Repentance and ROMs

 

 

Hi all. It’s been a few months since the last post, and I’m sorry about that. A lot has changed in my life, and I’m eager to share it with you! Expect new posts on a semi-regular basis. No more months-long wait, in other words.

Today, I want to address a subject that was brought up on one of my video game blogs, Sega Does. In my most recent post, I discussed how I would no longer be using game ROMs on Sega Does. If you’d like to read the post, you can check it out here. TL;DR, ROMs are illegal. The majority of game companies ignore people downloading them because most games (95+% of all older games, especially) are not available to buy directly from the publisher/developer. Therefore, the companies aren’t losing any money. Nevertheless, under copyright law, ROMs are still very much illegal.

I mention in the post how God convinced me to get rid of the ROMs. I didn’t offer up much more detail than that because I didn’t think it mattered, but some of my readers were very curious about how God brought me to that conclusion.

If you are one of those curious readers, this post is for you. Beware, there’s a lot of Christian talk in this post. If anything, the talk is aimed at myself and other Christians, not anyone who might be of a different faith. My desire is not to offend anyone, but merely to share what happened to me.


“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night” (Rev. 12:9-10).

This is a gnarly pair of verses and there’s a lot going on here, but the chunk I want to focus on is the part in bold. “He who accuses them before our God day and night.”

When you become a Christian, your sins are forgiven, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still sin. When you sin and you realize it, you must repent or else that sin is held against you. Satan accuses us before God day and night. Why? Because he hates anyone who aligns themselves with God. Any way he can legally undermine you before the Lord, he will do that. That said, if you are a Christian, you can repent of whatever sin the enemy accuses you of. When you repent, you are set free from the damage and destruction that sin can bring into your life.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10)

The goal of the Christian life is not to focus on sin. The goal is to honor the Lord in all that we do. How can we, as Christians, allow Jesus to flow freely out of our lives, to bless others, to praise the Lord, and in turn, have the abundant life He promises? We are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16), but the temple of God will not share His space with any idols nor can we receive the full blessing of what He wants to give us if we are walking in unrepentant sin.

We must daily die to self (Romans 6:4-8), take up our cross, and follow Jesus (Matt. 16:24). We must give up our seat on the throne of our lives and allow Him to rule and reign from within us. Part of this process for me is asking the Lord, what is the enemy accusing me of? What kind of dirt does he have on me, particularly sins that I’m not aware of? Whatever it is, I want to be aware of it and repent as quickly as possible.

When the enemy accuses Christians before God, do you think he is lying or telling the truth? Satan is the father of all lies, but when he is accusing us before the Father of all creation, I personally don’t believe he can tell a lie, particularly if he’s in God’s court.


About two weeks ago, I asked the Lord if the enemy was accusing me of anything. This is a relatively new way of doing things for me, so it was only the first or second time I asked the Lord about this. The Lord gave me five sins, four of which made sense to me, and one didn’t.

I repented of the first four sins immediately, but the fifth and final sin was stealing, and that one confused me. Lord, I don’t steal, what is the enemy talking about? I didn’t receive an immediate answer, but I repented of it anyway and believed the Lord would tell me eventually. He sure did. The next day, without me seeking an answer, He showed me ROMs. Oh, that hurt. That hurt so bad. I’ve built my kingdoms (such as they are) on ROMs. Without ROMs, Questicle and Sega Does would not exist.

I justified using ROMs for years, and if I’m honest with y’all, the justifications for using them still sound pretty darn good to my mind. Many of these games aren’t available to buy legally. The copies that remain are sold by third-parties, so the original publisher/developer still won’t see any money from them. To me, emulation and ROMs are critical for preserving video game history. The only problem? They’re still 100% illegal. Gwargh!

I deleted them all that same morning. I had so many games! Gigs upon gigs were thrown into the recycle bin. That day, I was reeling. I had no idea what I was going to do. Still don’t, really. But when I asked the Lord if He wanted me to continue with Sega Does, He said yes. I know the concept of God approving of a video game blog is weird. I’ve wrestled with it for years (“God, do you really want me to pursue such a bizarre passion project?”) and only recently have I found peace.

