The Church of Me: Sims and Religion. Why not?

Oh god - this thread is going to get messy.

This is something I’d normally save until The Sunday Papers, but I think there’s a debate here you comments-threaders would enjoy. After reading Tom Chick’s interview with the Sims Producer MJ Chun where she elegantly ducks a question on why they don’t include religion, Troy Goodfellow starts wondering about – er – the problems of – er – being a Good fellow. He thinks a strict idea that religion or faith should be popping off to Church on a sunday is misplaced anyway. And there’s little in the way which the sims are twisted which allow to pursue humanity’s non-materialistic side.

But look at the Sims trait list. No altruistic only ambitious. No kind hearted, but there is mean spirited. No generous, but there is mooch. Hopeless romantic, but no celibate. All the best virtues are lumped into one large “Friendly” category that is used to force you to make your Sim accumulate friends. The “Good” trait is the catch all for the Christian virtues we’ve been raised one. Not that the traits are everything, but they do – in general – point toward characteristics that are about gathering, collecting and self-improvement. They are a representation of how the game sees story telling.

Do read the rest of the post.

And it is interesting that secularised non-faith based spirituality is included in the form of Ghosts – which, as an atheist of a hard-science bent, always grated at me – but avoiding anything else. Even away from the matter of faith, while I’d disagree with a reading that made the Christian Virtues actually connected with Christianity rather than core human altruism, the relative dearth of positive traits does speak towards a worldview. And, as Alice and Kev has painfully shown, a characters more empathic traits can provoke as much drama and heartbreak. In fact, it’s only in the context of the good that human cruellness has meaning. That’s drama.

The more I think, the more I’m disappointed by any attempt at simulating a faith in the game when the Sims dealt with human sexuality so elegantly – and without igniting a tinderbox which it could easily have done. And the more I think, returning to one of my standard motifs, the more I wish there was a serious competitor to the Sims which took a radically different view of human nature.



  1. Kyr says:

    Any competitor with a serious take on faith and religion in a Sim-like game will face serious trouble from each and every religious organization in the world. Not that it won’t serve marketing strategy right, but the game could just be banned in most of Europe (and not only Europe) countries.

  2. Gap Gen says:

    It is perhaps a shame that the more publicised “Christian” games tend to be of the Left Behind or Zoo Race ilk – propaganda pieces more than explorations of a certain mode of thought (which, I’d argue, is unchristian – the notion of being anything less than totally honest with yourself and others is something that goes against what I was taught Christianity meant at school).

    There is the SMAC/Civ exploration of religion, but not personal faith per se – SMAC’s view of religion as an extreme that causes fervid violence against non-believers is a little depressing, although all the ideologies of the factions come across as quasi-religious, with planet-wide conflicts fought over points of dogma.

    One thing I’ve thought about in the past is a meme engine – a system that models the transmission of ideas and ways of thinking and acting between people. You could then plug into this any kind of idea you wanted, from do-unto-others to purple hair. We actually thought about it in terms of populations, and doing a kind of Civ-style game from bottom up, influencing nations through subtle webs of thought rather than through presidential decrees and military actions.

  3. somename says:

    could games be customized in terms of world view? “select your view on these 5 concept:” Then the player would play a game that would appeal to him/her – but on teh other hand not provoke (in teh good “art’y” sense) anybody. Anyway Sims doesnt provoke, it just entertains – so lets entertain teh individual player in exactly the way he/she wants to be entertained. .

  4. roBurky says:

    I confess I don’t actually understand what the objection is here.

    What is Troy asking for the game to do? What is it he wants to be included?

  5. Gap Gen says:

    I think the article confuses spirituality with altruism. The two things are entirely different, even if people can be both.

  6. Uglycat says:

    I believe Troy is asking for better story making tools, including more positive/spiritual character traits, as EA currently limit your options severely.

  7. Jonas says:

    “And the more I think, returning to one of my standard motifs, the more I wish there was a serious competitor to the Sims which took a radically different view of human nature.”

    The Sims as made by Lionhead? Oh, no I guess that wouldn’t work, you could just make your Sims eat a basket of cellery to rebalance their Kharma Meter™.

    The Sims as made by Obsidian Entertainment, then!

  8. Stupoider says:

    I don’t think there’s too much hassle over including religion in video games is there? I remember it in Medieval: Total War 2.

