I was wondering if anyone has had their atheism/agnosticism/antitheism/nontheism influence their games or gaming in some way.

An aspect of gaming I have seen and experienced is the chance to take on different outlooks, to explore other ways of thinking, to be someone else. So do you play characters with a atheist/skeptic outlook or did when you were perhaps coming to atheism, or perhaps you tried the opposite and went with a true believer. Have you ever used a game to perhaps try out a way of thinking that later you really adopted?

Also many games I have been in do have gods, magic, and other supernatural aspects. Perhaps you prefer a game that doesn’t have these aspects, or maybe just the opposite, a game that is much more fantasy is more appealing?

Or perhaps does anyone have feelings good or bad on this use of gaming and whether role-playing should be used in this way, or taken as a serious platform for philosophical exploration?

I myself have played characters that have really just been a focused aspect of my own personality. Such as I have a love of nature but that is not the only thing that makes me me, but I used it to create a character where that was a central aspect and much more fully realized. I have also played a character who was a very fundamentalist type of believer and let those thoughts go to see where I went with that frame of mind.

So I am interested in how all this relates together for people.

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It actually depends on the setting. If you're playing a traditional "other worldly" fantasy game where the supernatural is as a part of the setting as physics is to the real work, then religion and magic are essential. The problem I have is with "modern fantasy" settings where magic is a big secret, accesible to new agers and other credulous low life, and is used as a means to sneer at "skeptics." (e.g. The Dresden Files, were I think Butcher used James Randi as the model for one of his vampire villains.)

NO ONE PICKS ON RANDI!
Ah! Well put! One of my best gaming buddies pointed out that in the WoD setting he'd only ever want to play the technocracy, clearly the "good guys" who wanted to bring rationality and progress to the world, and didn't see the appeal of playing the forces of chaos and otherworldliness, seeing the technocracy as clearly the human "home team".
Definitely! Being more Humanistic and Allocentric is where a lot of Good Role-playing can be found. As an Atheist Gamer who likes Simulation and Experimentation Games, my tastes have become more "mature". Grounded but having fun in serious Ideas can be fun with the right attitude. It is also rewarding at the very end of the session when there is relevant and new information that comes about the process.

I run Philippine 19Century history with all the realistic social elements with GURPS. Character creation and the study for a character that would "fit" is already enlightening. When I play the NPCs based on historical precedents and my readings seeing them interact in a believable way (thanks to Political Game Theory) makes me discover profound reasons and Ideals that shaped history and my present world interacting with me and my players across the expanse of time.

Atheism and the "Scientification" of my gaming has given me a better understanding of fundamental principles of critical thinking and problem solving. It has also further enhanced my ability to deal with real people and face challenges.
I had to look up "Allocentric" - I wasn't familiar with that world, and I must admit I don't quite "get" much of game theory, it's a little over my head.

That said, the aspect of RPG gaming that allows for exploration of different points of view, different "reality tunnels" and trying to understand the minds of various fantasy races, pretend, real, or pretend but real-world-inspired cultures was one of the main draws of gaming for me. My friends tease me for playing very long campaigns that seem to be mostly a talking to various monsters.

For this kind of play, definitely GURPS is excellent, and I also recommend the Rune Quest game (d% like Call of Cthluhu) especially the game world Glorantha. They did (IMO) a great job of making a game world with such well developed cultures that you can play years and years in one milieu and not begin to scratch the surface of what's available in the Glorantha - highly varied, lots of depth, internally consistent, and really enjoyable. Many of the Glorantha contributors have genuine real-world expertise in history and anthropology. Good stuff.

This versus level of material in something like WoD for example, which tends to strike me as having a bit of the flood-plain factor - being about a mile wide but half an inch deep.
Hell yes!

I used it heaps when running Call of Cthulhu, I mean you can not find a better source of ideas for horror roleplaying than the bible! Dark prophecies, insane gods, human sacrifice, scary monsters, the Abrahamic religions have them all! It's also a well known trope in horror, but it's fun to subvert that trope. Think about it, Dracula is supposed to run from crosses but Vlad the Impaler didn't hate crosses, he dug crosses, you can be scared now.

I combined some stuff about the ressurection with an old story about flatland using this picture as my starting point. By the time I was done I had a walking zombie Jesus turning people inside out, a Cube inspired non euclidian maze of horrors and all of my players asking "what the **** is going ON? How Lovecraft can ya get?
LOL! Yahweh might try to convince people it's Azathoth, but I'm pretty sure it's just Cthugga.

Jebus, OTOH might really be Nyarlathotep, considering how frequently "his" followers act like NPCs. (You loose your PC status when your INT or SAN = zero.)
Have you ever met anyone who initially got interested because RPGs were hated by various church groups? I don't mean morons who thought maybe you really could cast spells from the DMG, I mean kiddie atheists.

Back in the day of the Satanic Panic I just found the anti-D&D hysteria embarrassing, I guess because I was in Jr. High School, and embarrassment was my default response to most stimuli. Now I have a sort of knee-jerk reaction where every time I hear a religious person is "against" something make a mental note to buy or try it.

In between these two sort of mindless responses were my punk rock years where we'd watch record burnings hoping to see our favorite bands records burned, and really savor hearing those ignorant preacher voices talking about Lydia Lunch and the Dead Kennedys.
Don't tell the Christians, but I started losing my religion about the same time I started playing D&D. They weren't really connected, per se. I had already started doubting organized religion, making my own god concept, years before I started playing RPGs. What I found, was that not being a traditional believer allowed me to "play with religion" in a way that would have been blasphemous for a believer. I could make up gods and goddesses and play with the ideas of belief, faith and religious practice, because I didn't have any of my own.
One of my wife's cousins attended a  "Christian academy" — an all-boys fundamentalist junior high and high school — and he said a bunch of the kids in his clique played Gamma World, because all the "magic" in GW is translated to mutations and radiation effects.

I understand the religious because I have always been able to suspend disbelief.  I was lucky to have been the product of atheist/socialist working class European grandparents, and non-attending lapsed Anglicans, so my personal susceptibility was not exploited by a sect.

 

However, it made me a natural for RPGs.

 

All my games seem to be about religion!  I loved Runequest/Glorantha because it raised the whole "what if a world really operated like it did in ancient myth, with gods and heroes mingling all of the time" idea.  The fear of orthodoxy plays into the "living in a theocracy" games I like (Burning Empires, Dogs in the Vineyard). 

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