Winner

Religious Factions help

39 posts in this topic

Hey,

 

I've been thinking about creating a set of 7 'religious' factions that would represent some of the major Earth religions. I've got this idea a few days ago when I was playing SMAX for the first time in months - it brought back all the nice memories of the games in which I obliterated the Believers in epic wars. Then it occurred to me - why not make more religious factions, so that I can enjoy crushing them?

 

So I made the Muslim faction just for fun, and it seems to work well. Now, it's not really compatible with the SMAC backstory, it's mostly just a fun alternative to the vanilla Believers, but I think I could come up with an alternate backstory for the whole faction set if need be.

 

Now, I need some feedback, comments and constructive criticism of the following faction proposals. If you have something to add, anything, please do so. I am a committed atheist so I've been struggling to overcome my anti-religious bias in designing these factions - for example my gut reaction was to give most of them severe research penalties. Elsewhere I couldn't think of realistic bonuses, or perhaps I've overdone them. So, a more "objective" views are welcome.

 

(changes I made later are marked red)

 

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Faction Name: (New?) Islamic Caliphate

Short Name: the Muslims

(Title) Leader: Imam Tariq Ramadan

Agenda: Creation of an Islamic state on the Planet

Aggressiveness: High

 

Bonuses:

+2 GROWTH (Polygyny, systematic sexual oppression of women)

+2 POLICE (Sharia courts deliver swift and terrible justice)

+25% attack (Suicidal attacks, martyrdom means heaven, 70 virgins, etc.)

Units/bases immune to mind control (followers already brainwashed)

 

Disadvantages:

-2 RESEARCH (Koran considered the best book on any subject that a Muslim needs to know)

-1 EFFICIENCY (Widespread clientelism, waste of female potential)

 

Preferred Soc.Eng. Choice: Fundamentalist (Islam doesn't draw distinction between religion and politics)

Shunned Soc.Eng. Choice: Democratic (Oppose liberal, secular democracy)

 

Comments: This is the only faction that I actually made already, with graphics and the other stuff. I am not sure if the bonuses aren't a bit over the top though.

 

muslim.th.png

 

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Faction Name: Catholic Church

Short Name: the Catholics

(Title) Leader: Cardinal ???

Agenda: Restoration of the Catholic Church on the Planet

Aggressiveness: Medium

 

Bonuses:

+1 SUPPORT (Well-organized hierarchical structure)

+1 GROWTH (Oppose abortions and all forms of birth control)

+1 PROBE (Very well connected)

 

Disadvantages:

-1 EFFICIENCY (Church bureaucracy)

Extra DRONES per base (Dissidents in the Church)

 

Preferred Soc.Eng. Choice: Planned (Socially-conscious)

Shunned Soc.Eng. Choice: Green (Green society uses birth control)

 

Comments: I don't know, I don't think this represents the Catholics well. Any suggestions?

 

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Faction Name: New Zion (Settlement) (?)

Short Name: the Jews

(Title) Leader: Rabbi ???

Agenda: Independent Jewish state on the Planet

Aggressiveness: Medium

 

Bonuses:

+1 ECONOMY (Stereotypical Jewish thriftiness)

50% hurry cost (Jewish innovation/improvisation)

Free prototypes

 

Disadvantages:

-2 GROWTH (Lack of proselytism, enclosed community)

 

Preferred Soc.Eng. Choice: Wealth (no comment)

Shunned Soc.Eng. Choice: Police State (Bad experience with dictatorships)

 

Comments: I know, I know, I am succumbing to stereotypes here. But remember, I am doing this for fun and stereotypes are here for a reason. Obligatory disclaimer: I have nothing against the Jews in real life (though I naturally dislike Judaism just as any other religion); in fact I am actually pretty pro-Israel.

 

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Faction Name: Protestant Union (?)

Short Name: the Protestants

(Title) Leader: Reverend ???

Agenda: Life in accordance with the principles of Protestant Christianity

Aggressiveness: High

 

Bonuses:

+1 INDUSTRY (Protestant work ethic)

+1 MORALE (Very strong moral convictions, unshakable belief in righteousness of their cause)

 

Disadvantages:

-1 RESEARCH (Suspicious of secular science, especially the Theory of Evolution)

-1 PLANET (Believe that Planet is a gift from God and people can do with it as they see fit)

 

Preferred Soc.Eng. Choice: Fundamentalist (Oppose separation of Church and State)

Shunned Soc.Eng. Choice: Knowledge (Believe that secular science leads to atheism)

 

Comments: Protestants should be pretty close to the vanilla Believer faction. Simply put a garden variety Protestant movement enriched with a bit of an evangelical nuttiness.

