Now that the 11 religions have been identified, it's time to discuss whether some of their symbols are appropriately used. As I said, here comes the dreaded "you get other cultures wrong" complains !
This topic is about the purely cosmetic element of religious symbols, not the religion gameplay.
1. The sorting order
Religions should be sorted by some logical order such as relationship and geography, not alphabetically as it is now in the screenshot, period. It's weird to see Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism scattered through the list.
Civ5 is using Faravahar for Zoroastrianism, which is normal. However, in order to make the symbol fit into the interface, the "eagle disc" of Faravahar in Civ5 is drawn with curved wings instead of horizontally spread wings.
Have Firaxis actually consulted any expert on Zoroastrianism to see whether this is an acceptable variation of Faravahar that has been used in real history?
Since we only have one comparatively unreliable website as source for this symbol, this again is a question for the experts: is it a good symbol for representing Tengriism? There are a few very commonly used sacred Mongolian symbols, some already used by the Civ series before, and this eagle symbol doesn't seem to be one of them.
Prior to this announcement, I have never heard of the idea of using "water" to represent Confucianism, and I do know one thing or two about its history.
It appears this is a very recent development, or at least only becomes popular recently, and happens entirely in the West.
The problems are:
1) The font.
I mean no offense, but the current Civ5 symbol is drawn by an artist who clearly has no knowledge about how to write Chinese, and it appears ugly and plain wrong in Chinese eyes. No matter which character is used for the Confucianism symbol, this would make it unauthentic.
The solution is simple: find a person who has enough knowledge about caligraphy; let her pick a good caligraphy writing from ancient history, whether in "regular script" or "clerical script". Don't use any print-style fonts such as Ming, Imitation Song or Sans Serif, because those would be too mechanical and lifeless for such a symbol.
2) The character.
Debating whether "water" is a suitable symbol for Confucianism would be a big topic, and I do not yet know the reasoning behind this choice.
However, I can make some suggestions based on common sense:
-"Water" is not an especially bad symbol; I kind of like it. However, it doesn't hold any particularly deep sacred or ideological value for Confucianism, and if you ask a real ancient Chinese scholar for a symbol to represent Confucianism, "water" would not be the first thing that comes into his head.
-Civ4 used the character of "luck". This a symbol the Chinese culture likes, but again has no association with Confucianism. It actually is an even worse fit than "water", because of its connection to the supernatural, which Confucianism does not trust.
-The character for Confucianism itself is 儒 ru. However it is not a good symbol. Visually-speaking, it's too complex, and not a very beautiful character. In terms of meaning, it's a neutral word that only refers to a person - a scholar, not the values and ideals. It doesn't even refer to an ideal person that embodies the ideal of Confucianism - that would be 君子 junzi "gentleman". It's absolutely not a sacred symbol that a Confucian scholar would put up in his hall.
-The character that does represent the central value of Confucianism, is 仁 ren. Even the most basic research would find it, since it's the first subsection in the Wikipedia entry of Confucianism!