Fundamentalist Christianity vs. Magic the Gathering

  • #1
    I wasn't sure if this belonged in Debate or here in General Magic, so I decided to put this in General Magic. If I was wrong for doing so, one of the Mods or Admins, is more than welcome to move this to the correct location.

    I realize that most of these articles are really old, and that most of you have probably seen these articles before. But I have only just begun to see these articles between today and yesterday, and decided to write their authors some responses. I thought I would share those responses with you all.
    " circa 1999 to 2008">The following response is a response to the website Christian Answers to the New Age and its article on Magic the Gathering.
    I will pose the same question I have posed to everyone who uses verses from the Bible that claim that Magic and Divination are abominations to God. How do you explain the following verses:
    • Genesis 44:5 (Scrying / Divination practiced by Joseph)
    • Numbers 5:12 to 31 (Ritual Curse / Black Magic in the Tabernacle)
    • Numbers 27:21 (Urim Thumim / Divination)
    • 1st Samuel 28:6 (Urim Thumim / Divination)
    • Numbers 26:55 (casting of Lots to determine the Will of god / Divination)
    • Proverbs 16:33 (casting of Lots to determine the Will of God / Divination)
    • Proverbs 18:18 (casting of Lots to determine the will of God / Divination)
    • Daniel 5:11 (Daniels occupation as the Chief supervisor of the Magicians, Astrologers, Chaldeans, and Soothsayers)
    The players do not represent "Sorcerers" or "Wizards" in the traditional sense. They represent what are called "Planeswalkers" which are about as far above Wizards as humans are above single celled organisms, on the chain of what makes something a complex organism or not complex organism. Additionally the goal isn't to kill the opposing player. The Goal is to defeat the opposing player. To make them submit to your might. Planeswalkers do not kill each other lightly, they tend to prefer to test each others metal, to see who is stronger, without resorting to killing each other. And of course you would use a quote that quotes the most foul sounding card names possible… what about Serra Angel, or Angelic Voices or even "Spring of Eternal Peace" granted that probably wasn't printed yet when you wrote the article in question. But still it is an example of a nice card name.

    Actually Necromancy within the context of Magic the Gathering goes much further than simple communication with the dead… it is actually the act of Raising the dead back to life (or rather unlife, i.e. zombies, liches, and vampires).

    In all honesty, we should be interested in death, at least to the extent that we are not afraid of death, and actually embrace the fact that we are going to die. I do not understand this Christian obsession with not wanting to die, or with fearing death. It is silliness if you ask me.

    Sorcery is no less dangerous and no more moral than drugs; in fact, there is a long-time connection between the two.

    Actually there is a significant difference between the two. Drugs are dangerous to ones immediate health. "Sorcery" especially pretend sorcery is not. In point of fact, Magic the Gathering can be proven to be beneficial to ones psychological development!

    In point of fact, the word "Summon" has been taken off of the Magic the Gathering cards officially. Actually the act of playing a creature is simply referred to these days as "playing a creature" the only reference to summoning in the current game is in the words "Summoning sickness" which refers to the fact that a creature that has just been put into play cannot do anything until ones next upkeep. But beyond that archaic reference there is in fact no reference to Summoning in the game except on the oldest and out of print cards.

    consider God's words in Phil. 4:8 that tell us to dwell on what is true, honorable, pure and lovely.

    As I told someone else, there are ways to consider Magic the Gathering true, honorable, and lovely (not necessarily pure) as well as virtuous due to its nature as a teaching tool, as well as some of the art on some of the cards (which is sometimes exceedingly beautiful to contrast the "demonic" art you seem so hellbent on highlighting).

    Perhaps Christians should come up with a Role Playing Game that would be acceptable to their God, then if it does exceedingly well, we will see Christian players of Magic the Gathering and other "non-Christian" games turning away from those games in favor of a Christian game. But alas, Christians don't appear to be very creative in that regard do they?
    " circa 1999">This is a response to the article found at the Kjos Ministries Website by Berit Kjos detailing how he feels Magic and Pokemon are detrimental to the wellbeing of Children and how those Children should burn cards that are worth between 0.50 cents and 2,000 dollars...
    Isaiah 5:20 says absolutely nothing about Angels so do not even attempt to use it on me. Angels in magic the gathering are of the good law upholding variety most of the time. Well actually they are more representative of Angels found within early Mesopotamian Cultures. However I doubt you would be familiar with the Cherubim or Seraphim?

    Are you aware of the Occult practices found within Modern Christianity itself? The word Occult simply means "The Hidden Practices" it doesn't automatically mean "Mystical" or even "Mythical" practices such as those found in Gnosticism, or Polytheistic Religions. For example, the very concept of a "Mystery of Faith" can be described as an Occult belief, and Christianity is rife with "Mysteries of Faith" is it not? The Revelation of John itself is the most prominent example of an Occultic Book found within the Christian Bible. Take it as you will.

