Study Says Video Games Have 'Problematised' View Of Religion

Do video games spend too much time emphasising the violent aspects of religion? A study released by the University of Missouri on Monday says so, concluding that video games present religion in a "problematised" way.

In the study, doctoral student Greg Perreault looks at five modern games: Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, Assassin's Creed, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Examining religious aspects from each — like the bloodthirsty Templar Knights of Assassin's Creed and the silent, death-fuelled prayer of the assassin Thane in Mass Effect 2 — Perreault eventually concludes that there is a link between religion and violence in video games:

What all of these games show, and what should have been anticipated, was the connection of religion to violence. There is a broad literature on violence in gaming. Violence is conflict and drama. And conflict and drama are key to making a good game. As narratives have become increasingly deep, religion has become a part of the stories of the protagonists and antagonists. So the fact that religion would end up being tied to religion is not unexpected. Given religion's checkered history with violence in reality, it could also be seen as reflective.

...

The picture presented of religion the analyses shown here is a problematized one. This researcher initially went into this project thinking that organised religion would be shown in a bad light, and it often was, but more individualized 'unorganized' religion was not shown to be somehow superior. It would be safe to say that what we do see in these scenes in a problematized view of religion.

While Perreault makes some fair points — religious groups seem to frequently serve as gamers' adversaries, and who hasn't played a JRPG in which you have to kill God? — this study is far too limited to make any reasonable conclusions about the nature of religion in games. You could write an entire thesis paper about the religious overtones in titles like Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor or mythology-packed action games like God of War or Dante's Inferno. It seems unfair to judge the entire medium based on a selection of five modern titles.

What do you think? Do video games treat religion unfairly?


Comments

    No, I think religion treats us unfairly.

      ^ This exactly.

      Woah, easy on the hate.
      Play nice guys. We're generally a tolerant bunch. We've talked about girls, gays, and other groups in gaming before. This is no different.

        I'm with you, guy.

        I'm going to preface this mini-rant-essay-thing by saying it's not a problem if people have less than stellar views of religion and/or good/bad reasons for these views.

        I'm also going to say that the study really is too small and focused to be considered with any weight.

        However, it does shine a spotlight on something that is prevalent in games - religious organisations are often great devices for showing conflict/corruption in games or movies.

        If you have games that constantly only show religions as being a source of corruption or evil, or part of a sinister plot, then yes, I'd say you could mount a case that it's a pretty one-sided representation of religion; equally, games that showcase religions as only being sources of moralness and uprightness would be an issue.

        I don't think it's reasonable or fair to discount this simply because it's okay to hate on religions at the moment.

        If this study were to show that games "always present women as weak and needing male support", there'd be a massive outcry - and defending it by saying there's evidence to suggest it's not *wrong* and there is some factual basis for it would be rightly questioned.

        If this study were to show that games always display black Americans as criminals in computer games, there'd be a rightful outcry against it - and again, stating that in a certain area/locationsm black-based crime is higher than other groups while technically factually correct, would not be seen as anything other than trying to selectively use facts to defend a bad gaming trend.

        If the study is saying that (provided they widen the net of what they reviewed) religion is always displayed as a bad/corrupt thing, then it's an equal issue - and stating that this one time, religion did something bad, should be seen exactly the same way: selectively using data to back up a position that really is not tenable.

        You could extend this to a lot of things - games always showing Italians as being mafia linked, for example. There's plenty of them, and they'd all be seen as being bad directions in games.

        If religion is always shown in games to be a "bad thing", then perhaps it is something that really does need to be looked into, at least to assess if it's an unfair characterisation.

        Hateful comments are still hateful/misinformed/bigoted, even if there is popular support for them on the internet - look at the sort of comments this article has produced below, which are mostly an unloading of hate towards religions in general and complete avoidance of the issue actually raised.

          I'm pretty sure that religion does a damn good job of misrepresenting itself. Take a look at the crusades.

        The "hate"? He gave his opinion, there was nothing hateful about it.

          Well I was referring to all comments as a whole on the site.
          But if its just this comment in particular? It's still more a trolling than an opinion.

            I don't like it when people equate criticising religion to being homophobic or sexist. Religions are belief systems. Criticising them or hating them for the problems they cause does not make you bigoted in the same way that hating gays does.

