Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

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Salmoneus
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Salmoneus »

Pabappa wrote:
19 Apr 2020 02:11


The other thing I wanted to say is just speculation ... I wonder if there's any correlation between moralizing gods and religious warfare. It is well known that the ancient Greeks didnt fight religious wars .... it's not like they invaded Rome and said "there's no Jupiter! It's ZEUS!" ... no, they actually said that Jupiter *is* Zeus, and they did the same with Middle Eastern religions. There was even an attempt to add Yahweh to the Greek pantheon as if Yahweh was just another one of the many gods they already knew.

But I dont know how it goes beyond that .... there are many, many other religions in the world, and many many more throughout history that we remember very little about. It's possible that the rise of religious warfare in Europe is not related to Christianity, or to the different beliefs in the gods' morality that happened between then and now.
I don't think it's fair to consider non-Christian religions as 'non-moralizing'. Indeed, a great deal of Greek mythology may be regarded as didactic moral teaching, albeit teaching of a different sort of morality from Christianity. The Greeks generally got on fine with worshippers of other gods, or of their own gods in other names, but at many times and places they executed atheists, precisely because theism and morality were so strongly linked in their minds.

This is also why they tried to incorporate Jehovah. They did understand the existence of monotheism, but they regarded it as a form of atheism (because, logically speaking, believing in one god and believing in zero gods are the same thing...). Treating Jehovah as part of the pantheon allowed Jews to be rehabilitated, as it were, and saved from the accusation of atheism.

[as with most polytheists, Greeks often believed in a single universal deity - either on a personal level (as in the case of Socrates) or in a systematic way, as in the case of the Stoics (the Word) and Academics (the One). But this was considered separate from religion, and only really of philosophical interest. Indeed, when Christianity was adopted widely, it was largely only by reinterpreting it as a form of Academic philosophy (with some Stoic trappings - I mean, that whole "in the beginning was the Word" thing is clearly filched from Stoic dogma). In effect, rather than being, as it were, a moral conquest from without, the rise of Christianity (taking a slot that several other monotheistic faiths - Mithraism in particular, and Cybelism, and the cult of Sol Invictus, etc - also competed for) can be seen as the triumph of Greek/Roman philosophers over Greek/Roman priests...]

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In terms of later European warfare, I think what we really see is post-Imperial warfare. Strong monotheistic religions are closely associated with imperialism - emperors favour religions that share their ideology of centrism, totalitarianism and unitary control (as below, so above...). This is what we see with Rome - as emperors attempted to restore central authority, they increasingly imposed centralised religion.

However, in the West, this failed. Rome fell, and only Byzantium survived. But the religion had already been put in place. Consequently, the West had to grapple with a number of political legacy questions arising from the imperial religion:

- given that the Empire no longer has absolute power, and the barbarians are now dominating Imperials, does that mean that the barbarian version of the religion now takes precedence over the old Imperial version? [i.e. Arianism vs Homoousianism]

- given that only a 'secondary' city was now in charge of the remaining Empire, does that mean that the priests in that city now have independence, and even dominance, or should the original imperial priesthood retain religious authority, even though their city has lost political dominance? [i.e. Orthodoxy vs Catholicism]

- given that there is now no political unity in the west, and what imperial power there is (the Frankish HRE) has little connexion to the legacy religious authority, does that religious administration still have absolute religious authority, or should local political organisations control their own religion? [Catholicism vs Taborism/Protestantism/Erastrianism]


From the mere fact of the fall of Rome, these three great "religious" struggles (Rome vs Barbarians, Rome vs Byzantium, and Rome vs Germany] arise as political necessities (well, sort of - if the Arians had won the first fight, there might not have needed to be the third, as Catholicism could have been extinguished. Then again, Ottakar could simply have erected an Arian pope in Rome and the same sort of disputes could still have arisen. So it's not all pre-destined exactly...). The actual theological debates are very much of secondary importance!


As I often do, I urge people to look at history not in terms of rival groups, but in terms of tensions and contradictions within the system...

