What is the Theology of Play?

Hello, and welcome to Vita Nuova Gaming’s official blog! This has been a long time in development, and we are thrilled that we’ve finally taken the plunge and started this site.

From the very beginning, Rob and I did not just want to play and review video games. We wanted to take things a step further and really look at the deeper messages and lessons behind the things we play. After all, I’m a theologian, and he’s a philosopher. Our hunger to explore the more esoteric things in life will always be a driving force behind our creative impulses.

For my part, I will be using this blog as a place to gather my thoughts on what I have dubbed the Theology of Play. I believe that recreation is an essential part of what makes us human, and how we choose to spend our free time has a profound impact on our spiritual lives. Furthermore, I think that fun is a God-given gift that is meant to draw us closer to him. That is why the games we play are not just a way of wasting time, but if properly analyzed and understood can be a vital tool in our spiritual development.

Of course, as in all things, discernment and moderation are important. We cannot allow our fun to compromise the things we have to do to survive, and I don’t think that video games can take the place of prayer and spiritual reading. But, when we really take a look at the games we play and the ways they influence us, perhaps we can gain a greater understanding not only of ourselves, but of the Divine Creativity that made us and the world around us.

As we begin our exploration of the Theology of Play, we must take a moment to acknowledge the fact that many of the games we will discuss do not originate from a purely Judeo-Christian worldview, and any allegorical connections to the Catholic faith may not be intended by the creators. However, these themes are real and present within these universes, often in what we refer to as Natural Theology, or Natural Revelation. This is the belief that God has revealed himself to all peoples and nations and has filled all people with a desire to know and love him. This drive of faith seeking understanding is what we call Theology, and all human endeavors that seek to provide any form of mythological narrative can therefore be considered, for our purposes, theological. I am not attempting to argue that any of these games (outside of notable exceptions) are intended to be theologically Catholic. Rather, I am using the truths we may glean from them to illustrate theological concepts.

I’ll let Rob determine his own course, naturally. I’m his wife, not his boss. So he’ll be introducing his ideas in his own post.

We hope you enjoy your time with us, and remember that you are loved.

-Lis

(Today’s featured image is from Bloodstained:Ritual of the Night, (c) 505 Games)

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