            Glen could have elaborated more, but you can take a guess at what he means. It works in a lot of ways, (i.e gamers being stopped from playing violent games because of largely religious opposition) but the whole idea of most gods is that they're morally superior and know better than you. I think that counts as "treating us unfairly".

              I don’t like it when people do that too. I am confused as to why you’re bringing this up.

              Its not about “what” we are criticizing, but “how” we go about doing it.
              No matter the topic, we need to be a bit more aware of offending other people and what they stand for, be it sexual orientation, gender, or religious views.
              Do I care that you have such a strong view on religion? Nope. What you believe and stand for is your business.

              BUT all I was asking for is a little courtesy when commenting and for commenters to rent the eyes of the person they might be offending before hitting the submit button.

                Well I brought it up because you said "We’re generally a tolerant bunch. We’ve talked about girls, gays, and other groups in gaming before. This is no different."

                I take your point that we should remain courteous, but I'm not sure I agree with trying not to offend people. You're always going to offend people in these conversations, but I think as long as you can justify your comments then it's ok. For example, "Christians are idiots" is different from "I think believing in God is stupid, here's why." Both will probably offend people, but the latter could be a constructive contribution.

                  True that.
                  So we are in agreement and after all that guess what? we have come full circle.

                  The original comment that I replied to was one which fell into your category of "Christians are idiots" with no constructive criticism.

      Sums it up nicely.

    I think it treats religion entirely fairly. It's nice to have one medium in which religion isn't presenting like it's the be all and end all of morality.

      Would these comments not imply that gaming society (as represented by the kotaku market) currently doesn't like religion much. The themes of the games merely a reflection of said intolerance. An intolerance created perhaps by decades of attacks on gaming by organisations with religous affiliations??

      Actually, you'll find the majority of people today are a lot more agnostic than they were , say twenty to thirty years ago. Religion has lost its foundation and is often portrayed as corrupt, yes this keeps a story interesting, but it has become a kind of fashion as of late to emphasize on the negative connotations of religion and this would in turn subconsciously be conditioning people and their views on the matter.

      I don't really mind it, personally. However, I would like developers to get a little more original, as it seems everyone is jumping on the religious bandwagon and making it a little stale. I don't think I've really seen a triple A game as of late that involves religion under a more optimistic light. So I do agree somewhat with this article.

    This researcher initially went into this project thinking that organised religion would be shown in a bad light, and it often was, but more individualized ‘unorganized’ religion was not shown to be somehow superior.

    So he's freaked out that having no religion is shown to be superior...? Yet another crazy religious nutjob.

    This researcher initially went into this project thinking that organised religion would be shown in a bad light, and it often was, but more individualized ‘unorganized’ religion was not shown to be somehow superior.

    So he's freaked out that having no religion is shown to be superior...? Yet another crazy religious nutjob.

      Or maybe he just wanted to find a way to legitimise playing video games instead of writing his thesis.

    While broadly true, I agree that the study is far too narrow. Something like Thane's "religion" is far more akin to "spirituality" as opposed to following any real church, thus making it a fairly null point, and I'm sure I could point out other stuff if I was less tired.

    If we took a sample comprised entirely of the His Dark Materials novels, then we'd find that books have a very problematised view of religion, but that's clearly not true.

      Indeed. I can think of a few games with Religions, and Religious characters in a heroic role, or at least possitive. The Light in Warcraft, Budhism in Mass Effect (Just ask the Turians) and in just about any RPG from Bethesda you will find both religious zealots screaming for blood, AND perfectly reasonable, inteligent followers, usualy of the same faith as the nutjobs. Religion gets screen time as both Good, and Evil, which seems about right.

      Also, Violence is a part of these games. Mass Effect is about soldiers in a war. Of course the religious character will also be a Soldier...In a War. It's hardly a fault of Video Games. When was the last time you saw a WW2 movie WITHOUT a Religious squad member? It's just a trope at this point.

    The alternative to focusing on the non-violent aspects of religion would be largely interpreted (correctly or not) as 'preaching'. That makes a lot of pople edgy, and developers wouldn't chance it.

    Apart from the obvious fact the non violent aspects of religion don't sell video games.

      This is proven by the fact that the most hated guy in all of Skyrim is the preacher in Whiterun.

        I killed that guy, lol. Dipshit had it coming.

