272: How to Shoot Real Demons

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How to Shoot Real Demons

For many evangelical Christians, battles against Demons and the Devil are believed to be very real. Ryan Smith recounts how playing videogames helped him conquer his fear of "real" demons.

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That was an interesting read. Yes, I guess games can prove therapeutic depending on one's mindset.

And that's a kickass background image... I want it...

Wow, that was a great article to make one alot more happy about ones country not being filled with christian loonies.

OT: Games can be very therapeutic, atleast to vent frustration or let ones fantasies and need for creating things loose.

some funny stuff, can relate a bit since i went to catholic school from k thru high school, tho i started having issues with the religion about 8th grade and barely went to church in high school.

But yea those religions often still use fire and brimstone on children to scare you into line.

It is always interesting to read someone's perspective of religion in their early life.

And i must say kicking down the doors of hell killing those inside and then T-bagging their corpses must be wonderfully therapeutic

Wow that's a cool article, it raises a question which has always bugged me. Is it Okay to teach little kids that terrible monsters are waiting to do nasty things to them at any moment? I mean, jeeps you can get some messed up kids.

There's a dude who used to be in my class raised in a strict christen family, he sincerely believes that at one point a demon possessed him and caused him to run around naked and contemplate suicide. Ignoring the fact that the sentence before that he mentioned that he was taking large amounts of alcohol and drugs...

Would guns even work on demons?

A curiously touching article. I can relate, in a strange way. Shooting demons and monsters in games didn't help me to come over my religious demons and fears (am and have always been atheist), but rather metaphorical 'demons' and problems in my life. Obstacles. They represented things 'holding me back' or 'challenges to overcome'. At one point i even plucked up the courage to do something i never thought i otherwise could because i told myself, "Why can't i be as brave as that nameless space marine who just blasted several zombies and imps to hell?" and ironically enough i identified with him as a character for the very reason he was faceless and nameless.

once again, about 90% of the comments will be "Christians are nutcases"
we arent all insane - Christianity teaches me virtues everyone should have - acceptance, trust, love, etc. also i dont fear death as much as the next guy. doesnt stop me wanting to punch him in the face most of the time
but some extremists, liars and generally weird people

im not saying God will actually protect you when people pick on you in screen, but it definitly puts things in perspective. i also dont believe in the bible literally - some things need interpretation, such as adam and eve, etc. also, the hebrew words for "day" and "aeon" are very similar, aeon meaning "a long time"

OT: a good article, im afraid i cant relate as such, as ive never had to kill something im afraid of, and have very rarely been really afraid of something

cerebus23:
some funny stuff, can relate a bit since i went to catholic school from k thru high school, tho i started having issues with the religion about 8th grade and barely went to church in high school.

Almost the same for me. I went to public highschool, but had gone to parochial school prior to that. While I've...slipped a bit with my church-going, I don't really think it's changed my faith all that much.

cerebus23:
But yea those religions often still use fire and brimstone on children to scare you into line.

It's a lot harder to pull that sort of stuff off, *especially* if attempting to get new converts. Modern fire 'n brimstone preaching is the equivalent of a political debate between two people with the same opinions: no one is going to be convinced of anything new, and no one is going to find it interesting or intriguing to watch unless they want to have the empty satisfaction of their own opinions being in a circle-jerk.

In other words, it's preaching to the choir.

Nice piece, well written. Hope the subsequent comments don't get out of hand (yeah, right...)

I am an atheist and I have strong feelings about religion in that I think its one of the worst things ever to scourge the Earth. It starts out simple enough, preaching that you should be a good person, etc, but gets warped into terrible bastardized versions of itself by asshole priests and the like and becomes a tool to control and manipulate people.

Evangelical Christianity is one of the biggest offenders on the brainwashing meter. I watched a documentary called Jesus Camp and it was so disgusting I didn't really even know what to say.

