Doing atheists (Greycloaks) in Absalom?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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dunelord3001 wrote:
This isn't a debate...

Well, you're right on that point, at least. And, honestly, you're being rather insulting in your accusations. I suggest you drop it like a hot-potato and just accept that different people have different views from yours.


@Lemeres
Doesn't the Golarion setting require that most divine casters have a patron deity? I know there was some back and forth on that from various Paizo folks for a while, wasn't sure if they came down with 'yes' or 'yes in PFS.'

@Kazaan
If you are insulted by someone pointing out you aren't using words as defined in the dictionary I'd suggest using the words differently.

Liberty's Edge

@lemeres...good question. I hadn't really thought about witches, but I think he would probably see them as learning spells (like a wizard), just being taught them by some type of outside force (whatever is "possessing" or "feeding into" their familiar)...that's my initial gut reaction anyway


Yeah I played what could be considered an "Atheist" in Forgotten Realms. He was a Half Fiend Wizard. He understood that Gods existed. He just considered them Powerful Outsiders who had convinced the "Chumps" to worship them. He didn't hate them... heck he planned on joining them at some point. He was also Lawful Evil and considered good and evil a lie. He was more the selfish evil that had a deep set of standards he followed. He thought there was only Law and Chaos. And that "Good" was just a mask people used to get people to follow a set of out dated codes.

He was a ton of fun to RP. Im personally a religious person. I have a faith. But RPing someone completely different was cool.


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I found a letter I had written as the character I described... here is his letter to another player's character. A good cleric lol.

Zender the Infamous wrote:


There are very few truths in this world. I have found only two which hold any weight. Power and Law. Most would have you believe that there are others... Love, Friendship, Religion.... But these things are fleeting. Love can sour, Friends can turn to enemies, Gods can die. These things hold no true value.

Power however... it never fades. Now I know you will say that power can be lost and I will respond that while that may be true... A person can loose power, but that power will be gained by someone else. Power is never lost... just attained anew. If I drop a rock that rock still exist... someone else can pick it up and in doing so gain possession of the rock. The rock is eternal... only the owner of that rock changes.

Law is also an eternal truth. Laws bind us all. The laws of our world are what cause us to fall when we trip, or drown when we cant swim. These laws might change from world to world, they might be bent by magic, but those laws will remain. Each world have hard laws that determin what is right and what is wrong. Magic which can bend the laws of our world has its own set of laws which bind the magic user to its will. There will always be law.

Good and Evil... these things are not truths. Is it evil for the couragous paladin to slodder a village of goblins? Society says these creatures are evil and that the paladin did a "Good" thing. But what did the goblins do to the paladin? What of the inoccents... the children, the old, the women? Did they diserve what they recieved. Or was it truelly the Paladin who commited an evil act? Good and Evil are simply terms created by the weak to inform the masses what is expected of them. Morality is a lie.

Law though. It is what binds a group together just as law binds a world together. Law doesnt just tell you what is right and wrong... it clearly defines it. Unlike Good and Evil Law would have protected those goblins from being slaughtered. Law would have found the true wrong doing. Good and Evil are a tool used to control but Law... Law is the truth that society can build apon.


dunelord3001 wrote:

@Lemeres

Doesn't the Golarion setting require that most divine casters have a patron deity? I know there was some back and forth on that from various Paizo folks for a while, wasn't sure if they came down with 'yes' or 'yes in PFS.'

Hmm... that could be a good point. I am mostly basing my assumption that a specific god might not be needed because of the Sacred Servant archetype. Why have an archetype for worshipping a specific god if you had to do that anyway? The fluff for the archetype does say this:

APG wrote:
Paladins as a general rule, venerate the gods of good and purity, but some take this a step further, dedicating themselves to a specific deity and furthering the cause of the faith.

So while it is the 'general rule,' it might not be set in stone. At least as far as worship goes. The 'atheism' in pathfinder was more about denying that gods are worth worshiping. But that doesn't mean they are worth general trust and respect as powerful agents of good that can contribute to the cause.

Also, I would be confused by druids and rangers if they needed a god. Both are divine casters, but they get their power from nature (sure, there are nature deities, but those are still outsiders; you don't see druids typically taking outsiders as animal companions, so there seems to be some degree of distinction). Although I suppose you could always have them worship the fey eldest, since they have divine power and work with the theme added with fluff language stuff.

