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Lore Question: Religions in FO4 America


Gruffydd
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I'm adding some new signs to my signs and posters mod for an upcoming release, and one of the things I'm adding (prompted by a user request) are some religious signage. The request was for one specific one, but I like to be inclusive, so I was looking to add others. But while I was researching distinctive religious signage in the Boston area, I noticed something that raised a question for me.

We know that as of 2077 church buildings still existed, because the ruins of some of them are prominent sites in the game. However, real-world Boston has some extremely distinctive non-Christian/Catholic religious structures, and not a one of them made it into the game.

We know from prior games that Christians still exist (ex: St. Monica's Church in Rivet City, Abbey of the Road somewhere west of the Commonwealth), and that the Mormons were still around (Honest Hearts). We know that various cults exist (Children of the Cathedral, Children of Atom, Bright Brotherhood, etc.). There are even some Lovecraftian cults out there. But there's no sign that I've seen of Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, or other non-Christian, real-world religions.

So, my question is this. Is the lack of any reference to any non-Christian/Catholic real-world religion simply a matter of omission (they exist, but just weren't featured in the game), or is an aspect of the locked-in-the-1950s culture of FO4, or some other lore-related thing, that the construction of the distinctive buildings for other religions, or perhaps even the overt presence of those religions at all, did not happen?

I'm wanting to stay fairly lore-friendly with these signs, and I'm trying to decide between having larger signs with more detail and graphic elements, or small, somewhat inconspicuous signs where they were wanting to self-identify, but not draw undue outside attention.

So, if anyone can refer me to something that discusses this from a lore perspective, or can give insight into this, I'd appreciate it.

Just a note, I'm not interested in any discussions on the validity of religions, or anything like that. I'm just looking for the lore regarding them in Fallout. Thanks!

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After doing a bit of research of my own I can't find any explicit references to other real-life religions either.  The closest thing I was able to find is Hubology, which can be considered a parody. 

But the adherents of non-Christian religions are so numerous and present in so many diverse places across the globe that it seems inconceivable to me that these religions would have perished completely.  So my conclusion is that it is simply a matter of omission. 

 

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Well remember FO is kind of a re-imagining of the US in the 1950's, and if you go into that time frame Christianity was really the only generally 'accepted' religion.  I feel like if you took 1950's US and flash forward to 2077, you would end up with something like what's in the game.  If fact it wouldn't have felt right at all if a lot of religions that were not around in the US during the 1950's were given mention in game.

Note even the churches that are in the game are not the modern Christian churches, but the old white churches with steeples and stain glass windows (though I think the stain glass were not added due to software resources, but you get the type).

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I definitely agree that having religions that were not present in Boston as of the 1950s would seem odd if included in Fallout 4, because of the cultural stagnation. But what about those that were present before that? For example, the first synagogue, Ohabei Shalom, was founded in the 1840s, with the second (Temple Israel) following not long thereafter in 1854. Ohabei Shalom is still there, is definitely within the bounds of the map, and is a huge, fancy building with very distinctive brickwork... but it does not exist in the game. So, what happened to it? Was there something in the cultural politics of the Fallout alternate world setting that caused the Jews (and their synagogue building) to disappear? Did they move it elsewhere? Or was it just a choice of the game designers not to include that building (because you can't include every building in Boston, or whatever other non-lore reason)?

If it was just a design choice with no lore behind it, then I feel comfortable adding a couple of relatively big signs for that community. But if there's a lore reason why they wouldn't be there, something more subtle would be warranted. And unfortunately, I haven't been able to find anything on the topic, or about any other non-Christian religion in-game that isn't a game-specific cult.

At this point I'm leaning toward including the larger signs, because if the various communities weren't intentionally excluded by lore, I have to assume they're there somewhere, and just not represented in the games.

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I gave this some thought, and it occurs to me that if you simply stick to considering what has been chosen to be the reality of the Fallout Universe, you will stay in bounds with 'lore'.  With that, as you point out so well, the Fallout Universe is either decidedly Christian or Post Apocalyptic contrivance.  No others are represented.  As long as your signage sticks within those bounds, you will not offend the lore police.   Venture beyond those bounds, and "Here be dragons".

My opinion (which is worth exactly what you're paying for it), signage which directs people to the several churches which already exist in-game would probably be safest.  And there are a lot of churches.   You will definitely need to given some of them names, as quite a few are simply empty buildings.  

Bonne chance.  Look forward to seeing the results. 

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Alas, the one sign that was requested is for something Jewish, from someone who saw the Hanukkah poster and was ecstatic to finally be represented. So it's into Dragonland for me. XD

Signs for everyone, though, so if they don't want to use that one there'll be something else that appeals, I'm sure.

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  • 8 months later...
On 8/30/2021 at 3:32 AM, Gruffydd said:

I'm adding some new signs to my signs and posters mod for an upcoming release, and one of the things I'm adding (prompted by a user request) are some religious signage. The request was for one specific one, but I like to be inclusive, so I was looking to add others. But while I was researching distinctive religious signage in the Boston area, I noticed something that raised a question for me.

We know that as of 2077 church buildings still existed, because the ruins of some of them are prominent sites in the game. However, real-world Boston has some extremely distinctive non-Christian/Catholic religious structures, and not a one of them made it into the game.

We know from prior games that Christians still exist (ex: St. Monica's Church in Rivet City, Abbey of the Road somewhere west of the Commonwealth), and that the Mormons were still around (Honest Hearts). We know that various cults exist (Children of the Cathedral, Children of Atom, Bright Brotherhood, etc.). There are even some Lovecraftian cults out there. But there's no sign that I've seen of Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, or other non-Christian, real-world religions.

So, my question is this. Is the lack of any reference to any non-Christian/Catholic real-world religion simply a matter of omission (they exist, but just weren't featured in the game), or is an aspect of the locked-in-the-1950s culture of FO4, or some other lore-related thing, that the construction of the distinctive buildings for other religions, or perhaps even the overt presence of those religions at all, did not happen?

I'm wanting to stay fairly lore-friendly with these signs, and I'm trying to decide between having larger signs with more detail and graphic elements, or small, somewhat inconspicuous signs where they were wanting to self-identify, but not draw undue outside attention.

So, if anyone can refer me to something that discusses this from a lore perspective, or can give insight into this, I'd appreciate it.

Just a note, I'm not interested in any discussions on the validity of religions, or anything like that. I'm just looking for the lore regarding them in Fallout. Thanks!

Having visited Boston, MOST not all churches downtown are Catholic churches due to the vast majority of Irish.

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6 hours ago, JohnnyGunn said:

Having visited Boston, MOST not all churches downtown are Catholic churches due to the vast majority of Irish.

True. But it's the exceptions that I'm wondering about, the buildings for other religions that definitely exist in real-world Boston.

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