it Christian Game Developers!). The question of whether playing a game can be an act of worship is much more complicated to answer. On a simple level, worship is the total surrender of every aspect of a Christian’s life to God – everything we think, do, say, etc, etc. So the comment given by my friend Craig – “Considering that ‘true’ worship is how we conduct all of our lives, it then depends whether or not you would consider playing that video game a Godly event or not.” – is something that cuts straight to the heart of the matter. As it is, I’m not sure where I stand on that – many games released probably aren’t the best things to expose to a mind that seeks to put God first, and there’s the whole escapism thing, and the addiction/compulsion issue, both of which complicate the matter further.
I believe that a Christian Developer^ working on a game who dedicates their passion for the project at hand, and the work they put into it, to God’s glory is performing an act of worship – much as in the same way a Christian painter worships God as they paint, or a Christian musician worships through practice and performance – and I believe that a game made with the intention of bringing players to a place of worship can be as effective (if not more) as a painting or a song made with the same intentions. As for whether a Christian Gamer can worship through playing games, well, I cannot give an answer – there are too many questions to consider at this point. Maybe someone with more experience behind them, and a deeper understanding of the issues at hand, will provide an answer – maybe if no-one does, I’ll come back in a few decades with a true answer to the question.
Until then, feel free to debate it in the comments.
*Which could be taken with a grain of salt, I’m sure that people smarter and better informed than I am will argue these questions in years to come with much more authority.
^Christian denoting the developer’s faith, not the game that they are necessarily working on