Study Says Videogames "Problematize" Religion as Violent

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Norix596:
Any bets on how long it'll be before this study is being waved around on Fox News?

Information goes into Fox News, stupid comes out. You can't explain that.

-

Imo, one of the reasons why Religion is depicted as often being violent is that most religions contain quite a bit of violence and "propaganda". Most games are simply put very violent (about violence) and always look for systems/leaders/religions with mindless followers to kill and whose doctrine to defeat.
It is simply a good hook to keep many stories going. Not just in games, but also in literature, movies, theatre... basically all media.
However, in our daily lives, those violent aspects of religions are just the extremes and for every violent and intollerant religious person out there, there are countless religious people out there who are very tollerant and peaceful and for most religious people they play no real role. There have been, are, and will be wars "because of religion" but in this aspect it is just like any other doctrine as "godless" communism, capitalism or any other doctrine.

Now of course you will mainly meet violent nutjobs and zealots in a (violent) game. There might be only a few peaceful believers in the game, but then again there are very few "civilians" in games anyways. Many of the "civilians" might believe into a religion but most of them won't rub your nose in their religious believes.
The people most talking about religion the most tend to be the ones most extremist about it anyways. So either "militant" atheists who condemn all religious people and try to teach them or religious zealots who want to "convert (or burn)" all the people who don't believe into the same thing. This is also why religion is such a hot topic. It is nearly impossible to get a satisfying discussion going with any of the extremes present. And god help you when there are two extremes from different religions (or just denominations) present.

Evilpigeon:

omicron1:

While atheism itself has some rather vicious purges to its name

I'm genuinely interested, give me examples of atrocities done in the name of an absence of belief.

Marxism has a lot of associations with atheism. Stalin's purges of religious believers in Georgia and Poland are the most obvious case that comes to mind, but the problem there is that if you're discussing atheism in terms a 'rationalist atheist' perspective (i.e. the modern day push for a logical deduction of reality) it largely fails because said purges were based around another dogmatic, largely faith-driven system: Communism. North Korea comes up in these arguments a lot too, but once again, it fails because it does not focus on the root case: a fanatical belief in something, which rational atheism (well at least people who understand what rational atheism is, as opposed to irrational atheism) rejects.

Also don't let anyone tell you Hitler was an atheist, historians are still debating Hitler's religious attitudes. Mein Kampf has a lot of references to God in it, but I think that later actions by Hitler push him away from Catholicism towards a more deitist approach centred around Aryan mysticism (based on the documents I've read).

People also like to chalk up eugenics to atheism and science in general, the problem with that is that most fail to actually look at eugenics origins: support initially emerged from rural, religious populations who were used to concepts such as animal husbandry. Not only is eugenics more based on social alienation of the lunatic fringe then actual science, but many of its proponents were actually religious. Some excellent examples are the late 19th century eugenics movement that emerged in America from the progressive movement (which wasn't atheistic by a long shot) and the eugenics legislation in 20th century Alberta.

Evilpigeon:

omicron1:

While atheism itself has some rather vicious purges to its name

I'm genuinely interested, give me examples of atrocities done in the name of an absence of belief.

The wikipedia article on state atheism reads like a who's who list of incidents. The French revolution, Albania during the cold war, Cuba, North Korea... I'm not surprised they aren't more widely known, though - they don't fit with the narrative.

Baresark:
Haha, now comes the horde of angry gamers saying it's simply untrue that it's been "problematized" because religion is the most evil thing in the world.

Only, while there are crimes that religious organization are certainly guilty of, there are plenty of positive things that come out of organized religion, but I suppose we can all ignore this. I mean, there is the crusades, the Catholic/Protestant war in Ireland, the Spanish Inquisition, hate crimes against black people/asian people/jewish people/white people, etc/etc. It can go on forever. The only thing that people fail to realize is that these things exist because of social problems outside of religion, and since religion is such a big part of everyone's lives at any given point in time, it gets the finger pointed at it. It's not usually religion that is guilty of these things, it's usually people within that religion that guilty.

But, as the paper said, it is the focal point of many games. He is not incorrect in that. But, religion is not the cause of all the worlds ills like many would like to think.

wait... someone who I actually agree with? Hmm that never happens.

OT: I understand and agree with what the student was saying. I think alot of the reason religion is showed so poorly in games is because it is easy. I dont really see any perposeful malice in these games (at least the ones I've played anyway) but it seems like an easy way to have a large number of people all agree to do _______. Its kinda like...

Jinxey:

Seriously I feel like the internet has been unwittingly and unintentionally indoctrinated into this belief that religion is evil. Extra Creditz made the point that if game designers, out of sloth/laziness, portrayed all Arabs as extremists/terrorists that it would feed into the gamer cultural psych. Using that same point, if all game plots portray religion as an violent, bigoted, narcissistic entity couldn't that feed into the gamer cultural psych?

Gamers aren't immune to being indoctrinated in this manner; nobody is.

Ninja'd

Kimarous:

Treblaine:
snip

Look, I'm not here to debate Christianity. If you want to understand us without reading holy books, go here.

I'm just trying to support positive portrayals of religion in general, not specifically Christianity. I'm not arguing things like "religious altruism is better than regular altruism" or that many horrible things have been done in the name of religion. What I am arguing for is an increase of "religious + good" characters.

Is it really so bad to have a character in a game who is clearly of a particular faith who isn't trying to oppress the world and is just a decent person who happens to be religious?

@Kimarous, it wouldn't be bad. But it probably wouldn't be terribly interesting either. A complicated protagonist is just more entertaining than someone who is one-dimensionally righteous.

@Treblaine, your argument seems to be a series of non sequiturs. First off, if someone is being good so they can get into heaven and avoid hell, then that isn't altruism because they are still self interested. Also, I don't think anyone was claiming that morality came exclusively from religion. Metaethics is complicated stuff. Honestly I think a truly objective moral system is impossible without some supernatural implications. The idea that God is the source of the 'Good' is called 'Theological Volunteerism'. This article might interest you: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/voluntarism-theological/. Ultimately I think Theological Volunteerism fails unless one commits to the more mystic conception that God doesn't command the Good, but simply is the Good. But even that theory would still be subject to a multitude of general metaphysical and epistemological objections. Another alternative is some form of Platonism where the 'Good' exists as an abstract entity and somehow supervenes upon or interacts with our physically embodied conceptions of the Good, but that is also pretty indefensible from a metaphysical and epistemological standpoint. So I would be careful about materialist views of morality because what you end up with is at best moral relativism and at worst abject nihilism or non-cognitivism.

