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Religion in Games: Less a Leap of Faith, More Suspension of Belief

To kick off it's weeklong look at religion in video games, Kotaku gets started with religion's history in the medium - that means bona fide religions and religious references. Games aren't the first to give us violent, blood-spattered tales of good versus evil; religions began that genre centuries ago. But incorporating the imagery and figures of faiths that are still practiced today remains rare. You're more likely to see only allegorical or completely invented representations of divinity or belief sets.

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Chaostar3753d ago (Edited 3753d ago )

As an Atheist I have no belief in God(s) but I think that games should continue to draw from the culture, art and history surrounding religious belief. Religious stories are colourful to say the least and are a great source of inspiration for artists and writers, not just in games but movies/tv and books too.

Tachyon_Nova3753d ago (Edited 3753d ago )

I agree that games definetly should draw from religious culture. The Bible for one is a very interesting book (I'm an atheist as well btw), with many a gruesome story that could make even Kratos blush.

But I don't think there is any need or indeed a market for a game that tries to push religion onto you as fact. It simply wouldn't work. Perhaps they could go down the Heavy Rain route. Think about it, you could start of an atheist, and then your kid gets taken away from you for no reason by the Church. Then to get him back, you have to convert to Christianity and go through a series of challenges to prove that you are a true god fearing Christian. Then you could make it so that if you fail in your tasks, you get condemned to Hell and your family hates you, but if you suceeed, you get your kid back and you get "saved", and hence go to heaven.

Come to think of it, my games sounding pretty good, and there would be plently of room for disgusting acts of violence etc etc.

yoshiroaka3753d ago (Edited 3753d ago )

Wow the first few responses to this topic have been very open minded and very respectful. Thats pretty cool.

Religion is a topic that people always have powerful feelings towards whether it be positive or negative. It opens a lot of interesting questions and can really get a person to think.

I think Bioshock used religion well in their story.
Many japanese games use religion as well except the dont call it Christianity or say Jesus.

I think there was one game where the players were searching for "god" and when they found him they found out he was dead. If that isnt a concept that can make you think then i dont know what is. I think the game was grandia 2.

Anyway kudos for free thinking.

WinterWolf3753d ago

I have been a Christian (non-denominational) for most of my life. My faith plays a huge role in my life and I acknowledge Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Having said this, I don't believe video games should shy away from the topic of religion. If a game can present religion on an observational basis (having religious themes without drawing too many conclusions), I don't see why any open-minded individual can't enjoy it. And even if there is a statement within, I don't understand why people are so offended. Let people believe what they want to believe. My faith doesn't stop me from playing God of War or Dante's Inferno. Furthermore, if someone is secure enough in their beliefs, should a video game disturb them so much? Can an atheist not play a game where there exists a God (Black and White etc) and can a Christian not play a game where God does not exist. If you know what you believe in, why should it matter?

But it is important to understand that people will believe what they want to believe and each person will take away something different from each experience. It is how we interpret messages and what we chose to take away from the experience that determines how much we enjoy that experience. my friend and I both watched Wall-E. I loved it but my friend disliked it because he thought it was too political with it's environment message. Why do people focus on the bad and forget the good. It is the same with video games and any other entertainment. The movie the Matrix takes a viewpoint of determinism and that free will is an illusion. I don't necessarily agree with that viewpoint, however I can still enjoy the movie for all the positive qualities, it IS a kick-ass movie. Some of the positive aspects I can enjoy about Dante's inferno, for example, is that the idea that bishop cannot grant you eternal life. That is a positive that I take away as a Christian that I can appreciate. I do not focus on the negatives of the Biblical accuracy of shooting demons with holy cross powers for example. Why would I look for reasons to hate?

But religion and different beliefs SHOULD be a part of video games these days. Why? Because this is the generation we live in! We are surrounded by a world of different ideas and video games these days are not just run and jump on koopas and collect coins. They are filled with human being capable of thinking, in a story, surrounded by different situations. We have to bring in different beliefs to the table! It is a part of human nature.

Darkstorn3753d ago

The suspension of critical thinking (faith) may make for a lousy world, but it's excellent as a motivating factor for characters in video games. I've always enjoyed the study of religions, and if developers are able to realistically create religions based on concepts I'm interested in and that have a positive effect on the gameplay, I'm all for it.

MEsoJD3753d ago

Jesus with a heavy machine gun slaughtering demons while smoking a

cigar. Yeah that would be awesome. Oh and he also rides a Unicorn.

El_Colombiano3753d ago

MEsoJD...

Well there's our combo breaker.

The Killer3753d ago

there is scientific proof of God and of Islam that is from God!!

Islam is the only religion in the world which can make such claim and there is a back up to my statement!!

and islam is the only religion that is remained and changed and corrupted by the people because it is the last message from God so Gos protected it unlike Bible or Torah and Ibrahim book.

now the question is, do u need a reason/proof to believe in God and to be a muslim or u wanna live the way they your simple human brain think is the best way and risk your eternal life to be in hell?

because look guys, what u lose if u believe in Islam? u will only lose the bad things which the devils made it appear to be good for the people!! i mean u can still be a good muslim and have [email protected](through marriage) play sports, games(if there is no nudity or anti islam messages), u can still travel around the world, u can still have kids, u can make friends, u can watch TV and use the internet(if the content is appropriate) u can still watch cinemas(again depend on the content) u can still make party(not with musics or dancing) and barbecue, u can still live in the jungle if u want!!!

so if u believe in islam u will not lose anything good, and u will at least secure ur after life, and IF(and it is not the case) there is no after life then u wont lose anything by being a muslim, but if u dont believe in islam then u r taking a risk of ur eternal life to b e in hell fire instead of paradise!!!

