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How does the Abrahamic Faiths have power in the Scion World?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
    "If you're helping yourself, what do you need God for?"



    Contrary to popular belief, religion is not a relationship between mortal and divine. It is, at the heart of it, a business transaction. We offer the Gods our sacrifices and worship, and they in turn provide us with tangible blessings.

    We wanted a good harvest, so we prayed for fertile lands and fair weather.

    We wanted to punish our enemies, so we prayed for justice and vengeance.

    We wanted to expand, so we prayed for strength and courage.

    We wanted knowledge, so we prayed for wisdom and clarity.

    And so on, and so on. If the Gods failed / refused to supply us with such things, then we would go off in search of one who was more pliable to our wishes. Nobody worships a God simply for being a God (unless they're brainwashed into it). They worship a God because they can make satisfying their needs and desires easier than they could under their own power.
    I so totally disagree with that in every way, shape, or form. The ancients worshiped the Gods because a God has the power to destroy you, your family, and everything you hold dear. Maybe without even realizing they did it. We offer sacrifice to the Gods in hope that they might notice us and spare us their inimitable wrath, and perhaps like us enough to offer something good as well. It has never been an equal relationship. In some canons (Babylonian stands out) mankind are created to be slaves of the Gods. Yes, it is true that you may seek the grace of other Gods to help because you don't like your original God and you want protection, but those Gods are going to require you to serve them instead. It's very much a relationship with an extreme power dynamic.

    I personally believe in God because, again, in my personal views, God represents the Eternal Truth of Reality, so I don't expect him to help me do everything for me because reality is and has never been easy.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post

      I so totally disagree with that in every way, shape, or form. The ancients worshiped the Gods because a God has the power to destroy you, your family, and everything you hold dear. Maybe without even realizing they did it.
      Not every God was depicted as being so callously destructive. Indeed, there are those who are considered to be quite benevolent and caring towards their worshipers. And unless you're monotheistic and believe in a singular, omnipotent being, then such gods couldn't afford to just smite everybody on a whim, because doing so would draw them into conflict with rival deities who may have been relying on the people they just destroyed in order to support their power.

      That's the great thing about polytheism; you have options! If there's a God you feel is abusing you or failing to live up to your expectations, you can find someone else to replace them.


      And praying to such gods in the hopes of not being destroyed still makes it a business transaction. "I work for you, and you, in turn, spare my livelihood." There are many cases where people have lost faith in their gods, or even openly denounced them once their lives turns south. Their Gods weren't offering them protection anymore, so they saw no reason to remain subservient to them and instead turned towards other options to sustain themselves.

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      • #48
        I think you're positing a universal or objective experience of polytheism that doesn't really exist. Also flanderizing apotropaic religion.

        EDIT: Well, darn, you're both doing it.
        Last edited by Leetsepeak; 03-20-2017, 08:00 PM.


        Leetsepeak's Ex3 Homebrew Hub - Hub of homebrew for Exalted 3rd Edition that I've made.

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        • #49
          Humanity invented gods to answer questions they couldn't answer for themselves ("where did I/we come from?" "What happens when we die?" "What makes rain?" "Why is there evil?"), and to provide a reason to go on in the face of tragedy ("if I build a home, plant crops, raise a family, and it can all be wiped out by a random mudslide, why bother? Oh, because the god of mudslides didn't get his sacrifice this moon cycle. If I just worship a bit harder, and make sure my neighbor does the same, we'll be blessed and spared."). The more we understand about the natural world (weather, eclipses, earthquakes, seizures, the life cycle of species, and so on), the more the worship has become spiritual instead of explanatory. Now, most see gods as shepherds of an afterlife, not direct bringers of plagues and storms. Of course, in a world where Chaac really does bring rain on those who piss him off, it changes perspectives a little bit.

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          • #50
            You're talking about etiology, which is something religion can and often does do, but is not the sum total of it. Etiological explanations of things aren't really in some kind of fundamental oppositional relationship with a scientific understanding of the world. You can do both. People do all the time.

            Like, it's not as if Christians and people of other religions are caught between this rock and a hard place where they can either say "God did it." or "you got me atheists, it was Thermodynamics, not God."