But this is just all rambling and assumptions on my part. You are likely right about the general rules, although I do wish for more information about divine casters other than clerics and inquisitors. Those are the ones I absolutely know need a god for PFS.


dunelord3001 wrote:

@Lemeres

Doesn't the Golarion setting require that most divine casters have a patron deity? I know there was some back and forth on that from various Paizo folks for a while, wasn't sure if they came down with 'yes' or 'yes in PFS.'

Same thing. PFS has to run everything by a standardized set of rules because it's organized play and needs to be almost identical from table to table.

If you're just playing around your kitchen table, you can do what you want with any setting. If you want clerics of a philosophy in your game, do it.


Well yeah anyone can house rule anything. But I was wondering if there was something I missed, offical or semi offical.


Technically, the PFS rules are the houserules. The book is quite clear about it; you don't need one.


dunelord3001 wrote:
Well yeah anyone can house rule anything. But I was wondering if there was something I missed, offical or semi offical.

The pathfinder GAME makes no requirement for clerics to have Gods.

Golarion, the world there pathfinder society takes place does. its less house rule and more of a setting rule.


Glad to see that we've sorted out how Golarion atheists can, in fact, exist. "Golarion atheists must be stupid or crazy, becuase obviously the gods exist!" was always a very silly argument.


The only valid position of "atheists" in Golarion is that the being normally referred to as gods aren't worthy of worship and that you reject doing so.

Whether Golarions gods are powerful outsiders or not is irrelevant since the pratical and useful definition of a god in the context of the game is that they have unimaginable power in comparison to mortals, can shape their home plane at will, and can grant magic to their devout followers. Really, in game mechanics the best measure of divinity is if they can grant spells they have some level of divinity.


cmastah wrote:

If I successfully manage to get my group to pick up PFS, I was curious about how to play up atheism in PF. Given that there is clearly divine and arcane magic in the world, along with angels, demons, undead, so on and so forth, how am I supposed to make atheists work?

A: "There are gods"
B: "No there aren't"
A: "But clerics channel their power"
B: "No they don't"

A: "There are demons"
B: "No there aren't"
A: "But there's the worldwound"
B: "No such place"

A: "We can use magic to contact the gods and angels"
B: "I speak to them too, in the middle of a drunken stupor"

I honestly have no idea how to portray atheists in a fantasy setting where you can contact divine beings as early as level 3. Agnosticism I can understand, but I'm worried about making the Greycloaks look like fools.

(This is not a thread to discuss religion, please keep the real world out of this thread and please open your own if you want to bring in all of those arguments with you, this is PURELY an in-game quandary)

Hey, I've just seen this and I haven't read the rest of the thread, but here are my thoughts:

First of all, Agnosticism would be WAY harder to pull off than atheism. Agnosticism is a lack of knowledge of the gods (almost impossible when they are active), atheism is a lack of belief in them (and even in the real world it's possible to be both. I am). Though really, both of these terms need a slight redefinition that also ends up bringing them closer together. A character has to accept that there are these incredibly powerful entities. Otherwise they are delusional (and that could be a fine character). The character does NOT have to accept that these creatures are deities or creators of worlds (I don't think any even claim they made Golarion do they?). I had an idea for a "genomancer" who was seeking to show that the gods were just a particularly evolved form of life but fundamentally no different than any other. So if we redefine agnosticism and atheism as a lack of knowledge or belief in the divinity of these entities, that is a rather simple character to play.

There is still room for misotheism, hate of gods or antitheism, hate of religion. Rahadoum is antitheist but from what I've seen, not misotheist. A misotheist or antitheist character may or may not also be agnostic and/or atheist or not. So it's possible for a character to possess any combination of these four philosophies.

Knowing which of the four they adhere to should give you a pretty good guideline for roleplaying that character. An antitheist agnostic would believe the gods are divine and but not know, and wouldn't hate them, but hates their religious institutions or even the idea of worshiping them altogether. A misotheist atheist sounds contradictory unless you apply common sense. They don't believe the gods are divine and they also hate the way they toy with "mortals" but they don't necessarily have a problem with the churches, who in fairness, may do good work (if its a good deity).

Even better, just like we have multiple gods in the real world, and most people are atheist concerning most of them, you can even mix these conditions based on which god you're talking about. It's possible to be an atheist concerning Asmodeus and Iomedae but not Sarenrae or Desna.
----

I hope that helps.


