Should Christians Play Dungeons & Dragons?

geeks-playing-ddShortly after its release in the 1970s, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) became a figure of criticism—nowhere more so than in Christian circles. The game has been accused of summoning demons, leading to the occult, and even driving teens to suicide. So it is completely understandable that God’s people would naturally want to oppose it. The Bible also explicitly states not to confer with magic users, practice magic, or worship other gods (Deuteronomy 18:10-12, Exodus 20:3), and you can create a character that can do all three of these things in D&D!
As many would hope it was just another phase, and with such opponents as Christians in the 1970s and 1980s and the media, that surely would be the case. Then it could go down in history as another pitfall that was swiftly defeated and we Christians would never have to deal with it again.
But that didn’t happen. The roleplaying game’s popularity grew—and worse yet, for some, Christians began playing it! Now we have found ourselves in a quandary with battle lines drawn in the middle of churches—proponents on one side, opposition on the other. As if we needed more reasons for division.
So how do we solve this dilemma? People on both sides of the fence have run to their corner and refrained from entertaining their other side’s point of view, as is the case in most arguments in recent generations. But where we have seen the most progress historically is in respectful discourse and well-researched opinions. When we run to our friends and only hear affirming opinions, we form uninformed echo chambers and drive a hearty wedge in the forming chasm. And that is where we are now.
Think about it. If you have traditionally opposed D&D, where did you hear that it was evil? Was it from a friend, pastor, or Christian website, or did you pick up a rulebook off of the shelf and thumb through it? Did you talk to a fellow believer who played to get their opinion? If you are a player or proponent of D&D, did you sit down and listen to legitimate concerns from your parents, pastor, or read them in a well-thought-out opposing article, or did your friends that play just tell you opposing opinions were ignorant and archaic?
Bible-believing Christians can be pretty well settled on things that are laid out in Scripture, Bible2but when things come up like this that aren’t, we have a tendency to form our war parties and stay on our side of the fence. We’ve seen it with movies, the internet, cell phones, and more. (I will explicitly state there were Christians on both sides of all of those arguments.) This isn’t to say all things that aren’t laid out in Scripture should be entertained. Things like pornography, for example, should obviously be opposed by all Christians. Watching two other people have sex is obviously not a part of God’s design. But when we come to a grayer area such as this, it benefits us to do our research.
If you are thinking this is difficult and not worth the time, trust me, you are in good company. This is something God had to work on me with, even up to this article! Originally this article was going to be much more along the lines of another article I wrote, Read This Before Condemning Christian Metal, where I laid out my point of view for opponents and left it at that, but after several hours of research, polling, and prayer, I’ve come to realize there are some legitimate concerns for Christians with D&D.
What is the best way to form an honest opinion on something like this, you say? I’m glad you asked. I have done my best to objectively lay out points for and against playing D&D and actual pitfalls versus presupposed ones. As with any situation, we all will have predispositions to one side of an argument or another, and I am not immune, so I know I can’t be completely fair in representing a side with which I don’t agree with all of the arguments.
So after hours of research and polling my Christian family and friends, here are the arguments I was presented with. Try to resist the temptation to skim the article as I know it is long, but there may be some things you have not thought of in any section below. Please keep an open mind no matter what your predisposition is to this subject, and use the information as an opportunity to grow closer to an understanding with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Objections to Dungeons & Dragons

We’ll start with the opposition to the game since that is what most people are familiar with, and I’ll make some counter points as well.

The Use of Magic in D&D

6a00e55043abd088340120a5ae0d90970cAs I laid out earlier, the Bible is clear that we should abstain from all forms of magic and not consort with those who do. The entire chapter of 1 Samuel 28 shows God’s disapproval of Saul speaking with a medium who communicates with the dead. (Though Saul had separated himself from the Lord at that point anyway.) We see him disguise himself and ask the medium to bring the prophet Samuel up so Saul and consult him to get God’s direction. He knew God had told Moses not to let anyone practice any form of magic in their congregation; he made a law against it! (1 Samuel 28:9) Yet he went to her anyway.
There is a major difference between the magic the medium used and the magic in D&D, though: Hers actually worked! Whether you believe it was Samuel or a demon that came to Saul, something did come up. When I tell my character to cast Magic Missile in a game, three mystical pink shards don’t manifest and shoot across the room, but this medium consulted something: Samuel or a demon.
That doesn’t mean that people can’t take D&D magic too seriously, but we will get into that on a later point.

There is a Pantheon of False Gods, and Some Characters Have to Worship Them

Full disclaimer: This was the selling point to the opposition for me, especially since some of them are evil gods referenced in the Bible that could have demonic origins. I am a huge fantasy lover, and I didn’t pick up a D&D book for years when I heard about this. Quite plainly, I’ve never picked up a game where you are forced to worship a false god, and I never intend to. I put myself into the character (a flaw in being a fiction writer, I guess), so I stay away from this type of media. But here is where I get into my next point:
Everyone has different hedges.
It’s not a sin to play a character that does anything. Some people are separated enough from their characters that they can do almost anything they want and have no impure thoughts. Some people can’t handle it, though. Namely, me. So for those of us that connect too deeply with our characters, we set this hedge up to keep us from falling into sin. The fault here comes when we impose our hedges and experiences with God on other people.
As Peter Haas beautifully laid out in Pharisectomy, it is easy for Christians to build hedges and expect others to need those same hedges. This is why some pastors will get behind the pulpit and condemn all movies for anyone. Movies may be a vice for them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is for you or anyone else.
This is a big reason why a healthy prayer life is important for every believer. The Holy Spirit will convict you of what is leading you into sin (John 16:8). If we are prayerful about God correcting us, we will know what we need to stay away from. If we aren’t, no amount of human preaching will.