 

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Faction Name: Buddhist Community (??)

Short Name: the Buddhists

(Title) Leader: Monk (?!) ???

Agenda: Upholding the Buddhist principles on the Planet

Aggressiveness: Low

 

Bonuses:

+2 EFFICIENCY (Frugal mentality)

Free Recreation Commons (Reflects the power of meditation)

May exceed HAB COMPLEX population requirements by 2.

 

Disadvantages:

-1 ECONOMY (Not that interested in material wealth)

 

Preferred Soc.Eng. Choice: Green (I don't know what else to pick - please help me here)

Shunned Soc.Eng. Choice: Power (Oppose violence and militarism)

 

Comments: This is definitely the weakest faction in the set. I really don't know how to make it unique and realistic at the same time.

 

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Faction Name: Neo-Pagan League (??)

Short Name: the Pagans

(Title) Leader: Priestess ???

Agenda: Life in harmony with Nature and its spirits

Aggressiveness: Low

 

Bonuses:

+2 PLANET (Deeply spiritual approach to the environment)

Free Recycling Tanks in every base (Use Nature's gifts to their fullest)

+1 Nutrients in fungus squares (Experienced herbalists)

 

Disadvantages:

-1 INDUSTRY (Dislike industry as an unnatural activity)

 

Preferred Soc.Eng. Choice: Green (Unexpected, huh?)

Shunned Soc.Eng. Choice: Free Market (Opposed to consumerism, materialism, greed, and exploitation of the environment)

 

Comments: Basically a mix of various neo-pagan, naturalist, new-ageist, animist and whatever-ist movements. Think Wicca and that sort of stuff. Pretty similar to the vanilla Gaian faction, only with a more religious twist to it (but not as crazy as the Planet Cult in SMAX).

 

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Faction Name: Humanist Foundation (?)

Short Name: the Atheists

(Title) Leader: Professor Richard Dawkins :D

Agenda: Leading the way to the post-religious era of human progress

Aggressiveness: Low

 

Bonuses:

+2 RESEARCH (Committed to rational, empirical inquiry)

Extra Talents per base (Provide asylum to secular dissidents from the other factions)

 

Disadvantages:

-1 POLICE (Free-thinkers are difficult to control)

-1 MORALE (Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. Besides, if you know you have just one life, you're not eager to give it up)

 

Preferred Soc.Eng. Choice: Knowledge (Science is their 'religion')

Shunned Soc.Eng. Choice: Fundamentalist (Bitterly opposed to religious authorities, especially in the politics)

 

Comments: This is the faction I'd play the most, for obvious reasons. I hope I didn't make it too powerful. Did I?

 

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So, that's about it for now. If you are about to ask why I didn't include this or that religion, please don't. We could argue about which out of the thousands to pick for years. I picked those I thought could be adequately represented in the game; and also I chose those I am at least partially familiar with. Adding obscure religions or sects wouldn't be that fun and I wouldn't even know where to begin. Just one comment on this: I didn't add Hinduism because it's not really a properly organized religion with clear doctrines and unified practice: I have no idea how it could be represented in game.

 

So, thoughts, comments?

Edited by Winner

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Maybe you could add in a "1 extra talent per x citizens" bonus to the Buddhists; that seems in line with the whole contentment vibe thing. They sound pretty analogous to the Peacekeepers.

 

And giving a faction a +2 Economy right off the bat is too much of an advantage in my opinion, as they don't even have to do anything to get the +1 energy/square. Since that normally takes at least 20 turns (?) to get to in a normal game AND there's no police or planet negatives associated with FM (!!), which is a much bigger problem.

 

Offtopic, but I don't get this whole "Christians hate science" saying. I'm from practically the most conservative denomination of Lutheranism (itself pretty darn conservative) and we don't have a problem with science other than macroevolution.

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Yeah, I was wondering if +2 ECON for the Jewish factions wasn't too big of an advantage. So should I lower it to +1 ECON, or add some new disadvantage?

 

About the Buddhists - I don't know. I really don't know how to make them... accurate.