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awp832 wrote:


Calybos1: You don't understand atheism. Atheism absolutely IS the claim "gods don't exist."

Hi, no, you don't understand atheism. It's often defined as a form of "soft" atheism vs "hard" atheism. Atheism is the LACK of a belief in a god or gods. You're describing "hard" atheism here. There is a distinction between "I don't believe there is a god" and "I believe there is no god." and it can be a very large one. As I said earlier, I'm an agnostic atheist. I not only lack a belief in a god, I lack the knowledge to say for certain whether or not there is one. I could be said to be a "soft" atheist. Though probably none of my friends would agree with that if you asked them as I sometimes don't act like it.

Sorry to threadjack, just trying to inform about a misunderstood concept.


I'm being literal, not mean, but you are using the word wrong. It means not believing in any deity.

2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity

b : the doctrine that there is no deity

Also Graycloaks are specifically said to believe in gods. They don't think they are worth worshiping, but they know the exist because of divine magic according to the Guide to Absalom Page 13 and 14.

"Soft atheism" or "agnostic atheist" are short hand terms for "atheists who have some doubts or admit agnostic might the most logical choice since it God(s) can never be proven either way," or "agnostics who lean towards atheism." But the word itself is fairly absolute.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
cmastah wrote:
I honestly have no idea how to portray atheists in a fantasy setting where you can contact divine beings as early as level 3. Agnosticism I can understand, but I'm worried about making the Greycloaks look like fools.

I think it is criminal that no one has linked you to The God's Market Gamble, as that adventure specifically has atheist and anti-theist characters and involves the Greycloaks.

awp832 wrote:
Atheism wouldn't exist in Golarion.

And yet it does.


I thought the description of Runewolf, the leader of Graycloaks, in "God's Market Gamble" summed up the Atheist beliefs of the organization nicely, OP, in terms of an idea of how to play up the behavior

(EDIT: Ninja'd by TOZ, story of my life)

Dark Archive

And yet, one could very well believe that the 'gods' of Golarion are not in fact gods, just powerful outsiders, making atheism a valid choice.

This form of atheism wouldn't disbelieve that the beings that others call gods don't exist (although there isn't really a ton of evidence that they do, other than some people who are usually high up in their church and paid to say so muttering some words and claiming to have spoken to them or their representatives...), only that those 'gods' are just a bunch of hopped up celestials, fiends and sundry other outsiders.

Barring the high priests of entire religions, who may have indeed actually spoken to their god, the vast vast majority of clergy are going to have auguried, divinationed, communed, etc. with lower ranking celestial or fiendish or whatever servants of their purported gods, and even that highest of high level priests doesn't automatically *know* that the being on the other side of the commune spell is a god, angel or mysterious other outer planar entity.

The gods leave very little evidence of their existence, and the majority of 'miracles' their priests perform to 'prove' their existence can be performed by a dedicated arcanist just as easily (including healing, available to witches, alchemists, celestial sorcerers, etc. as well as a plethora of god-adjacent divine casters like druids, rangers, oracles and adepts).

"Ooh, ooh, I get my magic from my god! Proof! He answers my divinations!"

"Feiya gets her magic from her *pet fox.* That doesn't mean her fox is a god. And Ezren gets his magic from a book, which he also hasn't deluded himself into thinking is a god. Lini's magic seems to come from trees. Are trees gods? All three of them can cast divination spells, and none of them think that the voice on the other end of the line needs a cash offering to keep it's priests fancy headgear polished."

If it was easy to prove the actual existence of a god, Razmir wouldn't have managed to convince tens of thousands of his divinity for many decades.

Golarion has plenty of room for;
A) hard atheism, the so-called gods don't exist *at all* and all clerics who claim to have spoken to one are either lying or fooling themselves or have been cruelly deceived by lesser outsiders
B) soft atheism, a bunch of uppity (and, admittedly, very powerful...) outsiders call themselves gods, but aren't (so, belief that there may be an angel named Sarenrae, or a demon lord named Lamashtu, but that they aren't gods)
C) misotheism, the so-called gods may or may not be 'gods' or just uppity outsiders, but they don't deserve our worship
D) fair weather theism, eh, the gods may or may not exist, but if it costs me nothing to mutter a prayer to Erastil while planting my crops, what's the harm?


