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From Steven St. Clair [Re: Please post this message]: I am emailing you about your (ignorant) Pokemon article.Of all the things you could bash, why would it be Pokemon, a cute little kid's game. You could find anything wrong with anything, couldn't you. In a message from . she says her child pointed to a pokemon video and saw "for Mature Audiences." Your child must be a retard or a pervert, because Pokemon has nothing bad in it. No violence, sexual innuendo, language, anything!
[Berit's response] You misread the comment, Steven. The child saw a porn video with the same type of anime character, then was smart enough to see the connection between the two. Please dont be so quick to judge others especially with such a mean-spirited attitude. There are lots of sexual innuendos in some of the television episodes. Please wake up, then pray for some discernment.
And you seem to disaprove about anime. Well, I had a Japanese foreign exchange student recently, and he seemed to not like all the sex and violence on broadcast television. Or the fact that we had to run home through our neigborhood to live. I think you should direct your thoughts to something more improtant than an art form. Do you go aroung criticizing art museums? They show truckloads of nudity in three dimentions. Compare this to a cartoon. Which is worse?
[Berit] The kind of hard-core exploitative anime porn that I glimpsed when I checked out some anime sites cannot even be compared to the nude art you might find in a public place.
Mrs. Kjos, you seem to be a fool to think that any child would carry a piece of cardboard as a symbol of power. OOOOHHH! Scary ghosts and goblins! A little cute mouse, so scary! ANd the lady that found the porn sites, where did she search? Pornfind.com? Anybody seeing the grouping of sex companies would try to stay away from that, but that seems to be the only thing you went to.
Also, about the seizure episode, you and your followers seem
to believe that the makers of this show caused this to happen.
Did the evil creatures get into the children's brains and cause
them to have seizures? There is a logical explaination, but I
feel that many of you who shun this occurence but have not done
your reasearching would not understand this. To create an explosive
effect, the animators created a frame of red then a frame of blue
and repeated this at a rate of 60 frames per second. The children's
(and your) brains couldn't comprehend this, and it went haywire.
You ignorant folks out there who cared about this but didn't find
the facts should be glad I explained for you, because this is
probably more about the situation than you could imagine.
Mrs. Kjos, you post this. I have never been important in my life, done anything worthwhile , but now I will. I'm taking a stand. You post this. I will check, and I will be heard.
From Spudnewt: you got some &%&%&
nerve to do that to an innocent childs game. Pokemon are NOT work
of the devil
but WORK of NINTENDO. YOU ONLY MAKE THINGS LOOK BAD you are looking at the wrong side of pokemon you are just trying to ruin childrens fun you and your "Bible" well let me tell you something THE "BIBLE" is just %&%&% stories some little lessons wow
i dont believe in this hocus pocus bible and jesus and gods and &%&% i dont ever want to DO YOU KNOW WHAT RELIGION IS? IT IS NOT FOR MAKING THINGS LOOK BAD. ITS FOR LOOKING AT THE GOOD SIDE OF THINGS YOU FOOLS
RELIGION IS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED FAITH. I GOT ENOUGH FAITH I DONT NEED SOME BOOK OR PREIST OF SOME KIND TO HELP ME. GET FAITH as far as i know dragons are majestic creatures they dont represent anything you &%&%& stereo-typing biatches. as far as im concerned your warping parents minds
if you want something to complain about complain about something more significant like why do indians have to be in reserves? why cant they have their land back? hmm? think about it, you &%*%*
[Berit's response:] Please read my "Answers" to the earlier comments.
From Daniel 'Cricket' Jacobs: I admit that I'm not the perfect Christian. As a matter of fact, there are some non-Christians I know that are more Christ-like than me. I have the pokemon game boy games on my computer, I notice that most of what you said about them is true. I can't believe that these "Christians" responding to your writing could even think about saying something like that about Jesus. A Christian by definition of Websters Dictionary is "someone that claims belief in the teachings of Jesus." Notice the key word in this definition, 'claims', Professing to be a Christian doesn't mean you are one and anyone who can say some of the things posted in the responses I read is not being a good testimony. The bible says, "by their fruits ye shall know them." fruits being actions, behaviors, and attitude. I'm just so shocked by the fact that a Christian, one who is to be an example, can be angered so much by something that they could say something like that.
Another thing that I noticed was in one response "#@&%*" something like that. [Berit's substitute for profanity, as in the above letter] What is the use in that behavior, it just proves that pokemon does have power over you. That you are being controlled by it enough that you would act like a child when someone says one thing about it that you don't like. Anything at all can be this way. I know through personal experience that this is true. I had this same problem with Dragon Ball Z. Once again, it is anime. I started to live and breath Dragon Ball Z. I was blinded by it and it became my reality. Now as I look back at what I had done because of imitating a cartoon I feel like an idiot.