    For all the good religions done, it's been a catalyst for a whole lot of evil over the years. I appreciate seeing different takes of religion in game, I've got to say. I don't think they're vilifying or the like, just exploring interesting subject matter. (Extremists, corruption of power, etc.)

      It does make for pretty awesome stories, especially FFXIII

    If anyone mentions the Crusades just don't forget the main cause was that it was caused by the Muslim Empire entering europe and the Christians responding to that.

    All the other Crusades were just looting by Christians in the Muslim empires in the name of religion.

    I don't believe Religion is viewed unfairly I reckon the way in which Humans practice religion is reflective in games, if that makes snese?

      You say that as though I distinguish between religions when apportioning blame for a religious war. A bunch of guys on both sides killed each other because they had the "correct" sky fairy.

        There are alot of misconceptions about the Crusades, alot of people just think it was a holy war forwarded by the pope to abolish all heretics and claim back 'Holy Land', so yeah I guess I am assuming everyone apportions cause and blame on the war on differing faiths.

        When in the most true of forms its was just boundry dispute that eventually turned into greed and an excuse to kill by using religion as cause.

          It was a holy war as it was the direct command from the pope to "wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it to yourselves" with the promise of " the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory of the Kingdom of Heaven."

          Im not saying the Muslims were innocent but FFS man up and accept that both sides (yours included) did some horrible things in the name of their god.

          On a side note... the quotes above sounds similiar to "Death to the infidels..." "seventy virgins..."
          Shit man even the 2 war crys of "Gods will" and "God is great" are similar.

      That is the most inciteful and comprehensive description of the crusades I have ever read. However are you implying that the Muslim faith is not a religion? And further that Christianity is the only religion? I look forward to your treatise on the reformation.

        I said Muslim Empire instead of Muslims because it was the quickest way to summarise all parties in the middle east who posed a threat to inner europe.

        I don't believe I said Christians was the only true religion? merely they were a major driving force in the Crusades.

          So the Christians were a major driving force in the crusades BUT we shouldn't mention that because they were merely responding to incursions from the Muslim empire?

            The first Crusade was fully justifiable by the Church and Christian/Catholic Crusaders because it was exactly how you would respond to Muslims Empires hostile entrance into Europe.

            The other four Crusades just seemed like the Crusaders were doing exactly what the Muslims were doing before the first crusade, spreading influence if anything I think the Vatican was just scared of the Middle Eastern Religions, so in the whole run of things I do believe the Christians were a major driving force in the Crusades.

          i would just like to point out that the Pope Urban II launched a HOLY WAR against the infidels in response to Byzantiums Alexois. The CRUSADERS motto was "Deus Volt" - God wills. Further each CHRISTIAN SOLDIER took vows and was granted indulgences by the CHURCH.

            Regardless - why should it not be mentioned - because the Muslims started it by preventing access to the holy lands?? It was a war steeped in inter religional conflict!!!! Very pertinant.

              The refusal of entry into the Holy Land(Jereselum?) was just a straw that broke the camels back, sort of like Hitlers entry into Poland its what puts already rising tensions into outright war sure it's pertienent however it was already much more.

                Oh shuush you guys... and you wonder why religion comes across as the bad guy in videogames... you guys are so sketchy on each-other.. i feel like you are using up all your manna and HP in this little religious debate over here. settle.

    LMAO!!!! Video games are ruining the image that 2000 years of kiddy fiddling has made?

      Lol. You have a point. I don't think we're going to see any implied "kiddy fiddling" in games any time soon, so it'll be a while before Catholicism is accurately portrayed.

        This is really a pointless reply, but:

        The Catholic Church is responsible for providing more support and aid to HIV sufferers as well as doing more to prevent the spread of HIV in Africa than any other government, charitable, secular, or aid organisation in the world. By quite a lot.

        That's not an absolution of bad things, but it's worthwhile knowing that there's a lot of good that flows out of the Catholic church that doesn't make it to the press.

          Except for the bit when the pope said dont use condoms in Africa and everywhere else. Having paple infallibility makes it so he is never wrong--- except for the bit when he said oh ok aids is bad u can now use condoms.

            Dude i can't respect the statement that the catholic church has done more to prevent AIDS in africa than anyone else. That is absolute BS. The pope refused the use of condoms in direct response to the aids crisis in africa several times.

            That infallibility only applies when speaking on matters of doctrine, not all the time.