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dunelord3001 wrote:

I'm being literal, not mean, but you are using the word wrong. It means not believing in any deity.

2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity

b : the doctrine that there is no deity

Also Graycloaks are specifically said to believe in gods. They don't think they are worth worshiping, but they know the exist because of divine magic according to the Guide to Absalom Page 13 and 14.

"Soft atheism" or "agnostic atheist" are short hand terms for "atheists who have some doubts or admit agnostic might the most logical choice since it God(s) can never be proven either way," or "agnostics who lean towards atheism." But the word itself is fairly absolute.

That means only that Merriam is behind the times. Their definition of atheism is as lacking as Golarion's handling of it has been so far.

implicit vs explicit atheism

atheism as defined by Cambridge, with sources

A lot of people are of the mind that it's impossible to be an atheist without also being an agnostic. The idea of a god, like any hypothesis, is impossible to prove entirely wrong. That's just the nature of ideas.
I have absolutely no doubt in my convictions. I have an atheist viewpoint and a gnostic viewpoint concerning Thor, Nethys, Yahweh, etc, but I have no way of being gnostic concerning the idea of any divine entity existing. The information is simply unavailable. But I have absolutely no doubts. There's no reason to demand such an absolute definition for atheism when it's not necessary and if there is no other term for such a lack of belief.

Just keep in mind that gnosticism and theism are different yet related questions. They are not marks on the same scale.


wraithstrike wrote:
I don't know what a greycloak is, but the existence of deities and their agents is nigh impossible to ignore in Golarion. You would not have a logical point to stand on. Your character would be that person who refuses to believe ____ just out of sheer stubbornness most likely.

It is possible.

All clerics are just wizards who figured out how to cast wearing armor, and they have some elaborate conspiracy to cover up how they do it. When you ask them, they spout garbage about divine beings and worship, but it is all a smokescreen. I am on to them. I know their game....

Basically, you would be on par with the people who believe that the moon landing were faked...


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Davick wrote:
awp832 wrote:


Calybos1: You don't understand atheism. Atheism absolutely IS the claim "gods don't exist."

Hi, no, you don't understand atheism. It's often defined as a form of "soft" atheism vs "hard" atheism. Atheism is the LACK of a belief in a god or gods. You're describing "hard" atheism here. There is a distinction between "I don't believe there is a god" and "I believe there is no god." and it can be a very large one. As I said earlier, I'm an agnostic atheist. I not only lack a belief in a god, I lack the knowledge to say for certain whether or not there is one. I could be said to be a "soft" atheist. Though probably none of my friends would agree with that if you asked them as I sometimes don't act like it.

Sorry to threadjack, just trying to inform about a misunderstood concept.

You are pretty dead on here on hard vs soft atheism. I say that as an agnostic theist. I do believe God exists, but I am agnostic about specifics of what God is like. Like you, I don't come across that way because I live in accordance with my beliefs, not my doubts.

I would add that hard atheism is a pretty tough position to hold in general. It is a positive assertion that "God does not exist". Positive assertions open you up to demands for proof, and it is essentially trying to prove a negative. This is why hard atheism becomes something of a strawman for theists to attack even though soft atheism is far more common.

I don't think this is a thread jack. If you are going to talk about atheism in Golaron, then we need to have a clear understanding of what atheism is.

That said, soft atheism is completely viable in Golaron. Something of the flavor "I don't believe that these "Gods" are anything more than mortal creatures with very powerful magical abilities" or "I have never seen a God, so I don't believe they exist. Show me a God, and I will be glad to change my mind."

Hard atheism would be a positive belief that you could prove the "Gods" are not really divine creatures or don't exist, which seems pretty like a very irrational position in a world full of magic.


Belief in god(s) really does nothing to settle my inquisitiveness, if I given evidence of the existence of, for example, the Christian God, I'd immediately ask, "Who created him?" and/or "Why did he spontaneously pop into existence?" and even upon an answer to that, I'd keep asking for the next level. "It's Gods all the way up.", is no more satisfactory to my mind than, "It's turtles all the way down."

This is the source of my atheism in the real world, and so to me it is fairly straightforward to be an atheist in a world with powerful divine beings that provide miracles to their worshipers on a daily basis.

It is even possible to be one of those worshipers and an atheist.

Most of the time, the gods presented are not the creator(s), their powers are limited, they are not omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent.

