Controversial New Board Game Parodies Religious Violence

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.

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358 comments

  1. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    You’re a brilliant debater. If you can’t tell me why murder is wrong, why should I believe that it is? Seems to me the only reason it’s wrong is because you say it is. Unless you’re the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, I don’t think your opinion counts for much.

  2. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    1. Plenty of atheists involved with a lot of immoral crap, too, but I’m not going to assume they’re representative. And this also wouldn’t be the first time someone has taken a religious text and used it for his own ends. Radical Muslims do it all the time; I don’t see people saying they’re representative of all Muslims or that the Koran must be bad because some people use it to justify suicide bombings. Please try to avoid the double-standard; it makes your opinions look weak.

    2. This is not just my interpretation; this is the accepted interpretation of many Biblical scholars. If you spend some time studying good Christians theology, you’ll probably find that I’m right.

    3. The stoning for work on the Sabbath was part of the culture-specific law the Israelites put in place themselves to serve as their interpretation of the law. God never said "Thou shalt stone those who violate that commandment." God didn’t change his mind; the coming of Christ overturned the legalist interpretation you’re using and made the law what it was supposed to be. The morality behind the law didn’t change.

    4. Now I’m wondering why I debate you since you’d prefer to make Christians out to be self-serving pigs. I guess if you want to be unreasonably bigotted, I can’t stop you. I would, however, like to point out that I gave a perfectly good, non-selfish, New Testament-supported reason for doctors working on Sunday while you just used it as an excuse to throw around your mean-spirited, baseless, and uninformed opinion. And, since I’m obviously the one who understands Christian theology in this debate, I think my informed reasons trump your uninformed, anti-Christian opinions.

    5. If you think you could base a law system on that rstuff, go right ahead. Of course, since there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to follow it, I don’t see why you’d bother. It’s another set of arbitrary rules. If you can’t provide a reason to follow said rules, you’re not getting anywhere.

  3. 0
    sabin_blitz says:

    All of a sudden I got an incredibly awesome picture in my head. Jesus wielding Wolfwood’s cross in one hand while juggling the many pistols concealed in the cross, firing each one as he catches it and tossing it up in time to catch the next one on the way down. That would be undeniably EPIC.

  4. 0
    TJLK says:

    Lol, first time I’ve seen comments go completely out of bounds visually.

    I’d play the game.  It is something I find funny.

    [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.

    Stupid ideas go far.  I don’t think ALL religion is stupid.  Some ideas presented by Religious Extremists(lets call them what they are) are completely foolish.  I think this guy has forgotten about some of the stupid things many various religions have convinced people in human history.

    Gods used to control everything.  Not one God but multiple Gods.  Thats how it used to be to the masses.  If a volcanoe went off then it was a God that made it do that, if a country won a war it was because a god prefered them. 

    Somehow some religious fanatics have convinced people that if they sacrifice themself for a cause then they will be greeted by numerous virgins in an afterlife.

    Somehow some religious fanatics have convinced people that other peopel are evil and should be killed for their different beliefs

    Somehow some religous fanatics have convinced people that one God loves EVERYONE, yet still sends people to suffer for an eternity, then convinces them that he controls everything and you should give him your money.

    Somehow some religious fanatics have convinced people to harass others in various ways that don’t agree with their set of beliefs.

    Somehow some fanatics have convinced people that anyone that has a religion is foolish and should be rediculed on a regular basis.

    Is it safe to just say there are just a bunch of crazy @$$#0|3$ that are not content with just beliving in something that they have to go and try to get others to agree with them.  Debating them is pretty much reducing yourself to their level and if you simply try to discuss it with them its a waste of time because they really aren’t interested unless you plan on converting.

    Why can’t people just try following a religion and allowing people to initiate or at least end efforts of conversion.  Everyone is so caught up in what is right and what is wrong that they fail to admit that they both could be wrong or both could be right.  When you think about it, you ask yourself "who knows?"  Dead people might know something about it, but they’re dead and not of much use for validity.  Even if you COULD converse with them after death how could you know they wern’t just making stuff up?  Hell how could you proove that you can talk to dead people?

    I guess my point is you should pick your religion and stick to it unless you have a change of heart.  Don’t get up in everyones business trying to convert them to what you beleive in and don’t get caught up in these fanatical pratices of using God as and excuse to do harm or to take advantage of others.  That is a cult mentality and no good will come from that.

    But that won’t happen, especially in America.  America was colonized by religious extremist.  Can’t really argue with that unless you think killing people in the name of God isn’t an extreme religious practice.  Luckily I have some good proof of that since they kept fine records of all the people they burned and hung publicly.  Things have chilled out but if you read the news even poorly you can still see it exists in a few places.

