Is playing violent video games a sin?

I play or used to play games such as Total war series, Age of Empires series, Call of Duty series, GTA series,… but very recently i heard that the pope spoke about violent video games. Im currently in a dillema wheter i should play Max Payne 3 or not. So does the church actually teach something against this kind of video games? I know games like Max Payne are incredibly violent and include sexual scenes but im not in it for sexual scenes or beause i love killing and i want to kill real person, im in it because its fun. I think we can all agree that killing a computer is ALOT different than killing a real person.

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I don’t think playing such a game is a sin as long as you aren’t playing to excess and neglecting the real world.

I have played violent video games for years, not because I am looking for violence or sexual scenes, but because I am a competative person and love the challenges of figuring out puzzles and pitting my skills against other gamers skills. Not to mention that when I get frustrated and grumpy gaming gives me an outlet and makes it easier for me to let go of whatever was upsetting me.

I think we need to ask ourselves if we could see Jesus or Mary playing the game and go from there. Violent video games are not sinful, but the Pope states its a perversion and we are only desensitizing ourselves to violence.

If you really spend time reading the thousands of threads on video game violence on this forum, you will see its a 50/50 in the church. Some can see the most Holy man playing Call of Duty and some cant

If you really spend time reading the thousands of threads on video game violence on this forum, you will see its a 50/50 in the church. Some can see the most Holy man playing Call of Duty and some cant

This is a great way to determine the answer and we can apply the same question using Jesus. Basically a “What Would Jesus Do” approach.

I am looking forward to the answers of this thread as I personally play Call of Duty AND want to serve God with my whole being. I am very interested in the opinions.

I may not be qualified to speak on this because I am not a video game enthusiast of any ilk - but I have thought about this some…

Like the others here I cannot call it a sin… but neither can I endorse the playing of violent video games. To me - such activity only serves to build up the wrong kinds of thoughts and responses. It doesn’t matter that it is only “virtual reality”…the thoughts and desires are still geared toward violence and to me that is contrary to the types of things a Christian should be encouraging.

Of course as others have said…there seems to be a 50/50 split in thinking on the matter. I’ve had some pretty lively discussions here on this topic.

Something in your OP that I find quite interesting…You said:
I know games like Max Payne are incredibly violent and include sexual scenes but im not in it for sexual scenes or because i love killing and i want to kill real person, im in it because its fun.
Why do you find it fun??? What is “fun” about killing - even virtual killing?
Do you think it is a good thing for a Christian to promote such a game - with sexual scenes and killing?

I make no judgement here - but I do say that I think it interesting that Most people would have more problems (morally) with the “sexual scenes” in a video game than with the “violence” of a video game…
But I guess that is just me…


With most any activity one has to ask oneself, “Does this bring me closer to God?”, and “How does this activity fulfill my purpose of loving God and loving my neighbor which Scripture defines as the whole of the law summed up?”

So the pope didn’t condemn violent video games? Because if i google “pope about violent video games” some articles says he condemn it. What was the true opinion of the pope on the subject?

If killing pixels and polygons is a sin, lord help those in the American military murdering innocent women, children and elders, that So called Christians jump up and down to salute and say god bless you to.

Not too much to worry about unless it does not give you a stress release and/or its just for fun. If it gives you thoughts about shooting real live human beings, then I would start to worry.

Have fun and enjoy! :thumbsup:

Like you’ve been hearing, it is 50/50. In honest opinion, it probably isn’t a sin, but it can lead to sin - neglecting duties, skipping Mass, becoming violent, angry, and selfish, etc. According to their labels - E, T, and M, the appropriate age group should be playing it. 8 year olds shouldn’t be play Call of Duty,

One more thing. I would watch out for the games like GTA and Saints Row. Because the sexual temptation is available on these games, it is probably best not to play them, unless you know you aren’t going to fall into temptation.

It is closely related to the Internet. Yes, there are some great websites on here like Catholic Forums, but there are a lot of bad ones too. You need to know your limits.

Re: the bolded…
This was part of my point earlier…It seems that people can be very sensitive about “sexual temptation” in video games…but are much less so about violent temptations…

Maybe I just don’t understand…but since our thinking (more than our actions) is what is sinful, I just don’t see the point in encouraging inappropriate thoughts or inclinations in either one…:shrug:


That was a complete misrepresentation and drawing out of context for the entire situation.

Killing in a video game is a problem of desensitizing yourself and wasting time. Killing people when you are in the military isn’t a sin at all, if it’s a just war.

I used to play violent video games. I never play them after my conversion. I don’t think they are spiritually healthy and if I have children, I will teach them to despise such games.

The same reasoning applies to other things as songs and movies - all that is spiritually unhealthy is dangerous for our soul, especially when we speak of totally unnecessary and vain forms of entertainment :o We can do better, and still have a lot of fun when proper.

