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Author Topic: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs  (Read 2006 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2013, 02:43:33 AM »
Golden Compass

Ah! That one. Scary atheist propaganda, I've heard ;)

Quote
All I meant though is that if roleplaying certain games is blasphemous (which, yeah, I'm happy to agree with on some cases) then God still isn't gonna let anything bad happen to you.  Sure, you can say its arrogant but its kinda what "all-loving" means, you know.

Well, the counter-argument here would be that, if possessions do happen, then either God allows them, or is unable to stop them. In any case, not a funny situation for the person possessed...

BTW. I'm quite curious which games you do consider blasphemous.

I've got a copy of Kult. The only thing suicide-inducing about it is that it's more pretentiously "Look how edgy we are!" than early White Wolf. Then again, I'm a filthy socialist social-justice-loving atheist, so I'm probably just trying to trick you out of your soul.

Heh. But I admit that for me, what I've seen of Kult, looked verrrry dark.

Aadreal, Tainted - thanks for all the wise words. I have nothing to add right now...

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2013, 02:53:58 AM »
I guess the point of this rant is, I'd like to know what other people think about it? Does anyone else feel like that?

I think it's totally natural to have hangover effects from lifelong indoctrination in superstitious beliefs, even if one rationally doesn't hold to them. I've never felt any genuine fear of demonic possession or of hell... but I won't deny I have a few bones of supernatural belief kicking around in my own mental closet, even if they don't amount to entire skeletons.

On the one hand, it can be rewarding to push through that, and use those feelings for characterization. If those fears are real for you, and the tension between them and rationality is a zone of discomfort for you, you can play a character who has similar conflicts and fears. A lot of people have trouble with RP'ing weakness and flaws in their characters; a great way to overcome that difficulty is to give your character weaknesses and flaws that you can identify with. You can use them as a way to work through that in a safe setting. (My character in the Shadowrun 2070 RP, for example, was an embodiment of my simultaneous attraction to and revulsion at the romanticized gangster lifestyle.)

On the other hand, it's supposed to be fun above all else. If the fear is too deep-seated for you to find it fun, you shouldn't feel bad about choosing subject matter that you're more comfortable with.

Offline RedFangedWerehawk

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2013, 04:15:32 AM »
Hmm... This is quite a fascinating topic. About half way through my undergrad education several years ago, I decided to take the plunge into Atheism. Before that I believed that everything had a purpose and was part of a great plan. I would pray every night and would occasionally feel guilty about never going to church. I was moderately superstitious at the time as well.

Now? Making the choice to be an Atheist is one of the most freeing decisions of my life and I never looked back. I knew it was something that I had to commit to 100% and if you ask for my personal opinion, I will tell you that there is absolutely no chance of a God or higher power that exists in the universe. I also believe that there are no such things as ghosts, magic, demons, spirits or souls. The decisions I make are not based on a book or even a community but are instead driven by my own will. At first I thought I was going to be afraid of incurring some supernatural wrath for not believing... well, I'm still here! Besides, if you don't believe something to exist, how can it affect you anyways?

That being said, I absolutely LOVE anything that has to do with magic, the supernatural or various mythologies. Everything that I reject as part of the physical fabric of reality is still valid as figurative language, poetry and metaphor. I still use the idea of the soul to describe my state of being. I still use the term spirit to represent and describe my state of mental fortitude. These ideas never go away just because you don't see them as literal. I personally don't even believe Gods, demons, magic, sky cake, etc... are supposed to be literal. It's far more interesting when we use these things as metaphors to represent the 'demons' or obstacles in our everyday life. They are used to explain away things we don't yet understand or tell stories to the next generation to teach them life lessons.