The Game is Time Consuming and Can Lead to Idolatry & Addiction

220px-Wooden_hourglass_3I’ve kind of wrapped three points into one here, but they are all similar and shouldn’t need much individual elaboration. This is a huge factor for me as well. I have a very addictive personality, so I have had to walk away from things like Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs), hobbies, and even things like caffeine. So this is going to be where some of the heavy proponents are going to disagree with me.
If you start getting addicted to Dungeons & Dragons and it becomes, or begins to become, an idol, you need to stop playing it.
There are no two ways around it; idols are devastating to your faith. If you have spent any time reading the Old Testament, you’ll see Israel falling into that trap multiple times. Now I know their idols were wooden, stone, or metal dolls or statues, but the sentiment is the same: Don’t put other things before God. So stay in prayer and if you see yourself slipping with God and giving time to the game that should be dedicated to Him, drop it like it’s hot!
So if the game consumes time and isn’t beneficial in any way, why waste time playing it? I mean, Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” This verse is quoted a lot when I discuss this with other Christians along with “all things are permissible, but not all things are edifying,” which is a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 10:23.
This is true, and again, if you are letting D&D invade too much of your time or thoughts, then this game isn’t for you. However, if you have used this argument, how would these verses compare to all of your activities? Is watching football pure, lovely, and edifying? How about that television show where the character says “Jesus Christ” as an exclamation point? That song you listened to on the way to work, was it pure? You see, it’s fair to use that argument if you are Mother Theresa, living on the streets in poverty in a third world country, but to most Americans, those verses can be a double-edged sword. Any verse in Scripture that can be applied to the opposition for D&D can be applied to any leisure activity.
In all honesty, I don’t think those verses mean we can’t have fun. We are given time of rest, and how you choose to spend that time isn’t laid out in Scripture. You can say, “Well, that game is evil, so it’s different.” Three things with that: 1) How do you know it is evil? Is that said with research, or from something you’ve heard? 2) Watching dudes smear each other into astroturf, watching fictional people behaving badly, and listening to songs about practically anything these days are no different. 3) The game doesn’t have to have anything evil in it. But more on that in my next point.

As an Open Game, You Can Do Despicable Things in D&D

It is true this is among one of the most malleable games in existence, which gives the players a lot of power to manipulate it. In the infamous words of Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility,” or more appropriately for Christians, “From everyone who is given much, much will be demanded” (Luke 12:48). Betcha didn’t know there was a biblical lesson with that line!
imageedit_57_3836244173With this point, as with previous points, it comes down to the person. You can absolutely pillage, murder, steal, worship false gods, or do even worse things. But you don’t have to. If you have the temptation to do something terrible in-game, I would recommend speaking to a professional counselor. Genuinely. There’s nothing wrong with talking to someone who is well-versed in that field of study for their opinion. And if you have a friend that has serious tendencies like this with their characters, you aren’t doing any favors by letting them act them out. Now, I’m not talking about stealing gold or picking on a Non-Player Character (NPC), but if they make you blanch at the description in which they do something to an NPC, there may be deeper-seeded issues there. Sincerely ask them to look into it. But those problems aren’t tied to the game, they’re with the individual. They could act out in any platform.
The other side of the coin with this power, just like superheroes vs. super villains, is that it can be used for good. Dungeons & Dragons doesn’t have a rulebook; it has guidebooks. You can change practically anything you want to as long as the player it affects and the Game Master (the one who controls the direction of the game) can agree.
For example: Let’s say I want to play a paladin. Per the handbook, paladins derive their power by worshipping a god in the game’s pantheon. I can work out with the Game Master (GM) that my paladin worships Jehovah. The GM can even make a campaign where there are no false gods at all! There can be a campaign where the magic is more like innate power, power that comes from technology, or there can be no magic at all! It again boils down to the person, their hedges, and their convictions. If there is something you can’t agree with the GM on, it is probably best you don’t play with them as the GM. There are even rulebooks made by Christians to encourage this type of play.

Some People Have a Hard Time Differentiating Fantasy from Reality

This isn’t as common in adults, but children and youth can be more susceptible to this. When this problem was brought up in my polling, I recognized its value. It can’t really be refuted, and it shouldn’t be. Likewise, for those who have addictive tendencies with D&D, if you catch yourself only living in a fantasy world, stop playing. And if you have children or youth with minds still developing who are playing the game, you should be particularly vigilant in watching for any signs that the game is too real to them. Nightmares, talking about or researching actual spells, or all of their conversation being consumed by the world of D&D are some excellent indicators. Ensuring you present this world as fictional and even explicitly stating it to younger minds can go a long way in preventing this as well.
If you are shaking your head thinking this is not an issue, there have been studies that conclude this to be true. Children as old at 10-years-old have been polled about their beliefs in fantastical things, and some still believe them. I haven’t found any conclusive studies on teens and older, but the linked article looks at the beliefs of youth and how to address it with them properly. The study referenced in the article is here. Children from stressed childhoods have higher tendencies to these types of thoughts, so it isn’t unreasonable to conclude it could last further into life.
So when introducing D&D to a younger audience, the parent or guardian should take special care to ensure it isn’t more than a game to them. Monitor them closely or wait until you are sure they have matured enough to be able to make the distinction. This is advice I have had to follow myself. I have wanted to sit down with my son, who loves fantasy games and movies, but I have had to cut him off of some video games due to him having genuine fear from the characters on the game in the real world. (We’re talking cartoony games, too. I don’t let him play Resident Evil or anything gruesome.) Some games he makes the distinction with easily, others he’ll have to wait until he is older to play. I’m playing it safe with D&D and starting him later, since you engage more in the world in some ways than with video games.

Dungeons and Dragons Leads People into the Occult

darkdung04There have been a number of controversies surrounding D&D, the most prominent of which was popularized by William Schnoebelen. He was a Wiccan Priest before becoming a Satanic Priest who eventually dedicated his life to the Lord. Schnoebelen published his first article with Chick Publications titled, Straight Talk on Dungeons and Dragons, and a subsequent article, Should a Christian Play Dungeons & Dragons? (Coincidence? Nah, it’s a good to-the-point title.) I could go point-for-point with you and explain where I agree and disagree from the standpoint of a player, but most of the points he makes are covered in this article, so I will save the word count here.
The biggest point to make here is that I agree that someone who wants to make this game about witchcraft can, but I disagree in his saying that it can’t be played by a Christian because others have that intention or that it has that capability. Your car has the capability to drive you into another car, but that doesn’t keep us from getting in one every day. A movie can make some people want to start a cult or subversive militia and overthrow the government, but we still watch those. Again, the destructive nature lies in the person, not the game, and I agree someone with those tendencies should not play Dungeons & Dragons. And if you do play D&D, and get into a game with someone who wants to make the game about things that make you uncomfortable spiritually, you should politely walk away and decline to play with them.