I would personally not like my children to play any game that is very graphic about killing and sexual content. I myself play Age of Empires 1 and 2 (because now I don’t want to spend more money on buying the third one) and I don’t find them that violent. I play them for the strategy. The allocation of resources and choice of path. I did play Duke Nukem in my teens and I do regret it and would not play it again given the choice. And I also only play if my wife doesn’t need anything from me (like cleaning the house) or if I already did meditation for that day.
I think it’s a question of finding the balance and what it is that you find “fun”.
Shoot’em up games are fairly violent, but you could choose a less violent approach by playing something like shooting plates or ducks…

Just a thought.
God bless,

I do play video games and am closer to the half-century mark, so let me chime in.

While games have evolved, the ethics in gameplay remain the same. Long before computers, you and some friends could have a game of tag, or hide-and-seek. Or you could have conjured up a game of “Pull the girl’s pigtails.” They’re all games–but which one of them is played at the expense of others?

Games today are extraordinarily realistic. My opinion, flavored with Catholic teaching, is that you should not do in a game what you would not do in real-life. For games such as “Grand Theft Auto,” this is an unethical game because it not only portrays immoral and unlawful acts but encourages you to enact these in a virtual simulation of the real world.

Contrast this to fantasy games. There, often there is a clear “bad guy” and players are often the good guys. Here there is a goal and the game sets limits on getting to that goal. Often games of this type don’t require you to do something radically unethical or you become the very bad guy you’re trying to beat.

I’m oversimplifying here since there’s too much to categorize. In short, games that are simulations of the real world should be not be played if their primary design is to allow you to do immoral or unlawful or unethical things and “get away with it” because it’s a game. War games set in a historical footing automatically have a “just war” element to it, but if you act like a berserker, some games penalize you.

Fantasy games often have clearer lines of good and evil, but you should also be mindful of becoming the monster if you find yourself enjoying the environment simply because you can dominate things. Can you play that fantasy game and complete a task by not killing or use game skills to negotiate or bluff? This differs them from the simulation games.

Puzzle games and other abstract games don’t apply except in that, as with all games, they become too much of a distraction from things and people you should encounter in the real world.

Now get off my virtual lawn. :slight_smile:

Personally, I don’t believe most people go on shooter games to kill people virtually, laugh it off, and then want to do it in real life. I agree, that shooter games should not be encouraged. But what makes them “fun,” I believe in most cases, is the fact that you are beating someone else in a competition. Yes, there are games like Madden and Fifa where you can go up against 1 other person, but in shooter games, there are many people.

So I don’t believe it is the “ooo ooo guns and killing people! Sounds fun.” I think it is more so the “hey, there is a game where I can prove to be better than everyone else.”

Again, I wouldn’t encourage playing them, but having played them a little bit myself, this is what I pick up.

I don’t recommend very violent video games. The video games industry has a strong market with teenage and young adult males, and it shows in their production. Perhaps more important than the graphic violence itself is the moral themes behind many of them; i.e. there isn’t any. Many of the characters are depicted as godlike, me-against-the-world warriors. Again: appeal to teenage and young adult male vanity. I also believe too much immersion in those themes is extremely damaging. When you wrap yourself up so much in the fantasy of worldly greatness and domination, you risk facing supreme disappointment in everyday living. This is something I’m still recovering from. Not every person is going to react in the same way, but I have a highly sensitive imagination and can easily become engrossed in different visions of myself. Fortunately, this works both ways.

I stick with video games that challenge myself as a strategist and a thinker. Frankly, they’re more fun anyway.

I agree.

So I thought about this for over 5 years. And here is my conclusion, which is merely my honest opinion:

I remember my priest at my parish saying we live in such a violent world, and to my surprise he quickly mentioned videogames. He was mainly talking about games that involve violence, not “wholesome” good moral games. He mentioned we can’t always tell right from wrong, and that there are thousands of video games we can choose from, and it all depends on our choice.

Take Flight Simulator for example, a good game that can’t really be turned into violence. There are enthusiast who will spend thousands of dollars creating a cockpit to mimic the real airplane. Every switch and every knob is exactly the same. In Witchita at the Cessna Learning Center you can learn to fly in a Level D simulator. Here is the interesting thing though, they don’t train you in a real airplane, ONLY a simulator. Once you graduate and get good on the simulator, you are proficient to flying the real aircraft.

Take NVIDIA for example, their goal is to make it so you can’t tell the difference between reality and simulation. With TESLA graphics cards and realistic physics, its honestly going to be difficult.

I bet if I were to hold up Call of Duty to a group of Catholics, we would be divided on this very issue. I bet if I were to hold up Assassins Creed, we would be divided on this very issue in which the goal of the game is to remove Catholicism and killing the Pope is in the game ( I have been informed some priest’s playing Call of Duty and some playing Bioshock, and its their opinion. Just remember, just because a priest does it doesn’t mean its always right.

I think we also have to remember that God is ALWAYS watching us, even if he is not in his physical form. Playing videogames isn’t sinful, but it can lead you to near “occasions of sin”. Why would anyone want to put themselves everyday in this predicament?

No need to direct that to me, lol. :stuck_out_tongue: I have already stated I agree with that point of view.

Whoops, didn’t even realize I quoted the wrong person. My apologies.