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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Once that's nailed down the resulting understanding of religion and faith in-universe should follow from the established parameters. For example, if you have a world where there's an actual pantheon of deities that can grant their worshippers access to clerical magic, then all other forms of faith will fade into nothingness because they will not be able to produce the same outcomes. There might be any number of different ways to worship the pantheon or individual gods within it, but a nontheistic faith that couldn't grant spells simply wouldn't be able to compete and will become extinct. Likewise false faiths - ex wizards casting spells and pretending to clerics - would gradually be exposed and destroyed and would have at best a limited life cycle of periodic deceit compared with actual faiths that can more efficiently offer actual divine boons.
    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    No, I'm pretty sure that some people deny all physically impossible miraculous events.
    Why are there false faiths, why are there atheists, and why not having any miracles doesn't disprove our religion are, to beat the horse, questions that every real world religion has an answer for. If you ask them, you will get an answer that you may not consider true, but will be mostly internally consistent. Just take that answer, and make it true in your fantasy universe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    And one particularly egregious form of pretending that language isn't vague is treating one particular contrived definition of some term as the one correct one. This is my issue with the Athar. Their argument is akin to "A king wields absolute power, but no supposed 'king' is truly omnipotent, so they're all frauds". Such flagrant equivocation is hardly even clever. Some may sincerely believe such statements to be accurate, but drinking one's own proverbial Kool-Aid isn't going to convince any skeptics.
    I think the Athar's argument is more: "Boccob isn't an eternal non-localized being and also a 40th level spellcaster. Being eternal and non-localized is just something you can do if you've got 20 epic levels in spell caster. Spell seeds will let you get up to some stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    "We teach how to achieve understanding, self-discipline, prosperity, and, yes, even magic without the need to suck up to some extraplanar entity who isn't even aware of your personal existence. It's a more enlightened and rational form of spirituality. ... Now, you may have heard some unflattering things about us; but we need to cover our expenses, and not being a charity does not make us a 'scam'. The vast majority of our members will tell you that our organization has immeasurably improved their lives. And we so reliably improve our members' earnings potential that we can afford to make generous loans. Why not attend our free introductory seminar, to a get a sense of what we're all about? There's no obligation."
    If your wizard religion is modeled off a multi-level marketing scheme, then it's the pure Chaotic Evil warned of in the texts, and must be stopped at all costs.
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    neque defensori dominus,
    nec pater nec mater,
    nihil supernum.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate
    This is my issue with the Athar. Their argument is akin to "A king wields absolute power, but no supposed 'king' is truly omnipotent, so they're all frauds". Such flagrant equivocation is hardly even clever. Some may sincerely believe such statements to be accurate, but drinking one's own proverbial Kool-Aid isn't going to convince any skeptics.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncymancer View Post
    I think the Athar's argument is more: "Boccob isn't an eternal non-localized being and also a 40th level spellcaster. Being eternal and non-localized is just something you can do if you've got 20 epic levels in spell caster. Spell seeds will let you get up to some stuff.
    Yep. The Athar aren't questioning the gods' honesty and saying e.g. "Pelor is lying about his capabilities and is therefore a fraud so no one should worship him!", they're questioning the gods' worthiness of being worshiped. Their position is something like this:

    Quote Originally Posted by An Athar
    Sure, let's grant that everything we know about Pelor is 100% true and that he's a very powerful being that makes the crops grow, grants power to his priests, ensures a happy afterlife for his worshipers, and so on. Sounds like he's a pretty nice guy and it's a pretty good deal for the Pelorites.

    But the Druid 15/Hierophant 5 in the forest outside of town is also a very powerful being who makes the crops grow--directly and observably, via casting plant growth on the fields every spring if the townsfolk have treated the forest well, not in some handwavy sort of way--and he can grant druid powers to anyone he touches, and if he wasn't personally opposed to "disrupting the natural cycle" he could reincarnate the whole town over and over as a sort of afterlife.

    The Wizard 20 living in the capital city is a very powerful being who crafted a magical irrigation system throughout the province to improve crop yield, she sells minor magic items for cheap to anyone who asks, and she's whipped up a personal timeless demiplane where people can party for eternity and sells tickets to fancy events for nobles there on weekends.

    Heck, the Celestial Hebdomad on Mount Celestia are very powerful beings who fill the Seven Heavens with endless bounty, empower legions of (ex-)mortals, and run a happy afterlife much bigger than Pelor's and anyone who can make it there can have all that for free.