    Anyway, I like the designer’s answers.  They clearly give him the high ground and make those that are angry seem foolish.  I want to read the rules then think about buying the game… but not until I read the rules unless someone tells me it is an amazing board games.  There are plenty of silly games that are successful so I think Prof. Carl Raschke is ignorant on what kind of games do well.  I could start listing successful games that have done well but I might get tired and I’d probably leave out a great deal of them.  A game doesn’t have to be smart, it has to be fun.  Actually some times I prefer completely rediculous ideas in games.

  5. 0
    TJLK says:

    Lol, first time I’ve seen comments go completely out of bounds visually.

    I’d play the game.  It is something I find funny.

    [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.

    Stupid ideas go far.  I don’t think ALL religion is stupid.  Some ideas presented by Religious Extremists(lets call them what they are) are completely foolish.  I think this guy has forgotten about some of the stupid things many various religions have convinced people in human history.

    Gods used to control everything.  Not one God but multiple Gods.  Thats how it used to be to the masses.  If a volcanoe went off then it was a God that made it do that, if a country won a war it was because a god prefered them. 

    Somehow some religious fanatics have convinced people that if they sacrifice themself for a cause then they will be greeted by numerous virgins in an afterlife.

    Somehow some religious fanatics have convinced people that other peopel are evil and should be killed for their different beliefs

    Somehow some religous fanatics have convinced people that one God loves EVERYONE, yet still sends people to suffer for an eternity, then convinces them that he controls everything and you should give him your money.

    Somehow some religious fanatics have convinced people to harass others in various ways that don’t agree with their set of beliefs.

    Somehow some fanatics have convinced people that anyone that has a religion is foolish and should be rediculed on a regular basis.

    Is it safe to just say there are just a bunch of crazy @$$#0|3$ that are not content with just beliving in something that they have to go and try to get others to agree with them.  Debating them is pretty much reducing yourself to their level and if you simply try to discuss it with them its a waste of time because they really aren’t interested unless you plan on converting.

    Why can’t people just try following a religion and allowing people to initiate or at least end efforts of conversion.  Everyone is so caught up in what is right and what is wrong that they fail to admit that they both could be wrong or both could be right.  When you think about it, you ask yourself "who knows?"  Dead people might know something about it, but they’re dead and not of much use for validity.  Even if you COULD converse with them after death how could you know they wern’t just making stuff up?  Hell how could you proove that you can talk to dead people?

    I guess my point is you should pick your religion and stick to it unless you have a change of heart.  Don’t get up in everyones business trying to convert them to what you beleive in and don’t get caught up in these fanatical pratices of using God as and excuse to do harm or to take advantage of others.  That is a cult mentality and no good will come from that.

    But that won’t happen, especially in America.  America was colonized by religious extremist.  Can’t really argue with that unless you think killing people in the name of God isn’t an extreme religious practice.  Luckily I have some good proof of that since they kept fine records of all the people they burned and hung publicly.  Things have chilled out but if you read the news even poorly you can still see it exists in a few places.

    Anyway, I like the designer’s answers.  They clearly give him the high ground and make those that are angry seem foolish.  I want to read the rules then think about buying the game… but not until I read the rules unless someone tells me it is an amazing board games.  There are plenty of silly games that are successful so I think Prof. Carl Raschke is ignorant on what kind of games do well.  I could start listing successful games that have done well but I might get tired and I’d probably leave out a great deal of them.  A game doesn’t have to be smart, it has to be fun.  Actually some times I prefer completely rediculous ideas in games.

  6. 0
    TJLK says:

    Lol, first time I’ve seen comments go completely out of bounds visually.

    I’d play the game.  It is something I find funny.

    [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.

    Stupid ideas go far.  I don’t think ALL religion is stupid.  Some ideas presented by Religious Extremists(lets call them what they are) are completely foolish.  I think this guy has forgotten about some of the stupid things many various religions have convinced people in human history.

    Gods used to control everything.  Not one God but multiple Gods.  Thats how it used to be to the masses.  If a volcanoe went off then it was a God that made it do that, if a country won a war it was because a god prefered them. 

    Somehow some religious fanatics have convinced people that if they sacrifice themself for a cause then they will be greeted by numerous virgins in an afterlife.

    Somehow some religious fanatics have convinced people that other peopel are evil and should be killed for their different beliefs

    Somehow some religous fanatics have convinced people that one God loves EVERYONE, yet still sends people to suffer for an eternity, then convinces them that he controls everything and you should give him your money.

    Somehow some religious fanatics have convinced people to harass others in various ways that don’t agree with their set of beliefs.

    Somehow some fanatics have convinced people that anyone that has a religion is foolish and should be rediculed on a regular basis.

