Religious Membership in D4

This has come up in a few threads so I thought I’d get a dedicated thread.

So, membership in the religious voter group is borked. It tends to bottom out to an absurd degree, even in countries that should have high membership eg. the United States. Here are my thoughts on the matter.

First, technology and tech policies should not reduce religious membership. Yes, less developed countries should be more religious and secularize as they develop. But right now the game is balanced around the first world, and that’s a bridge that can be crossed when first/third balance gets addressed later. But tech colleges and faster internet and a space program do not turn people into atheists.

So, what should affect religious membership?

  • Immigration should increase it. This is a well known effect IRL.
  • Religious education (or lack thereof) should raise or lower it. I would restrict the lowering to the actual atheist/anti-theist level and have secular be neutral.
  • New policy: Religious exemptions. This policy represents granting exemptions from certain statutes if they conflict with a religion’s practices. For example, the United States allows Indian religious ceremonies to use peyote and bald eagle feathers, and allows Muslim women to veil in some areas where masking would otherwise be prohibited. Makes liberals, religious, and minorities happy, makes conservatives upset, raises religious membership and lowers ethnic tension. Might make sense for a modest increase in drug use as well.
  • New policy: Restrict religious expression. This policy suppresses public displays of religious symbolism. Real world example is France’s secularism laws. Does pretty much the opposite of the above, including decreasing religious membership.
  • Modified policy: State Church/State Church Funding. This policy represents direct state funding of religious institutions. Lots of European countries do this (sometimes even for multiple religions). Raises religious membership, unless it’s underfunded, in which case it actually lowers religious membership. Conservatives and to a lesser extent the religious like it, liberals dislike it. If you add situations about hate preachers or the like it should decrease those as well. Edit: Actually, maybe the effect on membership should scale based on the Con/Lib status of the country. So a conservative country will go to state church while a liberal one avoids it.
  • This one I’m a little more dubious on, but maybe poverty should maybe increase religion; unadjusted by charity. (Which is to say, charity that reduces poverty also increases religious membership to compensate).

These effects do assume American style pluralism, where all religions tend to take an attack on one of them as an attack on all of them.


IMO this one should only be true if drug laws aren’t already relaxed beyond a valid point, so laxer drug laws should reduce how much this increases drug usage. (Although it should be a pretty tiny effect anyway. Like, are you thinking shamanic rituals involving drugs here? As far as I’m aware, those tend to be very controlled, with only a select few having actual access to drugs, and doing so in a ritualistic manner, i.e. not really for leisure.

Basically, what I’m getting at is, if, compared to the entire population, an effect like that is even measurable, it should have basically no chance of triggering the drug problem event, unless your drug policies already would have done so regardless.

Additionally, this one ought to boost political apathy of the religious group, making people less likely to vote on religious grounds. Like, this amounts to, people are allowed to follow their beliefs more easily. They should thus care less about living in a society more in line with their respective religion, so you can have more of them without necessarily fearing radical fundamentalists.

Meanwhile, the restricting version should do the opposite: Fewer religious people who, however, are more likely to lash out.

Btw, those two policies could also be combined into a single one, with one extreme basically being “religious people can effectively utterly ignore the law if they cite religious grounds” and the other extreme “doing so much as a vaguely religiously coded gesture (like, say, folding hands in a praying gesture) in public may result in immediate jail time” - both of which are obscenely extreme, but that’s kinda the point. I’d like to have more policies where “the best spot” for a given play style isn’t actually at an extreme of a slider, unless that playthrough is meant to be an extreme one. Going extreme on this ought to explicitly cause some big problems.

Another nice policy to have would be something like Cultural Exchange Program wherein people are actively encouraged to show off and learn about each other’s ways. It’d lower racial tension and conservative happiness and membership and increase, perhaps uniquely, both liberal and religious happiness and perhaps membership. - People would become more flexible in their beliefs and open to others’ experiences (which seems like a very liberal trait) but crucially including religious expression.

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As an American, it doesn’t really appear to do so.

I’d argue that’s not because of those policies, but rather because of other circumstances in the US.
The way I labelled those sliders though, at the extreme end it’d mean people could literally get away with murder if they claimed their religion made them.

Religious exemptions are a great one. I know Israel exempts orthodox Jews from national service, and here in the UK its illegal to ride a motorbike without a helmet unless you are Sikh. Also carrying a knife is VERY illegal in the UK…unless you are Sikh and its a small ceremonial one.
I think the issue here would be whether such things are best represented as dilemmas, rather than policies. We already have similar dilemmas for being allowed to wear a cross at work (that might have been D3) and the famous ‘gay cake’ incident.

Generally I think these things only become political when there actually some incident that puts them in the news. For example it was only last year I heard (from news reports) about the Sikh knife thing, because it had been raised in the debate on knife crime.


I wouldn’t mind more religious dilemmas. We already have many “do you support LGBT rights? Yes/no” events, which I don’t mind. Politicians can get bogged down by the same topic for a decade. It would be good to see religious people from an angle other than being offended by gay rights.

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I mean, I can only speak for myself, but I think of this as a much bigger general issue than say, putting “in god we trust” on our money. Plus it’s a liberal+/religious+ policy, which I think would be good for the game.

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