Pokemon - Innocent child game or ?1

by Rich Deem

 

Pokemon (short for POcKEt MONster and pronounced Poh-keh-mon) is now the rage among both Christian and non-Christian children in much of the world. What do these "pocket monsters" teach our children and what are the philosophies underlying this "innocent" game? Is this something that Christian children should be involved with?

Note to parents: The intent of this page is not to convince you that Pokemon is the most dangerous activity your child can be involved in. There are many other activities that are more dangerous to your child both physically and spiritually. However, the overwhelming attraction of the game and its addictiveness cause it to have a significant influence on children.
Note to non-Christians: This page does NOT apply to you. Since you are not under the headship of Jesus Christ, this page will make no sense to you, since the Holy Spirit is not active in your life. Don't assume that you are a Christian because you go to church or have Christian parents. YOU personally must make a decision to follow Jesus Christ in order to be a Christian.

Pokemon is a role-playing game similar to Dungeons and Dragons, MAGIC, and others, but with more subtle occult overtones. It is a copyright of Nintendo and was first created in Japan in 1995, where it was highly influenced by Japanese mysticism. Much of its character seems to come from Shinto (the traditional religion of Japan), Buddhism, Hinduism, other Eastern religions, and New Age philosophies. The game reflects Japan's warrior past in its violence, with the object being to conquer other Pokemons through physical force or sorcery.

Elements of Pokemon Card
�95, 1996, 1998 Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK, �99 Wizards

Besides the Eastern religious overtones, New Age concepts abound in the Pokemon cards.2 Each Pokemon is a certain "type," which describes their "energy." There are currently 7 types of Pokemon, including "Grass," "Fire," "Water," "Lightning," "Psychic," "Fighting," and "Colorless."3 Many of the 150 Pokemons use violence to conquer other Pokemons. This violence includes gnawing, slashing, smash kick, fire blast, seismic toss, electricity, poison, psychic blasts, paralyzing, etc.4 This is not the "innocent" game that it is made out to be. Other Pokemons "evolve" through the use of "stones" (thunder, water, moon, fire, and leaf) which are items used to summon powers (the origin of these "powers" is not stated, but they are not from God).4 Training cards also include those that use "potion" and "super potion" to magically heal your damaged Pokemon fighters.

Many Pokemons evolve "naturalistically" to become other Pokemons (note "Evolution Stage" on image to right). In examining the cards, it is apparent that macroevolution is being taught, since "species" that have evolved from other species are similar in appearance. In some instances, the term "evolution" is used incorrectly, since individual Pokemons are able to "evolve" into more powerful creatures. In essence, the game is teaching a kind of reincarnation.

Here are some examples of Pokemon types and what they do:

Name Attack Method
Jynx "Merely by meditating, the Pokemon launches a powerful psychic energy attack"
Abra "Using its ability to read minds, it will identify impending danger and teleport to safety."
Kadabra "It emits special alpha waves from its body that induce headaches even to those nearby."
Weepinbell "It spits out poisonpowder to immobilize the enemy, and then finishes the enemy with a spray of acid."
Ponyta "Its hooves are 10 times harder than diamonds. It can trample anything flat in moments."
Machoke "Karate chop does 50 damage points"

 

"I will travel across the land
Searching far and wide
Each Pokemon to understand
The power that's inside.
Gotta catch them all!"

The words above are from the Pokemon song that is sung at the end of the television program. Children are being encouraged to tap into the power of the Pokemon cards. Further instruction is given at the official Pokemon card site (Wizards of the Coast):

"Carry your Pokemon with you, and you're ready for anything! You've got the power in your hands, so use it!"5

Many children are taking this instruction to heart and literally carry their Pokemon cards with them everywhere. We are even seeing these card appearing at our church and Christian school (from which they are now banned). Children are being encouraged to tap into supernatural power instead of the power given by God.6 They are told that the more cards they collect, the more power they will have. Many children are completely addicted to the cards and spend all of their free time playing with them. If nothing else, Pokemon has become an idol in their lives - being more important to them than God.