  9. Legionary says:

    Troy is absolutely right. The game should feature traits that allow you to create a religious character. As it stands I am entirely unable to sacrifice my firstborn (Genesis 22:1-18), stone to death teenage Sims that rebel against their parents (Deut. 21:21) or, should my Sim misbehave, he or she will not spontaneously combust (Nunbers 11:1).

    I’m not saying that Christianity is evil. I’m saying that “I can’t make a character that’s ‘good’ according to Christianity” relies on cherrypicking from the texts of that religion. And why just that religion? What about introducing Islam to the game – should my female character be ‘evil’ in that version of the game if she’s not hidden behind a burka?

    The reality actually is that outside of the concerns above, once you add Christianity in there you’re making a religious game. We don’t *need* religious games, and besides which the Sims isn’t about creating yourself. It’s a game in which you create a particular character with their own attributes – that ‘Celibate’ isn’t one of those attributes means nothing, and just how do you achieve that mood criterion? By not having sex?

    Having faith in the divine does not necessarily qualify you in and of itself to design video games.

  10. Hypocee says:

    It seems to me like they’ve made ‘nice’ the default state – easier for users to process, funnier to deviate from. I also don’t really understand the shortcoming here, unless you want religion as some kind of Challenge Mode – say, Islam to require your character’s nonsimulated coffee breaks for the daily prayers or Scientology to take all your money. And why isn’t there racism in the Sims, eh? Eh? I want crosses burning on my front lawn while my daughter weeps in the corner!

  11. Nimic says:

    I’ve got to agree with Legionary on this one. He’s spot on.

  12. El Stevo says:

    Being celibate is a virtue?

  13. Archonsod says:

    It doesn’t have to be Christianity. Sims 2 allowed meditation, a trait of more Eastern religions than Western.
    It does seem strange that we have marriage, funerals and ghosts and yet Sims lack any discernible religious life. Wasn’t there a llama worshipping cult mentioned in the news ticker in Sim City 4?

  14. dartt says:

    Perhaps the game doesn’t give you option to select so many good traits as they assume these qualities are innate in most sims. I expect the sim-ulation would soon collapse if our little friends didn’t have some built in traits such as trustworthiness, empathy and respect for their fellow sim ingrained in their sim natutre.

    To suppose otherwise would be to suggest that a sim is nothing more than a feral beast, slave to it’s own base desires that requires the rote indoctrination in to some kind of value system from an early age lest he grow up to become some kind of nihilist monster that stalks the night perverting the wellbeing of honest Wright-fearing sims.

  15. Gap Gen says:

    Well, this is part of it – celibacy is a virtue in certain circles, but not in others. Like Legionary says, fundamentalist interpretations of religion (like, say, the Taliban) have very different views of what virtue is.

    I think there’s space for this in games. Like I said, a meme engine would be interesting, so you could envisage sims living in a world run by a fundamentalist religious leader and that homosexuality resulted in execution, say, or one in which racial segregation was openly accepted.

  16. BigJonno says:

    @El Stevo. Not sure what’s going on there either. The complaint that your Sim can be mean-spirited but not kind-hearted is valid, but I don’t see altruism and ambition as opposites (you could have an ambition to start a free school in a war-torn region of Africe, to pick a completely random example.)

    Celibate as an alternative to romantic just strikes me as, well, weird. You can be a dirty little slut whore and not have a romantic bone in your body. Romance is related to love and relationships, which are often connected to sex, but they’re no means on the same scale.

  17. Goldfinger says:

    The Sims don’t need religion. I am their God.

    Also, what Legionary said.

  18. Sucram says:

    There’s a donate to charity wish for good sims.

    I guess they want a Sim interaction dialogue like:

    Start religious war—-\ /—-See if sim will resurrect
    Greet with bible —— — Ask atheist to stop seeing daughter
    Flog for being pagan-/ \-Ask to join new cult for fun and profit

  19. DigitalSignalX says:

    I can’t get really empathic on the issue, perhaps because as a gamer, it seems we’re an inherently non-religious community. The absence of an obvious faith system from sims3 is no more disappointing or indicative of the subtle social cues that drive the game then the absence of lawn care or car maintenance.

    In context with the rest of the game, practices of faith would likely be reduced to simply satisfying mental needs in the same respects that watching TV, Socializing, or Sleeping do. It would be just another micro-manage, not an active immersive component like a career.

