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Subject: A religious problem - don't laugh rss

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Yehuda Berlinger
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If you think this is ridiculous, please just ignore me.

I am thinking of getting this, but our group has a slight problem with the mentions of sacrifices to Amun-Re. The concept of Phase 4 could be reworded kind of abstract, however, and could just as easily be seen more innoculously ("player's play cards to determine how the success of the harvest will be"). (For instance, we can play E&T without difficulties)

My group would not be able to play this unless I could "black out" all references to the sacrifice part, on the cards, over the box, etc...

Since I never saw the game, I don't know if this is possible. Is this possible? I need to cross out the words "sacrifice" and "Amun Re" with a heavy black marker on all places that mention it (box, rules, cards, board), and pencil in replacement words. Or is the board and rules so heavily covered with it that it can't be done and still leave a sensible game?

Yehuda
 
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Matthew M
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Shade_Jon (#33603),

You'll be happy to know that the components are completely language independant! The cards themselves are merely pictures which can be referenced in the rulebook - you would only need to mark up the rulebook itself or create a "clean" on the computer for your own use.

-MMM
 
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Octavian (#33609),

Well, the player aids also mention the sacrifice, so you wouldn't be able to use them (without blacking out the word).
 
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Gordon Robinson
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
At the weekend I was at a games convention (Baycon, Exeter, UK) where a guy was telling a group of us about how he was once half an hour into explaining the rules to Amun-Re when one of the players stood up and left the table declaring that he could not participate in the game on religious grounds.

So maybe you are right to be wary about how your group will react.

It all seems potty to me but the world is made up of many different folk and I appreciate that that is a good thing.
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Chester
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Gordon (#33687),

WOW! I'm a little surprised that the use of this word would be such a sticking point for people. Would the same players be averse to all war games (which involve "killing") or negotiation games the involve backstabbing or lying?

Once I was reading all the comments/ratings for Evo and there was a person who had rated the game a 1 (as in...broken game) and stated that they would never play the game because they did not "believe in evolution". This is a little confusing to me. That the process of evolution exists is not really in question. Its a measurable phenomenon (in bacteria with short generation times). Shoot, look at antibiotic resistance for a model of this. The concept of evolution being the origin of all life IS a theory and I can understand someone having beliefs one way of the other.

But good grief, killing a game's rating with a 1 based on that? Better to just not play it...and not rate it. People should only rate games they play.
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Yehuda Berlinger
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
cornjob wrote:
Gordon (#33687),

WOW! I'm a little surprised that the use of this word would be such a sticking point for people. Would the same players be averse to all war games (which involve "killing") or negotiation games the involve backstabbing or lying?


Well, each religion, and in fact, each little variation of religiosity, can have its own quirks. Don't try to get quick answers to questions like, "well if they do X, why can't they do Y" - you must expect that different beliefs have different priorities about ethical issues.

In our case, we certainly don't like to go out killing, but we have no injuction against simulation games that involve war (at least, no more than any ethical person does regarding "war toys", although, we don't in fact play them that much). OTOH, we do have an injunction against simulating worship of other gods, so therein is the problem. It is both personal choice, and response to a religious injunction - the reasoning behind it is not really for a game group thread.

Once I was reading all the comments/ratings for Evo and there was a person who had rated the game a 1 (as in...broken game) and stated that they would never play the game because they did not "believe in evolution".

This is from the school of "perfectly accurate, but completely useless" information. A rating of 1 is supposed to be "broken, would never play the game". The rater is perfectly accurate by giving it a 1 to reflect this. However, the real purpose of a rating is to indicate to others who may consider playing/purchasing the game, and therefore the rating of 1 is completely useless, as you say.

Yehuda
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Matthew M
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
cornjob wrote:
Gordon (#33687),
Once I was reading all the comments/ratings for Evo and there was a person who had rated the game a 1 (as in...broken game) and stated that they would never play the game because they did not "believe in evolution". This is a little confusing to me. That the process of evolution exists is not really in question.


Whether it exists or not shouldn't matter - we play games with dragons and aliens and islands named Catan, afterall.

But to some who have religous beliefs making an offering (whether it be a human sacrifice or money) to a god is blasphemous - regardless of if it is a game or not.

-MMM
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J.M. Diller
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Since my wife and I are Christians, and likewise most of our friends and family, I also wondered if the sacrifice part of Amun-Re was going to be an issue. Fortunately, I haven't heard even one complaint about it, in fact, we often refer to it as the "offering", joking about how evil someone is for playing the -3 card and stealing from the offering. (Their punishment being that they don't get a free item.) We also joke that when someone makes change right before the sacrifice, they are making change from the offering plate. I think the kidding around about it has removed any potential conflict about pretending to be sacrificing to another god.