[and then of course there's also been a further dispute: Christianity vs Islam. Or "the people who used to be outside the empire now have just as much money and manpower as the people inside it!" - this was essentially 'round 2' of the Arianism dispute (a heretical 'barbarian' branch of the religion suddenly has more power. Islam happens to be more divergent than Arianism... but then again, if Arianism had survived and continued to fight against Homoousianism, who's to say what it might have ended up looking like?).
In my own writing, though, the most sensible option to me is to have my people believe in a primitive religion (i.e. the gods sometimes help you and sometimes hurt you) and to not fight wars over religion. If nothing else, it seems that weak, fragile humans do not owe the gods anything if the gods regularly kill defenseless humans with no immediately apparent moral reason.
That's not something most humans would agree with, though. After all, monotheist gods are often compared to traditional authority figures - kings, judges, fathers. And we all know that (and particularly back then!) kings, judges and fathers could often act against seemingly innocent people (even killing them!) for no reason that ordinary people understood. And yet obedience to kings, judges and fathers was agreed by all to be a moral absolute. Early christianity was relatively soft on the "do what god tells you because you'll get nice things from him!" side, and much more hardline on the "do what god tells you because he is your one true master" front.

The difference is that the Christian god was much more closely associated with centralised political authority, and hence much more authoritative. Greek gods were, at best, patrons rather than emperors - they helped out your city, and in return you honoured them, but they weren't seen as directly in charge of things. Largely because religious authorities didn't line up with political ones...
But there may be more to it .... I wonder if primitive religions may be more likely to syncretize their gods with those of their neighbors, and to see each tribe around them as actually belonging to the same religion after all, even if their customs and maybe even some of the names of the gods are different.
Leaving aside all the political stuff I mention above, I think another key feature here is that Christianity is a doctrinal religion. This, rather than monotheism, is probably its key innovation: it attempts to impose doctrinal unity. [the fact it has only one god, and hence only one ultimate authority, simply helps prevent disputes over doctrine, as well as symbolically mirroring the unitary authority within the religion, and within the government].

Greek religion*, on the other hand, was cultic. Your participation in the religion was a matter of being engaged in certain cultic rituals, groups and practices - theology existed, but was, as it were, an afterthought. What 'god' was invoked in your rituals, what that god was like, how that god related to other gods, was all in effect just after-dinner speculation. The real cult was a cultural (no pun intended) practice, like language or clothing or cuisine. When you heard about foreigners who dressed differently, ate different, spoke differently, or sacrificed differently, you naturally compared and contrasted. These people have abominable, barbarian rituals; those people have incomprehensible ablaut system; so-and-sos eat locusts; those weirdoes walk around half naked. But as you get to know these people better, you start saying things like "hey, although this language is weird, it's actually just as meaningful as ours!" and "their goddess actually sounds like it's just Demeter, if you think about it..."

Religion as a cultural practice is inherently local, and hence inherently pluralist. Greeks sometimes had strong ideas about good and bad language, clothing, and food, but even they didn't believe everyone should eat, speak and dress identically across the world. And it's easy to recognise a continuum of shared features and differences in cultural practices.

Whereas in a doctrinal religion, the religion is defined by "do they follow this centralised authoritative doctrine, yes or no?" - and then everyone can be divided immediately into believers, heretics (who get the doctrine wrong) and heathens (who ignore it).


[the great innovation of Roman monotheism was to weld together traditional cultic practices (a great way to form strong communities) with abstract philosophy (a great way to bridge the differences between communities) in the form of an authoritative central doctrine that included its own cultic practices, creating something that had the universalism of philosophy, but also the personal power of cultic religion.]




*I'd rather not label non-Christianity simply "primitive". I think it misses the point, as well as being offensive.

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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

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elemtilas wrote:
19 Apr 2020 04:09
I think you make a couple good points here. Particularly about syncretism. I think you're probably on to something in saying that "primitive" religions may be more likely to see equivalence in each other. Antilikewise, I think this is exactly why Christianity has never syncretised. I know the concept of absolute Truth is unpopular these last couple centuries, but when Truth comes among you and teaches you first hand, there's really no need to syncretise. Because why would you mix Truth with untruths?
Because most religious people aren't quite so small-minded!