The whole point of this message is that I believe that these things are harmless...IF YOU DON'T GET IN DEEP. what I mean by this is, if you are looking for entertainment, Don't get carried away. Anything is bad if overdone. The reason I brought up the Websters definition of a Christian is in response to one of the comments made by a pokemon supporter. He claimed that the Christians were responsible for more deaths then anime could ever cause. This is true, but look at the definition. "someone who claims belief..." anyone can claim belief in Jesus' teachings. Certain games should be avoided, ones that speak of RESURRECTION, SPIRITS OF DEAD COMING FORTH, FORCES OF SATAN, ANY REFERENCE TO SATANIC WORSHIP, or DEMONIC POSSESION. These games only weaken your mind to the truth. Children claiming to be possessed by the spirit of a monster has nothing at all to do with pokemon, but then again, Why were four episodes of pokemon banned in the US? One caused seizures in children, three contained extreme suggestion(in one case, Misty was shown nude.) This is supposed to be a childrens program? I am ashamed at what our world has come to.
To anyone that takes the time to read this, I thank you for
listening to my opinion.
From a concerned parent: I am amazed at the number of times recently I have been told that you can make evil out of anything if you try hard enough! These comments have all been in regards to the stand my family has taken in the areas of Halloween, Pokemon, and other toys our children are enticed to play with. We do not steer our kids away from these things because of fear but because of knowledge! The Bible clearly commands us to have no part of the unfruitful works of the darkness, but to rebuke them, to come out and be separate, to immitate Christ's love and self denial, to be Holy as He is Holy, to be aware that we battle not against flesh and blood but principalities and powers.
How can Bible believing Christians encourage their children to dress up as witches, to play role playing fantasy games and to do everything as the world does? Our family used Halloween as an opportunity to spread the plan of salvation, we speak against these demonic games because we are called to be the salt and light not because we are on a witch hunt. How can we win the world if we are just like the world. God says we are not to be double minded. I commend your ministry for choosing to educate people in the ignorances of evil and wish more ministries would investigate and take a stand, then I believe we would see more teens in less trouble! God Bless your efforts! Christ made great sacrifices for us how can we not follow His commands!
From Sean Donovan: i have visited your site and decided to take advantage of your invitation to give my comments about your site. i am a 15-year-old and came across you site by looking for role-playing games, but that does not make me "evil" or a sinner in itself. i do not play pokemon but i know enough about it
POKEMON i do not see any ways that pokemon could be going against God's word. "What if children try to follow this advice? What if they carry their favorite monsters like magical charms or fetishes in their pockets, trusting them to bring power in times of need?" pokemon have nothing to do with magic, charms, or fetishes. Carrying pokemon is not like carrying "wand" or "magic stick."
[Berit: It is to some kids. I have heard lots of such accounts from concerned parents]
"Mew/cheating" that is the only way to get mew and cheating is getting ahead faster and not the right way, if there is no other available way to get mew, how is it cheating? "Hold down the button until your opponent's life stops draining" that is not even familiar to me or the pokemon games .
[It is or was found among the suggestions on the Wizards of the Coast website.]
"the Pokemon craze could stir interest in other kinds of occult role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons." d&d i am not too fond of but it is a mature game for mature people not little kids, magic i will discuss later on "role-playing games - whether it's Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, " they are not role-playing games .
[Did you notice the comments from D&D players who disagree with you?
ANIME anime is an art form, if you are going to censor art, censor all of it, like picasso. There is nothing bad about anime, it is a type of animation. The artist decides whether or not porn should be included in the show or not. Sure, in most of anime (not including pokemon) there is porn, because is japan (where anime is most commonly drawn) nudity is nothing bad. For them it is sort of a way of life, and they really dont see anything bad in it. But in america we edit it out, so if you go to the extent to find the japanese versions with nudity, its your own fault.
MAGIC THE GATHERING magic does not use sticks or spellbooks, it, like the advertisement said, only requires a deck of cards and your mind. you pick out the demons, but leave out things such as the angels, holy armor, healing, and keeping peace.
i also noticed that you are trying to push your book on people at every turn, you say that everything else is wrong, but what about yourselves judge not lest thou art perfect thyself on the internet, whereever you go, you can accidentally (or on purpose like it seems to some of the people associated with you) find pornography, i bet that you could find it if you looked under God, but i will not check because i am more mature than that. please post this for others to see
[From Berit: I do make our books available because they include far more practical information than I have time to post on this website. But how can you complain about that? These books were written, not to make money, but to help Christian parents raise godly kids in todays world, which is no easy task. You and others have access to free information which we are happy to provide for you at our cost of almost $300 a month. Sales of books provide some of the needed resources. Notice that we have no other ads on our site. We did not want to risk ads that could clash with our values.]
From a concerned mother: I've been searching the web for Christian based information on this Pokemon phenomenon! I've always felt uncomfortable with this cartoon that my 10 year old son Caleb had been watching. Quickly--within a week--he became obsessed and all he talked about was Pokemon. That was my first "red flag". All his Christian friends were involved and I thought I was just out in left field about this one. Then about 1 month later I put an end to the cartoons and Pokemon paraphernalia----and resentment and rebellion hit in a big way. My son said "you can take all the stuff away, but I can still remember it and think about it"--I couldn't believe it! And he was totally right! He must make the decision to put these evil thoughts out of his mind. I'd appreciate your prayers. I've continued praying and slowly informing other parents.
