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  • Monotheism?

    I know this is a while big can of worms, but I'm profoundly curious and figure the explosion of activity due to the Kickstarter might lead to some good discussion. How are the major monotheistic faiths handled in Scion, or more accurately how are they handled in your Scion? The Theoi preview mentions that some of the mystery cults have grown to public millions-strong religions by the modern day of The World, and I'm curious to see how (or if) the divergent path the Abrahamic faiths took in the setting's history. While I doubt we'll ever see the Abrahamic Pantheon (I hold out hope that one made up of angels might be the final stretch goal for once of the crowdfunding campaigns), we do know that the Canaanite Pantheon should be on the horizon and that would give us El, who may or may not have become our good friend YHVH in our own real-world theological history.

    Does The World simply give us a henotheistic constellation of Abrahamic faiths, or possibly just have them purge the polytheist elements of Europe and the Near East decidedly less?

    (And yes, I know about the whole Aten mess, but I believe that's been thrown out for 2e.)


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  • #2
    It sounds like they just didn't purge as much or their efforts were not nearly as successful.

    Just like I imagine there are plenty of polytheists who believe things which are patently false about their deities who they could actually meet if they were lucky, there's going to be plenty of folks in the World who are comfortably monotheistic because monotheist faiths like Christianity are not exactly relying upon some kind of hard visibility of their deity to derive legitimacy for it.

    Or to think about it another way, when they declare all those pagan gods to be "false idols" it's not in the sense that those beings don't exist, it's in the sense that they are not the one Supreme God who reigns over all things from Heaven. If Zeus tells Joe Christian that's not the case, why is Joe Christian gonna believe him? Because he threw lightning from his hands? Guess who else can do that, Zeus! SATAN!*

    *Maybe.


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    • #3
      Aten's still playing a part in monotheism, last we heard - specifically exlusionary monotheism, denying the existence of any other gods.


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      • #4
        I hope that the Aten mess will be retconned out.

        So far, it hasn't been a key question in my campaign, and we're kind of ignoring it for now. Since I'm specifically running a Ragnorak campaign, I have even less reason to address it because I don't have to worry about arguments between different pantheons about whose creation story is actually true, now that I think about it.

        I doubt, in any my games, I would have it that one or any of the polytheisms are able to out-do any of the monotheisms. There are compelling sociological arguments for why that is, outside of any supernatural, morality, or spiritual evidence that monotheisms are inherently more widespread and have more 'staying power' (I think that's a fair phrase) than the polytheisms of old.

        Maybe as Ragnorak approaches, and Fimbulwinter sets in, we'll see cults popping up. Hmmmm, not sure. I think I will allow the Band/players decide if there's a revival of worship for the Norse deities, since they'll be the really only big clue that the Aseir are still around. Even then, as Leetsepeak mentions and despite the Band's actions, there's going to be large percentage of the population that will simply disregard any of the Band's claims to divinity and of other divinities for reasons.

        Granted, I'm not sure how that interacts with the Legend mechanic, but given how localized the polytheistic deities were, I doubt it takes more than several thousands of people to have the necessary fame and worship to reach godhood from a fluff perspective.

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        • #5
          The Scion game I'm running has a very Catholic character, who is a Scion of the Tuatha de Danan. As a GM, I basically treat the Monotheistic gods as they are in the real world. Vague, unknowable, and possibly don't exist at all. Way I see it, the gods and God are not mutually exclusive. You can call Mannanan Mac Lir 'Da' and still do your prayers.

          The only conflict really is what happens to you when you die. I kinda treat it like Heaven and Hell are abstract concepts, rather than actual locations. My player character will probably go to Tir nOg when she dies, but even there, she could 'die' and the gods would have no idea what happens to your soul after that.

          As far as Agen is concerned, I think he's just a liar who has no more knowledge of any 'big G' gods then any of the other deities.

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          • #6
            Monotheism is extremely easy to explain in both additions settings.

            Fate, the unknowable, at least semi-intelligent force against which even the gods are helpless to fight against? Sounds like a supreme being and the Pantheons are just to full f themselves to admit there's something bigger than them.

            At least that's an easy way for an in character monotheist to think about it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by vonpenguin View Post
              Monotheism is extremely easy to explain in both additions settings.

              Fate, the unknowable, at least semi-intelligent force against which even the gods are helpless to fight against? Sounds like a supreme being and the Pantheons are just to full f themselves to admit there's something bigger than them.

              At least that's an easy way for an in character monotheist to think about it.
              All of that predicating on knowing all about that magical stuff, which it sounds like most people don't, so it's even easier to have monotheism in the setting because, like in real life, it's not relying on some kind of objective measure of how the world works, but on faith.


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              • #8
                For the general public yeah, but if you're a Scion who has met Gods, you're going to have to at least adapt to Henotheism... Unless you want to go full delusional and have the character believe all the deities he meets are demons trying to trick him... Which sounds like a reasonable concept for an antagonist.

                But a Henotheist who believes in a One True Highest God/Prime Mover, and all other deities are comparatively lesser functionaries.... Well the Orisha are going to tell you that's explicitly true! The Deva would put it more in Monistic terms of incarnate aspects of the greater whole, rather than intermediaries. The Aesir would just assume you were talking about the Wyrd and let out an exhaserbated sigh. The Theoi would turn you into a duck for suggesting it though - sure their are older forces like Xaos, Nyx, Gaea, and the Titans, but those forces were defeated or kept in their places by the glory of Olympus, and there is no glory greater.
                Last edited by glamourweaver; 09-25-2016, 07:09 PM.


