By a Christian Pastor

There is a collectible card game (CCG) called Magic: The Gathering, that in recent months has come under various attacks from religious leaders and lay people. These attacks emanate from misinformation and legalism. There is no substance to the claims that the game involves occultic dabbling or new age philosophy.

The first thing to clarify is that Magic (MTG) is not a role playing game. The play of the game does not involve any of the role playing factors in games such as Dungeons and Dragons. There is nothing in the game that encourages it and there is nothing in any promotional or instructional information from the designers that even hints for role playing to be incorporated as part of the game. In MTG, you simply have two competitors attempting to "win the game" by using various cards and strategies along with the "luck" of the draw, to outmaneuver each other.

The premise of the game is a battle between two "sorcerers" who throw "spells" at each other in an attempt to reduce their respective 20 points of "life" to zero. However, this play of the cards does not involve any actual casting of spells or any actual damage done to another person. It is just the terminology used for the punch and counter punch competition in this game of strategy. There is no role playing and no "calling upon" special powers or abilities. Everything involved with MTG is imaginary and ALL of it is represented by the text on the various cards; just like so many other games where every move is determined by what is written on cards. Far from lending any kind of support to occultism or witchcraft, it so utilizes ALL the lore of historical fantasy and superstition, that it actually exaggerates such activity, creatures and philosophy to the point of absurdity.

The game simply takes everything from every walk of life, both fact and fiction, reality and fantasy, and weaves it all together into a battle field where two opposing players (designated as "wizards") attempt to defeat each other. There is no good and evil per se. The game is not a forum to promote any philosophy or ideology. The only purpose for the game is the enjoyment that one finds with any strategic competitive game or recreational pursuit.

The "wizard" theme is no different than what is found in The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis or The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J. R. R. Tolkien. In MTG, the "wizard" theme is only a device around which is built a battle structure that is unique and challenging. Included in the play of the game is everything from angels to demons; from monks to soldiers; from wise men to children; from elves to goblins; from ants to dragons. A large variety of people, animals, birds, insects, reptiles and fish of both fact and fantasy are all part of the game, packaged in a very consistent structure of weaponry used for the "punch and counter punch" attempt to win the game.

Yes, occultism and witchcraft are evil, and dabbling with them is dangerous, but MTG does neither. And while neither advocating nor repudiating any occult or witchcraft activity, it treats it all as a sphere of fantasy which is used as part of the backdrop for a very simple and harmless card game.

The second thing to clarify is that ANYTHING can be misused and abused. But just because that happens, it does not mean that there is anything inherently wrong with what is misused. A simple deck of 52 playing cards is the source of hundreds of different games, all the way from the very technical game of Bridge, to the children's game of "Go Fish." Yet the same deck of cards can be used to feed a gambling lust or for fortune telling. However, with MTG, there is nothing about the game that would lend itself to occultic abuse. That is, there is nothing about it that can even remotely be redirected into any kind of occult activity. If any such attempt is made, it is an endeavor so totally foreign to the game that it can be compared to trying to use the game of Scrabble as a ouija board. And in either case, neither scrabble nor MTG can be held accountable.

The attack on MTG is irresponsible "witch-hunting" that has no substance except the age-old castigation through labeling, that intimidates weak believers and pressures parents into adding just one more item to that list of religious, legalistic rules.

R.g. Wallace

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İRon Wallace, Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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