    Yet of those four, the druid does it because he's friends with the town, the wizard does it for money to fund her arcane research, and the Hebdomad do it because they think it's 'the right thing to do,' and if someone lives in the druid's town, buys the wizard's goods, and thinks the Hebdomad are pretty sweet, none of them get mad at the "competition." Only Pelor demands worship and devotion to earn a happy afterlife and will grant divine power only to someone who swears themselves to him alone out of the hundreds of other gods out there.

    Why should we give the gods that kind of devotion when similarly-powerful and similarly-altruistic beings are a copper a dozen around the Wheel? What makes the gods deserve worship and be justified in demanding it when the druid or the wizard or the Hebdomad supposedly don't deserve it and don't even want it? Why should we give them any sort of special treatment and acknowledge them as somehow above all the rest?
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    None of the other powerful beings grant boons indiscriminately, without requiring something of the beneficiaries. (Mount Celestia is not an afterlife for everyone no matter what sort of life they led.) Why begrudge requiring worship in particular?

    Whether any of these beings deserve anything seems a bit besides the point. Does the average person on the street deserve to be alive? And if not, should one run around slitting throats? Seems to me that one comes to deserve better treatment from others by treating others better than they deserve. And even taking this business about "worthiness" out of the equation, doing favors tends to make more friends than does stabbing backs, eh?

    To the extent that gods are, as a rule, more powerful than non-gods, then in that very sense they are above all the rest. That warrants special treatment insofar as ingratiating yourself to those most powerful is important to you, something which will inevitably vary from one individual to another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncymancer View Post
    I think the Athar's argument is more: "Boccob isn't an eternal non-localized being and also a 40th level spellcaster. Being eternal and non-localized is just something you can do if you've got 20 epic levels in spell caster. Spell seeds will let you get up to some stuff.
    You just described the Athar claiming that Boccob is a 40th-level spellcaster who doesn't do things that a 40th-level spellcaster can do. I'm guessing that that wasn't what you meant, and you tripped over your own grammar somewhere. (Supporting evidence: There's an unclosed quote.) Try again?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncymancer View Post
    If your wizard religion is modeled off a multi-level marketing scheme, then it's the pure Chaotic Evil warned of in the texts, and must be stopped at all costs.
    Well, more conventional Lawful Evil religious organizations will tend to be strictly opposed, I assume.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post

    You just described the Athar claiming that Boccob is a 40th-level spellcaster who doesn't do things that a 40th-level spellcaster can do. I'm guessing that that wasn't what you meant, and you tripped over your own grammar somewhere. (Supporting evidence: There's an unclosed quote.) Try again?

    I think their point was pretty clear:

    Boccob's godlike traits, such as his immortality, ability to manifest in multiple places at once, influence over his portfolio, etc -- these are not traits Boccob possesses because of his divine nature. Rather, these traits are the result of Boccob's incredible spellcasting power. Any wizard who becomes that powerful would be godlike, and their divinity is due to this power, not due to their inherent nature.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Babale View Post
    I think their point was pretty clear:

    Boccob's godlike traits, such as his immortality, ability to manifest in multiple places at once, influence over his portfolio, etc -- these are not traits Boccob possesses because of his divine nature. Rather, these traits are the result of Boccob's incredible spellcasting power. Any wizard who becomes that powerful would be godlike, and their divinity is due to this power, not due to their inherent nature.
    Depending on the cosmology you're using. In my 5e setting anyone who was able to wield that much power would be fundamentally altered in such a way as to be indistinguishable from a deity and would be subject to the same pros and cons.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    *snip arguments against Athar philosophy*
    I wasn't saying that the Athar have the right answer (insofar as any of the factions do) or that I agree with their stance at all, just pointing out that the characterization of them as viewing the gods as frauds is inaccurate.

    Keep in mind also that the Athar aren't the only ones who are conceptually opposed to the gods--the Bleakers believe that any coherent belief system is inherently meaningless, the Free League reject hierarchy and dogma in general, the Sign of One believe anyone can affect reality and the gods are nothing special, and so on--so if you're going to criticize the Athar for opposing the gods, well, there's more where that came from.

