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Current Official Stance on the Monotheist Religion in the World (Possible spoilers)

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  • Originally posted by MorsRattus View Post
    The idea of an anti-messiah is theological nonsense to Judaism, and the Jesus thing is complicated by the fact that there were a ton of self-proclaimed messiahs at the time; to the Jewish perspective, the difference is that Jesus is the one whose personal cult made it big. Temporal success has no relation to theological truth, especially when Jesus is unable to find any textual basis for a lot of his arguments rather than personal charisma, claims of messianic power and...welll, Paul isn’t helping, either. Decisions made by early Christians to pick and choose what parts of the Law still applied add fuel to the fire here.

    There is a fairly famous Jewish story about a literal divine miracles being defeated in debate because the text is king. Personal charisma and power don’t matter if you can’t cite your dang sources, rabbinically.

    Jews would also extremely reject the idea that an unknown or even nonexistent father made someone not a Jew, because Judaism is matrilineally transmitted by tradition.

    E: a group known as Jews for Jesus exists, but in practice, they are...Christians.
    Oh I didn’t mean to suggest his unknown father would make him not a Jew! Only that in the World there’s plenty of explanations for his supernatural miraculous existence without the claim of being the Son of God, or Prophet of God, being objectively true!
    Last edited by glamourweaver; 10-05-2018, 01:47 PM.


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    • oh no, that was in reference to

      " (Quranic commentaries point out, from the way Jesus is narrated to have addressed the Jews in his time, that he was the only prophet who would not call those he was sent to 'o my people', and then explain how his having a Levite mother and no father entailed him not actually counting as part of the people of Israel, hence he counts as part of Muhammad's community)."

      Which only makes sense from a non-Jewish perspective. From the Jewish perspective this argument is equivalent to 'I am a boat, and this is an admiralty court.'

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      • Originally posted by Hermeticus View Post
        Oh well yes, I didn't think of that... The tendency is to speak of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as the Abrahamic faiths, one easily forgets the rest... Even the Druze, Baha'is and Ahmadis (who generally count themselves as Muslims but are not recognised as such by a huge portion of Muslims) would count in that, now that I think of it. So, ok, I guess reconcilement is harder than expected. Either one picks a stopping point where the angels say: "nope, that wasn't us, we've got nothing to do with that and the ones after" or they basically never learnt their lesson and are still trying to fix humanity by progressive revelation disregarding the fact that the majority of humanity keeps refusing to instal the new updates and runs on the version they started with.
        You could always say that, as a whole, they decided that there would be no more revelations. However, you could also consider that some angels who disagreed may have went behind the others' backs at various points to various individuals. Then, once the new movements were started, maybe it seemed like more trouble than it was worth to do something about them.
        Last edited by Mordred13; 10-06-2018, 11:37 AM.

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        • Thinking about how different the World is, and potentially how different Islamic politics is within it, I'm finding myself drawing most heavily on Sufi and Ismaili ideas, and wondering if I should bite the bullet and actually say "in the World Wahhabism never rose to be a dominant ideological force in Arabia, and Sufism thrives in the peninsula where the tombs of the Sahaba and Ahl al-Bayt still remain undesecrated."


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          • Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
            Thinking about how different the World is, and potentially how different Islamic politics is within it, I'm finding myself drawing most heavily on Sufi and Ismaili ideas, and wondering if I should bite the bullet and actually say "in the World Wahhabism never rose to be a dominant ideological force in Arabia, and Sufism thrives in the peninsula where the tombs of the Sahaba and Ahl al-Bayt still remain undesecrated."
            Well, as a member of a Sufi order, I don't mind that version at all. Lol.

            Bear also in mind that pre-Wahhabism what we call Sufism today was more or less standard Sunnism, with some dispute here and there but, by and large, the cult of saints (not as worship, but as veneration and seeking intercession) was mainstream belief and practice.

            The same is still supported by adherents to Traditional Islam, although it's easy to find common people in certain countries who are influenced by wahhabi preachers to reject the cult of saints but otherwise identify as Traditional Muslims and not Salafi/Wahhabi. They just don't have a clear picture of the difference and Salafi preachers tend not to announce themselves as that...