As per the criticism of religion, I refer you back to my previous post:

ReiverCorrupter:
Snip

ResonanceGames:

RatRace123:

Although I think religion gets tied up with violence, not because it's compelling but because it's a really easy way to explain why a character does what they do, which could be a sign of lazy story writing if handled poorly.

Bingo. Whackjob religions or political movements are usually just a lazy way to give a large group of characters motivation to do ridiculously evil things. It makes sense that it gets abused, since pretty much every single player action game needs to explain why there are thousands of people trying to kill the player character.

I had a funny thought of some guy saying:
Henchman:"Why are we blowing the moon to pieces again, along with all of the moon-fish-people on it?"
Leader:"BECAUSE THE MOON IS MADE OF HERESY, IT MUST BE PURGED!"
Then the silly idea got sad because I could easily see someone doing this.

I (as a Christian) cannot deny that Religion frequently leads to violence, but I think it's more of the people's fault than the faith itself (save for the faiths that encourage destroying those who don't believe). If more people could easily say "You believe that, I believe this, live and let live.", we probably wouldn't have so many problems about it.
The Bible says "Thou shall not kill." The Bible does not say "Thou shall not kill, as long as they believe as you do. If not, feel free to wipe them off the planet."

Kimarous:
I'm just trying to support positive portrayals of religion in general, not specifically Christianity. I'm not arguing things like "religious altruism is better than regular altruism" or that many horrible things have been done in the name of religion. What I am arguing for is an increase of "religious + good" characters.

Is it really so bad to have a character in a game who is clearly of a particular faith who isn't trying to oppress the world and is just a decent person who happens to be religious?

I think there's a tendency to not want to create such a character due to the fact that it might be seen as "promoting" religion (religion in general at best, one particular religion at worst). There might also be some fear that it would limit the market for the game to people who are religious, which would reduce its sales.

If you make your game center around a character who is essentially irreligious in a religious world, then you can always just stick a disclaimer at the beginning of the game ("this game was developed by a studio full of diverse individuals of all shapes, genders, colors, religions, and sexual orientations, blah blah blah") and be done with it. But if you make a game centering around a good character who is actually religious (as in, faith is an important part of their life and world view), then it wouldn't be so easy to dispel the possible criticism of bias. There would be a lot of atheist/humanist/secular gamers who just wouldn't touch it (unless the religion in question was "Jedi" in which case it's PEFECTLY FINE).

It's a bit sad, too. I say this as an atheist and someone who believes the world would be a better place with a bit less religious thinking and a bit more critical/skeptical thinking. But I think it's unfortunate that some people tend to recoil from religion as if it were a poisonous snake. Religion may have given us the crusades, but it also gave us... well, the entire canon of J. S. Bach. You could argue about just how religious Bach actually was, and people have, but anyway, the point is, there's good and bad there; religion isn't all bad. There's a lot of beauty in it too, but people tend to forget that in the adversarial climate that dominates debate.

Treblaine:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problematization

Problematization is a critical thinking and pedagogical dialogue or process and may be considered demythicisation.

I wonder did they REALLY mean to use that term, or did they just make up that term think it meant "oh, they're just MAKING problems".

I'm not sure.

I will say the central tenement of Christianity (at least) is based on violence; that is you don't follow their dogma then you will be horribly tortured for all eternity. And much violence has stemmed from that.

Hmm, the bible itself portrays it as a consequence of human action. (Choosing the wrong path) and even in describing the punishment, it's always in terms of human wrong (for instance, you used the word torture, something humans do to one another to inflict pain, as opposed to more natural descriptors) and most branches of Christianity talk about a God who is desperately trying to stop this thing happening to people, and people just shutting him off and well killing him for it.

So that;s quite an interesting little philosophical conundrum you're presenting here. If something internally presents something as a fact and then struggles against it, but from the outside can be viewed through the light of a certain persons eyes as imposing that fact. Can the dogma be described as violent, or that violence is a central tenement. Hmm pretty cool.

Anyway, don't way I know you weren't being totally serious and it's a cool little problem. Certainly the 'centralness' of the tenement is very very much from your perspective rather than the perspective of the book itself because the book has passages such as 'Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. '

The word hell only appears in the whole bible 15 times, comparable to helmet (12) and being soundly beaten by 'ear' (994 times). Preachers can overemphasise the point a lot and give the impression that it's a huge focus, because they try and provide context for the other side of it, but that focus isn't really there. For instance most of the after-death talk is about 'achieving eternal life' rather than talking about the flipside.

Here's an interesting illustration, Genesis, where the idea of sin is established and which contains the bits with the snake and the flood, only says this 'you must not eat the fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, for you will surely die'. Even the bit with Sodom (which talks of general sins and the citizens raping two daughters rather than what it's famous for) doesn't actually mention hell or eternal punishment.

I don't want to mislead you, hell is part of the way Christians see the world as is (although even there, there are 3 possibilities each of which has support 1. Non-existence. 2. Eternal Punishment. 3.Limited punishment then non-existence) but it's not emphasised at all and is hardly talked about. There are a couple of lines in Revelations and some more scattered elsewhere and that's it. Even the stuff about a valley-of-ever-burning-rubbish turns out to be a medieval invention and there isn't any sign that the references there is anything but generally to death. I thought you might be interested because it's one of those things not even many christians know.

omicron1:

Evilpigeon:

omicron1:

While atheism itself has some rather vicious purges to its name

I'm genuinely interested, give me examples of atrocities done in the name of an absence of belief.

The wikipedia article on state atheism reads like a who's who list of incidents. The French revolution, Albania during the cold war, Cuba, North Korea... I'm not surprised they aren't more widely known, though - they don't fit with the narrative.

So by that logic any atrocity carried out be a state that supports religion is due to religion.....

