It makes me quite sad. I started playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) in 1998, when my husband introduced me to Ultima Online. That was a fun game... I still remember the music, exploring the world, my cute little character. I had a little house that I decorated. I had a treasure hunter who would get treasure maps, go find the coordinates, and dig up treasure. I had a miner that would go out into the mountains and mine gold and other ores. I had a tailor that would make clothes. I even had a character named Jesus Christ who dressed in robes and was a carpenter.
Then we started playing Dark Age of Camelot when we lived in Italy. Since we lived overseas, we had my mother-in-law pick the game up and ship it to us international express mail so I could get the character names I wanted. We had a great time playing this game as well... most of my Ultima Online friends played this game with me as well.
I was planning on not playing any more MMORPGs after this, until my husband started playing World of Warcraft. I initially didn't play this game, but then he really wanted to play with me so he offered to buy me the game. So I tried it. Again, it was a lot of fun. I loved exploring the world, getting to level 70 with one of my characters, going into the dungeons and getting great armor...
So what made me stop? That darned conscience of mine. The whole witchcraft aspect. In Warcraft they have a Warlock class, who can have a pet known as a succubus... an S&M type demon character that helps fight for you. I never had one of those as I saw the obvious parallels to demons with that one. And I didn't really play a rogue, as I thought it was wrong to play a character that glorifies stealing.
Almost every class involved some sort of magic. Mages cast spells as their main source of damage. Clerics and priests cast both healing and damage spells. Hunters cast trap spells and spells to heal their pets. The warriors didn't really cast any spells, but they would drink potions and use spell scrolls to make themselves stronger.
Then there's the whole killing aspect. You had to kill to get treasure, to gain experience. Most of the creatures that you killed were monstrous, but then you'd go out and kill wolves or bears for some quests as well. That aspect struck me as well.
So I was going to not get involved in any more MMORPGs. But then I thought about the game some more... and I got scared. Could playing this game, knowing that there was witchcraft involved, be seen by God as sinful? Was my refusal to give this up a sin that I was not willing to repent of?
Most Christians know that adultery is a sin. But Jesus says that if you look at someone that you are not married to with lust, that is the same thing as committing adultery. Most Christians also know that witchcraft is a sin. The Bible says:
Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revelings, and things like these; of which I tell you before, as I also said before, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
I started thinking... if lusting after someone is the same as committing adultery, because you are imagining committing adultery... is imagining that you are casting spells the same thing as committing witchcraft? The Bible says that people involved in sorcery do not inherit the kingdom of God... clearly that is something that someone should repent of, and not willfully do. What if I died today, or the rapture happened? What if I got before Jesus and he said "depart from me, I know you not" because I refused to repent of the sin of witchcraft by continuing to play these games?
I was scared. I know that we are saved through faith in Christ, and it is not through our own works that we get to Heaven. However, are people that continue willfully in a lifestyle of sin truly saved? Perhaps, I am not God. I don't know who is saved and who is not saved. I know that there are people that believe that all you have to do is say a prayer and "ask Jesus into your heart." But what about the rich young ruler who came to Jesus and said that he followed the 10 commandments... when Jesus told him to go sell everything that he had to inherit the kingdom of God, he walked away sad, because he was not willing to give up his riches for Jesus. If it was a prayer that got your name written into the Lamb's Book Of Life, why didn't Jesus run after him and say "wait! All you have to do is ask me to come into your heart!" No, he did not do that.
Jesus said "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it, but whoever will lose his life for My sake, he shall save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world and loses himself, or is cast away?" (Luke 9:23-25) God doesn't want just an hour of our lives on Sunday morning. He wants us to live for him all the time.
But I'm rambling a little. There is a lot that I don't understand. I know that people have different beliefs on how you get saved. It's hard for my finite mind to understand fully. However, I do know this: eternity is an awfully long time. What would happen if I continued to play MMORPGs, casting spells with my characters, and then I found out that by doing so and not repenting, I was keeping myself from inheriting the kingdom of God? I can't say for sure. But as I thought on those things, I decided that I would not take the chance. I didn't want to put it off until November when my account that I paid for ran out. When people of the New Testament times gave up their witchcraft books, they burned an extraordinary amount of spellbooks. I'm sure that it probably hurt them to think of how much $$$ was being burned, but they did it because that was what they thought was right.
MMORPGs are very popular. I know why they are... they are fun. Daniel says that the Antichrist will cause craft to prosper... meaning witchcraft, not doily making. In Revelation the Bible specifically mentions that people did not repent of their sorceries. Which in the Greek is pharmakeia, which can also be translated as drugs... perhaps the Bible means both. But I'm sure that the popularity of books like Harry Potter, and the popularity of spellcasting in MMORPGs, is no accident.
It was a very hard decision for me to give up this game that I love. I have a lot of good memories with these games. It took me years to make this decision to give them up. But my conscience is now lighter.