            How does heat rise? Thermodynamics. How does that happen? God made the world, and thermodynamics are a part of it.

            I posit that a world where lightning happens because Chaac wills it is not actually different from a world where it just happens (electrostatic discharge is still occuring either way!). The cause may change but what happens is still the same. Not a bad way to think about the World, either.


            Leetsepeak's Ex3 Homebrew Hub - Hub of homebrew for Exalted 3rd Edition that I've made.

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            • #51
              The difference being, for game purposes anyway, is that in our world, we know it's basic electrostatic discharge in clouds, and in Scion, we know it's at least partly due to tangible, corporeal beings called Gods (or storm nymphs, or dragons, or whatever you choose). How you see the real world doesn't really enter into a game about myths. Not saying anyone is wrong in their worldview - just saying the game is about the beings of myth in a magical world, one where religious views are different from our own.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Purple Snit View Post
                The difference being, for game purposes anyway, is that in our world, we know it's basic electrostatic discharge in clouds, and in Scion, we know it's at least partly due to tangible, corporeal beings called Gods (or storm nymphs, or dragons, or whatever you choose).
                Except that, by all accounts, it could very well be tangible, corporeal beings called Gods (or storm nymphs, or dragons, or whatever you choose) in real life that control electrostatic discharge in clouds, and we just don't know it because we are but mere mortals. I think the argument that is happening here, really, comes down to whether or not you think the conceit of Scion is "like our world, but the Gods are real" or "the world is the same, but all religions are equally true, and you're chosen by a God so you interact with them regularly."

                Both are valid arguments, but it's obviously gonna make people snippy whenever religion starts getting questioned.

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                • #53
                  The mythical creatures of the world tend to avoid humanity when possible... and when it isn't... most humans will tend to see what they expect. While a true believer in the Tuatha may see fairies frolicking in a park... or even one of the Aes Sidhe running a business... most others will tend to dismiss such things or see them as something else entirely (because they don't expect it). Even so, there tends to be few places in mortal society for such beings... thus they retreat to the wild places and terra incognita that humans avoid or just don't know about.

                  ​Many places that have haunted reputations and are avoided by people tend to be homes for such creatures. A few may even make deals with settlements, such as a water sprite/nymph blessing the spring that feeds a town with water with healing properties in exchange for one virgin a year to come to her and satisfy her (and sometimes being kept)... or have the water turned to poison.

                  ​As for how Abrahamic religions could come to have a greater influence on a world where old gods exist... the same methods they used in our world would likely work... incorporating the "pagan" customs and celebrations into their religion would make it easier to convert those who's gods rarely answer prayers anymore. This would likely be far more effective than purges, witch hunts or crusades which tend to cause populations to hide their true faith (and even if one converts under torture, one likely returns to their true faith when no one is looking).

                  ​In the end, while it is likely that Christianity and other Abrahamic faiths still did much of what they did in our world, the results would have been less effective... with people continuing their "pagan" rituals in private... at least the ones that weren't adopted by these new faiths. Many old gods also likely got new names as Saints, Angels or other celestial beings in these religions... and offering one's prayers to Zeus's new identity as a Saint still sends the power of that worship to Zeus... while maintaining the illusion of being faithful to Christianity.

                  ​In the end, like much of the Scion world... faith, worship and the Gods are a matter of perception... something that is very fluid in this setting.


                  There are three types of people in the world... those who can count and those who can't.
                  I reject your reality and substitute my own!

