The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Andromidius on Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:10 pm

Interesting. There's a lot of religious undertone in the ending, almost subliminal.

It fits very well with how the Reapers twist the minds of their victims, using themes and concepts they are comfortable with.
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Fur28 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:28 pm

So, any other religión that could have been used?
we have catholic, semi-greek with my post, anyone lnow of another religión

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Maximus on Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:33 pm

Judaism, Hindu, Islam, Egyptian, Greek, Romanian: they're all very similar. Names and places are changing, some have more Gods than one or two, but they have so much in common!

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by smokingotter on Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:09 pm

DoomsdayDevice wrote:All hail the Great Smoking Otter of the Sky! cheers

@Doom and Corranus I am pretty mighty. We shall now have mass at the Church of Red Lobster
(Which is a sin according to Leviticus but oh well, Otters are born sinners)

There is more I can add about how some of the main ideas from the play the Crucible add to the narrative of the ending. But the cliff notes says it best:

"Miller's title, The Crucible, is appropriate for the play. A crucible is a container made of a substance that can resist great heat ; a crucible is also defined as a severe test. Within the context of the play the term takes on a new meaning: not only is the crucible a test, but a test designed to bring about change or reveal an individual's true character. The witch trials serve as a metaphorical crucible, which burns away the characters' outer shells to reveal their true intentions and character beneath. Throughout the play, Miller carefully peels away the layers of each character so that the audience not only can identify the character's motivation, but also can reevaluate the character through his or her actions. In other words, the audience observes the character as he or she is tested, and the audience ultimately determines if he or she passes the test."
http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/literature/the-crucible/about.html

We see Shepard's outer shell being stripped away. He loses his shields and his hud. His vision is somewhat blocked, his movement ability is hampered. He loses his mentor (Anderson) and his mission giver from ME2 (TIM) and only in the decision chamber is his character, his essence stripped bare. It's a test. (Also according to Saren the more control the reapers have over a thrall the less capable the subject becomes, Shepard's limping could be symbolic of some control being used on him, just a thought.)

Now who is administering the test? Who is the audience for this final "play." (Notice I said "play" because the ending is very much like a play. When TIM shoots himself there is no blood. When Shepard passes out and the light shines on him it sounds like a stagelight.)

Organics undergoing indoctrination may complain of headaches and buzzing or ringing in their ears. As time passes, they have feelings of "being watched" and hallucinations of "ghostly" presences.

More abstract but he's still there.




Will Shepard pass the test or will Harbinger have to "destroy" Shepard? Magic!

That is my interpretation.



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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by RavenEyry on Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:16 pm

Yeah Shepard is peeled down to the very core for the choice. Forced to make a decision in a vacuum, something EDI does not recommend. It's a case of 'What you are in the dark', now completely alone and unguarded, do you give in to temptation or stick to your principles.
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Terramine on Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:59 pm

@CorranusMaximus I don't think your point should be offensive to anyone, but then again the truth hurts as they say. I am not afraid to be more blunt about it, however I don't mean to offend and I also urge people to make sure they aren't being irrational when they think I am attacking them. Whenever I talk about lots of things people think I mean them because they go into defense mode while talking about whatever subject.

@Topic Guys, indoctrination in the real world is brainwashing for the sake of spreading propaganda. It's indoctrination to tell your kids which sports team they should route for, or what political affialiation they NEED to go with, or what to believe in when it comes to religion or a lack there-of, or what sexuality to be, etc. These things are wrong, all forms of indoctrination whether real or fictional are clearly wrong because we hold the right to believe and do what we want as long as we don't force it on anyone.

Honestly Religion, not God or supernatural stuff, as Corranus pointed out there is a difference and I think his definition of God is very important too. But Religion WAS made by men who had the intentions of manipulation in mind, this is all Religion really is, which is especially seen with church. Sorry Fur28 but I'm going to point out that God doesn't need donations, and if you look around the catholic church along with others are freaking CASTLES and they ride in sweet cars with nice houses. What do they do for a living? Oh yeah ask for money for god *whistles*. Now Religion has done good, but it always seems to be for the sake of power if you look more closely. Nor do we need Religion, it also does loads of bad, so ultimately it would be rational for people to drop religion and instead just be good people and if people want they can easily still believe in a god or/and an afterlife.

Sorry for the rant, but here is how this rant is actually relevant: This series is very Meta which has been mentioned on this very topic already. This specific Meta IS Anti-religious, however it shouldn't offend anyone if they are being open minded and willing to see how it probably is not actually an attack on them. I think the overall message here is that "Religion"and "God" are corrupt concepts.