The reality is, Christianity has always been highly syncretic. Christianity itself was a syncresis from the start. But beyond that, for most of European history, actual Christianity as practised by local people was largely a syncretic religion that combined 'official' Christianity with residual local pagan traditions. And then again, when Christianity went out into world beyond Europe, what it largely did was create syncretic forms that drew heavily on local traditions. Even today - look at things like the Day of the Dead and the cult of Santa Muerte (an inheritence from Mesoamerican death cults), or look at Pentecostalism with its speaking in tongues and miraculous healings (a clear descent from West African possession cults, via Vodun). And that's ignoring all the fully-fledged syncretic religions that have developed out of Christianity, like Manichaeanism.

It's even been a feature of theology. The exact things we're talking about with the Greeks - observing similarities with foreign religions and theorising that those religions were worshipping the same Greek gods in a different way - is also a hallmark of early theological thinking about the religions of China, India and West Africa (particularly associated with the Jesuit tradition).

In particular, Catholicism teaches that the Bible is, as it were, a divine shortcut to truth and good conduct - but it emphatically does NOT teach that it is the ONLY route to truth and good conduct. Central to Catholicism is the idea that nature and morality are fundamentally understandable to the person who thinks rationally about the world from a heart filled with love - and while it holds that independently arriving at "the Truth" is extremely difficult, if not in practical terms impossible, it also holds that mankind everywhere has struggled toward that enlightenment in its own ways, and not without some measure of success. And since even the Bible and the Sacred Tradition are not immediately and wholly understandable to all (but rather require both intellectual scholarship and constant striving for moral uprightness), non-Sacred religious traditions - whether it's the pious superstition of a peasant cult, or the meditation practices of a thoughtful heathen sect - can materially help Christians along their own path, albeit only to a certain extent, and hence should not automatically be despised.

[the hardening of attitudes toward heathens, and the internal Catholic struggle between the Dominicans (impose universally the one true doctrine!) and the Jesuits (understand heathen practices and use them as teaching aids!) largely reflects, again, political disputes, and in particular the extent to which the local inhabitants of an area were seen as potentially-helpful foreign allies (send in the Jesuits!) or as politically-incorporated subjects (send in the Dominicans!)...]


What you say about "Christianity" may have some validity for a particular flavour of modern Protestantism (and I guess some flavours of specifically American Catholicism that seem to have become Protestant in everything but name...), but doesn't really apply to the mainstream of historical Christianity as a whole.

As for religious wars antedating Christianity, one thing to keep in mind is that in those times, gods and religion almost always equated with nation and locality. Waging war on a country was tantamount to waging war on its gods and the people's religion. If you took the people into captivity and razed their temple and destroyed their idols, you destroyed their religion. So, while I get the feeling that they didn't wage religious wars as we'd understand the concept, I'd say that in a way every war was a kind of religious war simply by default.
That's really not true at all. Or rather, it's been true in certain times and places, particularly when dealing with small tribes. But more often, polytheistic gods transcend local political entities. The Greek city states were constantly at war, yet they shared the same gods; and while non-Greek gods might have different names, there was a general recognition that the same gods were worshipped from Morocco through to Burma (with the exception of the Zoroastrians), and from Britain and the Bospurus down to Ethiopia. India shared that understanding, and likewise as I understand it so did West Africa (although those gods, unlike those of India, were never integrated into the pantheons of the Mediterranean). Different nations might favour (or be favoured by) certain deities, or specifically dislike a certain deity, but there was no general one-to-one association between gods and nations. The same was also certainly at times true in Mesoamerica (I don't know how, eg, the Mayans viewed the Aztec gods; but there were plenty of wars between city states sharing the same religious pantheons, particularly between Mayan states).

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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

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Since there are quite a few inaccuracies here, I'm going to have to disagree with your assessment of Christianity by in large, and in particular early Christianity (essentially the Catholic Church); I admit my own lack of knowledge as regards the divergences of Protestant theology, which may very well demonstrate peculiar forms of personal syncretism, so can't really comment on those. All the same, I appreciate your knowledge of history, especially on the points in your last paragraph. Very interesting assessment indeed! And I'll have to look into that some more.