    You can still ‘role play’ if you choose, build a church to live in, hold a couple parties every Sunday and Wednesday, and select topics of conversation or activities that suit your purposes.

  20. Stupoider says:

    “We don’t *need* religious games, and besides which the Sims isn’t about creating yourself.”

    Does this mean you’ve never recreated yourself?

  21. spinks says:

    I’m wondering if good traits in the Sims just wouldn’t make for very interesting stories.

  22. Helm says:

    A competitor to the sims that takes a radically different stance on human nature. Will it still be an apologea for consumerism, then? If not, it probably won’t be as successful. This is a hurdle in ever coming across such a game.

    I too have a different view on human nature than the sims design seems to hint towards and that makes the game pretty unplayable for me, even if I like reading about how other people contextualize the sometimes surreal results of its fuzzy logic tests, sometimes.

  23. MacBeth says:

    “the Sims dealt with human sexuality so elegantly”

    This is the game where (judging by reports, anyway) you can have your doll character seduce virtually any NPC, including at the funeral of their partner etc.? Elegant isn’t quite the word I would use…

  24. subedii says:

    Out of curiosity, did any of you guys harping on about how “ZOMG Don’t make Sims about Christianity!” actually read the posted article?

    Realistically it’s about bringing in a different set of traits and issues (and also, potential for conflict and drama) which currently aren’t in the game, that’s the authors main point. Grief he even takes a pop at Christianity where he grew up himself.

    I appreciate that religion is a messy, messy topic for game developers. And I appreciate that a one size fits all approach to religion might be worse. I am in no way advocating that religion be as constant a presence in my Sims’ lives as the broken tub is.

    But don’t pretend that this is about story telling. My Sims resist me constantly. They want kids even if I know that it’s a bad financial decision at this point. They want a new computer while the Apple II equivalent is more than sufficient. They think about the hot barista when everyone knows the city councilwoman is a better choice.

    In short, the stories I tell are often circumscribed by the collection of traits I choose and the early friendships my Sim makes.

  25. ShimmerGeek says:

    Some of the traits that the article-writer claims have no opposite, do, in-fact, have opposites… The words which describe them are just not particularly obvious.

    Iirc, Good/Friendly is the opposite of Mean; Nice is the opposite of Mooch (Nice actually is about generosity, in it’s description); and lastly, Hopeless Romantic just implies longing for love, not sex (or can you not be celibate and in love?) – if they were going to complain about anything I’m surprised it wasn’t Good Kisser. Anyway, I’d say Never Nude is an appropriate opposite conceptually, given the way they seem to lump together love&sex and asexuality&celibacy.

  26. Ayekay says:

    the Sims dealt with human sexuality so elegantly – and without igniting a tinderbox which it could easily have done

    It dealt with it elegantly, and gave us same-sex relationships and marriage without any fuss or cowardice, but there aren’t many complexities to that decision. They just mirror hetero relationships. They don’t touch anything about being closeted or out, or for that matter about exotic sexual practices; about rape or incest; about prostitution; or any of the other high-profile facets of human sexuality. I mean, that’s sensible, it’s not an avant-garde or edgy sort of game, and including mechanics for these kinds of things would have been horribly contentious.

    With religion, it’s like moving in a crowded room. Any gameplay decision they have would have raised eyebrows. Even if it’s a matter of visiting a holy building with a holy objects. You have Christianity-like practices but not Islamic ones? You have holy days on Sunday but what about Islam and Judaism? Being gay is a bigger deal for a Christian than an atheist? Being gay *isn’t* a bigger deal for a Christian than an atheist?

    In context with the rest of the game, practices of faith would likely be reduced to simply satisfying mental needs .

    Even then, they couldn’t make a gameplay decision without making a statement. Does an atheist need to fill their spiritual bar? If not, is it actually better to be an atheist than a Christian? Or do Christians have access to moodlets that atheists don’t? Can the spiritual bar be filled by watching sunsets? Is that as effective in-game as going to confession? Civilization III took the low road on this one, making all religions equally useful and harmless, but they got stick even for that.

  27. Kadayi says:

    I’d actually say based on my experience that I’ve found the Sims to be less materialistic in this iteration, and a bit more focussed on personal development when it comes to their wishes. I also think there is quite a big eco angle going on what with the fishing, grow your own and Bicycles which is no bad thing imho. I think that is far more pertinent lifestyle to promote.