Honestly? The God in the bible would be as bad as the Reapers, he says to put everything else including family before him or burn in hell for eternity... If he said it to my face? I would say no, I would say he can go fuck himself. Despite him being God, because that does not give him the right. Just as Shepard will fight the Reapers even IF it is futile because Might does NOT make right. This is exactly why the Reapers aren't Gods, and if God as depicted by most major religions is like the Reapers? Their no God.

I am technically Atheist, however I more specifically am Pantheist in that I believe the universe is so grand, profound, etc that it deserves to be called God. This is the position of many great people, my Avatar is one of them, and no matter what you believe as long as you are doing what is RIGHT... then you will be helping to make the world a better place. This is what Shepard does, he/she does what is Right and the end is partially a test to see if you stick to that.

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by FreewheelinDylan on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:43 pm

"Jesus Christ has become a legend by dying on the cross for your sins. Now, you can continue to build that legend by giving money to the church."

Jk. But actually, as Smoking already beat me to the punch by mentioning, The Divine Comedy would be a good narrative structure to compare Mass Effect to.

Inferno/Mass Effect


  • Dante journeys into the Inferno and encounters both a strange variety of beings from before his time and those easily corrupted by the Devil. He also meets the Roman poet, Virgil, who guides him through Hell and into Purgatory. From here, we see the effects of temptation on people.

  • Commander Shepard journeys and meets the Rachni, the Thorian, Saren, Benezia, and Vigil. Vigil (coincidental naming?) guides Shepard out. From here, we see the effects of Indoctrination on organics.
Purgatorio/Mass Effect 2

  • Guided by Virgil, Dante journeys up the Mountain of Purgatory, meeting various individuals being prepared for ascension. The concepts of sin, love, lust, and vices are explored in this part. It is more psychological than action based. Also, it is important to note that Purgatory is a place for souls to be cleansed or damned.

  • Shepard journeys through various levels, encountering people who are being prepared for "ascension". In an attempt to encounter this, Shepard gathers a team of specialists to prevent this from occurring. Depending on whether or not they have found peace with themselves/loyalty with Shepard, they may either die on the Suicide Mission or become saved from dying. The game is more psychological (character development/loyalty system/interactions) based than free-roam based.
  • The use of shackles and prisons become a motif. Note that the prison Jack was on was called 'Purgatory'. Shackled AIs, Heretic Geth, Arrival DLC (Dr. Kenson, Shepard), Shadow of the Broker DLC (Feron), Overlord DLC (David), ME3 introduction, Collector Ship, Cerberus (shackled three headed dog) Network (chains), Omega, Grunt's Tank, Jacob's Loyalty Mission, the Genophage, etc are all reflections of a prison/purgatory-like state.

Paradiso/Mass Effect 3

  • Dante cleanses himself and ascends into Empyrean (the highest heaven; a realm beyond physical existence) to meet God, who is described as a being of ether (the highest element). Beatrice, Dante's love interest, explains the origins of humanity, the stars/universe, the angels, etc. Dante becomes one with God, cleansing his soul and understanding his purpose in the universe.

  • Shepard unites the galaxy and activates the Crucible. Unsure if Shepard ascends to a higher realm of existence (Indoctrination Theory unconfirmed). However, the Catalyst takes the form of the infamous "being of light" as mentioned in the Codex. Shepard becomes one with the Crucible, using it for his/her purpose.


Mass Effect, with it's humanistic leanings, would reject the notion of Dante's ending while keeping its narrative structure true. Another video game, with similar leanings, is Xenogears where you battle an advanced AI that has convinced itself that it is God. Not necessarily a rejection of God or religion but rather, a call for human/organic independence. In other words, embracing the complexities and chaos of life.
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Fur28 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:54 pm

@IronicParticle
I said i´m Catholic and believe in God and in the Church, not the "church"
i could be in any religion, that believes in a deidity, but catholic is the one i like the must, also is in my family so yeah :P

Now lets continue comparing ME with religion, i dont want people telling me how me and my religión are wrong and evil, i get enough of that in real life


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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by FreewheelinDylan on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:20 pm

Andromidius wrote:Just to be clear, I didn't mean 'anti-religious' in an offensive manner. More anti-cult, or anti-dogma....

The use of a cult-like behavior is evident in Lovecraftian Horror (the genre that influenced ME) since the protagonists in those works were always trying to resist the cult of Cthulhu.

