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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Your religion  (Read 7138 times)
Brennan Taylor
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Posts: 499


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« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2004, 12:38:36 PM »

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
Nikola's second question wasn't about bringing Dogs to a player's own religious nature. He asked what was it about one's "religious nature" that brought one to Dogs.

And I think that Nikola's curiosity about this matter is a sound one.


Oh, I think I misinterpreted the question. Sorry about that.

What brings me to Dogs is partially my own religious nature, but also my own nature. Quakerism relies very heavily on individual experience and judgement, tempered of course by the community, but all Quakers believe they are in direct communication with the divine. This puts a lot of pressure on a person, of course. Am I right? Am I making a decision in accordance with my principles? Quakerism requires a person to do a great deal of self-examination.

Because of this, I think Dogs really appeals to me. It deals with the exact same issues explicitly: is your character making the right decision? What is the right decision? Do you think it was sinful after you made that decision?
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Brand_Robins
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Posts: 650


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« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2004, 04:04:52 PM »

The second question isn't easy to answer, but I'll give it a shot.

What brought Dogs to my attention was Paka's thread on RPG.net entitled "Psuedo-Mormon Gunslingers in the Mythic West." This about a month after Pramas made a most satirizing Mormonism made me click on and read, as I'm more than a bit defensive of my religion. This comes from any combination of things, from a projection about my own problems with the church to the fact that as a kid I was the victim of what we'd now call a hate crime due to my church affiliation. However I found nothing offensive in Paka's post, and was intrigued by what he said -- intrigued enough to order the game. Of course, that's what brought it to my attention, not what kept my attention.

Having read it I found myself very deeply interested in what the game said to me, what it was about in my little world. This has much to do with my academic background in philosophy, my own rather heterodox take on Mormonism, and my take on personal and social responsibility. The Dogs fit into a very tricky place in those beliefs, a place where I find the stories they inspire to be powerful things, but where if they existed in the real world I would find them objectionable in the most extreme sense of the word. The divisions between self and society, faith and law, personal responsibility and social force are all things in which the Dogs mission falls perpendicular to my own standards of behavior – but does so in a way that shows clearly why they do what they do and why, in their world, it is a good thing to do. It isn't that I find the Dogs evil, but that they're good people who believe in a world quite like mine but take radically different stances on what that means towards personal behavior and social force.

This leads to a game in which I am very unlikely to identify with my character, but find it almost impossible to not find them fascinating. The Dogs represent the best and most hopeful of the things I see as most unacceptable, and thus run headlong into situations where hard decisions that make for real examination of topics that are important to my personal life are handled in a “fantastic” enough way to make them meaningful story fodder.
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- Brand Robins
Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2004, 05:23:33 PM »

I was raised in one of the most liberal Southern Baptist churchs in North Carolina, so liberal that we got kicked out the Southern Baptist Convention for blessing the "holy unions" of homosexual couples.  The problem with growing up in a very liberal church, though, is that they're not sure what to teach you about religion for fear of "indoctrinating" you (most of the older adults came to the church to escape the oppressive religion of their childhoods).  So I didn't really learn about the Bible until I started taking courses on it in college, and I'm a big fan of the holy texts of other Abrahamic groups too: the Qur'an, Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi texts, Sufi poetry, the Taiping in China (which I'm studying now), syncretic Native American/Christian beliefs like the Longhouse religion and the Ghost Dance, Santeria, etc.  So I dig heresy like nothing else, but don't consider myself a member of any particular religion.  Kind of an "ecumenical Abrahamist with pantheistic tendencies," since there's no denying my cultural affliliation with that prophetic tradition, though I often seem to equate "God" with "the Universe" or "Life," which is why Dogs' "King of Life" really works for me.  I can view God in semi-Animistic ways.