RPGs are great and there is no need to be afraid of the contents. (Obvious statements are obvious)  :-) If it helps, think about the aspects that scare you in these books as what they are supposed to represent to the character or the people that make up that world on a more analytical level. What if the Zombies were actually a metaphor for the fear that we have in the back of our minds of becoming one with society in a way that we have to sacrifice all sense of individuality. In a world where Lucifer is the force of good, on a higher level it could be a representation of the Game Designers yearning to rebel against the status quo. See what I'm getting at? There are not right or wrong answers either! You can engage in the games on a higher level and still keep the content separate from your perception reality.

On a more general note, it's not always easy being open about being an atheist. If you or any other atheists that come across this ever need to chat about being atheist or exchange atheist philosophies, I encourage you to shoot me a PM! I am more than happy to talk about it.

Oh and remember: Do what makes you happy. Damn the rest!  ;)

Offline Florence

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2013, 08:20:47 PM »
I can related kind of. I don't have a fear of any of those bible-taught things. Rather I sort of have a general fear of death. I was raised Catholic, ya know, always thinking there was an 'after', a happy little reward after you die, where you spend all eternity with your loved ones and all that blah blah blah.

Now, as an atheist, I have to face the very real likelihood that when I die, I will stop existing. It scares me and I blame religion for that fear. I think if I was raised to see the world more realistically, I would have been mentally and emotionally prepared to accept that reality. Instead, as I got older, I just stated realizing that all of these things I've been told are completely unfounded in any sort of scientific fact. And frankly, that sort of realization can leave you feeling a little empty.

Buddhism's helped though. Once you accept that the world is full of suffering, and that suffering comes largely through having perceptions of how the world SHOULD be as opposed to how it is, as well as our attachments to these ideas... then it gets a little easier to handle. Or maybe its just me.

Offline Cthonig

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2013, 03:04:09 PM »
I understand, but the problem is that said games are, more or less, blasphemous. I'm afraid that if I decide to become a Christian again, I'll have to drop the games altogether.

I mean, if you're a Christian and believe that God is good, all-loving etc., then you really shouldn't be playing games that present him in bad light...

    Well, then you're going to have a problem if you avoid things which present God in a bad light; it's hard to be a Christian who doesn't read the Bible. If you stick to reading the New Testament sans Revelation then you'll be okay. But the Old Testament and Revelation portray God as a very malevolent being if looked at objectively. Right from the beginning setting up Adam & Eve with the bogus "original sin". And the Flood is one of the most monstrous acts ever committed by any being even if you include all fiction. Although the concept of Hell is worse: suffering for all time even for a small transgression? EVIL - from the human perspective.

    So, frankly, none of the games portrays God in any worse light than Christianity does. Plus, how often is it in the news that a gaming group summoned a demon or turned lead into gold or mind controlled a hot woman into having sex with them? Yeah, never. You have nothing to worry about.

    Given how you feel, should you dive right into the ones that make you the most afraid? No. That would not be at all helpful. Take it gradually at a pace you can handle. Even if such things as demons existed, the games are pure fiction and you are not in any danger.

    You are in far more danger from other people: never admit to a fervently religious person that you have even considered reading or playing any RPG as they have this delusion that all of them are evil. Because, you know, even Toon features violence.   :P

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2013, 12:53:15 PM »
So... the problem persists. I'm considering buying Inferno, but... I'm a bit scared.

What if the religious people are right and these things (demons) do exist???  :o

Offline Florence

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2013, 01:45:08 PM »
So... the problem persists. I'm considering buying Inferno, but... I'm a bit scared.

What if the religious people are right and these things (demons) do exist???  :o

Then I would have been dragged into hell long before you. :P I've played DnD and Pathfinder, Pokemon... read Harry Potter. Love the Shin Megami Tensei series. I'm an atheist and a Buddhist to top it off. I also like metal xD And I had a sort of goth phase in high school. I'm pretty sure if the demons were going to come out and drag me to hell or something I'd be gone by now.