I'm not going to go point by point, because this forum really is not the place for it. I'm just going to focus on what I see as the main issue, and that is your use of the term "syncretic".
Salmoneus wrote:
19 Apr 2020 16:43
The reality is, Christianity has always been highly syncretic. Christianity itself was a syncresis from the start.
This is not the "reality" at all. Syncretism is the combination or melding of disparate elements into a new whole that is distinct from the parents. "Celtic rock" for instance is an example of syncretism in music, taking two distinct genres and fusing them into a new. In religion, Rastafarianism is clearly syncretic, taking elements of West African religions, aspects of Christianity and combining them with the worship of HSM Haile Selassie as God. You mention Manicheanism, which is also clearly syncretic.

However, the application of the concept to the Church is incorrect. There are certainly individuals and groups who engage in syncretism. Whether it's the practice of Yoga or the insertion of various aspects of feminist politics or New Age spiritual practices, these are not aspects of the divine institution and they have no bearing on the teaching of Jesus through his Church.

I'd posit that the more accurate term for what's going on is inculturation. Inculturation is simply the process of taking on the local or a new culture's forms & familiar practices, modes of dress and the like as a means of integrating revelation within the relevant culture. It's a kind of assimilation and one could easily name scores of examples just from the early Church, whether it's the continuation of the synagogue service or the ancient priesthood or the ideas of sacrifice and atonement, the placement of Christmas on Sol Invictus or the Immaculate Conception on Hilaria or the adoption of Roman civil dress or the appropriation of the symbol of humiliating execution. If any one, or even all, of these external forms were removed from the Church's practice, the Church's underlying doctrines and dogmas would remain unchanged. Clearly, syncretism is not what is going on here!

You mention Dia de los Muertos. That's not an example of the Church "melding" or syncretising elements of ancient Aztec Paganism. That's an example of assimilation of forms. Of inculturation. What happens is the Church encounters a new culture, examines its beliefs and practices. Those that are determined to be spiritually healthy and not contrary to the various dogmas & doctrines of faith can be assumed into the ordinary practice of the region. So, honouring one's loved ones with an altar that's got their picture and some of their favourite foods, praying for them, or bringing little remembrance trinkets or food to the cemetery: these are no different in kind than what the Church has always done: praying for the dead. It's just a matter of culture. Mexicans are clearly of a more celebratory nature! There's a lot of people dressing up in traditional costume, music, parades and so forth. It's a party! In India and the Philippines, they go to the cemetery clean off the graves, maybe paint them, place flowers and candles, maybe have lunch. Americans, and I suppose Britons, are rather more reserved. In my experience in the US, we gather for liturgy and prayer in the cemetery. The result, however, is not a syncretic religion. Doctrines surrounding Mictecacihuatl are not "added to" Catholic doctrines on physical death, eternal life and so forth.

As for religious wars antedating Christianity, one thing to keep in mind is that in those times, gods and religion almost always equated with nation and locality. Waging war on a country was tantamount to waging war on its gods and the people's religion. If you took the people into captivity and razed their temple and destroyed their idols, you destroyed their religion. So, while I get the feeling that they didn't wage religious wars as we'd understand the concept, I'd say that in a way every war was a kind of religious war simply by default.
That's really not true at all. Or rather, it's been true in certain times and places, particularly when dealing with small tribes. But more often, polytheistic gods transcend local political entities. The Greek city states were constantly at war, yet they shared the same gods; and while non-Greek gods might have different names, there was a general recognition that the same gods were worshipped from Morocco through to Burma (with the exception of the Zoroastrians), and from Britain and the Bospurus down to Ethiopia. India shared that understanding, and likewise as I understand it so did West Africa (although those gods, unlike those of India, were never integrated into the pantheons of the Mediterranean). Different nations might favour (or be favoured by) certain deities, or specifically dislike a certain deity, but there was no general one-to-one association between gods and nations. The same was also certainly at times true in Mesoamerica (I don't know how, eg, the Mayans viewed the Aztec gods; but there were plenty of wars between city states sharing the same religious pantheons, particularly between Mayan states).
Fair enough! I now stand (or rather, sit!) corrected.

