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D&D and similar have a really negative reputation in some circles, including religious groups.

I was a gamer in my teens. One younger member of the group was probably being given a hard time by his religious family for being a gamer. He was often absent from gaming sessions.

The weekends he was absent consistently included stories like a drunken car wreck, and now he has a broken leg, or a wild party where some gal says he is the daddy and he has no idea if he even slept with her.

I never could fathom why his family didn't just tell him to go gaming every weekend. We fed him free food, used no drugs or alcohol and drove him home safe.

But we were Satan worshippers, I guess, because we gamed. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯




Do you think this is a representative sample or a bizarre situational experience?


There was a widespread moral panic over D&D back in the 1980s. A lot of Christians sincerely believed that D&D was a recruitment tool for satanism. Well into the 1990s, many evangelical groups were producing materials warning that D&D inevitably leads to witchcraft, murder and suicide.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATUpSPj0x-c

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/18/us/when-dungeons-dragons-...


Damn I really wish I could title the book, it is on the tip of my tongue but I read the same thing.

What I found abhorrent is that the people interviewed in that book, ended up being prescribed meds by good professional Christian Doctors using all means to change their paths from evil. To avoid D&D as it was the devils work.

I would say that those parent's were mentally ill and/or uneducated and that the doctor's were mentally ill and/or uneducated.

Alas, religion.


You are probably thinking of

  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dungeon_Master


Yes, this was in the 80s. I'm old.

Thank you.


I think I read that the makers of D&D removed/renamed things like demons and devils as a result.


They pulled them out of AD&D second edition for this reason [1]. In third edition they brought the words "demon" and "devil" back though, and they're still there in the latest edition.

[1] https://archive.org/stream/DragonMagazine260_201801/DragonMa...


I remember it being pushed by the 700 club. And the problem was that nobody knew what it really was.


Beware. "sincerely" is generally a term used to give irrational religious beliefs undeserved weight over (s-called) "mere" rational choices.


Interesting observation.

There's no functional difference between "sincerely" believing something that isn't true, and just plain old normal "insincere" believing something that isn't true.


Ever hear of the Jehovah's Witnesses? Ever hear how people who managed to pull themselves out of that looney bin talk about the way they view the outside world and especially games like DnD?

It's more common than you think.

Nothing in that comment surprised me and made me wonder if that kid was raised in a JW household before finally getting out of the house and turning hard into the party life. It's way too common of a story, kids raised under the thumb of the Watchtower Bible and Tract society going off to college, not having the church on their backs constantly, and practically cannonball into the party lifestyle that they'd been sheltered and repressed from their entire teenage years.

I know because I was one of those kids.


I don't know if it was a JW household. Poverty stricken single mother, iirc.

This was in Georgia, deep in The Bible Belt. Hellfire and Brimstone types seem to vastly outnumber the Christians who read the parts of the Bible about love thy neighbor and judge not lest ye be judged.

I've known sincere Christians that I respected. I have known a lot more that make me think of the passage about someone telling Jesus "Someday, people will do things in your name" and he replies "And I will say I never knew them."


What passage was that one?


Matthew 7:21-23


> Ever hear of the Jehovah's Witnesses?

Yes, known some even.

> Ever hear how people who managed to pull themselves out of that looney bin talk about the way they view the outside world and especially games like DnD?

I've seen mixed reactions, from participating, to seeing it as time wasting, to seeing it as prohibited because of the use of dice (some JWs view the gambling prohibition to extend to all dice), to seeing it as undesirable because of content (specifically fantasy occultism), to stronger negative reactions based on the same kind of myths that originated and were, AFAICT, more popular in fundamentalist / evangelical mainstream American Christianity.


When I briefly attended church in Germany while hosting games at home for my husband who still played, one gamer consistently got up on very little sleep to go to church on Sunday morning. Where I would then listen to the preachers talk about what evil pieces of shit we were.

Meanwhile, every single gamer who left Germany came to my apartment to tearfully say goodbye because gaming at my apartment was an escape from eating at the mess hall and getting drunk at bars. It was the only thing that kept them sane and not an alcoholic.