O/T: How is this a study and not an opinion piece carried out by a journalism student? I am failing to see the science an statistics usually underlying what we normally refer to as a 'study'.

Other than that where is the one about how other media treats religion?

My head hurts from all the face palming I just did.

I'll say this though before I continue to hit myself into unconsciousness.

Religion brought violence and murder to the extreme. What video games portray is but a spec on the cloth stained in blood. Try solving the main problem kid, instead of perusing some half assed idea of touching the "apparent hot button" issue in pursuit of your doctorate. Try some real journalism.

Ohh one more thing. I hear they hire people like you at Fox. Shwing.

Odd. He goes to all that trouble pointing out that video games (not to mention movies, books, TV shows, and religions) depict religion as violent, without adding that many video games do make "faith" an important value for a character to have.

Kimarous:

Treblaine:
snip

Look, I'm not here to debate Christianity. If you want to understand us without reading holy books, go here.

I'm just trying to support positive portrayals of religion in general, not specifically Christianity. I'm not arguing things like "religious altruism is better than regular altruism" or that many horrible things have been done in the name of religion. What I am arguing for is an increase of "religious + good" characters.

Is it really so bad to have a character in a game who is clearly of a particular faith who isn't trying to oppress the world and is just a decent person who happens to be religious?

Why should I want to understand Christian lore more than Islam lore or Dianetics of Scientology? I am interested in Christian lore only in so much as it affect my society and legislation, more often than not for the negative.

You know I can think of several reasons why religion is not imbued on heroic characters, and main is a matter of WHICH religion! You can't even narrow down to Christianity as there are so many denominations within it which alienate people more than if the character literally came from another planet. Nothing like specific disagreements.

Would you really be happy taking on the role of a practising Muslim or one who is completely silent on the issue of religion. How about a Scientologist? Or are you REALLY more hoping for a Christian one.

Even taken for a given that the main target audience will be most familiar with protestant Christianity there is such a large proportion who have had negative experiences such as those interminable Sunday School lessons, wasting their valuable weekend with dogma of Noah's ark and other ridiculous and unrelatable stories. And of course, Westbro Baptist Church always being in the news quoting the bible literally, why would anyone want to have anything to do with that?

And of course religion is all about the invisible. All religions are based on how there is absolutely no tangible evidence, maybe some magic tricks thrown in. But a video game you aren't tried down by such lame reality. IF you are going to have something kinda religious in a game, make it a REAL religion. I.e. summon actual angels and demons in combat, and fight for a tangible god against the actual devil. You see this with God of War, possible only because all the practitioners of Greek Idol Worship are long dead (1st (or second, depending on version) commandment doing it's deed) can this be re-interpreted literally within the fiction.

And of course, another huge reason: Religious terrorism.

It's crusading if it positively depicts one real religion. It's religious persecution if it vilifies one particular religion. And this is shit artists tend to not want to have to deal with so they get around it by making fictional religions that comments on the very concept of religion without dragging in people's particular beliefs for or against on particular mythology.

But I think the main reason is that if you actually make the protagonist religious, that a huge proportion will just think the protagonist is a gullible idiot for believing in such things. Like being genuinely paranoid about breaking a mirror for 7 years bad luck, it comes across to many as superstitious.

Safe bet is NOT to make your protagonist afraid of some invisible sky man who they've never experienced and was just told about in Sunday School.

I haven't read all the comments because I have homework to do, so I'm pretty sure this has been said, but...

I'm pretty sure that the one "problematizing" religion is religion itself.

omicron1:

Evilpigeon:

omicron1:

While atheism itself has some rather vicious purges to its name

I'm genuinely interested, give me examples of atrocities done in the name of an absence of belief.

The wikipedia article on state atheism reads like a who's who list of incidents. The French revolution, Albania during the cold war, Cuba, North Korea... I'm not surprised they aren't more widely known, though - they don't fit with the narrative.

Have any examples that aren't based around fanatical belief in a political institution, but on an actual lack of belief?

Examples:
French Revolution: Radical leftist Jacobins aiming for collectivist republican values, see religion as a threat to what essentially becomes state-worship.
Mexico: Ruled by a member party of Socialist International for seventy years, based around 'democracy for the workers'.
Albania: Communism, and Hoxha, who was aiming for a cult of personality.
Czechoslovakia: Communism
Soviet Union: Stalinist interpretation of Marxism, cult of personality around Stalin (later lightened in the Khrushchev era)
People's Republic of China: Maoist interpretation of Marxist-Leninism, cult of personality centred around Mao Tse Tung.
Cambodia: Complete restructuring of Cambodian society to agrarian values due to the conflict with Western imperialism, children taught complete devotion to the Khmer Rouge.
Mongolia: Also Stalinist.
Cuba: Push towards a secularist state, violence minimal, restrictions on religion minimal. Has to do with Castro using communism in a nationalist perspective rather then fanatically devoting himself to it.
North Korea: State-worship and worship of Kim Il-Sung/Kim Jong-Il/probably Kim Jong-un soon enough.

Don't get me wrong, I think that a complete focus on religion as the cause for the majority of human conflicts often underplays the effects of other factors, but all the examples you gave are all based on the fanatical devotion to some brand of leftism, which you could argue is a religion in itself. None of your examples are a logical challenge to modern-day rational atheism and its complete rejection of fanaticism. Instead you're arguing against irrational atheism driven by a fanatical, faith-driven belief in something other then religion.

Blind Sight:

Evilpigeon:

omicron1:

While atheism itself has some rather vicious purges to its name

I'm genuinely interested, give me examples of atrocities done in the name of an absence of belief.

Marxism has a lot of associations with atheism. Stalin's purges of religious believers in Georgia and Poland are the most obvious case that comes to mind, but the problem there is that if you're discussing atheism in terms a 'rationalist atheist' perspective (i.e. the modern day push for a logical deduction of reality) it largely fails because said purges were based around another dogmatic, largely faith-driven system: Communism. North Korea comes up in these arguments a lot too, but once again, it fails because it does not focus on the root case: a fanatical belief in something, which rational atheism (well at least people who understand what rational atheism is, as opposed to irrational atheism) rejects.

