For a roleplaying setting I'm using, I have a religious group called the Joshuites. This group is somewhat like a Judaic faith, but when their prophet came, he was assassinated and thier homeland was nuked by God (called Adonai in the religion). They were cast out, forced to wander west, led by the wife of their prophet, until they found their chosen land. Having settled in, they bumped up against a rival faith (the Arin faith).
The Arin faith is somewhat Greek in layout, with the pantheon being an extended family under the solar god. The goddess of blood's worshippers attacked the Joshuites when they first came onto the land, and in return the Joshuite faith almost wiped the Arin pantheon out. Since then, the Joshuite religion has settled in and for a long time owned most of civilization. The Arin faith laid low, but in recent years has started gaining strength.
Now, leading up to my points / questions. The Joshuites follow the seven virtues, and oppose the seven sins (Catholic). They're tolerant (if not entirely comfortable) with other faiths, considering other pantheons to be 'wrong' -- IE, those who worship the other gods (or some would say 'false gods') are damned to die, then return, having never had the opportunity to rejoin Adonai in paradise (the 'third garden'). According to their religion, Creation is an enigma, and once the Joshuites have solved this enigma, they will be closer to Adonai... so the Joshuites promote science, higher learning, and the study of magic. They're very intense on wanting to know how things work. In general, the Joshuite religion is pretty decent (I'd say in D&D terms, they're Lawful Good).
The Arin pantheon is a motley of different gods. Some are fairly neutral, others are tempermental, and one has an 'olympic' style event once a year, with the winner being ritually sacrificed in an attempt to resurrect the head of the pantheon in creation to bring about the end of the world. She's also the local fertility goddess, so sacrificed are made for healthy babies, and for promoting the crops and such. She's got a thing for hecatombs involving the slaughter of criminals, deadbeats (those who give nothing to society) and the odd hero. (I'd say in D&D terms, the pantheon as a whole is Neutral).
So... here's the thing. Almost nobody is willing to play a Joshuite, and instead wants to play members of the Arin pantheon. I'm fine with that, really. But the intolerance of the Joshuite faith blows my mind. There are a number of players who adamantly refuses to say anything nice about the faith, heaps all sorts of calamities and wrongs upon the heads of those who are Joshuite, and talks about wiping the faith off the map. It goes completely beyond reason. Others simply want the faith as the 'bad guys' to be defeated.
One player got a bit hostile when I enforced the goddess of blood's actual bloody sacrifices as an in-game event. The hecatomb, the games, and even one player wishing to have her character become a champion of the goddess (which required the murder of almost a hundred people over the course of one winter). I was accused of 'artificially inflating' just how evil this goddess is... she is a part of the pantheon, and she does do good for society, but she is a goddess of blood and murder (and midwives, and fertility, and the defence of children and women... she's pretty complex). I've mentioned time and again that she's a nasty piece of work...
So, one player told me that I should play down the evil part of the goddess, and I should actually make the Joshuites the 'bad guys' "because that's what the players want". Seriously? I'm more for a balanced approach, both sides have their good points and bad points, but all in all, neither side is 'bad'. Yeah, the evil goddess is there, but that doesn't make the entire pantheon evil, and you'd think the good characters in the game might be morally oppossed to the actions of the worshippers of the evil goddess... but they don't want to do anything about it... and instead want to show intolerance to the actual decent Joshuite faith.
So, what do you think? How screwed up is this? And, what would you do? And, have you had similar events or strange mindsets show up in your games?