I came to the conclusion that all religion was bullshit after I thought about how humans and God developed a relationship (I'm a caveman that's a tornado. What the fuck is this!? Something must be pissed here take this goat) not to mention all the different religions we've had throughout history (Egyptian thing, Greek thing, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Scientology (lol), etc) that completely contradict each other.

They can't all be right so there are a hell of a lot of lying pricks who invented religions. Anyway some of these religions are bigger offenders than others (my top two being Christianity and Islam, my bottom one being Buddhism) in terms of brainwashing, holding back society, and general all around bullshit, but I've grown sick of all Religion. I think its a huge stain on human society and for all our great scientists, amazing discoveries, and so on, we have some dipshits claiming God built us a few thousand years ago and the sun revolves around the Earth.

Religion dying out permanently would be the greatest thing that ever happened to society.

"The still growing evangelical movement (well-known followers include TV preacher Billy Graham and former president George W. Bush)"

George W. Bush -- Or what happens when you mix New-Testament with Old-Scotch >:D

People who take the bible literaily scare me. And all religious extremist.

Interesting. Most children of evangelicals that I knew when I was a kid would never have been allowed to play doom or diablo because it "glorified satanic imagery". As a christian, I am made very uncomfortable with sects, and people, who talk about demons as actual real manifestations. Not only does it miss the point, I feel, but it is like hanging out with a bunch of people and having the one other person who plays videogames make an ass of himself by talking about them non stop. It is palpable embarrassment.

This was a nicely-handled article on a potentially touchy subject. I appreciated the alternative explanations of symbolism provided, as there are followers who aren't always trying to find something to beat down through a literal interpretation spiced with their own unfounded feelings.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." -- Ephesians 6:12

(And no, I don't think Paul is talking about Obama, either.)

Good stuff.

But I doubt you'd find many 'hardliners' that would think that way.
They'd somehow see the game as 'pro-Satan' and want to ban it.

Good stuff.

But I doubt you'd find many 'hardliners' that would think that way.
They'd somehow see the game as 'pro-Satan' and want to ban it.

I know what you you're saying. Get rid of Satan/Devil crap, most religion should just teach tolerance, peace etc. However, raising kids in a religious, fear mongering, controlled way is abuse. No excuses. Most atheists would agree. All due respect to good practicing faiths.

snowman6251:
I am an atheist and I have strong feelings about religion in that I think its one of the worst things ever to scourge the Earth. It starts out simple enough, preaching that you should be a good person, etc, but gets warped into terrible bastardized versions of itself by asshole priests and the like and becomes a tool to control and manipulate people.

In my belief, religion by itself is not the problem. The main problem is the people that hi-jack religion and use it o further their own causes, the small-minded bigots and the extremists that use religion to justify their hatred and violence.
And those types of people can take anything and warp it into something bad. Listen to some of the politicians in America talk (I'm pretty sure politicians the world over behave in similar ways). They use their political beliefs to mask ignorance, hatred and distrust.
Movie and television producers can fall into the same problems.

snowman6251:
Something must be pissed here take this goat) not to mention all the different religions we've had throughout history (Egyptian thing, Greek thing, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Scientology (lol), etc) that completely contradict each other.

And of the religions you've listed, most of them seem to preach the importance of preforming good deeds, being kind to others, etc (basically- don't murder, don't steal and treat others the way you want to be treated).
Scientology, as I see it, is more of a cult than a true religion, while the Egyptians and Greeks skirted between true religion and cults.

http://www.talk2action.org/story/2010/9/21/104431/670 Sarah Palin LIVES DooM every day. If it weren't for her we'd be over ran by those frisky imps.

But really...

I don't think this helps the argument that video games are helpful. What if I posted something about how oddly calming it was to beat prostitutes in GTA3? They'd be sent after me I tells you!

twistedmic:

snowman6251:
I am an atheist and I have strong feelings about religion in that I think its one of the worst things ever to scourge the Earth. It starts out simple enough, preaching that you should be a good person, etc, but gets warped into terrible bastardized versions of itself by asshole priests and the like and becomes a tool to control and manipulate people.