From a concerned mother of 5: I have just read your article on Pokemon, and many of the responses. As others have commented, I'm not surprised at what people are writing you. Satan is a devious and deceptive enemy; he is crafty and seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. However, as in the book of Job, Satan is limited in his power. God is totally Sovereign and in control!!
There is so much subtle evil being presented to our children today, creatively wrapped as FUN! If I didn't have the LORD to count upon, I would truly be living in fear for my children's lives and souls. My youngest is only 5 and very impresssionable; thankfully, his heart is also soft toward the Word of God. I'm so thankful the LORD has given us His truth. We need to be daily on our knees before the LORD and soaking up His Word which is our defense against evil. Our Sunday school class has recently begun studying spiritual warfare, and I'm thankful that we can be fitted with God's armor and be counted worthy to do battle for Him.
While many may see you pointing out this evil and call it censorship or judgment, I know we are called to see sin as sin. If only people could see that you are working to save souls from being trapped by the evil one. Many see you as an extremist, but wasn't Christ also seen that way? How many laughed at Him, and even spit at Him? How many (even His own family) thought Him insane? As much as He endured for us, to save our souls, we should certainly be willing (and honored) to endure for Him. Never stop trusting the LORD, and never stop speaking the truth in love. Never stop calling sin, sin. Thank you, and may the LORD be with you.
From the Hagens: My wife and I very nearly allowed Pokemon to become the centerpiece of our children's lives. We allowed our children to have the trading cards and to watch the show. We figured as long as they did not have the psychic cards that it was OK. It is not OK we have researched and have found very little on pokemon until we recieved an e-mail from an old friend with your article on it. It was an eye opener. My wife has been trying to usher our kids out of this mainia for some time, but did not have the evidence to convict their hearts until now.
We have decided to purge our house of all that is Pokemon and further more not of God. We are sending all of our trading cards to Wizards of Coast with a letter from each child and ourselves as a declaration of freedom from this evil and to make a point as well.
We are also going to urge members of our church to do likewise. We hope that you and your ministry will do the same and perhaps we can make a stand for Jesus in this matter. May God Be With You.
Anonymous: Pokemon: the first movie teaches not to for fun but to defend your beliefs.
2nd most intelligent 6th grader at RLBMS (and a pokemaniak who goes to church)
From Rob Johnson: I saw a video display in Walmart in San Bernardino for a"Pokemon Christmas" video but it was sold-out (surprise, surprise!) Pokemon Christmas???!!!!! Talk about an oxymoron!!!! I was repulsed!
From Phyllis Dickenson: I have read your articles on pokemon and some of the mail that you have received about it. Like a lot of other parents I just thought that some of the creatures were cute. My son, who is six, has some of the cards and watches the TV show, but he doesn't play the game nor do any of his friends. They trade their cards and talk about hit points, whatever they are. I am concerned about this and what it might lead to. But I do want my son to be the one to say "you're right Mom, this is not something that Jesus would want me to do". I wrote down your suggestions of how to get him to see that pokemon is not good. But if you have any other suggestions PLEASE e-mail me.
From Michael Varga: I can see your points, but I tend to disagree with them. First and foremost, role playing games are not of the occult. I have played such games my entire life and am quite familiar with most of them. They are simply games, nothing more. The point of the game is to slip into the role of another character and guide him through a world of dangers and wonders. And the rules behind the game change from sitting to sitting.
[With Pokemon, the main rules that guide the game must be followed - except when cheating is allowed. But even cheating must be done according to the guidelines.]
You cite Dungeons and Dragons as a game of the occult. Well, it's not. I've played games where we constructed the game world after this one. There was a single true god, and a multitude of false ones. Players were encouraged to choose whichever side suited their fancy. And I'm not ashamed to tell you that in the end, that one god did win.
Also, I have gleaned from your articles that you feel it is important to impress upon your children the merits and wonders of Christianity and at the same time teach them about the evils of all other beliefs. Again, I must disagree. A faith forced on someone has no value whatsoever. It's simply what they were brought up to believe, therefore it is simply what they were trained to think. In order for a belief to have any true value, it must be gained through hardship and by knowing both the good and evil .
[God never intended that His children learn to know evil by experiencing it. That desensitizes them and makes them more vulnerable.They must learn about evil from Gods perspective, so that they may share His heart, values and point of view. Then, by God's grace, they will learn to love what God loves and hate what He hates. Enjoying evil does the opposite. Thats why God warned us through Isaiah 5:20, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil...."
From Charles Kruse: When Pokemon first came out, it seemed to be harmless fad. However, my son Michael, (10 years old), became really wrapped up into Pokemon. He would collect and even create his own Pokemon cards. He was beginning to become antisocial and withdrawn. He would make up Pokemon adventures in his head, and would constantly talk about the different PokeMon characters. It was the only thing that he really wanted to talk about. We never would let him trade cards with anyone, since we were afraid that someone would cheat or hurt him.