In the end, of course, everyone has limits as to what they are comfortable with- I certainly wouldn't make fun anyone because their convictions gave them trouble with an aspect of a game.


 
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Shade_Jon (#33603),

I really fail to see where is the problem here: giving money to priests is a common practice in every religion I know. If anything, it should be a problem for us atheists
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Kevin Long
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Shade_Jon (#33603),
amusing but for discussions sake/interest: how bout Guillotine? Bang! ? Pirate's Cove? i have some in my relatives that won't play any kind of dungeon related games but love lord of the rings? A good Christian could easily rule out a lot of games - how bout Tikal? some religious would actually join up a real archeology team - but others wouldn't think it worthy to support uncovering of heathen cultures - so would some find it uncomfortable to play Tikal? i know thats stretching it but there is with out a doubt some

i poke some fun becasue i have relatives that really do judge these things!
 
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Interesting. My first instinct was to mock, but on reflection, I wonder where the line falls for me? I don't object to playing games based on war or other kinds of violence like Old West shootouts. I don't turn away from a game of Puerto Rico because it means I have to play at keeping slaves. Yet I don't think I would consent to play a game based on crimes or historical events that repel me just because of their sheer evil. When does "playing at" something become "being complicit" in it?
 
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Shade_Jon (#33739),

How about this: instead of sacrificing to Amun-Re, everyone can offer bonus pay to the workers ... the bigger the total "bonus", the harder they work and the better the farmer payoff?
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Heinz Kiosk
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
I'm with Chester on this one.

The idea of not playing a game on the grounds you don't believe that its subject matter is true seems close-minded. Where does that leave all the games with a science-fiction or fantasy theme? Or games where you build railways along ahistorical routes? Or games where the axis powers might win WW2? Or games where kangaroos bounce different distances across other kangaroos and their own shadow? Or games where plastic horses move along a cardboard track? Or games where cars move according to the roll of a polyhedral die? Or stylised wargames conducted between mobile castles and giant horses with queens as the most lethal warriers?

Anyone who refuses to play a game on such grounds is displaying personal insecurity about their own beliefs.

Unfortunately that certain religious people have a real problem with evolution, because it refutes the Reverend Paley's observation (after Aquinas) that complexity requires an intelligent creator (god) and cannot come about spontaneously. Though Occam disposed of Aquinas's rather feeble arguments hundreds of years earlier he had not proposed an alternative mechanism for the organised complexity of the organic world as Darwin et al ultimately did. These people want not only to believe in God, but want also need to believe that their faith has some logical underpinning. Acceptance of evolution removes an important part (to them) of that logical underpinning and forces them to fall back solely on faith.

Tom
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Yehuda Berlinger
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Octavian wrote:
Whether it exists or not shouldn't matter - we play games with dragons and aliens and islands named Catan, afterall.


Our discomfort has NOTHING to do with whether what we are playing is real or not. We have a religious injunction not to participate in an act that is anything similar, simulation, play or otherwise, to worship of other gods.

We have no injunction against playing games with imaginary ideas of other sorts. We play D&D, but without Deities and Demigods.

Yehuda
 
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Yehuda Berlinger
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
treece keenes wrote:
Shade_Jon (#33603),
amusing but for discussions sake/interest: how bout Guillotine? Bang! ? Pirate's Cove? i have some in my relatives that won't play any kind of dungeon related games but love lord of the rings? A good Christian could easily rule out a lot of games - how bout Tikal? some religious would actually join up a real archeology team - but others wouldn't think it worthy to support uncovering of heathen cultures - so would some find it uncomfortable to play Tikal? i know thats stretching it but there is with out a doubt some

i poke some fun becasue i have relatives that really do judge these things!


I'm sure SOME people would find any or all of such things uncomfortable. I have no problem with people who do, or do not, find such things uncomfortable.

What are you asking exactly? That since I have a religious injunction against A, then surely I should have against B too, and isn't that silly? Or do you want to know why I don't have an injunction against B? Or are you saying that there should not be any injunctions for anybody? I don't know what you're looking for.

I repeat: Our discomfort has NOTHING to do with whether what we are playing is real or not, simulates violence or not, or requires tactical or deceptive play or not. We have a specific religious injunction not to participate in an act that is anything similar, simulation, play or otherwise, to worship of other gods.

We happen to have no injunction against playing games with imaginary ideas of other sorts. We have no injunction against playing games that deal with topics that are unethical such as Bang! or Puerto Rico, or that deal with violence, crime, etc..., as long as we do not do these activities in real life, or can be lead to do them through the games. The same is true about games that require the player to "lie", "steal", etc.. in the context of the game itself, but not outside of it.

