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[PATV] Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - Extra Credits Season 5, Ep. 17: Religion in Games (Part 2)

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
edited December 2012 in The Penny Arcade Hub

image[PATV] Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - Extra Credits Season 5, Ep. 17: Religion in Games (Part 2)

This week, we talk a bit about Faith in games.
Come discuss this topic in the forums!

Read the full story here

Dog on


  • AdmiralMemoAdmiralMemo Trekkie Extraordinaire Baltimore, Maryland, USARegistered User regular
    Looks like Part 1 to me... Anyone else getting Part 1 as well?

  • Grug16Grug16 Registered User
    This is the same video as Episode 1!

  • AdmiralMemoAdmiralMemo Trekkie Extraordinaire Baltimore, Maryland, USARegistered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Grug16 wrote: »
    This is the same video as Episode 1!
    Yeah. I think they screwed up the upload. Let's be patient.

    Edit: Yep. Refresh and it's there now.

    AdmiralMemo on
    The Elven Jedi
  • itsarandomencounteritsarandomencounter Registered User new member
    Biggest disappointment with this episode is that they never bothered with making clear what definition of Faith they were working from, and yes there are several definitons of faith all hold valif from different people, some define it as blind or absolute trust, while others define it as the absurd belief (this one is actually from christian exsistensialism), others define it as that which cannot be mediated and is thus way more personal than the episode would have us belive because it would mean we cannot have a reasonable discussion about personal faith with anyone but ourselves. If their definiton is within any of theese definitons I would say it's closest to blin or absolute trust as defined when we still relied on newtonian physics, but several other concepts they touched don't fit this definiton of faith.

  • pocketlint60pocketlint60 Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    I'm surprised that you specifically showed Thane when mentioning games that understand faith, and you mentioned gamers' hostile knee-jerk reaction to religious people, but you didn't mention Ashley Williams. Ash was a great character and all the hate stemmed from the fact that she was kind of a bitch and that she believed in the Christian God, but those weren't flaws on the part of Bioware because they wanted Ash to be a bitchy, tough soldier with a sensitive side. Instead of doing stereotypical sexist like making that "sensitive side" all about children or something, her sensitive side was that, unlike most characters in the game, she still marveled at space and how far humanity has come, and this is expressed to the player via a conversation about her beliefs. It pisses me off that most people hate the character for being exactly what she was intended to be. You might not like her as a person (I do; she was my first romance option choice), but it's undeniable that she was an excellently crafted character. More games need believable Christians like her. Especially Sci-Fi.

    pocketlint60 on
    ANTIcarrotThe Elven Jedi
  • Sc0tchSc0tch Registered User
    edited December 2012
    I find your opinions on the relationship between faith and science a bit bizarre. Science is basically just a way of figuring out what is true and what is not and as far as I know there is only one postulate in science and that is "Things exist and our observations are real" because who knows, we might all be plugged in to the matrix.

    Science isn't at all about faith, it's about observation. You think something might be true and you try to do tests that would disprove it. If you can't disprove it then you have evidence it might be true. After enough time passes and you still can't disprove it you can begin to make an assumption that it is true in the pursuit of more knowledge. At no point do you have faith that it is true.

    Faith can be defined as believing something without evidence and in that case it really isn't compatible with science. Maybe this is just a defining your terms issue though. I'd also like to bring up that faith isn't always a good thing and thus perhaps an argument can be made that it doesn't belong in video games.

    Sc0tch on
  • BlackjokerBlackjoker Registered User regular
    Science isn't about faith, it has to do with observing, experimenting and verifying. Science also changes as new information comes in, this is not really the same thing as faith, especially as it pertains to religion. In that case frequently people will ignore evidence in favor of their faith, this is part of what the whole creationism issue is with people trying to push creation myths in schools to captive audiences.

    I think that the idea of a game where either priests didn't have power or where there was ambiguity (like the D&D setting Eberron) where priests might have power but the question is whether they're mages that use faith to fuel their magic or if they get their power form some divine intermediary.

  • WUAWUA Registered User regular
    The faith/science bit was just shriekingly ridiculous.