However, after visiting your website, (and much prayer), my wife and I decided to make our son get rid of his Pokemon cards. We explained that Pokemon was of the devil, and after some discussion, he agreed to burn his cards in our wood stove, and stop watching Pokemon on TV.
Since then, his behavior has changed 180 degrees. He is now into reading books and playing with his younger brother.
Again, thanks, for the info. Keep up the good work. Ignore those who send you the "hate" mail. You must be making Satan mad, or otherwise he would not attack you. The World might think that we are crazy, but I for one, would rather be considered a "fool" for Christ, than an be a "puppet" of the prince of this World.
[That's such an encouraging testimony, Charles. Thank you!]
From Bonnie Gonzalez: Teaching others to have faith is challenging. I do feel that God has been teaching me in chapters what I need to learn so I can help others. I feel that spiritual warfare is all around us and I am speaking more openly to my friends about it. Many are quietly skeptical, others take the seed and think about it. Just like the Pokemon stuff are little evil seeds, we are also capable of planting little seeds of faith in others and pray for these seeds to grow.
I do feel the strongest way to help our children who are 'caught' by this phenomenon and others like it is to pray to God to intervene and open their eyes. The children may withdraw into their heads since they are keen to sense parental disapproval.
[We have posted Bonnies story on the page with "Testimonies"]
From Miss M: The Bible tells us, "Because it is written, 'Be ye holy; for I am holy.' " (I Peter 1:16) If Pokemon makes you holy and more like Christ Jesus, by all means do it!!
In I Thess. 5:22, we read: "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (emphasis mine) Paul told us to avoid "all appearance of evil," not just things that are evil. God requires us to walk in integrity. When we walk in His Light, there is no darkness, not even appearance of it, "proving what is acceptable unto the Lord." (Eph. 5:10) Have any of these Christians asked God if Pokemon is acceptable first before using their own judgment? As believers, our guide is His Word!!!! We are not to lean upon our own understanding but to acknowledge Him!! (Prov. 3:5,6)
Funny how people get defensive about Pokemon...I hear so much evil coming out of it. If Pokemon isn't evil, why are kids and parents getting upset over it? Isn't the Kingdom of God righteousness, peace and love? Yet, where are the defenders of Christ and His cross? So what if Pokemon is attacked? God didn't create it, He didn't require it for salvation. It does not draw us to Jesus nor glorify Him(or does it? Is that why it's acceptable to Christians?). If it's not of God, it's of the devil (God's words-if you don't like it, quit believing Him and professing to be a Christian). Satan doesn't need to brand it to be evil. God does not have gray areas. We have God's word to teach us what is good and what is evil - The BIBLE!! Any Christians defending any ungodly "toy" will answer to Almighty Yahweh. And don't tell me or anyone else. Tell God your problems. Our duty as Christians is to lift up Jesus, not godforsaken items!
From Itra Darkblade [Subject: Weird quoting methods from one of your correspondants]: Hello again!
[She is writing a response to the following comment from an earlier visitor:]
"From Mikey, age 9: my favorite pokemon is NATAS. he is a fire breathing demand [demon?] that captures the souls of the dead. i don't think there is any thing wrong with pokemon it teaches me to use my powers to fight against good. Yours truly,"
I work with computers and several years ago one of our systems was infected with a computer virus called "Natas". "Natas" is SATAN spelled backwards!! Look at the above quote this way:
"My favorite Pokemon is Satan. He is a fire breathing demon that captures the souls of the dead."
1) NO pokemon is called NATAS. None "capture the souls of the dead". In fact, one of the game's areas is a pokemon graveyard, which must be saved from "evil spirits"! And there is no Daemon poketype.
2) There is only one way to look at a quote- using the words. IN THE ORDER THEY ARE SAID, WITH THE SAME SPELLING AS THEY ARE SAID. Otherwise it isn't a quote, but just you saying something! Your quote is out on at least three counts: you have reversed the spelling of the (fictional) pokemon, uncapitalized it, and replaced the "demand" with "demon".
3) Satan is a uniquely Christian creation- YOU GUYS created him/her/it/whatever. Someone who believes in him believes part of your scriptures (As would Vampires, the children of Caine, the first murderer, but that is a differrent story!).
4) Reversing words- "God" is "Dog" backwards! Can I say that you guys all worship Dog now? Hmmm? Or that there are churches of Susej Tsirhc (Now that sounds like an evil name...)? My point is, it's silly what your
corrsepondant did with the name!
5) You have been hit by a wind-up merchant, sorry buddy!
I know this isn't you personally, but I felt outraged at this person's modification of the laws of the English language for their own ends. Could you pass it on to them? Thanks!!!
[Berit's response: Thank you for writing us, Itra. I have two comments: First, you said "none 'capture the souls of the dead.'" If you read my review of the Pokemon Comic books, you will meet a new Haunter pokemon, Black Fog, who "sucks out souls." The newer pokemon, like Mewtwo, are becoming darker and more obviously occult.