... unless of course... I'm secretly one of them, sent here to temp you...  >:)

... nah, I'm just fucking with you. Totally 100% born and bred human. Though I did get a sore throat from drinking holy water once. I'm almost positive that had more to do with drinking germy water though, and less to do with the wrath of the almighty.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2013, 02:06:10 PM »
Then I would have been dragged into hell long before you. :P I've played DnD and Pathfinder, Pokemon... read Harry Potter. Love the Shin Megami Tensei series. I'm an atheist and a Buddhist to top it off. I also like metal xD And I had a sort of goth phase in high school. I'm pretty sure if the demons were going to come out and drag me to hell or something I'd be gone by now.

I don't know. I may be mistaken, but none of this stuff involves real-life demons. And Inferno actually gives you tools to play a possessed person...

Offline Florence

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #33 on: September 03, 2013, 02:14:38 PM »
I don't know. I may be mistaken, but none of this stuff involves real-life demons. And Inferno actually gives you tools to play a possessed person...

I own a set of tarot cards and a Ougi board? I don't use them anymore, not out of superstition but... well, the exact opposite, I think they're completely pointless. But I own them, and was into all that occult stuff as a kid. Psychics and mystics and that sort of stuff.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2013, 02:20:45 PM »
Hmm. Okay.  :-) Maybe you do have a point. You played with an Ouija board? I wouldn't dare doing that...

Offline Oniya

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Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2013, 03:39:39 PM »
Hmm. Okay.  :-) Maybe you do have a point. You played with an Ouija board? I wouldn't dare doing that...

I did that once.  It claimed to be John Lennon.  It also claimed to be stoned.  The fact that it came from Parker Brothers may have had a lot to do with that.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2013, 09:11:08 AM »

Religious indoctrination ( ie. you will believe this without question because your opinion on the matter is worthless ) can really screw with your mind and make you feel terribly insecure.

Let me answer your question with a very simple question.   ( I'm Irish, can you tell? )

Your common sense is telling you that all this demon stuff is complete rubbish. You have logical reasons to believe its crap. So why do you keep going back to believing the unprovable religious stuff ( ie. Demons will feast upon thy soul! )

Could it be that you have somehow been trained to distrust your own ability to reason and draw reasonable conclusions?


Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #37 on: September 04, 2013, 02:40:08 PM »
I did that once.  It claimed to be John Lennon.  It also claimed to be stoned.  The fact that it came from Parker Brothers may have had a lot to do with that.

Heh.

Love your new avatar, BTW.

Your common sense is telling you that all this demon stuff is complete rubbish. You have logical reasons to believe its crap. So why do you keep going back to believing the unprovable religious stuff ( ie. Demons will feast upon thy soul! )

Could it be that you have somehow been trained to distrust your own ability to reason and draw reasonable conclusions?

Well, maybe. But it also may have to do with me having watched too many X-Files episodes and reading too many paranormal-related stories... Or movies like The Exorcism of Emily Rose (which is supposed to be based on facts).

The thing is, with matters like these, I don't really know what is logical and probable. I mean, the case of the real Emily Rose, Anneliese Michel. It is creepy and some people believe it to be a real case of possession...

Offline Oniya

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Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2013, 02:57:11 PM »
The thing is, with matters like these, I don't really know what is logical and probable. I mean, the case of the real Emily Rose, Anneliese Michel. It is creepy and some people believe it to be a real case of possession...

First thing I found on Anneliese Michel said that it was a misdiagnosis of a mental illness and/or epilepsy, and her death was caused by malnutrition and dehydration. 

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2013, 03:39:18 PM »
First thing I found on Anneliese Michel said that it was a misdiagnosis of a mental illness and/or epilepsy, and her death was caused by malnutrition and dehydration.

Well, that's what the men of science say. Religious people, on the other hand, seem to have different opinion...

Another example: recently, I read an article in a Catholic newspaper that said that, if you go to a spa that employs Eastern relaxation techniques, you and your family may end up as targets for demons. And, if you visit historical sites related to Nazis, you might get possessed and made to kill yourself. What if this is true..???

