Author Topic: Video games and the downfall of religion?  (Read 742 times)

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Offline Jag

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Video games and the downfall of religion?
« on: May 22, 2013, 02:57:52 PM »
Gods and prayer in video games

I'm not a gamer, although I'm under a certain amount of pressure to take it up  ;) - not sure if or when I'll give it a whirl. I know my tendency to get very involved in my fiction, I can see video games becoming a huge time sink for me...

In any case, I found the comparison apt, but have no real awareness of the games. If anyone is into RPG's, take a look and share your thought on the writer's correlation between video gaming and the decreasing faith numbers among millennials. Does she make a valid point or is it too big a stretch?
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 03:26:28 PM »
Not all that surprising.  Game designers who put things in a game that do nothing are just wasting time (theirs and the game-players).  So it's probably a side-effect of that.  It's still interesting, though.  There's no such thing as 'faith' in a video game.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2013, 03:27:58 PM »
I highly doubt video games are causing the fall of religion. It's just common sense. Humans are evolving; becoming smarter with each generation. Smarter people tend not to believe in religion.
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Offline Petey

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 03:39:56 PM »
These gaming features have been around since the pen & paper days, and have very little to do with the downfall of religion.  The major factors are improvements in the areas of communication and information availability.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 03:50:03 PM »
I highly doubt video games are causing the fall of religion. It's just common sense. Humans are evolving; becoming smarter with each generation. Smarter people tend not to believe in religion.
Evolution doesn't have anything to do with increased intelligence.  It simply has to do with increasing the likelihood of surviving.  So I don't think people are getting smarter with every generation.  I don't think people today are that much smarter on average than, say, people from 3,000 years ago.

What I think you mean is that people are becoming more educated with each generation.  Because of that education, they're generally less likely to try to invent an explanation for something they don't understand, but rather try to apply the knowledge they already know to it.

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 04:05:04 PM »
RPG's have some good story-telling.

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Offline Quesi

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 04:18:27 PM »
What a great article.  As a middle aged lady gamer, who also usually plays highly religious/supernatural characters (healers usually, sometimes spell casters or summoners) I identified with the author a great deal.

Not sure I agree with her premise.  But the chart that she used as her opening was fascinating. 

But she did make an interesting point.  In game, prayers or spells or meditation DO SOMETHING.  In Skyrim I go to the temples.  In Morrowind, I always followed the 9 Divines.  I was a druid in EQ.  Even in Civ 4 (was it 4 that had culture and religion that changed the border lines?) I always had highly religious societies and passively took over my opponents borders.  So it must be an interesting experience for a young theist become a character in a game who follows a religion of some sort, and the religion actually DOES something.


Offline Seppuku

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 04:25:05 PM »
Quote
In any case, I found the comparison apt, but have no real awareness of the games. If anyone is into RPG's, take a look and share your thought on the writer's correlation between video gaming and the decreasing faith numbers among millennials. Does she make a valid point or is it too big a stretch?

I'm a big RPGamer, in fact, I would say I am an RPG whore.

Bioshock Infinite is a clear critique of certain religious practices, but it's an amazing game, though I've still yet to complete it. It's a portrayal of a time in the US where things were a lot more backward, it's full of religious bigotry and racism and to be honest, I was expecting it to cause a s**t storm. Bioshock 1 & 2 on the other hand seemed to be more political. Assassin's Creed seems to play on religious hypocrisy as a theme as well. Though I suppose neither of those games are technically RPGs, but lets not be pedantic.

There are games out there that can demonstrate any ill practices of religion as part of the game. As much as I hate the game Final Fantasy XIII pretty much shows it, the 'big' boss is basically the pope. Final Fantasy X is another, with it you actually see a race of people exiled by religious practices because they superstitiously believe technology was their downfall and this race of people are obsessed with technology, when really technology had nothing to do with it. Some games you'll see some religious folks as being the bad guys, but sometimes also as the good guys.

For RPGs in particular, I think perhaps one of the things that could ring true here is that we are often entering a fantasy settings a world of the supernatural, presented as being entirely fictional, people worshipping fictional gods and in some cases, killing them. It probably wouldn't take much to noticed the difference between fantasy and reality, each new RPG is a new world, with new magics and even new gods. What makes The goddess Altana different from the God of the bible? So I suppose it's possible for somebody to make that connection and think, "maybe I'm believing in a fantasy', but on the other hand, I suppose it's possible they just think fantasy is just a rewrite of reality - I mean, humans and buildings exists in fantasies and it doesn't bring people to question their existence, if a god is real to somebody, I don't necessarily think a fictional god will have them question theirs. Would the effect of 'faith' in a video game make a difference, you know, where it works in games and not real life? Not sure, well, generally people will be led to believe why it's not the case for many reasons and it could easily be rationalised that faith in video games is about 'game mechanics', no point having a priest healer who can barely heal.

But to be honest, if it can, I don't think it has had THAT great of an effect. RPGs are all about the storytelling and well, these kinds of stories have been around since before video games. I guess I would argue a case for correlation, not causation. Remember, pirates & global warming. ;)
« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 04:28:13 PM by Seppuku »
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Offline Jag

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2013, 08:23:07 PM »
Thanks all, I appreciate the feedback.

It seems to me (as an admitted outsider) that video games follow a story line, and the battle between good and evil is a pervasive theme in fantasy novels. So for the same theme to occur often in video games makes sense. If anything, it might say something noteworthy about the game creators.
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2013, 09:55:25 AM »
Actually D&D contributed severely to my first crack in my religious beliefs. I had made a pantheon for a game, working on a consistent cosmology, reasons for evil in the world, as well as impersonal forces that had upsides and downsides(like say fire) and realized If a bright 14 year old with a long weekend can create a religion, anyone can.

I still find it funny and irritating that a group of dedicated anti-atheist phoilowank trolls on Live Journal mocked this. "ha ha of course it was more consistent he invented it" Yeah guys, one author making a fiction makes it more consistent. More than one author working on a fiction makes it less consistent. When you are talking about facts and science the opposite is true, nimrods.

That's what might be part of the gestault here(certainly oversold by the author) exposure to fantasy and human ability of pattern recognition.
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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2013, 02:53:22 PM »
I would say I am an RPG whore.

Unless you are getting paid, you are only an RPG slut.
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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2013, 03:39:19 PM »
I would say I am an RPG whore.

Unless you are getting paid, you are only an RPG slut.

Yes, you are spot on. I was getting ahead of myself, I would like to be a RPG whore.
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Online jdawg70

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2013, 03:46:51 PM »
I would say I am an RPG whore.

Unless you are getting paid, you are only an RPG slut.
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2013, 01:25:16 AM »
Here's probably an interesting video related to this thread, the guy who made the video is annoying (at least I found him annoying) but he redeems himself by raising some good points.

“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline Nam

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2013, 05:00:22 AM »
I would say I am an RPG whore.

Unless you are getting paid, you are only an RPG slut.

Yes, you are spot on. I was getting ahead of myself, I would like to be a RPG whore.

Who wouldn't?

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2013, 01:42:13 PM »
I would say I am an RPG whore.

Unless you are getting paid, you are only an RPG slut.

Yes, you are spot on. I was getting ahead of myself, I would like to be a RPG whore.

Who wouldn't?

-Nam

Actually, I guess I could qualify, as I've been hired to GM at a Con.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Video games and the downfall of religion?
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2013, 03:28:48 AM »
Heck, not just video games.  Board games too.  Frankly, ANYTHING that has a defined mechanism where input A produces result B is all adding to the message.  I just think that - in general - kids are being allowed to think more, and having to grasp the way things interact a lot earlier.
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