Thought Experiment: A Cleric dedicated to Atheism


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Although I agree with Rynjin's explanation of atheism in the real world I think it is reasonable in a fantasy world like Golarion for an atheist to accept that the traditional gods are powerful beings that do exist but not recognise them as being true gods. To use a thought experiment analogy: if it turns out that we are all really just minds trapped in the Matrix I would not consider the machines to be gods even though they created and ruled the world that I existed in.

Atheism is an interesting concept, the majority claim to be believers and yet everyone is an atheist to some extent. To paraphrase Richard Dawkins there is always at least one god you don't believe in.


Ashiel wrote:
To my knowledge, there is no religion that actively promotes learning and the revision of dogma based on newly attained evidence.

Deism?


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JDPhipps wrote:
Even from a DnD standpoint, encouraging followers not to think and have agency other than that of the church is really more inherently lawful than it is evil. Strict adherence to a set of rules is, by its nature, lawful.

Oppression is textbook evil in D&D. Oppression through order is lawful evil.

Quote:
And in a world where your deity can literally cure your wound and bless your water, strict adherence to those rules is less dogmatic and more of a practical decision.

Except it really isn't, apparently. Adepts for example don't need deities. Nor do oracles. There are plenty of non-deities who heal things. Druids, Rangers, and Paladins all have divine magic and are capable of healing without getting magic from deities. In fact, Paladins are among the best healers and they can heal without even using spells.

And since the core rules assume that clerics can perform magic based on their devotion to their ideals, it would seem that faith or more specifically the spiritual heart is more important outside of things like Golarion.

Which makes sense because D&D/Pathfinder assumes that most sentient creatures have a dual nature. Essentially you are an outsider in a meat-shell. Plenty of outsiders have the ability to perform magic, including healing the sick and such.

Quote:
The Cult of the Dawnflower is perhaps your best example, but that's no different than when different sects of the same religion have a spat. You know, like when Martin Luther made his theses. Just a little spat. It's certainly not the best situation for Saerenrae's followers by any means, but it's hardly a case to say that it's evil or anything you seem to be asserting.

A little spat that involves radical bloodshed, killing, and violence. For which a "good" deity doesn't denote her disapproval of these things by simply withdrawing her blessings from those in the wrong.

Because if deities are required, then the moment the dawnflowers began doing evils, the spell river would have gone dry and it would have been very obvious that maybe this radical violence in the name of this goodly peace goddess is not the goddess' will. But apparently it is, because she keeps providing spells to the radical extremists.

Because of this, I think it's impossible to argue that she's a good deity when she won't even intercede through inaction to dissuade her followers for doing wrong. She is literally just allowing it to happen, when all it would take would be to cut the line long enough for them to get the hint that murder and violence is not her will. Since she doesn't, I don't see how it isn't.


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Avoron wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
To my knowledge, there is no religion that actively promotes learning and the revision of dogma based on newly attained evidence.
Deism?

Hmm, I'll look into this. Though from first glance, it seems that deism sprang up as the natural evolution of being raised a theist and then having reason shoveled into your face to the point that you cannot in good conscience dirty yourself in the bull**** anymore but aren't ready to abandon the idea that there is greater consciousness involved.

I can relate to that.

Shadow Lodge

Avoron wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
To my knowledge, there is no religion that actively promotes learning and the revision of dogma based on newly attained evidence.
Deism?

*high-five*


I thought the internet moved passed the whole debating with atheist about religion being pure evil with the meme *tips fedora*

Come on guys. You don't need to prove to atheist that there isn't one divine truth about religion.


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Religious organisations have progressed as society has progressed. Read up on the methodist middle classes in england if you want to see how religious motivations improve society.

Ashiel wrote:
I'm not familiar with anything stressing the sanitation, at least not in my own religion, since most religions were started by ignorant people who believed that diseases are supernatural rather than biological and the appropriate response is to pray them away or figure out why you're being divinely punished, tested, or cursed.

Edward Jenner was a vicar's son; the provision of clean water is a key component in Islam; english religious middle classes were key drivers for the development of sewage treatment, and hygiene. You have heard of the expression 'cleanliness is next to godliness.' If you aren't familiar with something, consider not posting about it.

Ashiel wrote:
And while religious organizations may have begun certain advancements, religion itself has nothing to do with any of those advancements, and has actively led to the decline of and resistance to the advancement of knowledge. Especially when that knowledge conflicts with the accepted dogma of the religion.

Here is a list of ordained priests that were scientists. The list includes Nicolaus Copernicus who was a bishop and Gregor Mendel who was a monk there are a couple of hundred on the list. Your assertation that religion is somehow anti-knowledge is unsupported.

I suggest you stop making sweeping statements about 2000 years of history. Religion is not all good or all bad. Ultimately what you are talking about are people - and they are good and bad, greedy and generous, superstitious and educated.