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                  • #54
                    I guess the thing that always gets me is this; we have a cool game called Scion. In it, the gods of myth and legend are real. You can play the chosen of such beings, and do great deeds that change the course of lives, rivers, and history. Magic is real. Faeries, centaurs, dragons, and other amazing beings are real. Odin, Re, Tezcatlipoca, Amaterasu, Athena - and hundreds of other such beings - are real, and interact with people. The opportunities for fantastic games are endless. So why is it necessary to try to drag it down to/ground it in a world where the real-world faiths are so important, complete with every-day bigotry, conflict, contradiction, and a decided dearth of the interactive deities and larger-than-life heroes and heroines that are the whole point of the game in the first place? Why not just play something else that deals with real-life religions and involves as many guardian angels and house spirits as you are comfortable using? Ever since 2nd edition was announced, there have been calls of "how can I play a mortal?", and "how do we spotlight christianity?" Don't. If you want to do those things, play something designed around mortals, like Fate, or GURPS, or even basic CoD, then just make it as religiously-grounded as you want. The beauty of Scion, the reason most of us got into it in the first place, wasn't "oh, hey, look, a game where I can play a priest of God", but "Wow - a game where I can play a god, and mingle with figures of myth." And I think that's the coolest thing about the game; that you can play as the superheroes of legend. If I play Champions, or DC Adventures, I don't play the sidekicks and cabbies, or the cannon fodder agents. I play the hero (or maybe the villain). And for me, that's Scion, but with gods.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Purple Snit View Post
                      I guess the thing that always gets me is this; we have a cool game called Scion. In it, the gods of myth and legend are real. You can play the chosen of such beings, and do great deeds that change the course of lives, rivers, and history. Magic is real. Faeries, centaurs, dragons, and other amazing beings are real. Odin, Re, Tezcatlipoca, Amaterasu, Athena - and hundreds of other such beings - are real, and interact with people. The opportunities for fantastic games are endless. So why is it necessary to try to drag it down to/ground it in a world where the real-world faiths are so important, complete with every-day bigotry, conflict, contradiction, and a decided dearth of the interactive deities and larger-than-life heroes and heroines that are the whole point of the game in the first place? Why not just play something else that deals with real-life religions and involves as many guardian angels and house spirits as you are comfortable using? Ever since 2nd edition was announced, there have been calls of "how can I play a mortal?", and "how do we spotlight christianity?" Don't. If you want to do those things, play something designed around mortals, like Fate, or GURPS, or even basic CoD, then just make it as religiously-grounded as you want. The beauty of Scion, the reason most of us got into it in the first place, wasn't "oh, hey, look, a game where I can play a priest of God", but "Wow - a game where I can play a god, and mingle with figures of myth." And I think that's the coolest thing about the game; that you can play as the superheroes of legend. If I play Champions, or DC Adventures, I don't play the sidekicks and cabbies, or the cannon fodder agents. I play the hero (or maybe the villain). And for me, that's Scion, but with gods.
                      Which is fine, but given that there have been lots of calls of "how can I play a mortal?" and "how do we spotlight Christianity?" it's pretty clear that there are lots of people who feel that this was missing from Scion 1st ed. Some people like to play awesome sidekicks and cabbies, and cannon fodder agents, because these are people and people matter. Also, given that Hinduism is present in the game and devotees of Kali or Vishnu can enjoy playing an agent of their IRL God or Goddess, some Christians may like the idea of being empowered by Archangel Michael or perhaps serving Jesus Christ as a heroic Saint.

                      I don't think it's that detrimental of a desire.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post

                        Which is fine, but given that there have been lots of calls of "how can I play a mortal?" and "how do we spotlight Christianity?" it's pretty clear that there are lots of people who feel that this was missing from Scion 1st ed. Some people like to play awesome sidekicks and cabbies, and cannon fodder agents, because these are people and people matter.

                        Props to those who try to play Samwise.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          Props to those who try to play Samwise.
                          Tolkien always said he was the true hero, after all.

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                            Also flanderizing apotropaic religion.

                            ​Stupid Flanders!


                            "A free society is one in which it is safe to be unpopular."

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                            • #59
                              Stupid sexy Cernunnos...


                              Leetsepeak's Ex3 Homebrew Hub - Hub of homebrew for Exalted 3rd Edition that I've made.

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                              • #60
                                You can play a devotee of Vishnu, or a priest of Jesus, in any RPG out there; all you need to do is say that's what you are playing; with the right GM, you can even run an entire campaign centered around Christianity or Islam or any other faith. You can also play a cabbie or cop in a super-hero universe without ever needing the heroes (and if you are playing a Batman/Daredevil style, you never need powers at all even if you play the heroes), if that's what you want to play. But for me, Scion is about playing the Scions that eventually become gods, not the pizza delivery guy or the Buddhist nun who get caught in things. You can play them, but it escapes me why you want to buy a game designed to be about mythical gods, just so you can play mundane people or Abrahamic followers. But YMMV, certainly.

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