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A Love Letter to Gamers

By EMN Updated: May 30, 2016 12:15 am

Dear gamers,

Gaming in itself may not be tagged as a sin, but the addiction to it definitely is. We are all familiar with the “gaming is satanic” phrase from churches, seminars and crusades. However, gamers usually do not agree with this statement. I know the denial all too well because I too was once a hardcore gamer. I will be presenting my experience and opinions from my perspective, so many may agree to disagree. Nonetheless, I cannot keep silent any longer because the urge from within has been very strong to write on this topic.

The two most popular games today in Nagaland are DOTA and COC. Numerous speakers have branded these two games as satanic, but many a times, the how and why of the statement has not been elaborated. I have been confronted with the same question numerous times and my responses have always been backed with my personal experience. Even though all the gory details are not mentioned here, I want to respond and reach out to all gamers through this article.

My first statement is: I was a victim of gaming. I do not presume to be superior to any speaker, and am not trying to be smart here. I am simply stating the fact of the matter: all gamers are eventually victims of gaming. We become a slave to the game we get addicted to. People who have never experienced this will never understand just how true this is.

DOTA stands for Defense of the Ancient. It is a map in the game called WARCRAFT. I was truly, madly and deeply entangled in the webs of DOTA for eight long years – right from my high school to my graduation. I not only played DOTA, I also participated and even hosted DOTA tournaments with my friends. My code name was Witwickey/iplay2win – some may know me well through this tag. I know the life of a DOTA player. I ate and slept with DOTA on my mind. I would spend the whole day gaming, and even at night, the game penetrated my dreams. I was in a constant state of ‘getting high’ with DOTA as my drug.

DOTA is a game of pride. The game is played between two teams who fight against each other. The one who destroys the Frozen Throne and the World tree wins. There are hundreds of characters each with unique powers. Then there are the spells and artifacts, the power combos we need to use, the different keys of the computer keyboard which needs to be pressed together in quick successions… DOTA is seriously an extremely intelligent and difficult game which requires brains and quick reflexes. To excel in DOTA our cerebrum and fingers need to work impeccably in perfect co-ordination to be an exceptional, or as we say in DOTA lingo – an electric – player. Moreover, planning, strategy and high standards of teamwork are required to work seamlessly as a single unit. This is the reason why good DOTA players are highly respected. The internationally famous DOTA players are millionaires. Even in Nagaland, among the gaming circle, everyone knows the names of the good DOTA players. They are given an exalted status even in conversations, and their reputation in the game precedes them by many miles.

But all this, to what end? What is the reward we receive for getting first blood, rampage or the tag of a GG move? Even if our attacks are imba, how is it beneficial in our life? A virtual life can never replace the real one, no matter how realistic. Addiction to DOTA isolated me from my family, and my studies became secondary. My responsibilities took a backseat because all my focus was on this game which held my undivided attention.

This is my stand from my personal experience: DOTA is a satanic game. It blinded and affected me to such a degree that I wasted so many years of my life for it and gained nothing from it. It only rewarded me with regret. Even today, I still witness so many of my brilliant friends who are wearing their lives out in front of the computer screen. Many Naga youth have given up their education for DOTA; some face multiple problems at home with their families because of it, while others even resort to stealing money from their parents to pay the internet cafes. I still remember my father coming to call me home from the café while I was gaming; this is a daily routine for gamers today. It is really disheartening to see even fifth grade children playing DOTA in Nagaland today. Any third party observer, with no knowledge about gaming can also conclude that this poses a major problem in our society.

I kept denying that DOTA is a satanic game; I strongly held and propagated the view that DOTA was simply for fun. But the moment I encountered Christ, the Holy Spirit lifted the scales from my eyes and revealed how very wrong I was. DOTA creates a vicious cycle of no self control which ensnares the best of us, and binds us till it becomes the ultimate indulgence for gamers. The Bible is very clear that we cannot serve two masters (Matt.6:24). The choice, as always, is in our hands now: do we choose the wide gate with its worldly allures or the narrow gate where God is waiting for us with open arms?