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O for Holy Jebediah's sake, it's this sort of thread. Half of people saying that "religion" is evil and stifles progress, and another half saying that "religion" does the opposite, with neither really explaining what they mean when they say "religion".

"What?"-I hear you say-"Open up a dictionary if you don't know, religion is a very common word, everyone knows what it means!"

That so? Well, which of the following common meanings do YOU use:

"religion" as in "Personal moral beliefs of a person"

"religion" as in "Personal historical beliefs of a person"

"religion" as in "A set of cultural practices this person has"

"religion" as in "The practice of following these beliefs"

"religion" as in "Major organisations that promote religion(aka church)"

"religion" as in "A tool politicians(and I am using this in a broad way, "someone who has political power") use to get what they want"

"religion" as in "Community that arises around a common theme of religion"

"religion" as in "A label people assign to themselves and others for group identification"

"religion" as in "A set of moral/historical/cultural/other beliefs generally held by the community(i.e. an average belief set of everyone in the community of people who think they have the same faith)"

"religion" as in "That which is described in this holy book"

or something else entirely? These are just some things I have seen people call "religion" in various contexts. More importantly, they all mean entirely different things, and can have completely opposite effects. Like, say, I can imagine a situation where 1,3,4 and 6 would be pushing science forwards, while 2 and 5 would be pulling it back, and 7, 8, 9 and 10 would be neutral. So is "religion" as a "whole" pushing, pulling or being neutral in this case? I certainly don't know.

You see, when humans talk, they use words as pointers to groups of concepts rather than as rigorous definitions of those concepts. When a mathematician says "∀A∈ℕ" he means one and only one thing, be he from China, Russia or England, because math is precise. But language isn't. It works out just fine if everyone has a close cultural background, experiences and conversation isn't about anything complex. But if the topic in question relies on personal experiences a lot? If it isn't something people encounter every day? If it's on an international site? Yeah, confusion rears it's ugly head and everyone suffers for it.


To be clear I'm certainly not arguing that Religion is all good. Just that it is nuanced and can't be reduced down to sweeping genrelisations like Religion = bad. In fact I agree with Klara 100%


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The Sword wrote:
To be clear I'm certainly not arguing that Religion is all good. Just that it is nuanced and can't be reduced down to sweeping generalizations like Religion = bad. In fact I agree with Klara 100%

All generalizations are stupid.


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The Sword wrote:
Here is a list of ordained priests that were scientists. The list includes Nicolaus Copernicus who was a bishop and Gregor Mendel who was a monk there are a couple of hundred on the list. Your assertation that religion is somehow anti-knowledge is unsupported.

Gonna file this under "not all that's gray is an elephant".

Being religious does not prevent one from becoming a scientist. It doesn't help it either, however, and I maintain that it actively opposes it because religion pushes a certain mindset that is actively destructive to learning new knowledge.

Again, it's only creationists that are insisting that time and energy be wasted by teaching children in public schools that the world is only 6,000-ish years old and that Dinosaurs and humans were neighbors.

Because religions profess answers before evidence and when evidence doesn't support the answer it is ignored. This is by its nature a dangerous, destructive, and corrupting mindset that stifles not only progress as a species but progress on a personal level.

Quote:
I suggest you stop making sweeping statements about 2000 years of history. Religion is not all good or all bad. Ultimately what you are talking about are people - and they are good and bad, greedy and generous, superstitious and educated.

Your arguments in favor of can be reduced to "here are some examples of people who were religious who did some good things". I would argue that they did those things either A) despite their religion, B) because their religion wasn't oppressing that field at the time (because most people aren't going to complain about math and numbers until it begins disproving holy texts, then war's on), or C) because identifying as non-religious was actively damaging to one's social standing because of the destructive religious mindset and even if one wasn't devout or practicing would identify as such to avoid social repercussions.

My issue has and continues to be the destructive mindset that permeates most religions that I've seen. The destructive mindset inevitably leads to destruction and only in ignoring the mindset can prosperity ensue. And I would argue that some ignore the mindset at least partially, even if they identify as religious, because they are picking and choosing the parts of religion that they like and ignoring the rest (which is in fact living in spite of their religious affiliation).

I'm trying to avoid calling out any particular religions by name explicitly because of how the Paizo forums operate, so I apologize for that. The "religious mindset" that I find to be innately and irrevocably destructive is relevant to the discussion of fantasy games like this, though specific real world religions aren't (though I do believe parallels of actions are, especially since you can see analogs of them in things like Golarion).

For me the problem is the promotion of ignorance and mental oppression which is the fundamental problem. Though it does seem that there may be some exceptions to what I've seen to be the general rule (thanks for pointing out deism Avaron, as I've not been familiarized with the subject of deism before).


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Rhedyn wrote:
The Sword wrote:
To be clear I'm certainly not arguing that Religion is all good. Just that it is nuanced and can't be reduced down to sweeping generalizations like Religion = bad. In fact I agree with Klara 100%
All generalizations are stupid.

