Will the PlayStation 4 (PS4) keep you from going to church?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Media Sex & Violence
Battlefield 4 screenshot from PS4 PlayStation 4

BATTLEFIELD 4 screenshot from the new PlayStation 4, by Sony.


I’ve got a parent-to-parent question: Will that new PlayStation 4 that your teen or 20-something is so eager to bring home this week keep him (or her) from going to church?

Does that sound like an odd question for OurValues? Let me explain: First, it’s true that most teens and 20-somethings don’t regularly go to church, or synagogue, or mosque. And, there are many reasons they avoid organized religion.

This week, we are going to discuss a series of columns written by David Briggs, one of America’s top religion newswriters. In these pieces, David has been reporting on research that links violent or sexually explicit media with a drop in spirituality and attendance at worship.

As we start, don’t dismiss this series as an utter “downer.” Here’s a hint about our fifth and final column on Friday: That day, I will tell you about some more hopeful research-based news in David’s reporting about young people, families and faith. Meanwhile, if you’re a gamer reading this column—we want to hear from you, too. Millions of Americans play these games and watch explicit movies. We hope to see some comments sticking up for gaming and media freedom.

Whatever your perspective, the research data David Briggs is uncovering should be fascinating to everyone concerned with these issues. Today, we’ll start with this link to David’s latest column in which he writes: “Researchers are finding many young adults appear to struggle with the radically different messages of ‘Machete Kills’ or ‘Grand Theft Auto’ and the Sermon on the Mount.”

At midnight on Friday, the long-awaited, super-powerful PlayStation 4 went on sale and, no, at the moment there is no “Grand Theft Auto” available for this system. (“Grand Theft Auto” is the most notorious—and most popular—of the video games in which players “win” by committing crimes in the fictional world.)

But the PlayStation 4 is selling plenty of other ultra-violent games. Sony boasts that its new “Resogun” puts “a diverse array of devastating weapons” in your hands. And in “Battlefield 4,” Sony proudly proclaims you can “immerse yourself in the glorious chaos of all-out war.”

TODAY, please, tell a friend about this series. In the next four parts of this series, I will link to more of David’s reports on research into these issues. (To tell friends, use the blue “f” Facebook icons or the small envelope-shaped Email icons.)

AND, PLEASE, tell us: Are you concerned about violent video games?

Are you a gamer? Can you add a positive comment?

Have you seen any efforts in your congregation to discuss video games?

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  1. Karlene Dancingwolf says

    Video games in general promote aggression, exercise power and control, foster a sense of entitlement, and represent a total disregard for the sanctity of human and animal life, all the while portraying a heightened, albeit distorted, reality. Most games target the young male, who is developing his sense of identity and place in the world. It’s frightening to me to see the result of the influence these types of media have had on our culture. It’s doesn’t take a degree in astrophysics to see that if a child continues to watch violence and “play” it out in games, he (or she) will eventually “act” it out in real life. Unfortunately, violence, gore, destruction, and inflicting pain and death are the spoils of winning and are what sell these games.

  2. Duncan Newcomer says

    Not going to church is just the tip of the iceberg to the loss of spirit and humanity caused–clearly–by such visual stimulation. You don’t have to go to church to have a human spirit,even a sacred one. But even in church, at one church I served, I found a cohort of men addicted to sex movies. I look forward to this series, as it seems like the information is a total downer at this point.

  3. Jean says

    I really appreciate Karlene’s statements. Unfortunately, these are the very things that the developers of these video games are trying to foster and reinforce in kids, so as to continue their programming of the youth to be “tools” in their nefarious plans for the population. As we know, already, a lot of young people are out there killing complete strangers as well as their own family members.
    Rather than thinking about whether or not we/they attend church, we should be organizing special prayer warriors to pray over these kids to free them from demonic infiltration and the programming that they are already subject to and operating from.
    I refuse to ever use video games as well as most other of these entertainment venues that have become so popular. I also don’t do social media and strictly limit my online “life”.
    We all need to be ready for Jesus when He comes back, which could be any time now; He’ll only be seen and heard by those who know Him and who He knows.