Second, Satan is not a "Christian creation." He is mentioned throughout the Bible, beginning with Genesis 3. He has many names: devil, serpent, angel of light, etc. The word "Satan" is first used in 1 Chronicles 21:1, more than 1000 years before Jesus Christ died on the cross, was resurrected, and returned to heaven as King over both heaven and earth. Christianity spread when His faithful followers began to share His life and love with people around the world. True, many have perverted the meaning of Christianity during the last 2000 years, but genuine faith will always demonstrate His love, wisdom, and peace.]
From Don Stegner: Thanks for the articles on your web page regarding Pokemon. I attend a fundamental Baptist Church. Not only are all the kids into Pokemon but the Sunday School has been giving out Pokemon cards as prizes! My 6 year old son received a Game Boy for Christmas with Pokemon games. He played up to the level where you are supposed channel spirits. It scared him and he gave the game cartridges to us to get rid of them. He also got rid of all his other Pokemon stuff. He loves the Lord and the Lord showed him it was wrong before we realized what it is about.
I then came upon your web page and the articles reinforced what my son found out be experience. We handed copies of the articles out at our church and the parents were very gratetful. They knew something was wrong but could not put their fingers on it. Dungeons and Dragons was very obvious but Pokemon is very subtle. Thanks again ....
From Ron Porter: After reading many of the letters people have sent in response to your articles I noticed two major trends, christian supporters trying to protect their children at any cost, and those defending gaming by insulting you and your religious beliefs. If I may I would like to give you some experienced, unbiased input.
I have been a role playing gamer for about 15yrs, although I haven't played for some time. I am currently considering throwing my hat back into the ring in online and e-mail versions of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. I first encountered gaming in the US Army. It was a great way for we soldiers to occupy our ample free time. That gives some background on my experience. Now for the truth.
Defenders of role-playing games do not tell you the whole truth. Gaming is not occult related and I have never played with anyone who affiliated such practices with gaming. At its' best gaming is a fun time- consuming game that stimulates creative thinking and logic. I have however seen the negative effects it can have. It is very possible for those not prepared or informed to engage in these games to have some emotional distress. Emotionally insecure or imature players can become engrossed in their characters. I'm sure you've heard stories of gaming related suicides, this does not surprise me. Although I have never seen things get this bad I can easily believe it has happened. The groups I have been involved with always made it a point to monitor new players and weed out those to unstable or immature to handle what is in essence "acting". Dungeons and Dragons in my opinion should never be played by children! Parents should be concerned when their kids "obsess" over anything, Pokemon, cards, sports, and even religion. Children should lead balanced lives and parents should tilt the scales as needed.
Like anything else it can by harmful in the wrong hands. I hope I've given you a little different perspective than others who have responded to your work.
From: Raichu, an
anime fan [Subject: About the pokemon/anime outcry] I
am 17 years old now.. and not long ago I was an avid watcher of pokemon. However,
recently I have begun watching different anime such as Dragon Ball Z [DBZ] and
Ranma 1/2. I think your views on
pokimon, and anime as a whole, are well-meaning but very misinformed and even
misleading to an extent.
off, anime is an art form from Japan, which I'm sure you already know by now.
However, what some people don't know is that the Japanese have quite a
different view on animation/cartoons than we Americans do.. a lot of Americans
see it as kiddy stuff. Most
cartoons made here are aimed at children, with the exceptions of shows like
Beavis and Butthead and South Park.
I may quote an excerpt from my site.. "Anime
can have just about any theme, whether it be war, romance, angst, comedy,
action, adventure, sci-fi, and many others. Simply put.. just like people, no
two animes are alike."
guess the closest parallel we have to the anime industry would be the American
movie system, then. There are
movies that are made for kids, and movies that aren't. And anime is just like that.
like Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon (literally, Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, whose
title got shortened in the translation) and
Dragon Ball Z were originally not meant to be watched by children.
They were aimed at older, mature kids 14 and up who could tell the
difference between fantasy and reality. However,
the imbeciles at DiC and other dubbing magnates attempted to turn them into
kiddy shows just so they could make more money.
They took out all of the sexual overtones and much of the violence and
such, but left a lot of the fantasy element in.
This, I think, is the "problem" you are facing.
Kids are watching shows that were originally aimed at people sixteen and
up, and regardless how censored and cut it was, there is still that fantasy
element, and there are always going to be that impressionable young kid who
tries weird stuff just because he or she saw it on TV.
That problem exists, though, with a lot of American TV shows as well as
anime. But I never see anyone
talking about the American shows.. probably because anime tends to be less
popular here than American animation, and of course, going after the little guy
is always easier. ::sighs::
Pokemon is one of those animes that was censored drastically. Like I said, it was aimed at older ones who could tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and because it is being shown to kids here who can't, it is causing a lot of the "problems" that your readers speak of. Young children have a very active imagination, and if they're not going to get ideas from pokemon.. believe me, they'll get them from somewhere else.
know there have been sporadic reports of people being beat up for their pokemon
cards, but that is going when someone has /anything/ of value.
