I’m an atheist. A 100% bonafide spiritual sceptic who don’t take no religious guff from nobody. With heavyweights like Dawkins, Hitchens, Hawking and Randi in my corner, there ain’t too many sacred debates I shy away from. When my year 9 science teacher started preaching the gospel during a lesson on evolution I literally debated her until the deputy principal came and carried me away.
But my problem with religion isn’t solely linked to its absurdity – talking snakes, rib women and a zombie Jewish king are all fine. And the ethical issues raised by sanctioned discrimination has me in a “meh” kind of mood. My biggest problem with modern religion by far is its lack of balls-to-the-wall badassery.
Yeah okay, Lucifer is pretty cool and that whole thing he did with slaughtering angels was rad, but study up on ancient Egyptians, Greeks or Vikings and tell me they’re not cooler. Read about Ra, Zeus and Thor then look me in the eye to say `bearded Jesus, meek and mild is straight bearmode compared to a guy who rides across the sky in a chariot of fire’ (I’m talking about Helios).
It just won’t happen. So how am I going to worship something or someone that just doesn’t get me excited? Something that I just don’t believe in. Heck I haven’t wasted a single second of my life worshipping any of the current gods and I never will. But there may be hope for me yet. While every single modern religion fails the badass litmus test, there are some pretty funky belief systems out there. They may not be ‘all the rage,’ like born agains and Taoists but I’m willing to give them a go. So where exactly can these awe inspiring religions be found? Why, in video games of course!
So without further ado, here are the top five video game religions that I’d happily convert to.
5Brotherhood of Nod (Command & Conquer)
As far as charismatic leaders go, Kane is top tier. He wouldn’t just stand there and take it from the Romans. He’d form an insurrection, murder the local legion and use the survivors for medical experiments. Sure, he’s a bit of a textbook fanatic, but that shiny bald head and goatee work on so many levels!
Seemingly immortal, Kane has lead the Brotherhood through conflict after conflict, taken massive beatings from the GDI and Scrin and still maintains his fighting force as one of the world’s most unconventional superpowers.
Any man who can take the full force of an Ion Cannon, only to emerge a few years later to lead a global rebellion is a man I’m willing to get behind. And, let’s be real, that Scorpion logo the Brotherhood adopts is better than a silly old cross.
4The Church of Ormagoden (Brutal Legend)
Let me just read you a passage from Ormagoden’s lore.
“In the beginning, all was darkness. That is how the first ones preferred it, for they were so hideous that even they could not bear to look upon themselves. Then came the fire beast, a giant monster of molten flaming iron who roared across the sky like an angry comet. His metal body burned so brightly, it illuminated the world and all its hateful creatures. He was Ormagoden, cremator of the sky.”
If that isn’t enough to give you at least half a chub, you’re beyond redemption. The Church of Ormagoden is the chief doctrine of the Land of Metal.
So the legend goes, Ormagoden begat a race of titans who used his very being to create, fast cars, earth shattering amps, hot goth chicks and Heavy Metal. This is a religion that basically holds music above everything else. It’s beautiful, it’s poetic but most of all, it’s BRUTAL!
“A new kind of music shall be born! It will be as hard and heavy as the fire beast’s metallic flesh. It will have the power of his blood, the heat of his fire, the speed of his flight and the mighty roar of his death cry. Its words will tell the story of a fierce and noble age. It is to be an anthem of the people and we shall call it … Heavy Metal.”
Where do I sign?! You want my first born? He was an annoying prick anyway, just get me involved!
3Church of the Children of Atom (Fallout 3)
This entry is probably the closest thing to a full blown Theistic belief system in this list. The Church of the Children of Atom and its followers, known as Children of Atom, worship an unexploded nuclear bomb.
They believe that each atomic mass contains within it, an entire universe. So the holocaust pre-dating the events of the Fallout series was actually a unifying holy event. Believers see death more as a celebration of unification and actually want to bring about a second apocalypse – basically the same ideals held by the religions of the modern day.
So why would I want to jump on board with them? One reason and one reason only. I can physically see their god. You visit Megaton and the first thing you see is a big ass nuclear shell plonked in the centre of town. No extra sensory perception needed. No imagination required. The bomb is right freaking there, irradiating everything around it.
If i can see the deity in question, chances are, I’m gonna be more accepting of it. AND if that wasn’t enough, nuclear blasts are quite powerful. The whole argument of ‘my god is more powerful than your god’ is basically one giant theoretical debate based on nothing. Whereas I would be able to proudly state that my god is capable of obliterating 10 square miles and irradiating the surrounding eco system for hundreds of years to come. What-chu-gonna-do-about-it-sucka?
2The Daedra Lords (Oblivion / Skyrim)
Picking one god or even a set of gods to worship within the Morrowwind / Oblivion / Skyrim universe is no easy task. You’ve got old gods, new gods, fabulous gods, gods living down the end of your garden path. Hell, there’s probably a god for criminal scum who broke the law. So I thought I’d hedge my bets and go with the collective Daedra Lords. So who have we got on team Daedric strike force?
- The starting line-up is Azura, princess of dusk and dawn
- Boethiah the Prince of Plots
- Clavicus Vile, who grants power and wishes through ritual invocations and pacts
- Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of knowledge and memory
- Hircine, who loves a good hunt
- Emo champion Malacath, whose sphere is the patronage of the spurned and ostracised
- Mehrunes Dagon, the Prince of destruction, change, revolution, energy, and ambition
- Meridia, who is concerned with the energies of living things
- Peryite the Pestilent
A personal is Sanguine, the Prince of hedonistic revelry, debauchery and passionate indulgences of darker natures. Runner up and lover of good time fun Sheogorath – Prince of Madness, Jyggalag – the Prince of Order and lastly, Vaermina, who deals in dreams and nightmares.
Bit of an extensive list I know, but I’d wager that somewhere in there is a little something for you. No need for wars or violence. You go worship your inferior god in your way and I’ll take another bath in fresh cream with a stable of whores. Everybody wins!
1The Imperium of Man (Warhammer 40,000K)
Was there really any doubt that the glorious Imperium would take the top spot? Founded by the God Emperor of Mankind, the Imperium is the galactic empire under which the majority of humanity is united. More of a political movement than a full-fledged religion, the Imperium governs all aspects of human life. Except, of course, the lives of HERATICS! And all humans are unified through their worship of a single man, the aforementioned God Emperor.
So, on the surface, this belief system doesn’t appear to be all that different to say… modern day Christianity. Except for a minute (MASSIVE) detail.
Firstly, within the realm of the Warhammer 40,000K universe, the God Emperor actually exists and actually did stuff. All the tales about what the Christian god did, creating the world and smiting the fallen angels is wild speculation. He didn’t do any of it. It was all just primitive man’s attempt at comprehending the dangerous world around him.
The God Emperor on the other had beastmode engaged. Not only did he create the Space Marines, the greatest fighting force in the universe, he stood on the front lines of battle against the Horus Heresy. He cast down the lords of Chaos. And he sits on the Golden Throne projecting his psychic presence into the beyond.
In essence, the God Emperor of Mankind is the greatest human to have ever lived and the legions worshiping him are actually worshiping themselves. They are worshiping what humanity is capable of. What mankind has become. And a future that is to be crafted solely in our image. Plus, the Emperor is straight up crazy.