Like most men in their mid-twenties, I play video games (probably a little too much), and one game that I particularly enjoyed playing through was Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. During the quest line involving the (lamely-named) “Fighter’s Guild,” your character is tasked with infiltrating a rival organization and seeing how they operate. While “under cover,” you are ordered, along with a small squad of compatriots, to rid a town of goblins. So, you take part in this ceremony, drink some magic juice, pass out, and wake up in the town and surrounded by goblins. Of course, you easily dispatch of the gross green men and pass out again. When you come to, it becomes apparent that you were slaughtering the townsfolk; apparently whatever you drank made you, despite your character’s good (or evil) intentions, murder a bunch of innocent people.
What, you might ask, does this have to do with religion? Well, pretty much everything. Religion has the uncanny ability to make otherwise good people do awful, terrible things. The only differences are that the perpetrators don’t have to drink anything and that those awful actions are real and have very real consequences. Continue reading