  • TGWGTGWG Registered User
    where was that ending quote from?

  • IntotheSkyIntotheSky Registered User regular
    We do get a chance to see Father Grigori blasting some Head Crabs to Kingdom Come. I'll chalk that up to a win.

    Mr. Gruntor
  • Techpriest OniTechpriest Oni Registered User
    Tim Menchent put it best and it's why I find myself disagreeing with the core theme of this video.

    "Science adjust its views based on what's observed, Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved"

    Yes there are postulates that we base a lot of our physics and various other sciences on, but at the end of the day they are simply convinces until we reach a point where we can appropriately test them and undertake proving or disproving them.

  • SemyasSemyas Registered User
    No, that is in fact how science works: you come up with a hypothesis and then see if you can falsify it. Science isn't "the truth" it's just the most probable state of affairs and it is very likely that a lot of what people who don't understand science consider "truth" is in fact not. A man called Popper came up with falsificationism when it became apparent that verificationism was just too restrictive to allow science to go anywhere.

    Just think about it, how much can you actually, undenyably, KNOW?

  • aniforprezaniforprez Registered User regular
    Yeah, I disagree on most of the "science is based on faith bit". Science's postulates are based on solid proof which CAN BE RECREATED AT WILL. Math theorems are not esoteric or mysterious. With the right knowledge, any Joe Schmoe can derive any equation without assumptions. These assumptions are based on observations in the first place. That portion doesn't work.

    That said, there is a serious lack of exploration of faith. Usually such characters turn out to be tricksters or unimportant. This can be dealt with more I guess. I feel Dragon Age delved somewhat into this but not in a very satisfying way.

    @Techpriest Oni, Dude, if you're using Tim Minchin's knowledge as scripture you're not looking in the right places. He's a deluded, nihilistic, self-righteous, pompous ass. I'm an atheist and many times I find him increasingly irritating and downright wrong. Classifying faith as "the denial of observation" is so general and broad I was pretty shocked with the number of people quoting that line. Faith is not simply that. Faith is belief in powers beyond your control, it is steadfast belief in something. You have faith in doctors don't you? I have faith in my parents and in myself. Does that make me a moron? NO. Take better atheists like Dawkins or Hitchens as inspiration, not some low-life comedian.

  • WraithfighterWraithfighter Registered User regular
    Science and Faith are not the same. At all.

    The only thing that Science takes "on faith" is that what we observe actually occurred. That's it. Everything else is based upon observation and previous discoveries, which can be proven false without causing a crisis of faith. It is the search for knowledge, for information, for facts. The simple fact that we thought we were so close to having physics completely solved, and discovered that we were wrong AND ACCEPTING IT is proof enough that Science is not Faith.

    Faith is not about facts, because it starts with the fact that doesn't need proof. A priest doesn't need to look for reasons why God exists, because to the priest He does exist, and any information contrary to that will be shaped around that central tenant (such as a deeply religious person saying that God created Evolution, which created Man: They still believe in God, even if they accept the mundane facts of evolution.

    Comparing Science (a search for facts) with Faith (the belief in a Truth) both demeans and insults both, and is not how you want to approach writing faith into your game.

  • CrumplepunchCrumplepunch Registered User regular
    As you mention that there are no games with priests without magic powers, I direct you to Dragon Age. Faith in the Maker provides no powers (Templar's powers come from lyrium infusions). Both games go to town on both the positive and negative aspects of religious faith, and give some opportunity for roleplaying your character's reaction to it. Subplots showcase religious charity and zealotry, finding faith and losing it, an uncaring Maker allowing untold suffering and the occasional occurrence of small, serendipitous events that might just be miracles if you squint. It's not the focus of the game, but I think it treats the subject very well.

  • Trivial_PunkTrivial_Punk Registered User regular
    If you can't see the faith in science, then you're not familiar enough with the basic precepts of logic, observation, experimentation, and mathematics yet. Denying that there is some involved is going to weaken our arguments and stop us from wondering at possibilities beyond our current ken. We need to be prepared to justify the leaps we've had to make in committing to our box of logic. Otherwise, we'll stumble in our defense, and our understanding, of what we have come to explain and explore. Religion has had many great scholars, masters of logic and reasoning, called theologists. They questioned in much the same way scientists do now, but with a very different set of assumptions about how the world worked. Whole religions were spawned from the rejection and acceptance of different precepts. There, but for the grace of chance, go we.