We don't specifically target every case of someone getting mugged across
the country.. so these cases, while saddening, are really not anything out of
heard good things about Totoro, which is another anime specifically aimed at
children, so if parents have problems with Pokemon (and most of these problems
are far beyond my comprehension) then they should look into that, instead.
can see where you are coming from in your articles, but I believe the fact that
parents are teaching censorship and oppression to their children is a far worse
problem than a small "occult influence". And besides, I and many other people like myself watch
Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, and the like quite frequently, and we feel no more
distant from God than when I first started. (In fact, I feel even closer now, to
tell you the truth.) It MAY affect
some younger kids, such as 6 year olds, slightly, but as I said, anime is not
meant to be shown to them in the first place.
Personally.. well, someday when I have kids, I'd let them watch almost
any anime that they wanted (except the stuff on the disgustingly perverted side
of the spectrum.) Many shows
teach powerful moral lessons, such as tolerance, forgiveness, love, and
self-control. And unless the
triumph of good over evil is evil in itself, then I just cannot see what is
wrong with these shows, shown to a person of ANY age.
by the way, I think a lot of your readers' opinions who say anime is bad and
evil are unresearched and incredibly closed-minded. Would you say all movies are bad, just because you caught
your twelve year old watching Terminator 2.. while at the same time discounting
kids' classics such as Mary Poppins? If
one person says all anime is bad, then he might as well go ahead and condemn all
movies as well. And I mean ALL
movies. Every single one. Even
G-rated movies. When you think
about it, that's pretty much what he's doing.
in mind, this is not aimed specifically at you, but rather at people who are so
quick to protest against anime just because they saw one or two that were
"bad". And I think
it's a fairly safe bet that these naysayers have not watched more than five
minutes of it.
this dragged on a lot longer than I expected to. Sorry.. well, feel free to post this on your site, and PLEASE
post my e-mail address as well [email@example.com] and my ICQ
. I would absolutely love
to talk with anyone on this subject.
From Owen S. Pike (The comment below was part of a gracious personal note that accompanied a letter concerning Steve Kossor's report on Magic: the Gathering):
I do take issue with your use of the word "occult"; as I mention below in my missive to Mr. Kossor, the word "occult" originated in astronomy long before games like Quake/Doom, Magic, Etc etc were around.
Berit's response: The word "occult" has many meanings today, so let me explain how I use it. But first, here is the definition from Webster's Dictionary, Encyclopedic Edition, 1989:
"1. beyond the range of normal perception, secret, mysterious, esoteric, dealing with magic, alchemy, astrology.... 2. that which is occult, the supernatural, to cover up."
If we take this definition at face value, some might say that it includes faith in any supernatural being, power, or manifestation -- including the God I follow. However, when seen from a traditional and/or Biblical perspective, occultism is limited to all supernatural powers and forces attributed to sources other than the Biblical God. The Bible tells us that these "other gods" and forces are part of a domain ruled by Satan, who is introduced at the beginning of the Bible (in Genesis 3). Satan's documented activities precede Christianity by thousands of years, but his "occult" power is limited by the sovereign will and plan of God who created and sustains the universe.
I realize that my definition, which matches most older dictionary definitions, may make no sense to many of our visitors. Yet, I trust it helps explain how and why I use the word. To better understand what Andy and I believe, click here.
From Susan Gavano: I have three children, my oldest (a boy) is not into Pokemon because my husband and I have discouraged it from the beginning. From what I hear, he and two other out of the 23 children in his third grade class are the only ones who aren't addicted to it. No one at his school now is allowed to bring in their pokemon cards, it got too out of control. He understands it is something that we believe God wouldn’t want him to participate in. My husband has explained that it is on a smaller scale like dungeons and dragons.
[Her second email] Yes you may post my letter… My son said that the other kids know that he isn’t into Pokemon and they really don't bother him about it. They tell him he should collect the cards because they are going to be worth alot of money someday. He says that sometimes it's annoying because that's all they talk about during lunch. Matthew also says that some kids don't talk to him when they are all talking about Pokemon. I told him that this is a good thing and that they respect his opinion. I also explain to him that as he gets older there will be other temptations and to hold firm to what God wants him to do. He knows that his father and I will be there for him and he feels comfortable talking to us. I continually ask God to keep the doors of communication open with our children.
From Derryck Wilson: ... even my son in Kindergarten is exposed to this garbage. It's hard to say no sometimes, but as Christians it seems we must say it more...
From Tj Condon: This is a copy of the email I sent you a while ago, I'd like it posted on your page (if that's not too much trouble). I have sent this a few times, and am wondering if it got lost in your recent computer problems?
As a Pokimon fan and Christian teen, I was completely appalled at your attack on Pokimon. I have noticed many flaws, generalizations, and myth about your article, and hope to let you know exactly what goes through my head while playing, along with rebuttals to your Magic: the Gathering attack. (I am Also an avid Magic player.)
First of all, I have been watching the Pokimon TV show since its debut (Sept. 7, 1998) and have had ABSOLUTELY no occult reactions to the show. For the entire matter of the seizures, That was episode 37 (I believe) "Computer Warrior Porygon", and I know as a fact that the episode in question will never make it to the states. I have been playing the game since its US release (Sept. 27, 1998) and have had the same reaction (none).