I didn't know that their gods were understood so interchangeably and especially across such a wide are.

Question, when you say "West Africa", do you mean subsaharan French West Africa (Mali, Senegal, Cote d' Ivoire, etc) or do you mean Roman West Africa (the Mauretanias)? Also, any ideas why those gods weren't integrated?

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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

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So to summarise the first part: normal words don't apply to Christianity, because Christianity is the Truth of Jesus.

Got it.

[and if that's the definition of 'syncretism' you're using, then you're clearly in the wrong discussion, because it also doesn't apply to the Greek religion under discussion; and of course, trying to define religion on the basis of 'teaching', rather than cultus, is again a modern Protestantised worldview creeping in]

[and then again, regarding teachings: clearly, there is no Paul, no John, no Origen, no Augustine, no Thomas, no Nicaea and no Chalcedon, without Plato, without Aristotle, without Chrysippus, without Philo, without Plotinus. Indeed, there is hardly anything in Christianity that was not adopted wholesale from Greece.]

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On the second: I meant subsaharan west africa, although I don't know why you'd call it "French" - there were people there before the French (and the French did not control all of west africa anyway - if anything, I think I was speaking more of Nigeria and Ghana (i.e. the Yoruba and Akan cultural zones) than Cote d'Ivoire). I admit I don't know much about the details in this regard, but as I understand it the basic theology was shared across the region, within each local cultural zone there would generally be the same deities, and between nearby cultural zones there would be recognised similarities between gods of different names [the whole zone worshipped a monistic superdeity with minimal identifying features, so oecumenicalism probably wasn't much of a stretch...]

So far as we can tell, the Sahara acted as a fairly robust cultural and economic barrier during the classical period, although I'm not sure why (I think the Berber were already crossing it? Maybe not...). There is IIRC evidence of mediterranean influence in west africa, both Roman and Punic, but it would have been fairly indirect. It is indeed something of an interesting question why this should be, given that in the post-Roman world it ceased being the case (Islam penetrated deep into Africa, and major trade links (including the slave trade) with it).

[there was some cultural integration in east africa, however: the greek world extended to ethiopia, presumably aided by the red sea and the nile]


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To clarify one point: I'm not necessarily saying that if you asked the man on the street in Arambys whether they worshipped the same gods as the people in Tosali, they'd necessarily say yes (if they'd ever even heard of Tosali, which they wouldn't have done). But they would have been able to locate their pantheon in relation to the gods of the broader punic zone, and those pantheons would have been interpreted by the Greeks and Romans in terms of their own pantheons (and presumably vice versa), and likewise greek and hindu gods were interpreted in one another's terms (and even lived side by side, or were amalgamated, in the Indo-Greek kingdoms).


I think the key to understanding this is the concept of the "false god". Polytheist cultures rarely make much use of the idea of the "false god" (I'm sure instances have arisen, where a ruler improperly sets himself up as a god, or a local conman is caught faking miracles or the like, and their attempted cults are denounced as worshipping false gods... but this was not generally assumed of well-established religions and cultures in general). A polytheist may think of another culture's gods as strange, or even evil, but not normally simply as "false". The Greeks even observed that gods generally resemble the cultural values of their worshippers - but even then, they didn't tend to see these gods themselves as 'false'; rather, they saw the religion as the fallible product of human culture.

If you don't automatically dismiss other gods as 'false', then the question naturally arises: how many gods are there? When it comes to minor gods - spirits of lakes and groves and so forth - it's easy to say there must be gazillions of them (how many lakes are there in the universe!?). But when you're talking about quite major gods who do important things and have considerable power, it's natural to think that their number must be quite finite. So it stands to reason that, given the potential number of cultures in the world, eventually some must be worshipping the same gods. And after all, there is often a lot of overlap in what the gods do and how they behave. There's often room for debate as to which gods equate to which, exactly, but most people seem to have accepted that they must have equated somehow...