I see what you did there. :P


Edit: Revised and retracted. Self-censorship is a virtue

Grand Lodge

So, how about that local sports team?


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
So, how about that local sports team?

I've never been much into sports, but I think I'll be out of this conversation for a while. Too busy reading about Deism as I'm highly amused by it at the moment. Respect levels are rising for this religion which is a very welcome change.

EDIT

The Sword wrote:
Edit: Revised and retracted. Self-censorship is a virtue

Thought crimes being proscribed, I guess. >_>


I could picture Asmodeus secretly offering a fake atheist church. Domains would be:

Evil, only by understanding evil can you make the realisation that all religions are false evil organisations.
Fire, fire is the energy behind the spontaneous creation of the universe, a natural process not caused by any divine beings.
Law, because the universe runs according to laws not divine magic.
Magic, the study of magic begins with the understanding that there is no magic only power derived from the natural laws and the will to use it.
Trickery, know thy enemy, do not be deceived by false gods.

Alignment: lawful evil.
Mission: hunt down and destroy false prophets. Free the minds of ignorant believers by revealing the "truth".


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The Sword wrote:
Edit: Revised and retracted. Self-censorship is a virtue
Thought crimes being proscribed, I guess. >_>

My mother always taugh me if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Lol


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The Sword wrote:


The Sword wrote:
Edit: Revised and retracted. Self-censorship is a virtue
Quote:
Thought crimes being proscribed, I guess. >_>
My mother always taugh me if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Lol

I can actually agree with that. My grandma often said the same thing. Not everyone's idea of nice is the same though. Like, nothing you've ever said during any of our conversations has ever hurt my feelings, has never made me angry with you, and has never been reason for me to want you to do anything other than speak your mind. I may disagree (with fervor, in fact, if I have reason to think otherwise) but I wouldn't want you to just stifle yourself. So whatever you had intended to say, I likely wouldn't have found "not nice". :P

Arguments of all kinds are a mutual quest for truth. It is when that quest for truth is perverted that I start becoming angered, which is very rarely because of what someone says, but very frequently connected to the fallacies through which they're saying it.


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The Sword wrote:

My mother always taugh me if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Lol

There's a reason my over three years old account has less than 200 posts.


Sissyl wrote:

Regarding communism, calling it atheistic is an exercise in word-wringing. Communism as it has been explored and implemented is actively a religious movement, with the same community dogma, the same expectations of sacrifice, the same transcendent happiness in the future (the Classless Society), the same view of people questioning... in short, it's not at all surprising that communism persecuted the various other religions in the countries where it got into power: Religions don't play well together. It doesn't have the prayers, but everything else fits perfectly. And as you say, the cult of personality around the current Great Leader is all the divine figure needed.

{. . .}

I know -- that's why I said that Communism isn't very good atheism. (And by the way, it isn't even socialism once you get beyond the marketing. But calling it socialism has been highly profitable for both Communists and capitalists that I have to start concluding that the word itself is ruined beyond rescue. Both Communism and its opponents have done the same with atheism, but not been as successful in that particular endeavor, so atheism is still a usable term.)

(By the way, nNote that the word on Golarion in Common/Taldane that translates literally as "atheism" might actually not have the same meaning as "atheism" here and instead translate more properly as "misotheism" -- this would be connected with reasons already posted in this thread.)

Boomerang Nebula wrote:

I could picture Asmodeus secretly offering a fake atheist church. Domains would be:

Evil, only by understanding evil can you make the realisation that all religions are false evil organisations.
Fire, fire is the energy behind the spontaneous creation of the universe, a natural process not caused by any divine beings.
Law, because the universe runs according to laws not divine magic.
Magic, the study of magic begins with the understanding that there is no magic only power derived from the natural laws and the will to use it.
Trickery, know thy enemy, do not be deceived by false gods.

Alignment: lawful evil.
Mission: hunt down and destroy false prophets. Free the minds of ignorant believers by revealing the "truth".

From what I've read on pathfinderwiki.com and in the description of Deimavigga (Apostate) Devils, it seems like he has this already in the works, in prototype form. Of course, that could be just a cover for a far more well-developed operation to ensure that heretical followers of Sarenrae keep getting their spells and other powers . . . .


What always irks me when folks go on about the evils of religion is that they almost always exclusively talk about Christianity and maybe Islam while denouncing all religion everywhere. People do realize that those aren't the only two religions in the world, don't they?


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On Golarion, one take of it is that if you die as an atheist,

Spoiler:
you are put by Pharasma in a container for all time, and these containers are all that prevent Groetus from crashing into the spire and bringing about The End. Considering how rare these atheists must be, it should stand to reason that it's a very rare thing, and further, these souls are ALL that prevent the End for everybody. Talk about honour.


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Chengar Qordath wrote:
What always irks me when folks go on about the evils of religion is that they almost always exclusively talk about Christianity and maybe Islam while denouncing all religion everywhere. People do realize that those aren't the only two religions in the world, don't they?

