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?
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.
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… 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:
“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 cards appearing at our church and Christian school. 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.
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 “http://www.screaming.demon.nl/.” The association with the occult is fairly obvious.
Pokemon teaches the following concepts/philosophies that are counter to Christianity:
1. Violence as a means of obtaining power.
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
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 encouraged 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.
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 (http://www.wizards.com/Pokemon), the official Pokemon card site.
4. When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? (Isaiah 8:19)
5. From Reasons To Believe’s web site, “Dealing with Demons” (http://www.reasons.org/resources/papers/demons.html)
6. Leviticus 20:6-7 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
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)
8. Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
9. Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
See “No Evidence of a Spiritual Realm?” (http://www.GodAndScience.org/apologetics.html)