D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop #17: D&D is EVIL

First time you heard D&D was evil?

I grew up in a conservative (but not fundamentalist) Christian home, and my well-meaning but misinformed parents bought into the “Satanic panic” rhetoric of the 1980s about D&D hook, line, and sinker.  I can’t recall the specific first time I heard someone call D&D evil, but it was most likely my parents or someone at church doing the talking.  The funny thing about my parents was that they were fine with roleplaying games in general (until my enthusiasm for gaming started to adversely affect my schoolwork,) but Dungeons & Dragons was the only one with the unique “Satanic” stigma.  This is the main reason why 1.) I didn’t own any D&D stuff until I was in college and 2.) I gravitated towards other, more “acceptable” games early on in my gaming life. At the time, my parents’ anti-D&D stance wasn’t really that big a deal at the time — my friends and I were generally much more into sci-fi and espionage than fantasy anyway — except in certain situations, such as when they nearly forbade me from attending my good friend Grant’s D&D-themed birthday party in 5th grade (mentioned in Blog Hop #6) purely on the grounds that D&D was going to be played there.  Thankfully they let me attend (it probably helped my cause that Grant and his family attended our church), but they only agreed after (bizarrely) making me promise not to tell my younger, impressionable siblings what I did there.

Drawing upon my own testimony and resources such as the CGG Chaplain’s Corner (particularly M.J. Young’s “Faith and Gaming” articles), FrDave’s dormant Blood of Prokopius blog, and, more recently, the Saving the Game RPG podcast, I’ve finally been able to convince my parents over the past few years that D&D is not only not evil, but can actually be enjoyed by Christians as a positive activity.

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One response

  1. toe knee

    It’s sadly amazing how the media can take a few conjectures and snowball it into a national panic. Especially in hindsight, considering what people have accepted in the online environment, the 80s seem so strange and paranoid. The upside is you and others got to play a bunch of espionage and sci-fi games. The downside I think is living in a context of prohibition, though I suppose that’s natural for kids between starting somewhere around sixth grade.

    At least you got to play D&D at school or friends’ homes. I feel sorry for the kids who didn’t get to play at all or who weren’t allowed to play any games. I feel the same for all of those who could never get a group together even though they had parental blessing to play.

    I was allowed to play what I wanted and I did, but I also felt the negative media impact because some parents of my schoolmates were forbidden from playing. Even in my extended family there were comments.

    Such a shame!

    It never occured to me that the spells and summonings were real until someone on television claimed that kids were summoning devlis. I thought, wow, some people will believe anything!

    Thanks for sharing all your thoughtful and honest answers!

    toe knee

    02/19/2014 at 10:25

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