    If God does not contradict himself, then explain the following verses:
    • Genesis 44:5 (Scrying / Divination practiced by Joseph)
    • Numbers 5:12 to 31 (Ritual Curse / Black Magic in the Tabernacle)
    • Numbers 27:21 (Urim Thumim / Divination)
    • 1st Samuel 28:6 (Urim Thumim / Divination)
    • Numbers 26:55 (casting of Lots to determine the Will of god / Divination)
    • Proverbs 16:33 (casting of Lots to determine the Will of God / Divination)
    • Proverbs 18:18 (casting of Lots to determine the will of God / Divination)
    • Daniel 5:11 (Daniels occupation as the Chief supervisor of the Magicians, Astrologers, Chaldeans, and Soothsayers)
    Seems to me God, or at the least his followers, contradicted themselves / himself constantly during the Old Testament!

    Further, when a child says "I'll just use my psychic powers" in reference to the Pokemon video or card game, they are probably referencing the Abra line of Evolutionary Pokemon or other "Psychic" Pokemon, and not actual real life "Psychic Powers" that they might believe they have. And even if they were referring to themselves, I do not see the harm in pretending to have Psychic powers on the scale of the Pokemon… its no different from when a child pretends to have an imaginary friend, or are good Christian children forbidden to have those now as well?

    Soul Exchange does not feature spirits rising from the grave… it features Zombies rising from the grave… Additionally the text on the card reads as follows:

    As an additional cost to play Soul Exchange, remove a creature you control from the game.

    Return target creature card from your graveyard to play. Put a +2/+2 counter on that creature if the removed creature was a Thrull.

    Mind you, most "Thrull's" are black creatures… not White.

    As for those children's method of "Summoning" creatures… I think they totally misunderstood the purpose of the game… which is why I am totally against letting any child under the age of TWELVE play the game of Magic the Gathering, as I do not believe they have the mental maturity to understand the game. In fact its probably best if they wait till they are about 15 or 16 to start playing the game as well… cause I myself really didn't begin to understand how to play the game till I was about 15 or 16 years of age.

    I would advise you not to use a Psychologists "warning" in your essays as an attempt to discredit Role Playing. The reason is because Psychologists constantly use Role Playing as a means of furthering Psychotherapy. They view Role Playing as a GOOD thing, and as a very healthy means of expressing ones negative emotions in a manner that is productive and non-aggressive!

    You are aware that there are over 14,000 different tournament legal cards in the game of Magic the gathering? Do you realize how many different combinations of decks that can lead to? Granted many of these cards are not tournament worthy, however there are so many cards now that no one can possibly know what all of them do! That means repetitive cycles are really not as common in this day and age as you seem to think they are!

    What exactly is wrong with a "Dragon"???? Other of course than the Christian association of Dragons with the Devil… you do realize that the word we translate as Dragon in the New Testament probably means something entirely different in the original greek?

    "Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - let your mind dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:7-8)
    Then we should be allowed to dwell on Magic the Gathering and other card games. For the simple reason that they possess the virtues of:
    1. allowing people who are introverted to make friends
    2. teaching people better math skills
    3. teaching team sportsmanship (see "Two Headed Giant tournaments" and other multi-player formats)
    4. they possess beautiful art (most of the time) thus are "lovely"
    5. many of the concepts are "noble" within the color of White, and Black, and Red (all 3 of which have "Knight's" within them).
    So yeah, these cards do conform in a manner of speaking to the verse you provided.
    " Circa 1995">This is a response to the Article found at Logos Resource Pages regarding the authors feelings that Magic is evil and the spawn of Satan, and that it should be burned...
    You claim that the Bible makes it clear that Occult practices are forbidden by Deuteronomy 18:10 to 12. Are you aware of the Occult practices found throughout the Bible?
    • Genesis 44:5 describes the use by Joseph and his household of the ancient Divination method known as Scrying.
    • Numbers 5:12 to 31 describes a Curse that a Priest was supposed to put on a woman should her husband suspect her of cheating on him!
    • The Urim and Thumim were two objects used in Ritual Divination within the Temple mentioned in Numbers 27:21 and 1st Samuel 28:6. Additionally to these standard Lots were thrown, both were randomized methods of determining the will of God, and the very etymology of Divination means "To Ask God."
    I would like to know your exact sources that cite the fact that either Dungeons and Dragons are used by people who practice the Occult as "tools" for the occult. They are both games, and although they are both enjoyed by people who practice what can be described as the Occult, they most certainly are not used ritualistically as tools of the occult… in fact many of my fellow Polytheists don't even play Magic the Gathering or Dungeons and Dragons, much less use them as Ritual tools. Additionally the closest I have come to using a Magic card as a ritual tool is using it as a book mark in one of my books on Polytheism.