Compliments to Dungeons & Dragons

As there are good points for why a Christian shouldn’t play D&D and some of the fallacies associated therein, there are also solid reasons someone who feels inclined to should play.

Dungeons & Dragons Promotes Creative & Critical Thinking

imageedit_60_7445768158D&D is a pastime like watching an NFL game, playing basketball with friends, watching TV shows, listening to music, or any other recreational activity. A key difference is that some of these activities lack any developmental capabilities. The only thing you’re likely to develop watching football is an ulcer!
Playing D&D has a leg up on these other sedentary activities because it does exercise the brain in a few ways. Both the players and the GM have to use their creative thinking to come up with ways to create characters, cultures, systems, and everything else that makes the game run. Practice in creative thinking exercises these parts of our brains and promotes creative thinking in other areas of our lives. And creative thinking makes you more valuable in the workforce. Of course, it’s on the player to apply that creative thinking outside of D&D, but the fact remains that the game does give us the practice.
You also improve your critical thinking skills. When the GM sets an obstacle between the player and their goal, they have to come up with ways to overcome that challenge—typically in creative ways. The GM has to think critically of how to apply those obstacles as well. That again can translate into good problem solvers in the workforce and daily life. And the world can always use more of these types of thinkers. Granted, a good video game can help with these things as well, but when you add the human, critical thinking element in the GM versus an automated system, the growth and challenge have the opportunity to be much more valuable.

Churches Could Use D&D as an Outreach

It almost sounds heretical if your predisposition is that the game is evil, right? But as we addressed above, the game in and of itself isn’t evil; the power is in the hands of the players. And what happens if you give that power to Christians to be used for good? Effective outreach to a demographic that sorely needs it.
Think about it. We have Super Bowl parties that are effective outreaches as well, but typically people who play D&D and people who are truly interested in the outcome of NFL games are different people groups. By adding different avenues of outreach, our churches can become more effective at filling their pews and leading others to Christ.
As we’ve gone over, the game does not have to have any of the elements that would make it incompatible with a church group. Pastor and leaders aren’t okay with pantheon? Make them magic items. The magic system needs to be removed? Make them innate powers. No magic system at all? Just use the classes that don’t use magic and limit the ones that use them as a secondary measure.
The possibilities for the church here could be endless if Christians would do their research on this. You could literally have a campaign centered around a book in the Bible or give an accurate telling of the Crusades. If putting them straight into the story bothers you, it could be an allegorical campaign. Remember Aslan in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe? Think of all of the conversational opportunities that book created for Christians to relate with unbelieving readers. Now make that more personal by putting someone in the story. What better way to show someone what Joseph would have felt like being sold by his brothers than to give them a character that goes through the same thing?
Host a game at your church or small group. Put a few flyers in the mail or at your local game shop, create an event and post on Facebook, and send out an eblast and you’re good to go. Not to mention the rapport you’ll build with your local game shops. Paul used the culture of the Gentiles to reach them. It would serve us well to follow his example.

The Creator of Dungeons & Dragons Was A Christian

gygax-xmas-sYou read that right. Gary Gygax, the creator of D&D, was a professing Christian at the time he created the game. This isn’t necessarily a little-known fact, but to some it is news. He didn’t make that well-known in his life in what he described as an effort to protect the name of Christianity from the controversy that surrounded his creation.
Now, there are Christians at all stages of their walk with Christ, and as I’ve highlighted in this article, no two walks are the same. But Gygax was mature enough and firm enough in his faith to stand by his convictions. In the letter you see with this section, Gygax addresses why he couldn’t in his right conscience celebrate Christmas for its known pagan traditions. If someone has that kind of spiritual convictions can create a game like D&D, I believe it stands to reason there should be some Christians who could play it.
Again, this doesn’t mean every Christian will be able to play it. Everyone is convicted differently so we can put up hedges to help us stay away from the sins we are more predisposed to. But that should be a solid indicator that some can play it.


I hope this article has helped to shed some light on the topic, whichever side of the fence you stand on. I also hope it gives you a great starting point for some healthy, honest discourse with friends and family. We can use this opportunity for growth and coming together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, or go to our corners and continue to build our echo chambers. 
This article can also work well for any tabletop game, but I chose D&D for the launchpad for its notoriety in Christian circles. A key point to bring to the table with this conclusion: The most critical points for the game in my research came from the mouths of players. That says three things to me: 1) There are legitimate concerns for believers to watch out for while playing D&D. 2) Most players are doing their research and not blindly supporting it because they like it. 3) There can be mutual ground between believers on this subject if both sides are willing to give the other a chance.
Dungeons & Dragons puts the power in the hands of the players. As Christians, we can choose to wield that power for good and mind the pitfalls, or abandon our brothers and sisters in Christ that play into the hands of those who wouldn’t use it for good.
I would like to give a huge shout out to everyone who played a part in helping me with this article and the research required to help it come to fruition. To all of the people who voiced honest concerns and support in my polling, and Lindsay Harrup and Cody Hahn for going over the work in depth to keep me honest and accurate: Thank you!

Shawn Bain

Shawn is the Vice President of Geeks Under Grace and director of marketing. He has played video games since he was 2 years old and has immersed himself deep within the geek culture. Writing short stories and releasing them for free to the public began his writing journey, and now he uses what he has learned along the way to help Christians benefit from geek culture. Out of his desire to serve Christ, he also founded DUDEronomy and continues to write short stories that entertain and give perspective into the life of a Christian. Shawn's hope is that his life would exemplify a follower of Christ and lead people to accept salvation through His grace. He wants to be a good father, husband, son, and friend to those around him.


