Why atheist exist in golarion world ?


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Why this thread moved to campaign setting ?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
hellatze wrote:
Why this thread moved to campaign setting ?

Because it's a thread about Golarion?

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Folks, this question has been discussed multiple times on these forums previously and the conversation has a tendency to go off the rails. If you want to keep this thread open, stay respectful, stay open minded to other people believing differently that you do and stay welcoming.


Gorbacz wrote:
hellatze wrote:
Why this thread moved to campaign setting ?
Because it's a thread about Golarion?

Then what makes a thread worthy in general disscusion ?

Shadow Lodge

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Don't mention specific campaign elements?


Something that isn't specifically about the Golarion campaign world, I would think.

Athiests don't get forced into the Graveyard of Souls as punishment. That is where they WANT to go. They want an eternal sleep of the soul that is unbothered by the machinations of the divine. Reincarnation probably isn't too bad as a silver medal, but the end goal is the eternal sleep of true and final rest.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Threads in General Discussion are threads about mechanics and universal topics which apply regardless of whether you use Patfhinder rules with Golarion, Forgotten Realms or homebrew setting. But mostly, it's a rules forum. This thread is 100% pure Golarion-only discussion with little to none rules to be touched upon, so Campaign Setting subforum is arguably the best place for it.


Stone Dog wrote:

{. . .}

Athiests don't get forced into the Graveyard of Souls as punishment. That is where they WANT to go. They want an eternal sleep of the soul that is unbothered by the machinations of the divine. Reincarnation probably isn't too bad as a silver medal, but the end goal is the eternal sleep of true and final rest.

Nah . . . I have enough trouble waking up from a normal sleep. I hate to think of how hard it would be to wake up from an eternal sleep . . . .


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's been enough published material that there isn't always a single answer to what happens to atheists in the after life.

In general they fall into two major categories. Those who either never learned of the gods, or simply never put enough interest into the subject to bother believing in them as well as those who categorically deny the gods' right to decide what happens when they die.

The first category will wind up going to whatever outer plane suits their moral/ethical outlook, heaven or hell or etc. Simply not believing or worshipping a god is not enough to stop this part of metaphysical cycle of souls.

As for the second category there have been at least two mentions of them, in some of the books they simply wait in the boneyard, choosing not to partake of the afterlife. In at least one other book they become something akin to jewels that keep Groetus at bay in some fashion whether he abhors them or is sated by them I don't know.

There's enough variance between mortals that all of the above can be true at the same time.


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I guess my problem with taking the gods of Golarion seriously as objects of worship is that I was brought up in a Christian society and theological tradition with a very different definition of god.

God in monotheism is typically omnipotent (able to do anything), omniscient (knowing everything), and omnibenevolent (all loving and morally perfect). The gods of Golarion aren't any of those things, so to my western European ear they just don't sound like 'gods' to me.

In monotheism you obey God because He is morally perfect. You obey Him because His commands are the best thing to do. In Golarion gods can be any alignment. That balding chaotic good baker who live in your town is a better moral guide than Gozreh. He's a better person. Gozreh's not a monster, he's not evil at least, but he's not good either.

If you're trying to decide if you should do what a god tells you to do or what society tells you to do, there's no intellectual reason to think the god is more likely to be correct.

If a Christian decides to place their faith in God, they can do it believing that God's plan is informed by the best possible information (His omniscience), that the plan is executed in the most effective possible manner (His omnipotence), and that the plan is what is morally best for everyone involved (His perfect and universal love). If Iomedae asks you to trust her you're going to be tempted to check her work. The gods of Golarion make mistakes, most of them get morality wrong, occasionally they screw up and get killed.

You can work up a lot of fanaticism for the "word of God" if God is perfect. If the gods of Golarion are just powerful but ultimately flawed and limited beings, their word is just a suggestion, their doctrines just one approach.

Yes, English uses one word for the kinds of beings ancient Greeks believed in and the kinds of being modern monotheists believe in, but they really aren't the same kind of thing. We should be very cautious of importing modern notions of worship, devotion, or faith to beings who are really different from the theology that created those notions. My problem isn't understanding the Rahadoumi, it's understand why anyone *isn't* a Rahadoumi.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ring_of_Gyges wrote:

I guess my problem with taking the gods of Golarion seriously as objects of worship is that I was brought up in a Christian society and theological tradition with a very different definition of god.

God in monotheism is typically omnipotent (able to do anything), omniscient (knowing everything), and omnibenevolent (all loving and morally perfect). The gods of Golarion aren't any of those things, so to my western European ear they just don't sound like 'gods' to me.

