Euros are better with dice!
[disclaimer]This post is not intended to prove, or disprove, the existence of a higher being. Neither is it a personal statement. Please don't kill me.[/disclaimer]
Gamers are great at figuring out how to win. If there's a way to beat it, or break it, some gamer somewhere will find it and post it on the Internet. So how would a gamer look at religion?
First off we need to look at the victory conditions. Pretty often they're rather straight forwards: achieving bliss. Whether we call it "heaven", "nirvana" or "operating Thetan", getting to the good zone is the goal of the Religion game.
Unfortunately there are many, many versions of Religion and each version has its own rulebook. Whether we call it "Bible", "Sutra" or "Koran" the rulebook will claim to be the one true one and vehemently disavow any other rulebooks in existence. And it won't carry a version number either - pick a rulebook and you'll never know it it's the one with all the latest fixes even for the Religion it claims to represent.
One thing in common is that the rulebooks will carry actions to be made and actions to be avoided - rules. Follow the rules and you'll win in that particular religion.
With this in mind, what are the winning strategies?
There are four possibilities for playing Religion:
1. There is no God. Thus it is meaningless to follow the rules. Like snakes and ladders the game is not a game. Strategy: Ignore all rulebooks and rules as they do not matter and live life to the fullest.
2. There is one or more God(s) but, unlike what most rulebooks claim, s/he/it/them, cares about the contents rather than the rules. This is the Ameritrash version of Religion - follow the theme (i.e. live a good life) and you'll win. Strategy: you do not need to follow the rules, it's enough to try to live a good life.
3. There is an infinite amount of Gods. Thus, no matter what type of life you choose to live, there will be a God whose rules reward that type of life. This is simple mathematics - with infinite Gods there will be one who rewards left-handed, porn watching, oath breakers. Strategy: ignore all rules, you're following them anyhow.
4. There is one or more, but not an infinite amount, of Gods. Thus there is one or more, but not an infinite amount of correct rulebooks. Find the correct ones and you'll win, fail and you'll lose. Thus some of the rulebooks are wrong and you have no way of knowing which ones. And as there are millions and millions of rulebooks and versions and iterations your chances of finding the correct one(s) are slim indeed. Strategy: you're fucked. Live life to the fullest then go to hell.
Summary: As both the winning and losing strategies rely on ignoring the rules the best way to play is to ignore the rules and live life to the fullest.
Conclusion: Chill down, grab a few mates and pull out Puerto Rico.