Pokemon has been a popular game, but it’s been quite some time since Pokemon made the news the way it has lately with the release of Pokemon Go.
For many of us today, Pokemon Go doesn’t need much explanation due to its popularity. In summary, it’s a cell phone app in which players move about in real life using their phone to physically travel to different locations to find creatures called “pokemon” that can be battled and added to the player’s collection.
It’s certainly a novel idea, so it’s no surprise that it’s been taking off as well as it has. It’s perhaps also no surprise that there are news stories about people behaving carelessly with the app, considering that the app encourages physically travelling from one location to another.
Pokemon has gotten to be so popular that there are some who are asking whether there is any spiritual danger to playing Pokemon. So, what about that? Is there any spiritual danger to playing Pokemon? Does Pokemon encourage witchcraft?
The answer to both of these questions is, “No, why would you think that?”
The reason why many people think that is because some popular religious figure made a case that was convincing enough for them, and they decided to look no further into it.
As cynical as it may sound, many religious leaders out there treat religion as a business. It is a business that is facilitated by media attention, and because of this, it is conductive to their business to pick on whatever happens to be popular at the time. And at this time, what happens to be the biggest dog in the yard is Pokemon.
There is nothing intrinsically harmful about Pokemon, so accusing it of encouraging witchcraft is a needlessly divisive move. However, its popularity makes it a convenient target for attention getters.
So, is there any harm in waging a baseless accusation if one’s intention is to further the gospel?
The answer to this question is “Yes, and that should be obvious to you.”
This is because you cannot promote the message of the Bible with an act that the Bible condemns. And charging someone with a false accusation is something that the Bible soundly condemns.
Let’s get real, here. Pokemon is a game that was made by a group of people who thought that their ideas would make a great game. It’s their life’s work. It’s something that makes people happy, which is good for people who enjoy the game, and it helps the game makers pay the bills, which is good for them. The game makers should not be accused of promoting witchcraft or any similar accusation, because that was not their intention when making the game. Taking cheap shots against honest people who produce a harmless product is not an action that should be taken to further the gospel.
What’s more, children are not stupid. Telling a child that Pokemon promotes witchcraft is like telling a child that Santa is real. Eventually, the child is going to learn what’s really going on, and they’ll end up trusting the judgement of their parents less.
Waging a false accusation is not a Christian act, and making a children’s game the target of the accusation doesn’t make the act any less harmless.
As of this writing, I haven’t played Pokemon Go. It would probably be a little while before I do. As for false accusations, I’ve been targeted with that kind of thing before, so I don’t have very much patience for it. It’s especially disappointing when religious leaders do it, and it’s petty when they decide to pick on a cell phone game, of all things.