Also don't let anyone tell you Hitler was an atheist, historians are still debating Hitler's religious attitudes. Mein Kampf has a lot of references to God in it, but I think that later actions by Hitler push him away from Catholicism towards a more deitist approach centred around Aryan mysticism (based on the documents I've read).

People also like to chalk up eugenics to atheism and science in general, the problem with that is that most fail to actually look at eugenics origins: support initially emerged from rural, religious populations who were used to concepts such as animal husbandry. Not only is eugenics more based on social alienation of the lunatic fringe then actual science, but many of its proponents were actually religious. Some excellent examples are the late 19th century eugenics movement that emerged in America from the progressive movement (which wasn't atheistic by a long shot) and the eugenics legislation in 20th century Alberta.

Thanks for writing my reply for me, I'd have had to go look stuff up to come up with some of this, though I did try to word my statement to avoid the communism accusations. :D

omicron1:

The wikipedia article on state atheism reads like a who's who list of incidents. The French revolution, Albania during the cold war, Cuba, North Korea... I'm not surprised they aren't more widely known, though - they don't fit with the narrative.

Thing is, Communism became a belief in the same way as the various religions. I would class the persecutions in the same way as I would those done in the name of a religion. I'll agree on the French revolution however, a terrible backlash to the power the Church had had in France up until that point, same as happened to the French nobility. It was like the American revolution gone wrong, same ideals mixed in with several hundred years of oppression at the same of people who were in close proximity after they'd won.

KraGeRzR:

Sandytimeman:
I can't seem to recall the correct verse but in Deuteronomy in the Old testament there is detailed instructions on how to rape and marry a woman against her will.

Hey bro. Bro! Bro! Guess what bro? Did you know that during wars, a lot of rape happens? Like, tons?
This was to set up a precedent for marriage, rather than rape. Of course the woman's feelings aren't taken into account, 1) because she's a prisoner, and 2) because you're assuming she would be against the whole idea.

You're forgetting that whenever one country conquered another, it's women were ALWAYS sold as slaves and prositutes. The prisoners would know this very well, so marriage would no doubt be an easy way out for them. That said there would be cases of marital rape, of course.
Just like there were cases of marital rape all around the world, and lots of cases of rape and murder by soldiers - like there is in every single war since the beginning of time.

You have a Fox News vs. Videogames view of the Bible - you take everything out of context, act like it lets you do the most unspeakable acts, and then bash it for it like the narrow minded scum that you are.

Sandytimeman:
it's pretty funny their are also verses that say the sun orbits around the earth.
"The earth is fixed at (or near) the center of the universe. The sun and other planets travel around it. That is what the Bible plainly says [Ps. 93:1, Ps. 19:1-6, Joshua 10:12-14] and what the evidence indicates. "

I call bullshit.

Guess why:

1) The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. Ps. 93:1

2) (The sun) His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. Psalm 19:6

3) And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. Joshua 10:13

These are your precious evidence, right? Congratulations, retard, you just read too much into the Bible - if you were a theologian you would be laughed out of your job.

1) The world is established - cannot be moved, just means you can't fuck with it cos it's too big and heavy. Not that it literally doesn't move in space. Cannot be moved =/= does not move.

2) At first glance this seems to be saying the sun orbits the earth. Except that's first glance from a narrow minded retard - who doesn't bother to actually evaluate it on it's own merits. It's obviously talking about the sun from a perspective of someone on the earth. To someone on the earth, it clearly looks like the Sun goes round the earth - it moves from East to West, and it's only if you become an astronomer that you realize the difference.
This isn't a problem with the Bible, this is a problem of perspective on a completely normal scientific issue.

3) This was classed as a special miracle. The sun didn't move in the sky for a whole day. So what. A miracle is a miracle. That's another problem for another day.

Check all that apply.

[ ] Correct after all
[ ] Had indisputable evidence
[X] Pwned
[X] Told like a bitch

Check all that apply

[x]called out on some sketchy interpretations
[ ] proved that the bible doesn't support the rape of women

Treblaine:
Natter

My, you do like to rant. None of that has to do with anything I'm asking.

What is wrong with having a religion or religious character, not even the protagonist, and perhaps not even central to the plot, serve as a non-antagonistic and even helpful force in a game? Are you really so bigoted against EVERY SINGLE RELIGION, EXISTING OR NOT, that this seems like an absurd and offensive concept?

Kimarous:

Treblaine:
Natter

My, you do like to rant. None of that has to do with anything I'm asking.

What is wrong with having a religion or religious character, not even the protagonist, and perhaps not even central to the plot, serve as a non-antagonistic and even helpful force in a game? Are you really so bigoted against EVERY SINGLE RELIGION, EXISTING OR NOT, that this seems like an absurd and offensive concept?

Possible example of religious person shown in a game positively:

But then again World in Conflict LOVED to beat the crap out of video game cliches.

BrotherRool:

Treblaine:

I will say the central tenement of Christianity (at least) is based on violence; that is you don't follow their dogma then you will be horribly tortured for all eternity. And much violence has stemmed from that.

Hmm, the bible itself portrays it as a consequence of human action. (Choosing the wrong path) and even in describing the punishment, it's always in terms of human wrong (for instance, you used the word torture, something humans do to one another to inflict pain, as opposed to more natural descriptors) and most branches of Christianity talk about a God who is desperately trying to stop this thing happening to people, and people just shutting him off and well killing him for it.

So that;s quite an interesting little philosophical conundrum you're presenting here. If something internally presents something as a fact and then struggles against it, but from the outside can be viewed through the light of a certain persons eyes as imposing that fact. Can the dogma be described as violent, or that violence is a central tenement. Hmm pretty cool.

Anyway, don't way I know you weren't being totally serious and it's a cool little problem. Certainly the 'centralness' of the tenement is very very much from your perspective rather than the perspective of the book itself because the book has passages such as 'Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. '

The word hell only appears in the whole bible 15 times, comparable to helmet (12) and being soundly beaten by 'ear' (994 times). Preachers can overemphasise the point a lot and give the impression that it's a huge focus, because they try and provide context for the other side of it, but that focus isn't really there. For instance most of the after-death talk is about 'achieving eternal life' rather than talking about the flipside.

