RE: Are You Offended When Your Religion Gets Use in a Video Game?By: Zanpakutou posted at Jul 03, 2012 9:08 pm
I have much more to say than what was in my original comment and I will add and expand on it here. This should be quite a long entry so expect a wall of text. If you are not going to read the whole thing, do not bother to comment.
People seem to take offense whenever their religion is depicted because it does not match their idealized version of what they believe. Many religious figures do not have any form of description or image of them from their time period, but instead they match an idealized version of the person that was created many years later. The idea that Jesus was some blond haired blue eyed white man living in present day Israel is just an absurd belief because the likelihood of that is practically impossible. People seem to want their religious figures to look like an idealized version of themselves rather than to depict something even remotely close to the truth.
Remember that TV and film operates on the belief that "all myths are true". For the most part, Christianity is the dominant depiction because that seems to be the branch of religion that most people fall under in terms of numbers. Remember that Christianity is the belief of a monotheistic all powerful, all good, all seeing, and all knowing deity. That makes it the obvious one to be depicted. Unfortunately, Christianity has not always been what we know it as today. In the time of the Roman Empire, Christianity was an oppressed religion because of the fact that it was a monotheistic religion and required people to throw away all of their previous religious figures to accept. Christianity was also one of many religions that people preached. Prophets were numerous and each had their own following. Most people seem to reject this idea and believe that Jesus was the only Messiah. Ironically, this makes Mel Brooks' "Life of Brian" a more accurate depiction of the life of Jesus than anything else you will ever see on TV or film.
The film Dogma also takes an interesting twist on the beliefs of Christianity depicting how many people see Christianity and the criticisms of it. One thing that people do not notice are the 2 extra apostles that the story adds in. Serendipity and Rufus are the 2 apostles. Serendipity was left out because she was a woman and Rufus was because he was black. If you pay close attention, this is criticism of the Christian faith where everyone is depicted as white European Anglo-Saxon male when there were numerous African and slaves who believed in the religion. However, women and minorities were marginalized and ignored because the writers of the Bible are all assumed to be white males. It also depicts God and all of the saviors as potentially women rather than men and this stretches the beliefs of people more than they are comfortable with because they are used to seeing things a certain way. It also mixes in the beliefs of an all powerful God continuing the line of Messiahs in the world by intervening to allow for immaculate conceptions so that they can be called upon when needed. However, you also piss off a lot of people because of the fact that Christianity relies on Jesus being the last Prophet and the Son of God while Islam relies on Mohammad being the last Prophet. By making the film Dogma, it twists this by essentially declaring a new Prophet and a Messiah and that pisses off a lot of people who believe strongly in a strict religious interpretation of the Bible.
Christianity is not the only religion and there are many others out there. The ones with multiple deities are interesting because they are not as well known and some are believed to have interacted regularly with the mortal world. The problem that people have is that the depiction does not match their belief. This is why people believe that a water stain or a piece of toast that looks like the face of their Messiah is believed to be a message from God. They see what they want to see rather than the truth. If we had an actual depiction of the respective figures from their period of time, what we see would be far different from how they are depicted. People are offended when others think or say something that contradicts their own beliefs and what they can see.
The main problem that people have is if they interpret the Bible as the only truth. Everything else in the world comes into conflict with it because the Bible tells the history of the world differently. The problem is that the Bible was apparently written a few hundred years after the life of Jesus. The stories are probably inaccurate due to numerous retellings of the story of Jesus and his achievements before it was actually written down. Christianity was also one of the religions that had the habit of destroying anything that would make them look bad. The main problem with the literal interpretation of the Bible is the creation of religious fundamentalist. It is what many people would consider to be religious extremism similar to the extremist Muslims who engage in terrorism. One of the ways this is done is by poking holes in scientific theory without understanding how the scientific process actually works. Remember that science is the best explanation for something based on the evidence provided at a given time. Making a conclusion and then finding evidence that supports it is not scientific and neither is avoiding the scientific process. If religions want to be taken more seriously as a practical form of education, they need to submit themselves to the scientific process that everything else has to pass if they want to be able to teach it. Religious conservatives have pushed to have "intelligent design" to be taught as an alternative when in reality it is trying to teach creationism in school. They have attempted to push the idea that evolution should not be treated as a theory and not a fact and some places have included a sticker saying such in science text books. If this is what they want, they should include a sticker that states there is no proof for the Bible or any of the sacred texts and should be treated as fictional stories in every Bible and see how they react. They can remove it once they can prove that Jesus did in fact walk the Earth 3 days after his death and find Noah's Ark. If they disagree, they should stop trying to do this to other people. If you teach Intelligent Design as fact, you would have to do the same for every religion out there.
