A small (but important!) complaint about the small paragraph on "Faith"


General Discussion

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Visanideth wrote:


There shouldn't be any need to state this, but since you've already gone on two "you can't tell me how I should feel!" tirades, let's do it: nobody is trying to tell you what you should or shouldn't be bothered by.

Man, I'm not even going to read the rest of what you wrote. You don't get it/don't care/whatever. You're not the intended audience and at best don't understand what I'm trying to say so I don't particularly care.

Have a nice day.


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The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Senjen wrote:
I'm an atheist myself and I think the OP has a point. There are so many religious assumptions built into the game that it does feel uncomfortable at times. The argument that there is evidence of the gods in Golarian feels very much like arguments I hear in favor of religion in the real world. I agree that the discrimination against atheists is not as severe as against other minorities but it definitely does exist. I live in the American South and believe me that it is very possible to lose a job if the wrong employer finds out you are atheist.

Emphasis mine.

Um... aside from the fact that Golarion’s gods talk to their worshippers, perform miracles, grant people magical powers, and have physical realms that you can go and visit?

And on the meta level where we are: The developers say they're real in the game world.


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Davick wrote:

Is it a minor thing? Yeah. Is it about feelings? Yes. One difference, is that alignment is made up, and atheism is real. And just like I'm sure you weren't trying to say atheism is silly like alignment, I don't think Paizo was trying to make a judgement statement on atheism either. But what's written is excluding towards nontheists by omission, whetehr with malice or not (probably not). And the fix is simple. So I suggested it.

Atheism is real, and none of the religions or deities described in the book are. Do you realize this is all nonsense? It's not like people who are religious in real life are acknowledged by the existance of Pharasma.

You're basically conflating something real (atheism) with something fictional (the religions and gods of Golarion). Your insistence that acknowledging your real life beliefs is so important makes as much sense as christians demanding God and Jesus to be included in the setting would.


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The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Senjen wrote:
I'm an atheist myself and I think the OP has a point. There are so many religious assumptions built into the game that it does feel uncomfortable at times. The argument that there is evidence of the gods in Golarian feels very much like arguments I hear in favor of religion in the real world. I agree that the discrimination against atheists is not as severe as against other minorities but it definitely does exist. I live in the American South and believe me that it is very possible to lose a job if the wrong employer finds out you are atheist.

Emphasis mine.

Um... aside from the fact that Golarion’s gods talk to their worshippers, perform miracles, grant people magical powers, and have physical realms that you can go and visit?

Dude, have you heard the evidence believers in the real world would state too? I don't wanna get into this here, but they will argue all of those things. ALL of them.


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Davick wrote:
The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Senjen wrote:
I'm an atheist myself and I think the OP has a point. There are so many religious assumptions built into the game that it does feel uncomfortable at times. The argument that there is evidence of the gods in Golarian feels very much like arguments I hear in favor of religion in the real world. I agree that the discrimination against atheists is not as severe as against other minorities but it definitely does exist. I live in the American South and believe me that it is very possible to lose a job if the wrong employer finds out you are atheist.

Emphasis mine.

Um... aside from the fact that Golarion’s gods talk to their worshippers, perform miracles, grant people magical powers, and have physical realms that you can go and visit?

Dude, have you heard the evidence believers in the real world would state too? I don't wanna get into this here, but they will argue all of those things. ALL of them.

Certainly. But there’s a difference between just claiming those things without evidence and being able to walk down to your neighborhood temple and pay a cleric to knit your flesh back together with the power of their deity.


In 2nd edition there are sorcerers who have access to the divine spell list. How is a cleric objectively different from a sorcerer who can cast divine spells. From within the game world you would not be able to tell the difference.


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So the thing Pathfinder 2nd Edition gives up the opportunity to do is underline that a wide array of religious beliefs exist in Golarion beyond "devoted to one and only one god" (which should generally be the province of representatives of that deity).

Like a lot of people don't really spend that much time thinking about the gods, this is normal, and they are fine.

A lot of people will say a prayer to whichever deity is in charge of the thing those people have outside their control and care about, this is normal, and they are fine.

A lot of people will worship a particular subset of gods which are personally important to them and their culture, this is normal and they are fine.

A lot of people will acknowledge the gods as powerful existent beings, but not really worthy of admiration in any sense beyond a quid pro quo for magic powers which they find distasteful, this is perhaps rare, but these people are fine.

A lot of people will choose to worship things that are not gods- spirits, ancestors, concepts, etc. Within particular cultures, this is normal, and these people are fine.

Et Cetera.


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The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Senjen wrote:
I'm an atheist myself and I think the OP has a point. There are so many religious assumptions built into the game that it does feel uncomfortable at times. The argument that there is evidence of the gods in Golarian feels very much like arguments I hear in favor of religion in the real world. I agree that the discrimination against atheists is not as severe as against other minorities but it definitely does exist. I live in the American South and believe me that it is very possible to lose a job if the wrong employer finds out you are atheist.