    At the very heart of it, we cannot reach beyond ourselves without relying on tools. If you're not convinced that this is, in part, a leap of faith, then I'd recommend getting to know those tools better. Personally, I'm constantly amazed by the faith it takes not to abandon my field of theory, or what it took to sustain it. I mean, most people place so much faith in a slow, ponderous pace of evolution, without any understanding of the raucous, back-door mutations and insane driving forces behind it, but we built whole theories off of it before we realized the mistakes we were making. Oops!

  • pittaxxpittaxx Registered User
    edited December 2012
    I find it somewhat amusing that people jump up at the mare suggestion of any links between the science and faith. I'm undertaking a sciency PhD at the moment and can relate to it with no problems.

    Just observing the world around us is a valid approach, but moth of the science is not done this way. In general you form a hypothesis – you state what you believe is right (or what you have “faith” in) and then proceed to make the observations or perform experiments to verify or deny your assumptions.

    One good example is Higgs boson. We had absolutely no proof of it, but it just made sense, so we chose to believe that it must exists (quite a clear case of “faith”) and only many years later have found evidence that supports this (most likely). If we did not have faith in this, we would not have looked for it in the first place.

    Having said that there is no faith in science is ludicrous. There is no magic border which defines where one ends and the other begins, however seeing how to apply this to games is rather difficult. I imagine that establishing a solid image of game world rules, shattering that image and switching to the exploration of how character copes with that would be an interesting project.

    pittaxx on
  • sloporionsloporion Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    I think everyone's views on religious faith are skewed because of the extremists (which sadly is the stereotype of those who are religious). There are plenty of people who have faith in their religion but do not blindly follow it.

    I know plenty of Catholics who believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, etc... but understand that the earth was not actually created in seven days, that Moses and Abraham didn't live into their hundreds, and that Noah didn't really have two of each animal on his ark. For these intelligent people, they don't hold the message of the Bible (or their faith) to a literal standard, but rather take the message and lessons for what they were originally intended; to be a good person.

    In many ways, faith IS similar to science, in that it is always being tested. And while there are certainly postulates of a person's faith (the deity exists) and science (a^2+b^2=c^2), there are also many occasions when how you think of things becomes questioned.

    True faith is not the denial of evidence, but rather the understanding that the evidence in question is a further example of your beliefs. Unfortunately, those who are more conservative in their religious beliefs tend to not change their ideals. This is what leads to groups like Creationists, who ignore science altogether because of a literal interpretation of the Bible or extremists like the Westboro Baptist Church who cherry pick from the Bible in order to warp the message to spread hatred.

    As for a good example of Faith in a game, I'd say the original Final Fantasy Tactics did a fine job of it. Characters with high faith were generally more powerful magic users, while those with low faith were not. But this was a double edged sword as those with high faith, because of their beliefs, took more damage from magic and those with low faith took less damage from spells. Also, the story reflected the relationship between faith, the Church, and wars that result in blindly following the religious leaders. I always used to think it was a bit of a jab at the Catholic Church's control in the centuries of European power, when the Popes had power and influence over the monarchs and used that power for personal gain.

    I also agree with @pocketlint60 in that Ashley was a good example of a religious character in a game that took place outside the realm of normality for modern eligions. In most of the modern religions, and even some of the dead ones, they believe that the deity created them in their image and thus we as humanity must be the chosen people of that deity. In a game like Mass Effect, the characters KNOW that they aren't the only creatures in existence, and although each race is bipedal, with similar features, there can be no argument that humans are not necessarily the favored race of these deities, yet Ashley still holds strong to her faith. Her faith has held up, but still changed as the scientific evidence has changed. She has faith in God, but she is also educated enough to not blindly follow it (though her xenophobia might be a good argument against her ability to adapt).