The Roman Catholic Church has been corrupt in the past. It had to put Roman in front of its name as other religions started branching off of the main Christian religion. There are numerous depictions of corrupt religious figures because of how bad it used to be. Representatives of the Church used to sell indulgences, items that would guarantee entry into heaven, for large sums of money. This is what you call bribery. The Spanish Inquisition also did not help with people doing absolutely crazy things in the name of God. When even messengers from the Church in Rome are tortured and interrogated, something is probably wrong. Creating false evidence for the existence of someone such as through the Shroud of Turin is not helpful for them either. Many inspirations for corrupt religious figures draw from examples provided during this period of time where religious authorities would use the money and power to do crazy things because few people could call them out on it and doing so would place the existence of the Church in jeopardy anyways.
Another problem is when you use religion to justify your actions. Remember that religion establishes what is morally acceptable and what is not. We always hear about some of the things that Jesus did like make wine from water and give food to the poor and starving. At the same time, the people who believe in this sort of stuff do not practice it. We see people who call themselves wealthy religious conservatives yet they only give to charity when it gives them an advantage over paying taxes and refuse to pass legislation that might help the poor working class. The only class warfare I see is one where the rich is waging war on the poor and they are winning. Punishments in the past were far harsher and are rarely ever carried out in present day except in places where religion might rule as law such as in Iran where religion runs the state. The reason stoning is a big deal is because it was used to carry out the death penalty when there were few other means of doing so in the past yet some of the crimes that are deserving of it might be considered trivial to us.
In terms of just massive events, God has killed quite a lot of people
Here are some of the ridiculous punishments from various Christian texts
-Deuteronomy 21:22 - A rape victim is to be put to death if they do not scream loudly enough for help
-Exodus 21:15 - If you disobey your parents, you are to be put to death
People seem to do terrible things in the name of religion. Remember Anders Behring Breivik? You might have heard of his name during the Norway Bombings in 2011. His actions are similar to the Crusades that were carried out in the past. The Crusades were an ongoing conflict between the Western European Christians against the Eastern Islamic regions over the control of what would be the holy city of Jerusalem. It is believed to be the sacred holy ground to many people. Breivik and even Osama Bin Laden have cited the Crusades as something that has been ongoing. Both of them belong to what we would consider to be extremists of their respective religions. Very few people are willing to take their beliefs so far because it contradicts their own personal beliefs and morals. There is no such thing as doing something for the greater good when it contradicts the teachings. Doing so is contradicting your religious beliefs and using arbitrary excuses and means of justification to do what you want. If religion teaches you certain behaviors that you are supposed to follow, there should be no reason as to why it can be different under certain circumstances. Killing is killing. There is no such thing as justified killing. The fact that you have to justify it means that it was something wrong to begin with.
Here are some interesting thoughts that people should think about. Scientology is not that far from Christianity. In Scientology, one of the primary beliefs is that all the evil in the world is caused by souls of criminals trapped on Earth. It sounds very familiar to the influence of the Devil/Satan on Earth in Christianity. For some reason, Christianity seems to want to push itself far from Scientology because it sounds a bit too crazy for them. On a less absurd train of thought, the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is just as true as the Bible and Bobby Henderson (author of the Gospel) seems to realize this. It is also a strong criticism of what is wrong with many religions today.
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