Here's an interesting illustration, Genesis, where the idea of sin is established and which contains the bits with the snake and the flood, only says this 'you must not eat the fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, for you will surely die'. Even the bit with Sodom (which talks of general sins and the citizens raping two daughters rather than what it's famous for) doesn't actually mention hell or eternal punishment.

I don't want to mislead you, hell is part of the way Christians see the world as is (although even there, there are 3 possibilities each of which has support 1. Non-existence. 2. Eternal Punishment. 3.Limited punishment then non-existence) but it's not emphasised at all and is hardly talked about. There are a couple of lines in Revelations and some more scattered elsewhere and that's it. Even the stuff about a valley-of-ever-burning-rubbish turns out to be a medieval invention and there isn't any sign that the references there is anything but generally to death. I thought you might be interested because it's one of those things not even many christians know.

Hey, it says God made everything and has absolute power. You can't then say:

"God who is desperately trying to stop this thing happening"

When god is responsible for this! HE send them to hell! It's HIS decision! According to the bible. Is god like a crazy man holding a gun to someone's head "I'm desperately trying to prevent your brains being blown out, if you will just do what I say!"

And even if he is desperately" trying to warn people what he is going to do why is this one warning in an ancient and highly adulterated book? Why has his voice not boomed over the Indian Subcontinent to warn them all that if they don't follow his text as prescribed.

God is coming off more like the villain from that awful movie series Saw, giving the victim a possible way out from a horrible fate that is totally implausible for them to realise most don't stand a chance. Why doesn't god just SAY! Why why does he whisper in people's ear one at a time (indistinguishably from mental delusion) on what you need to do to avoid this trap?

How can I believe Jesus is the son of God if I don't believe in god? I believe he is the son of man, OR he is the result of an extremely rare case of human parthenogenesis.

"The word hell only appears in the whole bible 15 times, comparable to helmet"

So? Religions only need it to be mentioned once to use it as a hollow threat against all non-believers. And Hell is alluded to many times than directly by that term and by exclusion.

I've been in enough creationists debates and they always tap out by saying "well I'm going to heaven and you're going to hell".

I don't care about the bible. It's just a book. I care about how OTHER PEOPLE care about it. The bible says a lot but each denomination and each individual uses and abuses it for their own ends. How they use it to deliver veiled and hollow threats of an inescapable and HORRIFIC punishment. Something so bad it can scare people beyond the ability to reason to caving in, the "pascals wager" is blackmail.

The duality of heaven and hell is the inescapable part as it is the main appeal of religion as what happens after death is an inescapable and burning question and religion seizes on this fear and ignorance.

NEWSFLASH: BORED STUDENT PLAYS SOME VIDEO GAMES, GETS QUOTED ON THE ESCAPIST

Oh, and...

thethird0611:
So this thread is EXACTLY why you cant have an open-minded discussion about religion. Ill just point that out real quick, because if a thread even mentions religion, its all 'OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE', 'RAGE AGAINST CHRISTIANITY', when the topic doesn't even have a motive to talk about religion specifically.

Did you really just put "open-minded" and "religion" in the same sentence?

Anyway, there's plenty of motive. The topic is religion and violence and... stuff. Therefore we have a license to bash religion some more. Until it dies. Forever.

To bring a counterpoint, what about RPGs? Last I checked, paladins are the righteous followers of their faith. Lawful good, they abide by the law and bring peace and justice to the world, with powers granted to them by gods.
Since he also played Mass Effect, what about Ashley? Sure she was xenophobe at first, but she warmed up. She's religious and fighting with Shepard to save the world.

All in all, the games that "demonize" religion uses it as a tool. A tool that allows the game to have zealots that will die for their cause. A game wouldn't exactly be fun if over half the enemies surrendered to you.
What better tool than religion to lampshade zealots? Not even ultra-patriotism could rival the sheer willingness to fight to the very end than a religious zealot.

Besides, let's take Dead Space 2, you fight a cult with brainwashed members.
Now in Assassin's creed, you fight templars, but that's just a name. They aren't a religion by themselves. They are tied to the Catholic church only by the fact that it has power, so they infiltrated it to use it to further their agenda.
Oblivion? Yeah, you fight a mean old cult, and a god's avatar saves the day at the ends. Wow Bethesda, way to paint religion as evil! Hell, all the main character's action are basically meaningless in the main quest. Everything goes tits up at the ends anyways, and a god has to save the day. Mortals suck, gods kick ass. Not a very good choice of game to support his argument.

You know, I always feel late to these conversations, because I never pick up on these kind of threads until someone else points it out to me. I always see something else.

In ME2, I didn't see a religion. I saw a people changed from something normal into something grotesque through force and brainwashing. None of them chose to become Collectors.

In AC, some of them truly believed that what they were doing was for the benefit of mankind. Some of the others were just using the religion to further their own goals. Like how it is in real life.

I thought the lesson was to not be sheep?

Although, it's not the videogame that put me off organized religion. It was the religious people themselves that put me off organized religion.

Treblaine:
Would you really be happy taking on the role of a practising Muslim or one who is completely silent on the issue of religion. How about a Scientologist? Or are you REALLY more hoping for a Christian one.

...

But I think the main reason is that if you actually make the protagonist religious, that a huge proportion will just think the protagonist is a gullible idiot for believing in such things. Like being genuinely paranoid about breaking a mirror for 7 years bad luck, it comes across to many as superstitious.

Honestly, I'd love to play as a religious character. A practicing Muslim, or Christian... even a Scientologist. Sure, why not? I like my characters to be interesting and believable and well fleshed out. They can have flaws, and superstitions, and religious faiths, and maybe occasionally struggle with their faith or suffer an internal debate upon the ramifications of their beliefs, agonize over the potential hypocrisy or self-contradictions of the deity or holy book or church they've always trusted.

At least a character like that would be interesting. They would be human. For a lot of people, being human includes at least some religious faith. Better a gullible religious protagonist than another stereotypical wisecracking irreligious hero who can do everything well and is handsome and charming and has a witty response to everything. We have just a few too many of those.

Safe bet is NOT to make your protagonist afraid of some invisible sky man who they've never experienced and was just told about in Sunday School.