In monotheism you obey God because He is morally perfect. You obey Him because His commands are the best thing to do. In Golarion gods can be any alignment. That balding chaotic good baker who live in your town is a better moral guide than Gozreh. He's a better person. Gozreh's not a monster, he's not evil at least, but he's not good either.

If you're trying to decide if you should do what a god tells you to do or what society tells you to do, there's no intellectual reason to think the god is more likely to be correct.

I understand where you're coming from, and to some extent this is part of the suspension of disbelief needed to play a game like this.

It does influence how I play, because my characters tend to follow the 'gods' in Golarion in whom I can catch glimpses of the character of the God I believe in. Sarenrae and Shelyn for their focus on redemption. Erastil for the value of family and community. Caiden Cailean for the value of enjoying the good things in life in a reasonable manner as gifts from above. You can't see these being as omnipotent, but I can in game trust them as having the right goals.


Ring_of_Gyges wrote:

I guess my problem with taking the gods of Golarion seriously as objects of worship is that I was brought up in a Christian society and theological tradition with a very different definition of god.

God in monotheism is typically omnipotent (able to do anything), omniscient (knowing everything), and omnibenevolent (all loving and morally perfect). The gods of Golarion aren't any of those things, so to my western European ear they just don't sound like 'gods' to me.

In monotheism you obey God because He is morally perfect. You obey Him because His commands are the best thing to do. In Golarion gods can be any alignment. That balding chaotic good baker who live in your town is a better moral guide than Gozreh. He's a better person. Gozreh's not a monster, he's not evil at least, but he's not good either.

If you're trying to decide if you should do what a god tells you to do or what society tells you to do, there's no intellectual reason to think the god is more likely to be correct.

If a Christian decides to place their faith in God, they can do it believing that God's plan is informed by the best possible information (His omniscience), that the plan is executed in the most effective possible manner (His omnipotence), and that the plan is what is morally best for everyone involved (His perfect and universal love). If Iomedae asks you to trust her you're going to be tempted to check her work. The gods of Golarion make mistakes, most of them get morality wrong, occasionally they screw up and get killed.

You can work up a lot of fanaticism for the "word of God" if God is perfect. If the gods of Golarion are just powerful but ultimately flawed and limited beings, their word is just a suggestion, their doctrines just one approach.

You can work up a lot of fanaticism for the "word of God" if God is perfect. If the gods of Golarion are just powerful but ultimately flawed and limited beings, their word is just a suggestion, their doctrines just one approach.

Yes, English uses one word for the kinds of beings ancient Greeks believed in and the kinds of being modern monotheists believe in, but they really aren't the same kind of thing. We should be very cautious of importing modern notions of worship, devotion, or faith to beings who are really different from the theology that created those notions. My problem isn't understanding the Rahadoumi, it's understand why anyone *isn't* a Rahadoumi.

Well, I think I've argued before in this thread that these generic fantasy kinds of gods aren't actually much like actual classical polytheism either. More like the myths filtered through later Christian eyes and thus like stories. Making the gods more like people and less like actual gods.

And yet, back in the day, people fought and died for their beliefs, even without modern montheistic faith. And arguably do to this day - Hinduism is polytheistic, though again, not much like fantasy polytheism.


@thejeff: Yeah, who knows what sort of subjective attitude ancient Greeks or Egyptians actually had towards Poseidon or Ptah, its hard to say from such a cultural and temporal distance. People certainly fight and die for things like nations and political movements without believing those things are infallible. No one "worships" the United States, even if they think it is worth fighting for.

The Golarion deities aren't even up to the dignity of ancient polytheistic religions. Ptah might be one god among many, but at least he was immortal, eternal, and created the universe. Iomedae is younger than some bars and hasn't created anything... She may be smart, virtuous, and powerful, but she feels more like a powerful person than a fundamental feature of reality. Some of the gods are better (I think Pharasma works pretty well), but a lot of them just seem pretty petty.


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Do any of the good-aligned Gods really demand worship in an exploitative way? Is Cayden Cailean or his clergy running demanding that people worship him or else they get normed by Groteus? I mean, I suppose he and a lot of the other good god demand that people not enslave others or commit acts of evil people but am pretty sure we wouldn't call that oppressive tyranny. Hell, I'm not even sure that the Gods are all that thrilled that non-believers get screwed over in the afterlife. They're probably forced to accept it because Pharasma demands it for some reason.


Ring_of_Gyges wrote:

@thejeff: Yeah, who knows what sort of subjective attitude ancient Greeks or Egyptians actually had towards Poseidon or Ptah, its hard to say from such a cultural and temporal distance. People certainly fight and die for things like nations and political movements without believing those things are infallible. No one "worships" the United States, even if they think it is worth fighting for.