If you are going to talk about religion, you might as well talk about the right one.


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Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
What always irks me when folks go on about the evils of religion is that they almost always exclusively talk about Christianity and maybe Islam while denouncing all religion everywhere. People do realize that those aren't the only two religions in the world, don't they?
If you are going to talk about religion, you might as well talk about the right one.

Well we could probably lump Judaism in as well, and if we're talking about dead religions, the list expands quite a bit since a number of ancient (now defunct) religions required sacrifices, self mutilation, etc.

One example that springs to mind is a Roman religion that required its priests to castrate themselves and bath in cow's blood. 'Cause y'know, that makes sense. \o_o/

That said, you have a good point. I imagine that the reason is people tend to discuss things based on what sort of influence and effects those things are having on the world and have had on the world.

Perhaps the real culprit is "revelation". Every example of a "revealed" religion I've been able to find and examine promotes the "destructive mind" that I've mentioned in previous posts. However, upon further digging around (some of this digging being spurred by this very discussion, because it's very interesting), it would seem that not all religion may be innately destructive, merely most.

But that's good news, at least.

At the moment, two religions I've read about during my search for reference on the subject, that don't seem to have innately destructive tendencies, include Buddhism and Deism. I'll see if I can expand the list (though the major religions are right out).

EDIT: It's probably also heavily influenced by the fact that as of 2012, estimations on religious affiliations marked Christianity+Islam at being more than 53.82% of the world's population, with non-religious theists, athiests, agnostics, and seculurists being grouped together as a single group (at 15.35%), Hinduism at 13.95%, and everything else in the world being less than 6% of the world's religious beliefs, which means aside from the big two (and probably Judaism since it gets piggybacked in with Christianity due to Christianity being built upon it), every religion that isn't Christianity or Islam is barely on the radar.

List of religious populations. So people are generally going to discuss the religions they find relevant. Perhaps when those other religions reach levels of notoriety that the foremost religions have, people will have an easier time discerning whether or not those religions are somehow different from the destructive norms we have been dealing with since people have been killing each other over tooth fairies.


Ashiel wrote:
At the moment, two religions I've read about during my search for reference on the subject, that don't seem to have innately destructive tendencies, include Buddhism and Deism. I'll see if I can expand the list (though the major religions are right out).

My hometown is home to many Chin refugees from oppressive Buddhist governments. They were given the option to convert, die, or flee.

People may be quick to point out that Buddhism itself does not encourage such behavior, but as we all know, the actions of a few define the entire worth of a religion.


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Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
At the moment, two religions I've read about during my search for reference on the subject, that don't seem to have innately destructive tendencies, include Buddhism and Deism. I'll see if I can expand the list (though the major religions are right out).

My hometown is home to many Chin refugees from oppressive Buddhist governments. They were given the option to convert, die, or flee.

People may be quick to point out that Buddhism itself does not encourage such behavior, but as we all know, the actions of a few define the entire worth of a religion.

An interesting point. Thanks for bringing it up! It reminds me to discuss one of the other reasons I think most religions are probably lots and lots of badwrongfun.

The funny thing is that yes, the actions of a few DO define the entire worth of any religion more often than not, and here's why.

Pretend my religion says many good things and attempts to present itself as a religion of peace and such (like Serenrae). Now I'm a bad egg in that basket. I murder, commit violence, oppress, and hurt others in the name of peace and goodness. If I am a rogue from the norms of my religion, then those who are the norm should stand up and drive me out. But if they don't, and my goddess is still granting me spells, then they are collaborators. They are accepting my behavior or are too cowardly to do anything about it.

Any resemblance to real world religions is both coincidental and yet entirely expected.

EDIT: Put another way, if a you're a group of dudes 10 men strong, and one of your group attacks someone, mugs them, beats them up, and pisses on them, you cannot claim innocence by saying "Oh, we're totally innocent. We just watched our friend deliver an inhuman and degrading beating to a random stranger outside of our group. We didn't actually do it ourselves". Inaction and acceptance of evil isn't an argument that's particularly convincing.


Ashiel wrote:
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
At the moment, two religions I've read about during my search for reference on the subject, that don't seem to have innately destructive tendencies, include Buddhism and Deism. I'll see if I can expand the list (though the major religions are right out).

My hometown is home to many Chin refugees from oppressive Buddhist governments. They were given the option to convert, die, or flee.

People may be quick to point out that Buddhism itself does not encourage such behavior, but as we all know, the actions of a few define the entire worth of a religion.

An interesting point. Thanks for bringing it up! It reminds me to discuss one of the other reasons I think most religions are probably lots and lots of badwrongfun.

The funny thing is that yes, the actions of a few DO define the entire worth of any religion more often than not, and here's why.