    sloporion on
  • TrimpieceTrimpiece Registered User regular
    This episode is a huge let down. In the past I found your arguments carefully thought through and intelligible, but this is laughable. You seem to think that since you are talking about faith that any opinion is fair game. You did not define faith, and then you accused science of using it. It is the other way around. You seemed to confuse "hypothesis" with "faith". All reason is NOT based on faith. It does often start out as an idea that has not been proved yet, but that has more to do with imagination that faith. In the context of religion faith refers to a strong belief that does not change based on evidence. Faith is THE mechanism that protects religions from counter evidence. People struggle with faith because it asks them to fully believe ridiculous things (in spite of counter evidence) or else they will burn in hell for all eternity. I'm not saying that the idea of faith has no redeeming qualities, but you are clearly ignoring its ugly side. Are you really unaware of all the wars and suffering that religion is causing in the world? Faith in old books filled with hate and bigotry is at the heart of it all. But you don't see that it seems.

  • Huttj509Huttj509 Registered User regular
    Well, one thing that is taken on faith in science is the assumption that the rules and mechanics things follow won't suddenly change. No pockets of "abnormal physics" out there in space. There may be places we find things break down, or give odd answers (black holes), but nothing where the gravitational constant is suddenly different. We learn what's going on in those odd areas, and what effect they have.

    Without this assumption, science and progress would be an exercise in futility. If the microwave's broken, it's not because physics changed and ALL microwaves suddenly don't work anymore.

    Don't get me wrong, our understanding of what's going on can TOTALLY change, such as when relativity was demonstrated (I think it was the bending of light from stars by gravity during an eclipse that was the first definitive "not just equations" experiment). But even if/when someone finds that relativity doesn't quite work in a certain area, isn't complete, maybe just as wrong as Newtonian physics...your GPS will still function the same it does today (yes, GPS needs to compensate for relativistic effects, it uses precise clock timing, and those satellites are moving in a gravitational field). Like if you learn your white wall is actually 'eggshell' or something, the color of the wall is the same, you just have more knowledge about how it's been all along.

  • dangoballdangoball Registered User
    @Wraithfighter (and anyone saying Faith and Science are like oil and water, basically)
    You are correct that Faith and Science differ greatly, however, most of their differences can be seen from the inside look.
    What's the difference for kids in school? Namely middle school, when they form their world view? You have an authority figure (teacher) telling them that someone somewhere some time ago figured out that stuff falls down because of gravity and used some advanced mathematics to calculate a constant of 9.8 (or whatever, been a long time). What evidence do they have? Only the word of someone they trust. If that same person told them that stuff falls down because God made it so it is in our reach, what evidence do they have to the contrary?

    For your average Joe the only difference between science and faith is that science provides explanations for its statements, however, your average Joe won't understand most of those anyway. He simply BELIEVES that what scientists tell him is true. Or he doesn't and BELIEVES some priest instead.

    I believe that Mars has rich iron deposits, because it's red and scientists have told us that is it very likely. I will also believe them when CURIOSITY sends data and scientists say "there is no iron on Mars, our bad". But have I ever seen the red planet? Will I see those data first hand? No. I have no other evidence than a word of a group of people I trust to not lie to us. I have faith in them.

    Unless you dabble in theology/science, those two work on pretty much the same principle.

  • eisbehreisbehr Registered User new member
    I think Enough people have raised the Science/Faith issue. I'd also like to raise an objection to the Einstein part. For one it really doesn't matter what he believed, we have a lot of great scientists with wacky faith. But it's also just not true. You could at least have read the Wikipedia page about it
    "I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, …"

    And the Einstein quote that you so nicely cut off to fit your message actually goes on to mean that the mysteries and beauty of science and the the universe are, if anything, what he'd call his religion.

    "To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull facilities can comprehend only in the most primitive forms--this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of the devoutly religious men."

    The fact of the matter is that at no point in time he was in favor of any theistic religion.

    In the end it doesn't matter what he thought or didn't, I just don't like people being misrepresented and with Einstein it's so common I just had to write something.

  • pittaxxpittaxx Registered User
    I think the biggest problem here is that people associate "faith" with "religion" too much.
    The first definition of "faith" in the
    Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    In this sense, it applies to science.