Most gods in fantasy settings don't even CLAIM to be any of those things, let alone all of them.

The gods are presented as beings just as lost and confused as mortals, and some gods are probably even more confused than particularly well informed mortals. (I actually feel sorry for them, to have all that power/knowledge and still be fundamentally in the dark, must be frustrating on a level outside mortal ken. Still, somehow they overcome their depression and go along doling out miracles and seeing that souls find their reward, so bully for them.)

It is also possible in most game worlds for mortals to acquire or be granted the same divinity... further undermining any concept of the gods being anything special or distinct. Gods are just powerful souls doing the jobs that they either appointed themselves to, were given by other gods or forced into by the world (fate?) itself.

Their immortality isn't even particularly special, since generally all creatures have souls that live on forever in the heavenly domains of their gods/alignments.

In some ways the gods are the only mortals, the lore of a thousand worlds is replete with tales of gods being killed, sometimes, they come back from it, but most times they don't. Mortals seem to always get an afterlife though, and I've never heard of someone killing a soul in heaven or ending the suffering of a soul in hell. (Though it is probably possible, and probably easier than permanently ending a deity, I don't know. I suspect it is just a situation where no one talks about it because... reasons.)

So, these beings called gods are certainly powerful enough that all mortals should respect/fear them, and depending on the specifics they may even be worthy of worship/idolization, but they should be seen as fundamentally peers (by anyone with enough arcane or religious knowledge), as there is nothing they have or do that a properly motivated (or unfortunate) mortal can't achieve (or bumble into).


Not that it's relevant to Pathfinder, but didn't one of the D&D settings basically have a wall for all the atheist to sit in enternal torment after their death? While the faithful of a god were taken by the god to their plane to become a petetioner?


Davick wrote:

That means only that Merriam is behind the times. Their definition of atheism is as lacking as Golarion's handling of it has been so far.

implicit vs explicit atheism

atheism as defined by Cambridge, with sources

A lot of people are of the mind that it's impossible to be an atheist without also being an agnostic. The idea of a god, like any hypothesis, is impossible to prove entirely wrong. That's just the nature of ideas.
I have absolutely no doubt in my convictions. I have an atheist viewpoint and a gnostic viewpoint concerning Thor, Nethys, Yahweh, etc, but I have no way of being gnostic concerning the idea of any divine entity existing. The information is simply unavailable. But I have absolutely no doubts. There's no reason to demand such an absolute definition for atheism when it's not necessary and if there is no other term for such a lack of belief.

Just keep in mind that gnosticism and theism are different yet related questions. They are not marks on the same scale.

Short answer: No. Also Gnosticism and theism are not directly related to the meaning of the word atheist and just muddy the issue. A sawhorse isn't a type of horse, don't over think things.

Long answer:

Most of what the Investigatingatheism is referring to the archaic use of the word when it also referred to Christain heretics, as is addressed in the Merriam-Webster link I already posted. Like your link reads

Perhaps the most obvious meaning to many people now is the absence or rejection of a belief in a God, or gods.

They also go on to state that Michael Martin suggests that agnostic is a type of 'negative atheist' and go on to list his definition as often be criticized for being not what most people understand the words to mean and therefore unhelpful.

Implicit Atheism mainly deals with simple absence of belief without any judgement/rejection of those ideas. Explicit Atheism is actively judging those ideas as irrational and should be rejected by others.

Neither of those sources you put up suggest the use of the term 'atheist' implies/means anything but/besides/in addition to someone who doesn't believe in God(s) without immediately attempting to discredit that idea.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
Not that it's relevant to Pathfinder, but didn't one of the D&D settings basically have a wall for all the atheist to sit in enternal torment after their death? While the faithful of a god were taken by the god to their plane to become a petetioner?

Pretty sure that is Forgotten Realms.


Charender wrote:


All clerics are just wizards who figured out how to cast wearing armor,

Which you can do by being a bard, taking arcane armor training, being a magus, paying for mithral armor, using the still spell feat, casting spells without a somatic component.. its not exactly unique enough to say "Oh my god it must be completely different!"


dunelord3001 wrote:

Short answer: No. Also Gnosticism and theism are not directly related to the meaning of the word atheist and just muddy the issue. A sawhorse isn't a type of horse, don't over think things.

...