In my belief, religion by itself is not the problem. The main problem is the people that hi-jack religion and use it o further their own causes, the small-minded bigots and the extremists that use religion to justify their hatred and violence.
And those types of people can take anything and warp it into something bad. Listen to some of the politicians in America talk (I'm pretty sure politicians the world over behave in similar ways). They use their political beliefs to mask ignorance, hatred and distrust.
Movie and television producers can fall into the same problems.

snowman6251:
Something must be pissed here take this goat) not to mention all the different religions we've had throughout history (Egyptian thing, Greek thing, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Scientology (lol), etc) that completely contradict each other.

And of the religions you've listed, most of them seem to preach the importance of preforming good deeds, being kind to others, etc (basically- don't murder, don't steal and treat others the way you want to be treated).
Scientology, as I see it, is more of a cult than a true religion, while the Egyptians and Greeks skirted between true religion and cults.

People are perfectly capable of following moral guidelines without the fear of an everlasting torment or promise of an everlasting euphoria. We don't need Religion to do that. While that is often the intent of religion it DOES get warped and more often than not allows some twisted people to amass many followers because they believe a higher power is involved.

Regardless of intentions religion does more harm than good and that's why I think the human race should get past religion. Its done nothing but hold us back as a group.

totally agree. Amen. Lol

I guess I was pretty lucky. My Sunday school teachers were great, we had fun and it really emphasised the virtues of Christianity. The Devil didn't have any fear for me as he was always shown to be losing.

OT interesting article.

I'm replying in regards to the snowman thread, below

Religion is only contains an aspect of the problem.

There are examples of people using this aspect of religion to organize very horrible, wide-scaled assaults against humanity, which have nothing to do with religion

Even if religion isn't for you, there is still a use for religion in society.

I believe that your anger comes from a good basis, and I respect you for it. But I feel that your antipathy towards all religion is misguided.

Conclusion

So long as men can find power behind ideas, we will always have hate-driven individuals hungry for the reigns.

Edited for concision.

It always saddens me when I read about someone who fell completely away from faith later in life. It invariably is based on the most extreme aspects they were exposed to but they also lose out on the tremendous good that never seems to garner the same amount of attention.

Being a force for good and helpfulness in every community, the comfort in times of sorrow, the help in times of disaster, a group of caring friends you can count on for help. Those are also part of faith but they never seem to get mentioned.

video games are very therapeutic, come home from a bad day, pop in your favorite beat-um-up, and take your rage out on the level one cpu.

That was an interesting article. I have never been religious, or believed in a God or a Devil or a Hell, but I can relate. When I was young, I was terrified that I'd encounter demons or monsters at night (and now that I think about it, this probably holds true for a large fraction of little kids today). Even now, I still feel scared when I'm in the dark, with this terribly, terribly irrational feeling that Pyramid Head or some shit's going to jump me when I'm not suspecting it.

I have my trusty hardback copy of Sherlock Holmes for protection, though. :)

I grew up under similar circumstances, but was thankfully disabused of the notion that I was being literally stalked by Satan at an early age by some fabulous parenting.

I had just finished reading The Door in the Dragon's Throat, a "Christian thriller for kids" where an intrepid archaeologist finds the door to Hell complete with winged scorpions, devils, etc. In order to close it, he commands his children, "Pray harder!" My father took me aside and explained that the entire premise was flawed, that God isn't a character from an action movie and the "Shield of Faith" wasn't going to arrive by mail next week. I never took the evangelical End Times hysteria seriously again.

My favorite conception of Satan is from Job, where he serves as God's prosecuting attorney. He still "prowls about like a roaring lion," but not to eat your soul and laugh maniacally; rather, he is looking for an excuse to bring you up on charges of pride, greed and malice.

