some time ago I found myself in this, honestly very stupid discussion. The short of it was that I in general think that "real" religion is misplaced in science fiction books, games and movies. And then there was this character in this game who was a christian, I argued that it was stupid, and that this character was just thrown in there to please the masses.

That earned me a lot of hate mail, and in the end I was completely frozen out of this fan group.

I am just a stupid Dane, and I have honestly NEVER met a that strong opposition to any arguments against pointless religion. I didn't bash religion per se, I admit I could have handled it better, what I said was why only christianity was represented, after all there are more muslims in the world than christians, and where were the space hindus.. the counter argument was said character was white, and army. (Which is not really an argument at all if you ask me) - And then I really stepped in it, and said that it was just so damn American.. I didn't mean that like it came out, I have nothing against Americans or America, but I am none the less sure that the game had this character in it to cater to a specific demographic. There are other characters that will speak to other demographics, so everyone can see a little of themselves in the characters, which is smart marketing.

The American slip up, was not smart however.. And while I don't regret that I said it, I regret that it came out like that, and I regret that I brought it up where I did. I had not in my wildest dreams thought that anyone would fight me on that stance.

What did I get away with?  completely ostrazised from that group of fans, and a fandom that rubs me wrong. And a quote that someone told me in the discussion.

Outspoken Atheists are almost as bad as outspoken zealots.


I ask myself why I wouldn't wanna be outspoken, its stuff like this that will teach you to guard your words, even if I still believe I am right, then I could have chosen my venue better. But I will never shut up, and really then this just told me how important a discussion it really is, when people don't even question the why's.

Views: 160

Tags: fandom, fiction, science

Comment by kris feenstra on June 30, 2012 at 3:40am

As a side note, I believe there are still currently more Christians (including Catholics) in the world than Muslims, even considering that the supporting numeric data available probably isn't entirely accurate.  That said, a clear majority of the world's population is not Christian.  As you correctly identified, Islam and Hinduism are both major players, as is not having any religious affiliation.

I am glad to hear that you will never shut up though.  I don't see anything wrong with saying something is 'so damn American'.  It's not that I can't understand why it might rub some people the wrong way, but to a certain degree, that's part of life.  If they can't suffer a blow that soft, it sounds like something is a little off.  Maybe you could have delivered your message with more tact.  Maybe some people are just way too sheltered and fragile.  It's always hard to say without seeing the intercourse in question.  I guess the question to ask yourself if you ever find yourself moderating your speech is this:  Am I doing this for the sake of diplomacy, or am I just pandering to spoiled, petulant behaviour?

Just out of curiosity, what was the game?

Comment by Rikke Petersen on June 30, 2012 at 3:46am

Yeah I admit that it was really dumb of me to bring it up like that, I should not have mixed fandom and politics in that venue, that is what personal blogs are for.

It's Mass Effect. Ashley Williams is a fantasy 'girl next door' - which is what it is, but it annoyed me that you have the option that seems completely just "thrown in there" and out of the general context, to have a discussion about her being christian, and you (shepard) can answer 'I am a christian too'.. What rubs me wrong is the WHY is that discussion even there? it's pointless, unles it's just catering to a demographic. (white, christian, middleclass)

Oh and I'm sure you are right about the muslims and hindus.. I think I might have messed something up.. ;)

Comment by kris feenstra on June 30, 2012 at 4:07am

Ah.  ME was never released for PS3, and when I started in on ME2, I let her die in the prologue options.

I can understand your considerations.  Maybe it was pandering.  A lot of people freaked out that Shep can go queer, so maybe they added a little Christian flavour to try to balance it out.  I think the bisexuality is a more logical inclusion in that universe than Christianity, but then there are other things in there that are a little strange.  I'll admit that I got a kick out of Kaidan being from Vancouver, but I also found it a bit unbalanced that Vancouver had any significance at all in the game.  I just assumed it was developers inserting a bit of themselves into the game.

Comment by kOrsan on June 30, 2012 at 4:19am

It's cashing in on the religion buck. For example, no one would have watched that b-movie the book of eli if not for christians. I also hear there was a scene in the latest iteration of the avengers, where captain india- whoops I mean captain america speaks about his GAWD.

