A few quick thoughts on gamifying religion

There’s still a lot I need to unpack from this article at Kotaku about gamifying religion. I wanted to get a few thoughts out about the base idea of creating a “morality hub”, a sort of user-driven voting scheme like Reddit where people can submit ideas about what morals should be followed and let the crowd vote up and down what should be prioritized. The corollary idea that the most popular morals become the most valuable (points-wise) morals to express is a bit disturbing.

First, there’s the ever-present fear of people gaming that sort of system, where on the internet, with anonymity, people give in to their baser ideals. Look at those places where giving offense is considered the highest virtue. The integrity of the voting system and the integrity of the submission system is quesitonable from the outset.

Second, there’s the very idea of competing with one another for the ability to do certain “moral” deeds. Must we elbow one another out of the way to tackle the little old lady looking to cross the street? And what of “grinding” certain low-level, easy to complete positive moral actions?

Third, is it really decent morality if you’re doing it for some (earthly or otherwise) reward? If you stop a mugging just because it’ll win you twenty points, is that a net good for society, or would people look for more altruistic reasons to stop that mugging before it’s considered moral?

Gamifying religion seems to suffer from every poor outcome and exploit that video game karma systems do. It might have some benefits in the real world, though. What do you folks think?