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Non-standardization in deities

gods theology religion

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9 replies to this topic

#1
gglorious

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Ok, in many worlds, divine beings are classified very straight-forwardly as gods in a pantheon. They all recognize the existence of the other gods, and they are all very substantially similar. They all belong to the same kind of theological structure.

My thinking on this is why not move away from that kind of model and into variations in deity shape, size, nature, and so on. So, let's just imagine One of Many as a god. One of Many is viable a divine concept, but is also moving away from too much focus on 1 person = 1 divine. Another possible model to consider in variation is the Trinity in Christian theology. The trinity is the notion of 3 divine persons in one deity. Unlike One of Many, it's often presented as something that really cannot be understood, and the nature is perplexing in certain ways where One of Many likely is not.

Given that cultural clash is a theme(at least last I thought), how will religious clashing take place? Will there be monotheistic cultures running into polytheism and trying to deal with the objective nature of the other divines through self-deception? Will there be notions of spiritual and divine beings, the sort granting divine powers, that don't really HAVE the full power of godhood? So, could there be "spirits" that can be appealed to? Could there be divine beings that claim they are the substance of existence, they claim to be something so transcendent that it avoids the particular nature of a local deity? Can godless priests, like those who follow an ideal, like Fall From Grace in PS:T be acceptable or allowed? If so, would they be accepted, shunned, or what?

What about the idea of unknown gods? They may simply hide, or maybe they belong to local groups that haven't entered the region yet, or maybe they just haven't entered the locality of the world yet. So, in Athens the shrine to the unknown god is pretty well known. Can this concept be applied to Project Eternity in some way shape or fashion? Should the idea of a solid pantheon, with unity and all the rest really be the agenda? It may be desirable to give a solid set of religious notions priests created by players have to accept for roleplay immersion, but perhaps not for the world.

#2
JFSOCC

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I like the idea that anyone significantly powerful enough can ascend to godhood, and each god is different in nature and power and scale.
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#3
Sarky

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I'd like to see a couple of completely inhuman gods. Gods are supposed to be well beyond mortal, after all. How about one of those humongous chtonic deities, something Lovecraftian, embodying a concept so completely that communicating with it is genuinely difficult, causing all manner of theological debate/argument/schism/jihad every time it so much as shifts in its slumber?

#4
Buddhist

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You could have several classes/factions of Gods. The Stranger Gods (for example), could be nigh-incomprehensible gods of the Abstract. I.E., they govern more "abstract" and strange concepts. They clash with the Closer Gods, which are your normal "pantheon", and they govern things which are more easily understood and familiar to people. There could be a third, singular "pantheistic" God who simply IS the whole (material) universe, like I posted here.

#5
AGX-17

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Ok, in many worlds, divine beings are classified very straight-forwardly as gods in a pantheon. They all recognize the existence of the other gods, and they are all very substantially similar. They all belong to the same kind of theological structure.

My thinking on this is why not move away from that kind of model and into variations in deity shape, size, nature, and so on. So, let's just imagine One of Many as a god. One of Many is viable a divine concept, but is also moving away from too much focus on 1 person = 1 divine. Another possible model to consider in variation is the Trinity in Christian theology. The trinity is the notion of 3 divine persons in one deity. Unlike One of Many, it's often presented as something that really cannot be understood, and the nature is perplexing in certain ways where One of Many likely is not.

Given that cultural clash is a theme(at least last I thought), how will religious clashing take place? Will there be monotheistic cultures running into polytheism and trying to deal with the objective nature of the other divines through self-deception? Will there be notions of spiritual and divine beings, the sort granting divine powers, that don't really HAVE the full power of godhood? So, could there be "spirits" that can be appealed to? Could there be divine beings that claim they are the substance of existence, they claim to be something so transcendent that it avoids the particular nature of a local deity? Can godless priests, like those who follow an ideal, like Fall From Grace in PS:T be acceptable or allowed? If so, would they be accepted, shunned, or what?

What about the idea of unknown gods? They may simply hide, or maybe they belong to local groups that haven't entered the region yet, or maybe they just haven't entered the locality of the world yet. So, in Athens the shrine to the unknown god is pretty well known. Can this concept be applied to Project Eternity in some way shape or fashion? Should the idea of a solid pantheon, with unity and all the rest really be the agenda? It may be desirable to give a solid set of religious notions priests created by players have to accept for roleplay immersion, but perhaps not for the world.


A monotheistic religion doesn't necessarily have to deny the existence of other gods. All it has to do is exclusively worship one god. The monotheists could just declare that their one god is mightier than all other gods.

And your line "So, could there be "spirits" that can be appealed to? Could there be divine beings that claim they are the substance of existence, they claim to be something so transcendent that it avoids the particular nature of a local deity?" is basically a description of Shinto's Kami, which are literally the spirits that dwell within something (everything, in fact.) Houses, trees, tools, mountains, rocks, etc. And they can become transcendent if respected, revered, worshipped, given offerings, etc.

Say the hammer of a recently deceased legendary smith, who loved that hammer and forged all his finest works with it, is treated with reverence after his death. The kami of that hammer will have become more godlike thanks to the smith's love of his tool, and will become more powerful as others revere the object out of respect for the smith and his works. As the cult status spreads, the spirit of the smith's hammer becomes the god of the smith's hammer, not just the smith in question, but of all smiths' hammers. Smiths will pray to and make offerings to the god of the smith's hammer to help them make better blades, etc. Stories like this are relatively common even in Japanese pop culture.

Edited by AGX-17, 28 November 2012 - 02:25 PM.


#6
PB_Popeye

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I really like shaking up the generally accepted ideas of godhood and the pantheon staple. It's been done to death by fantasy games at this point. Perhaps Godhood should be a far more vague premise that is placed upon beings that are simply powerful or difficult to comprehend. Stargate and Marvel's Thor take an interesting approach on this with extra-terrestrials being worshiped as gods. Take it to an even more dynamic level and throw in other groups of gods along with that. Perhaps a group that more closely relates to what a deity is generally depicted as, or a group that is depicted as lifeforces that govern certain realms, maybe a being that is more akin to a hivemind (picture the "single-organsim" mushroom in Oregon as sentient), or maybe just large talking animals like in Princess Monanoke. Why do the gods of a single fantasy universe all have to adhere to a single cookie cutter staple rather than being as (or more) diverse as the creatures that worship them?

#7
Buddhist

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Stargate and Marvel's Thor take an interesting approach on this with extra-terrestrials being worshiped as gods.


This is so common nowadays that it's completely boring. Really. If something like that was in Project Eternity I would probably throw a hissyfit while calling for the mass execution of the writers (or whichever soulless, brainless monster was responsible for making it be that way).

#8
Klice

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Even if it's common it could be well done..

#9
KaineParker

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Stargate and Marvel's Thor take an interesting approach on this with extra-terrestrials being worshiped as gods.


Dude, Marvel's Thor is a God.

#10
PsychoBlonde

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I'd like to see gods as they were at the very dawn of history, when they had numerous names and epithets, legends of their doings in the world, were immortal but apparently not invulnerable, and did peculiarly non-legendary things like raising cattle and getting so drunk they accidentally sealed themselves in a jug.
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