    Is it safe to just say there are just a bunch of crazy @$$#0|3$ that are not content with just beliving in something that they have to go and try to get others to agree with them.  Debating them is pretty much reducing yourself to their level and if you simply try to discuss it with them its a waste of time because they really aren’t interested unless you plan on converting.

    Why can’t people just try following a religion and allowing people to initiate or at least end efforts of conversion.  Everyone is so caught up in what is right and what is wrong that they fail to admit that they both could be wrong or both could be right.  When you think about it, you ask yourself "who knows?"  Dead people might know something about it, but they’re dead and not of much use for validity.  Even if you COULD converse with them after death how could you know they wern’t just making stuff up?  Hell how could you proove that you can talk to dead people?

    I guess my point is you should pick your religion and stick to it unless you have a change of heart.  Don’t get up in everyones business trying to convert them to what you beleive in and don’t get caught up in these fanatical pratices of using God as and excuse to do harm or to take advantage of others.  That is a cult mentality and no good will come from that.

    But that won’t happen, especially in America.  America was colonized by religious extremist.  Can’t really argue with that unless you think killing people in the name of God isn’t an extreme religious practice.  Luckily I have some good proof of that since they kept fine records of all the people they burned and hung publicly.  Things have chilled out but if you read the news even poorly you can still see it exists in a few places.

    Anyway, I like the designer’s answers.  They clearly give him the high ground and make those that are angry seem foolish.  I want to read the rules then think about buying the game… but not until I read the rules unless someone tells me it is an amazing board games.  There are plenty of silly games that are successful so I think Prof. Carl Raschke is ignorant on what kind of games do well.  I could start listing successful games that have done well but I might get tired and I’d probably leave out a great deal of them.  A game doesn’t have to be smart, it has to be fun.  Actually some times I prefer completely rediculous ideas in games.

  7. 0
    SticKboy says:

    And what would be your basis for determining who lives and who dies? Random chance, or weighing up their actions on the subjectively determined basis of whether they have led a good or evil life?

    Note "subjective" as opposed to "arbitrary". Either way, we determine these factors from our upbringing, surroundings and other societal influencors. Whilst I can cinceive oif a socitey that encourages random killing, we do not live in such a society and so the point is moot.

    Bronze belief system play a part insofar as they play into the tapestry oif the socity in which you find yourself, not because they are neccessarily true or not. It’s all relative.

  8. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:

    True, Wicca is not the only form, it’s one of the best known. A close friend of mine is one, and there’s no religious bashing going on BECAUSE we’re friends.

    ——————————————————————————

    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  9. 0
    Afirejar says:

    Blablablablabla. Learn to think for yourself for a change. Read the bible.

    You don’t need some kind of higher moral code as a basis for your moral code for the simple reason that you don’t have one, even if you’re too absorbed into your religious belief to be aware of it.

    Have you for example heard, that some people believe, that women shouldn’t submit to their husbands? Now where did that come from?

    To me, your whole premise seems absurd. If an absolute higher moral code existed, wouldn’t that imply, that moral codes of different societies should all be the same and never change? Or did the others just "get it wrong"? And who says, they did and not you?

  10. 0
    Harry Miste says:

    We’re not feeding the troll; we’re bitchslapping it and telling it to STFU with its acidic speech.


    XBOX LIVE GamerTag: Harry Miste | Steam ID: Harry Miste | PSN ID: HMiste | EYE. HAVE. YOU.

  11. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    Yeah, and the sexy android quoting scripture. What was her security password? "And ye shall be as gods." I think.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  12. 0
    Afirejar says:

    Remember the hullabaloo about the Dutch(?) cartoonist several years back?

    I do. I also remember, how certain Imams added their own offensive Mohammed depictions, which were a great deal worse than the real cartoons. This was never about religion alone, not by a long shot.

  13. 0
    stealthdonkey says:

    "plenty of Christians were at the forefront of the anti-slavery and civil rights movements"

    This seemed to be despite of the Bible, not because of it. Surely the fact that there were Chistians on both sides suggests that the Bible is not the best moral guide.

    "the law about not working on the Sabbath is not meant to be prohibitive. Instead, it’s meant to provide a day where people can just be people by doing things they enjoy that make them human."

    Obviously this is just your interpretation. Moses, following direct orders from God himself, ordered the stoning of a man for picking up sticks on the Sabbath (accoring to the Bible). Unless you are suggesting you know the rules better than both God and Moses, I don’t see where you get your interpretation from.

    "The New Testament has passages saying that pulling your livestock out of holes on Sabbath is perfectly fine"

    I thought you believed in an unchanging moral law? At one stage working on the Sabbath is punishable by death, then God changes his mind?