    Someone brought up gravity already, but I have to point out that this is probably the best case of "faith" in science. We observe it's effects and base a lot of science around that, but we have absolutely no clue how it works and hence cannot be certain that any of the assumptions we make about it are correct. Still, we believe that are correct (have faith in it) and use it as a fact.

  • dangoballdangoball Registered User
    Also one for those demanding a definition of "faith":
    How do you define "faith"? How do you define "religion" as well? Ask a professor of Religious Studies and he will tell you "I don't know". Defining faith and religion are two hardest task in that field of study. Of course they use some definition in their works, however, those are only "for this work, let us assume that religion is..." and can change from paper to paper even from the same scientist. Simply saying that faith is a believe in supernatural and religion is following a set of rules to create a connection between self and transcendent is highly uninformed.

    And yes, Religious Studies are based on scientific tools of observation, statistics and that kind of stuff. Closely tied to sociology, psychology and anthropology.

  • tsholltsholl Registered User regular
    In "Bioshock" I had faith that I was doing the right thing, though my methods were often questionable. Boy, did they pull the rug out there.
    Though not strictly an exploration of the mechanics of faith, it's still a great example of the faith you as the player place in those giving direction.

  • DaemonworksDaemonworks Registered User
    For the people who don't get the faith-in-science thing, I have one simple question for you: How do you /know/ your senses are accurate? To use the most obvious pop-culture referent... how would you go about proving you're not in the Matrix? How do you know you're not mad, and locked in a room?

    Science's most basic leap of faith is that out experiences are a reasonable approximation of the reality of the world around us, and thus are suitable tools for understanding that reality.

    We don't really have much to go on, but that, right there, the certainty that you're not mad, or trapped in a computer simulation or what have you... that's faith.

    Let's say you're a chem student in your local university. When your prof tells you that mixing substances X, Y and Z will produce reaction why, you'll probably believe him.... because you have faith that your uni profs are at least reasonably competent and not actively lying to you.

    You ever been to outer mongolia? Believe it's there because of pictures, news reports and the like? That's also faith.

    The vast majority of what's in our head, we accept on faith. Faith in our senses, faith in authority figures, etc.

    You see, the thing is - nobody has the time or cognitive resources to sit down and verify, absolutely every single thing that comes up in life. There's entire branches of philosophy devoted to this. People have been trying to come up with a way to be absolutely, positively certain that you /know/ something, without any degree of faith at all, for a very, very long time. Descarte's "I think therefor I am" was just one attempt to find something absolutely undoubtable... and folks found ways to demonstrate that even that was, technically, built on faith...

    What he was getting at is that science, while it has to take a few things on faith, actively tries to take as few things on faith as possible. The concept of falsification is that in science, you're actually supposed to be actively disproving things. It's far, far harder to prove something than to disprove something, and as they say: eliminate the impossible and whatever's left, no matter how improbably, must be the truth.

    But that faith isn't quite the same thing as religious faith - at least as it's understood in most of the major world religions. Obviously, religious faith is based in the same basic thing - there's this thing you believe, but can't prove. But there are tons of kids who believe in santa clause, and that's not a religion.

    Religious faith typically includes the idea that the faith, itself, is important - and that's the beginning point of the falling out between it and science. Because while science requires a certain amount of faith, it dislikes it, and triest to minimize it at every turn, while religious thought tends to use that faith as a foundation on which other things are built.

    Go to your local uni library, and you'll find entire shelves of books on this stuff - it's a much more complicated topic than most folks think.

  • DaemonworksDaemonworks Registered User
    edited December 2012
    Double Post

    Bobkins Flymo on
  • ProprietyPropriety Registered User regular
    dangoball wrote: »
    @Wraithfighter (and anyone saying Faith and Science are like oil and water, basically)
    You are correct that Faith and Science differ greatly, however, most of their differences can be seen from the inside look.
    What's the difference for kids in school? Namely middle school, when they form their world view? You have an authority figure (teacher) telling them that someone somewhere some time ago figured out that stuff falls down because of gravity and used some advanced mathematics to calculate a constant of 9.8 (or whatever, been a long time). What evidence do they have? Only the word of someone they trust. If that same person told them that stuff falls down because God made it so it is in our reach, what evidence do they have to the contrary?