The other newer and equally destructive game in the android market right now is COC, which stands for Clash of Clans. This is the latest game which has spread through Nagaland, perhaps even faster than the wildfire we light for jhum cultivation in our forests. This trend has even begun to distinguish the ‘it’ crowd from the outcasts, based on whether one is playing the game or not. COC has enticed Nagas from all spheres of life, regardless of age, occupation, gender or background. And one of the major reasons for this is the easy access to the game. COC is played through the mobile phone and we live in an era where the mobile is almost like an extension of our skin.

And the graveness of the situation we are in is indicated by this: many theologians and Church workers are addicted to COC! It is astounding just how cunning the devil is in ensnaring the very ones who should be fighting against satanic games. There are those who give the age-old excuse: too much of anything turns into a satanic activity – even facebook or whatsapp. So as long as they play COC with a time limit every day, they are not addicted to it, and neither is it a satanic influence in their life. The first part of this statement is true. Any indulgence is certainly certified a sin. However, this does not give anyone the inherent right to play a game whose purpose is to lure one away from real life and focus on the virtual one. Even the ones who deny with their lips are aware in their hearts that they are wasting their time; that this game leads to sin in various forms; that ultimately, it is satanic. Deep within our conscience, we know just how much we suffer because of COC, and how it is the root cause of most of the problems in our lives.

COC has been craftily designed to blind us to the passage of time. Even when we are not online playing the game, our mind is always with our base; we keep worrying about whether a stronger player has looted our base, if our builders are free, or we have fallen in the league and our loot bonus is going to decrease. We are led by the number of hours left for the upgrade of a certain defense or an upgrade in our laboratory for stronger troops. Our morning, afternoon, evening and night begin to revolve around the four corners of our mobile screens.

The richer we get in COC, the poorer we become in our real life. We lose so much precious time which we could be utilizing to bring about some good in the world. We neglect our families and friends. I have witnessed so many people who cannot even keep up proper conversations with the people around them because they keep logging in to their base. The time that passes us by will never return. Our parents and dear ones will not be with us forever. We need to value our time with real people instead of the Barbarian king or the Archer queen.

We should also realize that we are losing our grip on the bright and successful future that we have by wasting our lives away with COC. If we try to imagine ourselves even five years from now, will it really matter if we have reached town hall 11 and maxed all our troops? Or will it be more important then whether we are studying in a good college or have bagged a respectable job? If we weigh the two options in a scale, no sane person will choose to be the world’s top COC player if the outstandingcondition was to give up his/her career forever.

No doubt, the walls we build and upgrade in COC after collecting the war bonus is to keep the enemy out. But have we ever paused and considered the fact that by playing this game we are building walls around our lives that shuts us out from important people and beautiful moments which will never return? As our walls turn from wood to sparkling blue, the devil also solidifies the spiritual wall around us which keeps us away from God. And for those who say they can balance their time, they know in their hearts that they are only kidding themselves. The very nature of this game denies us this possibility – of playing COC without being adversely affected by it.

Here are some of the characters from COC which are mentioned in the Bible:

Wizard – Leviticus 20:27 (a wizard is depicted as an abomination to God, who should be destroyed)

Witch – Deut. 18:10; Rev.21:8 (witches are described as detestable to The Lord; they will be burned in the lake of fire and brimstone)

Dragon – Revelation 12:3, 9; 20:2 (Satan is described as the great dragon)

Further, here are some facts about DOTA that I want to shed some light on, by displaying some of the ingamecharacters:

Lucifer/ Doom Bringer – Isaiah 14:12 (as everyone is aware, this is the devil that was cast out from heaven)

Viper – Isaiah 30:6, Acts 28:3 (viper in the bible has been depicted as synonymous with Satan)

Leviathan – Job 41:1; Psalms 74:14; Isaiah 27:1 (Leviathan is depicted as a ferocious creature in the sea; a gliding, coiling serpent whom The Lord will slay)

Abaddon – Rev 9:11 (Abaddonis depicted as the evil king of the Abyss)

Legion commander – Mark 5:9 (the devil says that his name is legion)

Necromancer – Deut. 18:11; Lev.19:31; Rev.21:8 (those who practice necromancy are detestable to The Lord; they will burn in hell)

Witchdoctor – 1 Samuel 15:23; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Galation5:20 (it is akin to rejecting the word of The Lord; it is evil in the eyes of The Lord and provokes Him to anger; those who practice it are warned that they will not inherit the kingdom of God).