I'll PM you.


reading through this thread some more, the concept of people in Golarion viewing deities as powerful outsiders but no divinity still seems werid to me, because I don't know what your concept of "divinity" have to be like to make a case that Sarenrae (or asmodeus) doesn't have it.

wikipedia says: (A deity) is a supernatural being, and who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred.

Sarenrae seems to check all those boxes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Seems to me you just have to think Sarenrae isn't a holy or sacred being. Done.

Then you just think she's a supernatural being like all the rest.


what seems weird to me is that it took like three pages for anyone to actually answer the question

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm here for you, Lamontius.


ok good but hold on I am going to talk about my own personal beliefs for like six pages first


Charender wrote:
Hard atheism would be a positive belief that you could prove the "Gods" are not really divine creatures or don't exist, which seems pretty like a very irrational position in a world full of magic.

"Magic exists" does not imply "gods exist." It especially does not imply "Sarenrae is a god"

Its easy to prove that gods do or don't exist:

First, we need to decide what a god is.

If a god is: "A being who is powerful enough to lay claim to being a god and not have anyone contradict them." Then they clearly exist.

If a god is: "A being worthy of unquestioning obedience." Then I can claim that nothing is worth unquestioning obedience, thus no gods can exist.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Not that it's relevant to Pathfinder, but didn't one of the D&D settings basically have a wall for all the atheist to sit in enternal torment after their death? While the faithful of a god were taken by the god to their plane to become a petetioner?
Pretty sure that is Forgotten Realms.

I feel like having someone who isn't a jackass being in control of your soul should convince 99% of people to worhsip a deity. Even if it's the deity of "not being eternally tormented in a wall".


that's not what i was asking, TriOmega.

I was asking you to explain a concept of divinity that Sarenrae doesn't meet.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Charender wrote:


All clerics are just wizards who figured out how to cast wearing armor,

Which you can do by being a bard, taking arcane armor training, being a magus, paying for mithral armor, using the still spell feat, casting spells without a somatic component.. its not exactly unique enough to say "Oh my god it must be completely different!"

The casting without armor isn't what puts you into tinfoil hat territory.

The idea that all of the religious leaders in Golaron colluded to make people belief that the Gods exist, and have been perputating the myth for centuries is what puts you into tinfoil hat territory.

If the Gods didn't actually exist in some form or fashion, the actions of the various religious instutitions to make people believe they do exist would constitute a conspiracy that is simply amazing in scope and depth. High level arcane magic users would also have to be in on the conspiracy, since they have access to divinations that would let them divine the truth.


Much as I dislike the concept of a Pathfinder atheist it doesn't have to mean you hate the gods/won't work with their churches. "Sarenrae is doing the best she can to be a force of good in the world, and helping us get sun shine is awesome of her. I just don't really think she is a god per say."

Charender wrote:

The casting without armor isn't what puts you into tinfoil hat territory.

The idea that all of the religious leaders in Golaron colluded to make people belief that the Gods exist, and have been perputating the myth for centuries is what puts you into tinfoil hat territory.

If the Gods didn't actually exist in some form or fashion, the actions of the various religious institutions to make people believe they do exist would constitute a conspiracy that is simply amazing in scope and depth. High level arcane magic users would also have to be in on the conspiracy, since they have access to divinations that would let them divine the truth.

Also in tinfoil hate land, but separate is the idea that there isn't any conspiracy per say, just a whole big pile of WRONG!


Knight Magenta wrote:
Charender wrote:
Hard atheism would be a positive belief that you could prove the "Gods" are not really divine creatures or don't exist, which seems pretty like a very irrational position in a world full of magic.

"Magic exists" does not imply "gods exist." It especially does not imply "Sarenrae is a god"

Its easy to prove that gods do or don't exist:

First, we need to decide what a god is.

If a god is: "A being who is powerful enough to lay claim to being a god and not have anyone contradict them." Then they clearly exist.

If a god is: "A being worthy of unquestioning obedience." Then I can claim that nothing is worth unquestioning obedience, thus no gods can exist.

First, magic increases the possibilities of what can happen. More possibilities means that theories and ideas are harder to falsify. Higher difficulty of falsification means higher difficulty of objectively proving anything. Thus, objectively proving hard atheism is more difficult in a fantasy world.

Second, the definition of gods doesn't matter.