    For your average Joe the only difference between science and faith is that science provides explanations for its statements, however, your average Joe won't understand most of those anyway. He simply BELIEVES that what scientists tell him is true. Or he doesn't and BELIEVES some priest instead.

    I believe that Mars has rich iron deposits, because it's red and scientists have told us that is it very likely. I will also believe them when CURIOSITY sends data and scientists say "there is no iron on Mars, our bad". But have I ever seen the red planet? Will I see those data first hand? No. I have no other evidence than a word of a group of people I trust to not lie to us. I have faith in them.

    Unless you dabble in theology/science, those two work on pretty much the same principle.

    What you're describing isn't faith. It's trust. You trust that scientists aren't lying to you because in the past they've told you things that are confirmed by your observation. If a random person dressed in a burlap sack with socks on his hands came up to you and told you he had data that Mars had high concentrations of banana peels in its soil, would you believe it? Probably not, because you don't trust people who wear socks on their hands.

    Science doesn't give two shakes about whether people "believe" in it or not. It's either true or it isn't. If it's true, it can be used to make repeatable, accurate predictions about things we observe in the world. That doesn't suddenly happen less because you don't believe in it. The fact that people "believe" in science without any evidence doesn't suddenly turn science into faith. It just means those people aren't being truly scientific. That only has to do with how people use science day-to-day. It has little to do with science itself.

    The beauty of science is that if you wanted to, YOU could make observations that would either lend credence to, or possibly falsify, those scientists' claims. You could (with some effort) get ahold of the data coming off the rover. You could understand the mechanics and electronics of the devices that were shot up there and interpret what the data means. Your findings should agree with those of the scientists at NASA. If not, then something interesting has happened!

    Remember when people were all in a huff about the speed of light being broken because of a neutrino being measured way too quickly at the Gran Sasso laboratory? Scientists were all excited, because there was the possibility that the speed of light- something that we thought we had gotten "right," that over and over agreed with observations we made- might suddenly be wrong! And people were prepared to say it was wrong! Even though we'd have to go back and explain WHY all those other times it had appeared to be constant! It would have been a big deal, and would have required SUBSTANCIAL evidence in the other direction. It turns out there was something wrong with the sensors at Gran Sasso, so regardless our understanding of the speed of light helped pinpoint a problem in the experiment. But it could have gone either way!

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  • SeggiSeggi Registered User
    edited December 2012
    Daemonworks: The assumption that we live in a world that is (more or less) correctly represented by our senses, isn't necessarily based on faith (I certainly don't base it on faith), but is a matter of practicality. The world we perceive is consistent and the actions we take within it have real consequences for us. It's not even necessarily the assumption that the world is real, but the acknowledgement that it makes no difference to us if it's not because we have no way of observing beyond it.

    Science is not based on faith. Faith certainly is something that pervades society, but it is antithetical to the principles of modern science, and, I believe (as a matter of opinion), a negative thing (at least when it comes to investigating the world around us).

    As for the claim that mathematics is based on faith made in the video, this is a shallow and incorrect representation of mathematics. Mathematical postulates aren't 'taken on faith' because they tell us nothing about the natural world; rather, they are constructs from which we build further mathematical ideas, which we can then implement in our explorations of the natural world.

    Additionally, the claim that ideas such as Newtonian physics demonstrate the way we 'take science on faith' is flawed, too. Newtonian physics was based on observation of the world around us. When we say that it's wrong, what we REALLY mean is that we didn't observe the natural world as closely as we can now, and so the inaccuracy of the approximations made by classical physicists can be demonstrated today. Did some people take it on faith? Presumably, but the fact is that the reason to believe in it was there, and it was very compelling - there was never a need for faith, and there still isn't today when it comes to modern science.