Pretend my religion says many good things and attempts to present itself as a religion of peace and such (like Serenrae). Now I'm a bad egg in that basket. I murder, commit violence, oppress, and hurt others in the name of peace and goodness. If I am a rogue from the norms of my religion, then those who are the norm should stand up and drive me out. But if they don't, and my goddess is still granting me spells, then they are collaborators. They are accepting my behavior or are too cowardly to do anything about it.

Any resemblance to real world religions is both coincidental and yet entirely expected.

EDIT: Put another way, if a you're a group of dudes 10 men strong, and one of your group attacks someone, mugs them, beats them up, and pisses on them, you cannot claim innocence by saying "Oh, we're totally innocent. We just watched our friend deliver an inhuman and degrading beating to a random stranger outside of our group. We didn't actually do it ourselves". Inaction and acceptance of evil isn't an argument that's particularly convincing.

I'm confused. Do you want religious people to force people to worship a certain way or not?

Your edit: You may be obligated to call the police and give honest testimony. You would also be obligated to not call them your friend. (But that doesn't stop them from calling you friend) I would not say that you are obligated to kill your ex-friend or brainwash them into holding the same beliefs you do to prevent misconduct.


I would expect the church to denounce that individual, say they are not a true worshippers of Saranrae and then hire a group of adventurers to sort him out! Nice plot hook there...

All that evil requires to succeed is that good men do nothing (or words to that effect)

As Saranrae is a good aligned with the good domain wouldn't a cleric that did those things fall?


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If a member of my group was doing a thing that was hurting someone else, I would do everything I could in my power to stop my friend from hurting them and do everything I could to help them.

Wouldn't that be the expected, rational thing to do?

It has nothing to do with forcing anyone to believe a certain thing. It has everything to do with countering the perversion of your supposed ideals.

As much as it pains me to say, I don't see any Christian-founded homes for homosexuals displaced from their families by religious zealots. I do, however, find a lot of hits on google for places to pray away the gay. I don't see any of the "real Christians" out counter-protesting intolerance as a religious group. I don't see the supposed majority stepping up in Christian-controlled media and ridiculing bigotry on things like the 700 Club.

If you stand by and let the member of your group ravage and harm a stranger, how can you claim the moral high ground? All you demonstrate is slothful cowardice or silent agreement with the beatings.


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The Sword wrote:

I would expect the church to denounce that individual, say they are not a true worshippers of Saranrae and then hire a group of adventurers to sort him out! Nice plot hook there...

All that evil requires to succeed is that good men do nothing (or words to that effect)

As Saranrae is a good aligned with the good domain wouldn't a cleric that did those things fall?

That should be the case but apparently they don't. Apparently being a militant sect of a goddess of peace isn't grossly violating enough for their clerics to lose access to their class features.

Seems legit. \(6o6)/


Ashiel wrote:

If a member of my group was doing a thing that was hurting someone else, I would do everything I could in my power to stop my friend from hurting them and do everything I could to help them.

Wouldn't that be the expected, rational thing to do?

Calling the police isn't good enough? What are you going to do? Pull out your gun? Stab him? Your ex-friend is in a murder rage. I do not believe you are obligated to get in a life or death battle just to maintain group prestige.

What you are describing is the basis to the concept known as collective punishment. That has never lead to good places. Following your logic, all humans are garbage. You specifically are silently encouraging all religious behavior because you haven't done everything in your power to stop it. Unless a few internet post on a forum dedicated to a miscellaneous game in a niche genre is the extent of your power.


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Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

If a member of my group was doing a thing that was hurting someone else, I would do everything I could in my power to stop my friend from hurting them and do everything I could to help them.

Wouldn't that be the expected, rational thing to do?

Calling the police isn't good enough? What are you going to do? Pull out your gun? Stab him? Your ex-friend is in a murder rage. I do not believe you are obligated to get in a life or death battle just to maintain group prestige.

No, I would get into a real life or death battle to protect another human being. Is that so hard to understand? Is that so unfathomable? Especially if there are eight others in my group. Eight people can subdue a person a lot easier than the victim can protect themselves. EDIT: Personally, I find the idea that such passiveness is an expectation today rather vulgar. The idea that "Look, here is someone actively hurting and beating a person, we outnumber them, but let's just call the cops and wait X amount of time for them to show up. We can get the popcorn while we wait" is somehow worthy of praise.

Quote:
What you are describing is the basis to the concept known as collective punishment. That has never lead to good places. Following your logic, all humans are garbage. You specifically are silently encouraging all religious behavior because you haven't done everything in your power to stop it. Unless a few internet post on a forum dedicated to a miscellaneous game in a niche genre is the extent of your power.

It began as speaking out against injustice in the places where it was. When someone of my faith (or perhaps former faith) acts the bigot, I call them out on it. I tell them it's not acceptable. If I were a religious leader and was collecting tithes, I'd try to counter as much hate as I could by encouraging others to provide aid to those who are wronged by the "misguided" members of the religion. I'd use the tithe money to facilitate help programs for those wronged by the religion.