 

As for the "Christians hate science" - no, that's not entirely accurate, I agree. On the other hand, many Christian churches (especially some of the Protestant ones) seem to be complaining a lot about scientific research, especially in biotechnology (stem cells), genetics, medicine, etc. -1 RESEARCH for the Protestant faction reflects this anti-scientific undercurrent.

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Offtopic, but I don't get this whole "Christians hate science" saying. I'm from practically the most conservative denomination of Lutheranism (itself pretty darn conservative) and we don't have a problem with science other than macroevolution.

 

Macroevolution is simply microevolution over a long period of time, if you believe in one then it is a logical fallacy to believe the other to be false. I urge you to look critically at what you have been taught and what you believe. I suggest thunderf00t's youtube videos*, the works of Prof. Richard Dawkins and even your Holy Bible as aids to rejecting religious dogma for the intellectual failure that it is.

 

As for this post, I think the portrayl of the islamic faction is unfair, you're giving the protestents, catholics and jews a far easier ride when they're just as bad. I think the factions should be comically charicatured to emphasise the absurdity of the various religions and to make them more fun for everyone to play.

 

* His latest in the "Why Do People Laugh At Creationists?" Series is quite good.

Edited by DrazharLn

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As for this post, I think the portrayl of the islamic faction is unfair, you're giving the protestents, catholics and jews a far easier ride when they're just as bad.

 

I disagree on both points. I tried playing as the Muslim faction and it went rather well. (Here I must admit that I play with slightly altered rules designed to make the game progress much slower, so research takes longer, the bases grow slower, terraforming takes longer, etc. Also, the social engineering choices are modified, for example democracy doesn't give you extra growth in my game, because it is IMO totally counter-intuitive and baseless. This of course gives the Muslim faction advantage due to their growth bonus. However, even under vanilla rules the growth bonus should help the Muslims expand quickly early in the game, which is crucial.)

 

Second, no, they're actually much worse than present-day Catholics and Protestants. I don't plan to debate this here in detail because it would be off-topic and I am not sure if this forum even allows such discussion. Just briefly: I am trying to represent the religions based on two things:

 

a) their doctrine - that is, the core beliefs, the set of rules that are enforced, simply put the essence of the religion.

b) contemporary practice - that is, how do the adherents to the religion usually behave.

 

Sometimes it is hard to find a balance between the two, but I tried to be as objective as possible. In the case of the Muslims, I considered their core beliefs (which DO include some pretty nasty stuff concerning women) and the way Islam is used in politics in some countries around the world. I think that Islam, if rigorously applies, would lead to very high population growth because women are basically treated as property and their only purpose is to serve their husbands. Sharia law (this is actually redundant because Sharia means 'law'), again if rigorously applied, would indeed be a pretty scary thing; very effective in keeping people in line when combined with the strong beliefs that Muslims are required to have. If you do believe that you must observe a religious code of law, otherwise you're going to go to hell, you will take it seriously. Hence the +2 POLICE rating.

 

+25% bonus when attacking was a no-brainer. Islam is a religion designed for war, it was meant as a tool allowing Muhammad and his followers to unite the tribes of Arabia and direct their destructive potential outwards. Today's religious wars and terrorist suicide attacks demonstrate the amount of fanaticism that strong beliefs in Islam can evoke.

 

Disadvantages are actually not that big. There is the -2 RESEARCH penalty, which you can live with - the rationale for it is the inherent Islamic opposition to/neglect of modern science, which goes even deeper than the mistrust displayed by some of the Protestant churches. In Islam, Koran is LITERALLY considered the perfect book - the best book that has ever been written, indeed which CAN be written on ANY subject. You can see the consequences in the video you linked - the one with the 'muslim' pupils brainwashed into believing that Koran is the basis for science. This is further aggravated by the practice of intense religious education in the Muslim world, at the expense of proper scientific education.

 

The -1 EFFICIENCY penalty is also manageable. Originally it was -2, but then I changed it. Muslim societies tend to be very prone to corruption and clientelism - indeed in present day Iran, most people gripe not so much about the religious rule itself, but about the corrupt leaders, especially the ruling clerics who often live opulent lives in luxury that common Iranians can only dream of. Another reason is the fact that the Islamic repression of women inherently leads to inefficiency since half of the human potential of the society is essentially ignored or under-utilized.

 

I think the factions should be comically charicatured to emphasise the absurdity of the various religions and to make them more fun for everyone to play.