Seeing as how the protagonist in Lovecraft's works (again, a huge influence on ME) become corrupted/indoctrinated in the end, wouldn't it make sense for Shepard to face the same fate/trials as well?

In fact, we see this in other early 20th century works as well. The idea of cosmicism and existential nihilism (meaninglessness, despair, man is a blip, dust struggling against cosmic winds, etc).

For example, "Heart of Darkness" explores this theme. If we think of Shepard's journey as the summation of all events leading to the Crucible, it is fair to compare Shepard's journey with that of the River in Heart of Darkness. Upon arriving in the darkest part of the jungle, the protagonist of HoD learns that madness has taken effect of the individual he has tried to rescue, just like it has taken the natives of the jungle (who display cult-like symptoms). Likewise, Shepard's journey into "the darkness" (that can't be breached) would fall in line with this narrative. Getting closer only makes you more insane.

Another 20th century writer to explore would be Kafka, who displays a similar idea in "The Trial" or in shorter format, "Before the Law". The concept of the inescapable or the "inevitable". It is a nightmarish scenario, more dream-like than anything else. Kafkaesque is the term and it is broadly used to describe the bureaucratic/authoritarian society within the author's works.

Thus, if any of these works serve as mediators, the only way to survive is to resist Indoctrination, not accept it.
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by clennon8 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:25 pm

I also have plenty of blunt, unflattering observations I could make about theistic religion, but as I noted in my opening post this is supposed to be a literary discussion, not a religious debate.
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Fur28 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:55 pm

clennon8 wrote:I also have plenty of blunt, unflattering observations I could make about theistic religion, but as I noted in my opening post this is supposed to be a literary discussion, not a religious debate.
Can they in any way be compared to some situation, event or theme of the Mass Effect Universe?

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by smokingotter on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:59 pm

@FreewheelinDylan Nicely done! Forget to think about the Lovecraftian elements.

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by clennon8 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:43 pm

Yeah, that's a couple of really good posts, FwD.
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by BleedingUranium on Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:53 am

Wow, good stuff everyone. I'd seen Otter's before, and think it' really good.

Also, that Otter video is sooo cute!
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Terramine on Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:40 pm

Fur28 wrote:@IronicParticle
I said i´m Catholic and believe in God and in the Church, not the "church"
i could be in any religion, that believes in a deidity, but catholic is the one i like the must, also is in my family so yeah :P

Now lets continue comparing ME with religion, i dont want people telling me how me and my religión are wrong and evil, i get enough of that in real life
I didn't mention any specific Religion, I was talking about ALL Religion. I'm sure you are a good person Grin

Which @ Clennon8 I didn't mean for it to be a religious debate, in fact I felt it was all relevant to the Mass Effect series. My point was that in regards to Shepard being the "Anti-Reaper"... that this series is Anti-Religion in the sense that it is Pro-right(morally not politically lol). One fact is that Religion=/=Morality. Whether you are religious or not you must acknowledge that right and wrong are not what you are told to. This is mirrored in the Reapers, it doesn't matter how powerful they are... they are still evil.

This is why I said if God himself was like the Reapers I'd tell him to fuck off. Because what is right or wrong is not something anyone decides, not even an actual God, and especially not no Reapers.

If you want to get technical Satan as a rebellious being does not exist even within the bible. The Hebrew and Greek versions clearly lack any mention of any such being, instead referring to a test from god himself. But it's likely that Satan was invented for brainwashing because any nay sayers are Satan worshipers, hence why he is drawn resembling other Gods like Pan of the Pagan Gods. This could be mirrored in the idea that the Reapers want to control Shepard and that it will lower the resolve of the entire Galaxy. Basically Shepard will no longer be a symbol of hope, but rather a symbol of what will happen to those who have hope. A symbol of what will happen to the "nay-sayers".

Which @Fur28 is why I am not attacking you or your beliefs. Unless of course you are the person who would for example sacrifice babies for your God. But if you are that type of person, I should be the one offended by any such person having such a mentality >.> But as I said, I'm sure you are a good person.. you'd hopefully oppose an Evil god, not that I think god would be Evil... just talking in the possibility of what if he was... I'll stop ranting now :P

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Humakt on Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:50 pm

This thread reminds me of this:

http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/15030635

It is all about the postures.

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by clennon8 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:11 pm

Humakt83 wrote:This thread reminds me of this:

http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/15030635

It is all about the postures.
Haha. That thread is hilarious!
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Hanako Ikezawa on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:27 pm

Three pages in before someone calls out out someone else's beliefs.

