John Piper on entertainment addiction: Jesus’ command to ‘tear out your eye’ can be applied to devices By Leah MarieAnn Klett for Christian Post
For those seeking to break the cycle of their entertainment addiction, theologian John Piper argued that Jesus’ command to “tear out the eye that causes you to sin” can be applied to devices too.
In a recent podcast, Piper, chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, responded to a listener identified as Cesar, who said he cannot break his addiction to video games.
“I am convinced that the short-lived emotions of entertainment do not compare to the pleasures found in a deep life of communion with God,” Cesar said. “But I can play a video game for three hours, and feel my emptiness and dissatisfaction, but the next day my desire for more entertainment is renewed, and this has turned into a horrible, vicious circle. I am very stressed with this situation. I want to grow spiritually. I do not want to waste my life in trifles.”
The pastor began by advising Cesar that he can, in fact, stop playing video games. “You’re not in bondage to that game,” he explained. “You can stop. You can walk away from it. I promise you. With a blowtorch in your face or a million dollars in your pocket, it would be easy. It would be easy to walk away. The fear of pain or the pleasure of money would have instantly replaced your desires for that game.”
Piper went on to point out that Cesar is not actually “convinced” that the pleasures of entertainment do not compare to the joy that can found in communion with God.
“No, Cesar, you’re not convinced of this. You say you are, but these are just words,” he said, adding that Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits.”
“The essential thing he meant was that people say many things, feel many things, think many things, but a decisive test is fruit. So three hours on a video game day after day, wasting your precious life, is not a fruit of being convinced that communion with Jesus is better. It’s not.”
Video games, Piper contended, have “re-throned” Jesus in Cesar’s life: “It takes its place as the king of your will. It means that you then take your seat passively at its feet, and you do its bidding like a slave. Two-bit, no-count, low-grade, wasteful video games are beating him up, deceiving him, making him a lackey and a slave.”