I was attracted to the game by an article in Nintendo Power Magazine (July 1998, I believe) telling of a new RPG for Game Boy that would let you train the Pokimon and trade them with friends (stressing social interaction) via game link cable. I loved how the game looked (being a fan of Anime in the first place) and decided that I needed a copy. I then saved up enough money to get a copy the first day it was released. (only 4 video games in the last 11 years have I purchased on the opening day.) It was a great game, which kept me entertained on many a long bus ride to and from football games (I'm in the marching band) and during long road trips. Later when I heard of the release of the Pokemon TCG (or CCG, depending on who you ask) I was excited and eventually got a starter set as a promotion from Nintendo Power. My friends and I have been playing for a while now and have no dealings in the evil or occult, despite what you think. We were never told by the devil to steal money (we never do anyway) we never use cards in a satanic connotation, and we have never once allowed our hobby to affect our normal lives.
As I said, I am an avid Magic player also. I have noticed that in many of the attacks on the game (and yes, it is just a GAME) Only Black-color cards are cited. Yes, Black in Magic is the color of evil, on small pieces of cardboard. No one in one of these attacks has noted that even the largest black, evil creature (Such as the Lord of the Pit, which even then has art based on the Balrog from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, this is a statement from Mark Poole, the card's artist) can be defeated by even the smallest creature when the White-magic card "Righteousness" is played. There are also cards such as Holy Armor, Holy Strength, Armor of Faith, and the Knight of the Hokey Pokey. (Don't laugh, it does exist.)
When we play, we do not think of the creatures and spells as real, we see them as pieces of cardboard. We do not play the part of wizards dominating a battlefield, etheral plane, or universe, we are just friends, stuffed with pizza, putting cardboard on a table. And we don't care about their alleged satanic connotations, we see them as little pieces of cardboard with some great works of art and often humorous "flavor text", Quotes realting to the game, or other cards, some cards even quote the Torah, even the Bible! (the Segovian Leviathan does, that's just one off the top of my head.)
Now, for specific rebuttals to your attack.
"For instance, any child exploring the most popular Pokemon websites 2 will be linked to a selection of occult games. A click on the ad for "Magic: the Gathering" brings Pokemon fans to a site offering promotions such as this:"
That's simply because the company that prints the Pokimon TCG, Wizards of the Coast, also Prints Magic: the Gathering and owns TSR Inc. which makes Dungeons and Dragons Products. That is the only reason those ads are there. All of which have been recently bought by Hasbro, Inc. Also, the game was only PRINTED by WotC, the card art, design, etc. are identical to the Japanese versions, printed overseas.
"So Ash sets out again in search for more of the reclusive, power-filled, little Pokemon. His first step is to find the "psychic Pokemon" called Kadabra and snatch it from its telepathic, pink-eyed trainer, Sabrina. With the ghost Haunter on his side, it should be a cinch!"
Ash doesn't want to "snatch" Kadabra from Sabrina. He wants to defeat Sabrina in a battle so he can gain rank as a Pokimon Trainer and make it to the Pokimon League. Also, Kadabra is but one of the "Psychic-type" Pokemon in the game, this is the basis for its strengths and weaknesses. Psychic-Type attacks have strengths to certain types (Psychic beats Fighting) and weaknesses to others (Bug beats Psychic) Ghost-types have an advantage over Psychic types, that's why Ash used a Haunter. There are 15 different Types: Normal, Fire, Water, Grass, Electric, Ice, Rock, Ground, Poison, Fighting, Ghost, Psychic, Bug, Flying, and Dragon. It's almost like a very-large scale version of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Berit's comment: Remember the Pokemon mantra: "Gotta catch them all!" That's the subtle message left in children's minds. That's why kids steal and mothers fight each other. Rational or not, they've "gotta catch" all they can get.
"But Ash had underestimated the power of his opponent. When he and Sabrina meet for the battle, both hurl their chosen Pokemon into the air, but only Kadabra evolves into a super-monster with a magic flash. Haunter hides. "Looks like your ghost Pokemon got spooked," taunts Sabrina.4" No, in an earlier episode, Abra had evolved into Kadabra, and Haunter was just playing around. The 3 Ghost-type Pokimon (Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar) are very playful, and lonley since their mere presence scares most people.
What about Black Fog, the Haunter who "sucks out souls?" Please read my review of the Pokemon comic books. As in the Harry Potter series, the messages are getting darker.
"There's no end to the supply, for where the Pokemon world ends, there beckons an ever-growing empire of new, more thrilling, occult, and violent products." Um, Seeing as how Pokimon cannot actually die by any means other than old age, that's completely erroneous. I have never seen anything "thrilling" or "occult" or "violent" about Pokimon (other then slapstick comedy). By the same token, you could call Bugs Bunny or any of the Looney Tunes characters "violent".
Did you see the movie? Have you read the comic books -- especially The Electric Tale of Picachu?