    Some people hold on to faith and make great contributions to science - they have in the past, and they will continue to do so in the future - but nothing about science requires faith. Faith is not a necessity when it comes to understanding the world, it's a comfort. On the other points (notably that faith is a valid topic ripe for exploration in the industry, that has been avoided unnecessarily) I absolutely agree and would wholeheartedly appreciate a move away from the rigid and unrelateable good/evil dichotomy towards something more relevant to modern society, like a faith/scepticism meter. Exploring faith is a good thing, but don't try to force us into an acceptance of it or assume that those who reject faith do so because of the actions of religious extremists; it's condescending and demeaning.

    Seggi on
  • BarnesmBarnesm Registered User regular
    Over at science dot org they discussed Guild Wars 2 and if you choose a race such as the Charr who in the game are Athiests but in a game where there are actual gods then they aren't athiests they are 'god deniers' must admit I tend to side with the woman in the second comic

  • Spleen83Spleen83 Registered User
    It's been said before by other commenters, but I will say it again. Science is not based on faith. Science is based on observation and repeatable experimentation. Nothing is held as absolutely true, but instead tentatively held to be true until a better explanation is formulated. When something is observed an explanation is devised and then tested by experimentation. If the explanation stands up to all facts gathered by observation and experimentation it is tentatively accepted as true. If the explanation does not fit the facts then it is discarded.

    This last point is critical. Any idea can and must be discarded if it does not fit observed facts. Even if that idea is centuries old. Even if the idea is forms a central part of your world view. You actually gave an example of this in your video when you mentioned how, not that long ago, many scientists believed that physics was almost 'complete', but after this discoveries were made that cast even their most basic assumptions of the physical world into doubt.

    Faith does not allow for doubt. When beliefs held because of faith are called it doubt it is called a 'crisis of faith.' When beliefs held because of faith are proven wrong is called 'losing your faith.'

    When a scientific theory is called into doubt, the theory is tested to see if it can be disproven. When a scientific theory is proven wrong, a new explanation which better fits the new facts is sought. Faith in an idea is discouraged - nothing is sacred to science and anything can be disproven.

    This all describes something of an ideal. For any idea to be useful certain assumptions about the nature of reality must be made (though apparently even many of these assumptions have been discarded by quantum physicists). Also scientific beliefs are often held in faith by some and can be can clinged to, even after they are disproven. But at least the ideal that you must stop believing in something after it is disproven exists.

    Religion treats faith very differently - it encourages it. An idea held in faith must be believed even in the face of proof that it is wrong.

    This is not to say that science is better than religion in any way (comparing the two would be like comparing apples and oranges) or to say that there is anything wrong with a religious world view. I simply wish to explain that science, by definition, does not hold anything in faith or at least it strives not hold anything in faith. Saying that it does simply shows a misunderstanding of what science actually is.

  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    I have to wonder what would make a great Faith game.

    Faith, in my mind, is having to make a decision with incomplete knowledge and then sticking by it. You might see evidence come up later that invalidates your choice, and have that faith shattered. You could find support or proof and be bolstered. Or you could just continue on forever not knowing one way or the other and trying to do the best you can.

    Faith doesn't have to be religious. And I think a lot of games do non-religious faith justice. Some spoiling ahead. Bioshock, with its narrator and illusion of choice. Mark of the Ninja with its imaginary(?) mentor. The Walking Dead, with not knowing the whole story and having to play the hand you're dealt. These games all ask you to assume or choose something and then make you question why you did so in the first place. They ask some great questions about the way you made decisions, and are better games for it.

    The only thing that makes religious faith more emphatic is that the questions it asks you to take a stance on, Why am I here?, Who am I and who should I be?, What happens when I die?, carry far greater weight than most others. These things should and will affect the way we go about our daily lives.

    To encapsulate these quandaries, put them into a videogame and then have the player actually connect with it would be a massive feat. You've somehow got to get the player thinking about the basic tenets of existence, whilst their character can be remade or reborn just a quicksave away. Frankly, without permadeath or other hideous consequences for failure, I don't think it would be possible to make this connection. Either you have a game where the character wrestling with the problem can be too easily reloaded and sent down the other path, or a game which diverts the message around the characters and just preaches to the player to directly start the faith thinking.