Growlithe-fire type-evolves with fire stone
�95, 1996, 1998 Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK, �99 Wizards

The use of Pokemon cards can potentially open doors to demonic oppression through the following activities:7

  1. possession (known or unknown) of occultic records, tapes, books, pictures, charms, tools, games, etc.
  2. seeking or giving consent to occultic power or occultic revelation
  3. fascination with occultic power, occultic revelation, or psychic phenomena, in general
  4. escapism through thrill-seeking, science fiction, soap operas, or some other addicting hobby/activity
  5. fascination with violence, especially violence devoid of justice
  6. meditation on anything other than God's revealed truth
  7. chanting or other cultic/occultic forms of worship

The Bible's teaching is clear about being involved in occultic activities. We are told not to become involved in sorcery or divination or consult with mediums or spiritists.8 The high penalty (death) for engaging in sorcery indicates the seriousness of this sin in the eyes of God.9

While Pokemon continues to gain popularity, its creators will continue to introduce new ways to become a Pokemon "Master." At some point, in order to maintain interest in the game, it will become necessary to add new features/characters and alternate means to "get the power." My prediction is that this game will add more New Age features, along with more violent and bizarre characters. Those who are involved in Pokemon will continue to be indoctrinated more deeply in the New Age philosophies. In fact, Pokemon resources are listed under New Age resources.10

Another threat to children who play with Pokemon and other role playing games is the tendency to become involved in more serious forms of role playing games, such as Doom,11 Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: the Gathering, and role playing games with even more occultic overtones. In fact, Pokemon sites often have links to these sites (wizards.com, etc.). The "Role Player's Realm," which links to Pokemon and other role playing games has the uninhibited URL "www.screaming.demon.nl/." Another blatantly occultic site "Pagan Playground" (www.paganplayground.com/) offers occult items along with Pokemon links "by popular demand." The association with the occult is fairly obvious.

Conclusion

Pokemon teaches the following concepts/philosophies that are counter to Christianity:

  1. Violence as a means of obtaining power.
  2. Evolution
  3. New Age concepts (reincarnation, psychic power)
  4. The use of occult objects (magic stones) to gain power over your opponent

Continued participation in Pokemon may lead to:

  1. Involvement in the game that leads to psychological addiction such that the game becomes an idol in the life of the child
  2. Involvement in malevolent role playing games (and people associated with them)
  3. Open doors to demonic oppression

Recommendations

If your child has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I recommend that he be given the facts about Pokemon and what the Bible says about participating in sorcery. A child who is encourage to pray about his involvement in Pokemon and follows the Holy Spirit will voluntarily give up participation with Pokemon-associated activities. Several children we have talked to have made this decision without being forced to do so by their parents. If your child has not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, I would make the decision unilaterally and explain why he would not be allowed to participate in Pokemon-related activities. If your child is highly involved with or addicted to Pokemon, I would provide extra support for them and encourage and provide opportunities for them to engage in other, less threatening hobbies/activities. Scouts and AWANA are excellent organizations that teach moral values while the children have fun participating.

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Christian Pokemon Links


References
Note: As a Christian, I will not knowingly provide a link to pages that promote non-Christian values/ideas. However, the URL's are listed below so that you can confirm the accuracy of the information included on this page.

  1. Much of the research information used to develop this page comes from wizards.com (www.wizards.com/Pokemon), the official Pokemon card site.
  2. An example card can be found here.
  3. www.wizards.com/Pokemon/ Rules/Images/energycard.jpg
  4. www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/ Labyrinth/6402/poke-level.htm
  5. www.wizards.com/ Pokemon/Rules/Welcome.asp
  6. When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? (Isaiah 8:19)
  7. From Reasons To Believe's website, "Dealing with Demons"
  8. "I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people. Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 20:6-7)
    He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. (2 Kings 21:6)
    "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 3:5)
  9. "'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.'" (Leviticus 20:27)
  10. www.newageinfo.com/ res/meditat_data.htm
  11. See "No Evidence of a Spiritual Realm?"