In other words, in most other matters, our attitude matches the typical American attitude: some think war toys leads to a desensitivity towards violence, some think it is a better outlet for violence, some think playing games is a waste of valuable time, etc... AFAIK, a decision regarding these types of games is entirely personal, and not a matter of religious prescription, although some people would undoubtedly seek such an opinion if they felt uncomfortable.

But when there is a specific religious prescription, as someone who is willingly bound to the tenets of my religion, I am bound to adhere to it, regardless of what I personally feel about it. And I am speaking only of my own understanding and the understanding of (some of the members of) our game group, not all adherents of my religion in general.

And in fact, there may not be any such prescription; I haven't really asked any competent religious authorities. Nevertheless, the concept is sufficiently close to what we know is proscribed for us that we feel better not playing with it as is.

Yehuda
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Yehuda Berlinger
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
SkookumPete wrote:
Interesting. My first instinct was to mock, but on reflection, I wonder where the line falls for me? I don't object to playing games based on war or other kinds of violence like Old West shootouts. I don't turn away from a game of Puerto Rico because it means I have to play at keeping slaves. Yet I don't think I would consent to play a game based on crimes or historical events that repel me just because of their sheer evil. When does "playing at" something become "being complicit" in it?


Some members of our group didn't want to play Origins of World War II because of the prominently displayed picture of Hitler on the cover. Just a personal feeling, not a religious proscription.

For a great story on this, see this grat story by Ab3: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?s=&threadid=13446

Yehuda
 
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Yehuda Berlinger
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
tom.mcclelland wrote:
I'm with Chester on this one.

The idea of not playing a game on the grounds you don't believe that its subject matter is true seems close-minded.


Please see my other responses to this.

Yehuda
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Rene Wiersma
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Shade_Jon (#33856),

We have a specific religious injunction not to participate in an act that is anything similar, simulation, play or otherwise, to worship of other gods.

But why?

Suppose we agree that both killing people and worshipping a false god are morally wrong, then I don't see why it is OK to play BANG! and pretend you are an outlaw shooting the Sheriff and why it is not OK to play Amun-Re and pretend you are bringing a sacrifice to a fictional god...

Really, what is the difference between those things? Is worshipping another god worse than killing someone?

I'm not mocking your decision, I'm just trying to understand it...



 
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
zaiga (#33860),

You're conflating religious decisions with logical decision. They belong to distinctly separate spheres.
 
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Yehuda Berlinger
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Hubajube wrote:
zaiga (#33860),

You're conflating religious decisions with logical decision. They belong to distinctly separate spheres.


I couldn't agree more :-)

Still, I will try.

First: the internal logic of my decision is dictated by the guiding principles of my life: First, do not do anything that I know to be morally wrong (including by inaction). Second, do not do anything proscribed by my religion. Third, do anything specified by my religion. Fourth, lead a healthy and normal balanced life.

Implicit in this logic, is that by following the first three rules, I will be achieving the last rule. The depth and intracacies of the things that we do simply cannot be explained in one sitting (not eating milk and meat together, as an example). I can't explain it to you in a game forum.

Yet, as an adherent to my religion, I will continue to follow these principles, even when I do not know how or why a dictate was given, because I do not expect to know and understand or second guess everything that was written by, I believe, a higher authority, at least in my lifetime. My goal is to learn as much as I can, and not to throw it away when I get frustrated by something small.

Second: I have these two injunctions, one against senseless killing, and one against worshiping anything other than God.

The prohibition against senseless killing, does not preclude me from talking about senseless killing, playing games about senseless killing, and watching films about senseless killing. It does prevent me from supporting, directly or indirectly, those who might do it, or any activity that might lead me to do it, or any activity that can be misconstrued as doing or supporting it. Playing Bang! does not fall into any of those categories.

The prohibition against worshiping anything other than God is much more sensitive, because the act itself is a mental act, not a physical one. Thus, I can study about other gods, but only with caution that I don't end up actually participating or simulating their worship. I can play games with other gods discussed in an abstract sense, but I can't really perform actions, even in a game, that might be misconstrued, however tenuously, as imitating another religion's practice.

There is much less of a distinction between pretending to offer a sacrifice and knowing that it is just a game, than pretending to kill someone and knowing it is just a game. The first is much less removed from the actual act itself than the second. In other words, pretending to worship another god is CLOSE TO THE ACTUAL ACT ITSELF of worshiping another god, whereas pretending to kill someone (and playing a card is not even that, it is just life counters, I don't even point my finger and go "Bang!") is nothing at all like actually killing someone.

Third: The decision about what is or is not "close" to a prohibited act, is also something that is not just personal whim. Along with the proscriptions come many generations of legal texts and interpretations, fences around the biblical laws to safeguard against transgression, codes of ethics, customs, etc... I choose to be bound by all of this, because I believe it is good for me, ultimately, even as I live my life in the modern world, play games, raise a family, etc...

