I’d like to make a case for the portrayal of religion in Democracy 4, since it was treated in such remarkably poor faith in the previous game.
Religion is not innately conservative. As so many have pointed out, mainstream religions do not explicitly demonise abortion, prostritution, or in some interpretations, queer identities. Pope Francis once famously declared that the big bang and evolution were scientific fact, and entirely compatible with a system of faith in 2014. There are many thriving progressive religious communities striving to remake communities of faith into places where free thought is celebrated. I do not believe religion sticks to one political wing or the other, it’s swerved in such directions throughout history by the powerful.
I understand proudly athiest movements like to capitalise on the evils of religion, and those evils cannot be denied, but these games are literally about changing the world into a place that makes better sense. Religion is often about charity, peace, and forgiveness, with a strong interest in fighting against social issues, and I’d love to see a place that in the new game that’s more than just a set of cults married to the right wing.
I think that is already solved by the fact that voters in the game are now represented by percentages, so someone can be 27% Religious or 90% Religious. So a person who is 27% Religious is not as pissed off about abortion, prostitution, etc. But a person who is 90% Religious is. And this only makes sense because regardless of what Pope Francis or some a-la-carte religious adherents say, the higher percentage religious voter should be angered by those issues because they are more closely following the texts of their faith. Those religious people who ignore the texts of their religion are normatively or lightly, for example, Christian or Muslim, but the more wedded they are with the logical conclusions of their faith, the more likely they are to be against policies that you mentioned.
I think the main difference should be between those who only personally have a belief vs. those who think their personal beliefs should be applied to government. A religious person could be against gay marriage personally but believe government should not be involved.
Since the game represents voter groups, this religious person probably wouldn’t be in the category of “Religious voter” because religion is not influencing their voting; more likely they would be in the “Liberal” category. But the religious voter that is using the prescriptions of their religion to influence their voting- and if their religion proscribes against gay marriage and abortion- would certainly be in the Religious category and would dislike the government that supports gay marriage, abortion, etc.
This probably doesn’t lead to any change for the developer, but it could make you think differently about it in game.
From what I’ve seen, I am expecting the situation to be less egregious than the previous game, if only for the streamlining of how the data works, although my concern primarily sits in the game’s seeming understanding that science and religion are opposites, and that a more progressive and scientific state requires you to do things which subtract the religious groups until they’re eradicated from the population.
I just think freedom of religion is neat, and represents a cornerstone of many liberal constitutions due to the moral contributions of an ever evolving community of ethical spiritualists but whatever.
Oh yeah definitely, freedom of religion is neat, and helps explain the rise of the West.
I think what people have to get past is this idea that just because someone believes something personally that it has to apply to government. Any mandate from government, regardless of whether one believes it will have a positive or negative effect, is implemented with, supported by and maintained with force. I mentioned the religious person who doesn’t necessarily believe the state must make mandates based on their religion, and the one who does. What about the militant atheist? He might think that his atheism is justification to force churches to marry gays, or that churches shouldn’t exist at all. He might think that, because a scientific state is good, that no one should be able to hold or express what he considers irrational beliefs. He might think that only the state should provide charity because he thinks that churches are hateful institutions and should not be tolerated. That is just as toxic as someone who tries to create a theocracy.
I agree with you that the game oversimplifies by making religious membership go down just because the state is more technologically advanced, whereas there could always be a contingent of people who are religious but appreciate scientific concepts, like the Deist scientists and inventors of the past. But the Religious voter in game makes sense as someone who wants not only to have freedom of religion, but their religion as the source of government policy.