What kind of worldview does Pokémon promote to it’s cult-like following? Are these “Pocket Monsters” demonic? Here’s what we think.
from contributing writer Kayla Rinker
Does the story line and premise of Pokémon (called Pocket Monsters in Japan) run parallel to the activities inside the occult?
And most concerning: Can Satan use Pokémon to get into the heads and hearts of its enormous fanbase?
I’ll be honest, several years ago when my then 8 and 9-year-old boys discovered that cute yellow Pikachu creature, I didn’t pay much attention. I had two other babies to take care of and it all seemed innocent enough to me. They liked to compare card collections with their neighbors (we found plenty of cards at yard sales—seems Pokémon is a phase for a lot of kids), and none of them actually knew how to play the game.
But, rumors and conspiracy theories have circulated around the origin of Pokémon since its surge to popularity in the late 1990’s. With an estimated $80 billion in retail sales, Pokémon is the highest-grossing multimedia franchise of all time. Yes, it even outshines Star Wars and transcends Harry Potter. Pokémon is the world’s top-selling toy brand, top-selling card game, second best-selling video game (behind Mario), its Pokémon Go app has been downloaded over 800 million times, and (with 20 seasons) it is the most successful television show based on a video game.
With that kind of cult-like following, it’s no wonder parents have some concerns about Pokémon’s worldview. Does something darker lurk inside the world of these imaginary “Pocket Monsters”?
Is Pokémon demonic?
According to Adam Holz, senior associate editor for Plugged In and a Focus on the Family contributing writer, the answer to that questions is: “It depends.”
“For casual enthusiasts—those who never go much deeper than games like Pokémon Go— there’s not really a great deal to grapple with,” he said. “The deeper players do go into this world, however, the longer the list of potential issues that parents may want to address.”
The basic premise of the imaginary Pokémon world is that humans, or trainers, can use red and white Poké Balls to capture creatures. Each Pokémon has different natural properties/abilities and once captured, their trainer engages them in battles with other Pokémon.
The more battles they win, the stronger they get, allowing them to evolve or transform into something more powerful.
While catching and training Pokémon for virtual cage matches is the elementary idea inside every branch of this 20-year-old fantasy world, the deeper you go into its story line and (especially) its card game, the darker and more supernatural the cute little Pokémon starts to become. For example, while many of the “types” of Pokémon are elemental (fire, rock, ice, etc.), several are related to spiritual concepts (ghost, psychic, fairy), while other types sound much more sinister (dark, dragon, poison).
Pokémon dabbles in paganism
Holz said there are some facets of Pokémon that echo paganism’s historical emphasis on the earth and created things.
“Those of us with children who are interested in Pokémon will have to weigh whether the franchise’s inclusion of magical components, as well as its focus on elemental and spiritual ideas, mean that it’s out of bounds,” he said.
Matt Slick, president and founder of Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, said the problem with Pokémon is that it conditions the child who plays into accepting occult and evolutionary principles.
“I do not see how allowing children to play games that encourage fighting, reading of minds, use of poison, mimicry, taunting, teleportation, hypnosis, and evolution can be a good thing,” he said. “This is not training a child to righteousness. If children are conditioned to accept these things in youth, then they will more likely accept these ideas in adulthood. This leads people away from God’s word and truth, not toward it.”
Pokémon not 100% safe for kids
So while Pokémon may not pose the greatest pop culture threat to our children, it doesn’t fall into the 100% safe column, either. There are certainly much better things that our children could and should be filling their minds with.
But whatever parents decide, whether its playing Pokémon Go as a family or banishing the little pocket monsters once and for all, they should make sure to have conversations with children about the real invisible realm and the spiritual battle that rages on every single day. A good thing to do, is compare current pop culture trends with the word of God and have your kids give you their thoughts on how these behaviors line up with Scripture.
Kayla Rinker is a freelance writer living in Missouri. She is a ministry wife and mother of four boys, all of whom keep her days busy and her heart full.
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