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            • Originally posted by Hermeticus View Post

              Well, as a member of a Sufi order, I don't mind that version at all. Lol.

              Bear also in mind that pre-Wahhabism what we call Sufism today was more or less standard Sunnism, with some dispute here and there but, by and large, the cult of saints (not as worship, but as veneration and seeking intercession) was mainstream belief and practice.

              The same is still supported by adherents to Traditional Islam, although it's easy to find common people in certain countries who are influenced by wahhabi preachers to reject the cult of saints but otherwise identify as Traditional Muslims and not Salafi/Wahhabi. They just don't have a clear picture of the difference and Salafi preachers tend not to announce themselves as that...
              In said Islamic tradition, are different saints associated with different matters they’re better turned to to intercede on behalf of, the way Catholic saints are?


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              • Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post

                In said Islamic tradition, are different saints associated with different matters they’re better turned to to intercede on behalf of, the way Catholic saints are?
                Sometimes they are, but it's not defined the way it is in Catholicism, with officially recognised saints, each with their categories of protegées and with a day of the year dedicated to them.

                Walis are recognised by the people and tradition without any formal procedure and list. Some are remembered on certain days, like their birthday, deathday or in some defining moment of their life, but there is no calendar of these things. They are mostly observed either by the followers of the spiritual order of a wali or by the people of the area where he became famous. Sometimes some walis are said to be protectors of particular categories of people or places. If I recall, Istanbul has four or 6 such walis along the Bosphorus, whom the Istanbulians (well, those into these things) believe protect the city. Ibn Arabi was seen as a sort of patron saint for the Ottomans.

                Also, in each age there is a hierarchy of walis. At the top there is the Qutb, the supreme wali of the time. He receives all disasters that should befall mankind due to God's majesty and bears as much of it as he can. What escapes overflows to those under him, and then those under them, in the saintly hierarchy, until theblast circle of 300 or 360 walis (each circle after the qutb has more walis than the preceding one, but the numbers vary in different accounts. There is a wikipedia page on this, though, if you search 'qutb') and then there is the mass of the believers. So basically all the troubles we face as mankind are a tiny portion of what we deserve (given how widespread heedlessness of God is on the earth) and the saints bear most of it as a manifestation of God's mercy.

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                • Thanks Hermeticus! By the way, I’m finding a lot of off hand conflation in my reading between Sufism and Ismail’i mysticism. Could you comment on that? My understanding is that the former was Sunni and the latter Shi’a, but I take it there’s a great deal of intellectual exchange there? Or are my sources being lazy?