"Once you have captured Zapdos, you can use it to quickly lower the health level of Articuno. . . ." You need to realize that this is necessary and strategic to capture the Pokemon. the Electric/Flying-type Zapdos holds the advantage over the Ice/Flying-type Articuno. Articuno is a very powerful Pokimon, one of the Legendary 3 Birds (Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres). And you misspelled "Zapdos".
Thanks for the correction.
"Later, during a recent party for Matthew, Barbara heard two of the boys discussing their little pocket monsters. One said, "I'll just use my psychic powers." Already, the world of fantasy had colored his real world." That's just stupid. Any kid that thinks that needs to be brought down to earth.
That's part of the problem. The fantasy world becomes more fun and captivating than reality -- even for adults.
"Mrs. DiNozzi refused to let her son participate in the "Magic club." But a classmate gave him one of the magic cards, which he showed his mother. It was called "Soul exchange" and pictured spirits rising from graves. Like all the other cards in this ghastly game, it offered a morbid instruction: "Sacrifice a white creature." So what? That's one card out of a few thousand. I could rattle off a sring of "holy" cards like Piety, Righteous Avengers, Archangel, (Magic Note: the number of demons in Magic is equal to the number of angels.) Hand of Justice, Disciple of Grace, Humility, Orim's Prayer, the list goes on.
"He told her that during recess on the playground the children would "summon" the forces on the cards they collect by raising sticks into the air and saying, "'Spirits enter me.' They call it 'being possessed.'" Like I said, that's just plain out stupid. They are the kind of people who cannot handle this kind of activity and give it a bad name for the rest of us. In my 4 years of playing I have never done something like this.
"Occult role-playing games teach the same dangerous lessons. They also add a sense of personal power and authority through personal identification with godlike superheroes. Though the demonic realm hasn't changed, today's technology, media, and multicultural climate makes it easier to access, and harder than ever to resist its appeal." Therefore, it is the parent's job to teach their children. Don't blame parening mistakes on the media. And don't blame multiculturalism either.
That's why I want to reach Christian parents and encourage them to equip their kids to shun the kind of images that will influence their thinking and behavior. That's not an easy job these days, especially when schools teach and train children not to listen to their parents.
"Remember, in the realm of popular role-playing games - whether it's Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, or other selections -- the child becomes the master. As in contemporary witchcraft, he or she wields the power. Their arm, mind, or power-symbol (the pokemon or other action figure) become the channel for the spiritual forces. Children from Christian homes may have learned to say, "Thy will be done," but in the role-playing world, this prayer is twisted into "My will be done!" God, parents, and pastors no longer fit into the picture fantasized by the child." Spiritual forces? What's so spiritual about putting a piece of cardboard on a desk or pressing a button on a game boy or computer? And I have NEVER heard anyone say "My will be done." I am not a "master" I am a "player". I realize that like everyone else SHOULD. Those people need to be taught that it's just a game.
"Actually, the programmer who writes the rules is the master. And when the game includes occultism and violence, the child-hero is trained to use "his" or "her" spiritual power to kill, poison, evolve, and destroy -- over and over. Not only does this repetitive practice blur the line between reality and fantasy, it also sears the conscience and causes the player to devalue life. The child learns to accept unthinkable behavior as "normal" " As I have said before, Pokemon cannot die. They Lose a battle by being knocked unconcious. They are then taken to a Pokemon center where they are recovered fully. I have already talked about the "Spiritual Power" myth and have debunked it.
Read the comic book I mentioned earlier.
"To be a winner within this system, the committed player must know and follow the rules of the game. Obedience becomes a reflex, strengthened by instant rewards or positive reinforcement. The rules and rewards force the child to develop new habits and patterned responses to certain stimuli. Day after day, this powerful psychological process manipulates the child's thoughts, feelings, and actions, until his or her personality changes and, as many parents confirm, interest in ordinary family life begins to wither away." Family Life Begins to wither away in the teens anyway. And a personality change? You undergo the same process of becoming obedient to a set of rules when learning to drive a car, does this change one's personality?
Some rules, such as in driving, are morally and spiritually neutral. Others pattern thinking and behavior in far more dangerous ways. Why do you think Hitler's executioners -- many of whom were ordinary people in private -- were so obedient in carrying out their horrible assignments? That's an extreme example, but I hope you see my point.
"You may have recognized those preceding terms as those often used by behavioral psychologists. They point to a sophisticated system of operant conditioning or behavior modification. The child must exercise his own intelligent mind to learn the complex rules. But after learning the rules, the programmed stimuli produce conditioned responses in the player. These responses become increasingly automatic, a reflex action. Naturally, this can leads to psychological addiction, a craving for ever greater (and more expensive) thrills and darker forces." If the child's mind is so intelligent, why is this such an issue? Why can't the kid just choose to ignore it like I have? I am fine, a good student, artistic, an accomplished musician, and a Christian and neither Pokimon nor Magic had impeded upon any of these!
Also, about your attack on anime... [This part will be posted in the Anime section of this page]
Well, I'm through.... Thank you for your time.
From Mark Markham: Greetings from Germany. I have posted a response to a pokemon article that is hosted on a few web sites. I think it would be of blessing to you. Please consider linking to it or posting it on your site.