            Also, you need to understand the logic of the thought behind that, rather than cherry pick the aspects of it you don't like. ie:

            1. The Catholic Church believes sex should only be between married couples for whatever reason.
            2. The Catholic Church believes that sex acts should be open to the chance of conception so that you're not just having sex due to lust, which it feels can lead to people devaluing each other and seeing each other solely as sex objects rather than partners if it goes unchecked.
            3. Using condoms pre-marriage as you're engaged in pre-marital sex would go against these teachings, so...
            4. If you do not have pre-marital sex, and your partner does not have pre-marital sex, you are unlikely to contract HIV unless you get it through needles or through birth (separate issues), reducing the rate of HIV infections (greatest contributor to the count is unprotected sex)

            So following that logic, the Church would state that if people did not have pre-marital sex, they would not become infected through that means, and therefore the issue could be attacked from that angle, while still maintaining the teachings in point 1 and 2.

            You might not agree with their stance on pre-marital sex, or think it's stupid, but it's certainly not illogical.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0kJHQpvgB8

              Stop - "For whatever reason" - look it up then talk. sigh. Your lecturing me and dont understand this point. go make up a psychological study.

                Don't worry, I fully understand it. It's just irrelevant to the logical point that was being discussed and is, at best, a distraction and tangent of discussion that would stray from that point.

                The important part is the Church considers sexual acts necessarily limited to married couples.

                It's disappointing that that would stop you from responding to the logical thought process that was laid out, but hey, I've read Derailing for Dummies too.

                  I never said it was illogical. Phantastical yes but i disagree with Catholic doctorine. What Im saying is that you were full of shit for saying the catholic church has done more for aids... blah blah blah. in Africa. i too have read that book.

              Exactly it applies to doctorine. Thanks for agreeing.

          by telling africans that condoms are bad and that the only sex they should have is sex after marriage! erm. no.

          Perhaps it is the self serving lies of religions that turns us against them. you ask for tolerance then BS us. Wow.

            Wow martin so much hate towards religion.

            The reason why the Church frowns upon condoms is because the Church believes in families & Marriage as cornerstones of the faith. Having strong family unit are seen as the best way to ensure a stable and safe way to bring up children. This is key to understand their stance on premarital sex and condoms. Condoms promote sex before marriage, and as we know its not 100% safe and thus there is a chance of pregnancy out of wedlock. You must look at the churches stance on the matter and ideal which people can look too. But as we know as humans its not always the case. We are after all human, so while its expected of us we dont always necessarily follow.
            Just as society have ideals that people follow (fashion magazines movie stars etc) so does religion. We cant always be the same but we can try to emulate as best we can. Thats what religions teach us, ideals to follow. We all make mistakes, thats life.

            Sure there have been times when religion has forced itself on people (like the spanish inquisition) and that is always against the Core teachings of Jesus Christ. But as i have said, it is in the hands of men what they do with religion. Some will use it and some will abuse it.

            I will state it again. Take for example a car. Its very useful, can do many things and take people to far of places. In the right hands it can be an instrument of good. In the wrong hands it can cause death and destruction. Yet you would never blame the car for what it does, why blame religion?

              He has hate towards religion with good reason. He's not blindly hating a concept just for the sake of it, he's giving you examples of real world harm being done by an ideology.

              It doesn't matter why the church is against condoms, his point still stands. There has been a huge amount of damage done because religions are terrified of and obsessed with sex.

              Your car analogy is useless. Cars are inanimate objects. Religions are ideologies which encourage many harmful concepts.

                um no my example makes perfect sense. Like Cars, Religion can be used for both good or evil. It depends who is running them. Im not trying to make a deep philosophical point with my car reference.

          In 2003, contrary to empirical evidence, the president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family - "senior spokesman" Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo - claimed that condoms are permeable to the aids virus. He explained to BBC interviewers that "The Aids virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom." These false claims were echoed by an archbishop of Nairobi, as well as by Catholics as far Asia and Latin America. Also according to The Guardian, the BBC confirmed that this misinformation has real, damaging effects at the ground level. n- from wiki. So the catholic church LIED directly leading to more infections

            No hate just an intolerance of lies. Does the catholic church have a pope? Does he not have papal infallibilty when speaking ex cathedra??? This blows your statement "just as society have ideals that people follow (fashion magazines movie stars etc) so does religion." As a catholic you are not able to pick and choose what you do because you are human. You do it because the Pope said so. Further - that condoms promote sex before marriage??? Is that because you think it or the pope said so???? NEXT.

