by Matt Slick
Pokemon, which is short for "pocket monster," has become a phenomenal success in America among children. There are cartoons and even a movie based upon the Pokemon characters. Almost every child in America is familiar with this fad and owns some form of Pokemon paraphernalia. But, what is Pokemon?
Pokemon was created by Nintendo in Japan in 1996. It is a role-playing game involving cards, Nintendo Game Boy, and TV cartoons. The cards have pictures of different Pokemon on them--more than 150 so far. The Pokemon are supposed to be "monsters" that have special powers and share the world with humans. The idea of the game is to have the children learn how to collect as many Pokemon as possible, train them, and use them against other people's Pokemon by invoking the various abilities of each Pokemon creature. Pokemon can evolve and pass through various levels--100 being the highest. Colored energy cards are sometimes used to aid the Pokemon.
There are four basic types of cards.
- Basic Pokemon cards which depict creatures that fight for you against other people's Pokemon.
- Evolution cards depict Pokemon that are able to evolve into more powerful creatures.
- Energy cards are united with other cards to give the Pokemon more energy needed in carrying out the trainer's orders.
- Trainer cards are cards used one time and then discarded.
There are different types or categories of Pokemon: Bug, Fighting, Fire, Flying, Dragon, Electric, Ghost, Grass, Ground, Ice, Normal, Poison, Psychic, Rock, and Water. Within each type are several different Pokemon, each possessing various abilities. I've constructed a chart below of some of the categories of Pokemon.
found in Group
|Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Flareon, Growlithe, Magmar, Moltres, Ponyta, Rapidash, Vulpix, Ninetails||Scorching, heating, running, stomping, racing,|
|Electric||Electabuzz, Jolteon, Magnemite, Magneton, Pikachu, Raichu, Voltorb, Electrode, Zapdos||Lightning bolts, anti-gravity, explosions,|
|Ghost||Gastly, Haunter, Gengar||Ultra dimensional, poison, mimicry, taunting|
|Poison||Ekans, Arbok, Grimer, Muk, Koffing, Weezing, Nidoran(Female),Nidorina, Nidoqueen, Nidoran(Male), Nidorino, Nidoking||Silence, stealth, use of poison, use of claws and biting, breaking opponents' bones.|
|Psychic||Abra, Kadabra, Alakazam, Drowsee, Hypno, Jynx, Mew, Mewtwo, Mr. Mime||Reading minds, teleportation, inducing headaches, high intelligence, consumes peoples' dreams, hypnosis, confusion, evolves.|
Within the game, evolution is taught repeatedly. There are special stones (Fire, Leaf, Moon, Thunder, and Water) that can be used to force some Pokemon to evolve into more powerful creatures. Of course, after normal development in skill learning, various Pokemon often evolve on their own.
Is Pokemon Dangerous?
Is Pokemon dangerous? Potentially, yes, it is. It conditions the child who plays the game into accepting occult and evolutionary principles. Haunter can hypnotize, eat a person's dreams, and drain their energy. Abra reads minds. Kadabra emits negative energy that harms others. Gastly induces sleep. Gengar laughs at peoples' fright. Nidoran uses poison. The Psychic type of Pokemon are among the strongest in the game. Charmander, Haunter, Ivysaur, Kadabra, and many more evolve. The children are taught to use these creatures to do their will by invoking colored energy cards, fights, and commands. Much of it is reminiscent of occult and eastern mysticism.
The Bible says to "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it," (Prov. 22:6).1 2 Chron. 33:6 says, "And he made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger."
I do not see how allowing children to play with games that encourage fighting, reading of minds, use of poison, mimicry, taunting, teleportation, hypnosis, and evolution can be a good thing. This is not training a child to righteousness. It is accepting the occult and secular evolution. Is this what we, as Christians, want our children to meditate on? Of course not.
If children are conditioned to accept these things in youth, then they will be more likely to accept these ideas in adulthood. This leads people away from God's Word and truth and not toward it. This is dangerous to a person's eternal destiny.
- On the Pokemon rules website it states, "Carry your Pokmon with you, and you're ready for anything! You've got the power in your hands, so use it!"
- One observer of children playing the game said that the children would afterwards mimic the game by summoning the Pokemon to attack others. This is occultic.
- Pokemon are summoned to do battle and to protect. This is equivalent to sorcery.
- Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water are frequent elemental themes found in Pagan religions, witchcraft, and Wicca and are used heavily in Pokemon.
The spiritual side of the world is real. There are spiritual elements and demonic forces at work, whose purpose is to lead astray and destroy:
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places," (Eph. 6:12).
The enemy is powerful and cunning. The only light we have is the Bible, and we need to follow it and not give ourselves or our children into the hands of those who would introduce occultic principles in a role-playing game. Again, the Bible says . . .
"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons," (1 Tim. 4:1).
There is nothing wrong with children having fun and using their imaginations, but when that fun involves the occult, it is dangerous. As Christians, we should be very concerned about what our children are involved in since they can be so easily influenced. They don't need the influence of the occult or evolutionary theory to help them towards Christ. They need the truth.
You are over-reacting
Addendum--two months later:
This article has generated some interesting responses. I've been called delusional, bigoted, paranoid, and one who contributes to the decline of society because of my intolerant comments about an innocent and fun child's game. One mother, who claimed to be a Christian, emailed me with heavy complaints and accusations and sought to justify her actions in encouraging her children to watch Pokemon. Well, that is her prerogative.
Have I changed my opinion? Not at all. Am I delusional, bigoted, paranoid, and a contributor to social decay? I certainly hope not. And from what I see in God's Word and from what I have seen in Pokemon, I still stand on what I have said.
I expect people to not like it when their comfort zone is rattled and when I don't tote the secular line and salute to "harmless children's games" even when they teach occultism. By the way, I told the Christian mother that the Lord will hold her accountable for how her children are raised. I asked her if she wants to continue to encourage her children to play with cards that teach casting spells, evolution, and controlling forces to do your bidding. She emailed me back and called me some names.
Others have simply assumed a non-Christian perspective and made judgments about me and this article from their non-Christian point of view. That isn't a problem. They are entitled to their opinions--as am I.
Is Pokemon good? I don't think so. Does it contribute to impressionable children accepting occult ideas? Yes, it does.
I would like to thank you for your stand against Pokemon and other such materials. I understand how you feel when confronted by supposed "Christians" who oppose what you're trying to do here. I think that it's a sad time we live in when even the church members want to go around doing what seems right in their own eyes and they tell you it's o.k. because "we're under grace so we don't need to follow the rules anymore." Let me say this, the majority of the problems we're facing today in Christianity are here because of the lack of strong leadership. Most pulpits today are delivering feel good sermons that have little spiritual effect while our remaining power dwindles away due to the gross sins being committed right under our noses. I personally have been in churches that were supposedly "filled with the annointing" and watched the children in the seats in front of me playing Pokemon & dungeons and dragons while the parents "worshipped God." Pretty sad.
But, let me encourage you to continue fighting the good fight and not budge even one inch in your convictions. Many times people in the church talk about unity, which is important, but not at the cost of compromise. We will all stand before the Lord and give an account for every word and action so let the truth shine out of you without reservation!
The church needs some warriors today who will stand up for what the Word of God tells us is right, regardless of any man's opinions. Be that warrior!
Remember, the fear of man is a snare to your soul! God Bless, David
This article is also available in: Español
- 1. All quotes are from the NASB Bible and are linked to the KJV on CARM.