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                  • Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                    Thanks Hermeticus! By the way, I’m finding a lot of off hand conflation in my reading between Sufism and Ismail’i mysticism. Could you comment on that? My understanding is that the former was Sunni and the latter Shi’a, but I take it there’s a great deal of intellectual exchange there? Or are my sources being lazy?
                    There's a few reasons for that and not everything has come to light yet as far as academia is concerned. This is what comes to mind:
                    1) the early descendants of the Prophet through Ali and Fatiman are seen as authorities both in Sunnism (one or two of the founders of the 4 standing schools of Islamic law are said to have been students of Ja'far as-Sadiq, one such early descendant, considered one of the 7 or 12 Imams by most traditions of the Shi'ah) and Shi'ism, and they are mentioned as transmitters of the more esoteric realities of the religion, on which Sufism is based. If these accounts are true, then there will be definitely a corpus of ideas common to Shi'a and Sunni esoterism and spirituality;
                    2) both Sufis and Isma'ili lay great importance on the 'batin' (inward, hidden) understanding of religious texts, but with some differences. The Sufis take the 'batin' to complement the 'zahir' (outward, manifest) and the zahir is indeed the way to the batin, so they would uphold the various norms and rules shared by all Muslims and then, those who uphold these rules sincerely for the sake of God rather than just to win people's approval, would be blessed with a deeper understanding of said norms, their spiritual meanings, and insight into the divine realities. The Isma'ilis generally ascribe knowledge of the 'batin' of the Quran only to the Imams descendant from Ali and Fatima, i.e.: the Shi'i imams (there's a lot more detail about that, but I'll skip to avoid writing too much), who then teach it to others. The authority of the Imams over scripture has meant, for all Shi'ah, that their legal tradition developed later than the Sunni one and on different bases, both scriptural and interpretative, and for Isma'ilis, in particular, there has been at some point a denial of the necessity of abiding by the outward norms. The exact extent of that and when it was applied and why is disputed, also because one has to distinguish between genuine accounts and the biased sunni accounts. In general, Sufis (and therefore Traditional Sunnism) aim to take both the zahir and the batin together, while Isma'ilis may tend to put the batin over the zahir. There is also a historical case, reported by contemporary Isma'ili scholars, of an Imam at the time of Alamut (yes, the known basis of the Assassins, who were an Isma'ili branch) who practically declared that the Day of Resurrection had begun and abiding by religious norms was no more necessary: those who recognised the true Imam were saved and those who didn't were spiritually dead, no matter what they did. He then proceeded to offer a feast with wine (obviously forbidden, so it was a sign of the abrogation of religious norms). I may recall that later thinkers said that basically periods of "no need for laws" and periods of "let's stick to laws" would alternate with each other and be declared by the Imam of the time.
                    3) Sufi authors were actually read by Isma'ili authors - including the Imam who declared the Day of Resurrection as started and lifted moral responsibility - and their terms and concepts heavily drawn upon, especially Ibn Arabi, hence many similarities
                    4) after the destruction of Alamut and of the other Isma'ili fortresses in Persia by the Mongols, the Isma'ili went into hiding for a few centuries in the guise of Sufi pirs (masters), which is another reason for overlap of content and terms and similarity
                    5) Isma'ilis - and Shi'ah in general to an extent - were more influenced than Sunnis by the Hellenistic philosophical traditions that survived in the Muslim world, though both were influenced. Part of that tradition was Neoplatonism and esoteric ideas and practices from before Islam. Sufis were also influenced by it, but more in the usage of terms and concepts that were circulating in society anyway, than as a method in itself. I.e.: famous Sufis like Ibn Arabi explicitly took issue with Hellenizing philosophers like Avicenna and with the Shiah, as well as with some Sunni traditions of rationalizing theology, but they used the same terminology that was circulating at the time to deal with metaphysical issues, so their works may recall each other at a superficial reading, but there are significant differences. Occasionally some concepts are actually dealt in the same way though.

                    In brief, there are many reasons for the existence of similarity, but they are by no means the same tradition. They held different ideas on key issues, followed different methodologies, recognised different authorities and were aware of each other, spoke to each other at times and knew that they were different. They asked sometimes the same questions, though, and gave different answers but in the same language. For example, the letters exchanged between one of Ibn 'Arabi's disciples (Qunawy) and a major Isma'ili theologian and philosopher (Tusi, I think was his name, I'd have to check) are extant and they practically discuss how different their method is, though they are trying to see if they can agree on some things.

                    This is my understanding of this issue based on my academic research on this. I'm specializing in Sufism, but I wrote a couple of papers in my BA and MA on Isma'ilism and know some researchers in that field. Hope this helps.

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                    • Just as an example of the relation between Hellenistic esoteric traditions and Islamic Hellenizing philosophy + Isma'ilis + Sufis: my name on this forum, 'Hermeticus', is linked to this. I subscribed in a period in which I had created a character for Vampire the Masquerade inspired by these things when I was doing my MA thesis on Suhrawardi al-Ishraqi, a rare guy who identified both as Sufi and as hellenizing philosophers and is suspected by some of having been Isma'ili. In my research I found that the hermetic tradition of hellenism was widespread in the Middle-East and Persia and survived the expansion of Islam, even being absorbed in various ways in some Isma'ili, Sufi or philosophical traditions (remember that esoteric arts in those centuries were part and parcel of philosophical training along with the more conventional physics, metaphysics, medicine, astrology+astronomy, etc.). So my Vampire character was a vampire sorcerer from Persia whose magic was basically Hermetic magic. This way I could attack in game the erroneous notion that Hermetism is a specifically western esoteric tradition, on which some of the metaplot of Mage: the Ascension and Vampire: the Masquerade is based.