If this is how you think of all religious people, then... I don't know what to say. They're not all mindless sheep, despite what you may think. They have feelings, and thoughts, and most of them are probably pretty good people who want to see the world become a better place. Most of them are sincere -- they truly believe. Some of them may have felt the presence of god at one point, experienced some life changing event that renewed their faith when they were going astray. I thought I experienced something like that too, once, back when I was a Christian.

Now I'm an atheist, so I know those feelings and that experience did not originate from anything based in fact or evidence... but I know how real they felt at the time. So I don't judge those who are religious, I don't think I'm better or smarter than they are. Because I know how real it can feel. I have both religious and atheist friends, and religious relatives, and I don't try to tell them they are gullible idiots who can't think for themselves. What would give me the right to judge someone who doesn't think as I do? Then I would be committing the same crime which we secular people are so quick to lay at the feet of religious folk.

Draconalis:

Baresark:
It's not usually religion that is guilty of these things, it's usually people within that religion that guilty.

Without it's people, religion is nothing.

GrandmaFunk:
as for his "entire argument"...how the fuck would you know what his ENTIRE argument is? the articles only gives a very brief summary and a few react quotes.

Point. When I stated entire, I meant everything I had read within the confines of this article.

LoL, while true, not every member of a religion represents the same religion in exactly the same way. There are peace loving Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. There are also warmongering Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. It goes to reason that while the religions may be the focal point of of both sides, the people are the ones who choose to represent it as such in either case.

Evilpigeon:

Baresark:
snip

Because if it's only people representing a religion who use it to inflict harm that doesn't reflect at all on religion itself. The various world religions represent the largest and most stubborn cults of superiority. They are fictions invented to make the members feel superior to everybody else, just the same as nationalism. It's a propaganda tool to make people feel part of a larger group so that they can be manipulated more easily.

Look at war time propaganda, even now. Both sides leverage religion over the conflicts in Iraq and Afganistan - listen to some of the shit George Bush said about the War on Terror, think about the demonising of Islam (not all that difficult in combination with extremist terrorism admittedly). It's been this way forever:

Why did Egypt have a totalistarian with the power to force people to waste their lives building giant triangles in the Desert?

His people thought he was a god.

Why did the feudal system work?

The peasant believed that their king ruled with God's will. It was God's will that they were ruled over by an upper class whilst they had essentially no prospect at all of moving up in the world.

The vast majority of large injustices that I can think of can be attributed to religion or more widely to people making shit up to protray their group as superior to everyone else. It should be stamped out.

There's my angry gamer rant :)

As to the article, it's not exactly controvertial it's just a funny that he seems unaware of just how much large scale evil religion has inflicted on the world.

I am not calling any of those things into question at all. Those things are all true. But I have met few people who worship any religion that fit your descriptions of the ills of religion, who act superior to anyone. Religion is just an institution, it's nonsensical to blame them for how people choose to interpret their values. I have known people who tried to tell me that Islamic people want me dead, no matter what. But I did grow up around a Muslim family that would never hurt anyone. And I had met some of the people they attend Mosque with and they were all good people to who accepted me as their equal, despite not being Muslim. My girlfriend is Lutheran, I occasionally attend a service where she is doing a solo in the Choir and everyone accepts and welcomes me their, despite not intending to ever be a part of their church or religion. These things do not discount the things you mentioned, but things you mentioned are not a direct result of religion, but people interpreting the religion how they see fit. You think all Japanese emperors were descendants of Amaterasu for all time? Or do you think someone twisted the religion to say so?

A good friend of mine thinks religion (specifically Catholicism) is the most evil thing ever. I'll tell you what I tell him, you give them way too much power. You give one man the responsibility of all the evils Catholicism may do. No one has that kind of power. At worst, he has to stand by and let it happen, but he doesn't have a hand in all of it. And he may be as much a slave to awful people as the religion and it's purveyors are. No one knows for sure. But no one has come to me acting superior or wanting me dead because I am not with them. I do feel like to be around in the modern age though. There is not really a stranglehold on people these days, at least not in first world countries where I can jump on the escapist and meet folks like yourself who don't share my opinion, and that is okay with everyone. ;)

Kimarous:

Treblaine:
Natter

My, you do like to rant. None of that has to do with anything I'm asking.

What is wrong with having a religion or religious character, not even the protagonist, and perhaps not even central to the plot, serve as a non-antagonistic and even helpful force in a game? Are you really so bigoted against EVERY SINGLE RELIGION, EXISTING OR NOT, that this seems like an absurd and offensive concept?

Well yeah, I DO think it's ridiculous to believe in invisible and totally undetectable consciousness that apparently personally made every last tiny bit of the universe... until science proved it didn't.

And I find it offensive when organisations exploit that belief to enforce inflexible dogma which has imprisoned and persecuted scientists in the past and still today invades our science classrooms. That trolls the funerals of dead servicemen with the Westbro Baptist Church. That justifies and encourages mass suicide attacks with (but not limited to) Islamist Terrorism.

I'm not saying atheism is a cure all. Replacing Russian Orthodoxy Church supported Tsars with the new ideology of Stalinist communism is just replacing one absolutist dogma with another.

I don't have a particular problem with benign and personal religions any more than I have a problem with children who believe in Santa Clause or the tooth fairy. I don't even care that they are public, just that they do not deliver these veiled threats of damnation that will dupe the young and impressionable by being tricked into Pascal's Wadger, and from there the dogma.

I want to see religions evolve beyond the superstition, that the philosophies they espouse stand on their own merits, not because "god says so" or that "if you don't you'll be tortured for eternity" but that in their own way we can rationally discuss them and agree that they are right for both society and the individual.

I'd be so sad if these (benign) religious traditions died, I have been to so many weddings and ceremonies. These are important, more important than if god exists or not. I think religion could exist as more like fan clubs exist for fictional media, like the trekkies. This things that Captain Picard says are profound even though we all know he is a fictional character portrayed by Patrick Stewart. Study the philosophy of the bible without depending on every word as divine, debate the relevance and morality of the bible rather than translations and interpretations

Some things definitely have to go:

Blind Sight:

omicron1:

Evilpigeon:

I'm genuinely interested, give me examples of atrocities done in the name of an absence of belief.