I presumed that I would be depressed for awhile after I rid myself of the ROMs, but the day after I got rid of everything, I felt brighter and spiritually cleaner. A weight that I didn’t realize was upon me has been lifted. This is a mystery that’s difficult to explain. Now, because I have dealt with the sin that the enemy was (rightly) accusing me of, I can carry more of Him, which is what I want in my life anyway. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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12 thoughts on “Repentance and ROMs

  1. Thanks for sharing this so openly, and thanks for linking it in Sega Does. It is a tough read.

    In some ways, I wish I hadn’t read it, as I’m not sure I’m ready to face the answers at this stage.

    Well done. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for an interesting read. As an atheist, it’s very interesting because it’s totally outside my realm of experience and understanding. Lest you think the worst of me for my atheism, let me say that I respect your(?) decision completely and wish you the best of luck in finding an alternative. Sega Does has been – and still is – a favorite blog I’ve followed for a while. It reminds me a more casual, gamer-y Jeremy Parish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your understanding and kind comments, SilverRoyal. In no way do I look down on you for being an atheist! Sadly, many Christians can come across as judgmental jerks, and I really hope I haven’t given that impression. If I have, I apologize. All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem, you’ve never given that impression. 🙂 You’ve nothing to apologize for. I just like to cover all my bases because you never can predict people, and I know virtually nothing about you. And, likewise, in no way do I look down on you for being Christian. My opinions and thoughts on religion may waver, but my opinions and thoughts about the people do not. A good person is a good person is a good person.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I never thought I’d find such a beautiful exegesis on sin and redemption as described through the medium of ROMS of old video games. Touching and well done.

    You’ve certainly given me a lot to think about in my own life and sin as I think about that bastard devil.

    You’re a very brace man, Dylan. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Dylan

    I feel very much compelled to make a forceful counterargument. I assume you will strongly disagree with what I’ll have to say. I already know I won’t be able to convince you otherwise. But I absolutely want to stress that I hold you in high esteem. I have tremendous respect for you as a person and as such for your beliefs. So hopefully you will not interpret this as an attack on you faith or a deliberate attempt to guide you away from your relationship with god. I wouldn’t in the least mind, my arguments not impacting your convictions. Though I would mind you thinking less of me, for offering them to you.

    I still find the COMPLETE equation of legal categories (doing something illegal) with moral categories (such as stealing) very troubling. As I’ve argued before (on SegaDoes – sorry for the repetition): “in a best case scenario our laws would be perfectly just/fair/MORAL/… and resemble a broad consensus in our society”, but in reality this is not the case! Something I forgot to mention in my previous post: In no way can a broad consensus be considered a guarantee for just/fair/MORAL laws, It would just complete the picture of a best case scenario.

    Can we think of much more righteous men (I’m not saying these men were without sin, but no man is.) in our recent past than Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela?! All 3 of them spent time in Jail and were put there because their deeds (concerning civil rights struggles) were sanctioned illegal by officially appointed and highly esteemed judges!

    Obviously you could object by pointing out that the regimes that appointed these judges were illegitimate. As they did not offer equal representation to all their citizens. But isn’t it alarming than that the contemporary US legal system is still framed upon that same document that allowed these travesties for so long?! The document I’m talking about … The US Constitution! Up until the Civil War this veneered document upheld slavery and it took yet a hundred more years before (only legal!) segregation was finally banned. Sure – through all the amendments – the document has evolved in something quite different than what it once was. But who is to guarantee that we have something resembling the final copy right now?!

