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Author Topic: Making a religious experience in a story or game. Let's Brainstorm.  (Read 657 times)

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Offline Ironwolf85Topic starter

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It's been a while since I've been here on Elliquiy, largely because My life is busy. But I'm actually getting back to writing, learning scripting, and playing with game creation engines.
I came across this bit from Extra Credits on Youtube, where they adress Religion in Games.

It got me thinking of how to address faith in some of my stories, I want to hear your thoughts on including religious moments.

I don't want a flame war, nor a "let's bash X-Y-Z" campain.
Please watch all three episodes, and If you have nothing but forum rage either for religious or anti-religious reasons, please do not troll. You will only subtract from the conversation and brainstorming.

Part 1

Part 2

Post forum rage episode


The starting point I'm working off of is a creation, in this case a humanoid plant, freshly created in a fantasy world, looking up at his "Father" in awe. Exploring that concept as he develops, when he is thrust into the fantasy world around him after an experiment goes wrong and the researchers (actually monks) get sick, and abandon the monistary/lab.
I am telling the story from the character's perspective, as if he's writing his memoirs.

Okay Brainstorm powers GO!

Offline Kythia

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Re: Making a religious experience in a story or game. Let's Brainstorm.
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2013, 01:19:28 PM »
My first question would be whether the main character is objectively and unarguably correct in his beliefs.  At the risk of getting close to sparking a flame war, I'm talking about the difference between Helm in the Forgotten Realms and God in our world.  Helm exists, he's walked the earth, you can go visit him, he interferes directly through the granting of spells.  God doesn't manifest in that same way.

And that would affect the faith of the main character.  Is he struggling with questions of his faith?  Is he struggling with whether he is worshipping his Father in the correct way?  Things like that - they take very different forms in the case of an unarguable, solidly and tangibly real god like in most fantasy worlds than in the case of the less tangible deities of the real world.

Offline Ironwolf85Topic starter

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Re: Making a religious experience in a story or game. Let's Brainstorm.
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2013, 01:38:57 PM »
For story arc reasons the beginning is going to be a bit of abandonment. He doesn't see his father as a god, but has unquestioning faith in him.
When the shit hits the fan, and he's thrown out into a bigger world, the "call to adventure" is trying to find his father.
That Faith and the Religion that he was taught by his "father" are going to be questioned, strained.
He is not objectively correct, even the priests who do magic, will not be 100% correct. They are just theocratic wizards.

I am not going with solid gods, or at least real ones, loony wizards with god-complexes with doomed plans not withstanding.

It's not the entire focus, but I realized nobody really confronts it.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 01:44:51 PM by Ironwolf85 »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Making a religious experience in a story or game. Let's Brainstorm.
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2013, 01:51:55 PM »
In a way, it's paralleling Shelley's Frankenstein - a Creation abandoned (in a way) by its Creator, and how it deals with that.

Of course, Adam (as I recall Dr. F. naming him) leaped immediately to 'if I can not be loved, even by the One who created me, then I will be hated/feared.'  (Rough paraphrase, I know, but it's been a couple years.  ;) )

Offline Ironwolf85Topic starter

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Re: Making a religious experience in a story or game. Let's Brainstorm.
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2013, 02:06:52 PM »
now that I think of it, it does have a frankenstienian bent. Thanks for pointing that out. I'm still working out the narritive, but Abandonment, and being thrown into a messed up world you're not ready for are going to be big themes.

A lot of people relate to that, and it's a personal story for myself, and a large number of millennial.

Offline Sethala

Re: Making a religious experience in a story or game. Let's Brainstorm.
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 07:07:53 PM »
If you're going to write something where faith (or at least, theistic faith) is a central tenet, it's going to be very worthwhile for you to start by figuring out how correct that faith is, and how supported it is in the rest of the world.  Is faith in the world similar to the real world, where there's little to no actual proof in a deity, or will the deity have a more direct role in the world (not necessarily appearing in the world, but directly answering prayers, speaking audibly to people, etc)?  It's fine if the answer is "no one knows for sure", but make sure that you know that that's the answer before going on with the rest of the story.

