May 28, 2014
Dark Dungeons, an infamous 1984 evangelistic tract warning Christians about Dungeons & Dragons, gets the movie treatment.
All I could think of was Frank Peretti by the time that video was finished. Good job showing the better way to live in Jesus' victory, Andy.
I think most believers are more rational now. Yet we still have that fundamentalist church in Kansas. Add to that the vitriol lodged at the movie "Noah" and maybe it's not just extremists.
I played D&D in highschool a few times. Sitting for hours playing a game that I couldn't really understand unless I spent a lot of money and time on the books really didn't interest me. When I watch characters on "The Big Bang" play it, I'm astounded at how simple they make it seem on the show. It's about as realistic as the advanced technology for govt workers on NCIS and Criminal Minds, right up there with a jet available at anytime for a small team of FBI profilers. ;)
Anyway, this article reminded me of the "back masking" rumors of the 1980s when I was in college. Any rock music, including Christian, was looked at as satanic by many old-time believers, and even some Christian students I knew. Back masking was the belief that some rock bands had satanic messages that could be heard when the record (LP) was played backward. Every time I mentioned E.L.O., one of my favorite bands, a Christian friend reminded me that they had back masking. Imagine the shocked looks I got when I mentioned playing D&D.
The Christian band Petra responded by recording a message for anyone who played one of their specific albums backward. "Why are you looking for the devil? You should be looking for God." I had the album and once I knew what they did, I couldn't resist trying it. It was just those words recorded backward. But so cool!
Tim: I never read Peretti. Was that a complement or an insult to him? Or maybe a neutral observation.
Tim: I definitely remember those Peretti novels! I do think they contributed to an atmosphere in which everybody was looking for demonic activity to explain life's mysteries--everything from addiction to abortion to people voting for the wrong political party.
Ironically I really got into them at about the same time I was getting into D&D. I can go one further, though--I remember reading "Dead Air" by the now-thoroughly-discredited Christian radio personality Bob Larson. That book was all about the satanic panic/satanic ritual abuse stuff. Even though as a devout and somewhat naive young Christian, I was somewhat open to the idea of a satanic conspiracy, "Dear Air" and to a lesser extent the Peretti novels were a little off-putting with their obsession with the demonic.
Maybe I would have been better off reading a few more cheap D&D novels instead...
I actually came across an anti-Harry Potter tract produced by a Christian group about eight years ago. I found it in the bathroom of an Arizona mall. It was so absurd that it became an instant treasure.
I took a couple pictures of it with my phone. I wonder if I still have those around somewhere...
Good article! I pretty much agree with the main point: we still have people like Chick, but we have a much broader array of Christian voices now when it comes to discussion of popular culture.
That having been said, I think one of the lasting problems created by Chick is that large swaths of gaming culture really think that his attitude is commonplace in Christian circles, and that it perhaps is the ONLY Christian approach to gaming. People like Chick and unhinged anti-violence crusader Jack Thompson are convenient punching bags in pop culture, and actually sometimes allow people to get away with never seriously questioning their own beliefs and/or attitudes.
There has been a lot of controversy over the film and in response we have put the first eight minutes on youtube so now your readers can judge for themselves what type of film we have made;
Let me know if you have any questions!
I liked Dark Dungeons. I was a target of the moral local crusaders in the 80's because I play D&D and still do. These well meaning but mislead believers have done a lot of damage by following people like Jack Chick and Jack Thompson. I live near Michigan State University when James Dallas Egbert ran off. The fallout for the gaming community still continues to this day. I Pastor a small group at my church for Gamers, Goths others who the church does not do well with. We were at U-CON gaming convention last month and handed out a book called Jesus for the Win from game Church and the tract from Christian Gamers Guild. The response has been positive.If I may recommend one book it would be God Loves the Freaks by Stephen Weese.
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