I'm fine with religion dying.
But Christianity isn't a religion, it's a relationship.
You can "kill" religion all you want, but you can't kill Jesus, or what He's done.

ttankzero:
I'm replying in regards to the snowman thread, below

Religion is only contains an aspect of the problem.

There are examples of people using this aspect of religion to organize very horrible, wide-scaled assaults against humanity, which have nothing to do with religion

Even if religion isn't for you, there is still a use for religion in society.

I believe that your anger comes from a good basis, and I respect you for it. But I feel that your antipathy towards all religion is misguided.

Conclusion

So long as men can find power behind ideas, we will always have hate-driven individuals hungry for the reigns.

Edited for concision.

Just as you spoke of the idea behind Christianity being a good one, the idea behind Communism was a good one, but it too was corrupted giving us Stalin. There's no denying that power corrupts regardless of how the power was obtained but Religion is such an easy jumping point for psychopaths to gain and abuse their power.

In my experience most religious people ended up religious under two circumstances. They were either born and raised to believe whatever religion they follow or they sought religion in a moment of weakness, be it due to a tragedy, poor decisions, whatever. Both of these make me incredibly upset.

The children of many religious parents are never even give a chance to arrive at a conclusion on the matter themselves. From the moment they are born they have their religion drilled into their heads and there is no questioning it. I had friends who routinely participated in religious activities despite thinking it was total bullshit so as not to have to confront their parents with their atheism. For many it would be like telling their parents they're gay (note: the only reason I think parents have a right to be upset about that is because they won't be getting a biological grandchild).

That's the kind of thing we're talking about here. He tells them he's an atheist and they flip a shit. Its worse in things like Mormon communities where you're essentially excommunicated if you leave the church. The kids are brainwashed from birth and any smart enough to think for themselves get a whole mess of shit on the fan.

Note that some religious communities won't let you marry outside the religion which I also think is some massive bullshit.

The other type, the person in a moment of weakness, is equally sickening to me. They take this person who is down on their luck, in a moment of desperation, and promise them nice sounding things, and essentially mold them into a follower. In their time of weakness rather than offering genuine help they turn them into a puppet.

Now I won't argue that no good comes out of religion. It can provide community, a set of morals, etc but I find the detriments far outweigh the benefits.

Religion is used as an excuse for ignorance. We use religion to fight science. NO! Fight science with better science, not the word of people who wrote a book thousands of years ago when no one knew what the fuck they were talking about. Religion is used by many evil people to gain support for things that don't benefit the world. Even Hitler, who as you said was not a believer, abused religion's power over people and used it to do some really shitty stuff.

Religion is far too powerful a force for people to dick around with, especially when everything it offers could be accomplished through other means. Community? Join some sort of club. Morals? Develop your own sense of morals, maybe with some parental influence. The idea that so many people so zealously believe this shit astounds me. If the pope said the rapture has come, everyone drink the (poisoned) kool-aid, then millions of people would fucking do it.

Its so powerful and its all bullshit and I'm terrified that some very powerful people are making some very important decisions based on a book filled with straight up bullshit.

snowman6251:

ttankzero:
I'm replying in regards to the snowman thread, below

Religion is only contains an aspect of the problem.

There are examples of people using this aspect of religion to organize very horrible, wide-scaled assaults against humanity, which have nothing to do with religion

Even if religion isn't for you, there is still a use for religion in society.

I believe that your anger comes from a good basis, and I respect you for it. But I feel that your antipathy towards all religion is misguided.

Conclusion

So long as men can find power behind ideas, we will always have hate-driven individuals hungry for the reigns.

Edited for concision.

Just as you spoke of the idea behind Christianity being a good one, the idea behind Communism was a good one, but it too was corrupted giving us Stalin. There's no denying that power corrupts regardless of how the power was obtained but Religion is such an easy jumping point for psychopaths to gain and abuse their power.