              ...of course they do.

              Any psychological study - and there's a boat load of them - will confirm that if you remove the risk/undesired outcome associated with an activity, or minimise it, then people are more likely to engage in that activity as the risk assessment is low.

              In this case, a generally undesired outcome associated with sex is pregnancy for most younger people. If avenues to avoid that outcome are available and easy to take, the "risk" disappears, making the behaviour/act more likely.

              Regardless of a pointless debate about theology and the purpose of various aspects of doctrine, basic human psychology does show this.

              Other examples:
              The opportunity to stealing unattended money from a bank if you're sure the cameras are off and no-one will know will see a much higher number of people stealing money.

                First of all, I very much doubt that if condoms weren't available, people wouldn't be having premarital sex. They'd be using the withdrawal method like they used to.

                Second, I don't believe that the Pope's opposition to premarital sex comes from the need to preserve the "ideal family unit". If something like contraceptive implants were 100% effective, do you really think he'd suddenly go "screw like rabbits guys, you won't get pregnant!"? No. He'd retain his position that it's immoral, because as usual the religion is obsessed with and terrified of sex.

                Third, even if everything you said is true, why wouldn't he be solely promoting abstinence? He essentially said that aids are bad but condoms are worse. There was no need for that if his intentions are as you stated.

                It just seems like another ridiculous and harmful statement from a religious authority figure, like Mother Teresa's "the greatest threat to world peace is abortion". And you wonder why people hate religion...

                  Rules and laws unfortunately have to apply to the (i hate to use this term) 'lowest common denominator'. I mean the roads these days 60kms per hour but i could comfortably drive them at 80+. However not everyone can and for safety reason they apply a lower speed limit that most people can achieve (even though i see a few that cant even drive at 60kmh GRRRR...) Its a blanket law that applies to everyone

                  Same apply to religious law. They cant have complicated longwinded laws that apply to some and not others they have just made a blanket law that applies to everyone. Its not like the Papal police will come to your door to arrest you(although there are some rare instances of this happening in the past). Sheesh.

                What psychological studies????? Sources. or is this another broad unsubstantiated load of....

                1. Martin: "Having paple infallibility makes it so he is never wrong— except for the bit when he said oh ok aids is bad u can now use condoms."

                2. Martin: "Does he not have papal infallibilty when speaking ex cathedra???"

                So at 1 you claim papal infallibility means "he is never wrong," yet at 2 you acknowledge that is only applies "when speaking ex cathedra?" So you either made a claim you knew to be false (at 1) or were reckless as to the truth of your first claim. And still, you claim to have "an intolerance of lies?" Does that only apply to others? Or were you merely ignorant, and therefore not worth listening to?

                  He was speaking ex cathedra in regards to not using condoms. He was speaking ex cathedra when he (slyly) said its ok to use condoms. He is infallable when speaking ex cathedra. Thus ex cathedra he has made two irereconceivable statements that are simultaneously not wrong.

              Actually i do have a choice, The vatican has no forcible say in the way i run my life, I have a choice if i go to church or not, i have a choice what i do it has always been my choice and the choice of its people. He is a spiritual leader more then anything and what he says doesnt always go. Sorry if you feel that way. I dont agree with everything the Vatican does, just as i dont agree what our government does, but the government is still our leader. Or does that mean that you absolutely positively agree and accept everything your Government tell or expect of you? Case closed

              Intolerance of lies? WTF are you living in a dream world. Lies are everywhere, and you decide to get the $#!ts when religion lies? Arent you precious. Religions lie, Government Lies, Media Lies, What doesnt? Wow talk about precious.

              All that hate for nothing, get over it really.

                "All that hate for nothing, get over it really."

                What an appalling thing to say. "For nothing"?? Are you kidding?

                  Religion has done alot of bad things in the past that i agree, but what is forgotten is the good it does. I understand why people have issues with religion but there are good folk out there that value religion and dont want people devaluing due to the work of some terrible people. Religion at its heart is a force of good that can be twisted and used by powerful people to do bad things. The movie the Book of Eli makes a good point of this.