  1. William N Sellers on February 20, 2024 at 9:26 pm

    Look in all these replies, these all depend on things. However, our main focus and only focus should be on Christ. The lord will lead us where we need to be not dunst in dragons. We also have to realize there’s a division between our fantasy world ending. Going too far beyond that things that would not glorify God.
    Before you play Dungeons and dragons ask yourself does this glorify God.

  2. Steve on December 17, 2023 at 12:02 am

    Football 🏈 can become an obsession, as well. Be careful out there. Even I struggle with worldly things.

    • William N Sellers on February 20, 2024 at 9:27 pm

      In all things we should check that everything we do glorifies God. We should be glorifying god even in the mundane things we do.

  3. Flaviss on June 20, 2023 at 9:04 pm


    Could is not should.

    The article specifically addresses that by playing TTRPG you are not your character and saying, ‘I cast magic missle’ is a far cry from attempting to actually produce an effect through witchcraft in real life. Its almost like you are the one having trouble seperating make believe from reality, rather than the hypoyhetical players of DnD. You know when you end up ‘in jail’ in Monopoly that you haven’t really broken any laws and the courthouse will have no record of it, right?

    As the poster said quite often and clearly, the game is what you make of it. You can certainly make it very sinful and many do. You can also keep it completely pure and wholesome. It is up the the group at the table to decide.

    Just as a father could use watching football every week to foster positive family time, instill concepts of integrity, honor, fairplay, sportmanship and an appreciation for fitness and staying healthy with his children. Or … he could go to a bar with scantily clad women objectifying themselves for a bunch of drunks cursing and being roudy while really only caring about the outcome because of their degenerate gambling.

    Its what you make of it.

  4. Will on November 24, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    Wow, you actually have zero evidence that a Christian should play D&D. How can you possibly compare conjuring magic and football. Who cares is the creator thought he was a Christian. This whole article is a joke. If you want to go to the New Kingdom don’t play D&D. The whole game is a sin.

  5. Jo Howard on April 19, 2022 at 10:56 am

    As well thought out and researched as some of these responses are, there are some major components concerning the human person, one’s makeup and experience, that “Science” cannot explain. One being the spirit or continuing conscience of a person after death. There have been medical studies done that verify a certain weight measured, to have decreased right before death occurs. Which isn’t associated with brain death, but, the heart stopping. These measurements were the same in each case (more than 100 testings). Beside that and near death, or true death experiences (as in a doctor that testified in front of the UN several years ago (he was dead 3 days ), the myriad of experiences points to something more than the physical and intellectual. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” And, “there is coming an hour when true worshippers will worship in spirit and trueth.” These are spiritual words that bring spiritual life. Remember, you must be born again? Born of woman and born of the spirit. More so, Jesus sent His own spirit to live in His people, and this would produce “a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.” I may be ignorant, but Jesus, the Son of God, is not.

  6. Matthias Tully on April 18, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    As respectfully as I can say this, it is very clear that your son had serious mental issues and while you can say that the game didn’t help to suppress such issues, it is frankly moronic to believe that D&D was the cause of his suicide and breakdown. I sincerely feel sorry that you had to go through that and for your son, but do not let your prejudices smear the game. D&D and the “traps” that it “has” or other games were not the problem. At best not seeking a psychologist’s help and therapy at the first sign of his issues was ignorant and idiotic.

  7. Cyrus on April 17, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    Well researched. It’s good to see facts over opinion.

  8. Ezra Abshire on April 15, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    I really feel sorry for you guys/gals. I don’t know how my search for something D&D showed this. Its amazing how religious people make so much out of nothing. A very well written article. But the comments, i knew i had to read,very unintelligent and not logical. The fact that you believe sitting at a table, using your imagination, with pen and paper, “Can Lead to Idolatry & Addiction” is ridiculous. And the The “Bible also explicitly states not to confer with magic users, practice magic,..” Got some news for you, According to your Bible, Gods power is magic.

    the use of means (such as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces
    b : magic rites or incantations
    2a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source

    If you have bad thoughts while playing a game, its your thoughts. You are the one in control, not a pen and paper, not some demon, and not the devil.If you let your imagination wander to some dark place, that is on you, not the pen and paper in front of you.
    I really could write pages of how ignorant some of these conversations are, but i feel like id be talking about people with IQs lower than 80. Basically playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good I am at chess, the pigeon will knock over the pieces, shit on the board and strut around like it won.

    Props for this to the Writer, who left it out to others to make an opinion, and Luigi Marinello. Most of the rest are a bunch of wack jobs. You need professional help.

    • Dale on April 28, 2022 at 11:33 am

      Ezra, it is really interesting to me about the comment you made about God’s power being magic. I just literally heard yesterday a point from a guy named Tim Keller who told a story about Jesus commanding a storm to “be quiet and still” not using an incantation, charm or spell. No one had ever brought that up before. If you like listening to or reading from people who are really intelligent I highly recommend checking him out. This is what I randomly heard yesterday and unfortunately I don’t know the exact time stamp of his statement I am referring to but he is excellent in explaining background history and what Jesus actually claimed to be.

  9. Jared Gross on March 2, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    My journey into DnD was actually inspired by this post and site (and Critical Role to a certain extent lol). I’ve been using it as a vehicle to explore different ideas about religion and faith through the Paladin, Druid, and especially Cleric classes.

    While it’s far from the only reason, my time as a Cleric of the Moonweaver has built up further interest in the idea of me going to seminary. It’s helped me to realize just how much passion I have for the mysteries of faith, and the all-encompassing God behind them.