    "This is the same reason Christians have no problem with doctors working on Sunday"

    No, christians don’t have a problem with doctors working on Sunday because they don’t want to die. Of course they are going to reinterpret the Bible in the most self-serving way possible, that doesn’t mean it’s right.

    "And I said we’d need a law system based on the Ten Commandments."

    Why not base it on any of the commandments found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandment_Alternatives

    They seem like better starting points. Or maybe a legal system based upon our innate sense of empathy.

  14. 0
    Krono says:

    Yeah, once something has worked it’s way into the language, it gets hard to fully get rid of the concept. Particularly when it gets tied up in insults. Take bastard for example. Nowadays no one really cares about the marital status of someone’s part. However, since it’s a common insult, that definition will be hanging around forever, even as other definitions get added to match the use of the word.

    Similarly even if you don’t believe hell exists, telling someone "go to some place where you will suffer eternally" just doesn’t have quite the same ring as "go to hell".

    -Gray17

  15. 0
    FOXDIE Mk.II says:

    Radford just contradicted himself with the "it’s anti-zealot" and "it’s not anti-anything" comments, but I’m supporting the anti-zealot part of that because I believe that what deific power is out there has better things to do than demand obeisance and slaughter from mindless sycophants or need to remind us what is right and wrong when we have our brains for that (God-given, if that’s how it’s preferred).

    It makes me feel sorry for all those people who are stuck with nutjobs like that because they share the same faith.

    Seriousness aside, this is a satire, and satires aren’t supposed to be taken seriously, they’re meant to be fun.  All this is like telling someone how impossible it is for Ash to use a chainsaw like he did in Evil Dead.  We know that and we don’t care, because it’s awesome.  Besides, where else can you see Buddha with a chain gun?

     

  16. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    You do bring up some good examples, although a Christian would argue with the homosexual one. Of course, you also have to remember that plenty of Christians were at the forefront of the anti-slavery and civil rights movements.

    Unfortunately, you’re approaching the Ten Commandments from a legalist perspective; they’re not meant to be viewed that way. That view is a product of a modern culture that has a general dislike for any sort of rules and views them as invariably restrictive.

    For example the law about not working on the Sabbath is not meant to be prohibitive. Instead, it’s meant to provide a day where people can just be people by doing things they enjoy that make them human. If you love mowing your lawn, go right ahead. The commandment is trying to tell you that you shouldn’t work seven days a week because you need time to rest and do what you enjoy. If you understand Jesus’ teachings about the law in the New Testament, you see that your firefighter example is legalism. The New Testament has passages saying that pulling your livestock out of holes on Sabbath is perfectly fine because the Law isn’t meant to be constricting. This is the same reason Christians have no problem with doctors working on Sunday

    And I said we’d need a law system based on the Ten Commandments. For coveting, that would translate into a no theft law.

  17. 0
    FOXDIE Mk.II says:

    I’ve played that, and aside from the story depth and cutscene length that could rival the Metal Gear series, I think that it’s the only video game I’ve seen where Jesus is a player character.

  18. 0
    FOXDIE Mk.II says:

    Radford just contradicted himself with the "it’s anti-zealot" and "it’s not anti-anything" comments, but I’m supporting the anti-zealot part of that because I believe that what deific power is out there has better things to do than demand obeisance and slaughter from mindless sycophants or need to remind us what is right and wrong when we have our brains for that (God-given, if that’s how it’s preferred).

    It makes me feel sorry for all those people who are stuck with nutjobs like that because they share the same faith.

    Seriousness aside, this is a satire, and satires aren’t supposed to be taken seriously, they’re meant to be fun.  All this is like telling someone how impossible it is for Ash to use a chainsaw like he did in Evil Dead.  We know that and we don’t care, because it’s awesome.  Besides, where else can you see Buddha with a chain gun?

  19. 0
    Krono says:

    The problem there is that one means of determining who’s the most "fit" is who survives best with the available resources. Remove the barriers of morality and laws, and other people’s wealth and property gets considered an available resource.

    Also:

    "So I have thought of evaluating the value of life based upon its potential to benefit the world.  What about bums who live off the system?  They aren’t helping.  Kill them off without remorse? Nope, because their genes still hold potential, and current children could also hold that potential, but otherwise may not without said father/mother. Philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists, as well as theologists do a whole lot for the world with just their ideas, so that holds value too.  Killing one person, effectively eliminates a whole chain of potentially infinite potential to benefit mankind as a whole.  Basically, as long as you have the potential to be useful to somebody, your life holds value based upon that, as opposed to an abstract concept that you really can’t identify the basis of, besides saying that its what you were told/led to believe growing up."