The Golarion deities aren't even up to the dignity of ancient polytheistic religions. Ptah might be one god among many, but at least he was immortal, eternal, and created the universe. Iomedae is younger than some bars and hasn't created anything... She may be smart, virtuous, and powerful, but she feels more like a powerful person than a fundamental feature of reality. Some of the gods are better (I think Pharasma works pretty well), but a lot of them just seem pretty petty.

We've actually got some pretty good ideas I think, but not really in the popular culture. People do study these things, though I'm far from enough of an expert to say much. And as I said, we have modern versions like Hinduism to look at too.

But you're right they didn't believe them infallible, but I'm not sure that's important. That's a modern conception of how people should react.

But Ptah wasn't particularly important to Egyptian religion (from my very limited knowledge). Nor was Uranus important in Greek religion or Buri in Norse.
Because that's not how they thought about it. Gods were gods of things and the important gods were the gods of important things, not the first or the oldest.


Ring_of_Gyges wrote:

I guess my problem with taking the gods of Golarion seriously as objects of worship is that I was brought up in a Christian society and theological tradition with a very different definition of god.

God in monotheism is typically omnipotent (able to do anything), omniscient (knowing everything), and omnibenevolent (all loving and morally perfect). The gods of Golarion aren't any of those things, so to my western European ear they just don't sound like 'gods' to me.

In monotheism you obey God because He is morally perfect. You obey Him because His commands are the best thing to do. In Golarion gods can be any alignment. That balding chaotic good baker who live in your town is a better moral guide than Gozreh. He's a better person. Gozreh's not a monster, he's not evil at least, but he's not good either.

If you're trying to decide if you should do what a god tells you to do or what society tells you to do, there's no intellectual reason to think the god is more likely to be correct.

If a Christian decides to place their faith in God, they can do it believing that God's plan is informed by the best possible information (His omniscience), that the plan is executed in the most effective possible manner (His omnipotence), and that the plan is what is morally best for everyone involved (His perfect and universal love). If Iomedae asks you to trust her you're going to be tempted to check her work. The gods of Golarion make mistakes, most of them get morality wrong, occasionally they screw up and get killed.

You can work up a lot of fanaticism for the "word of God" if God is perfect. If the gods of Golarion are just powerful but ultimately flawed and limited beings, their word is just a suggestion, their doctrines just one approach.

Yes, English uses one word for the kinds of beings ancient Greeks believed in and the kinds of being modern monotheists believe in, but they really aren't the same kind of thing. We should be very cautious of importing modern notions of worship, devotion, or...

On the linguistics concern... I think that's part of why the term "deity" is used more in fantasy compared to "god", anyway. Sadly, I think me using Arabic loanwords would be even more confusing, or I'd suggest ilaha. Ah well.

Anyway. Yes, fantasy gods are not omnipotent or omniscient or even necessarily benevolent at all. I would, however, first point out... no one in Golarion can make the same comparison. No one would be familiar with the idea of a perfect God to see their own gods as inferior to. The expectation wouldn't be there, at least not the same way.

Secondly... yes, the gods are more like just very powerful people. And yet, having great respect for extraordinary people should not be so strange to imagine. You wouldn't see it as irrational to consider Gandhi or Einstein more likely to be correct than society in general, right? At least about their own areas of expertise?

Yes, Gozreh is not good. But why would you be expecting Gozreh to act as a moral guide? If you want to know what's morally right or wrong, there are lots of other sources of regard, besides just the CG baker. Gozreh is a source of guidance for if you want to know, say, how to preserve the ecosystem of a forest. Not whether you should forgive your neighbor for stealing your cow. Go ask Erastil or Sarenrae or the CG baker or your mom about that, by all means.
An authority on a given philosophy or other subject does not necessarily need to be Good-aligned. And especially in a world where not being Good is, in many ways, an equally valid option... it's not going to be everyone's priority. Some people would put more emphasis on making money, or winning at sports, or finding love, or just finding sexual fulfillment, or gaining political power... Guess what, there's a god, or, if you'd prefer, a higher being with more life experience and knowledge and connections and capability, who can help you achieve that.

So, just keep in mind... yeah, maybe Iomedae's just a random person who's only 900 years old. That's still probably at least 850 years older than you are, probably at least somewhat spent talking to other even older entities and with at least some more information available. No, I don't think the guy next door would probably understand morality or codes of war or killing evil stuff just as well.

tl;dr yes, the Golarion deities are fallible... that doesn't necessarily mean they don't warrant deference and high regard.

