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Is It Okay to Play Pokemon Go

Is It Okay to Play Pokemon Go (And Other Disputed Matthers)?

One question where we find many Christians expressing their views is regarding the popular video game Pokemon Go.  Is it okay to play Pokemon Go?  Some Christians who say "no" argue that Pokemon Go is satanic, that by playing this game which involves catching virtual creatures and training them to fight, you are engaging in occult-like practices and playing games with the devil.  Other Christians say it's just a game and it's no big deal.  Who's right and who's wrong?

Interestingly, this issue has something to do with passage in 1 Corinthians 8.

In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul addresses a question where many Christians in his church were expressing conflicting opinions: is it okay to eat food sacrificed to idols or not (v1-4)?    From Paul's answer, we can learn 3 questions to ask when determining whether you should engage in what seems like a questionable activity (whether it's eating food sacrificed to idols, playing Pokemon Go, going trick or treating, or something else): 

Question 1: Ask "Does God's Word clearly and directly prohibit this activity?"  If yes, then the answer's clear: don't engage in this activity (or at least don't engage in that part of the activity which is clearly prohibited by Scripture).  If God's Word does not clearly and directly prohibit this activity, go to question 2.  

Application:  In the case of eating food sacrificed to idols, Scripture does not clearly or directly prohibit it.  That's why it was such a contentious issue.  The same might be said about Pokemon Go.

Question 2:  Ask "What fruit is born in my life when I engage in this activity?"  Just because Scripture does not prohibit it doesn't mean it's okay to engage in it.  As Paul says, "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.  Everything is permissible, but I will not be mastered by anything." (1 Corinthians 6:12) 

So ask yourself:  

- Does this activity help me fulfill God's purposes for my life or does it pull me away from God's purposes?  

- Does it promote the character of Christ in my life, or does it open the door for Satan to work in my life?

- Does it set me free or does it enslave me?  

- Does it renew me (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually) or does it corrupt me?  

- Does it benefit my relationships with God and with people, or does it hurt them?

Application:  Sometimes the answer to this question will vary depending on the person.  For example, Paul himself had no problem eating food sacrificed to idols.  In Paul's mind, there is only one God (v6), idols are not real "gods" (v4-5), and food is just food -- "we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do" (v8).  For Paul, eating food that was sacrificed to idols was no different from eating normal food, so Paul personally had no problems engaging in this activity.  Other Christians, however, had a different experience.  They couldn't get over the fact that the food had been prepared for the purpose of worshiping an idol (v7).  Thus they couldn't eat such food with a clear conscience and were disturbed to see other Christians eating it.  For these Christians, eating food sacrificed to idols was not beneficial and thus it was best for them not to engage in this activity.

Pokemon Go players, does it truly benefit you to play this video game or does it do more harm than good?  

Question 3: Ask "What impact does it have on others when I engage in this activity?  Are others blessed or discouraged when I do this?"  You personally may have no problems engaging in an activity, but if others see you engaging in it and are impacted in a negative way, it may be best not to engage in that activity, at least while in their presence.  As Paul says, "be careful that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak" (v9). 

Application:  Since eating meat sacrificed to idols was becoming a stumbling block for other more sensitive Christians with a "weak conscience" (v9-11), Paul resolved that he would not eat food sacrificed to idols, at least not in their presence.  In verse 13 he writes, "if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall."

For Pokemon Go players, ask yourself: what example am I setting for my brothers and sisters in Christ when I engage in this activity?  What impact am I having on them?

Praise God.  May God give you wisdom to know how to discern God's will for your life with every disputable activity you encounter.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in answering these 3 questions, and you'll have a better idea as to whether God wants you to be engaging in that activity or not.

     

可以玩寶可夢嗎?(以及一些有爭議性的事)

以恩譯

有許多基督徒對於目前十分流行的寶可夢遊戲都有不同的看法。可以玩寶可夢嗎?有的基督徒說不可以,因為寶可夢是撒旦式的遊戲,當你抓到那些虛擬的精靈,並且教它們打架時,就是參與了邪靈式的操練,並且和撒旦在玩遊戲。但是有的基督徒說,那只是個遊戲,沒有什麼大不了。誰是誰非?