    Christian values, whether we actively worship or not are inherently sewn into the cultural fabric within which we (in the west) exist both in terms of legislation, personal rights as well plain old familial instruction or what is right and what is wrong. I’d say that the default state for most Sims was ‘Christian’ simply by virtue of the fact that the game holds to Western Values. The necessity to make overt gestures such as actual ‘worship’ is kind of redundant.

  28. Kong says:

    I would love a sims game that includes the whole madness of religiousness.
    Maybe one or more fantasy religions based on monothestic and pagan religions. It would be tremendous fun to watch the loony fanatics bite each others throats.
    I imagine a chaste preacher stalking the sims children. Or a ghastly orphanage you can threaten your kids with.

    Wikipedia: >Celibacy in its strictest definition means to be unmarried. However, the term is often popularly used to describe a state of life where one chooses to abstain from all sexual activities which is strictly “chastity”.<

  29. Jazmeister says:

    So, uh…. nothing to edit today, editors?

    See, the rap music in the game is a parody of rap music, the sex a parody of sex, and the people are basically parodies of people. A parody of religion would be great, but inflammatory. So great, then.

  30. jalf says:

    @Ayekay: I think you’re reading too much into it though. You might as well argue that they’re making a statement that doing homework is boring, and thus encouraging kids to skip school. Or that it is “better to be an easily impressed person” because it takes less to make you happy. The game is full of such judgments already.

    Of course a sim with a religious trait would have access to new moodlets. Just like a daredevil, or a good sim have access to new moodlets. There’d be nothing special about that.

    And of course it can be made controversial once you decide to add specifics. Just like it would’ve been controversial if they’d decided to be specific about any of the dozens of other traits and features they do include. They include homosexuality, but make it a non-issue by not distinguishing it in any way. They allow your sims to grow fat, but makes it a non-issue because no one cares.

    And they could easily allow generic religions, and only portray the traits that 1) don’t judge, and 2) no one disagrees with. A religious person gets a positive moodlet for visiting their religion’s holy building. They get a relationship bonus towards other members of the same faith. They get new conversation options when talking to nonbelievers or believers in another religion.
    “Religious” would simple be another trait you could choose if you wanted to. Would it be “better” than creating an atheist? Does it matter? The game already makes it “better” to be lucky than a loser. It makes it better to be excitable than hydrophobic. Creating a religious sim would simply open up new storytelling options.

    Coming up with some hyper-detailed concept that would basically be a completely new game, and based on that conclude “religion couldn’t work” is just a silly argument. Why should the game incorporate a “spiritual bar”? Why should it allow “confession?” Hell, why should it even have Christianity?
    Cooking wouldn’t work in the game either, if it was taken to that degree of detail. Which is why it is kept simple.

  31. Vandelay says:

    “The assumption that a Sim religion means a church or an exclusive club is a generational one, I fear, one that somehow skipped me in rural New Brunswick, where religion meant generosity and kindness and openness”

    Those things don’t sound like religion to me. They just sound like being a good person. Unless he is trying to suggest that you can only have those traits if you are religious, I don’t see his point. Perhaps he is right in suggesting that it is a generational change, but practising your religion is certainly a more accurate distinction than simply being generous and kind.

    They only way I would see The Sims containing religion is if they included an option to be part of any faith. Could be an interesting idea, and would certainly add to the storytelling abilities the play has (imagine a Christian family who has a child that ends up becoming a Buddhist, for example) but that would be a tough tight rope to walk without offending anyone, particularly in a heavily sandbox orientated game.

    Better just to stay away from the issue entirely. I’ve not played The Sims 3, but it seems as though it has enough options already.

  32. Ayekay says:

    The game is full of such judgments already.

    Sure. And no doubt there’s a Southern Baptist somewhere right now blogging about the Sims’ homosexual agenda. There’s no simple distinction about what’s controversial. But they steered well clear of the openly controversial stuff. No-one’s going to write to their congressman or fail to buy the game because easily impressed == happy.

    they could easily allow generic religions

    Look closer and that’s harder than it seems. Men and women sit together in the generic religious building? That rules out at least one and a half of the great world religions then. Practitioners of the religion eat in the same kitchen as everyone else? Practitioners don’t hold prayer meetings in their homes? Meetings don’t have a celebrant? Meetings do have a celebrant? How’s he dressed? Like a priest, like a rabbi? Oh, it’s a she?