Liberty's Edge

It might help to think of the gods as a bunch of level 20 mythic 10 wizards.

There are 3 main purposes of the godwizards:

1. Explaining things you don't actually understand - Storms are manifestations of Gozreh's will / I dunno, a wizard did it.

2. Maintaining social order - If you're bad you'll go to one of the lower planes / if you're bad a wizard will scry and fry you.

3. Justifying oligarchies and autocracies - I have all the money and power by divine mandate / I rule because the wizards picked me and they'll totally smite you with Lightning Bolts if you don't obey me.


I've gotten some traction with...
1: Atheists believe Gods are monsters.
2: Atheists reincarnate as Lamias or other cursed beings.

It's like how flat earthers view all evidence of a roundish Earth as fake. They made a choice, planted their feet, and refuse to listen to anyone. There are probably other ways to deal with this paradox. My mind is open, unlike many, but not all, atheists.


Goth Guru wrote:

I've gotten some traction with...

1: Atheists believe Gods are monsters.
2: Atheists reincarnate as Lamias or other cursed beings.

It's like how flat earthers view all evidence of a roundish Earth as fake. They made a choice, planted their feet, and refuse to listen to anyone. There are probably other ways to deal with this paradox. My mind is open, unlike many, but not all, atheists.

I remember hearing about a DM who had atheists reincarnate as Lamias, connibals reincarnate as ghouls, and a few other similar things. My first thought was "I wonder what happens if you select 'all of the above'".

Sovereign Court

The Sideromancer wrote:
Goth Guru wrote:

I've gotten some traction with...

1: Atheists believe Gods are monsters.
2: Atheists reincarnate as Lamias or other cursed beings.

It's like how flat earthers view all evidence of a roundish Earth as fake. They made a choice, planted their feet, and refuse to listen to anyone. There are probably other ways to deal with this paradox. My mind is open, unlike many, but not all, atheists.

I remember hearing about a DM who had atheists reincarnate as Lamias, connibals reincarnate as ghouls, and a few other similar things. My first thought was "I wonder what happens if you select 'all of the above'".

Bad things for the people around you, I imagine...

Liberty's Edge

Goth Guru wrote:
Atheists believe Gods are monsters.

Looking at the Pathfinder gods, this does seem like a pretty reasonable belief. In fact I would argue most of Golarion would consider quite a number of deities to be monstrous.


Big R is pretty much THE monster...


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Melkiador wrote:
It sounds like Pharasma just finds the idea of atheism offensive. Which makes sense, since she's a god herself.

I really doubt she does, personally.

As an example, let's say you could stop a disaster using, say, a live mouse. Now, I don't want the example sidetracked by how the mouse is connected to stopping the disaster, because people will skew that to be about the morality of mouse sacrifices or negotiating with mouse-obsessed terrorists or whatever, but let's just say it's a mouse and something bad happens to the mouse in the process and that's all the relevant detail.

If it could be any mouse, you'd probably rather it be a wild mouse than your friend's pet mouse, not because of any particular evaluation of which mouse's personality is more charming or which is smarter or which one looks nicer, but just because you likely care more about not upsetting your friend than about any mouse.

It's like that. What happens to a few mortal souls is probably just so much less consequential to Pharasma than if Desna or Abadar show up wanting to know where their worshippers got lost in the mail. She needs to do something about Groetus, she probably doesn't want to antagonize the other gods even if they really can't do much to her but complain, that's all.

If you ask me, it's not her disliking atheists, it's that they'll be missed less.


When someone starts to act on ideas that nobody suggested, I ask them why they are taking advice from the mouse in their pocket.:)


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If I'm remembering correctly, many of the souls of those untouched by the gods or agnostics go to the Realm of the Content, a vast landscape where the neutral dead carry on as they did in life, doing what brings them the most pleasure for all eternity.


Yall preberbly bleave in thet "circulear spericle erth thery" insteda flat planet common sensical observabion datas. Hell i betcha bleave they aint faked the moon landing!!!

Liberty's Edge

i.e that's why.


Simeon wrote:
If I'm remembering correctly, many of the souls of those untouched by the gods or agnostics go to the Realm of the Content, a vast landscape where the neutral dead carry on as they did in life, doing what brings them the most pleasure for all eternity.

Baseless propaganda! None of the afterlives are actually eternal, you eventually either get tired (or tortured enough) in your existence and merge with the plane (which is constantly being eroded by the Maelstrom and being recycled) or transform to an outsider and have an actuarily predicted lifespan even on the safest planes that is a small fraction of the expected lifetime of the multiverse, which itself is not eternal.

Embrace the reality of oblivion, not the childish fantasy of eternity.

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