I don't know about most gaming groups, but where I have been, it's a bastion of civilization in an otherwise cold, cruel world.


I cannot relate to any of this, but the clergyman’s approach / perspective definitely seems bizarre.

Gaming has much to offer, as does the social scene at a bar. Where I’ve been these two aren’t at odds. I wonder why they have been in your experiences - maybe it’s the military scene (referencing where you said mess hall).


My ex was a soldier. These guys were soldiers stationed in a foreign country.

In the US, soldiers are mostly not locals and spouses have a hard time getting a job because everyone knows you will move again in two or three years. But they want your money.

At our first duty station, the landlords were raising rent every three months until a General threatened to build enough on base housing to kill the local rental market. Suddenly, they had an agreement with the local landlords and the active gouging stopped.

Another story I heard: They paid all the soldiers in cash in two dollar bills, then had a meeting with local merchants and suggested they count what percentage in their tills was in two dollar bills and rethink their approach to some things or get blacklisted by the base.

In a foreign country, the degree to which a soldier is met with open animosity while everyone wants their money is typically more bald faced than in the US, where it is bad enough. These guys could not trust that local women were really interested in dating them for any reason other than their money or a green card. Going to a bar was not a very good means to establish social contacts.

Or so I gather from what I was told.


> These guys could not trust that local women were really interested in dating them for any reason other than their money or a green card.

Local German women interested in a green card? Sounds unlikely.


There was a time when a green card was definitely something desirable. For some people it still is.

Marrying a soldier was a fast and surefire way to get one, so I can quite well imagine that.


> In a foreign country, the degree to which a soldier is met with open animosity while everyone wants their money is typically more bald faced than in the US, where it is bad enough.

Where in the US are soldiers met with open animosity? The military and soldiers are glorified to an extreme, in my experience.


Groups of young men who live in isolation are rarely given a particularly high default trust rating.


> the landlords were raising rent every three months

That's illegal. Maybe it wasn't back then, since I have no idea what timeframe you're talking about, but it has been for some time.


That context makes sense.


People believe all sorts of things.

One devout partner implored me to stop meditating (during my Zen & Buddha kick) because she didn't want me to succumb to Satan. Another believer partner educated me about ghosts (tl;dr: they're every where). A coworker told me my cancer was caused by negative thoughts and that germ theory was a conspiracy.

Whaddya gonna do?

My fear is that I'm unknowingly harboring some wildly irrational beliefs.


My ex- told me that I had to stop believing in gravity because it's just (her) God pushing down on us. That's why mountains don't pull you towards them. (She cried when I told her about the experiment where just this thing was tested and it was found to be untrue, said something about Satan.)

A friend once told me that meditation allows demons to take over your mind and make you crazy. This guy has a physics PhD, and not only believes this but also that global warming is an evil communist conspiracy designed to steal our freedoms. Not precisely his words, but close enough.

A good friend was told by his girlfriend that she couldn't marry him unless he converted and joined her church. Another of my friends was a member of that church, and won't talk about his time there (he's really messed up, and if you touch him accidentally he almost loses it) but tells me that it's all about control and power.

> My fear is that I'm unknowingly harboring some wildly irrational beliefs.

I have very much the same fear. I know I have held stupid beliefs ("depression isn't real, harden up!" was particularly ironic, as I was depressed, didn't know it, and that attitude was a result).


> My fear is that I'm unknowingly harboring some wildly irrational beliefs.

The beauty is, that makes you uniquely able to identify and eradicate them.

I've said some bullshit things before, people have called me out on them. I usually defend them for way too long. That's called being human.

When people keep calling me out, with facts, I don't always immediately concede but I do think about it, and sometimes I realize I'm being an idiot.

It would be nice if I was constantly afraid my beliefs were stupid. Conviction requires additional convincing.


There’s some weak evidence that stress is linked to cancer. It might not be true, but the idea isn’t ridiculous on its face.


True. But I needed more than positive thoughts to put my disease into remission.




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