    Any generic religion will either end up looking like Christianity, in which case you can hear the complaints from non-Christian religios and some atheists, or will look generically New Age, which will offend practically everyone who cares.

    Why should the game incorporate a “spiritual bar”?

    That’s one thing Chick was talking about in the original cite – that’s why I mentioned it. Whether it’s a bar or moodlets, the New Atheists complain if the pseudo-Christians get an advantage, and the Christians complain if being Christian is a burden.

    Cooking wouldn’t work in the game either, if it was taken to that degree of detail.

    Cooking’s far more detailed! You’ve got a cooking skill, a career, different qualities of equipment, individual meals with individual ingredients that you have to shop for, recipes, foods spoiling, food quality with different graphics for horrible food, food you can grow, fish you can catch vegetarianism, weight gain from crap foods…I think it’s the single most complex activity in the game, actually.

    The analogy here with religion is that you’d need ‘Generic Breakfast’ because if you put waffles in but not porridge, someone would take offence. Deciding whether men were as good at women at cooking would be a big deal. The clothes someone wore to cook would be a source of argument and debate. People would refuse to buy the game because it depicted someone making ice cream *without wearing gloves*.

    The key difference between this and everything else in the game except sex is that no-one plays a game deliberately looking for things to get enraged about with cookery, fishing, science, crime. And the difference between religion and sex is that sex really, really sells.

  33. jalf says:

    In some areas of the world, “religion” means teaching lies to children in science classes, in others, it means great crusades, in some it means crashing planes into buildings, and in some, it means shooting abortion doctors outside schools. Those are all pretty loaded concepts, as is the idea that “religion means generosity and kindness”.

    On the other hand, taking religion to mean “I have something in common with this group of other sims, which draws us closer, and we have a special place we occasionally wish to visit” is a pretty harmless and uncontroversial way to depict religion.

  34. Dave says:

    Not having played Sims games since spending a few hours with the very first one, and not having RTFA…

    My guess is the more “negative” character traits are just more interesting. Just as in fiction, and biographies, where flaws are more fun than “he was really, um… prompt!”

  35. Jazmeister says:

    Oh, and I also reject the idea that “good” values are “christian” values, because christians aren’t inherantly good and non-christians aren’t inherantly bad. If we’re going to do this religion debate, I might as well remind everyone about “god fearing” – the practice of motivation yourself to do good via fear of retribution, rather than common sense or an internal moral compass. Some churches hold that the human moral compass is, at best, a flawed substitute for the Bible. You could draw a venn diagram of “christian values” and “good values”, and they would overlap, but not, I’d say, completely. Plus, it’s just mean to stick your flag in a set of values. I hate being called a good christian (especially with the “you are, even if you don’t know it” clause). It’s obnoxious. It’s like saying that the Xbox adopts the “N64” controller archetype because it has shoulder pads, buttons, and a stick.

    Also, you kill bugs in the Sims 2. It’s, like, necessary, Buddhist or not. Any of that in S3?

  36. Ayekay says:

    generosity and kindness and openness…
    Those things don’t sound like religion to me. They just sound like being a good person.

    TBF he then adds ‘and hating gay people’. Altruism and homophobia are, I think, a uniquely religious combination. But your point is well made. If you’re not wearing the hats and saying the words, being pious is largely indistinguishable from being altruistic (and/or bigoted).

  37. Psychopomp says:

    “What about introducing Islam to the game – should my female character be ‘evil’ in that version of the game if she’s not hidden behind a burka?”

    No, they wouldn’t be. Read a Qu’ran, the verse that comes from merely states to “dress modestly.” No mention of a burka in sight. The burka is just one of a long list of tribal traditions that Islam originally broke away from, then strangely reverted back to after that golden age of science, and knowledge.

    I’d suggest *any* westerner pick up “Reconciliation” by Benazir Bhutto, by the way.

  38. Ayekay says:

    is a pretty harmless and uncontroversial way to depict religion.

