It’s Atheists versus Theists in a battle to out respect the other side in this Only a Game minigame! Next week, it’ll be back to the usual activities, although an outbreak of unexpected philosophy is always a risk. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this prime slice of nonsense!
Disclaimer: This game is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be used to establish the outcome of any struggle, real or imagined, between atheists and theists!
How to Play
- Players decide whether they are declaring for the Theists or the Atheists. They then post a comment stating their allegiance as ‘Theist’ or ‘Atheist’ to make it clear whether they are joining ‘Team God’ or ‘Team Chance’. (I will referee). If you identify a religion, feel free to mention it.
- The play of the game is about naming living people with opposite metaphysical beliefs whom you respect. You don’t have to respect them for their metaphysics – you can respect them for any reason at all. For instance, you might respect an actor’s talent, an artist’s creativity or a humanitarian’s compassion. Players may name any number of people with opposite metaphysics whom they respect – but the people named must be famous (that is, other players must have a chance of knowing who they are) and they must be alive. I will rule on any ambiguous cases regarding fame, life or metaphysical stance.
- Players may also veto submissions by people on their same team! For instance, if someone playing for the Atheists names a famous Sikh athlete and another person playing on the same team doesn’t like said athlete, they may veto them. This effectively costs their team a point, so use your veto power with caution!
- When Theist players name an atheist they respect, they score 1 point.
- When Atheist players name a theist they respect, they score 1 point.
- The game will end one morning this week chosen in advance by me, but kept secret to prevent last minute ballot stuffing. The winning team will be whichever has named more people with opposite metaphysics whom they respect.
And remember, this is just for fun!
If you are an agnostic, you can still play.
However, you must pick whether to play for the Theists or the Atheists – simply
identify yourself accordingly e.g. ‘Agnostic, playing for the Atheists’. As an
agnostic, you cannot veto but instead you have a special power: once per
game, you can change sides and join the other team. Simply declare: “I’m
converting!” and state your new team. This makes it easier for an agnostic to
win, but the true moral victory is to win with the team you begin with. Or is
it…? You’ll have to make up your own mind.
- For the purposes of this game, Buddhists count as atheists.
Theists 11, Atheists 5
Atheists respected by theists: Bertrand Russell (died 1970), Douglas Adams (died 2001) , Jean Luc Godard, Noam Chomsky, John Carmack, Les Kaye, Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (died 1966), Tenzin Gyatso (the fourteenth Dalai Lama), Joss Whedon, Iain Banks, Richard Dawkins (!), James Randi, Penn Jillette, Terry Pratchett
Theists respected by atheists: Canon Roger Royle, Hans Küng, Robert Runcie (died 2000), Richard Holloway, Rowan Williams, Rupert Sheldrake.
This minigame is now concluded. It seems that while the atheists were very quick to stand up and be counted, they couldn't actually find theists they respected, while the Theist team dug deep and came up with a good crowd of atheists that they held in high regard. I was shocked that no-one on the Atheist team named anyone Jewish - there are so many respected entertainers of Jewish faith I felt sure someone would be mentioned...
Thanks to everyone for taking part! And congratulations to the Theists - worthy winners, and clearly better at respecting people with different beliefs than Team Chance - at least in this particular match! :) However, since every agnostic joined the Atheist team, it seems that the Theists have something of a PR problem. Both sides clearly have things they could work on.
Comments to this post are now closed, but you can comment on the game in the Future of Metaphysics bookend post, if you like.