So I bring to Dogs a strong concern with how orthodoxy is maintained in a religious community, since differently people will doubtlessly have different ideas about how things work: spirituality being ultimately a personal thing, often clashing with the organized religion of the larger group.  There are clearly ways in which maintaining orthodoxy can be supportive and spiritually nurturing (which is what I didn't get in my own "anything goes" upbringing, no foundation or religious education to build my own beliefs on), but then it obviously can also be oppressive and destructive to personal faiths (when you believe something to be true but the larger community denies it; this is where Pride comes in).
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clehrich
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« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2004, 06:00:16 PM »

First of all, I'd like to say thanks to John Marron and Jonathan Walton.  I'm that guy, the one you took that course from in college Humanities, who told you all that stuff you never knew about your religion.  I always get sort of weirded out when all these kids say, very intensely, "Yes, I'm very serious about my religion," and then I find out that they know nothing whatever about it except that they've maybe seen The Ten Commandments and have heard that Jesus is very important.  So here's me, non-practicing agnostic Jew who studies things like demonology, teaching a bunch of Boston Catholics about sin.  You know?  Anyway, thanks.

Second, I came to Dogs through Forge forums and didn't even realize it had anything much to do with religion until I started reading.  I got about five pages into it, though, "Uh oh, this sounds like something I'm going to get really ticked off about," then read some more and thought, "Jeepers, that's really clever."  And I started to wonder, in fact, why I couldn't think of other games with strongly religious themes that handled it in as sophisticated and thoughtful a way.

Not to make Vincent's head any bigger, of course....
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Chris Lehrich
Brand_Robins
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Posts: 650


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« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2004, 06:53:13 PM »

Quote from: clehrich
I always get sort of weirded out when all these kids say, very intensely, "Yes, I'm very serious about my religion," and then I find out that they know nothing whatever about it except that they've maybe seen The Ten Commandments and have heard that Jesus is very important.  


No joke. This is a thing I never got. I took several courses on Jewish history and religion in which I was either the only gentile, or close to,  and in which many of my Jewish classmates told me that they'd only taken the class for easy credit, only to find out that they knew nothing about their own religion or its history. As I went through Christianity and Islam it was a similar story, just without the overwhelming demographics of the class. The only arena I ever studied in undergrad courses in which the majority of the members of the religion really knew their religion was Hinduism, which was slightly ironic given that no one else in the classes could even point to the countries where Hinduism was a major religion. And I went to a good university....

Which brings me to another point about why I like Dogs. Much as Vincent is an aethist (which I knew well before I bought the game) he's done something with Dogs that really hits me -- he's recognized the importance and story potential of religion even though he doesn't believe in it. As a student of the humanities it's often shocked me how hard people will try to avoid talking about religion, or dismiss it's import, when studying the human condition. Dogs, while it isn't a religious game, recognizes the power and potential of a game that uses religion as a focus around which stories are built.
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- Brand Robins
Mark D. Eddy
Member

Posts: 157


« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2004, 07:43:24 PM »

I'm an ex-Fundamentalist Episcopalian seminarian. Who read the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover at the age of sixteen. After defending it while a missionary with a very conservative missions group. I come to Dogs in the Vinyard as a potential didactic tool. Too few of the people I know have bothered to examine the big question: "What do I believe and why?" If played well, the question "What does my guy believe and why?" can get people started on the hermeneutical/ontological questions.

That and I'm a sucker for a good Western.

I don't know if this has come up before, but Orson Scott Card's Saints is a very good book to use as an ideas-mine.
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Mark Eddy
Chemist, Monotheist, History buff

"The valiant man may survive
if wyrd is not against him."
Albert the Absentminded
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Posts: 25


« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2004, 07:24:40 AM »

Actually, and I cannot emphasize this enough, practically _anything_ written by Orson Scott Card is encouraged reading for this game.

Ender's Game? No, not really, but it's a good read anyway.

Folk of the Fringe? Post-apocalyptic Mormons.

Alvin Maker series? The first three especially.

The Homecoming series? Blatant retelling of the Book of Mormon, and it is _full_ of conflicts.

Stone Tables? The story of Moses told from an LDS viewpoint.

Women of Genesis? The stories of Sarah, Rebekkah, and Rachel and Leah.
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