In my experience most religious people ended up religious under two circumstances. They were either born and raised to believe whatever religion they follow or they sought religion in a moment of weakness, be it due to a tragedy, poor decisions, whatever. Both of these make me incredibly upset.

The children of many religious parents are never even give a chance to arrive at a conclusion on the matter themselves. From the moment they are born they have their religion drilled into their heads and there is no questioning it. I had friends who routinely participated in religious activities despite thinking it was total bullshit so as not to have to confront their parents with their atheism. For many it would be like telling their parents they're gay (note: the only reason I think parents have a right to be upset about that is because they won't be getting a biological grandchild).

That's the kind of thing we're talking about here. He tells them he's an atheist and they flip a shit. Its worse in things like Mormon communities where you're essentially excommunicated if you leave the church. The kids are brainwashed from birth and any smart enough to think for themselves get a whole mess of shit on the fan.

Note that some religious communities won't let you marry outside the religion which I also think is some massive bullshit.

The other type, the person in a moment of weakness, is equally sickening to me. They take this person who is down on their luck, in a moment of desperation, and promise them nice sounding things, and essentially mold them into a follower. In their time of weakness rather than offering genuine help they turn them into a puppet.

Now I won't argue that no good comes out of religion. It can provide community, a set of morals, etc but I find the detriments far outweigh the benefits.

Religion is used as an excuse for ignorance. We use religion to fight science. NO! Fight science with better science, not the word of people who wrote a book thousands of years ago when no one knew what the fuck they were talking about. Religion is used by many evil people to gain support for things that don't benefit the world. Even Hitler, who as you said was not a believer, abused religion's power over people and used it to do some really shitty stuff.

Religion is far too powerful a force for people to dick around with, especially when everything it offers could be accomplished through other means. Community? Join some sort of club. Morals? Develop your own sense of morals, maybe with some parental influence. The idea that so many people so zealously believe this shit astounds me. If the pope said the rapture has come, everyone drink the (poisoned) kool-aid, then millions of people would fucking do it.

Its so powerful and its all bullshit and I'm terrified that some very powerful people are making some very important decisions based on a book filled with straight up bullshit.

Huh. You're aware that there's such things as atheist nut-jobs too, right?

TheTygre:

snowman6251:

ttankzero:
I'm replying in regards to the snowman thread, below

Religion is only contains an aspect of the problem.

There are examples of people using this aspect of religion to organize very horrible, wide-scaled assaults against humanity, which have nothing to do with religion

Even if religion isn't for you, there is still a use for religion in society.

I believe that your anger comes from a good basis, and I respect you for it. But I feel that your antipathy towards all religion is misguided.

Conclusion

So long as men can find power behind ideas, we will always have hate-driven individuals hungry for the reigns.

Edited for concision.

Just as you spoke of the idea behind Christianity being a good one, the idea behind Communism was a good one, but it too was corrupted giving us Stalin. There's no denying that power corrupts regardless of how the power was obtained but Religion is such an easy jumping point for psychopaths to gain and abuse their power.

In my experience most religious people ended up religious under two circumstances. They were either born and raised to believe whatever religion they follow or they sought religion in a moment of weakness, be it due to a tragedy, poor decisions, whatever. Both of these make me incredibly upset.

The children of many religious parents are never even give a chance to arrive at a conclusion on the matter themselves. From the moment they are born they have their religion drilled into their heads and there is no questioning it. I had friends who routinely participated in religious activities despite thinking it was total bullshit so as not to have to confront their parents with their atheism. For many it would be like telling their parents they're gay (note: the only reason I think parents have a right to be upset about that is because they won't be getting a biological grandchild).

That's the kind of thing we're talking about here. He tells them he's an atheist and they flip a shit. Its worse in things like Mormon communities where you're essentially excommunicated if you leave the church. The kids are brainwashed from birth and any smart enough to think for themselves get a whole mess of shit on the fan.

Note that some religious communities won't let you marry outside the religion which I also think is some massive bullshit.