  10. Jo Ellen on December 19, 2021 at 8:48 am

    To G. F., I do appreciate your thoughtful reply. However I have to say that even C.S. Lewis said he had trouble getting out of the thinking of Screwtape after he wrote the Scretape Letters. I don’t believe he or Tolkin wrote to influence anyone toward the dark, but there is a reason Paul told the Thessalonians in 1 Thes.5:2 to abstain (hold one’s self off, refrain) from all appearances (shape, fashion, sort) of evil. Some translations say, be innocent. This refers to knowledge about, thought, and action toward. It’s just not about appearing good for God’s sake. There is a “red flag” as you will, about involvement concerning evil. I’ve read that actors have difficulty getting out of roles at times. Time involved would definitely be a factor in strength of influence. It would be an interesting study to see how playing roles of evil characters have influenced actors personal lives. Time and intensity have something to do with this process. Biologically, there are chemical pathways in the brain that establish our thinking patterns.

    On the other hand, we have an enemy that goes around like a lion looking for those to devour. His attacks often come from thoughts in our minds.

    I am just here giving warning, especially in light of the hour we are living in. The hour is very late – we need to be spending as much time as we can in the Word, prayer, and reaching out to the lost. Now if doing so involves being called to those in DnD, then you have God’s grace and protection for this, but if it’s just for your own pleasure…..well, I’d think twice about it and pray.

    The Bible is not just a good story, it is history, poetry, wisdom teachings, – truth. All those wild events are/were real. They were lived. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we too can experience adventures with God, working with Him. We don’t just have to do this vicariously through role playing games.

  11. G. Fields on February 3, 2021 at 11:17 am

    I just wanted to stop in and thank you for your balance perspective, and express my appreciation that you didn’t just jump on the ‘I haven’t read it but it’s EVIL!’ bandwagon.

    That said, I do have one slight correction to put into the mix:William Schnoebelen is absolutely not a reliable source of information.

    He has variously claimed to not only be a Wiccan high priest, but also a Gnostic bishop, a Mormon, an expert or clergyperson in Alexandrian Wicca, Druidic Craft of the Wise, Church of All Worlds, Church and School of Wicca, and Roman Catholicism, and even the Illuminati!

    Some of them simultaneously, if his timeline is to be believed. He was allegedly a Roman Catholic, a Freemason, a Wiccan, and a Satanist, all at the same time, from 1976 to 1980.

    That’s right — he was a member of four mutually-exclusive religions in the span of four years. And he couldn’t even get the basic facts correct: Freemasonry has only 33 degrees of advancement, yet according to his own accounts, he was apparently a ’90th-degree’ Mason!

    Also, anything that’s not his particular brand of Christianity is, in his eyes, ‘Satanism’. In point of fact, according to his own testimony, he left Satanism for Freemasonry because Satanism ‘wasn’t hardcore enough’ for his tastes at the time.

  12. Ed Myers on December 21, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    Thank you for this well-written article about the positive and negative sides of the issue. It has helped me a bit to clarify my thoughts on the matter. I’m old enough that I had the first edition D&D books back in the day. I even had Deities and Demigods with all of the old pantheons worshipped (mostly) in the real world. I found it sort of an interesting book of insights into a particular western view of those religions. These were not entities I included in my games. Later on, I played the Palladium Fantasy RPG, and it’s younger brother Rifts, along with its cousin Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness. The one thing that bothered me about Palladium was that Satan was included as an actual being and that witches could be played that would actually make pacts with demons/devils to get their powers. I never allowed any of that in my games either. My standing rules: 1. No worship of false gods, Period. And then, because I’m not able to know how God would handle many issues with gray areas morally speaking, and it would be presumptuous for me to attempt to do so, 2. No divine intervention. I did not, however, have an issue with magic existing in the game because it was purely fictional, other than the one issue I mentioned above. Were I to play again today, if I had a group with which to do so, I would do things slightly differently.

    Looking back, I’ve made some mistakes. I watched a friend slip away from Christ while playing a game with me. It’s heartbreaking for me because he invited me to church, but then slipped away and has never returned to a good relationship with God. He ended up in prison. There were warning signs in the game, and in his behavior, but I was too young and inexperienced to know how to handle it. The internet wasn’t a thing at that time. I had nobody to talk to about my concerns for him and dismissed them when I should’ve been more active in helping him address the issues. The church had decided it was all pretty much satanic, so there was nobody at all I could speak with about it. In the end, his parents, and the church, blamed me for playing that satanic game with him. He started breaking into cars and stealing stereos, along with some new friends of his. They were hurting and needed to blame it on someone, so it was me and that game.

    So, I would do some things differently. And I would ensure that people playing the game had full consent from their parents before doing so. He was 16 and didn’t have their consent. Having said that, I don’t think it was magic in the game that was the problem. The problem was the issues that the player and the game master brought with them to the game. RPGs are great for figuring out who you are and what you might do, but they are also good for bringing problems to the surface and exposing them to friends. In a healthy, Christian circle, that’s a force to be wielded for greater good.

    Now, the one thing I would like to point out is that we should be careful with respect to how our freedoms affect others. What is a sin for one is not necessarily a sin for others, granted, but as it says, if what I do (eat) causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never do it (eat meat) again, so that I will not cause another to stumble (1 Cor 8:13). We may enjoy many freedoms in Christ, but we must take great care that those freedoms are not the downfall of another. Other than that one point, I think you said a lot that needed saying. Thank you.

    • Larry Golba on January 13, 2021 at 8:44 am

      I am commenting based upon my experience: Many years ago as a 20 year old Catholic, (before I became born-again), I was invited to join a D&D club on board ship in the Navy. I inquired about the nature of the game and met some of the players. Even back then (while being a regular alcohol consumer) I had discernment that there was an evil spirit behind the game. The player’s personalities and actions definitely reflected the dark side. We all are guilty of sin and need the Savior. It is also important for us not to engage in activities that can open a door and let evil spirits into our lives or our families and friends.