    The problem with that is, that for a number of people, their greatest genetic potential to pass on is average intelligence, and something bad like paranoid schizophrenia. The lives of people like that start losing value fast once their own contributions to society drops to "bum on street". Likewise anyone that’s sterile takes a hit to the value of their life.

    -Gray17

  20. 0
    Mnementh2230 says:

     And yet many of the ancient Greek philosophers came to question the existance of their gods.

     

    As for what helps and hurts society, you have to look beyond just the first step.  Wiping out thousands of poor people would create a hostile environment, where those on the lower end of the pay scale would always fear that they were next.  Such feelings breed hostility, and open rebellion.  The key is to create Just and Equitable laws.  Either the law applies to everyone, or it applies to nobody at all.  There needn’t be a religious aspect, merely enlightened self interest.

  21. 0
    stealthdonkey says:

    " I think that there is a danger that a society that bases its laws on personal morality can be swayed to something immoral."

    Yeah, like the United States for instance. Interracil marriage and homosexuality used to be illegal, and slavery legal. But now those moral laws have changed! Why can’t we go back to the good old days when it was OK to stone people to death for working on the Sabbath?… I hope you see the point I’m trying to make. Laws change over time, as societies opinions change, thank goodness.

     

    "If it were a Christian-based law system, I’d say go with the Ten Commandments as the base and work out the specifics from there."

    That could be interesting. To start with, it wold be illegal to work on the Sabbath. I’m sure you’d be happy that firefighters are doing the moral thing when your house in burning down on the wrong day of the week.

    From the 10 commandments: "Neither shall you covet your neighbour’s wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbour’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour."

    That could be a particularly tricky commandment to enshrine in law. Not only does it seem to condone slavery, and the treatment of your wife as a piece of property, but it actually forbids desiring things. The 10 commandments is not a good guide for morality. I thank God (well, so to speak) that no one actually tries to follow them in modern societies.

  22. 0
    Ambiguous says:

    Right.  In fact natural selection doesn’t favor the "strong" it favors the "fit."  In other words, those traits that are more beneficial to the current environment are those that are favored.  As such, there is no such thing as something that is ultimately stronger than another.  An aryian race of superhumans, while certainly strong, would be no more fit than anyone else.

    Also consider that natural selection’s effects have been greatly diminished since our early days.  After all, if natural selection were still important than people who’s genes happen to give rise to physical or mental mutations would be deemed inferior, produce less or no children, and therefore we wouldn’t be seeing as many children with downs and whatnot.  But we all know that isn’t the case.  People go against nature once they organize themselves in a way that protects them from it.  Thats not to say its gone.  The ability to drink milk is a pretty recent (recent in the kind of huge scale that evolution has) evolutionary addition.  By default we used to be lactose intolerant.

    Also, I thought of how I can still be a moral individual and condemn murder without looking at things from a religious morality.  Granted, this view is still very much in the works (I only started thinking about it seriously once I took the basic ethics class in college last year), so I would appreciate some constructive criticisms.  If you see a legitimate flaw, point it out for me. 

    First off, throw out the notion that a person’s life has any innate worth whatsoever.  Individually we are just animals that can think, aka sentient.  If we can’t think, or don’t possess the potential to think, we have no worth.  Now, we got where we are because we evolved together as social creatures that worked together and competed with one another for protection and survival.  One could go on to say that because of that, we condemn killing those (at least those nearby) because it would hurt the group as a whole.  But that is pretty vague, and might not apply to all situations. 

    So I have thought of evaluating the value of life based upon its potential to benefit the world.  What about bums who live off the system?  They aren’t helping.  Kill them off without remorse? Nope, because their genes still hold potential, and current children could also hold that potential, but otherwise may not without said father/mother. Philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists, as well as theologists do a whole lot for the world with just their ideas, so that holds value too.  Killing one person, effectively eliminates a whole chain of potentially infinite potential to benefit mankind as a whole.  Basically, as long as you have the potential to be useful to somebody, your life holds value based upon that, as opposed to an abstract concept that you really can’t identify the basis of, besides saying that its what you were told/led to believe growing up.

    This outlook can even be applied (maybe with some modifications, it is still in the works) to other topics like euthanasia.   In the case of someone who is brain dead without hope of recovery, they have lost all value unto themselves, because they no longer hold the potential to benefit anyone.  In fact, seeing as it costs money to keep them alive, they are a detriment on society.  It could be argued, though, that the ethical controversy surrounding the terry schiavo case in itself gave her life some intrinsic value after said brain death, as ethical controversy itself actually causes people to grow and change as a whole.   **This last part is not intended to start any other debates, its just an example of how one might apply this idea to other ethical issues, please don’t blow it out of proportions or take it out of context.  I know that this kind of thing is a big topic, or even a personal one, with many people.**

    Even if you aren’t religious, not many people can really explain why they feel that life has value without resorting to, "it just does."  It’s not pretty, maybe even downright cold, but I think its a good start for some morality regarding human life based on something different than a religious upbringing, or even a religious society.