 

I think they already are caricatured/stereotyped enough. I am trying to strike a balance between fun and realism, whatever that means in this context.

Edited by Winner

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You can discuss it as much as you like; it's your thread.

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Also, the social engineering choices are modified, for example democracy doesn't give you extra growth in my game, because it is IMO totally counter-intuitive and baseless.

 

So I take it you don't play with pop-booming? :)

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So I take it you don't play with pop-booming? :)

 

I prefer slower-paced games. Besides, the default rules make the choice of Democratic-Green combination too attractive. Under my rules, Green economy gives you -3 GROWTH penalty and Democracy gives you no GROWTH bonus at all (it gives other things instead), so you're forced to think twice before picking it. Also, efficiency is hard to come by.

 

But even under standard rules, +2 GROWTH for the Muslim faction is a real bonus - it allows the AI to expand fast at the beginning of the game, which makes this faction a formidable opponent later. At least in my experience.

 

Just noticed this thread; LMAO.

 

LMAO - good idea, or LMAO - that's idiotic? :hmmm:

Edited by Winner

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Hmmm. Buddhists tend towards mellowness; this might result in a diplomatic advantage, as they seem non-threatening. They might tend to need less of everything per citizen and if they work a bit less feverishly, they work together more smoothly. There could be police bonuses, support bonuses, free habitation complexes to reflect their ability to live together, and with the whole harmonious 'go with the flow' attitude, even a Planet bonus. In fact, even a food bonus, what with all those fig trees.

 

...The NeoPagans might fail to achieve anything like that kind of harmony. My experience of Wiccans is that they're a bunch of daft drama queens. They would tend tend to have the best parties, though, especially of the religious types...

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LMAO - good idea, or LMAO - that's idiotic? :hmmm:

 

Just reminded me of another thread I was involved in dealing with the subject of comparative religion.

 

Regarding Buddhists, if you want to make a Buddhist faction that is capable of competing for survival in a hostile world, you may want to take a militaristic one as an example: Tokugawa Japan, or perhaps Imperial Japan. In both cases (samurai and kamikazes/banzai charges) a rather fearless warrior caste, and completely obedient populace, developed in furtherance of political and war aims. I would guess Zen/Chan also played a role in Chinese martial arts as well but I know less about Chinese history.

 

Suffice to say, not all schools of Buddhism are associated historically with pacifist societies. In Japan, Zen was associated in fact with creating warriors who had no fear of death.

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Under my rules, Green economy gives you -3 GROWTH penalty and Democracy gives you no GROWTH bonus at all (it gives other things instead), so you're forced to think twice before picking it.

 

You should probably tell us all your custom SE changes if we want to really balance these guys.

 

Also, efficiency is hard to come by.

 

From what I've seen, even with Efficiency through the roof, one still loses a good amount of income. Which is to say I am not in favor of making it difficult to get a positive rating.

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Winner, it's just that you're comparing fundamentalist Islam with a much more moderate vision of Catholicism and Protestantism. But sure, whatever, it's your mod, you can do what you want.

 

Unrelated, I think my atheist evangelism was a little uncalled for and while I do firmly believe that belief in microevolution and not macroevolution is just plain silly, I think that I should have been more polite in expressing my opinion. So, limited apologies if anyone was offended.

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No offense taken. It's my opinion that the vast majority of people, you can never really convince to change their mind anyway, so I don't try. Evangelizing and all that jazz, ya know.

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Would Draz' excellent point perhaps be best adressed with two Muslim factions? Moderate and jihadist factions interacting could satisfy both the need for fairness and the story. I can easily imagine a good scenario or something revolving around the tension between the two...

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Hmmm. Buddhists tend towards mellowness; this might result in a diplomatic advantage' date=' as they seem non-threatening. They might tend to need less of everything per citizen and if they work a bit less feverishly, they work together more smoothly. There could be police bonuses, support bonuses, free habitation complexes to reflect their ability to live together, and with the whole harmonious 'go with the flow' attitude, even a Planet bonus. In fact, even a food bonus, what with all those fig trees.[/quote']

 

I think I'll give them a bonus to the population a base can have without a hab complex - for the reasons you mentioned. They work together in greater harmony, don't require so much personal space, tend towards a more communal way of living.

 

...The NeoPagans might fail to achieve anything like that kind of harmony. My experience of Wiccans is that they're a bunch of daft drama queens. They would tend tend to have the best parties, though, especially of the religious types...

