Sunday, July 21, 2013

[Let's Read] Playing With Fire, Part 14: Chapter 5 The Occult Connection

Chapter 5: The Occult Connection continues from Part 13.

Three items of Note:
1) direct quotes from the text will be italicized,
2) my analysis of this text is not an attack on individual Christians or to paint Christians as a whole in a broad brush, and
3) the authors' ideas will be critically examined, especially when they present a Christian idea without using the same rigor that they have used on RPGs.

When we last left Chapter 5, the authors were still full of crap. 

Continuing on page 69, they quote, not an actual game book but the San Diego Evening Tribune's unsupported statement from October 13, 1980 "(some games are) often accompanied by long hours of research into the cultures to be used in dungeons," (Pg 69).

Then they continue with this thought with a quote from Deities and Demigods "(t)he books listed below constitute some of the references used in compiling this work. They, as well as numerous other works, contain much more detailed accounts of the gods and their divine characteristics than can be included herein. Further research is recommended to the DM (Dungeon Master) who wishes to augment the given information." (Pg 69)

OK, we get it. Research is bad. Except when the authors do it, apparently. But of course, the authors completely cock-up their research, so perhaps we should care less about occult research and turn more of our ire on bad research jobs and the people who do them.

They keep harping on research with "(o)ne might raise the question here as to how such research differs from that of a student in an anthropology course....but there are some important differences that should be noted....(i)n Dungeons and Dragons the primary focus appears to be narrow, dealing mostly with the area of the religious or supernatural" (Pg 70).

And yet, biblical scholars do research on a narrow focus, dealing mostly with religious or supernatural issues. Hmmmmm. Could it be that these two are damning themselves in the same way?

"Second, the purpose of the research is quite different. In Dungeons and Dragons the main purpose is to obtain information that may be useful in the researcher's fantasy role playing." (Pg 70-71).

So, if we switch out some words, for example, and say "In biblical apologetics the main purpose is to obtain information that may be useful in the researcher's religious beliefs," then that's OK, but fantasy games are not? Please.

They keep complaining about this when they say "(i)f nothing else, the evidence would at least indicate that those who created the game or "those who researched and wrote the various manuals and materials ... are well-versed in the occult."" (Pg 71).

Wow, just wow. So, because a game has dragons and demons and magic spells in it, it's automatically occult. Well, that then makes the bible one of the most occult books out there because it's full of dragons, gods, demons and devils, and magic spells. (And because I have those words in this review, I, too, have great knowledge in the occult and you readers also know too much!)

Plank, eye, remove it yourself.

I've got six more pages of this drivel to go through, so I'll just give you the synopsis. Occult = bad. Except they really don't give a reason. They claim that people develop occult powers, they claim that the supernatural is real, they claim that imagining is the same as doing (more of that thoughtcrime) and they claim that it's wrong. Except they don't do anything to actually evidence these claims. So the rest of the chapter is just assertions with no evidence.

And we all know that assertions with no evidence are not to be believed.

Seriously, J. Weldon and J. Bjornstad, this is the best you can do? For the past five chapters, you've both had shoddy research, lies and damn lies, and so many huge holes in your logic that Noah could sail his Ark through.

You start with "Watch out, these games cause people to kill" and failed at showing that was even true. Then you continue with "Watch out, these games will ruin your life" and, again, fail to show that is true. And in this last chapter, you say "Watch out, these games are occult and that's bad" and, even more, fail to show that you're right. 

Instead, it's the authors who look like lunatics running down the street screaming "The DMV, the Queen and Elvis and his army of Animated Twinkies control the world!"

Six more pages for the Conclusion and I'm done. Not that I'm going to enjoy it much. But then I can put the book back on my self and laugh and laugh and laugh.

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