    Wow, long post.

  23. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    And covering everything from the story topic to 80’s movies, quantum physics, just for starters. What a story!

    Note: Unless I’m confusing stories Jackie boi did show up.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  24. 0
    Ambiguous says:

    It’s interesting how we atheists/theists always seem to have different definitions for ourselves, including me.  On the topic of existence of gods, there either are or aren’t.  There are literally no other choices, so its not a false dichotomy.   The way it goes for me, like I mentioned in a post way further up, because neither side can actually show that they are indeed right (in other words, provide proof) the clause "I don’t know" has to be part of any position regarding the existence of god, even on the theist side.   As such, claiming to be a true agnostic (saying that they have no opinion because they don’t know) is impossible because in truth no one actually knows. 

    Some use that same logic to claim that everyone is agnostic, but since agnosticism is not a valid stance on any subject with an either/or answer, that doesn’t work.  If you were to draw a line with atheism on one side and theism on the other, agnosticism would be represented by an infintismally small point.  Therefore, its impossible to be agnostic.  Neither side knows, those that do claim to are what is known as "illogical," "militant," and "fanatic."

    I suppose there could be an exception to this, say perhaps someone just literally doesn’t give a damn either way (which despite what ppl say I bet that most do in some small way or another.)  They still wouldn’t be true agnostic though, they just wouldn’t be on the graph at all.

    As for the actual non-agnostic positions, I classify them into weak, moderate, and strong.  Strong are the crazies, moderates are the normals, and weak are the ones that aren’t sure but still lean a little to one side.

  25. 0
    Krono says:

    Nice circuitous logic there. If we take that logic of "murder is wrong because it’s murder" as valid, then the arguments of "homosexuality is wrong because it’s homosexuality" and "lefthandedness is wrong because it’s lefthandedness" are true as well.

    -Gray17

  26. 0
    Krono says:

    Actually, there’s apparently some scholarly debate on the accuracy, and validity of those claims about Mithra.

    Regardless, Tony’s right that Christmas didn’t get it’s date set at December 25th until much later. The Gospel’s didn’t give a time of year, so when it came time to pick a date, they picked one that would keep them competative with other religions and celebrations.

    -Gray17

  27. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    ………It’s Wicca. And the Wiccans are not the only form of "Paganism" There are for example the Reformed Druids, also some pagans have altars to gods or goddesses from Greek, or Egyptian pantheons. Hence the Blank piece, most likely an androgynonus figuine with a blank face.

     Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  28. 0
    Father Time says:

    Natural selection is not ‘stronger guy kills weaker guy and flourishes’ it’s (in a nutshell) ‘stronger guy is naturally better off than the weaker guys, stronger guys flourish, weaker guys die off on their own’. You’re making the same mistake Hitler did in thinking that for natural seleciton to work the stronger must kill the weak (which by the way is one of the really dumb arguments creationists make against evolution).

    —————————————————-

    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  29. 0
    Father Time says:

    Murder causes a lot of pain, a lot of suffering in people and that’s real. It also causes pain and it ends a precious life they may only have one of. That’s why murder is bad, not because most religions say it is.

    It’s illogical to push any religion’s morality onto the populace as the true morality for one simple reason.

    None of the religions are proven (even agnosticism if you take that as being ‘we’ll never find out’) so with that in mind it’s very possible that some or all of the moral codes of any religion were made not by an all-knowing being but by man. And as such it’s possible that those moral codes don’t work.

    Or to put it in another way, consider the possibility that some parts of [insert holy book here] were added later by man and not God for whatever reason (and it doesn’t have to be an evil reason either). You may not believe that’s so but with that in mind it makes a bad moral standing point for all of society.

    —————————————————-

    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  30. 0
    Erik says:

    Still its irrelevant.  If you need religion to tell you murder is wrong.  GTFO of society. 

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  31. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:

    "I bring you…corn!!"

    You also win the Internet.

    ——————————————————————————

    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  32. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:

    "JT showing up makes it happy hour!"

    Ya damn right! 

    ——————————————————————————

    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  33. 0
    Erik says:

    Because the consensus from all people, both religious and atheist, is we’ve decided otherwise.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  34. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    Excellent, I seem to have conveyed my point. I think that there is a danger that a society that bases its laws on personal morality can be swayed to something immoral. Hitler managed to do it; there’s no reason someone else couldn’t. If morality becomes arbitrarily based upon the morality of the majority, definite right and wrong cease to exist. Murder could become right if the majority decides it is.