All these characters have been clearly described in the Bible as evil and lethal arsenal of the devil. Many of us profess to be concerned, yet deny the fact that these games are satanic. Now that we have proof from the Bible about the true nature of these characters, how do we brand them? Can we still compromise that these characters are not Satanic?

The dictionary defines occult as “hidden, secret and mysterious, particularly pertaining to the supernatural.” Examples of occult practices are witchcraft (wicca), the black arts, magic, satanism, etc. As we have seen through the Biblical comparision, the characters of both COC and DOTA fit effortlessly into this category. Those who play the game are intrigued by the powers of the characters. Furthermore, the layout, settings and nature of these games are exclusively related to supernatural phenomena. Thus we see that there is both direct and indirect proof that COC and DOTA are Occult.

I am not stating that everyone who plays these games are Satanist. One does not become Satanist merely by playing DOTA and COC and using all these characters. For instance, just because the owner of a car company is Satanist, it does not necessarily mean that all the buyers of the car become Satanist. But that also does not mean that one will not get under the influence of the devil. I know this for a fact because I have literally been in that situation. I was inadvertently influenced by the devil, as I know many of the gamers are being influenced today. This is a tough fact to accept, but it is the truth and we need to digest it.

Even from the physiological point of view, gaming is unhealthy for both the mind and body. Your brain will always be in a constant state of stress and worry. Your eyes will hurt and develop complications because of too much strain. You will begin to lose your appetite, which in itself will begin a string of gastro-intestinal tract problems. Your head will always be heavy and you will feel weak and dizzy. Your shoulders and back will develop disorders….gaming really is akin to opening the Pandora’s Box of diseases.

Be honest and check yourself: Is your life progressing positively even though you are a gamer? Are you living the life you always wanted? Is there peace in your life? Are you excelling in your academic career? Are your parents happy with the way you behave? I bet most of the gamers will answer in the negative.

If we are to conduct a survey on who frequents the cyber cafes of Nagaland, most of them will consist of school and college dropouts who face a disturbed childhood. Have we ever wondered how the child of a poor man is able to afford gaming 24×7? They undoubtedly resort to either stealing money, or are utilizing the money given to them by their parents for payment of school/college fees and books. This in turn leads to the creation of a low life, who does not utilize his inborn potential for productive activity. The probability of someone who is low on life turning into a Satanist is very high; in fact many of the testimonies I have heard during counseling sessions pertain to a point somewhere along the same lines. Thus we see conclusively just how this chain of events makes us pay deadly consequences.

We play DOTA and COC with the motive to be the best. If we apply this motivation to our real life, there is no stopping us from excelling and bringing about great change to the lives of our people and the world at large. Whatever I have shared through this letter is not a condemnation, but rather an invitation filled with love to emerge from darkness into light. Many of you want to be free of these chains but lack the determination, some of you were unaware of what you were getting into – no matter what the reason, God loves you and wants to make you whole. And the extension of this great love fills my heart too to love you. Regardless of whether you accept it or not, you are suffering deeply. And I want you to give God a chance to free you – just as He freed me. Believe me; the joyous freedom you will experience is incomparable. And though you will be tempted multiple times to go back to gaming, the benefits you reap after giving it up will throw any doubts you had out the window. May every gamer who reads these words be like the good soil which hears, accepts, follows and bears good fruit. God bless you all.

With love,

Husezo Rhakho

Kohima Bible College

By EMN Updated: May 30, 2016 12:15:38 am