    Sadly, that’s not true, for the specific reasons I’ve mentioned. You *will* get the nuttier kind of Orthodox Jews writing in to complain that it’s anti-semitic to leave Judaism out (the generic religion can’t be Judaism because men and women sit together!) You will get the nuttier kind of Muslims complaining about the lack of halal and the fact that women don’t get a moodlet penalty for visiting their religious building with uncovered hair. You will get extreme Christians going apeshit over gay and female priests…or complaining about a New Age agenda because the religious buildings don’t have priests. And if you’ve spent any time on atheism.reddit, you’ll know that you’ll get the more militant flavour of atheist bitching endlessly that you can get a Has Prayed bonus moodlet but not a Has Just Read the God Delusion bonus moodlet. :)

  39. Mungrul says:

    What’s the problem with creating a pantheon of “pretend” religions?
    I reckon Armok would be okay with expanding into the world of the Sims, although the lack of magma might be an issue.

  40. Gap Gen says:

    Well, because the Bible says that worshipping a different god is a sin, so pretend religions would rile people.

    One option would be to design a religion a bit like designing an RPG character, to include all kinds of traits. Like I said, it would be interesting to have a game where your society could be misogynistic or racist, but that’s not the sort of game that The Sims is.

  41. Mungrul says:

    Yes, but YOU wouldn’t be worshipping this false god, your SIMS would be.
    Like how killing people in games isn’t actually the same as killing people in real life.

  42. Stupoider says:

    Spore had religions. :D

  43. Gap Gen says:

    Mungrul: Well, the blog post was specifically about allowing more options for spirituality and/or good behaviour. So the issue *is* how you relate to your Sims and their actions and beliefs. Especially since in this sort of situation, people often tend to relate with their characters (like John Walker mainly playing good characters in RPGs rather than John the Bastard, say).

  44. Uglycat says:

    Sorry, but Legionary is painly wrong, and is guilty of the very cherry-picking that he says would be the problem. Jews would point to the Shema Yisrael in Deut 6:4 as their focus, and Christians wouldn’t be picking the absurdly decontextualized examples from the Torah, but would point towards Matt 22:37ff (which in itself, is a paraphrasing of Deut 6). In short, both religions would be following the concept of the Golden Rule, a concept which is pretty much upheld by most religions and systems of belief. Troy points out that the Sims doesn’t contain these traits, and as Keiron notes, the list is poor in positive qualities.

  45. Jeremy says:

    I think what this is going to show us is that, no matter what, a digital representation of life will never be as diverse and interesting as the real thing :)

    That being said, I think that adding religion to this game just isn’t possible. There are so many shades of religion and spirituality, even within the same religions. You have extremes on either side, you have middle of the roaders, you have people who are “insert religion here” just because their parents grew up in that particular religion. You have people who have had crazy life changes as a result of a spiritual experience. How can you define this in a game? How can you make a person’s religion and spirituality as complex and varied as it is in real life? Most people have a unique story when it comes to their beliefs, trying to “game” it seems like an impossible task.

    Also, for the sake of the discussion, I don’t think these underhanded and (not so) subtle jabs at religions are entirely helpful. Leave your baggage at the door :)

  46. Wisq says:

    The comments in this thread alone should be ample proof as to why games like Civilization approach religion as an interchangeable abstraction, and more close-up games like the Sims don’t go near it at all.

    (“Anyway, when I get my membership card and blazer badge back from the League of Agnostics, I shall urge the executive to lodge a protest against that religious racket! Pass the butter knife!”)

  47. flo says:

    I’m an Atheist too and I’m perfectly fine with ghosts. Not because I believe they exist for real, but because, well, ghosts are fun, kind of. Religion is not. Also, ghosts != religion cause last time I checked there wasn’t a “ghost religion” or something, it’s just fairy tales, old cultural baggage, whatever you wanna call it, but like vampires, many people find a certain appeal in it in fiction, and the sims too, is “fiction”.
    Also I don’t understand how that “christian gamer” could be offended by ghosts … after all his religion believes in forms of the supernatural too, some of which are some times described/displayed similiar to ghosts.

  48. Stupoider says:

    Wow, folks. Why not just have a simplified version of religion rather than accommodating the extremes and what not?

  49. Deg says:

    I agree that the Sims should balance out their aspirations. There should be rewards for playing a character that is generous, thrifty, kind-hearted, etc.

  50. Jeremy says:

    In an ideal world I think we could have a simplified religion in a game, a catch-all of sorts, but we don’t live in that ideal world and no matter what slant we put on this “simplified” religion, it seems that chaos would ensue. Inevitably.