    Quote Originally Posted by Babale View Post
    I think their point was pretty clear:

    Boccob's godlike traits, such as his immortality, ability to manifest in multiple places at once, influence over his portfolio, etc -- these are not traits Boccob possesses because of his divine nature. Rather, these traits are the result of Boccob's incredible spellcasting power. Any wizard who becomes that powerful would be godlike, and their divinity is due to this power, not due to their inherent nature.
    More precisely, Boccob's fancy abilities are indeed things he happens to have due to his divine nature because you get them as freebies for being a god--demigods, non-wizard gods, etc. can do the same things without being a 40th-level wizard--but anyone of sufficient power could also have those things without needing to be a god.

    Any high-level caster can split himself with fusion or body outside body or, for the epic ones, eidolon or time duplicate or many others; any planar lord can sense and control a good portion of their plane of existence, up to an entire layer or three; various outsiders like Fiends of Blasphemy or Radiant Idols can grant divine spells to people; and so on. So if you put Boccob, God of Magic, up next to Canabalum, sample 50th-level wizard, and they have basically the same bag of tricks, then from a commoner's point of view Boccob being a god matters about as much as Canabalum being a human.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
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  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Monotheism is the belief that one and only one being is divine and owed worship. Those who worship otherwise are, in the eyes of the monotheist, wrong.

    There is nothing which requires that belief to be correct. There may or may not be other divine entities worthy of worship, and the one which requires its followers to be monotheist may not be worthy of such devotion.

    But pantheism, peganism, and monotheisim coexisted in the real world. Why should they be exclusive in D&D?

    If the ability to cast divine spells is linked to personal devotion rather than directly granted by a deity, then divine spellcasters may believe as a matter of faith that their spells are granted and none of the other beliefs are disproven by their ability to cast.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    If the ability to cast divine spells is linked to personal devotion rather than directly granted by a deity, then divine spellcasters may believe as a matter of faith that their spells are granted and none of the other beliefs are disproven by their ability to cast.
    This is sort of how things worked in 1e. Different levels of divine spells came from different sources, with 1st- through 3rd-level spells deriving from a cleric's own strength of belief, 7th-level spells being granted by a god directly, and other levels being granted by divine servants of one variety or another. Under that setup, anyone from less-than-orthodox clerics to demon worshipers could cast divine spells of up to 3rd level with no issue so long as they had sufficiently strong willpower and sincere faith, so you could have a monotheistic religion side-by-side with any number of "false faiths" and up to a certain point there's no way either the monotheistic priests or the other priests could prove their own religion to be true or the other ones misguided.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Babale View Post
    Boccob's godlike traits, such as his immortality, ability to manifest in multiple places at once, influence over his portfolio, etc -- these are not traits Boccob possesses because of his divine nature. Rather, these traits are the result of Boccob's incredible spellcasting power. Any wizard who becomes that powerful would be godlike, and their divinity is due to this power, not due to their inherent nature.
    If deities get called "deities" because they can do sufficiently impressive things, and the divine nature is that which deities have in common, then the divine nature is whatever it is that allows deities to do sufficiently impressive things. If the source of that power is epic spellcasting, then divine nature = epic spellcasting, and other traits that are not the source of that power are not divine nature.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    I wasn't saying that the Athar have the right answer (insofar as any of the factions do) or that I agree with their stance at all, just pointing out that the characterization of them as viewing the gods as frauds is inaccurate.
    That characterization is straight from A Player's Guide to the Planes. Is it contradicted elsewhere in the source material?

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    the Bleakers believe that any coherent belief system is inherently meaningless
    But isn't their own belief system then as meaningless as any other? That sounds a bit incoher... oh ho ho, I see what they did there.

    There's possibly some sort of comparison to Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems to be made there.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    the Free League reject hierarchy and dogma in general
    Better no dogma than loony dogma, and Sigil only seems to do loony.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    the Sign of One believe anyone can affect reality and the gods are nothing special
    I think that the dominant view is that one of them is imagining everything, although they don't agree who it is. All like "Isn't solipsism great, figments of my imagination? Yes, yes, I'm glad I imagined you."

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    so if you're going to criticize the Athar for opposing the gods, well, there's more where that came from.
    I don't mind that they do that, I take issue with how they do it.

    Oh, hey, a Revolutionary League reference! :P
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  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    If deities get called "deities" because they can do sufficiently impressive things, and the divine nature is that which deities have in common, then the divine nature is whatever it is that allows deities to do sufficiently impressive things. If the source of that power is epic spellcasting, then divine nature = epic spellcasting, and other traits that are not the source of that power are not divine nature.
    The point isn't that there's a Something out there that lets people do sufficiently impressive things and you might as well call that Something "godhood," it's that there are many different paths to Phenomenal Cosmic Power (deity-hood, planar lordship, epic spellcasting, etc.) so godhood is awesome but not worthy of exaltation above all the others.