 

:D That's exactly what I think about them in real life, but for game purposes, let's assume they really do believe this stuff deeply. But it's not (just) them, I imagine this faction to be a mix of various neo-pagan, spiritual-environmentalist, new-agey groups that exist mostly in the US and Europe.

 

I wonder if I should give them a morale penalty or not. I don't want to make them too weak.

 

 

You should probably tell us all your custom SE changes if we want to really balance these guys.

 

That would be too complicated. Let's just assume standard game rules, I want these factions to work without any modification of the alphax.txt file.

 

One note though - I am not aiming for perfect balance. Sure I don't want one faction to be too powerful and others to be useless, but that doesn't mean all of them must necessarily have the same chance of success when controlled by the AI. In human hands, almost any faction, no matter how handicapped, can win.

 

From what I've seen, even with Efficiency through the roof, one still loses a good amount of income. Which is to say I am not in favor of making it difficult to get a positive rating.

 

Positive rating is possible, it's just not easy to achieve the huge efficiency bonuses one gets from the Democratic-Green-Knowledge combination.

 

Winner, it's just that you're comparing fundamentalist Islam with a much more moderate vision of Catholicism and Protestantism. But sure, whatever, it's your mod, you can do what you want.

 

Two comments to this:

 

a) Islam is, fundamentally (that is, in its core principles) more violent and totalitarian religion than Christianity. There's no way around it.

b) Islam versus Christianity in the forms practised today are also diametrically opposed in terms of the negative things they cause. That is I think clear to anybody who follows the news. If you don't believe me, try watching the news on some reliable news channel for a few weeks. Not a day passes without some atrocity committed by Muslims in the name of their religion (the "in the name" part is critical here). See this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLiku08FlRg - not all religions are equal in their dangerousness.

 

When thinking about this faction set, I asked myself - if I took a representative sample from these religious groups and let them organize society as they wish once transplanted into another world, what would they do? I can easily imagine that the Muslims would try to create an Islamic state where Koran is the unquestionable authority and where Sharia law is rigorously applied. After all, they're trying to adopt these things even here in Europe, although they enjoy the benefits of the European liberal, secular, and socially-sensitive democratic system.

 

Other religious groups would behave differently. Today's Catholics and their doctrines aren't nearly as totalitarian as they were in the Middle Ages. Protestant Christians, especially if influenced by the more conservative, evangelical wing, could become much more fundamentalist in their outlook if they were left unchecked by any secular government. The situation in the US is a proof of that.

 

Unrelated, I think my atheist evangelism was a little uncalled for and while I do firmly believe that belief in microevolution and not macroevolution is just plain silly, I think that I should have been more polite in expressing my opinion. So, limited apologies if anyone was offended.

 

You shouldn't care so much if anyone gets offended by the reality. Evolution is a fact, it's as thoroughly documented as gravity or electromagnetism.

 

Would Draz' excellent point perhaps be best adressed with two Muslim factions? Moderate and jihadist factions interacting could satisfy both the need for fairness and the story. I can easily imagine a good scenario or something revolving around the tension between the two...

 

There is certainly an ongoing civil war in the Islamic world between the orthodox and the 'reformed' Muslims (and between Muslims of different sects). But two factions? Nah. The fundamentals of Islam are what they are and since the Muslims are required to believe that Koran is eternal, perfect and absolutely unchangeable (unlike the Bible, which was edited many times by the Church throughout the centuries), any profound reform of this religion is impossible. The so-called moderate Muslims are in fact bad Muslims - bad in the sense that they cherry-pick the good parts and ignore the other parts which command them to beat their wives, stone adulterers, wage holy war on the unbelievers, slay homosexuals, and execute apostates. All these things are there, it's just a matter of personal devotion if you observe them. Unfortunately, the more devout (and thus 'better') you become as a Muslim, the more dangerous you get, because you're supposed to do everything Koran says you must do, you have no choice.

 

(And BTW, similar stuff can be found in the Christian Bible too. The difference is that Christians are not required to believe that the Bible is literally true and that you must do everything it says you should. The fundamentals of Christianity are thus much less violent and dangerous.)

Edited by Winner

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(Ciao, am kyrub)

 

My take on religion factions (I don't try to balance anything) :

I think I'll give them a bonus to the population a base can have without a hab complex.

