Why your character’s religion (or lack of) is important:
Anyone in the roleplay community who knows me knows i am one hundred percent about one specific thing: religions. It pains me to see people only use religion when they are playing “religion freaks”. That term roughly translates to someone who’s obsessed with religion and takes everything about a certain religion to heart. While these people do exist, it is more likely that you’ll see people who embrace only certain parts of a religion but religion does surround us on a day to day basis and if you want a realistic character or roleplay in general, you must take them into consideration. Stop being afraid of religions.
RELIGION AND EDUCATION:
- If your roleplay is set in the United States of America then one of the first things that must come to mind is saying the pledge in the morning. “One nation, under God.” There are several ways people take the pledge: those who don’t pay much attention but say it anyway, those who say the pledge but emit the “God” part, and those who don’t say the pledge at all. Another thing you might want to consider is Catholic schools or any type of educational institution that takes religion into great consideration. It’s becoming rather tacky to see every single Catholic school girl hate religion in general, while yes, there is many Catholic school girls who hate their school simply because of how it is formatted, it doesn’t mean every single one of them is going to start hailing Satan.
- Another point, believing in Satan or some sort of underworld in general is a part of almost every single religion. While some may think of religions in general a simply a spiritual path towards heaven, hell is about 50% of religions. Why else would people be so intent on being good and getting into heaven? Because there’s the possibility of getting into hell.
- One last thing to consider regarding religions and education is the education of religions. You learn about religions in history class, in philosophy class, and in well, religion class if you attend a school/university that offers it. When talking about religion in a history class you only learn the basics because teachers aren’t allowed or have the time to go into depth with every single piece of a religion, religions are huge and complicated especially if you’re solely talking about the major ones (Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism). In philosophy class you’re taught more in depth about religions but still not 100% and when you take a philosophy class or a history class you’re not necessarily taking either to learn about religions but to learn about every subject offered in the class. However, when you take a specific religious class it has to be because you’re interested in the religion or the religion is yours.
RELIGION AND EATING:
- Buddhism: In Theravada and Mahayana schools many people do not eat meat or fish. Some are vegans and specifically in China and Vietnam, many do not eat onions or garlic. Buddha told people not to eat certain types of meats: humans, elephants, horses, dogs, snakes, lions, tigers, boars, and hyenas. This was due to self-respect and protection. Though there is no specific law in Buddhism regarding food, in the time of the Buddha himself, monks were expected to eat everything put in their begging bowl without discrimination.
- Hinduism: In this religion, meat, fish, poultry, and eggs are forbidden. People who follow this religion very closely also don’t eat garlic, onions, mushrooms, alcohol, and tea or coffee. In the Vedic texts, one should offer food as a sacrifice to God. Many references indicate that fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and dairy products are fit for humans to consume. The food offered to God is thought to bestow religious merit, purify the body, mind, and spirit. For this reason food has a close relation not only to the religion as a whole but in worship. The forbidden foods are considered ignorant and beef in particular is avoided due to respect for the cow. Bhishma, central character in a Hindu epic tells about how no sacrifice should be made without butter. Therefore, cows became essential.
- Christianity: Most Christians do not have a restriction when it come to eating meat though they refrain from eating it on Fridays or during Lent. There are only two biblical references regarding food: Genesis 9.1-4 and Genesis 1.29. The first allow people to eat meat under certain circumstances and the second states that vegetarianism was God’s original will. Most Christians will eat anywhere and don’t experience as many food restrictions as other religions.
- BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION: hi! i saw your post about writing about religion and, while i didn’t read it thoroughly and just skimmed it, there was one thing that stuck out to me that i’d like to correct. i’m a christian (protestant) and in my experience, the refraining from eating meat on fridays and during lent is mainly a catholic tradition, not so much something that all christians do. just thought i’d point that out since it could be useful! — anonymous
- Judaism: The ingredients forbidden in the Jewish religion are several: emulsifiers of animal origin, glycerin, gelatin, shellfish, and prawns. Kashrut is the system of Jewish dietary laws. The Torah does not specify any reason for dietary laws but they are followed in order to show obedience to God. Leviticus 11:3 states, “Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.”
- Islam: Ingredients forbidden include pork, gelatin, meat not slaughtered in the prescribed way, blood, alcohol, carnivorous animals, and lard. Eating is a matter of faith, their dietary practices are also essentially about obeying God. You must recite the name of God (Allah) before eating and thank God after you are done. It is important to eat by the right hand in company and the name of Allah must be pronounced while slaughtering. It is also important to only eat when you are hungry and not to eat in excess. Essentially it is about thanking Allah for everything and keeping in mind that he is to thank for meals.
RELIGION AND HOBBIES:
- Books that are fictional but incorporate religion or religious aspects: The Shack by Wm. Paul Young, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, The Chronicle of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, House by Frank Peretti, and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.
- Movies: Bruce Almighty, Life of Pi, Home Run, Like Dandelion Dust, Soul Surfer, The Kingdom of Solomon, The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry, Unidentified, The Da Vinci Code, The Passion of Christ, Heaven is For Real, God’s Not Dead, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Son of God.
- Television: Apparitions, Around the world in eighty faiths, the big questions, the heaven and earth show, sunday life, it’s a miracle, little men, sea of faith, the world tomorrow, little mosque on the prairie, salam cafe, tomorrow’s pioneers, a touch away, the god squad, the magic door, yiddishkeit, man alive, the message, give us this day, breaking bread, the cleaner, compass, and shaheed-e-kufa.
- Church Music: Kyrie (“Lord have mercy”), Gloria (“Glory be to God on high”), Credo (“I believe in one God”), Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy”), and Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”).
- Hindu: Aa Gaye Maiya Ke Navrate, Aaja Mahiya Aaja Sohneya, Aaye Sewadaar Maa, Bhawani Do Darshan, Chola Rang De Maa, Dhun - Jai Ambey Maa, Maa Murad Kar Poori, Chatari Mangalam, Jain Navkar Mantra, Bhole Baba Ki Kanwar, Bol Bam Kanwariya, Dhun - Om Namah Shivaya, Jai Babe Di Bol, Man Bhool Gayo Bhagwan Re, and Shree Vishnu Stuti.
- Jewish: Moshe Salyo De Misraim, Am Yisrael Chai , Birkat Hakohanim , Mi Ha’ish , Eifo At Hayom , Tidrechi , Ivdu Et Hashem, Barchi Nafshi , Zman Lehitorer , Lema’an Tzion , Chozrim Habayta , Mishehu Pa’am , Shma Israel , Tov L’hodot , Pitchu Li , and Kolot Halev.
- Islamic Poetry:
- What happened to my Youth?
- An Evil Glance
- Am I Grateful?
- Read the Qur’an
- Divine Wonder
- Muslim Only by Name
- Ahad Ahad!
- Evidently, I don’t know everything about every religion and this was very generic and basic. If you’d like more information on a certain religion then please simply let me know. What I wanted to show more than anything, was that religion is such a part of everyday life. You see it in music, poems, television, movies, everywhere. It has even such a great part in dietary habits. It pains me the amount of people I see who are Buddhists and don’t take their dietary habits into consciousness or even their schools or prayers. I’m sorry that the world has decided to create this idea that religions are something to be feared, that they are evil, but they play a huge and essential part of every day life! Don’t play a religious freak, simply be conscious of what you are doing and saying. As always, if you would like to add more to this feel free, any questions contact me, any mistakes let me know. And have fun creating characters!