    You also raise a very good question, one that I don’t have a good answer for. I suppose we would have to take the morality that everyone agress on like the Ten Commandments and use those. As far as Christianity goes, having a better knowledge of theology helps to determine the universal laws from the culture-specific. In the case of the Israelite law, God gave the Ten Commandments while the laws found in Leviticus and elsewhere are human laws based upon the Ten Commandments meant to give a better idea of how to folow the big Ten. If it were a Christian-based law system, I’d say go with the Ten Commandments as the base and work out the specifics from there.

  35. 0
    Erik says:

    This is where you fail at understanding "Atheists".  In not having a religion I’m not bound to what others believe.  I am not so much an "Atheist" as much as I am just me.   But likely this is just a weakness in the term itself.  Rather than athetism it should just be called "people".

    This, by the way, is why atheism isn’t a religion.

     

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  36. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    Wow, that’s specific. Aren’t atheists supposed to have logical, scientific reasons for things? You seem to be assigning some sort of mystical value to human life.

    And no, I don’t think that the only deterrent against murder should be religion. However, I fail to see why we have laws against murder (or anything else for that matter) if we don’t have some sort of higher moral code that our government is basing its laws on. We’re a bunch of mutated primates that have developed higher cognitive skills. Why not just go with the good ol’ natural selection that got us here?

  37. 0
    Vash-HT says:

    You do make a very good point, personally I feel that most people use their own arbitrary moral standards to discuss what laws should be in place, so that the laws generally refelct the moral majority of the community. Most people are against killing for reasons other than a higher moral standard so it is often outlawed. I realize how flimsy that sounds, I mean if the moral majority was in favor of killing would it suddenly become right? I wouldn’t think so, but then again that’s my personal moral opinion. Even with religion though people can’t agree on what is moral and what isn’t. Some people read the bible and get a different message than others. Who’s to say what the right message is? Some things are pretty direct, such as the 10 commandments, but a lot of religious passages could be interpreted many different ways. So I have a question for you, if there is a higher moral authority, how do we figure out what it is exactly?

  38. 0
    Erik says:

    Because its murder.  And I didn’t need a religion to tell me that.  And do you think that there should be people walking around in society whose only barrier from murder is because religion told them not to?  That concept is scary as fuck.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  39. 0
    Arkana07 says:

    Wow….so much debate over a game.  The game does point out that no major religion has really been spread without war.  Face it, war is a part of human life and will always be.  If you do not like the game, don’t play.  If you do, then play on.

     

     

    I bring you…corn!!

  40. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    But why? If you don’t have some sort of moral code, you have no way to judge right or wrong. Any sort of personal moral code is arbitrary and has no hold over everyone else. You may think it’s wrong to kill people, but someone else might think it’s fine. How do you judge who is right without a higher moral code to go to?

  41. 0
    Erik says:

    Honestly, if someone doesn’t know that murder is wrong until religion tells them otherwise, then I think thats someone society can do without.

     

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  42. 0
    Vash-HT says:

    Look, laws are created in a society to protect the citizens of a society. Therefore it is never right to slaughter the poor as you claim in your poor example. NEVER right, even if it’s overcrowded, not enough food to go around, because the society is created so the citizens can live in it and give them protection.

  43. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    Very good game, if you don’t mind hour long cutscenes. But all in all the story is top notch and very thought provoking.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  44. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    I always wondered, considering the descrpitions of heaven if the angels might not be a little Fabulous.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  45. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    I think someone said there was a "Blank" piece you can use to represent a religion/belief/diety not included in the set. Good idea when you think how many paths of Paganism there are.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  46. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    So we should base our laws upon vague, arbitrary feelings? That’s going to get us a long ways.

    Besides, if humans are hyper-intelligent monkeys, we should be encouraging natural selection. It got us this far; why should we stop it now? Because people feel sad when someone dies? That’s simply holding back the logical, natural process of evolution.

  47. 0
    Vash-HT says:

    I don’t see how you can say this. Without religion people would still feel huge grief and sadness when people die, they would still try all they can to prevent their loved ones from dying. People know that death is a tragedy, therefore killing of people by other people is not encouraged to avoid tragedy. In order to prevent this people in a community would maybe even make up LAWS about it. I don’t see why we need any religious text to teach us something like that.

     

     

  48. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    Philosophy can account for sociatal laws, but you have to remember that Greek philosophy came from ancient Greece. They weren’t exactly logical atheists there.

    You also have to figure out what hurts and what helps society. Viciously murdering thousands of poor people could help society as a whole by cutting back on the ammount of money it spends on Wellfare. How do you decide if that’s right or wrong?

  49. 0
    Baruch_S says:

    Who says that killing a person is wrong? Why should it be? Common sense, aside from being uncommon, is arbitrary. I could argue that there are too many people on the planet causing too much damage, which would make killing people a logical step and a potential solution.