The wikipedia article on state atheism reads like a who's who list of incidents. The French revolution, Albania during the cold war, Cuba, North Korea... I'm not surprised they aren't more widely known, though - they don't fit with the narrative.

Have any examples that aren't based around fanatical belief in a political institution, but on an actual lack of belief?

Examples:
French Revolution: Radical leftist Jacobins aiming for collectivist republican values, see religion as a threat to what essentially becomes state-worship.
Mexico: Ruled by a member party of Socialist International for seventy years, based around 'democracy for the workers'.
Albania: Communism, and Hoxha, who was aiming for a cult of personality.
Czechoslovakia: Communism
Soviet Union: Stalinist interpretation of Marxism, cult of personality around Stalin (later lightened in the Khrushchev era)
People's Republic of China: Maoist interpretation of Marxist-Leninism, cult of personality centred around Mao Tse Tung.
Cambodia: Complete restructuring of Cambodian society to agrarian values due to the conflict with Western imperialism, children taught complete devotion to the Khmer Rouge.
Mongolia: Also Stalinist.
Cuba: Push towards a secularist state, violence minimal, restrictions on religion minimal. Has to do with Castro using communism in a nationalist perspective rather then fanatically devoting himself to it.
North Korea: State-worship and worship of Kim Il-Sung/Kim Jong-Il/probably Kim Jong-un soon enough.

Don't get me wrong, I think that a complete focus on religion as the cause for the majority of human conflicts often underplays the effects of other factors, but all the examples you gave are all based on the fanatical devotion to some brand of leftism, which you could argue is a religion in itself. None of your examples are a logical challenge to modern-day rational atheism and its complete rejection of fanaticism. Instead you're arguing against irrational atheism driven by a fanatical, faith-driven belief in something other then religion.

Quite true - most if not all of these examples may be easily explained as political/ideological fronts using atheism as a cover or a byproduct.

...So why are people so unwilling to do the same for religion? Why do people believe it's religion itself at the heart of things like the (atrocities committed during the) Crusades, rather than a product of the political entity at the heart of the historical church, using religion as a cover?

I'm not arguing for "evil atheism" here; just bringing up diametric counterpoints to the viewpoint commonly expressed within this thread - that religion is the sum of all evil in the world. My conclusion is simple: Religion is responsible for evil to exactly the same degree that atheism is responsible for the various events I linked to. One must take all or nothing; one cannot vilify the one and ignore (or sanctify) the other.

I find it hilariously ironic that in one of the facebook comments they called a person "Ignorant" when he criticized a person who said religions are naturally violent and warhungry.

Anyways, back on topic. Religion has always been an interesting plot driver for many stories, I don't see what makes it so different for Videogames... And this may be the result of me not playing the game, but what does Mass Effect 2 have to do with Religion?

Treblaine:
snip

And once again you completely fail to tie it in with gaming, as is my focus.

You're just using this topic to vent out your anti-religious bias. I'm done talking with you.

Witty Name Here:
Anyways, back on topic. Religion has always been an interesting plot driver for many stories, I don't see what makes it so different for Videogames... And this may be the result of me not playing the game, but what does Mass Effect 2 have to do with Religion?

Mainstream geth versus Reaper-serving "heretics", Legion quoting part of the bible and mentioning a time he provoked a religious conflict, Samara's Justicar code and references to a goddess, Thane praying for his sins, Hannar espousing about The Enkindlers...

That's what comes to mind at this time. There might be more.

Baresark:

I am not calling any of those things into question at all. Those things are all true. But I have met few people who worship any religion that fit your descriptions of the ills of religion, who act superior to anyone. Religion is just an institution, it's nonsensical to blame them for how people choose to interpret their values. I have known people who tried to tell me that Islamic people want me dead, no matter what. But I did grow up around a Muslim family that would never hurt anyone. And I had met some of the people they attend Mosque with and they were all good people to who accepted me as their equal, despite not being Muslim. My girlfriend is Lutheran, I occasionally attend a service where she is doing a solo in the Choir and everyone accepts and welcomes me their, despite not intending to ever be a part of their church or religion. These things do not discount the things you mentioned, but things you mentioned are not a direct result of religion, but people interpreting the religion how they see fit. You think all Japanese emperors were descendants of Amaterasu for all time? Or do you think someone twisted the religion to say so?

A good friend of mine thinks religion (specifically Catholicism) is the most evil thing ever. I'll tell you what I tell him, you give them way too much power. You give one man the responsibility of all the evils Catholicism may do. No one has that kind of power. At worst, he has to stand by and let it happen, but he doesn't have a hand in all of it. And he may be as much a slave to awful people as the religion and it's purveyors are. No one knows for sure. But no one has come to me acting superior or wanting me dead because I am not with them. I do feel like to be around in the modern age though. There is not really a stranglehold on people these days, at least not in first world countries where I can jump on the escapist and meet folks like yourself who don't share my opinion, and that is okay with everyone. ;)

I would never suggest that individuals are inherently worse for having religious beliefs. I don't live in a vaccuum, I have friends and family who believe and this is a topic I avoid like the plague around them in the same way I try very hard not to mention I'm a pacifist around my cousin who's serving in the marines.

However, their shared belief and the power that imparts upon people who have no right to it is a bad thing.

Here's a modern example: Catholicism is widespread in Africa, wikipedia just told me that it accounts for over 1/8 people on the entire continent. Now Africa has a huge problem with aids, Catholicism also happens to have a problem with contraceptives. These are related.

So there is a cheap, effective preventative measure out there to slow or stop the spread of aids. I don't think it's right that more people die than necessary due to some jumped up old man in sparkly robes spouting what I consider to be blatant falsehoods. I'm happy for people to believe whatever they like so long as they keep it to themselves and don't harm anybody. I'm not happy when people's beliefs spill into the rest of the world where they're used and abused by everyone and anyone to gain power.

The superiority comment is aimed at one of the more destructive elements of many religions and is shared with even more distasteful ideas - rascism for example. I'm trying to claim that all religious act they're better than everyone else due to their beliefs, though some do. But that's true of everyone. I think it's a big reason why these kinds of beliefs exist though, it really helps the self esteem when you're able to think of yourself as better than other people, no matter what the reason is.