 

Buddhists (Mahajana, the great path)

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+ TALENT (focus on achievment of individual spiritual fulfillment)

++ PLANET (absolute respect to any being)

- ECONOMY (mendicant life is the ideal)

HURRY, 125 (there's another life...)

 

Judaism (Chassidim)

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+++ GROWTH (children are a direct sign of God's blessing)

+ PROBE (Shin Beth calls for arms)

DEFENSE bonus, 25 (defending the Holy land)

DRONE for every 3 POP (divided society between the elected and the rest)

- RESEARCH (modern science is suspect)

 

Roman catholicism

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++ POLICE (the habitual obediency of dogmatic authorities)

+ EFFICIENCY (streamlined Vatican bureacracy)

+ GROWTH (proscripted use of anticonception)

-- SUPPORT (calls for world peace)

 

Wahhabites (Islamists)

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++ SUPPORT (jihhad as a meaning of achievement of spiritual ideal)

Children creche at every base (the massive sponsorship of family based society)

Fanatic bonus, 25

-- ECONOMY (isolated from enemies)

 

Caliphate (Islam)

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+ ECONOMY (trade as a traditional aspect of moslim society)

+ RESEARCH (philosophical background)

-- EFFICIENCY (havoc in central power, authorities are many)

 

Protestantism (Calvinism)

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++ INDUSTRY (a respectable working citizen is the spiritual ideal)

- EFFICIENCY (the congregational aspect, lack of central authority)

- MORALE (there is no just war)

 

Protestantism (Lutherans)

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- INDUSTRY (the deeds are of no use compared with grace of God)

.....

 

Atheists

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++ RESEARCH (no morale restrictions for tech)

- PLANET (the world is not a gift of gods)

bases may join other factions when rioting (lack of any coherent meaning of life)

 

 

You shouldn't care so much if anyone gets offended by the reality. Evolution is a fact, it's as thoroughly documented as gravity or electromagnetism.

You should learn to discern facts (phenomena) from theories. Macro-evolution is a theory, although it is so far very succesful in explaining our world. So was the Newton's theory before it crumbled in first decade of XXth century.

 

the Muslims are required to believe that Koran is eternal, perfect and absolutely unchangeable (unlike the Bible, which was edited many times by the Church throughout the centuries)

Huh? When was the bible edited? It may have been badly translated, many times. But the original text, greek and hebrew was never edited.

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I'd just like to point out that 1000 years ago the Muslims had the most advanced civilization in the world and the Europeans were the violent barbarians. They could have a renaissance in the next hundred years.

 

Welcome to the Playground, kryub.

 

I'm liking this thread a lot.

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Buddhists (Mahajana, the great path)

------------------------------------

+ TALENT (focus on achievment of individual spiritual fulfillment)

++ PLANET (absolute respect to any being)

- ECONOMY (mendicant life is the ideal)

HURRY, 125 (there's another life...)

 

While Planet in regard to increased fungus production and less hostility from the native life makes sense, it's a weird picture (to me, at least) of Buddhists taming mind worms to burrow into their enemies' skulls and make their brains explode :-/ I guess that's the fundamental conflict of Planet, though -- harmonious and hostile at the same time.

 

Atheists

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++ RESEARCH (no morale restrictions for tech)

- PLANET (the world is not a gift of gods)

bases may join other factions when rioting (lack of any coherent meaning of life)

 

Doesn't the setting (originally from the Drones) specify which faction bases join when rioting, not which they leave? In which case, the Atheists faction can have it no worse than anyone else.

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You should learn to discern facts (phenomena) from theories. Macro-evolution is a theory, although it is so far very succesful in explaining our world. So was the Newton's theory before it crumbled in first decade of XXth century.

 

Eh, no. Theory of Evolution is just a name, in reality it's a fact - the fact of evolution has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt, hence the comparison with gravity. We may have various theories as to what exactly causes the gravitational force, but nobody sensible is trying to deny the fact that gravity exists. Conversely, nobody sensible can deny the fact of biological evolution by means of natural selection. We may debate about how exactly it works, what mechanisms are at play, but the fact of evolution remains.

 

And as far as I know, Newtonian physics has been amended, not swept away by the theories that followed (Einstein's relativity and quantum mechanics).

 

Huh? When was the bible edited? It may have been badly translated, many times. But the original text, greek and hebrew was never edited.