  50. 0
    Mnementh2230 says:

    Perhaps I should make a game where the object is to kill Tack Jhompson.  I’ll put a legal disclaimer that any resemblence between characters in the game and real people is purely coincidental.  Title it "Charity’s Revenge", where you’re a charity worker who was pledged $10,000 from Tack when some nebulous goal is met, but then Tack doesn’t pay out.  This causes your character to snap and "go postal".  Base the gameplay off the Hitman series.

     

    I’d play it.

    (Please note that this is not a threat to anyone real or fictional, living or dead.  It is merely a modest proposal)

  51. 0
    Mnementh2230 says:

    That’s not entirely true.  Enlightened self interest and philosophy can account for sociatal laws.  Check out the writing of Epicurus and Socrates.  Basically, that which hurts society is bad, and should be forbidden, as society advances humanity.

  52. 0
    Leet Gamer Jargon says:

    No, you didn’t, you fucking asshole. There was no point to be made; you presented a clear challenge with a clear reward. When several people came forward with different solutions to your challenge, you pussied out and said that it was "satire". This man created a board game for two sole purposes: to mock religious militants and their actions, and for others to have fun. The game he created was satire.

    The differences between you and him? His game was actual satire while you just fucking pussied out. And when you did pussy out, Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade, out of the goodness of their hearts, donated their own money (out of their own pockets) to the ESA Foundation in your name. And when you got wind of this, what did you do, Mr. John Bruce Thompson? You tried to accuse them of racketeering and have them arrested, which failed.

    So no, Mr. John Bruce Thompson; let’s not come up with a game that kills someone like this game creator. If all that’s gonna happen is you trying to sue or defame someone, then we should just cut out the middleman now and simply call you a colossal asshole and move on.

    You are a despicable man, void of compassion and understanding. Take the time freed up by your disbarment to reflect upon your life: maybe you’ll discover that your previous actions were deplorable and that you should strive to become a better person like either of the three men I mentioned…

    …Yeah, right. When that happens, the entire universe will change its color scheme to photonegative and all the water in the seas will turn into orange-flavored gelatin with little chunks of fruit.

    Long rant made short: piss off, you stinkin’ wanker.

    Game on, brothers and sisters.

  53. 0
    Mnementh2230 says:

    I would disagree with that slightly.  My suspicion is that the majority of the world wouldn’t know how to conduct itself without the carrot/stick morality of classical religion.  I suppose, however, this is my own pessimism about the general intelligence of the population peeking through.

    EDIT:   Enlightened self interest FTW?

  54. 0
    Mnementh2230 says:

    Exactly – you’re not completely ruling out the idea, but you’ve done your homework and can’t give credibility to the classical religions.  No Faith = Agnostic Atheist.  You’re skeptical of religion, and demand more than just, "It is written" as evidence.

    The classical religions, IMO, don’t really explain things all that well, and their holy books have numerous factual and historical errors that come to light when you examine them critically (Check out the Skeptics Annotated Bible on Google if you want a good start).  I cannot believe them, or in them.

    The words of Epicurus sum up my feelings on classical deities:

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?  Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?  Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    To summarize, I’m open to the notion of a "god-like" being, but I’ve never seen any evidence to convince, or even point me, in that direction.  Further, I’ve never seen any evidence of the supernatural.  All evidence I HAVE seen points to both gods and the supernatural being fantasy.  Until such time as evidence to the contrary is produced, I have no logical choice but to keep questioning.

  55. 0
    Mnementh2230 says:

    Again, I’d say you’re an Agnostic Atheist.  Like me you’re not completely ruling out the possibility, but you’re taking nothing on faith.

     

    I’d put my money on ‘there is no God’, too.

     

    Please note that I DO have plenty of religious friends.  We agreed to disagree and we moved on.  :)

  56. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    Not always. I blindly accept nothing, but I DO accept the possibility that I may be Incorrect (or Correct if you want to get technical) in my choices. It’s the people that BELIEVE they are 100% absolutely correct and there is NO possibility they are wrong that scare the bejeebus out of me.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  57. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    That was basicly my argument about ET’s: "If you look at it in a completely logical manner, it is mathamaticly (sp) impossible that we are the only sentience in the universe, not even taking into account life-forms all the way down to single-cell organisms, or lifeforms that live in enviroments that are dangerous to Terran carbon-based life. If your religious, it is the height of arrogance to believe we are the only world he created that has life in some form."

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  58. 0
    HungryHungryHomer says:

    heh, yeah there’s a buttload of ’em. And people say there’s no proof of extraterrestrial life. What do you think the odds are of Earth being the only planet with living beings on it?

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