Coming to terms with electronic games

Many people, youths and adults, are becoming engrossed in the current electronic game phenomenon. Time, money, emotions, city governments, families, are fast becoming involved with this form of entertainment.

Electronic games can be constructive. They require active participation rather than just passive involvement. But to thoughtlessly or addictively indulge in them can narrow or dull people's thinking and lessen a genuine sense of freedom.

While reading about the constructive and destructive influences of electronic games, I've thought about the importance of viewing man spiritually; of realizing that in his true being man is the creation of God. Such a view enables us to see that it's unnatural to be attracted falsely, dominated unwillingly by an electronically controlled mouth gobbling up dots on a screen.

The Bible reveals God as Spirit and man as His image. Since there is only one God, there must, in truth, be only one, Godlike creation, despite appearances to the contrary. Man's actual character, then, comprises permanent, Godlike qualities such as integrity, freedom, wisdom, and satisfaction. It would sometimes seem, though, that the opposites of these qualities make up our nature and define our inclinations, causing us to overindulge or become addicted.

But the spiritual view of man helps us see through this false concept and reveals the presence of good and harmony. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says: ''Every step towards goodness is a departure from materiality, and is a tendency towards God, Spirit. Material theories partially paralyze this attraction towards infinite and eternal good by an opposite attraction towards the finite, temporary, and discordant.'' n1

n1 Science and Health, p. 213. ll true goodness comes from God. It comes to us as we awake to the firm foundation of life based on Spirit, not matter. Matter, with its constantly changing forms, would demand our attention - sophisticated electronic games this year, something else next. But God's goodness is constant, unchangeable, and always reliable. Divine goodness is actually unop-posed. When we learn to identify this goodness in our lives, to distinguish between the enduring and the fleeting, we are equipping ourselves to participate in recreation without being dominated by it. Real satisfaction comes through knowing the truth of ourselves, not through becoming absorbed in an electronic fantasy world.

Our family sat down and worked out limits for time and money to be allotted toward these games. As parents, my wife and I felt such active supervision would help maintain harmony within our family. This may not be how another family would approach the issue, but it has worked well for us. We've all seen more clearly that by claiming our individual freedom from electronic dominance we can better express the integrity, wisdom, and right activity inherent in our true, Christlike nature. We've been able to prove the practicality of Jesus' words, ''Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,''n2 in relation to overindulgence in present-day attractions and amusements.

n2 John 8:32.

Goodness is not derived from a computerized piece of hardware. If it were, we would suddenly be separated from good when we weren't playing a game. Good or bad effects come from the way these games are utilized, from what we consider to be the nature of true satisfaction, and from how we're viewing ourselves. To the degree that we identify ourselves as God's spiritual man, our activities will be increasingly constructive. And no current attraction will have a habit-forming influence over us. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17

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