Do we need something to do? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I don’t know if school was like this for you, but for the most part for me it was. I was the kind of student who did all my work in class, came home and played video games and other such things. Most reading I did was things like Peanuts, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, etc. Of course, I did read the Bible. I had that read for the first time in middle school.
Do I remember a lot of things I studied in school? Nope.
I thought about this listening to Timcast yesterday where Vivek Ramaswamy was on a livecast and discussing his philosophy. He did talk about the God-shaped hole, but he also applied it to purpose. Man needs a purpose in his life. Man needs something to do.
Question. Why is it that when a child gets home from school, things like video games and playing sports with friends matters more than the schoolwork does? Why is it that can still be the way today? If you don’t want to go with video games, go with something else. How many guys know more about their favorite sports team than their jobs? How about their favorite TV shows?
In these cases, we’re getting involved in something greater than ourselves. Reading a good fictional book can get you into a story that is different from your own and if you get caught up in it, you can literally lose track of the world around you. I have read many a mystery when I go to bed at night and I am still working out trying to figure out who it is. I remember reading Odd Billy Todd and when the story ended, felt disappointed because now I knew my interaction with these people I had read about was all done.
This can happen when you watch a movie or a TV show. To this day, I remember the first time I watched Smallville (Spoiler alert coming) and I got to season 5 and saw the death of Jonathan Kent. That was painful for me when I saw it. I respected that man so much he was like another father to me. I’m sure many of you can think of a similar case.
And as a gamer, when I play a game, I find myself getting caught in a story and I want the story to succeed and I want to be the best that I can be at the story. I want to learn what I need to learn to bring about the best outcome in the story. All of these get us caught in something greater than ourselves and from the world of gaming, I call them quests.
I remember talking to a professor here who told me thinks tests are the best way to have students learn something. I disagreed. Any student can spend all night cramming and memorizing the information and then ace the test and just a bit later, forget it all. It was not learned to succeed outside the classroom. It was learned to succeed at the class.
However, what classes can you be interested in? Ones where you see something that is immediately relevant to your life outside of the classroom. If you enjoy philosophy and history, you will readily learn those and really, the tests won’t matter to you. Instilling a love of the subject and seeing its relevance helps you learn it.
Now what about Christianity? I have often written about a major problem we have in the church is we make evangelism being all about going to Heaven. Why do you get saved? So you can go to Heaven. Why do you repent? So you can go to Heaven.
What if we make it about something else? What if we say Christianity is the story of good conquering evil. Peter Kreeft once said about apologetics that it’s the closest you get to saving the world. That’s a statement I remember. What if Christianity was not about you? What if it was about your role in a story greater than yourself?
What if you learned this stuff from the Bible not just so you could know it, but so you could apply it in the battle? What if it was not just about being a good person, but being a heroic person? What if it was depicted as a battle to win the souls of the lost and stop the spread of evil in the world?
This is one reason my PhD research at this point is set to be on video games and Christianity, with an emphasis on the importance of quests. Games draw us in because we get drawn into something greater than ourselves. Hopefully, we will do the same with Christianity.
And in the end, maybe that could help our evangelism.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)