Are there earlier versions of the game that were significantly different from what I've ever seen? I just don't know.
I've played D&D Red Book, and the difference between it and 2nd edition (or third) is a lack of detail. In second, you might get (say) a Long Sword +2 (+4 vs. Giants). In Red Book, you got a Sword +2. Things were a lot more limited and that's about it.
I've never played ChainMail (the game that eventually became D&D), but I wager the differences are similar: less detail.
And, really, Gary Gygax was just your typical nerd. I seriously doubt he knew a damn thing about "witchcraft". It's just paranoid delusions on Jack's part. Of course, he's also convinced that Catholicism is the work of "The Whore of Babylon", so he's not all there, ya know?
Referring to my original quote, I can still understand why people might not feel comfortable fighting something called, say, an "angel"<etc.>
Well, possibly. My mother worked retail, and there are still people who freak out if their bill comes to some varient of 666.
I'm less certain, but also maybe able to see, why someone might feel uneasy pretending to be good and fighting a devil or the like, though that seems like an admirable enough thing to do, even in the religious perspective--fighting the devil is a good thing, right?
Depending on the viewpoint, that isn't acceptable either. You are to turn your back on the devil, not fight him; that's God's job.
I am completely and utterly unable to understand the claim that D&D contains within it "actual real rituals that will summon evil spirits." That's simply and factually completely untrue, at least in any incarnation of the game that's existed in the last 25 years.
Same here. Of course, we were never inducted into the real
D&D or something. I have no idea where those books came from, though. The most disturbing thing I've ever seen in D&D is the Book Of Erotic Fantasy (which is nauseating... "Perform a CON check to see how long you can fuck.")
heard somewhat rational complaints about D&D, though, but those tend to focus on the fact that a D&D character is, generally, living for herself or for her country, etc. and not for God. I don't agree with that view, but at least it doesn't make me want to check their medication.
Amusingly enough, I know several people who were introduced to D&D by their chruch youth leaders. Heh.