  13. TC & Sons on December 21, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    NO! Please my oldest son was an avid D&D player. He was born in 1981, grew up with the newness of video games and all of the 80’s traps that we were not aware of.
    MY SON COMMITTED SUICIDE AT 16 years old. It brought me to my knees and I began a long search of what happened to my son. He left us a three page letter. There is absolutely no doubt that he opened a door, a portal to allow demonic activity and bondage into his mind. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t put my finger on it. He was so creative, beautifully artistic, caring and loving. One month before his death I saw something come over him that I couldn’t explain, I saw his face change and a deep strange look in his eyes. It frightened me as well as him…..I asked him what it was and he said he couldn’t explain it….I asked him if he would ever harm me or anyone and he started to cry and said no mom. I didn’t understand spiritual warfare at that time in my life, I didn’t understand the trappings of Magic, Spell casting and conjuring.
    I found the drawings of demons, angels fighting demons, wizards and finally a great picture that my son drew of angels battling demons and the cross of Jesus that he drew in the sky. In his letter he said he was having thoughts of harming people, that he couldn’t stop it and this the final fight that he would not allow this creature inside him to do this harm even if it meant he had to take his own life! This is real! Don’t fall victim to this game. Trust me…..after the Lord showed me what actually happened to my son, the still small voice of God came to me…”he is safe”… from what?
    After his death and my journey of discovery, I kept my other two young sons away from all of these trappings. Yes they played games (we are not radical in that way) but no games that entail magic or spell casting. No Pokemon, etc…. after I learned that Harry Potter actually uses white magic spells, I never allowed this as well. Ask yourself why the youth today are so fascinated by New Age? its an epidemic.
    Eric would be 38 now if he had lived. My other son’s thank me constantly for standing strong and saying no to these games and books.
    Trust me please, I happened on this article by accident…I’ve never really told our story but feel compelled to tell this now. Somebody needs to hear this. Don’t let the FOG enter your mind, if you think of this game when you’re not playing it, you are in it’s grips, (I know this sounds crazy-but if your ears ring all of the time) ask for the Holy Spirit to help you break the bondage….Stop playing it.
    A Mother of a D&D victim.
    With all of my Love.

    • Ed Myers on December 21, 2020 at 6:14 pm


      I am sorry for your loss. I lost a friend I played D&D with to the world, but not in the way you did. I watched two women break his heart. I watched him stealing from friends and then making new friends and stealing from others with their help. He had always been a good young man with a decent heart. Afterward, he went to prison. To this day, his life is a mess, and he has not returned to Christ. His family and the church blamed me and the game for what happened to him, but I want you to know that what happened to him was happening anyway. It wasn’t the game that caused him to fall. It was his own choices and the darkness that had crept into his heart. And it was the harm caused to him by the people closest to him.

      Sometimes people fall. The game is only a place where the problems you carry with you may be expressed in relative safety, *if* you’re with good, trustworthy friends. And if you are with good Christian friends, they might help you work through some spiritual darkness in your heart. Not everything requires therapy. Although, clearly, in your son’s case it may have helped. Conversely, it is a place where others may find weaknesses in you to exploit. I would submit for your consideration that the people he spent his time among were a greater contributing factor than the game he was playing with them. Many people play RPGs and do not kill themselves. Many people play RPGs and do not become demon-possessed.

      It is my sincere desire that you are able to come to peace with this loss. I wish I could offer more than words. Thank you for your heartfelt warning. It is a reminder that our actions can impact the lives of others in both positive and negative ways.

  14. Charlie on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Really grateful for this balanced, sensible article. My son’s just started playing at a school club (aged 12) and I’ve been inclined to let him get on with it as it’s the 1st social thing he’s really done at school. There’s been a niggle about the magic demonic side of things! But it’s good to put it in perspective, and knowing his character at the moment I’m quite assured that he’s not about to get into the characters too much; he’s quite a level headed, pragmatic kinda boy. Really good points made and I like how calmly you make them; there is an air of kindness and empathy you have with people and their opinions – thank you.

  15. James on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Great article. I choose not to play Dungeons and Dragons anymore (I played for years when I was younger) because some of the themes make me uncomfortable as a believer. But that’s a personal choice and I’m not sure there is anything objectively wrong with the game. It’s nice to see somebody approach the subject without falling to one of the two extreme opinions.

  16. Narehme on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    I think you are absolutely right, not everyone should play D&D (or anythng similar) if they have trouble seperating themselves from the fantasy aspects and real life. The game is what you make it and some groups playing can be toxic, and other are great. Not all people play the same you need to find a group that you feel comfortable to play in an a DM that understands your concerns and is willing to work with you.

  17. Luigi Marinello on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    In my humble and personal opinion, I think that no RPG at all has anything to do with REAL religious, moral or political aspects of REAL life.
    I play D&D and several other rpg I collect since 1987 with no limits of characters, races, classes, deities or aligments an I NEVER saw anything that could bring to bad behaviour, sects, or crime. Absolutely ZERO.
    I studied psychology at university and I’m son of a former italian and history school professor so educational aspects of life are deeply present in my family.

    1) D&D (and all rpg’s) it’s a GAME so it may affect negatively only heavily mentally disturbed persons almost in the same way movies, books or anything else can do.
    If a madman watches Rambo, he can be inspired to emulate him and kill people in a mass shooting.
    The problem is always WHO uses things, never things: a gun never kills anyone if it’s not handled by a killer, the killer kills with or without a gun.
    The problem is the killer, not the gun.
    If I play Risk or Axis and Allies, (willing to talk about games concerning real life tragedies like war), I will never think to be or emulate Hitler or Stalin and try to conquer the world and rule it under a bloody dictatorship.
    With fantasy games the danger is absolutely zero: the reality is too far from the fiction.

    2) rpg’s are games somehow close to movies or even more theatre where people plays a role in stories where there are good characters and bad characters and often the plots are totally fictional.
    I don’t think a christian ACTOR should refuse the role of a bad guy in a fiction where he must dress, act and speak as an evil villain.
    It is just a fiction, and the same is while playing d&d.
    You ACT, you PLAY, you ARE NOT the character you are playing. You can get into your character deeply to enjoy better your time and experience of GAME around the table, but you remain you in your reality, your character remain a fictional part of a fictional story in a fictional world.
    An actor gets into his character on stage as well but without changing himself.
    You can be good or evil in the game, steal, kill, cast spells or worship the deities you prefer ALWAYS IN THE GAME: it’s not you, just your CHARACTER.
    Maybe this will help you to explore parts of your personality you don’t know.
    If you are mentally sick this is not suitable for you like are not suitable some movies, books, firearms and so on.
    You just need a good psychiatrist.

