Religious characters cast in a poor light.

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Opcalypse
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Religious characters cast in a poor light.

Postby Opcalypse » 21 Apr 2012, 00:19

First things first, I'm a HUGE fan of Pocalypse. I've enjoyed absolutely everything about this comic.

This topic is to discuss the overuse of the following tropes:
Religion is Wrong http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ReligionIsWrong
Belief makes you Stupid http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BeliefMakesYouStupid

I see these so often I'm beginning to become sick of them. Sure, I understand what Asimov said about almost all Sci-Fi is written by Athiests. I just could go for some more neutral stances on the topic than the usual "Dad's a fool; I caught these fish, not God, nonsense."

If you want a great example of a religious figure put into a sci-fi, watch 'The Book of Eli'. Now take that character, strip him of his bad-arse fighting skills and you've got a realistic religious figure in your story.

As for the rebellious son... I'm shocked that his Emo attitude survived the apocalypse. A harsh reality will shock a teen-ager out of angst faster than you can say 'Justin Beiber'. Also, any person who's been forced to fish for his food knows that any amount of skill can't help you when the fish aren't biting... and would be thankful for the catch. Maybe not thankful to a deity, but also not egotistical enough to claim the success without at least luck or nature's intervention.

Also, the Father figure. I can't imagine any Father 'giving up' on his son just because he's having a crisis of faith. This guy is an a-hole with some religious trappings, not a person of faith. It would be nice to see a strong father figure pop up sometime. Media just seems determined to depict fathers as Homer Simpsons and Peter Griffins.

Lastly, I'd love to see some other religions depicted besides the usual Christianity. How would a Buddhist react to the apocalypse and how would it mesh with his theology? What about a Jew or a Muslim? How about Native Americans?

As for the author, Joe, don't be discouraged by any of these comments. They are more directed toward the spectrum of media where all of these play to an extreme. Your comic is awesome and well written. Religion can be a touchy topic for many people. Keep giving your storylines a good about of thought and I'm sure you'll create something unique and unusual... like the rest of your comic.

Good Work!
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Re: Religious characters cast in a poor light.

Postby Happy Demon » 21 Apr 2012, 04:24

Oh for crying out loud, you just stepped int a VERY touchy subject, since there's a lot of hatred towards Christianity, and there's actual reasons why.
Also, how the heck did you come across those Tropes? Since that's something you don't just bump into by accident.
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Re: Religious characters cast in a poor light.

Postby Joe » 21 Apr 2012, 20:15

@Opcalypse
Not discouraged at all! Thank you for your insight! :D

As with the rest of The Pocalypse story, characters, concepts, and ideas, I'll be looking to all of the discussion for direction when I'm feeling stuck or too cliched. Luckily, all this religion stuff is attracting a lot of discussion and what you've written has definitely made me more wary about where I want to take the next few scenes :D
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Re: Religious characters cast in a poor light.

Postby Opcalypse » 22 Apr 2012, 06:39

How did I 'bump into' those tropes? Well first off, I'm old... and I've been reading sci-fi for a long time. There is very little that compares with Tolkien and Asimov. Most writers hold a point of view and that point of view comes out in their writing. Since mostly atheists write sci-fi (again, an Asimov observation... but one that I believe has stood the test of time) I've unfortunately been bombarded by stories of how silly faith is.

Personally, I believe that's a very shallow point of view. Considering that most scientific achievement before the 1900s was accomplished by men of faith. I'm not just looking to Christianity either, Islam and Hebrew scholars have given us many significant contributions. I can't help but think that any future will include notable breakthroughs by people of faith. To negatively judge a characteristic that has been a key aspect of the personal character of some of the most influential and dynamic personalities is a loss for reader and writer alike.

Back to the topic at hand, I don't believe Joe has done this. We're just treading near familiar territory. Religious characters can bring all sorts of unique aspects to a story, I look forward to seeing how this develops. My hope is that you don't take the path commonly traveled of teen-ager angst and ignorant blind faith. Like so much of the rest of the story you've written so far, there is so much more to vampires and battlesuit heros... perhaps there is a worthy tale of faith that can be found amongst the zombies and machines.

Heck, if you haven't thought of it already... try blending native american beliefs with your plant monsters... you'd be surprised how awesome Gaia's defenders could be. Or how ruthless they might be in exterminating humanity. Bad enough to even make the machines look compassionate.

If you need a sounding board to bounce ideas around Joe, you know where to find me. We just recently exchanged emails about a week ago.

... and I'm still a huge fan.
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Re: Religious characters cast in a poor light.

Postby aattss » 22 Apr 2012, 11:17

Give the religious characters a strong belief, and therefore strong willpower, I'd say.