Your can claim that "nothing is worthy of unquestioning obedience" is a claim about your personal experience. Objective truth is true for everyone regardless of whether they accept it or not.
Whatever definition of god the Hard Atheist uses, they have to be able to objectively disprove it for everyone.

"I do not believe that Sarenrae is worthy of unquestioning obedience from anyone." -> Soft Atheism

VS

"I can objectively prove that Sarenrae is not worthy of unquestioning obedience from anyone." -> Hard Atheism.

TLDR: Proving an objective truth is a lot harder than just making a claim based on personal experience. Proving it in a world full of magical possibilities is even harder.


dunelord3001 wrote:

Much as I dislike the concept of a Pathfinder atheist it doesn't have to mean you hate the gods/won't work with their churches. "Sarenrae is doing the best she can to be a force of good in the world, and helping us get sun shine is awesome of her. I just don't really think she is a god per say."

Charender wrote:

The casting without armor isn't what puts you into tinfoil hat territory.

The idea that all of the religious leaders in Golaron colluded to make people belief that the Gods exist, and have been perputating the myth for centuries is what puts you into tinfoil hat territory.

If the Gods didn't actually exist in some form or fashion, the actions of the various religious institutions to make people believe they do exist would constitute a conspiracy that is simply amazing in scope and depth. High level arcane magic users would also have to be in on the conspiracy, since they have access to divinations that would let them divine the truth.

Also in tinfoil hate land, but separate is the idea that there isn't any conspiracy per say, just a whole big pile of WRONG!

Interesting, had not thought of that one. Personally, that one seems even deeper in THL(tinfoil hat land) than mine, but depending on your personal opinions about what constitutes average human intelligence, YMMV.

The Exchange

I am told that theologians in the Vatican have debated the nature of the Trinity for over a thousand years. (Nice work if you can get it. Indoors. No pig manure.)

I throw out the observation only to accentuate the low chance of this thread successfully defining any philosophical or religious concept, except perhaps "argument".

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
awp832 wrote:

that's not what i was asking, TriOmega.

I was asking you to explain a concept of divinity that Sarenrae doesn't meet.

What does that have to do with the OP's question?


Charender wrote:
Proving an objective truth is a lot harder than just making a claim based on personal experience. Proving it in a world full of magical possibilities is even harder.

That sword cuts both ways. You add magic to the world, now there are more rules. For example, there is some evidence that Pharasma knows when the world will end. Magic is not "free."

Charender wrote:


"I can objectively prove that Sarenrae is not worthy of unquestioning obedience from anyone."

Atheism does not make a claim about the world, but about what I believe the world to be.

Agnostic atheism -> "I don't think there is a god / we should worship Sarenrae, but I'm not sure, and looking for more information."

vs.

Gnostic atheism -> "I do not think that a god exists / we should worship Sarenrae, and I really don't see what argument there could be that would sway me."

The difference is more a question of certainty. I mean, its always possible that some demon is playing with my mind, and making me see the world wrong. The hardest of hard atheists must admit that they base their conclusions on their experiences of the world.

That being said: I don't need to conclusively prove that any given fact is true or false. I just need to point out that the evidence for it is weak / absent. For example you don't think there is a pink teapot orbiting the sun at a distance of 1.2 AU, even though you have not checked.


MrSin wrote:
Pizza Lord wrote:
It would seem possible to be an atheist cleric who worships nature or a philosophy, such as Good or Fire and still be considered an atheist while having access to all the same healing or divine spells as someone who worships a 'god'.
PFS won't let you play characters like that though. You have to have a god if your a cleric, cavalier of the order of the star, paladin, inquisitor, and I probably missed something else.

From what I recall of statements by the developers, in Golarion a cleric must have a god. Oracles don't need one, but clerics do.


Charender wrote:
Interesting, had not thought of that one. Personally, that one seems even deeper in THL(tinfoil hat land) than mine, but depending on your personal opinions about what constitutes average human intelligence, YMMV.

I'd say it is a little less in THL since it is probably easier to let that guy live by you in town. Sort of adjusting the crazy to the highest level you can function at.

"Bobby doesn't believe Seranraye is a goddess!"

"What?! That's crazy."

"Yeah, he just thinks she is a really nice lady. Weirdo! Let's get dinner."

VS.

"Bobby doesn't believe Sarenrae is a goddess and wants to burn down the church."

"Arrest him!"


