Amazing. Utterly amazing.
The New York Times is reporting that Churches are now attracting teenagers to the church by having “Halo” nights. That’s when teenage boys get together and play a videogame that’s rated “M” for mature (which means teenagers can’t purchase it without a parent’s permission).
First of all, isn’t there a commandment about “Honoring Thy Father and Thy Mother?” Shouldn’t the churches require parental permission? Remember the bum standing outside the liquor store, buying alcohol for teenagers in return for a few bucks. This time it’s the church buying violent videogames. This does not sound wholesome.
(Of course, we just came off the Catholic-Church-as-teenage-sex-ring scandal, so I’m not sure we should be surprised.)
But let’s say it’s fine for the church to override parental wishes, since they have a direct line to God and the parents, presumably, do not.
They say it’s harmless fun. They must not know how to use Google. It took me less than 30 seconds to visit the American Psychological Association’s web site and look at the 2005 survey of 20 years’ worth of videogame studies. Playing violent videogames heightens aggression, both short-term and long-term.
Now I wasn’t raised in a Judeo-Christian household, so I don’t know the Bible in great detail. But an Orson Wells special on Nostradamus I saw as a kid outlined Armageddon in brief terms (and without attending Bible study classes, it’ll have to do). One of the highlights was when people acting in the name of God and the Church began doing the devil’s work, all the while believing they were doing God’s work.
I would say luring teenagers to Church by exposing them to non-parentally-approved games that are known to increase violent behavior just might fit the bill.