The other type, the person in a moment of weakness, is equally sickening to me. They take this person who is down on their luck, in a moment of desperation, and promise them nice sounding things, and essentially mold them into a follower. In their time of weakness rather than offering genuine help they turn them into a puppet.

Now I won't argue that no good comes out of religion. It can provide community, a set of morals, etc but I find the detriments far outweigh the benefits.

Religion is used as an excuse for ignorance. We use religion to fight science. NO! Fight science with better science, not the word of people who wrote a book thousands of years ago when no one knew what the fuck they were talking about. Religion is used by many evil people to gain support for things that don't benefit the world. Even Hitler, who as you said was not a believer, abused religion's power over people and used it to do some really shitty stuff.

Religion is far too powerful a force for people to dick around with, especially when everything it offers could be accomplished through other means. Community? Join some sort of club. Morals? Develop your own sense of morals, maybe with some parental influence. The idea that so many people so zealously believe this shit astounds me. If the pope said the rapture has come, everyone drink the (poisoned) kool-aid, then millions of people would fucking do it.

Its so powerful and its all bullshit and I'm terrified that some very powerful people are making some very important decisions based on a book filled with straight up bullshit.

Huh. You're aware that there's such things as atheist nut-jobs too, right?

Yes but atheism isn't a thing that can give an individual power (or abuse it) over a large group. Religion is not only capable of that but has been used in exactly that way countless times. Religion demands a certain amount of following blindly (actually a whole lot of that). Atheism is just the state of not believing in a higher power. Atheists think for themselves.

snowman6251:

TheTygre:

snowman6251:

ttankzero:
I'm replying in regards to the snowman thread, below

Religion is only contains an aspect of the problem.

There are examples of people using this aspect of religion to organize very horrible, wide-scaled assaults against humanity, which have nothing to do with religion

Even if religion isn't for you, there is still a use for religion in society.

I believe that your anger comes from a good basis, and I respect you for it. But I feel that your antipathy towards all religion is misguided.

Conclusion

So long as men can find power behind ideas, we will always have hate-driven individuals hungry for the reigns.

Edited for concision.

Just as you spoke of the idea behind Christianity being a good one, the idea behind Communism was a good one, but it too was corrupted giving us Stalin. There's no denying that power corrupts regardless of how the power was obtained but Religion is such an easy jumping point for psychopaths to gain and abuse their power.

In my experience most religious people ended up religious under two circumstances. They were either born and raised to believe whatever religion they follow or they sought religion in a moment of weakness, be it due to a tragedy, poor decisions, whatever. Both of these make me incredibly upset.

The children of many religious parents are never even give a chance to arrive at a conclusion on the matter themselves. From the moment they are born they have their religion drilled into their heads and there is no questioning it. I had friends who routinely participated in religious activities despite thinking it was total bullshit so as not to have to confront their parents with their atheism. For many it would be like telling their parents they're gay (note: the only reason I think parents have a right to be upset about that is because they won't be getting a biological grandchild).

That's the kind of thing we're talking about here. He tells them he's an atheist and they flip a shit. Its worse in things like Mormon communities where you're essentially excommunicated if you leave the church. The kids are brainwashed from birth and any smart enough to think for themselves get a whole mess of shit on the fan.

Note that some religious communities won't let you marry outside the religion which I also think is some massive bullshit.

The other type, the person in a moment of weakness, is equally sickening to me. They take this person who is down on their luck, in a moment of desperation, and promise them nice sounding things, and essentially mold them into a follower. In their time of weakness rather than offering genuine help they turn them into a puppet.

Now I won't argue that no good comes out of religion. It can provide community, a set of morals, etc but I find the detriments far outweigh the benefits.

Religion is used as an excuse for ignorance. We use religion to fight science. NO! Fight science with better science, not the word of people who wrote a book thousands of years ago when no one knew what the fuck they were talking about. Religion is used by many evil people to gain support for things that don't benefit the world. Even Hitler, who as you said was not a believer, abused religion's power over people and used it to do some really shitty stuff.