                      Until probably the Enlightenment, the esoteric culture in Europe and the Muslim world was most likely highly compatible or relied on the same concepts, articulated in slightly different but significant ways by the various traditions among Christians, Jews, Muslims and who else was there. Obviously different languages were used, but there were ways to deal with that. This also applies to philosophy and theology. There is a lot of talk (and in the 20th century) on who influenced whom, who was secretly borrowing from whom, etc. but I think the matter is much simpler and less mysterious than it's made to look. Mediterranean people had been culturally united since the Alexandrian and the Roman empire and they continued interacting with each other intensely even after the expansion of Christianity and Islam. Whether through popular beliefs and superstitions or through the highly educated perusing of foreign texts in the libraries of Rome and Cordoba, there was enough available to keep asking similar questions and give different answers in a similar language.

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                      • Amusingly, the main takeaway that I'm getting here is basically, "...yeah, the various Abrahamic Religions wouldn't have any real problem with making room for the various other religions that exist in the World of Scion. They're actually VERY VERY good at that sort of thing."

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                        • Originally posted by CrownedSun View Post
                          Amusingly, the main takeaway that I'm getting here is basically, "...yeah, the various Abrahamic Religions wouldn't have any real problem with making room for the various other religions that exist in the World of Scion. They're actually VERY VERY good at that sort of thing."
                          Weeell... The point is that they basically did. Willingly or unwillingly, the Jews and early Christians lived among pagans and had to find ways to explain their situation and relation to them and it was not always just 'burn the heretics'. Muslims had to do less of that because Christianity got rid of a lot of polytheism by the time Islam emerged but still they expanded into Africa and Asia and had to somehow make sense of African religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Zoroastrianism, the remnants of ancient religions through the more esoteric aspects of the Greek philosophical tradition... Again, they could not and did not just try to kill everyone and in many cases they saw those ancient traditions as what remained of now corrupted or abrogated prophetic messages revealed by God's prophets.
                          Enoch/Idris was largely viewed as the prophetic father of the philosophers. Some thinkers saw Egyptian, Greek, Persian and Hindu wisdom as basically starting all with Enoch, being inherited in parts by those people amd then reuniting in the Islamic lands.
                          Since the Quran says all prophets were sent to speak of divine unity, but in the language of their people, which varies, Muslims always had an incentive to look for that concept in all the religions and philosophies they met, and that's not that hard.

                          Al-Biruni, a Muslim thinker (I think from the XV or XVI or XVII century, but I am terrible with dates) who wrote about Hinduism observed centuries ago that Brahminic Hinduism was basycally monotheist and that the polytheist parts were a popular deviation and misunderstanding due to the Brahmins hoarding up knpwledge instead of educating the masses. Another Muslim scholar in pre-modern India said comfortably that Paranjali (or another figure from Hinduism) and Krishna were prophets and compared their ways to the Sufi ways of sobriety and intoxication, and he said the Hindu gods were angels and that Hindu prayers, rituals amd symbols were methods the Hindu were taught to ask God through the angels.

                          So, basically, yes. I think Abrahamic religions in Scion would coexist with other pantheons, with some fights here and there.

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                          • Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                            I should mention the Covenant Purview pretty much shot down the PSP I was working on, so I'm open to other suggestions.
                            I’m thinking about the protective light of halos, and protecting the faithful from the caprice of other gods - would a psp based around opposing the miracles of others be inherently too unbalanced?


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                            • Metamagic is always weird and tricky. My current thoughts are leaning towards something involving life-giving - improving others and bringing shit to life, temporarily or permanently. Sticks to snakes, clay figure to golem, blessings of strength and speed, etc.

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                              • Originally posted by MorsRattus View Post
                                Metamagic is always weird and tricky. My current thoughts are leaning towards something involving life-giving - improving others and bringing shit to life, temporarily or permanently. Sticks to snakes, clay figure to golem, blessings of strength and speed, etc.
                                I’m not sure I want to make building a golem to be a specific boon. It’s a rare and major enough thing that it doesn’t seem like something a Hero character should be able to just use when they want, which is what Boons are for. I’d think it would fall under application of Forge as making a discrete Relic/Creature.

                                (That said, i’m totally including a golem who has achieved full sapience as a sample Created character)


                                Hmmm... what powers currently exist that allow perception and revelation of the invisible and piercing of illusions?


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