thread: 2011-07-11 : Hooray for Religion

On 2011-07-12, Leftahead wrote:

I'm deeply ambivalent with the term 'faith' being used to describe any 'religion' that can bring to bear provable physical effects on the world.

Myself, I'm a 100% scientific rationalist; I am of the opinion that all religions are entirely made up by people, that there's nothing about us that existed before our conception or that lingers after our biological functions cease. But all of that's because I've never seen even a scintilla of evidence to support any of the supernatural claims made by any religion, anywhere, ever. And, probably most germane to this, that there's nothing unique about religious institutions that can't be replicated without the hokum, but that neurological tics of the brain and the difficulty of starting those social structures from scratch DO make it really hard.

But if you're a D&D cleric, well, shit, it's RIGHT THERE, isn't it? Any of those games where whatever passes for gods are physically manifest, you're not talking about faith any more, you're talking about GRACE, right? This is almost a running gag with my D&D pals: any divinely-inclined PCs I play get very offended if anyone starts talking about 'faith'. "Faith is for peasants. I am a holy warrior for Pelor and that's why he grew my arm back and I can reduce the most vile of undead to ashes by invoking his name. I have no need for FAITH."

Entirely coincidentally, I'm doing a careful re-reading of Dogs right now (I've frustratingly never gotten a chance to actually play it) and I have to say that the sliding scale for how manifest the King of Life becomes in the game is one of the finer touches. If it's low, then 'faith', what it means, and how its judged, is an issue that can drive lots of conflict. If it's high, then *grace*, and who has it, and the privilege it confers, moves to the fore.

I'm curious, though, you list 'Poisn'd' as one of your games dealing with religion, but I didn't read it that way at all (again, I haven't played it, so that may be the root of the problem, sorry!). Maybe because it's that I don't look too deeply for 'religious meaning' because I reject it out of hand in my own life? Dunno, but why do you say that, V? I presume it's the 'soul and sin' stuff? It's interesting to me that I read all that as just historical verisimilitude and window dressing as opposed to really being 'about' religion.

-Jim C.


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