By the way, most religious peoples are not "openly" religious, as in, they don't blame everything wrong is because of sinners. This is more of a religious nut, although perhaps most other characters are chrisian, but don't go telling everyone about it. As such, this episode did not show religion is inertly evil, but only that religion should not be the inner core of your thought process. Also:

1. Since Jesus, the bible has insisted that one should be kind. No matter how angry someone tries to make you, you cannot hate anyone. If so, forgive them, and god will forgive you.
2. God is here to help us with the problems that truly matter, as in faith in the trinity, and the path to redemption, or how to forgive others. God will not make the poor person rich, because what matters is not our lack of wealth, but our lack of faith.
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Re: Religious characters cast in a poor light.

Postby Eldaran » 22 Apr 2012, 12:21

Uhh, i love delicate topics..
Personally i m not such a Church fan (doesnt matter if christian, muslim, taoism,..) But religion itself.. not bad.
Here we have the "typical" Religious nut. Using or "seeing" God and his work everywhere. Actually nice idea Joe ;)
Ha, would be funny if Jehovas witnesses would still go around from door to door, but now they would ask for your brain, not your soul... :twisted:
(Just a joke)
So i agree with aattss.
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Re: Religious characters cast in a poor light.

Postby Happy Demon » 22 Apr 2012, 16:44

Well, there's one big reason why sci-fi constantly bashes religion, it's because in sci-fi there's no god (there's few exceptions to that).
When people rely on something that doesn't exists, then it's hard not to take it a step further.

Also, you didn't answer the question, the trope on TV tropes isn't what you just bump into, someone either had to give you the link, or you have to had searched for it yourself.

Christians has hindered a lot of scientific achievements, and even said that the Earth is the center of the universe, while the Chinese had already found out that the Earth goes around the Sun before even Jesus was claimed to be born.
Not to mention the Theory of Evolution, which Christians fight to this very day.

Putting any other Religion in the comic is a bad idea, since people don't know them as well, since nearly everyone knows the basics of Christianity, but not all have read the Bible.
Last thing we need is Muslims being suicide bombers, since it's common knowledge that suicide is among the worst of crimes in the Muslim faith, along with murder.

The Bible isn't exactly all that good to follow, especially not the part that says "God didn't give us peace, but swords.", not to mention the ca. 300 commandments.
There's a reason why the Christian Fanatics manage to get followers, abstract language is easy to twist.
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Opcalypse
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Re: Religious characters cast in a poor light.

Postby Opcalypse » 23 Apr 2012, 02:13

One of the best sci-fi religious figures is the Shepard Book from the Firefly series. Great way to merge reality with sci-fi (which is at the core of all post-apoc work).

As for TV tropes, I'm aware of what tropes are. I write and occasionally use the listings as a reference. So when I see something in a media that I've seen countless times elsewhere, it usually doesn't take long to identify the trope I'm looking for. I use the links so we can all be on the same page. Also helps folks understand just how common these themes are.

Most of the comments on this thread have been good observations. The only point I'll clarify is that a person who views everything in life through the point of view of their faith doesn't turn out to be a crazed fanatic. Most of these are the quiet people that make a large impact on the lives of others through their actions. That said, words are also actions. Unfortunately, these days we have many MANY words that are hollow and devoid of any real value being thrown about by religious folks. That said, the right words from the right man can turn a country on its head. I think of Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and many of the protestant reformationists are great examples of this truth.

On a more appropriate topic, I think most of the views relating to this post-apoc comic are valid. No muslim bombs please. Buddhism is fairly well understood in American culture and I think would go over well. Similarly Wicca or paganism might work well too. I'd love to see the author's interpretation of how a small sect of people might practice a religion that has undergone a change since the apocalypse. Maybe make something altogether new. Food for thought.

For a religious thread on an internet board, I'm amazed at how civilized this conversation has been. Obviously, we all hold different opinions but I think we've all demonstrated a level of open mindedness and self control that is fairly uncommon to the online world. Well done! Not only do we have a great artist here but apparently he's drawn only the best kinds of fans to his work. Well Done Again!
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Re: Religious characters cast in a poor light.

Postby Happy Demon » 23 Apr 2012, 03:29

Saying The Pocalypse have the best fans... that's a lie, especially when you have me online. You can't find a worse Forum Member than me on this forum (the Spam-Bots doesn't count), I got a big reason why I'm saying that.

Wait... Gandhi? You mean that Racist that hated Black people? I'm not making that up, they talked about it on Penn and Teller Bullshit: Season 3: Episode 5: Holier Than Thou.
Oh, and the series has it's name because they uncover the bullshit that exists all over the world, but they primarily focus on the USA.
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Re: Religious characters cast in a poor light.

Postby Eldaran » 23 Apr 2012, 07:13

Aaaaand here is the reason why i dont like church...
Religion itself could be actually good, it can help people, to feel that there is something/one who is looking after his children.
It's man, who destroys religion with almost all of the 7 sins. (greed, gluttony,etc) Because this, i usually say that the basic of religion is actually not bad. (ten commandments,etc) But with all the extra rules and specially punishment... :roll:


Oh, i remember a actually funny scene in an apocalypsic world (a computer game, Gaia or similar) where people took a Fast Food Menu as "The Holy Bible" (And i think that Bible is the english word for it) Nice and crazy people, but didnt have many tasks to do...
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