    3) the words about false gods is the same: they are part of something that’s ALL FALSE: campaign setting, magic, creatures you can encounter and deal with or fight with.
    There is NOTHING REAL but a group of friends around a table, with books, dices, pencils and paper having fun and training their mental and collaboration skills in a healthy way together without harming anyone. This is the only REAL THING.
    The crisps and the coke, the beer and pizza on the table are real as well. That’s it.
    The Bible says people must not confer with magic users, not practice magic, not worship false gods, not kill, not steal etc. IN REAL LIFE. This is just a GAME.
    For the same reason we shouldn’t play chess as well: it simulates a war with kills, a battlefield. But it isn’t reality.
    I think, in my humble opinion, that it’s better to play a worshipper of a false god in a COMPLETELY false, fictional, world, than including a real God into a game of fiction.
    God exists? Is real? If the answer is “yes”, He must be kept as a part of our REAL LIFE, in the life of REAL PEOPLE who just have a strong and unharmful passion: ROLE PLAYING GAMES.
    God is not a game, is not part of a game, it is, IMHO, better and right to keep Him out of games.
    It is absolutely better for a Christian to PLAY a cleric of Torm (lawful good) or even Cyric(chaotic evil) IN A GAME all focused on UNEXISTING THINGS 100%, than include a serious thing, fundamental for many in their real lives as God in a game. To keep Him out is a form of RESPECT.
    Is it fiction? Let it be 100% fiction.
    The focus is that WE ARE NOT OUR CHARACTERS, they can do ANYTHING in their fictional, unexisting lives and world without affecting our conduct, moral and thinking in our real life.
    Otherwise all christian ACTOR who play evil guys such like Hitler, Hannibal Lecter, Count Dracula or Jack the Ripper, for example, should be condemned to eternal damnation to hell.
    A little bit absurd uh?
    The role players are “actors” as well.

    People, play safe, play with no stress, have fun and while you play take a little “vacancy” from your real life and all its stressing aspects.

    FUNDAMENTAL: playing rpg’s should be something that by one side keeps alive our childish imagination, fantasy and creativity forever BUT, by the other side, follow our personal growth becoming something useful to melt together: fun, self exploration, introspection and learning about the value of collaboration, socialization and problem solving skills.
    As a volunteer I make even autistic and problematic boys play in an association.
    We solved many problems and bullism situations as well.

    Cheers to you all fellow players from Italy.
    (Sorry for my english. Hope you will understand anyway)

    Luigi Marinello

  18. Mavin Johnson on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    The biggest spiritual hurdle for Christian players is maintaining a mature and substanstive style of play. Many adult players still engage in role playing in the same way that they did as children, which sates their sense of nostalgia or catharsis but fails to challenge them intellectually or emotionally. This often parallels our spiritual lives, when we are drinking milk instead of eating solid food. D&D is wonderful when it helps us to grow in some way, when our methodology challenges us as people. Games mired in youthful tropes of “I killed X” and “I got Y” tend to ground us in the inconsequential, so that the game never realizes its potential beyond what could be accomplished in a barrel-smashing computer RPG or young adult book for reluctant readers. A vibrant imagination is a delight. A stagnant imagination indulges in a steadily diminishing worldview that grows eager to accommodate sin.

    • Shawn Bain on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      That is a great point, Mavin. We definitely have to be careful that we don’t let the game keep us from “putting away our childish ways”. If it is a harmless game that helps you grow in your friendships and builds you up in some way, then it is a better pass-time than many others. If you let it keep you from growing though, it may be time to put it away.

  19. AndreaLeane on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    I was a child in the 1980s and D&D did not have good reputation so I was always a little leery, but curious since I love sci-fi and fantasy books. I am now at the age of 43 enjoying RPG games. My first character was a dragonborn cleric. I had no problem separating myself from my character while also having fun with creative thinking. My Barash was a sincere worshipper who followed the path of justice for all. If he was meditating or praying, I just said something like Barash is going to the temple to offer prayers. I didn’t actually pray to a pagan entity. I think that’s the type of thing where many people get hung up and worried about with Christians playing RPG games. I carefully examined what spells he had access to, and if I wasn’t comfortable with one, such as those that used necromancy, I didn’t use it. I also didn’t make him a murder hobo. He was a lawful good character. I did a lot of healing and smiting evil. It was a blast.

  20. As we are Core on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    thank you so much! I’ve been afraid to play it for awhile because i only want to get farther in my walk with God and now i know this isn’t gonna be a problem with some of peers and myself. (I was always scared to play cause I didn’t want it to open a door that may lead to other things)

  21. Opinionated Anon on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    What a wonderful article. Whilst I get into the game, as you mentioned, a character for me is a disconnected thing I can make do whatever with complete disconnect; much like video games or TV. That being said, you raised some good points about false gods.

    So heck, maybe my next character will be a paladin hellbent on slaying them~

    • Shawn Bain on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you! Sometimes I wish I could disconnect that well, but part of me enjoys getting into the character as much as I do. That paladin would be a fun character!

  22. Mark M Gilson on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    This was a great article. My D&D party is 7-42 in age range. I use the influence from JRR Tolkien Silmarillion in establishing origin Deities back story. There are those that are sided with positive power and those that are sided with negative power. To my 7 year old who is a Tiefling Druid she understands this is pretending we are in a story.

    As their DM I give a little extra reward for positive focused actions. For example talking to a Baby Red Dragon when they were sent to fight it. They showed kindness and lost 1000gp. To me I can teach Christen values in a mythical diety filled magical world where you have to make sacrifices. Just like JRR and CS Lewis. To abandon D&D for me is to commit to not reading any fantasy works of art including those written by deeply inspired Roman Catholic writers. Go Aslan and Sam!!

