A connection between enslavement to video games and enslavement to pornography is not far-fetched. As Russell Moore has noted, the former offers “fake war,” while the latter offers “fake love.” Between the Xbox and the X-rating, a young man can oscillate from the primal thrills of conquest to the orgasmic comfort of faux-intimacy. When these two temptations meet in the lonely dark of Mom and Dad’s basement, what’s not to like?
At a time when our culture desperately needs bold and compassionate models of Christian masculinity, the prospect that an entire generation’s potential should be wasted on an addiction to stimulation is deeply sad. Sin is always double-edged like that—it’s a matter not only of doing what one ought not do, but also of neglecting to do what one ought. What might these millions of young men be doing, if they were not doing this?
These are America’s lost boys. They should matter to anyone who cares about human flourishing, the beauty of family, the sustenance of friendship, and the health of our civic society. Rather than try to attract these millennials by reshaping faith in the image of entertainment, we as Christians should offer a gospel that saves not only from hell but also from meaninglessness. Tolkien reminded us that not all who wander are lost. I would add, not all who are lost, wander.