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                • #9
                  And honestly, the "gods" aren't exactly a perfect group; they may be demonstratively real and powerful, but that doesn't mean they deserve worship. I'd prefer to put my faith in a deity that isn't inclined to turn into a swan and rape people, thank you very much. Then again, I am somewhat biased.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ZealousChristian24 View Post
                    And honestly, the "gods" aren't exactly a perfect group; they may be demonstratively real and powerful, but that doesn't mean they deserve worship. I'd prefer to put my faith in a deity that isn't inclined to turn into a swan and rape people, thank you very much. Then again, I am somewhat biased.
                    Indeed, and I think there's real potential in the 'Fate is God' idea. I'm surprised no one has mentioned it before since it fulfills the omnipresent and omnipotent checkboxes and (unless the ST is intent on destroying existence) is benevolent to some degree.

                    And I don't think Henotheism is necessary. The polytheistic gods would merely be metaphysical entities of various power levels, but all occupying a lower rung than God/Fate. Or, in the case of a Abrahamic/Angelic Pantheon, the other gods would simply be on the same level as angels and daemons.

                    I know the OP was thinking about crafting an Angelic/Abrahamic Pantheon and wanted to ask: how would Scions come to be? 1E was all about the ichor and divine parentage, something that could theoretically happen (given one interpretation of the Nephilim) but is unlikely with the more behaving angels. So, theoretically, if Michael was avoiding sex, how would he have a scion?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                      For the general public yeah, but if you're a Scion who has met Gods, you're going to have to at least adapt to Henotheism... Unless you want to go full delusional and have the character believe all the deities he meets are demons trying to trick him... Which sounds like a reasonable concept for an antagonist.

                      But a Henotheist who believes in a One True Highest God/Prime Mover, and all other deities are comparatively lesser functionaries.... Well the Orisha are going to tell you that's explicitly true! The Deva would put it more in Monistic terms of incarnate aspects of the greater whole, rather than intermediaries. The Aesir would just assume you were talking about the Wyrd and let out an exhaserbated sigh. The Theoi would turn you into a duck for suggesting it though - sure their are older forces like Xaos, Nyx, Gaea, and the Titans, but those forces were defeated or kept in their places by the glory of Olympus, and there is no glory greater.
                      True, although even for the public I think there is going to be more enough factual evidence available in the World that monotheism only makes sense if it is channeled through a Henotheist or Monist lens as you describe. Exclusionary monotheism seems so disproved by evidence that it appears the purview (no pun intended) of a deeply delusional and fanatical mind. Especially because all the other 'demons' seem equally powerful, just as real, and of the same kind as your hypothetic One True God. Well, Aten peddles in that kind of stuff, but unless his personality got radically rewritten, Aten is a megalomanic, delusional loonie.
                      Last edited by Irioth; 09-25-2016, 09:46 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ZealousChristian24 View Post
                        And honestly, the "gods" aren't exactly a perfect group; they may be demonstratively real and powerful, but that doesn't mean they deserve worship. I'd prefer to put my faith in a deity that isn't inclined to turn into a swan and rape people, thank you very much. Then again, I am somewhat biased.
                        Well, there is worship, and there is worship. Not all kinds of that need be of the kind Abrahamic faiths made our culture familiar with in the last millennium and half. If your gods are demostrably of the powerful but fallible or ethically flawed kind, it may easily be of a more... mercenary and pragmatic, favor-swapping kind: "I give thee this sacrifice, Mighty God, please do me this favor", or even of the supernatural protection racket kind "I worship thee, Mighty Goddess, please keep illness and bad luck away from me and mine". If one makes oneself familiar with how religion worked in polytheist or animist cultures, it shows worship was often of this practical kind, and few went around thinking the gods and spirits were safe or wise to ignore or slight simply because they weren't always benevolent or morally upstanding. From a pragmatic PoV, since in the Scion setting nothing suggests it would be feasible for mortals to make war against the Pantheons, it may be the preferable choice for most to try and get in the good grace of more powerful, untouchable entities even if they fancy to play fast and loose with consent in their many one-night-stands or lay down disproportionate retribution for petty slights.
                        Last edited by Irioth; 09-25-2016, 09:11 PM.

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                        • #13
                          I've always played it like Fate is God, but also I took a nod from Riordan and have the gods themselves not know the answer to it (Tyche I think is Buddhist in the Olympian novels). There's a joke in my game that Thor's been a ardent catholic since the 11th century, pissing off his dad and uncle to no end.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gnomish American View Post
                            I've always played it like Fate is God, but also I took a nod from Riordan and have the gods themselves not know the answer to it (Tyche I think is Buddhist in the Olympian novels). There's a joke in my game that Thor's been a ardent catholic since the 11th century, pissing off his dad and uncle to no end.


                            *tries to imagine Thor as a Catholic*

                            ...that's hilarious!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Leetsepeak View Post
                              It sounds like they just didn't purge as much or their efforts were not nearly as successful.

                              Just like I imagine there are plenty of polytheists who believe things which are patently false about their deities who they could actually meet if they were lucky, there's going to be plenty of folks in the World who are comfortably monotheistic because monotheist faiths like Christianity are not exactly relying upon some kind of hard visibility of their deity to derive legitimacy for it.

                              Or to think about it another way, when they declare all those pagan gods to be "false idols" it's not in the sense that those beings don't exist, it's in the sense that they are not the one Supreme God who reigns over all things from Heaven. If Zeus tells Joe Christian that's not the case, why is Joe Christian gonna believe him? Because he threw lightning from his hands? Guess who else can do that, Zeus! SATAN!*

                              *Maybe.

                              The key factor is that He is King of Kings - and more appropriately for the setting , God of Gods. God isn't making Scions, every baptized Christian is a Scion due to being Christ's adopted brother or sister. No, he's sanctifying Saints, Prophets, Missionaries - people to live his Word and to but the bug in the ear of the other Gods.

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