Chaostar3753d ago

Me again, thanks for keeping it respectful :D

I'd just like to point out that after posting my honest opinion (post 1) on this page, which was niether offensive or disrespectful towards any belief, I have lost a bubble. The only reason I can think of that people would vote me down is because they oppose my belief (or lack thereof) so I'd like to highlight the fact that while nobody has made any irrational comments as of yet the hate is very much present behind the scenes. Thanks for reading.

yoshiroaka3753d ago

@chaostar

Sorry to hear that dude.
+bubbles

The Killer3753d ago (Edited 3753d ago )

u r naive!!

the bubble system is in the hand of the admin, they r the ones who decide how many bubbles a user can have!! because i tried before to get 20+ bubbles from friends every weak for 3 months but i didnt get any extra bubble!! and on the other hand when ever i say something which might not be the best for the admins and their beliefs and bias opinions then i lose 1-2 bubbles in few hours!!

so it is not the users who took ur bubble rather the admins!!

this place run by not so good admins who have bias towards the 360 over ps3!! they always delete news if for ps3 while 360 rarely they do it!! and they r not anti-evil powers and anti islam and the weak!! conclusion they r not good admins!!

look at my last comment if u r interested then send me a message!!

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerssssss

a_squirrel3753d ago (Edited 3753d ago )

If a 'true' bible game was made, it'd be rated Adult

Some of you have no clue what it is (thanks to those who do)
It is full of violence, sex, alcohol, drugs, witches, sorcery, murder, killing, miracles.

From the beginning of time (BC) to (I forget the exact time) but sometime after AD... maybe 100 AD?

-Intense Violence
-Blood and Gore
-Nudity
-Sexual Content
-Alcohol Reference
-Drug Reference

Not only does this sound like an awesome game, (and it better NOT be censored) but it's also really accurate. I could see it coming with different disks, maybe 2 for each book? Anyways, it'd be BIG

:D

Personally, I don't like Islam, and one reason is because I'm a Christian

Most people don't know this, but most Christians aren't the stupid ignorant 'YOUR GOIN TO HELL!' ones...

But it's the odd few who aren't that get noticed

EDIT: I think it's also fair to say that in the Bible (during cults and I forgot who is talking) but it says to think about what you believe for yourselves, see if there's anything wrong with what you believe. That's also why I don't believe in evolution. Don't flame me, I think it's stupid, but I don't just yell it out

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 3753d ago
LordMarius3753d ago (Edited 3753d ago )

This will not end well, especially since mostly the whole internet is biased towards one side

so who is going to throw the first ignorant comment

sikbeta3753d ago

But the Current "bias state" got nothing to do with religion, I made the first ignorant and childish comment but not to try to make this a Console Flame-war, so I don't get it, I don't think anyone will "merge" Console Fanboysm + Relegion for the sake of being a Delusional @sshole...

LordMarius3753d ago

I was talking about Atheist vs. Theist
not consoles

Darkstorn3753d ago

@2.0-
I'm not sure what your point is. Bias occurs in all pastimes that human beings can have; the internet (for some reason...) tends to have a lot of conspiracy theorists and libertarians, don't ask me why. College campuses tend to be dominated by progressive thinkers, and military installations are havens for conservatives.

Video games are unique in that both the extremely creative - Bioshock - and the not all that progressive - Modern Warfare - crowds can come together to celebrate creativity in general, not necessarily industry growth or even innovation (case in point - Madden).

Maybe I completely missed your point...if so, please correct me :P

-Mezzo-3753d ago

I only wish no one jumps out with disrespectful comments towards Religions.

LtSkittles3753d ago

Religion is ok with me, I mean I don't want people telling me, what to believe, and I won't tell them what to believe.

Darkstorn3753d ago (Edited 3753d ago )

I'm becoming less and less of a relativist. If you're going to deny medical treatment to your children because you believe that "God will heal them," then you are not a suitable parent. There should be standards for absolutely insane religious practices (i.e. animal sacrifice).
So in terms of 'regulating' religious practice, I think 'telling' people what NOT to believe can be beneficial.

-Mezzo-3753d ago

I agree with what you said, why can't we just let others believe what they want too and be OK with it, why be preachy towards other People in my Religion (Islam) people preach a-lot,Christians people preach a-lot, Jews people preach a-lot & Atheist people preach a-lot.

What does every single Religion asks of us, it asks of us "To Be A Better Human Being", Just be that and you are Practicing every Religion. Thus this Centuries old (My Religion is correct & yours is wrong) nonsense would come to an end.

3753d ago Replies(2)
ZombieNinjaPanda3753d ago

Religion doesn't bother me, as long as they're not trying to push it down your throat.

Cock4Gamers3753d ago

Religion is good for you and getting it shoved down your throat will give you your daily dose of vitamin C!

Darkstorn3753d ago

That's a common argument, but considering the amount of empathy inside each of us, I think we all care if our neighbor's wellbeing is being compromised by his/her beliefs.
Maybe I'm just a social interventionist, but I think it's an obligation of civil society to look out for each other, as long as it's in the utilitarian interest.

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