There's also various degrees of "faith".  For example, the character could have three beliefs: "My father exists", "I will find my father", and "My father is alive".  The first is pretty basic and very likely to be true (you did mention a lab though, so I suppose it could be false; that might make an interesting twist, if the character was created in the lab and memories of his father were hallucinations).  The second and third are more guesses, but the character at least has some amount of input in the second; he can control whether he continues on with his quest or simply gives up, making it into a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The third, however, has almost no input from the character; he has no way (barring finding evidence of his father) of knowing whether his father is alive or not, and has no way if affecting whether or not his father is alive.

The last thing I want to note on is a bit of a personal note; I'll say that I'm an atheist so you know a bit about where I'm coming from.  "Faith", in the sense that you believe in something without any real proof either way, can be incredibly dangerous if you don't make sure that you have some kind of safeguard built into your faith.

For example, using the videos you linked, in the second video they talk about how a lot of physics knowledge was overturned with introducing quantum mechanics.  Yes, we had "faith" in those systems being correct, but as soon as evidence to the contrary was presented, we switched our thinking to the new system (at least once we put the new evidence through rigorous testing).  That's an example of good faith; belief in something that may not be fully proven, but also the ability to accept that it may not be correct and change belief accordingly when it's challenged.

An example of bad faith from the videos would be what they said about Einstein in the last one.  He had very strong faith in quantum mechanics being wrong that he strove constantly to prove it wrong, ignoring evidence to the contrary.  That's an example of bad faith.

The difference between the two is that, in order for your faith to be reasonable, you need to have some circumstance in which you'd accept that it was wrong; it has to be falsifiable in some way.  If you tell yourself that you'll always believe in it no matter what evidence is presented against it, that's not reasonable faith.

Online Neysha

Re: Making a religious experience in a story or game. Let's Brainstorm.
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2013, 05:02:28 PM »

The last thing I want to note on is a bit of a personal note; I'll say that I'm an atheist so you know a bit about where I'm coming from.  "Faith", in the sense that you believe in something without any real proof either way, can be incredibly dangerous if you don't make sure that you have some kind of safeguard built into your faith.

For example, using the videos you linked, in the second video they talk about how a lot of physics knowledge was overturned with introducing quantum mechanics.  Yes, we had "faith" in those systems being correct, but as soon as evidence to the contrary was presented, we switched our thinking to the new system (at least once we put the new evidence through rigorous testing).  That's an example of good faith; belief in something that may not be fully proven, but also the ability to accept that it may not be correct and change belief accordingly when it's challenged.

An example of bad faith from the videos would be what they said about Einstein in the last one.  He had very strong faith in quantum mechanics being wrong that he strove constantly to prove it wrong, ignoring evidence to the contrary.  That's an example of bad faith.

The difference between the two is that, in order for your faith to be reasonable, you need to have some circumstance in which you'd accept that it was wrong; it has to be falsifiable in some way.  If you tell yourself that you'll always believe in it no matter what evidence is presented against it, that's not reasonable faith.

I think all of that was covered in the third video.

Offline Ironwolf85Topic starter

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Re: Making a religious experience in a story or game. Let's Brainstorm.
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2013, 04:14:58 PM »
Actually I've been thinking, and changed the idea.
Might even let him loose in a post-apoc direction.

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Making a religious experience in a story or game. Let's Brainstorm.
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 06:29:01 AM »
An example of one of my favourite religious experiences in a video game has to be... Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, if I recall?

Essentially, one of the characters is a Cleric. She turned her faith from one god to another, after having a crisis of faith. This, of course, is Forgotten Realms, so gods not only exist but you can talk to them and, at higher levels, go to their own planes of existance and have a chat with them.

Her reason for her crisis of faith was when she discovered her god punished atheists; he doesn't mind differing beliefs, but those without any faith at all are punished for being 'on the wall' by having their souls forged into a giant wall to punish the faithless. After discovering this was true, she turned her back on him to a god she felt more fitting to her outlook of helping those in need, so much so that she waged a war on the Wall of the Faithless (I think it was called?) to free the souls there. Sadly, I don't think any of the endings actually reward her for this.

Online Neysha

Re: Making a religious experience in a story or game. Let's Brainstorm.
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2014, 07:13:17 AM »
Huh... I don't remember that storyline. Then again is been awhile. I might have to go back and check.