Last updated 01/01/05

001. Bulbasaur-grass/poison type-evolves at level 16
002. Ivysaur-grass/poison type-evolves at level 32
003. Venusaur-grass/poison type-no evolution
004. Charmander-fire type-evolves at level 16
005. Charmeleon-fire type-evolves at level 36
006. Charizard-fire/flying type-no evolution
007. Squirtle-water type-evolves at level 16
008. Wartortle-water type-evolves at level 36
009. Blastoise-water type-no evolution
010. Caterpie-bug type-evolves at level 7
011. Metapod-bug type-evolves at level 10
012. Butterfree-bug/flying type-no evolution
013. Weedle-bug/poison type-evolves at level 7
014. Kakuna-bug/poison type-evolves at level 10
015. Beedrill-bug/poison type-no evolution
016. Pidgey-normal/flying type-evolves at level 18
017. Pidgeotto-normal/flying type-evolves at level 36
018. Pidgeot-normal/flying type-no evolution
019. Rattata-normal type-evolves at level 20
020. Raticate-normal type-no evolution
021. Spearow-normal/flying type-evolves at level 20
022. Fearow-normal/flying type-no evolution
023. Ekans-poison type-evolves at level 22
024. Arbok-poison type-no evolution
025. Pikachu-electirc type-evolves with thunder stone
026. Raichu-electric type-no evolution
027. Sandshrew-ground type-evolves at level 22
028. Sandslash-ground type-no evolution
029. Nidoran/Female-poison type-evolves at level 16
030. Nidorina-poison type-evolves with moon stone
031. Nidoqueen-poison/normal type-no evolution
032. Nidoran/Male-poison type-evolves at level 16
033. Nidorino-poison type-evolves with moon stone
034. Nidoking-poison/ground type-no evolution
035. Clefairy-normal type-evolves with moon stone
036. Clefable-normal type-no evolution
037. Vulpix-fire type-evolves with fire stone
038. Ninetales-fire type-no evolution
039. Jigglypuff-normal type-evolves with moon stone
040. Wigglytuff-normal type-no evolution
041. Zubat-poison/flying type-evolves at level 22
042. Golbat-poison/flying type-no evolution
043. Oddish-grass/poison type-evolves at level 21
044. Gloom-grass/poison type-evolves with leaf stone
045. Vileplume-grass/poison type-no evolution
046. Paras-bug/grass type-evolves at level 24
047. Parasect-bug/grass type-no evolution
048. Venonat-bug/poison type-evolves at level 31
049. Venomoth-bug poison type-no evolution
050. Diglett-ground type-evolves at level 26
051. Dugtrio-ground type-no evolution
052. Meowth-normal type-evolves at level 28
053. Persian-normal type-no evolution
054. Psyduck-water type-evolves at level 33
055. Golduck-water type-no evolution
056. Mankey-fighting type-evolves at level 28
057. Primeape-fighting type-no evolution
058. Growlithe-fire type-evolves with fire stone
059. Arcanine-fire type-no evolution
060. Poliwag-water type-evolves at level 25
061. Poliwhirl-water type-evolves with water stone
062. Poliwrath-water/fighting type-no evolution
063. Abra-psychic type-evolves at level 16
064. Kadabra-psychic type-evolves when traded through game link
065. Alakazam-psychic type-no evolution
066. Machop-fighting class-evolves at level 28
067. Machoke-fighting class-evolves when traded through game link
068. Machamp-fighting class-no evolution
069. Bellsprout-grass/poison type-evolves at level 21
070. Weepinbell-grass/poison type-evolves with leaf stone
071. Victreebel-grass/poison type-no evolution
072. Tentacool-water/poison type-evolves at level 30
073. Tentacruel-water/poison type-no evolution
074. Geodude-rock/ground type-evolves at level 25
