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handbaskets and heresies

16 May 2008 2 comments

I don’t know why I do it. And anymore, I don’t know why it makes me so angry.

For a peculiar reason, I was Googling the terms “Dungeons and Dragons” and “Cultural Phenomenon.” I didn’t really expect it, but I found a link to one of the original purveyors of anti-D&D vitriol, Bill Schnoebelen. The link itself is to a followup article in 2001, published by some glorified tract company.  I got to reading it, and even though it is rife with inconsistency and logical fallacy, even though none of it has ever borne true either in research or the media, and even though I am not even a Christian anymore (though that fact could be viewed as suspect), it started me simmering and just made me madder as I read it.  I was getting as angry as I did when I cornered an anti-D&D youth minister many, many years ago at Youth In Action (who backed down when confronted, by the way – had I been Baptist or Assembly of God, I’m sure I would have had a much bigger fight on my hands).  Nevertheless, as I am in command of both a much stronger vocabulary and a much broader knowledge of all things “scriptural,” I was preparing to do a bit of research and fire off an email to this hack of a holy man.  Fortunately, I am in command of a much stronger sense of reason, albeit often ill-timed.

I know I don’t have to tell my readers about the silliness of linking D&D with Satanism, or whatever nefarious malevolence conjurable in one bored pastor’s mind.  I suppose even when I was sixteen and dealing with parents of friends who wanted their children to have nothing to do with D&D, the overwhelming feeling I had was that these people were lording their power over people – young people, especially – with nothing resembling reason or scripture to back them up.  Smug prooftexting ran rampant, and no amount of “you’re taking that out of context!” would suffice to get a mind hooked on the single meme of Satanism to relent and concede they might be a bit off-base, given their utter lack of knowledge of the topic.  Indeed, the notion that the commandments of Christ himself were secondary to this opposition of D&D was stunning.  What follows is a quote from the author’s above-linked article:

I am frequently told to “get a life” or write about something more important than D&D, like social justice or world hunger. The devil would sure like that.

If you, as a Christian, can get behind the notion that opposing D&D – or any social phenomenon – is more important than “love your neighbor as yourself,” then I suppose (if I may) you have your reward.


  • Todd said:

    Your comment on your spiritual life, “even though I am not even a Christian anymore”, saddens me.

  • dan (author) said:

    Todd, welcome to my site.

    Although I understand your sentiment, there’s no need to be sad. My life makes far more sense without a deity in it than it did with. I think, if you read the rest of my writings here, that you’ll see I still hold the Judeo-Christian ethic to be of immense value to society at large, and that I in no way harbor any ill-will toward those who continue to believe. I only ask that anyone who would question my beliefs submit theirs to the same scrutiny. Not surprisingly (knowing the people who have commented), the news of my “apostasy” has been taken well.

    I have to say, I’m also mentally debating the potential irony of this post being the one you responded in…