Religion is far too powerful a force for people to dick around with, especially when everything it offers could be accomplished through other means. Community? Join some sort of club. Morals? Develop your own sense of morals, maybe with some parental influence. The idea that so many people so zealously believe this shit astounds me. If the pope said the rapture has come, everyone drink the (poisoned) kool-aid, then millions of people would fucking do it.

Its so powerful and its all bullshit and I'm terrified that some very powerful people are making some very important decisions based on a book filled with straight up bullshit.

Huh. You're aware that there's such things as atheist nut-jobs too, right?

Yes but atheism isn't a thing that can give an individual power (or abuse it) over a large group. Religion is not only capable of that but has been used in exactly that way countless times. Religion demands a certain amount of following blindly (actually a whole lot of that). Atheism is just the state of not believing in a higher power. Atheists think for themselves.

So, as I understand you, all atheists are completely free thinking? They're not affected by society, or the economy, or even the state of nature around them?

So I suppose I can summarize your feelings on this topic in that you feel that religion is that it is too powerful in that you can convince people to do your will by conversion through social/emotional ostracism, that you can convince people to follow your directive without the requirement of reason, and that it would be better to get rid of it in totality even if those who practice religion responsibly and for good causes were no longer able to keep their traditions.

My question is, were there no religion, what would fill in the void? There's people in this world who will wrest any hold they can on the minds of people in order to fulfill their selfish goals, to prosper at the expense or death of others. These people have made themselves the head of a religious state, and used psychological methods to bind their people to religion (as was attempted and failed by the mother in the youtube video.) The fear of the unknown and social ostracism are the tools these detestable priests use in order to keep those born under their rule subjugated to them.

Free from the fear of what tortures could or could not await you after death, or some omnipotent being that sees all you do and is waiting to smite you the second you do 'wrong' (which is an ironic belief, logically... if that were the case, why would you ever have enemies?) How about propaganda, and extremist nationalism? For as much as Hitler used religion as a stepping stone to power, his focus was to eventually free people from the bonds of Christianity, which he perceived as a detriment to true society. How fare the druglords in third world nations, who intimidate those who won't cooperate directly, and addict others to their wares as a means to control them? How about African warlords, who can engender a sense of fear in people who resist them and can draw boys as young as 12 years old in, convincing them that the only reason other people don't join is because they are too weak, and therefore deserve to die if they get in the militant's way?

I think that depriving the world of religion would get rid of a single tool that is used to do these evil things. But it would not get rid of the will to do them.

There may be a better solution than eradicating religion entirely. In America and other free nations of the world, freedom of religion and separation of church and state are mighty tools which keep a lot of the worst abuses of religion from manifesting on a wide scale. I think that if every people of the world were extended the freedom to choose their religion without retribution from those above or around them, the world would eventually likewise settle to a point that people would gravitate towards religion that they could identify with personally for moral and traditional reasons. Without any cruel methods for keeping people in the church like excommunication/social ostracism/et cetera, people will eventually believe because they want to, and not because they have to.

But certainly, the methods of fear in religion, as the OP has described, should go. I can't say it's completely wrong to give someone a new way to think about things when they're at a life crisis, because that could be a source of comfort and lead them in a new direction which helps them avoid the problems they've fallen into.

This freedom would require all people to think about their beliefs and choose, as both you and I have, ultimately binding them to religious belief tempered by reason. I think it could be a way to remove the problems religion is a part of while still retaining the good parts for those who enjoy it.

Interesting read.

Also "the enemies you face are possessed human soldiers, fireball tossing imps, and giant demons with laser guns for right arms - as if Satan co-wrote a story with Philip K. Dick" is an awesome quote

My general view on religion is that you can believe whatever the hell you like, as long as it doesn't (negatively) affect other people.

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