                Further - How can anyone justify this
                In 2003, contrary to empirical evidence, the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family – “senior spokesman” Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo – claimed that condoms are permeable to the aids virus. He explained to BBC interviewers that “The Aids virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the ‘net’ that is formed by the condom.” These false claims were echoed by an archbishop of Nairobi, as well as by Catholics as far Asia and Latin America. Also according to The Guardian, the BBC confirmed that this misinformation has real, damaging effects at the ground level. n- from wiki

                  BTW it seems you are mistaking commonsense and intelligence for hate. Ironic.

                  @ terrak -Yes. yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. i am serious. Ask your catholic priest. Are you stupid?? stop trolling.

          "I don’t think we’re going to see any implied “kiddy fiddling” in games any time soon, so it’ll be a while before Catholicism is accurately portrayed."

          Wow. So you actually think that child abuse is limited to the Catholic Church? Or that's integral to it? Or what? There's no credible evidence that abuse occurs more frequently in that organisation that it does in any other comparable groups. Yet of all the groups in society, and throughout history, you chose that particular one. Reflect upon that for a moment.

            Oh come on. When a child gets abused by a teacher and the principal finds out, the teacher is immediately reported to the police. Whereas for decades senior members of the Catholic Church have found out about child abuse, covered it up, threatened the kid and transfered the offender to another area. It has a rich history of institutionalised child abuse. Don't try to tell me there's not something unusual about it.

              Again there have been ugly incidents that have happened in the Name of Christianity and we have to be made aware of them and ensure this types of things dont happen again. Theres nothing wrong with calling out the Church for its shortcomings and failures. This must be done as with all powerful organizations, but to stereo type the whole religion made up of Millions of good law abiding citizens on the actions of a few evil individuals is wrong.

        lol, this guy! ^

          "Oh come on. When a child gets abused by a teacher and the principal finds out, the teacher is immediately reported to the police."

          You're making an absolute statement there. They might sound good but are impossible to prove. How could you ever prove that all accusations against teachers are always reported to the police? There are examples in the US of principals doing the opposite. See, for example: http://www.economist.com/node/1067027

            I think I'll leave the discussion. I always saw those internet brawls on religion and thought it was unproductive to get involved. Now I feel ashamed for ignoring my intuition.

            "How could you ever prove that all accusations against teachers are always reported to the police?"

            I can't. I was generalising to make a point about the institutionalised child abuse within the church, and how it's not represented equally throughout all of society like you tried to suggest.

    "problematized" (?!?!?!?!??!!?)

    Wow, someone's actually come up with a worse frankenword than "diarised"!

    Please, tossers of the world, stop wrecking the english langauge with your drivel.

      It's common practice for academics and theorists to create new words. Intersectionality comes to mind.

      This study is silly. Studies very few games and uses them as a basis for making a huge sweeping statement regarding all others. Good on ya silly goose.

      I have to use the term "attentional" a lot, which apparently isn't a word. Pain in the ass too given everyone in my field gets it.

      Not church lies. Lies from Zap. Regarding Catholics in Africa. The Vatican has no forceable way ... spiritual leader". If you believe this you are not a catholic. Go back to church and ask your priest. seriously look at catholic doctorine - just because you write these lines does not make it so. If you are a CATHOLIC then the line "He is a spiritual leader more then anything and what he says doesnt always go." Sorry but it does. Wow. what a load of BS and hate

    BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD-GOD!!!

      PURGE THE HERETIC!!!

        WITCHCRAFT, HERESY AND MUTATION.

        Personally I think they're improved religion not poblematised it. How much fuller would church be on a Sunday if it had warrior nuns?

          Well when the alternative is taking multiple bolter shots in the head by a squad of adepta sororitas...

      I FEEL THE WARP OVERTAKING ME. IT IS A GOOD PAIN.

        Do you hear the voices too??!!?

    "So the fact that religion would end up being tied to religion is not unexpected"

    Strong point you make...

    Wait wut...

      Lol yeah I spotted this too. Not sure if it was lost in transcription or originally stuffed. Still a glaring error though.

    In movies they're "partisan." In music it's "culturally enlightening." In articles/books it's "politically correct." In Video games it's "PROPAGANDA."

    No wonder gaming culture is mostly progressive (except some online communities, the cynical, racist, sexist beasts).