EDIT: I'd try to make outreach programs and shelters for young people displaced from their families by religious bigotry (unfortunately, people are still disowned and abandoned by their families for things like apostasy, pregnancy, and homosexuality). I'd publicly back organizations that were opposed to the wrong that other portions of my faith were doing. Imagine how shocking it would be.

However, given that I'm just one person and not a particularly wealthy one at that, I've got only my words and actions. I can hope my words work, and I hope my actions live up to them when they don't.


Ashiel wrote:
No, I would get into a real life or death battle to protect another human being. Is that so hard to understand? Is that so unfathomable? Especially if there are eight others in my group. Eight people can subdue a person a lot easier than the victim can protect themselves.

It's one thing to say you would. It's another to actually do it. It's also entirely different to expect everyone in that position to do the same and judge those who wouldn't.

Ashiel wrote:
However, given that I'm just one person and not a particularly wealthy one at that, I've got only my words and actions. I can hope my words work, and I hope my actions live up to them when they don't.

So you can absolve yourself of guilt, but people you've never talked to or have never heard speak about the topic must be in silent agreement?

Google Christian gay shelters and hit the first link


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Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
No, I would get into a real life or death battle to protect another human being. Is that so hard to understand? Is that so unfathomable? Especially if there are eight others in my group. Eight people can subdue a person a lot easier than the victim can protect themselves.
It's one thing to say you would. It's another to actually do it. It's also entirely different to expect everyone in that position to do the same and judge those who wouldn't.

I'd also speak out if I saw someone stealing something. Inaction is an action of its own. Accepting evils is not particularly noble by any stretch of the imagination, and when you are actively claiming to by a moral authority you need to walk the walk too.

Quote:
Ashiel wrote:
However, given that I'm just one person and not a particularly wealthy one at that, I've got only my words and actions. I can hope my words work, and I hope my actions live up to them when they don't.

So you can absolve yourself of guilt, but people you've never talked to or have never heard speak about the topic must be in silent agreement?

Google Christian gay shelters and hit the first link

This fills me with a lot of joy to see. I guess I used the wrong keywords when searching for it. It's distressing to see that it's clearly not the majority however, since most everything after that in the results are pretty grim.

Even the page itself says

Quote:

“For a lot of us, when we hear about Christianity, our stomachs kind of churn,” Mr. Siciliano said in an interview. “Another part of me is very grateful the church is making this kind of gesture.”

...

He did not think he would see another church, he said, but added, “It’s really gratifying to see a church behave like a church.”

Now I guess we need to discuss if it's okay for the religion can claim the good actions of the few, while demanding that it cannot be blamed for the evil actions of the "few".


Ashiel wrote:
Now I guess we need to discuss if it's okay for the religion can claim the good actions of the few, while demanding that it cannot be blamed for the evil actions of the "few".

No, the point is not to assume things about PEOPLE.

A religion isn't a single entity with thoughts and beliefs. It's label that is thrown onto people and any connotations associated with it are basically stereotypes. A single entity with thoughts and beliefs that religious people would definitively want to share is a God. To criticize one is to first accept its existence, because if it doesn't exist then it doesn't have thoughts or beliefs to criticize.


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Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Now I guess we need to discuss if it's okay for the religion can claim the good actions of the few, while demanding that it cannot be blamed for the evil actions of the "few".

No, the point is not to assume things about PEOPLE.

A religion isn't a single entity with thoughts and beliefs. It's label that is thrown onto people and any connotations associated with it are basically stereotypes. A single entity with thoughts and beliefs that religious people would definitively want to share is a God. To criticize one is to first accept its existence, because if it doesn't exist then it doesn't have thoughts or beliefs to criticize.

What? I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about so you might have to break it down to me.

I think it's perfectly rational to assume certain things about people ascribing to a religion that prescribes certain things. That's where a lot of the conflicts come in. You can actively read the religious documents and find the religious teachings and laws of those documents, and when you see someone claiming to be a follower of those teachings, to assume they do not mean it would be to assume they are lying or ignorant.

If you claim your religion is one of love and peace, act it. Do not claim one thing while doing another. If you claim moral ground, walk on it.


Can you move this discussion to the gamer talk thread?


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The Sword wrote:
Can you move this discussion to the gamer talk thread?

Apologies.


Ashiel wrote:
I think it's perfectly rational to assume certain things about people ascribing to a religion that prescribes certain things.

Sadly, it isn't rational to assume that.

Words mean different things to different people.


This got a little off-topic. Or maybe it got a little meta-topic.

Anyway, I feel like a Cleric of Atheism would be an alignment step away TN in any direction, being as how there's not any overarching outsider enforcing particular notions of godliness or wickedness in any real way. As to domains I'd suggest:

-Knowledge (Education)
-Liberation
-Rune (Legislation)

Knowledge/Education as a means of spreading the truth regarding what the Cleric perceives to be false-gods, Liberation to enact said truth and Rune/Legislation as a means of promoting a secular society away from the influences of said false-gods.