    That characterization is straight from A Player's Guide to the Planes.
    I mean, kinda? The verbiage is definitely the same, but the subtext isn't quite. Yes, the description says that the Athar calls the gods liars, but it also says that they call the Outer Planes "lies" too, and we know that's not literal in the "there is no such place as Ysgard or Baator" sense because, y'know, there are Athar on the Outer Planes and they're not suffering mental breakdowns from standing in a place they don't think exists.

    The Athar aren't claiming that the gods are literally mortals impersonating gods in the Wizard of Oz or Stargate sort of way and laying claim to power they don't actually possess, but rather that the gods are not qualitatively distinct from mortals--that is, they don't think the key difference between gods and "real" gods is omnipotence vs. limited power, as you implied with the initial bit about omnipotent kings, but about how the gods "have got to keep their followers happy, and they often feud among themselves like children," and so are "just like us" and aren't worthy of the title.

    But isn't their own belief system then as meaningless as any other? That sounds a bit incoher... oh ho ho, I see what they did there.

    [...]

    Better no dogma than loony dogma, and Sigil only seems to do loony.
    Yep, every Faction is self-contradictory to a greater or lesser degree when you get right down to it, that's kinda the whole point. This is, after all, the setting where celestials and fiends are happy to chat with each other over drinks and anyone who's hardline "my way or the highway!" about their alignment or their plane or their god needs to try to see things from other perspectives and realize that they aren't the Center of All.
    Better to DM in Baator than play in Celestia
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
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  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Monotheistic high fantasy is certainly possible - LotR is monotheistic after all - but it tends to be laser-focused on stories about saving the world from the Evil One (TM) and their slavering hordes of soulless minions who can be safely slaughtered. The Wheel of Time is a nice modern example of how this sort of thing is set up - a good but distant creator deity and a much more immediately threatening evil entity influencing the world who must be stopped.
    Plus it's only "monotheistic" on contrived technicalities. There's the Valar but for whatever reason they don't count

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    I think that the dominant view is that one of them is imagining everything, although they don't agree who it is. All like "Isn't solipsism great, figments of my imagination? Yes, yes, I'm glad I imagined you."
    If one of the PCs joins than they're technically correct.

    EDIT:
    On a related note, I think the Athar's "Great Unknown" is either the DM or Gary Gygax
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2020-11-10 at 11:59 AM.
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  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Plus it's only "monotheistic" on contrived technicalities. There's the Valar but for whatever reason they don't count
    I mean, there's not really a principled distinction between "monotheistic" and "polytheistic" faiths in general. Practically speaking, what a polytheist describes as "many gods of varying power" could very easily be the same thing as what a monotheist describes as "one god and his servants". Even within the polytheistic model D&D normally assumes, there's very little reason to expect that the average person is going to be able to (or want to) draw the lines in the same place the books do. If you're a 2nd level character, and Orcus shows up and tells you he's a god, are you really going to be able to tell that he's not, let alone be willing to press the issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Likewise false faiths - ex wizards casting spells and pretending to clerics - would gradually be exposed and destroyed and would have at best a limited life cycle of periodic deceit compared with actual faiths that can more efficiently offer actual divine boons.
    I don't think that necessarily follows. Generally speaking, it's not the gods doing miracles, but their agents. Pelor doesn't come down and personally heal the sick or injured, he has a Cleric to whom he grants spells that does that on his behalf. So while it's probably true that a church that organizes itself around a religion that doesn't work would die out quickly, if your Church of Knowledge can produce Wizards at the same rate that the Church of Pelor produces Clerics, there's no reason to expect it to get out-competed.

    I suspect that, in practice, even if Pelor and friends exist, the dominant faith in a lot of settings will be a kind of hyper-local psuedo-animist monster worship. It may be true that Pelor is the one of the most powerful beings in existence, but Pelor isn't ever going to show up in your village. You might have a local priest, but he's probably pretty low level, so you're going to be a lot more concerned with getting the local dragons, aberrations, fey, or other monsters to help (or at least not kill) you than making sure his 2nd level spells fire properly.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Well, it depends on whether or not the actual gods would object to that sort of poaching or not, or whether or not there's a demonstrable difference between the role of something that just happens to be really powerful and something that is actually 'divine' - the ability to grant spells for example.
    It also depends on if anyone considers it "poaching." My example was roman emperors; note that even according to the Romans deification of the Emperor was in no way "poaching," anything from any other entity. Most religions have historically just gone "these are the gods as far as we can tell, and they seem willing to make deals with us when we offer something satisfactory."