    Additionally, you claim that your God hates Violence? What about the conquest of the Land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua… what about the battles of Saul, and David? Also, what about the bloody conflict between Christians and Islamic people known as the Crusades… or was that "Justified" war as so many Christians of that time period claimed… or are you going to claim that those people weren't really Christians?

    Also, in case you didn't know… the goal of Magic, symbolically is that it is a duel between 2 Planeswalkers. Planeswalkers are not wizards nor are they sorcerers. They are beyond petty levels of magic. They are nearly Gods in that as the Planeswalker Teferi said quite concisely "A planeswalker is Omnipotent, but only nearly Omniscentient" and they definitely are not Omnipresent. Now while it is possible to kill a Planeswalker, it is extremely difficult to do so. Games of Magic the Gathering are basically the real world equivalent to the storylines "Ritualized Duels" between 2 Planeswalkers. These duels do not result in the death of either Planeswalker unless the two planeswalkers agree otherwise prior to the duel. Rather they usually are the testing of the metal of each of the planeswalkers. They are a method of seeing how skilled two planeswalkers happen to be, and assessing the value of their own abilities. Nothing more and nothing less. The rules that came with the game in 1995 are quite a bit out of date storyline wise, and come from an era referred to in the Magic the Gathering community as the Pre-Revisionist era… Also black magic really won't kill your opponent in under 5 minutes, and red magic is a bit easy to slow down enough that it can't win a game at all.

    LOL Wiccans who play the game of Magic would be abhorred at hearing you compare the form of magic that they actually do practice to the form of magic practiced by "White Mages" in the game of Magic the Gathering… especially considering the flavor of the Magic of White is far more similar to the type of behavior typified by a fascist government or perhaps most similar to the Catholic Church during the period of the Roman and Spanish Inquisitions. In otherwords it is hardly about "Good Magic" and more about "The Good of the Many outweighs the Good of the One" taken to extremes not even imagined by the most fanatical of Socialist or Communists in the real world!

    Magic is a game aimed at 12 year olds and older. If a person has a kindergartener playing the game, and understanding the game… then they are really doing that child a disservice… either that or the child is a genius who should be pursuing other hobbies not this particular card game.

    In any case I seriously think you need to update your article as it does not reflect the modern game at all. You might even want to try to get new quotes or updated rules information….
    After emailing that to him, I decided to amend my information regarding Planeswalkers and sent him the following information as well:
    as an aside, Planeswalkers no longer are Omnipotent within the storyline. Nor are they Immortal. They lost those powers during what is called "the Mending" which was an attempt to save the Multiverse (Dominia) from utter destruction by a Planeswalker named Teferi, as well as his companions and 5 or 6 other Planeswalkers.

    Currently Planeswalkers have even more reason not to want to kill each other. First and foremost is that there are only about 7 known Planeswalkers, and of these Planeswalkers they are all mortal, and their spells take a lot out of them, especially planeswalking itself. So formal duels are much more formalized and thus even more rarely to the death than they used to be.
    It is telling that none of these authors has updated their information since they first published their pages (with the possible exception of the first one who has a copyright extending to the present day). Still the information on these three pages is woefully outdated.

    P.S. sorry to rant... but I have this issue of not liking being told what to believe or what to do... especially by Religious people.
    Last edited by DalkonCledwin: 10/26/2008 5:17:18 PM
    "As the size of an explosion increases, the number of social situations it is incapable of solving approaches zero." -- Varsuvius, Order of the Stick
  • #2
    Every group of people on the planet tells everyone else how they should live! Including me, get over it!

    This post contributes nothing to the topic and is, thus, spam.
    Last edited by extremeicon: 10/26/2008 5:52:23 PM
  • #3
    I think the author was wasting his time writing all of that, I think a good many of the people that go around saying all this stuff is "of satan" (or something like that), using their religious "authority" (real or not) to push this non-sense are probably more likely sociopaths interested in causing grief rather than doing any real good.
  • #4
    I have a bunch of friends at school who call it "gay" and "spawn of satan". Typically, people are afraid of things they don't understand and thus they condemn it as such. I don't really get mad at them, in fact I feel bad for them that because of their prejudice they'll never get to play one of the greatest strategy games.
  • #5
    I am disgusted by people who say magic the gathering is part of the occult i think ppl are just ignorant because they see it involves sorcery i had seen a youtube video on this topic and the guy made a good point that if u just changed the names around on mana and spells then it could become a christian game by making it like faith and something else
    people should realize that this is just a game and just because we u pay mana to play a spell doesn't mean ppl are actually practicing witchcraft its just the way the game is played
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  • #6
    I find the "M:TG is the work of the devil" articles somewhere between hilarious and frightening. The second of the three particularly distasteful and would even go so far as to accuse the author of lying vis-a-vis their anectodal evidence - players supposedly citing "spirits enter me" and raising staffs is probably a load of bull and even if it isn't then they're not doing it because it's a part of the game.