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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

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Salmoneus wrote:
21 Apr 2020 00:16
On the second: I meant subsaharan west africa, although I don't know why you'd call it "French" -
Because it's a handy designation for a geographical region which transcends actual political authority.

Thank you, though, for clarifying. That was very helpful!

I admit I don't know much about the details in this regard, but as I understand it the basic theology was shared across the region, within each local cultural zone there would generally be the same deities, and between nearby cultural zones there would be recognised similarities between gods of different names [the whole zone worshipped a monistic superdeity with minimal identifying features, so oecumenicalism probably wasn't much of a stretch...]
Interesting! What's a good source (or two) for looking into this more? (The theological / religious aspect,specifically.)
So far as we can tell, the Sahara acted as a fairly robust cultural and economic barrier during the classical period, although I'm not sure why (I think the Berber were already crossing it? Maybe not...).
Would probably be too large for vast armies to conquer and maintain, but I've read trade across the Desert was going on even in Roman times. Here as well.
There is IIRC evidence of mediterranean influence in west africa, both Roman and Punic, but it would have been fairly indirect. It is indeed something of an interesting question why this should be, given that in the post-Roman world it ceased being the case (Islam penetrated deep into Africa, and major trade links (including the slave trade) with it).
It could be the Arabs simply inherited the already existing trans Saharan network, perhaps?

Addendum:
To clarify one point: I'm not necessarily saying that if you asked the man on the street in Arambys whether they worshipped the same gods as the people in Tosali, they'd necessarily say yes (if they'd ever even heard of Tosali, which they wouldn't have done). But they would have been able to locate their pantheon in relation to the gods of the broader punic zone, and those pantheons would have been interpreted by the Greeks and Romans in terms of their own pantheons (and presumably vice versa), and likewise greek and hindu gods were interpreted in one another's terms (and even lived side by side, or were amalgamated, in the Indo-Greek kingdoms).
That makes sense!

I think the key to understanding this is the concept of the "false god". Polytheist cultures rarely make much use of the idea of the "false god" (I'm sure instances have arisen, where a ruler improperly sets himself up as a god, or a local conman is caught faking miracles or the like, and their attempted cults are denounced as worshipping false gods... but this was not generally assumed of well-established religions and cultures in general). A polytheist may think of another culture's gods as strange, or even evil, but not normally simply as "false". The Greeks even observed that gods generally resemble the cultural values of their worshippers - but even then, they didn't tend to see these gods themselves as 'false'; rather, they saw the religion as the fallible product of human culture.
Indeed. And herein we can also understand exactly why Jews & Christians see the gods themselves as false --- they are the product of fallible human culture. They are neither the "product" of the gods in question, being themselves creations of people, nor are they the product of God himself, who is not anyone's creation.
If you don't automatically dismiss other gods as 'false', then the question naturally arises: how many gods are there? When it comes to minor gods - spirits of lakes and groves and so forth - it's easy to say there must be gazillions of them (how many lakes are there in the universe!?). But when you're talking about quite major gods who do important things and have considerable power, it's natural to think that their number must be quite finite. So it stands to reason that, given the potential number of cultures in the world, eventually some must be worshipping the same gods. And after all, there is often a lot of overlap in what the gods do and how they behave. There's often room for debate as to which gods equate to which, exactly, but most people seem to have accepted that they must have equated somehow...
Even if you dó understand these gods to be 'false', and why, it's still a very interesting area of study!, and I appreciate you taking the time to further explain the ancient history!

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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

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I coined the term positive polytheists for the type of religion where people believe the gods of all the tribes get along with each other and can in some cases be identified as the same gods. But it seems like it's more common than I realized.

When I say my religion is primitive, I mean that it doesnt teach good morals. There is no concept of sin .... you do what youre told because it means the gods will protect you. And when bad things happen even to people who obey the commandments, its because their spirit has been contaminated, not because of secret bad behavior.