    So while other media have the advantage of being passive, so we can watch someone else struggling with their faith and learn from that, video games will have a harder time of it I think. To actively connect with the player and get them to explore their character's faith in a meaningful way would require a level of immersion leagues beyond anything I've seen.

  • PeridanPeridan Registered User
    edited December 2012

    While I find your post to be well written and very well thought out, I would have to side with the video on this one. The point they were making is like you said, science believes in 'observable fact'. This, essentially, says that we can only make guesses about what data we can actually gather from the universe around us and make a judgment call on. And off of these principles, science extrapolates into other various logical conclusions. If we can't observe it everywhere, however, we have to take it on 'faith' that such a thing holds true in every other part of the universe. That's the point I think they were trying to make.

    Of course, when we observe something new, or in a different way that seems to invalidate it, the strength of science is that it is easier to shift your point of view on what you have 'faith' in (as only science can make a call on with the current data). Religion is very much the same way, in that our faith can change depending on what we experience in our lives. Good or bad, we are constantly having to try and redefine our faith to fit the set of facts that we have observed personally, on a day to day basis. And sometimes, that's very hard for us as individuals to accept, leading to a 'crisis of faith'. Anyway, my two cents. Great video!

    Peridan on
  • SeggiSeggi Registered User
    Peridan, it's not faith that allows us to do that, it's induction.

  • PeridanPeridan Registered User
    I had thought by definition, inductive reasoning is the opposite of deductive (or scientific) reasoning. It's results are 'strong' or 'weak', based upon the facts used to make some generalization. But, I'll leave it at that. Said what I wanted to, after all ;-)

  • DubioushumanDubioushuman Registered User regular
    I thought that Castlevania Lords of Darkness did a pretty decent job of depicting a character struggling with their faith, Albeit a little heavy handed with the Representation of evil, but it was still there. I believe every final fantasy game ever addresses issues of faith in prophecy, friendship, moogles, and the feasability of a vollyball as a weapon. Characters in a lot of older JRPG's usually had to come to terms with tenements of their faith being shaken, that usually also provide a predictable plot twist. Even HAZE portrayed a man who's fundamental belief in reality and his notion of right and wrong was under siege throughout the game.

    just saying

    we killed so many goblins, we paved the road to midgaar with thier teeth
  • RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    Without getting into stuff that would cause a bigger flame war than is already going on...
    You guys do realize that we don't know that our current atomic model is 100% accurate, right? We don't know that the speed of light is constant throughout the universe. And we cannot know anything about the past without putting some faith in what other people have told us. Just because something happens today does not mean it happened exactly that way in the past. We can extrapolate and assume to a great degree of accuracy, but it's silly to say there's no "premises" in science.
    Faith, even religious faith, is not the rejection of reality. As a committed Christian who believes the Bible and is a creationist, I can tell you experimentation is a huge part of faith. Questioning the Bible and the things I have been taught was 100% necessary for me to come to my own convictions. Romans 14:5 says "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind". That means, don't let anyone tell you what to believe, discover it on your own. Make your faith your own. I don't believe anything I believe because some person told me or I got some fuzzy feeling. Through experimentation, reasoning, and results I have come to this conclusion.
    But like many have already said, everything we know started with an assumption. That assumption was later either proven true (ie a round earth) or has such overwhelming evidence that it can be assumed to be true (ie atomic theory). The first step of the scientific method, the one we all learned in elementary school, is "Formulate a hypothesis".

  • wiltingwilting Registered User regular
    Some good ideas this episode regarding portraying religion in games but very surprised/disappointed with the conflation of faith with science. Also, didn't one of the final fantasy tactics games feature a faith/skepticism stat fairly heavily, with regard to vulnerability to magic?

  • TalshereTalshere Registered User regular
    I know many friends who are engineers who will gladly disagree the tenet of science is faith. I have 2 friends with degrees in math who will gladly prove on asking why science, which is largely based on math, is very defiantly not faith. In fact that fastest way to piss them off is to suggest that math is like religion. If the math works then it is possible even if we dont understand why.

  • Megaman0Megaman0 Registered User
    What about Grandia 2? That game has a great look on religion and faith.

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