A great deal of blood has been spilled in the name of religion over the centuries, and the maker of a new board game hopes that parodying religious violence will bring him Earthly rewards.
USA Today reports that Playing Gods: The Board Game of Divine Domination is billed as "the world's first satirical board game of religious warfare," and includes playing pieces such as Jesus wielding a cross and a chain gun-toting Buddha (see pic).
Playing Gods was launched at DragonCon in September. The game's creator, Ben Radford, told USA Today:
Much of the world's violence is rooted in religion... [I wanted to] make more social commentary... [and] pierce the pretensions of extremist religious zealotry with humor...
[The game is] not anti-religion. It's anti-zealot, anti-people who kill for their beliefs, whatever those are.
Not surprisingly, Playing Gods is not without its critics. Prof. Carl Raschke, who teaches religious studies at the
University of Denver commented:
[The game] has no basis in historical reality and doesn't actually represent any religion. It just appeals to people who hate religion to begin with — the hip subculture of militant popular atheists. These people are fanatics, for the most part, themselves. Their thinking is rigid and hostile and not much different from jihadists who don't use their minds or study what they are dealing with. They start from their own dogmatic perspective.
Of course it is [offensive]. But it sounds too stupid to go far.
In an FAQ on the Playing Gods website, designer Radford denies that the $39.99 game is anti-religious:
The game is not anti-anything, except anti-boredom. Players can inject as much – or as little – real religion into the game as they wish. Players may pit Zeus against Cthulhu and Eric Clapton for control over the world, or pit Jesus against a Muslim figurehead. It's all up to you. I hope the game is taken in the spirit in which it was offered.