    For building a world, I see no real point of disagreement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    No, I'm pretty sure that some people deny all physically impossible miraculous events.
    I'm including this quote here to note I see a larger trend.

    When someone notes "some people accept some physically impossible miraculous events," the structure of the statement is "A includes B." It is entirely irrelevant to say "some people deny all physically impossible miraculous events." "A includes B" does not assume "All A are B."

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    If deities get called "deities" because they can do sufficiently impressive things, and the divine nature is that which deities have in common, then the divine nature is whatever it is that allows deities to do sufficiently impressive things. If the source of that power is epic spellcasting, then divine nature = epic spellcasting, and other traits that are not the source of that power are not divine nature.
    You seem to be confusing "a" source of that power with "the" source of that power. For many people within the setting, they cannot (and aren't likely aren't going to spend time trying) to discern "epic spellcasting," from "divine nature." So as far as these individuals within the setting are concerned, there's no difference. Within the setting, this makes "epic spellcasting" a subset of divine power. If you have "epic spellcasting," people in that world people will treat you as divine. "epic spellcasting, therefore divine power," is fine logically within the world

    When describing the setting (particularly for a setting meant to be playable) these definitions shift. You can still have a bunch of creatures labeled "deities," but they don't necessarily even exist in the setting. If they do, most settings define "divine nature" as applying to creatures with such extreme powers that "epic spellcasting," is definitionally included among the abilities posseted by those with "divine power." "divine power therefore epic spellcasting," is fine logically when describing the world.

    From this, you cannot look at either of the cases I called logically fine and conclude "divine nature = epic spellcasting." In both cases that fact of the matter is "divine nature = epic spellcasting and other things."

    There is also the additional issue here:
    • Random commoner #2,386,296 isn't the worldbuilder.
    • The worldbuilder isn't random commoner #2,386,296.

    When random commoner #2,386,296 looks at something and labels it "divine nature," or "not divine nature," this tell you nothing about the label the worldbuilder gives the exact same phenomenon. When the worldbuilder looks at something and labels it "divine nature," nor "not divine nature," this tell you nothing about the label random commoner #2,386,296 gives the exact same phenomenon.
    Last edited by sandmote; 2020-11-10 at 08:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Monotheistic high fantasy is certainly possible - LotR is monotheistic after all - but it tends to be laser-focused on stories about saving the world from the Evil One (TM) and their slavering hordes of soulless minions who can be safely slaughtered. The Wheel of Time is a nice modern example of how this sort of thing is set up - a good but distant creator deity and a much more immediately threatening evil entity influencing the world who must be stopped.
    As others have pointed out, LOTR is not a great example of monotheism in fantasy. There is, however, the Deryni series, as well the majority of the Arthurian stories, stories of Charlemagne's paladins, and the Arabian Nights. The King of Ys series by Poul and Karen Anderson has both monotheists and polytheists in a setting with magic/miracle works for all of them.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I've tallied up all the points for this thread, and consulted with the debate judges, and the verdict is clear: JoeJ wins the thread.

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    As others have pointed out, LOTR is not a great example of monotheism in fantasy. There is, however, the Deryni series, as well the majority of the Arthurian stories, stories of Charlemagne's paladins, and the Arabian Nights. The King of Ys series by Poul and Karen Anderson has both monotheists and polytheists in a setting with magic/miracle works for all of them.
    Um...LotR's religious structure is a direct allegory to the existing monotheistic religion of its author. It's less hamhanded about it than Narnia, but it's still really, really obvious.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  16. - Top - End - #46
    Troll in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: Monotheistic Religions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Um...LotR's religious structure is a direct allegory to the existing monotheistic religion of its author. It's less hamhanded about it than Narnia, but it's still really, really obvious.
    That may be so, but religious beliefs and practices have almost no presence in the story. LOTR is not a good example of how to present monotheism, or any other religion, as an active, integral part of a character's life, and it doesn't offer any inspiration for religious institutions or practices to draw on when worldbuilding.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I've tallied up all the points for this thread, and consulted with the debate judges, and the verdict is clear: JoeJ wins the thread.

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