Comment by Rikke Petersen on June 30, 2012 at 4:28am

@Kris: I did a little dance when Shep could finally get his Kaidan without a mod. ;) - But I know it riled a lot of people up that it was even an option. Mostly angry-single-male-straight-gamer I suppose, but then again there are LOADS of them. And I can tell you that the people that I had that discussion with was actually in a Mshenko forum. So I had thought them to be more liberal than they were.

@Korsan - Yup.. I actually tried to watch book of Eli, but it was too stupid and boring, I gave up halfway. - There is a scene like that in Avengers, someone says that Thor & Loki are like Gods, and Cap says (and I quote) There is only one God Ma'am.

Being Scandinavian (Thor & Loki have great cultural value) I litteraly rolled my eyes at that one.

Comment by Sagacious Hawk on June 30, 2012 at 7:26am

Ashley Williams a fantasy girl next door? I don't know about you, but my girl next door is not in the infantry.

But seriously, you have it about right including the part about how the reaction was just so damn American. Being in the military I can tell you that as a whole, non-believers out number any specific theistic belief. Something about being in a job where you shoot people and get shot at seems to have the effect where you don't care about religion as much because it doesn't seem to care about you. At least that's been my experience.

Comment by Rikke Petersen on June 30, 2012 at 7:32am

*Grins.. Well Ashley Williams is a very brave and cabable  - Girl next door.. (I meant it as a term, for all things good, clean and righteous)

My sister is married to a soldier who is about to take his second turn in Afghanistan. And the stories he tell, I wouldn't be surprised that people loose their faith in everything (including humanity) I do not envy him his job, nor you - yours. I am however forever grateful that you guys do what you do. =)

Comment by Mark Say on June 30, 2012 at 9:02am

There's a fine line between being outspoken and intimidating others who don't agree with you. I'm afraid that if you used the word 'stupid' it did you push over that line. Although I'd be inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt as you're not a native English speaker, some people wouldn't.

I think it's also harder when the argument involves people in the US, where it seems so easy for arguments, especially about anything to do with religion, seem to get polarised into extremes. 

Comment by Rikke Petersen on June 30, 2012 at 10:41am

Yeah.. I think I might have come off like the last, which was absolutely not my intention. Normally I am actually a pretty adult, intelligent woman. I guess it was the outraged roar that I was met with that made me backpedal, and in doing so, said stuff that was even more offensive than the first statement.. *laughs* Story of my life really.. I have to admit that I thought the gamer forum taken into consideration that people would have agreed with me, I had not pegged any of them as religious. Which doesn't excuse my wording in the original discussion, which was really dumb.

I didn't call them stupid though, I said that the character was clearly there for commerical reasons, and that real-life religion had no place in science-fiction unless it was a plot pillar. In that game it just seems to me that it's thrown in there to navigate political waters.

I did call it American, and of course I would say so out from where I am sitting. Because it seems to me that religion and church life is a much bigger part of the American culture than it's a part of Scandinavian culture.

Comment by James Cox on June 30, 2012 at 3:56pm

In my time I have been frozen out of several groups, not so much for being atheist, but just for asking questions that turn the whole edifice on its head. Unitarians, a meditation group, a laboratory, etc.

The unitarians, for challenging a part of the ideology that implys that it is a religion or that is is superior to other ideologies.

A meditation group, during a class, for asking the question, 'if we are responsible for the creation of our own reality, then where the Jews in the Holocast responsible for their own deaths?' The trainer said 'YES!' This deeply disturbed me, are they willing to justify the death of millions for philosophical consistency? Are they willing to blame the victim and not find a justification or principled intervention? What about the Nazis, is there no blood on their hands?

A laboratory. A food sample was reprocessed following the discovery that the sample was contaminated with excess cellulose. The sample was removed from the lab before I could finish my analysis. My joke question of my last day was 'Hay I was wondering, want happened to that berry sample, did you guys find out if it was a Stateman Journal, or an Oregonian news paper?'  

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