I own a video game where the premise of the game is you are playing as a goddess in Shinto mythology. The deities are made to be animals (a wolf, a chicken, a horse, etc.). I am wondering if it okay to own it. I read somewhere that digital images are not considered permanent and therefore it should not be problematic for images that may be considered idolatrous so I am wondering if video games would fall under this as they are digital in nature. Should I be worried about the box the game came in which has the image of the wolf and other creatures representing deities? I also attended an event made by the company that developed the game and I got a t-shirt from them that has the wolf as well so i am wondering if that is problematic and I would feel saddened if I have to get rid of it because they are very rare and I was one of the few who got it. I also own a plush toy of the wolf.

Answer:

There is no problem with owning and playing this game.

Best wishes.

Sources:

Although the game involves characters from Shinto mythology, this is not going to be a problem of idolatry, because there is clearly nothing here that is being worshiped. The deities are moreover made out to be simple worldly animals, which obviously doesn’t give them great respect.

See Rema (Yoreh De’ah 141:1, based on the Mordechai, citing from Raavya) and Terumas Hadeshen (196) who write that even religious symbols (such as a cross) are not a problem if made for purposes like jewlery. Some are stringent concerning this matter (see Shach 6), requiring that we know the cross was not “worshiped.”

For the case of the game, there is of course no issue of “worshiping” the deities, so that the problem will not arise.

 

 

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2 Responses to “Games with Shinto Mythology”

  1. I hear we need to avoid learning about other religions unless it is written about someone who scoffs them and not someone who worships it. I may be learning about this mythology indirectly along with another game I have which is an interactive novel about solving mysteries which has a witness of a crime being very superstitious and believing in a particular part of mythology. Is this a problem if the mythology is only a backdrop? How would this fit if students are reading a history book and there is a chapter talking about how Christianity was formed and there may be a chance that the author is a devout Christian?

    • It is fine to read novels etc. Although one must not delve into other religions and certainly not into idolatry, the presence of some mention or description in a novel is not a problem.

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