    As I told you before I don’t believe in god. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume there is a god and that he/she/it is a righteous god. Isn’t it than a rather shaky premise, to presume it/he/she would base its/his/her moral judgments upon man-made legal laws? I realize you can turn this argument around by saying that our man-made laws are inspired upon god’s judgments and not the other way around. And indeed the framers of the US Constitution claimed to be inspired by God. Still they got the slavery issue dead wrong! Obviously, that doesn’t mean the framers didn’t get anything right. But apparently in some areas (slavery, Native Americans, women, ecology, … to name a few) God’s light was heavily blocked to them by clouds. Who is to say that all clouds have cleared away (climate change, war for oil, third world exploitation …)?

    The ROM issue is a fairly new one. We often get it wrong the first time, even when we are genuinely inspired by god! But Frankly I don’t even care so much. Even though I don’t believe in god, I am pretty sure he would be much more worried with us legally buying meat (of which the overwhelming majority comes from horribly treated animals) and legally buying fancy clothes (often produced through child labor). I challenge everyone reading this blog to go look in his or her closet and check all the labels of his or her garments. If it says “made in Bangladesh” than ask yourself whether that is because the people from Bangladesh are genetically destined to breed superior tailor skills or whether that is because our Western companies (I’m always talking about the US here, but we Europeans are no better), who fall under our highly esteemed legal systems, are legally allowed to treat them as shit?!

    Even if you agree with all of the above (only for the sake of argument ), I know that won’t be enough to convince you. You might even admit that you can’t possibly be sure about 99% of all our man made laws and still be sure about the ones – you somehow sense – god explicitly indicated are the ones to follow. Still as the extremely fallible creatures, we humans are, how can you be so sure it was God you heard in the first place? And even if it was really him/her, how can you be sure your inadequate human senses decoded his/her/its message right? Especially if he/she/it/… is omni-intelligent/good/perfect. To quote an otherwise very lame movie (The Mothman Prophecies): “You are more intelligent than a cockroach. But good luck convincing him of that”

    He Dylan, I’m definitely not saying I’ve got it all right and you got it all wrong. To quote someone I believe in, Socrates: “I know one thing; that I know nothing” But I nevertheless felt the urge to share this hypothesis with you

    All the best to you! And I eagerly look forward to more blog posts of you!

    Ps: Funny thing: Even though I argue in favor of them, I actually don’t use ROM’s myself. I have this obsession of playing everything on the original hardware, so as to have the most authentic experience possible.

    Pieter Jan Van Pevenage

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Pieter, thanks so much for being honest and providing counterarguments for me to ponder.

      First of all, I completely agree. There are many things that are legal, such as factory farming and child slavery in other countries, that are very much abhorrent. And we are all complicit in these things, to some degree. These things are arguably worse than the stealing of ROMs, as they involve the lives of people and animals. To build on your argument, how many of us own Apple products? If we live in the first-world, our modern lives seem convenient and nice, but sometimes our nice things come at the expense of others’ welfare. So I get what you’re saying and completely agree with you there.

      I also really like the Socrates quote: “I know one thing; that I know nothing.” We should all adopt this mindset and be willing to learn new things, and most of all, admit when we are wrong. If I come to the conclusion that I misheard God in this matter, I will own it.

      I understand that this story seems strange, fanciful, or even nonsensical to anyone who doesn’t believe in God, and that’s fine. I appreciate that most readers respect my beliefs enough to hear out my position.

      Right now, I’m taking a backseat on ROMs, but I’m not going to rule them out entirely for the future. Archive.org has a DMCA exemption on hosting them, and they have quite a few Genesis, Game Gear, and Master System games up for streaming. I’m trying to figure out how to get them to run properly on my computer, though. They run super slow through Firefox and Chrome. My computer’s old, but it should be able to run a Genesis game through streaming…

      It would be awesome if *I* could get an exemption that would allow me to download ROMs for the purpose of reviewing these games. Especially since I have no desire to keep them, only to play them, then delete them.

      We’ll see what happens, Pieter. This might seem like a downturn, but I believe the future is bright. As always, thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate your thoughts.

      Like

  5. I’m pretty sure God wants everyone to play more games, not worry about intellectual property rights from 25yo software.

    Like

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