  23. Amy Wilson on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    I also would like to thank you for this article! My husband of 16 years enjoyed playing D & D before we were married, and it came up periodically, but I was fairly closed off to the idea. When our kids expressed an interest, I felt it could be a way to spend time together without spending a lot of money. We started playing fairly recently with another family from church, and I’ve been very impressed with the (as you mentioned in your article) creativity and critical thinking skills involved. I did have a friend express concerns in the church, and I’m so grateful to have a church family that would keep us accountable and express concerns, even though it’s never easy to confront a friend. I feel more educated on the subject now, and more like I can put my disorganized thoughts into some organized thoughts and points to help put her mind at ease. Thank you!

    • Shawn Bain on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you, Amy! I’m glad the article will help you discuss D&D with your church family. It is great to have friends that love you enough to keep you accountable. Like I said, D&D isn’t for everyone, but it is for some. Hopefully this article will help her see where the dangers and pitfalls are and that they can be avoided.

  24. Cassie on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    This is a fantastic article! My boyfriend plays with other Christian friends, but I’ve been quite unsure about it because of things I’ve heard. I think this article will help both of us be more balanced.

  25. Cass on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks so much for this article. I got into D&D in the last year to be closer with my friend from church who has autism. She was always into gaming and anime but I couldn’t find a common ground. We joined a D&D group together and she has changed so much, she has come out of her shell and actually talks to people. She barely made friends before but now she has confidence in herself and has a steady job too. You were spot on about the creative/skills part in your article.
    On a personal note, thanks for the reminder to be vigilant concerning idols and straying from God. Sometimes I have been convicted in my gaming group to speak up, particularly when Jesus Christ is shouted out. I will be mindful of this and use it as a way to talk about God with my new non-christian friends.

    • Shawn Bain on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you, Cass. It’s amazing that D&D is having that much of an impact for you. It is a great avenue to socialize with friends with autism since it can have established boundaries that give you a lot of room for creativity in a world that you can both understand well.

      Idols are always difficult. I struggle with them often in my life as well. I’m glad the article gave you a moment of self-evaluation. I think that is important for us all.

    • Jo Ellen Howard on December 17, 2021 at 10:02 pm

      Ok, in all this analysis of the healthy vrs. unhealthy/dangerous aspects of the game. Have you considered there may actually be a darker realm that has power to influence those who are unaware? Why hang out in a lions den and invite your friends? Even if you think you are strong and wise enough to stand against any evil there, what about your friend who gets enamored with the game and joins another group to see where it goes?

      ALSO, this generation has been raised on Harry Potter, back farther, Tolkin, and sadly, C.S. Lewis. They all had some/or many illustrations of magic in them. And we approve because of Disney ….
      All this to say, those innocent words/actions that get into our minds, do just that and give the enemy a foot hold to exploit.

      Jesus said if we think about adultery with someone it is as if we did it. Jesus didn’t say, if you know it’s fantasy it is ok to think like this. Our thoughts carry more weight than we often give them. And what we choose to put in our minds and memories does affect us – even if it is just fantasy.

      With all the creativity God gives us, can’t someone create Christian games/stories that honor God? Are we stuck with boring, simplistic, predictable fare till the Millenium?

      • G. Fielding on December 18, 2021 at 11:18 pm

        I took my time responding to your comment, because I wanted to make sure that I gave as full a response as I could.

        ‘Have you considered there may actually be a darker realm that has power to influence those who are unaware?’

        There may be. I, personally, have not seen any evidence of such a place. I can say with absolute certainty that the kind of storytelling that occurs in a roleplaying game will not lead anyone there.

        What will they do? Well, they’ll let you play out the story of a brave knight, a sneaky thief, a bard that sings to delight the heart…and that’s all that it is: storytelling, no different than performing a play.

        ‘what about your friend who gets enamored with the game and joins another group to see where it goes’

        As someone who has played roleplaying games of all kinds extensively (almost 20 years), I say with some confidence that it’s incredibly uncommon for players to jump between groups as you suggest. It can be disruptive to an on-going story to throw a new character and player into the group. Not to mention the time commitment involved in playing a roleplaying game: on average, a single session of play takes about six to eight hours, so most of us don’t have time for more than one game!

        As for ‘seeing where it goes’: I understand the implication that you’re making — that there’s something ‘beneath the surface’ that is hidden from the rest of us. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What we do is tell stories and roll dice. That’s it. If anyone has successfully cast a spell or summoned anything by rolling a die during a game, I have yet to hear about it (and I would seriously reconsider playing with someone that has such trouble separating reality from the fiction of a game).

        ‘With all the creativity God gives us, can’t someone create Christian games/stories that honor God?’

        Someone can — and probably has. There are countless roleplaying games, some of which are completely free of the elements that might raise concern among Christians. Not to mention that those elements, even in Dungeons and Dragons, are completely optional and can be discarded or modified.

        As for C.S. Lewis — he was a Christian, and the Narnia stories are reworked Christian parables. But, that’s an entirely different discussion.

  26. Bryan Lee Davidson-Tirca on February 27, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Nice. I love D&D.

    • Shawn Bain on February 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you, Brian.

  27. Tony Milliron on February 16, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    You did an incredible job on this article, Shawn. Very thorough and balanced. I am a huge fan of D&D and it’s a great way to stay connected to friends while I’m studying out of state. But as you touched on, it became a big source of stress relief/numbness to the rigors of med school and I really felt like it was an addiction in some ways. God wants me to have fun and connect with friends, but He also put me here for a reason; so cutting back and resetting my priorities to God has done wonders. It’s not easy to maintain that balance though, so I’m glad I stumbled upon your article 🙂 good reinforcement.

    • Shawn Bain on February 16, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      Thank you for the kind words, Tony. That’s an excellent testimony on the effectiveness on discernment. As you said, the balance is important.

  28. Chris Hecox on February 16, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Nice article! We’ve been needing an article like this one for awhile now.

    • Shawn Bain on February 16, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks, Chris. I was hesitant to do so because of the large undertaking and a misperception that this argument didn’t still exist, but now that I have, I hope that it helps fellow believers understand each other and come together.

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