    I also take slight issue with the criticism of using euphemisms for death in games, such as "knocked out" in Pokémon and according to the article "exiled" in M:TG (though I've never heard that one myself). I would respond to that by pointing out that many many people who play chess will talk about "capturing" a piece or simply say "bishop takes rook" when they too quite clearly mean kill/slay/murder. Would these people also condemn chess for the way it "desensitises us to violence and death"?

    Concerning your replies to the articles, however, I would advise tou that if you ever want to come close to winning an argument with a Christian not to quote the Old Testament in the context of contradiction. The Old Testament is, almost by definition, "outranked" by the New (if you'll excuse the over-simlification) and in failing to recognise that you undermine your own point of view.
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  • #7
    Quote from Marquoth
    Concerning your replies to the articles, however, I would advise tou that if you ever want to come close to winning an argument with a Christian not to quote the Old Testament in the context of contradiction. The Old Testament is, almost by definition, "outranked" by the New (if you'll excuse the over-simlification) and in failing to recognise that you undermine your own point of view.

    Oh, I fully recognize it. However I have a feeling that the 2 primary examples of "magic" found in the New Testament would simply be written off as "Miracles" by most Christians. So I had to dig deeper and use examples that couldn't simply be written off as Miracles. Additionally I wanted examples of usage of Divination, and other "Occult Practices" that violate or contradict the book of deuteronomy where it says the following:

    Deuteronomy 18:10-12
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.
    "As the size of an explosion increases, the number of social situations it is incapable of solving approaches zero." -- Varsuvius, Order of the Stick
  • #8
    I think the most important thing to recognize is that Magic: the Gathering is just a game. No one is actually casting any spells, divining any secrets or raising the dead. Just playing a card game.

    It's like saying I worship vampires because I watch a vampire movie or wear a vampire costume for Halloween. It just doesn't make sense.

    Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc
  • #9
    The reason most of those pages are outdated is because the argument breathed its last sometime between dangerous video games and morality-threatening television. There are much bigger targets than a niche market card game. Whether or not Magic as a game is evil is immaterial; A mathematician dreamt it up, not a coven with an axe to grind.

    Besides, Magic never really went out of its way to offend people. The only capitulation I can recall with regards to upset people was taking the upside-down pentagram off the background of the old Douglas Shuler Unholy Strength.
  • #10
    look God gave us free will, if you choose to go to hell, so be it, dont tell people what theyre doing wrong on top of it. If you dont believe in God, then you have no issues.


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    Last edited by extremeicon: 10/27/2008 12:45:15 PM
  • #11
    I have the feeling that this thread is something of a meta-necro of stuff.

    I mean honestly, at best you are talking to the dead.

    The counter-argument to any of those articles is lighten up you Puritans. Making-believe doesn't end the world, and the seer number of non-obviously insane M:tG players says that Magic isn't really corrupting.
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  • #12
    That is an impressively large amount of work devoted to an impressively pointless enterprise.

    People who think magic is evil and corrupting will not be swayed by the testimony of people who play magic and disagree. People who don't think magic is evil and corrupting will not be swayed by the ravings of the christian right. This is the card-game/religion version of banging ones head on a brick wall.
    Cyme we inne frið, fram the grip of deaþ to lif inne ðis smylte land.
  • #13
    Do you know what I find hilarious when I read this article? The fact that, 5-8.5 years ago, when I was still playing Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon, I knew quite a few teenagers (then older then me) who would play Magic... at our local church (they were members, too). No one took any offense at it; in fact, many people (including church members) were interested in the game, and would ask how it worked.

    This is a major misinterpretation of the Bible, in my opinion. To say Magic -> real Magic = Drug Dealers -> Drugs is extremely wrong. Magic does not have real Magic or seek to worship real Magic in mind; it is a bad example

    Also, how many Magic players follow a sect of Christianity? I'm just curious to see if Christians are usually repulsed by this, since many of you are writing about Christianity in the third person.

    I, for one, am Christian, and I follow Christianity in my everyday life. I personally cherish Magic the Gathering as one of my favorite hobbies for both the fun of the imagination (which is in no way occult; to say so would be as to say Peter Pan = occult, or children's fairy tales = occult) and the fellowship of like-minded gamers.
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  • #14
    Most fundi-christians are probably just put off by the fact that MtG's background stories are much better thought out and written, and much more believeable than those contained in their favourite storybook.
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