Charender wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Charender wrote:


All clerics are just wizards who figured out how to cast wearing armor,

Which you can do by being a bard, taking arcane armor training, being a magus, paying for mithral armor, using the still spell feat, casting spells without a somatic component.. its not exactly unique enough to say "Oh my god it must be completely different!"

The casting without armor isn't what puts you into tinfoil hat territory.

The idea that all of the religious leaders in Golaron colluded to make people belief that the Gods exist, and have been perputating the myth for centuries is what puts you into tinfoil hat territory.

If the Gods didn't actually exist in some form or fashion, the actions of the various religious instutitions to make people believe they do exist would constitute a conspiracy that is simply amazing in scope and depth. High level arcane magic users would also have to be in on the conspiracy, since they have access to divinations that would let them divine the truth.

Wouldn't the presence of so many religions in the real world mean at least one of them.would be guilty of this? If its occurring in the real world, what makes it so crazy in golarion?


Davick wrote:
Charender wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Charender wrote:


All clerics are just wizards who figured out how to cast wearing armor,

Which you can do by being a bard, taking arcane armor training, being a magus, paying for mithral armor, using the still spell feat, casting spells without a somatic component.. its not exactly unique enough to say "Oh my god it must be completely different!"

The casting without armor isn't what puts you into tinfoil hat territory.

The idea that all of the religious leaders in Golaron colluded to make people belief that the Gods exist, and have been perputating the myth for centuries is what puts you into tinfoil hat territory.

If the Gods didn't actually exist in some form or fashion, the actions of the various religious instutitions to make people believe they do exist would constitute a conspiracy that is simply amazing in scope and depth. High level arcane magic users would also have to be in on the conspiracy, since they have access to divinations that would let them divine the truth.

Wouldn't the presence of so many religions in the real world mean at least one of them.would be guilty of this? If its occurring in the real world, what makes it so crazy in golarion?

I think the difference is that there are a lot people in Golarion who do have access to the truth through various spells and other powers. All of them would have to be in on the conspiracy or at least be kept quiet.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I play it more as "antitheism" rather than atheism. It seems difficult to make a case against gods or goddessess in a fantasy setting, unless one deliberately goes out of one's way to make them mysterious and inconsistant (i.e. ala A Song of Ice and Fire and such). Since this is Absalom, the city where there is a magic hunk of rock which grants divinity, it becomes very difficult to be an "atheist." But an antitheist?

By "antitheist" I mean someone who acknowledges that the beings others call "gods" exist. But they do not acknowledge them as being worthy of worship. They'd probably believe they were simply extraordinarily powerfuloutsiders, and thus about as deserving of a mortal's reseverance as the eldest of dragons: oh sure, they're horrifying and mighty, but do we need to grovel at their feet? They are, after all, merely another type of creature. It's only a difference of scale.
Such people may also believe that clerics get their magic not through actual communion with the gods, but through the sheer force of their faith. Perhaps these people point to oracles and say "well what about them? Divine magic, no gods. What's the problem?"
Finally, such people would point to Aroden's demise as concrete evidence of this, claiming that if these beings are in fact mortal, there is literally nothing to distinguish them from the common outsider beyond a higher level of power.
THIS is what the greycloaks would probably think. They might not respect the dogma of these beings and chose to live their own lives. They might reject obeying a creature simply because it is powerful in the same way people sneer at dragon cults. They might believe that these things do not grant spells, and THIS of all things would be difficult to prove.

I find that it would take someone insanely delusional or perhaps foolish to reject their existence alltogether, though, since that person's great-great-great-great-great-great-etc. grandpa was probably drinking at the same bar as Mr. Cailean when he took the plunge. So, yeah, not atheists. Antitheists.


Charender wrote:
I would add that hard atheism is a pretty tough position to hold in general. It is a positive assertion that "God does not exist".

To clarify: Atheism is the lack of belief in gods; whether that lack is due to disdain, uncertainty, or outright declaration that "gods do not exist" is up to the individual, but all three types are genuine atheists because they lack belief.

Agnosticism is not a halfway house for 'atheists with doubts;' it's an unrelated position regarding KNOWLEDGE, rather than FAITH. There are agnostic atheists and agnostic theists, just as there agnostic Republicans and Democrats.

Someone who asserts "God does not exist" is contained within the broader category of atheists, but he doesn't define the category. Even though it sure would be convenient for certain evangelists and missionaries if he did....

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