Im still putting together a scripture for this religion, despite its being very primitive .... so i have prescribed prayers like

"That night Ponīl and Getōs together chanted the prayers they were taught: "Thank you, Enōra, for blessing my womb with a child! We are in awe at what magic you have done. Please help me deliver my baby into the world.""

On Earth, a culture at this level of development with this type of religion would almost certainly have no written scripture.
I'll take the theses, and you can have the thoses.

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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

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Pabappa wrote:
23 Apr 2020 22:24
When I say my religion is primitive, I mean that it doesnt teach good morals.
So by 'primitive', you just mean 'not Christian'? Or 'not American'? Because 'good morals' isn't really an objective, scientific term...
There is no concept of sin
That sounds like a rather advanced religion! I think sin is probably the most primordial part of religion. Are there any 'primitive' religions without it?

Certainly, I think that a religion that managed to dispose of sin and replace it with a modern, purely consequentialist justification for religious obedience would have to be seen as highly advanced, rather than primitive.
.... you do what youre told because it means the gods will protect you.
You mean, like in Christianity?
And when bad things happen even to people who obey the commandments, its because their spirit has been contaminated, not because of secret bad behavior.
If a religion existed in which bad things only happened to seemingly-good people because of 'secret bad behaviour' - are there any such religions!? - then it would indeed be "primitive"! (some sort of extreme prosperity gospel)
Im still putting together a scripture for this religion, despite its being very primitive .... so i have prescribed prayers like

"That night Ponīl and Getōs together chanted the prayers they were taught: "Thank you, Enōra, for blessing my womb with a child! We are in awe at what magic you have done. Please help me deliver my baby into the world.""

On Earth, a culture at this level of development with this type of religion would almost certainly have no written scripture.
Again, I'm a bit queasy about the repeated use of terms like "primitive" and "development", which appear to suggest that Christianity is inherently superior.

In what way is your religion more 'primitive' that those of scriptural societies like the Vedic Indians or early Iranians?

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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

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well i guess we disagree. I call Ridia a primitive religion because it doesnt teach good morals. i could say it doesnt teach *any* morals, it consists mostly of stories and prescribed prayers. Though perhaps Im going a bit too far, because looking over my work i do see some stories that could be said to teach a moral lesson, even if it's one most people on Earth would disagree with. (e.g. a priest decides to blind one of her followers because he spoke out of turn ... and yes, all the authority figures in this religion are female). Ridia is bad on purpose because it's much more interesting that way. Also, there are magic spells, though I might start calling them prayers.

I dont think Ridia really resembles Christianity very much, and doesnt resemble an inversion of Christianity either. I created the religion from scratch, and though as I said earlier in this thread it's pretty near impossible to have any truly unique ideas in a religion since many questions have only a few possible answers, I dont think someone looking at my writing would think of Ridia as a Western-derived religion. If anything, they might notice the female power more than anything and start wondering if I hate women. (I don't; women in power is normal for this planet as they have some minor biological differences from us.)

Im not sure what you mean about sin ... certainly there are tribal religions where there are no sins? I mean, we even got this discussion going because of a link that implied that there was a pre-moral stage in human religion and only more recently did we get what the essay calls "moralizing gods". Ive even heard Shinto described as pre-moral. But even if Im wrong about that .... I am comfortable calling Ridia a primitive religion and my saying so is not meant to imply that any particular Earth religion is right or wrong, or good or bad .... Ridia is completely unlike any of them.

edit: i guess two other things i thought of that give away that Im not creating a "good" religion .... 1) the laws, morals, commandments etc change from one temple to the next, and each temple has its own version of the scripture, because they believe that the moral codes are decided by each temple's archangel and not by the gods. Thus, what is moral in one temple could be immoral in a temple a few miles away, and people are obeying the commandments because thats how they win the favor of their local archangel, not because of a higher moral code. 2) Breaking a moral law can lead a believer into a state of disgrace where they will be punished by the gods, but so can many other things, most of them being things that the believer can't stop, such as mispronouncing a word, cutting oneself on a piece of wood, or even just being physically ill. So, essentially, accidents and sins are the exact same thing, which I take to mean that there are no sins.
I'll take the theses, and you can have the thoses.

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