I don’t know if this will win in the polls, but I’ve seen it twice now when loading the game, and I do wonder what it implies? I’ve been vocal in the past about how I feel the game’s framing of religion being incompatible with a technological, liberal nation is a mistake, so I can’t help but assume these hypothetical policies would involve illegalising electricity or canonising the head of state.
I’d half expect one or two features against that theme like interfaith programmes or outreach subsidies, but they wouldn’t change the nature of the game’s balance which naturally sees religious membership hit 3% by term 3 during any normal game, by virtue of technology grants reducing their membership as if the mobile app and hybrid car startups implied by those grants naturally invalidate the human desire for spiritual meaning.
Religion is not inherently regressive, and while it certainly has been in the past, its depiction in this game isn’t aging well. Just yesterday Pope Francis celebrated the potential science and technology has for creating a more inclusive world. Which is what he’s been doing for years now. That’s why I think it’d be cool to take a step back from the Westboro strawman depiction religious people get served up in the game.
Spirituality has accompanied human culture for the entirety of its existence. Our definitions and uses of it have simply changed over time. I think a means of positively fostering that evolution would be great.
It does seem to be quite a generic, modern view on religion in the game, with the assumption that being religious is anti-technology. While there are groups like the Amish, and a general philosophy of refusing replacement of humanity with machine, a lot of core religious spokesmen still coincide with science (you cite the Pope, I personally wouldn’t use him as a good example of a Christian but your point still stands from an authoritive and pro-socially-liberal perspective). Hell, a lot of the people who’ve made significant gains for science have been religious themselves.
I don’t really know what impact Religious Membership should have, apart from perhaps increasing Gender Inequality (traditional gender roles being very much promoted in (at least abrahamic) religions), and reducing consumption of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Recreational Drugs (rejection of hedonism), as well as general rejection to socially liberal policies (Gay Marriage, Gender Transition) while being in favour of certain welfare programs?
Additionally, I don’t think Creationism vs Evolution should necessarily be an impact on technology. At least, not outside of being at the bottom end of the creationist side of the slider. I know of many leading Christian Apologists (official term, not an insult) who believe in evolution, physics, the Big Bang even, but believe that it’s the existence of those things that prove God’s existence. This coincides with the beliefs of past Christians, many of whom entered into the scientific field in order to “worship God’s creation” by understanding and documenting it’s complexities and order.
TL:DR Religion is complex and I agree with you in that it shouldn’t necessarily be anti-tech.
I think I’d certainly identify as an Abrahamic Apologist, particularly as a UK resident, where many religious spokespeople are outspokenly liberal. You do have conservative elements, but you also have the inverse in dissenting sects like the Quakers who are an almost radically progressive religious community, though they’ve never been sensational enough to get in headlines like Westboro.
This conversation gains even more nuance when considering the devs suggestion that they may simulate East Asian states, the majority of which feature religious groups less regressive and authoritarian than their governments. Einstein would not shut up about his appreciation of buddist thought, as many free-thinking great minds have.
In mechanical terms, perhaps a separate simulation determining religious regressivism could be modelled. The more zealously conservative your country’s religious cultures are, the more they have to say about sexuality, women’s rights, science, breathing in and out, or any of the other things wacky headlines will tell you isolated flyover state churches have a problem with.
Obviously conservative religious condemnation occurs in some places in the world, developing or not, but people also go to bed hungry, don’t have electricity, and can’t vote in the same places and this game addresses those things. I don’t think religion should modelled as a malignant error to be corrected.