Offline Oniya

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Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2013, 04:13:43 PM »
Then there are several million people in China, Japan, and India who are very likely to be possessed by demons.  If this were the case, even if such possessions were rare, we would see a lot more verifiable cases based on statistics alone.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2013, 04:33:59 PM »
Hm. Good point, thanks :)

Offline Kythia

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Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #42 on: September 04, 2013, 07:23:23 PM »
Unless the statisticians of those countries are also possessed by demons and are hushing it up so that no one realises. 


Offline Florence

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #43 on: September 04, 2013, 08:22:13 PM »
Ya know, this all sounds like a really good rp plot...

Offline Oniya

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Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #44 on: September 04, 2013, 09:41:53 PM »
Unless the statisticians of those countries are also possessed by demons and are hushing it up so that no one realises. 

As someone who has studied math for years, I can tell you that's impossible.

Statisticians being possessed by demons would simply be redundant.

Ya know, this all sounds like a really good rp plot...

And this is how you know it's a thread on Elliquiy.  ;D
« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 09:43:53 PM by Oniya »

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #45 on: September 05, 2013, 04:40:50 AM »
Well, that's what the men of science say. Religious people, on the other hand, seem to have different opinion...

I think "opinion" is the key word here.

Quote
The thing is, with matters like these, I don't really know what is logical and probable. I mean, the case of the real Emily Rose, Anneliese Michel. It is creepy and some people believe it to be a real case of possession...

Here, the key word is "believe"





« Last Edit: September 05, 2013, 05:02:12 AM by TaintedAndDelish »

Offline Oniya

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Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #46 on: September 05, 2013, 06:55:22 AM »
There's a principle in science called 'Occam's Razor' that would serve you well.  Basically the idea is to start with the simplest explanation, and only add to it if you need to.  Doctors often explain this to interns as 'If you hear hoofbeats, expect horses, not zebras.'  For example, if a lightning strike hits a cell tower, you could explain it as angry spirits trying to destroy it - but that requires there to be angry spirits that can control lightning.  Or, you can explain it as an electrical discharge taking the easiest path to the ground.  Since you can actually measure electric potential, this requires a lot less to be filled in by the 'unknown'.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #47 on: September 05, 2013, 04:47:19 PM »

It helps to understand what makes a statement/belief untrue or fallacious.
https://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=24133.0

Offline Braioch

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Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #48 on: September 08, 2013, 11:37:50 AM »
Eh, it can take time to shed yourself of those superstitions. No need to kick yourself about it, and certainly don't let them rule your life. As Oniya pointed out, Occam's Razor helps a lot with that whole shenanigans. A vast majority of superstitions make no sense whatsoever, and they certainly don't apply to your life. Just look up the reasons behind these things, as for the demons...well, let's be honest with that one, people don't need any help being awful, they do quite well on their own. There's all the decisive lack of evidence for such things...beyond personal stories with a lack of credibility.

Also, Tainted's link helps for finding logical fallacies, or you can use https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ for a much more simplified and intuitive understanding of fallacies. (Supplement it with Veks fallacy post and you'll have a broad and easy to understand view supplemented by a more detailed look, everybody wins)

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: On being a superstitious atheist who plays RPGs
« Reply #49 on: September 11, 2013, 10:03:25 AM »
Also, keep in mind, being atheist doesn't require you to completely shed yourself of every aspect of illogical belief; as long as it's not detrimental to your life (at least, in my opinion). I accept the idea that ghosts arn't real, I like to think they are, I like to play with ouiji boards and such, knowing ghosts most likely don't exist but it is nice to pretend someties.

Heck, even if you -seriously- do believe in ghosts, there is nothing wrong with that; you only have a problem when you start believing in these things to the point it has an influence in your life (Ghosts tell you to leave your job, you refuse to live at your house because you're convinced a ghost wants to kill you, etc.)