To quote Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged: "I'd say I was dissapointed, but for that to be true I'd have to be suprised."
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by RavenEyry on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:10 am

My favourite from Humankt's thread
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Terramine on Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:19 pm

Selim Bradley wrote:Three pages in before someone calls out out someone else's beliefs.

To quote Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged: "I'd say I was dissapointed, but for that to be true I'd have to be suprised."
As far as I know nobody has called anyone's beliefs out yet, unless that is what you mean in which case why is that disappointing? Isn't it a good thing we are staying on topic instead of derailing into complete irrelevance?

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Hanako Ikezawa on Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:00 am

IronicParticle wrote:
Selim Bradley wrote:Three pages in before someone calls out out someone else's beliefs.

To quote Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged: "I'd say I was dissapointed, but for that to be true I'd have to be suprised."
As far as I know nobody has called anyone's beliefs out yet, unless that is what you mean in which case why is that disappointing? Isn't it a good thing we are staying on topic instead of derailing into complete irrelevance?
It doesn't. I was tired and misread what was happening between you and Fur, when you were insulting the Catholic Church taking donations. I thought you were applying that to all churches that did that, including mine which absolutely none of it goes to the leadership(Our Prophet lives in a small, 1 story house) but instead goes to both support for those in need with our vast storehouses and to pay for construction and upkeep of buildings.
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Terramine on Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:41 pm

Selim Bradley wrote:
IronicParticle wrote:
Selim Bradley wrote:Three pages in before someone calls out out someone else's beliefs.

To quote Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged: "I'd say I was dissapointed, but for that to be true I'd have to be suprised."
As far as I know nobody has called anyone's beliefs out yet, unless that is what you mean in which case why is that disappointing? Isn't it a good thing we are staying on topic instead of derailing into complete irrelevance?
It doesn't. I was tired and misread what was happening between you and Fur, when you were insulting the Catholic Church taking donations. I thought you were applying that to all churches that did that, including mine which absolutely none of it goes to the leadership(Our Prophet lives in a small, 1 story house) but instead goes to both support for those in need with our vast storehouses and to pay for construction and upkeep of buildings.
In all honesty that's kinda what I was talking about when I said people tend to think I'm "attacking" them.

Off topic warning, not trying to spark up a religious discussion just thought I'd make a clarification:
Religion exists because in all honesty Humans ARE animals, before Religion things like gossip, ostracism, etc were used to get people to behave. Basically if you didn't want someone doing something, you treated it like it was taboo. Which worked quite well, however eventually our population got too large for that to work. So along came the idea that if you misbehave, the almighty ban hammer will reign down upon you.

Now at some point the animal side of us once again overpowered the new solution in a way, in the sense that someone was intelligent enough to obtain power through Religion. This has forever haunted Humanity, and still does to this day.... and heck, ironically it turns out people are starting to behave without being told to do so. People are moving towards morality and forgetting their animal side and thus not needing anything or anyone forcing them to be good, to be good. Not all religious people are bad, hence your church and you and Fur28... Now don't take this as an attack, it's merely an unbiased observation: The good religious people think it's enough to simply say that not all religious people are bad, I mean sure it is a fact, but the overwhelming majority of religious, which are corrupt... feed off of that and find ways to use it to boost their corruption.

Much like Racists for example feed off of free speech. Though in all honesty that's much more trivial in comparison because the worst they'll ever do is offend the people they hold bigoted hatred for. But religion? Well it's spilled thousands of years of blood pointlessly, nor has it stopped, and could doom us all. So as I said it's not an attack, not trying to tell you your beliefs are wrong, just something you guys might want to know.

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Maximus on Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:05 pm

It's hard to explain such things to zealots. Not saying that Fur or anyone else here is a zealot. I had a friend once in High School. He was kind of a Zealot. He deeply believed in Catholic Church and it's One God. I had many debates with him about religions, a God(s) etc. He always felt offended when I was "Attacking" his Church or Religion. Tried to explain to him same thing IronicParticle is trying to explain you but it was....Impossible. He couldn't stand even simple questions about his Church because he considered me aggressive, confrontational. He said that I spread heresies and I'm a fool and such. I never spoke one bad word about him, his church or religion and still he was mad at me. E.g. I asked: Why does church need so much money if they don't care about power? He was like: "OMG SHUT THE HELL UP! HERETIC! THEY WOULD BURN YOU IN MEDIEVAL TIMES! BLALBLABLABLAHBLAH! He never attacked me physically but he considered me pure evil. Although we continued to have debates when I decided to choose my words more...carefully...