This works as a framework without the attachment of some of the more... difficult concepts proposed by others, such as Community and Artifice.


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>At the moment, two religions I've read about during my search for reference on the subject, that don't seem to have innately destructive tendencies, include Buddhism and Deism. I'll see if I can expand the list (though the major religions are right out).

Add pastafarianism and satanism to the mix. Maybe Wiccan too.

But really, the only reason they don't is because no politician saw fit to hijack them in this way yet because they are unpopular.

As for the cleric of atheism, it might be very awkward if one of them was, say, spreading Knowledge and Artifice around, going from city to city, educating the populace in engineering while building bridges and aqueducts, being an independent cleric who don't need no gods and then one day met Brigh who was all like "O, hi, so I see you have been putting all these spells I have granted you to good use then. Nice job on that windmill design in Magnimar."


Another option for atheist cleric.

You worship the multiverse itself and draw your power from primeval forces. You regard the established gods as frauds who also draw power from the multiverse but taint that power before bestowing it upon their clerics. You believe that the multiverse always existed and created the gods and therefore they cannot claim true divinity. You oppose all other religions, your mission is to actively undo their plans by freeing mortals from the influence of false gods. There are no churches, ceremonies or traditions to follow. You can choose two domains from the following domains: Air, Earth, Fire and Water. You may change these domains every day if desired.

You may channel either positive or negative energy and change which type you channel each day if desired.

Your caster level and spells per level are as per a normal cleric minus one level. At level one you may only cast three orisons.

No favoured weapon, neutral alignment and four skill points per level.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:

Another option for atheist cleric.

You worship the multiverse itself and draw your power from primeval forces. You regard the established gods as frauds who also draw power from the multiverse but taint that power before bestowing it upon their clerics. You believe that the multiverse always existed and created the gods and therefore they cannot claim true divinity. You oppose all other religions, your mission is to actively undo their plans by freeing mortals from the influence of false gods. There are no churches, ceremonies or traditions to follow. You can choose two domains from the following domains: Air, Earth, Fire and Water. You may change these domains every day if desired.

You may channel either positive or negative energy and change which type you channel each day if desired.

Your caster level and spells per level are as per a normal cleric minus one level. At level one you may only cast three orisons.

No favoured weapon, neutral alignment and four skill points per level.

That would be a cleric of Pantheism, not Atheism.


I was thinking along the lines of pantheism and atheism merged together. I am not sure whether that is a separate coherent concept.


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Marroar Gellantara wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
I think it's perfectly rational to assume certain things about people ascribing to a religion that prescribes certain things.

Sadly, it isn't rational to assume that.

Words mean different things to different people.

I usually use a dictionary myself. A word that means a lot to me is responsibility. When the title you have taken means something evil to others because those sharing your title have committed atrocities against them, it's your responsibility to either change that by pressing the weights in the other direction through action or find a new title, because do you really want to spread confusion and be a part of those evils over a simple word?

Which is how I think I will play my atheist cleric. She will intentionally reject titles that don't serve her purposes or would lead to confusion (which wouldn't be that weird since I played a Paladin who ignored the notion of titles) and speak through her actions. I'm pretty excited about getting to play her.

Liberty's Edge

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My take.

A cleric who is atheist is feasible, but a cleric of atheism is nonsensical.

The cleric who is atheist ("atheist" here defined as someone thinks the "gods" are not worthy of worship) could channel their divine powers through belief in some cause or domain in the abstract.

A cleric of atheism is a contradiction in terms. Clerics receive their powers through prayer and worship, something that antithetical to atheism. In other words, you can't worship atheism.

So basically you can be a cleric of battle/love/whatever, who just so happens to be atheist, but that atheism would not be central to your role as a cleric.


The_Hanged_Man wrote:

My take.

A cleric who is atheist is feasible, but a cleric of atheism is nonsensical.

The cleric who is atheist ("atheist" here defined as someone thinks the "gods" are not worthy of worship) could channel their divine powers through belief in some cause or domain in the abstract.

A cleric of atheism is a contradiction in terms. Clerics receive their powers through prayer and worship, something that antithetical to atheism. In other words, you can't worship atheism.

So basically you can be a cleric of battle/love/whatever, who just so happens to be atheist, but that atheism would not be central to your role as a cleric.

>You can't worship an ideology that opposes worship

Sure you can. Look up "Malal" from Warhammer 40k, he is pretty much an atheist god(not IRL atheism, those guys aren't violent). He is described as "having a tendency towards destruction, even of itself and it's own agents".

Hmm, a cleric of Malal sounds fun.


Ashiel wrote:
I usually use a dictionary myself. A word that means a lot to me is responsibility. When the title you have taken means something evil to others because those sharing your title have committed atrocities against them, it's your responsibility to either change that by pressing the weights in the other direction through action or find a new title, because do you really want to spread confusion and be a part of those evils over a simple word?

