Helen Coffey wants to meet a fellow Christian to share her life with, so signs up to a religious dating site. She, like other young religious women, finds the experience isn’t quite what she hoped for
“Unfortunately, as hit and miss as internet dating can be on mainstream, generic sites, it gets even worse on the niche ones, contrary to what you’d expect – at least in my experience and several other women I’ve shared tales of woe with.”
Shaman, paragon, God-mode: modern video games are heavily coded with religious undertones. From the Shinto-inspired Japanese video game Okami to the internationally popular The Legend of Zelda and Halo, many video games rely on religious themes and symbols to drive the narrative and frame the storyline. Playing with Religion in Digital Games explores the increasingly complex relationship between gaming and global religious practices. For example, how does religion help organize the communities in MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft? What role has censorship played in localizing games like Actraiser in the western world? How do evangelical Christians react to violence, gore, and sexuality in some of the most popular games such as Mass Effect or Grand Theft Auto? With contributions by scholars and gamers from all over the world, this collection offers a unique perspective to the intersections of religion and the virtual world.
Introduction: What Playing with Religion Offers Digital Game Studies by Heidi A. Campbell and Gregory Price Grieve
Part 1: Explorations in Religiously Themed Games
1. Dreidels to Dante’s Inferno: Toward a Typology of Religious Games by Jason Anthony
2. Locating the Pixelated Jew: A Multimodal Method for Exploring Judaism in The Shivahby Isamar Carrillo Masso and Nathan Abrams
3. The Global Mediatization of Hinduism through Digital Games: Representation versus Simulation in Hanuman: Boy Warrior by Xenia Zeiler
4. Silent Hill and Fatal Frame: Finding Transcendent Horror in and beyond the Haunted Magic Circle by Brenda S. Gardenour Walter
Part 2: Religion in Mainstream Games
5. From Kuma\War to Quraish: Representation of Islam in Arab and American Video Games by Vit Šisler
6. Citing the Medieval: Using Religion as World-Building Infrastructure in Fantasy MMORPGs by Rabia Gregory
7. Hardcore Christian Gamers: How Religion Shapes Evangelical Play by Shanny Luft
8. Filtering Cultural Feedback: Religion, Censorship and Localization in Actraiser and Other Mainstream Video Games by Peter Likarish
Part 3: Gaming as Implicit Religion
9. The Importance of Playing in Earnest / Rachel Wagner
10. “God Modes” and “God Moods”: What Does a Digital Game Need to Be Spiritually Effective? by Oliver Steffen
11. Bridging Multiple Realities: Religion, Play and Alfred Schutz’s Theory of the Life-World by Michael Waltemathe
12. They Kill Mystery: The Mechanistic Bias of Video Game Representations of Religion and Spirituality by Kevin Schuts
Plenty of good things are done in the name of religion, and plenty of bad things too. But what is religion, exactly — is it good or bad, in and of itself? Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah offers a generous, surprising view. He is a philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist. His latest book is “The Honor Code,” exploring moral revolutions.
“… next time somebody wantsto make some vast generalization about religionis that maybe there isn’t such a thingas a religionand that therefore what they saycannot possibly be true.”
How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world’s most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!
Tip: the “print” version breaks down the process stage by stage.
Churches don’t appear to be as afraid of jumping into cloud technology as their enterprise counterparts, perhaps out of necessity — or simply a leap of faith? Cloud service providers are offering service levels and security that rival that of many in-house IT departments, making the cloud a less frightening place for enterprise data centers and applications.
Regardless of size, churches are utilizing cloud computing to handle financial transactions and update membership rolls. A recent Intacct survey found that 80 percent of large churches (with at least 1,000 people in weekly attendance) and 55 percent of smaller churches use at least one cloud-based system. Churches also frequently use the capabilities of the cloud to ease the processes around donations, notably with mobility applications.
I just learned today about a new organization via email. Daniel Roland, an Assistant Professor at the School of Library and Information Science, Kent State University informed an email list about the newly formedCenter for the Study of Information and Religion. He is seeking grant funding for a project to create a digital repository of religious messages for an open access resource for research. The repository currently consists of
“less than one hundred sermons prepared by Christian clergy members, but the goal is to collect religious messages from all faiths. The small sample of records are available for demonstration purposes as CSIR is in the process of applying for grant funding to finance the development and expansion of the Religious Messages Repository.”
Professor Roland is inviting scholars you to visit the repository and take a brief survey. The data gathered from the survey will be collated as supporting documentation for the grant proposal.
A few words about the Center for the Study of Information and Religion (CSIR) itself
The mission of the CSIR is to facilitate research within the LIS field that is focused on the various institutions and agents of religion and their affect on social knowledge through the use, dissemination, and diffusion of information. The CSIR utilizes an interdisciplinary approach with other fields in the Social Sciences and collaborative partnerships with various representatives of religious faiths and denominations.
1. To investigate the importance and use of information in the religious world.
2. To understand the relationship between the information-seeking behavior of clergy and the body of knowledge which exists to serve their information needs.
3. To advance our understanding of the role of information in religious practice especially in the contextual realms of belief, faith, knowledge, and wisdom.
4. To investigate the role and influence of religious communication forms, i.e., sermons, in the social construction of knowledge.
I wish the Center and the project good luck and will keep following their work.