I'm not trying to demonise anyone specifically - the Pope isn't evil, just wayyyyyy out of his depth - I just don't think that organisations like the major religions should exist. It's wrong that people uplifted due to irrational belief rather than any real qualification or ability should have a say in important issues that decide the fate of nations. I absolutely hate the way government in US seems to pander to the religious, the most powerful country in the world should not be giving any of that power to the kind of idiots that get backed by the 'religious vote'. It's not something I percieve so much in my own country's politics (UK) but it's certainly there.

But yeah, it's nice to be able to debate this.

All hail our Lord Saviour the Internet for He hath brought us together from the far corners of the world to have pointless discussions on gaming websites. Amen.

:P

dobahci:

Treblaine:
Would you really be happy taking on the role of a practising Muslim or one who is completely silent on the issue of religion. How about a Scientologist? Or are you REALLY more hoping for a Christian one.

...

But I think the main reason is that if you actually make the protagonist religious, that a huge proportion will just think the protagonist is a gullible idiot for believing in such things. Like being genuinely paranoid about breaking a mirror for 7 years bad luck, it comes across to many as superstitious.

Honestly, I'd love to play as a religious character. A practicing Muslim, or Christian... even a Scientologist. Sure, why not? I like my characters to be interesting and believable and well fleshed out. They can have flaws, and superstitions, and religious faiths, and maybe occasionally struggle with their faith or suffer an internal debate upon the ramifications of their beliefs, agonize over the potential hypocrisy or self-contradictions of the deity or holy book or church they've always trusted.

At least a character like that would be interesting. They would be human. For a lot of people, being human includes at least some religious faith. Better a gullible religious protagonist than another stereotypical wisecracking irreligious hero who can do everything well and is handsome and charming and has a witty response to everything. We have just a few too many of those.

Safe bet is NOT to make your protagonist afraid of some invisible sky man who they've never experienced and was just told about in Sunday School.

If this is how you think of all religious people, then... I don't know what to say. They're not all mindless sheep, despite what you may think. They have feelings, and thoughts, and most of them are probably pretty good people who want to see the world become a better place. Most of them are sincere -- they truly believe. Some of them may have felt the presence of god at one point, experienced some life changing event that renewed their faith when they were going astray. I thought I experienced something like that too, once, back when I was a Christian.

Now I'm an atheist, so I know those feelings and that experience did not originate from anything based in fact or evidence... but I know how real they felt at the time. So I don't judge those who are religious, I don't think I'm better or smarter than they are. Because I know how real it can feel. I have both religious and atheist friends, and religious relatives, and I don't try to tell them they are gullible idiots who can't think for themselves. What would give me the right to judge someone who doesn't think as I do? Then I would be committing the same crime which we secular people are so quick to lay at the feet of religious folk.

I think religion is just too deep an issue and would contradict too much with me as it's pretty simple way out of these dilemmas by concluding this is just some old dogma that doesn't mean anything. I think you'd have to spice it up in the game world by leaving some ACTUAL evidence that the god in question exists. It wouldn't be very relevant to real life, but interesting at least.

"If this is how you think of all religious people, then... I don't know what to say. They're not all mindless sheep"

Yes, I know they have feelings, thoughts and are good people. Like many people I was one of them. It is precisely because of that that they can come to believe in god.

What will happen after I die? Fear of death. Reasoning that it can't all just end. And where the heck did all of this come from? The mountains, the sea, the sky? How?

God is the Occam's Razor of thinking and feeling about the world and the entire universe; the simplest explanation. Some person, an all powerful being did it. And THEN the leap in logic is made that he can both read your thoughts and actually cares about what you are thinking.

The thing is some things have very complex explanations, it is hard to explain evolution through natural selection in a quick and simple way. But not as hard as trying to explain nature by the simple rule that "god made it".

Holding this belief in the god of the bible for so long cannot reflect well on a character.

So much of the basic education that you need before you can even apply for the typical highly skilled job you play in games, this education is in direct contradiction with the bible. The bible which is the sole indication that god-the-creator would exist. The testimony that this feeling of "closeness" with some being some occasionally feel is the creator of the universe... rather than a ghost or something else.

So I get the impression adult believers have either critically poor education, that didn't even do basic geography on the age of the earth. Or they have some huge weakness of character that means they are utterly dependent on a belief in god, that they will reject or excuse what they have learned because they are dependent on this belief system. Dependant because they cannot accept death being final, or self-control without an omniscient judge.

Only one thing I can say about the OP, and I didn't even say it.

"More blood has been spilled and lives have been lost in the name of God than for any other reason" - George Carlin

Wow what a misleading title, a guy reviews 5 games and gives his opinion on them and it is suddenly a study?
Oh and he is a doctoral student in journalism....so how does his opinion hold any weight in terms of religion and games?

Broken Sword says hi.

Yes, there are crazed zealots and whatnot, but in that game, it has heavy religion influences, almost every character is religious and not all of them are crazed homicidals or anything, just a small group.

Sandytimeman:
Check all that apply

[x]called out on some sketchy interpretations
[ ] proved that the bible doesn't support the rape of women

Too broad - I countered what you posted, but I can't counter that. Specifics, please.

Fact of the matter is - you're too ignorant of something you condemn, just like most of the other people in this thread.

Hell I'm pretty ignorant of my own Bible, but I can still counter most of the crap spewed in this thread, mostly because I have YOUR ignorance on my side to do it with.

Give me a challenge, please.

Treblaine:
Number one: I thought God's morality was universal and absolute? If he is so flexible to the mores of today to permit and prescribe RAPE OF PRISONERS OF WAR but somehow doesn't apply today, then how is Christianity unable to accept adult homosexuals who consensually and mutually love each from marrying?

Where the hell did you get that. It looks unrelated to my original post. I said that God encourages marriage with captives in order to decrease the rape of prisoners of war THAT ALREADY HAPPENS, EVERYWHERE.
Marital rape is a different issue - but I question the assumption that the prisoners of war were forced into the marriage.

Treblaine:
Number two: So why was Galileo Galilei vilified by the church for giving evidence that the Earth was not the centre of the universe?

I'm not Roman Catholic. I didn't villify Galileo, nor would I centuries ago.

l2understand the denominations.

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