I don't believe it is your responsibility. If people want to assume you are evil over a word then that is their problem. If the assumption of evil bothers you then use a different word.

I personally do not feel morally responsible to preemptively correct the stereotypes about me. I'll correct the stereotype when it comes up, mainly because I always enjoy those conversations. My crossdressing bisexual lifestyle is not what most assume as something that can coincide with religion X. "Oh but they hate you!" Well those people are dying off and the world at large is listening to them less and less.

To tie it back to the topic. This why I think atheist cleric is fine, regardless of how some atheist don't approve of others using that word to mean strong belief and a code of ethics. No one owns a word. People are allowed to use it to mean different things. They aren't wrong. At worst they may be confusing people.


Klara Meison wrote:
The_Hanged_Man wrote:

My take.

A cleric who is atheist is feasible, but a cleric of atheism is nonsensical.

The cleric who is atheist ("atheist" here defined as someone thinks the "gods" are not worthy of worship) could channel their divine powers through belief in some cause or domain in the abstract.

A cleric of atheism is a contradiction in terms. Clerics receive their powers through prayer and worship, something that antithetical to atheism. In other words, you can't worship atheism.

So basically you can be a cleric of battle/love/whatever, who just so happens to be atheist, but that atheism would not be central to your role as a cleric.

>You can't worship an ideology that opposes worship

Sure you can. Look up "Malal" from Warhammer 40k, he is pretty much an atheist god(not IRL atheism, those guys aren't violent). He is described as "having a tendency towards destruction, even of itself and it's own agents".

Hmm, a cleric of Malal sounds fun.

I DO WHAT I WANT!


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I've not finished the sheet yet but I'd like to introduce Alima Abdul-Haqq, atheist cleric from Osirion.

Conceptual Background (Needs additional info)
Born Abrar Abdul-Salam in the region of Osirion, to devout members of the Church of Serenrae, Alima changed her name much later in life at the age of 22 to Alima Abdul-Haqq, following her epiphany that she refers to as her enlightenment to the truth of all things.

In her youth, she was brought up to be a fervent believer of the justice and wisdom of the Dawnflower until she was between 13 and 14. However, her parents and elders, who were vocal opponents of the radical militant cults of the Dawnflower for perverting the teachings of the supposedly benevolent goddess, we killed by the radical members for their public resistance of the cult. With the loss of the heads of her house, she was adopted by an old friend of her father's named Gustav D'Noir; a retired Chelaxian adventurer.

She lived in Cheliax for the majority of her life, though she traveled with her godfather from time to places such as Absolom, Andoran, and Ustalav. As she explored the world along with her uncle, she continued to carry on the belief in the will of the gods, though admittedly struggling with the deep hurt and anger that the murderers of her parents continued to thrive and that the goddess she was brought up to trust didn't move her hand to so much as inconvenience the fanatics by denying them the blessing of her spells as they pursued their murders.

As she traveled about, she saw repeatedly the conflicts and pains caused by devotees of various religions, many of which mirrored her own experiences in Osirion. She discovered the holy tombs of drunkard gods, former invaders of countries, assassins, spite and jealousy, devils, false prophets, keepers of disease, and worse; many of which were heralded as good, just, or at least socially acceptable.

At the age of 19, her godfather was jailed in his homeland of Cheliax for purportedly aiding escaped mistreated slaves in getting out of the country, where he remains to the current day, which bothered her greatly since he was otherwise very loyal to the empire during the so called "Mint Rebellion".

Left on her own once more, she traveled for some time. As she studied religion more and more, hoping to rekindle the faith that was so pained and waning since her spirit was wounded during childhood, she began to feel further and further away from faith. The more she read, the less she believed.

At the age of 20, she realized that she was only offering lip service to any god whose name she uttered, trying to believe for her dead parents more than anyone else. However, one night, as providence would have it, she discovered the wounded and dying form of a dear friend of hers - a tiefling - beaten nearly to death by unknown assailants. Out of bitter frustration and fear for her friend, she called out into the night for help and tried desperately to bind her wounds to no avail. She cursed every god she had ever heard of.

That's when she had her epiphany. She cared about no god except the one dying in her arms. It was then that she could feel her friend's soul begin to slip away and with no other option, she lay her hand on her wound and became a conduit to the positive energy plane, using her own soul as the medium for which the magical energies would flow through. The wound closed and she returned to her home with her in a state of quiet shock.

She didn't think about the incident again for three days, simply spending time nursing her friend. When her friend asked what happened, she dodged the questions. A part of her realized that when she let go of relying on gods and relied on her own soul, a miracle occurred.

For the next two years, she agonized over the event until she came to realize that humanity didn't need gods, gods needed humanity. At that point, she came to realize the truth. It was then that she changed her name and set out into the world to right the wrongs that plagued it.

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