有趣的是,在哥林多前書第八章裡,竟有與此有關的信息。

在林前第八章裡,保羅談到一個問題,當時的基督徒對這個問題也有正反兩面的看法:可以吃祭偶像之物嗎(1-4節)?    從保羅的回應裡,我們可以藉著三個問題來決定你是否要參與這種有爭議性的活動。(就像是吃祭偶像之物,或是玩寶可夢,或是在萬鬼節去要糖果,或其他。)  

第一個問題:問“是否有神的話語清楚且直接地禁止這類活動?”倘若答案是“有”,那就很清楚了,絕對不要參與這類活動(若是聖經有明確禁止,連部份的活動也不要參與。)倘若神的話沒有直接地禁止,那我們就來看第二個問題。

例子:有關是否可吃祭偶像之物,聖經並沒有明確地禁止,因此它引起信徒的爭議。寶可夢遊戲和這個例子都有類似的爭議。

第2個問題:問“假如我參與了這類的活動,會結出怎樣的果子?”有時聖經沒有明言禁止,並不表示我們就可以去參與。就像保羅說的:“凡事我都可行,但不都有益處;凡事我都可行,但無論哪一件,我總不受它的轄制。(林前6:12)”

問你自己:

-這個活動是否會幫助我完成神在我身上的旨意,或是會使我離開神在我身上的目的?

-這個活動是否會使我的生命增強神所喜悅的特性,或是它會打開我心中的一扇門,讓撒旦有機可乘?

-它是否會讓我得自由或變成它的奴隸,被它轄制?

-它是否會使我的身心靈或情緒得到更新,或使我腐敗?

-它是否會使我和神與其他人的關係變得更好,或傷害他們?

應用:這些問題的答案因人而異。例如,保羅並不覺得吃祭偶像之物有問題。因為在保羅心中,除了神以外,沒有其他的神,偶像並不是神,食物就是食物,“其實食物不能叫神看中我們,因為我們不吃也無損,吃也無益” (林前8:8)。對保羅而言,吃祭偶像之物和吃其他食物並無不同,所以保羅在這件事上可以毫無疑問地參與。但是其他信徒卻有不同的經歷。他們沒有辦法接受那些食物是為了祭拜偶像的用途而預備,因此他們不能食用那些食物,當他們看到別的信徒享用時,他們自己的良心就覺得很不舒服。對這類的基督徒而言,吃祭偶像之物對他們並沒有好處,最好別吃。

玩寶可夢的朋友們,你覺得玩這個遊戲對你是否壞處大過好處?

第3個問題:問“倘若我參與了這個活動,對他人會有怎樣的影響?他人會因我蒙福或氣餒?”你個人要參與任何活動可能都沒問題,但是倘若他人因為你的參與而有負面的影響,那你最好不要參與,或至少不要當著他們的面玩。就像保羅說的:“只是你們要謹慎,恐怕你們這自由竟成了那軟弱人的絆腳石。(林前8:9)”

應用:倘若吃祭偶像之物會成為良心軟弱之信的絆腳石(林前8:9-11),保羅認為,為了這個緣故,寧可不要吃,至少不要在他們面前吃。他說:“所以,食物若叫我弟兄跌倒,我就永遠不吃肉,免得叫我弟兄跌倒了。(林前8:13)” 

所以,在玩不玩寶可夢一事上 ,問你自己:當我參與這個活動時,在弟兄姐妹面前,我立下了一個怎樣的榜樣?對他們有何影響?

讓我們榮耀神。願天父賜你智慧去分辨,在你生命中每一樣有爭議性的事上,明白祂的旨意。更祈求聖靈引導你去回答本文中所提到的三個問題,那你就必然明白是否要參與這樣的活動了。

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