    Final Fantasy X's treatment of organized religion as an evil conspiracy to control the world for the benefit of a few corrupt church bigwigs was the thing I liked most about the game. Nothing to do with the religion being violent, and everything to do with the way organized religion has actually worked in human history until the past century.

    The only games I can think at the moment of that puts faith in a positive light is probably the Zelda series.

      Oh wait, Kid Icarus too, but I don't know if that counts since you are a straight up angel....

      OH! Earthbound uses faith to a certain degree, Paula's key ability is 'Pray', and that eventually becomes the most important move in the game.

        How can you forget Super Noahs ark 3D!!!!!!

      Most clerics in most games that have them are holy people who go around healing your party and acting like a moral compass.

    Where's the quote coming from? The link in the first paragraph doesn't include it.

    At the very least it seems like he's not screaming persecution about the situaiton and seems to take a realistic view that its a framing device to create conflct, nice to see in an era where polite disagreemennt is so often seen as a shrill attack

    If he wants a game that explores belief as something other than a source of violence, he should play Planescape Torment. Though in fairness I should point out that I think that EVERYONE should play Planescape Torment

      +1 For PS:T. $10 on GoG, and I would have bought it 5 times by now if i didn't already own the physical copy.

    Xenogears. The men of faith were sending believers to the soylent system to be turned into food. Then at the end you fight god. Xenogears

    Appears to be not so much of a study as some cherry picked examples to "prove" a pre concived notion.

    The mention Thane from ME but the fail to mention any other religious representation from that game. I would hardly call the Hanar preaching about the Enkindlers as "emphasising the violent aspects of religion". Plus random references to asari goddesses and people being at peace or with god now.
    Lazy tabloid "research"

    Does a study on connections between modern gaming and God, and does not touch the modern gaming series where you play as a fallen God (Kratos) and go around killing many other Gods.

    Scumbag thesis.

    Perhaps the question he should have asked, before presuming a problem within the entire industry, is to see whether portraying religion and violence as linked phenomena and morals as separate from religion are fact rather than fantasy.

    The author clearly shows he can't conceive of an outcome where video games might portray these conflicts and still be portraying a very realistic commentary on religion. It's not so much a 'problematised' industry, just one mans 'problematised' ideals.

    Another game that could go on that list is Halo - the Covenant are basically just religious nut jobs.

    I think more games should show religion in a good light... Game are fantasy after all, what's the point of just recreating reality?

    oh joy, now we bring religion into it...

    honestly though, religion as cause for war is merely a poor mans scapegoat, used to get the masses onside. greed is, and always will be the biggest cause of violence. if the world was a-religious we would simply guise our conflict by other means. we are violent creatures, and games enable us to indulge. no harm done.

      ding ding ding!

      agree 100%

      Really? Seemed like a perfectly acceptable means for slaughtering hundreds of thousands in the middle ages. There was no greed, but a devout belief that the Church was doing God's work.

        "There was no greed...".... yeah, you really just need to go read up on the history... :-P

      Except that Religion is used to enable atrocities other than war. Like how the Catholic church kept a dead bay in a freezer in Spain so they could use it to trick thousands of families into thinking their children had died in child birth so they could take their children away and give them to more 'suitable' Catholic families who wanted to adopt.

      An A religious society, greedy as it may be, probably wouldn't feel the need to kidnap children to save them from their 'heathen' parents.

        Dead baby*

          There's a spelling correction you don't see every day.

        short history lesson for you.

        The first crusade was used and manipulated by the pope in Rome in his struggle against Constantinople. the Roman pope used it to legitimize and consolidate his power in Europe, cementing catholicism as the defacto religion. Initially his appeal to the western kings failed to gain him enough manpower to try to retake lands from the arab conquests (after justinian asked for help). So instead he appealed to the masses using religion as a way to garner support for his own ends. the response was the peasant crusade, followed by the first crusade. merely an extension of greed and political power wielding. not religious at all.

        Subsequent crusades were seen as a means of occupying idle soldiers as Feudalism became more centralized, better to rape and plunder someone elses kingdom than have them causing trouble at home.

        The motives for the crusades were never religious, merely religion was used as a tool to gather popular support, to make it seem like a good thing for everyone. the main underlying theme of the crusades was always power and greed.

        A little bit of research will help you actually understand the way the world really works instead of spouting ignorant rhetoric.

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