075. Graveler-rock/ground type-evolves when traded through game link
076. Golem-rock/ground type-no evolution
077. Ponyta-fire type-evolves at level 40
078. Rapidash-fire type-no evolution
079. Slowpoke-water/psychic type-evolves at level 37
080. Slowbro-water/psychic type-no evolution
081. Magnemite-electric type-evolves at level 30
082. Magneton-electric type-no evolution
083. Farfetch'd-normal/flying type-no evolution
084. Doduo-normal/flying type-evolves at level 31
085. Dodrio-normal/flying type-no evolution
086. Seel-water type-evolves at level 34
087. Dewgong-water/ice type-no evolution
088. Grimer-poison type-evolves at level 38
089. Muk-poison type-no evolution
090. Shellder-water type-evolves with water stone
091. Cloyster-water/ice type-no evolution
092. Ghastly-ghost/poison type-evolves at level 25
093. Haunter-ghost/poison type-evolves when traded through game link
094. Gengar-ghost/poison type-no evolution
095. Onix -rock/ground type-no evolution
096. Drowzee-psychic type-evloves at level 26
097. Hypno-psychic type-no evolution
098. Krabby-water type-evolves at level 28
099. Kingler-water type-no evolution
100. Voltorb-electric type-evolves at level 30
101. Electrode-electric type-no evolution
102. Exeggcute-grass/psychic type-evolves with leaf stone
103. Exeggutor-grass/poison type-no evolution
104. Cubone-ground type-evolves at level 28
105. Marowak-ground type-no evolution
106. Hitmonlee-fighting type-no evolution
107. Hitmonchan-fighting type-no evolution
108. Tonguety-normal type-no evolution
109. Koffing-poison type-evolves at level 35
110. Wheezing-poison type-no evolution
111. Rhyhorn-ground/rock type-evolves at level 42
112. Rhydon-ground/rock type-no evolution
113. Chansey-normal type-no evolution
114. Tangella-grass type-no evolution
115. Kangaskhan-normal type-no evolution
116. Horsea-water type-evolves at level 32
117. Seadra-water type-no evolution
118. Goldeen-water type-evolves at level 33
119. Seaking-water type-no evolution
120. Staryu-water type-evolves with water stone
121. Starmie-water type-no evolution
122. Mr. Mime-psychic type-no evolution
123. Scyther-bug/flying type-no evolution
124. Jynx-ice/psychic type-no evolution
125. Electabuzz-electric type-no evolution
126. Magmar-fire type-no evolution
127. Pinsir-bug type-no evolution
128. Tauros-normal type-no evolution
129. Magikarp-water type- evolves at level 20
130. Gyarados-water/flying type-no evolution
131. Lapras-water type-no evolution
132. Ditto-normal type-no evolution
133. Eevee-normal type- evolves into Vaporeon w/ water stone, into Jolteon w/ thunder stone, and into Flareon w/ fire stone
134. Vaporeon-water type-no evolution
135. Jolteon-electric type-no evolution
136. Flareon-fire type-no evolution
137. Porygon-normal type-no evolution
138. Omanyte-rock/water type-evolves at level 40
139. Omastar-rock/water type-no evolution
140. Kabuto-rock/water type-evolves at level 40
141. Kabutops-rock/water type-no evolution
142. Aerodactyl-rock/flying type-no evolution
143. Snorlax-normal type-no evolution
144. Articuno-ice/flying type-no evolution
145. Zapdos-electric/flying type-no evolution
146. Moltres-fire/flying type-no evolution
147. Dratini-dragon type-evolves at level 30
148. Dragonair-dragon/water type-evolves at level 55
149. Dragonite-dragon/flying type-no evolution
150. Mewtwo-psychic type-no evolution(??)
from www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/ Labyrinth/6402/poke-level.htm