 

Bible is a collection of separate texts, many of which were added at different times. Other parts were removed from it centuries later. On the other hand, Koran is the same since it was first dictated to/by Muhammad, or at least the Muslims believe so. (Western scholars doubt that, see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJyeuXtZFuQ - (BTW, the leader of my Muslim faction is interviewed in the video :D ) ) Another profound distinction is that the Bible is not considered as a direct word of God. Christians believe that it was written by "divinely inspired" authors, not God himself. Muslims on the other hand do believe that Koran is literally the word of Allah himself, which makes it impervious to any modification or criticism. The abundance of nasty things in it then makes it very easy for any crackpot to find his justification for the mass murder of pretty much anybody.

 

---

 

Anyway, thanks for your own proposals concerning the factions. I disagree with most of them (some are totally counter-intuitive), but I do welcome alternate views.

 

I'd just like to point out that 1000 years ago the Muslims had the most advanced civilization in the world and the Europeans were the violent barbarians. They could have a renaissance in the next hundred years.

 

Possible, but very unlikely. Islamic civilization has been stagnating for many hundreds of years now, in large part because it is based on Islam. I think the evidence for that is overwhelming.

 

I think the Arabs and other Middle East peoples can have their own Renaissance, but they first have to get rid of Islam. I say get rid because the religion itself is not open to the sort of gradual reform that re-shaped Catholicism, for example.

Edited by Winner

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chuft was right to LOL. (S)He was saying the same sort of stuff about Islam in the OTF a few weeks ago.

 

open to the sort of gradual reform that re-shaped Catholicism
LOL - The Church killed its way through the first centuries of the gradual reform process - now that's openness. :D

 

I don't think the distinction you're drawing between divinely inspired and direct divine authorship holds a real big ocean of water.

 

I'll drop it if you'd rather not argue religion...

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Oh- and I would like to add that much of the chaos you see in the Middle East is a sorting out process from getting out from under the Ottoman Empire less than a century ago. The region was backwards and stagnant for a very long time. They've come a long way and another century could be long enough to get their crap together.

 

It's not the way I would bet, either, but it's more than good enough for science fictional projection.

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While Planet in regard to increased fungus production and less hostility from the native life makes sense, it's a weird picture (to me, at least) of Buddhists taming mind worms to burrow into their enemies' skulls and make their brains explode :-/ I guess that's the fundamental conflict of Planet, though -- harmonious and hostile at the same time.

 

I don't think the Buddhists should be a particularly "green" faction for two reasons:

 

a) that niche has already been taken by the Neo-Pagans

b) the religion itself is human-centric just like most others. The only thing that could lead to a greater eco-awareness is the belief in re-incarnation. You don't want to hurt animals, because some of them may be your ancestors - if I am allowed to trivialize that. Other than that - why should the Buddhists be considered environmentalist? They certainly aren't in practice, if you take a look at how most Buddhist-majority countries behave.

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chuft was right to LOL. (S)He was saying the same sort of stuff about Islam in the OTF a few weeks ago.

 

LOL - The Church killed its way through the first centuries of the gradual reform process - now that's openness. :D

 

I meant the last 500 years. And I definitely not meant it as a defence of Catholicism.

 

I don't think the distinction you're drawing between divinely inspired and direct divine authorship holds a real big ocean of water.

 

It does. See what is the issue among some Christian sects in the US - they endlessly argue with each other and with the secularists whether the Bible should be taken literally or not. The literalists do believe that the Great Flood really happened as described' date=' with Noah and the Arc and stuff, as well as they believe in the other stories contained within the Bible. In the end it's these people who habitually reject modern science because it totally contradicts their literalistic beliefs.

 

On the other hand, most Christians don't take the Bible literally (thank the Gods for that). They see it as a collection of metaphorical stories and allegories that provide them with a sort of moral compass. You can see how profound impact has that view had on the evolution of modern society.

 

Muslims, on the other hand, are stuck in the literalist trap - they cannot say "OK, Koran can't be taken literally", because that would mean either that (a) Koran isn't the direct and eternal word of Allah (=Muhammad was lying about that=blasphemy of the highest order); or that (b) the word of their God is not good enough.

 

See the problem now?

 

(and I agree, let's focus more on the game aspects, I think I've already explained why I made the Muslim faction this way and not any other)

 

I'll drop it if you'd rather not argue religion...
Edited by Winner

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