So I am the bad guy here, right? >,>

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by CSSteele on Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:38 pm

Back on topic, dealing with the themes of ME2 and the twelve. I can't believe no one has mentioned Judas Iscariot. He was the one that sold Christ out to the Romans, leading him to his crucifiction.

If they are following the themes as closely as it appears, which of the companions is the 'traitor' in the midst of the 'heroes'? Do we pick from only the ME2 companions, or from those still alive at the end of ME3?

Garrus -- Can die in ME2, if he survives the SM, he's still (Alive)
Tali --- Same as Garrus, but can die at the end of Rannoch
Ashley/Kaiden --- Only one is alive in ME3, can die on the Citadel
Wrex --- Possibly dead, best leader for the Krogan in 3, can still die
Liara ---- Lives through all 3, no chance to die really, Alive
----------
Jack -- Can be turned if ignored
Samara -- Can suicide if allowed
Legion --- Dies either 'saving' the geth or at Shepard's hand
Grunt -- Alive
Miranda -- Can die if not treated exactly correct
Jacob -- Alive
Thane -- Dies if he hasn't already
Kasumi -- Alive works on the Crucible
Zaeed -- Alive
Mordin --- Dies redeeming himself with the genophage
--------------
EDI --- Alive
Javik --- Alive
James --- Alive

ME3 only introduces three new characters as companions, coincidentally, in a perfect play-through only 3 of the pevious companions are slated to die, bringing the number back up to 12, thus eliminating Mordin, Legion and Thane as possible 'traitors'.

Dropping out the others that can die ( unless my knowledge of their plot points in ME3 is incorrect or missing something ) We end up with a total of 9 living characters. ( Assuming a perfect ME2 playthrough). Garrus, Liara, Zaeed, Jacob, Grunt, EDI, Javik, James, and Kasumi.

Eliminating the ones that can die in ME2, we're left with a very, very small list. Liara, EDI, Javik and James.

Which one is our 'bad guy'?
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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

Post by Terramine on Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:39 pm

CorranusMaximus wrote:It's hard to explain such things to zealots. Not saying that Fur or anyone else here is a zealot. I had a friend once in High School. He was kind of a Zealot. He deeply believed in Catholic Church and it's One God. I had many debates with him about religions, a God(s) etc. He always felt offended when I was "Attacking" his Church or Religion. Tried to explain to him same thing IronicParticle is trying to explain you but it was....Impossible. He couldn't stand even simple questions about his Church because he considered me aggressive, confrontational. He said that I spread heresies and I'm a fool and such. I never spoke one bad word about him, his church or religion and still he was mad at me. E.g. I asked: Why does church need so much money if they don't care about power? He was like: "OMG SHUT THE HELL UP! HERETIC! THEY WOULD BURN YOU IN MEDIEVAL TIMES! BLALBLABLABLAHBLAH! He never attacked me physically but he considered me pure evil. Although we continued to have debates when I decided to choose my words more...carefully...

So I am the bad guy here, right? >,>
I wasn't trying to create a religious discussion so I'll try to make this somehow relevant to Mass Effect :P

This person sounds clearly close-minded, and being close-minded exists on all sides of all fences. However at the same time it is way more on one particular side of the fence because of how it can obtain followers. From propaganda, to any form of brainwashing, to appealing to irrationality for the weak minded, etc. However this is not to say that all those who follow it are brainwashed, weak minded or irrational. Just that once again it's part of the machine that has been a curse for Humanity.

These are just the harsh realities and nobody is telling anyone they have to do anything actually, we just state the facts and it's up to anyone it may concern to decide what it means for them. So nobody is being attacked. You weren't attacking your friend by asking questions, and he was clearly close-minded and irrational in how he acted, so no you are not the bad guy. I just realized another Meta reason for the 3 choice ending, it's possible there is a Meta "test" going on here in which you can tell what kind of person you are. Are you a bad person, a good person who can be manipulated into doing bad, or a good person who is too good to be corrupted?

How would you find the answer? Well reflect on why you chose your endings, there may not be many bad people.. but the name of this icon Synthesis! (Synthesis lol) IMO definitely means there is a lot of good people convinced to do bad.


Last edited by IronicParticle on Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:44 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: The parallels between religion and the indoctrination endings

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