So, to sum up why: 1) I believe in the morality of, and follow the tenets of, my religion, 2) Simulating a mental act is similar to the act itself, and therefore may be similarly proscribed, as opposed to simulating a physical act, which is not similar to the act itself, 3) Many of my actions are guided by the rules of my religion, and these may require me to distance myself from acts similar to, leading to, or possibly misconstrued as a forbidden act.

Yehuda
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Hubajube (#33869),

We all draw somewhat arbitrary lines between what we find tasteful and what we don't. I don't play Lunch Money, because I find it the theme tasteless (and the game stupid, admittedly), but I will play WWII wargames for which the underlying history is much, much uglier.

I often consider designing games with thoroghly awkward themes - like, say, retheming Puerto Rico with the players taking the roles of drug kingpins, exporting cocaine, assassinating judges and other public officials, running turf wars, dealing with the fact that customers tend to get killed by the product. All stuff drug kingpins really do, and the underlying economic game would be interesting, and I think such a brutally honest theme might be challenging for players. But I think people would find this a lot less acceptable than, say, Axis & Allies - even though again, the Nazis were a lot worse.

Note that I'm not supporting some of the opinions expressed in this thread. I'm just saying we all draw somewhat arbitrary, non-logical lines as to what we find is gameable.

If you want to discuss the merits of evolution as a theory, that's another matter entirely, and probably not for this board.
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Rene Wiersma
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Shade_Jon (#33917),

Thanks for your clear explanation. I really appreciate it!
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Caleb,

I didn't "accuse" anyone of faith. Faith in personal belief systems is something that we all have, even ardent rationalists like myself.

On the contrary I said that the desire of some creationists/non-evolutionists to dismiss Darwinism was because of their desire for a rational underpinning for their faith. Aquinas and the Rev Paley attempted to answer this need, more or less convincingly according to your predisposition to accept the existence of a divine creator. The Rev Paley's argument in particular would be hard to dismiss for me personally were it not for my personal "faith" in Darwinism.

I am not a biologist personally so I cannot argue with Behe on his terms; but a quick scan of google showed that there are other chemical biologists who do not agree with his conclusions.

All that to one side, because really it is a debate for another forum (apologies for bringing it up, my fault)....

Now the stuff about games:

Clearly the subject matter of a game might be so offensive that I wouldn't be willing to play it. And we all have different boundaries in that area. I could perfectly well understand someone refusing to play Puerto Rico or Axis and Allies or Junta or Amun Re on moral grounds due to their simulation of vile human behaviour.

But the idea of evolution shouldn't be offensive *in itself* even to the most ardent creationist. That is the point I find it difficult to grasp. Even if one believes evolution to be an untrue theory I literally don't get why one would not want to play a game with an evolutionary theme.

Tom
 
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
tom.mcclelland wrote:
But the idea of evolution shouldn't be offensive *in itself* even to the most ardent creationist. That is the point I find it difficult to grasp. Even if one believes evolution to be an untrue theory I literally don't get why one would not want to play a game with an evolutionary theme.


The stock response is usually an out-of-context quote of I Thessalonians 5:22. "Abstain from all appearance of evil." That was the answer I got when I was a kid when I asked why I couldn't have a pack of cards.
 
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Re:A religious problem - don't laugh
Caleb,

careful consideration and study of the scriptures is important - skim only the surface and you're missing stuff!!

Is there some reason why relying on a 16th century English translation is more valid and somehow deeper than relying a later one (which may for all I know be more accurate, or indeed earlier Latin, Greek, or Aramaic?

I find the theory repugnant in its attempt to circumvent personal responsibility to a Creator

I think this means that you do find the very idea of Darwinism not merely untrue but morally repugnant, in the same way that others might find the idea of killing morally repugnant and therefore refuse to play "Bang!". My failure was to understand that an obviously intelligent and educated 2004 citizen could feel this way about a scientific idea.

I am curious. Your statements imply to me that you may believe in the literal truth of the entire Bible? Living in the largely secular or lip-service NewTestamentOnlyThankYou CofE UK and being godless myself I have never knowingly conversed with anyone who believes for example that the world was created by God around 6000 years ago with largely its current geography/geology/biology. Doing so is a slightly dislocating experience for me. Am I correct in my assumption, or are there parts of the scriptures that you don't believe, or that you permit a looser than strictly literal interpretation of?

I'd just as soon find something else to play if I were that worried about offending folks. You're better off treading safer ground and finding a game you don't have to edit in order to play; who knows if you might miss something or even why go through all of that work...there's tons of other great games to play!

There we are in total agreement.

Tom
 
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