All this said, I’m going to preempt a question that someone, somewhere will sooner or later ask: in building faith-based sites, should we really be using gamification? In more generic terms, should we be “gamifying our faith”? It depends on how we understand that question. Our faith, our relationship with Our Father isn’t a game. It’s a familial relationship. He’s my Daddy and I’m his kid, not his pawn. Knowing this and always cognizant of pointing to the deeper underlying motivation, it’s conceivable to, for example, make it fun to compete with one another in memorizing Scripture verses. In this sense, it’s even possible to have the mindset of competing with one another in charity, in racing to the finish and in competing to become saints (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24, 1 Timothy 1:18, 2 Timothy 4:7). Two of my boys have recently started competing to do the dishes for each other and the family, sometimes even doing it ‘secretly’ so that they can surprise each other with this charitable ‘gift’. I’m definitely okay with this. In fact, I sincerely hope they keep leveling up. Game on.
Dr Eugene Gan is faculty associate of the Veritas Center and Professor of Interactive Media, Communications, and Fine Art at Franciscan University of Steubenville in the United States. His book, Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media is grounded in Scripture and magisterial documents, and is a handbook and practical guide for understanding and engaging media in meaningful and healthy ways in daily life.