Emphasis mine.

Um... aside from the fact that Golarion’s gods talk to their worshippers, perform miracles, grant people magical powers, and have physical realms that you can go and visit?

I'd also like to add that some of those gods were living humanoids at the start who are known for having taken part directly in conflicts like Iomedae and/or having been seen on Golarion after becomings gods like Cayden Cailean, or any Mythic character with the correct mythic powers. Plus the Divine Heralds roaming the world (read Gods and Magic) (or play Wrath of the Righteous, there is a story bit about a god sent by Aroden or Iomedae to help the Crusade several years ago, amongst some other things).

For the Golarion setup, you just cannot not trust about the gods' existence. Because, unlike in real life, gods have been regularly spotted, and godly servant are part of the most common creatures in every scenario. What you can do is say that your character doesn't particularly follow the gods' edicts, or simply doesn't worship them.


Senjen wrote:
In 2nd edition there are sorcerers who have access to the divine spell list. How is a cleric objectively different from a sorcerer who can cast divine spells. From within the game world you would not be able to tell the difference.

I'd say sorcerers can cast divine spell because their blood is partially one of a godly/demoniac entity. Unlike clerics who need to worship a deity, a sorcerer is essentially a half-angel/half-demon, and those creature can naturally use godly/demonic powers.


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Arguing from the standpoint of an atheist in Golarian: Cayden Cailean actually works against the argument for gods existing. He was indisputably human. He took the test of the starstone and became an incredibly powerful human. If he can do it, so can anyone. Why should a I worship someone just because they were lucky enough to find a source of power? What I wouldn't argue against is that there are beings of greater than human power in the world. But I see no reason to worship them. They aren't gods, just powerful extra-planar beings.


Senjen wrote:
In 2nd edition there are sorcerers who have access to the divine spell list. How is a cleric objectively different from a sorcerer who can cast divine spells. From within the game world you would not be able to tell the difference.

Take the instance of a sorc and cleric who have not chosen whatever the remove disease equiv of the edition is

"Help sir cleric, my son has fallen ill of the pox! Use your divine powers to help him!"

Sorcerer: "Sorry, I can't do that"

Cleric: "Give me a day to pray for the right spell and I shall heal him"


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Senjen wrote:
In 2nd edition there are sorcerers who have access to the divine spell list. How is a cleric objectively different from a sorcerer who can cast divine spells. From within the game world you would not be able to tell the difference.

Sure you can. The sorcerer has a limited spell repertoire, while the cleric can pray to their deity for different spells each day.

Senjen wrote:
Arguing from the standpoint of an atheist in Golarian: Cayden Cailean actually works against the argument for gods existing. He was indisputably human. He took the test of the starstone and became an incredibly powerful human. If he can do it, so can anyone. Why should a I worship someone just because they were lucky enough to find a source of power? What I wouldn't argue against is that there are beings of greater than human power in the world. But I see no reason to worship them. They aren't gods, just powerful extra-planar beings.

But "gods" is the name that everyone has decided to call those powerful extra-planar beings.

Imagine someone says, "Dragons don't exist." A dragon is pointed out to them, and they reply, "That isn't a dragon, it's just a large lizard with wings that breathes fire." The issue is that that's the definition of a dragon (roughly).

To be clear, I agree that it's a perfectly valid position not to worship Golarion's deities. I just don't think claiming they aren't gods is very reasonable.


Almarane wrote:
Senjen wrote:
In 2nd edition there are sorcerers who have access to the divine spell list. How is a cleric objectively different from a sorcerer who can cast divine spells. From within the game world you would not be able to tell the difference.
I'd say sorcerers can cast divine spell because their blood is partially one of a godly/demoniac entity. Unlike clerics who need to worship a deity, a sorcerer is essentially a half-angel/half-demon, and those creature can naturally use godly/demonic powers.

I do kind of miss the Oracle flavor for that and am worried that there doesn't really seem to be a mechanical niche for them, now that Sorcerers have the Spontaneous Divine Caster role.

I still need to play that atheist Oracle, all pissed about being stuck with the job by some damn extra-planar entity.

"I don't believe in God. She drops by once in a while and we argue about it." - Elizabeth Bear in Shattered Pillars.


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Ultimately most of this argument is beside the point. Paizo does an excellent job of making room for minority viewpoints. It really isn't asking much for atheism to be included as one of the minority viewpoints.


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The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Senjen wrote:
In 2nd edition there are sorcerers who have access to the divine spell list. How is a cleric objectively different from a sorcerer who can cast divine spells. From within the game world you would not be able to tell the difference.

Sure you can. The sorcerer has a limited spell repertoire, while the cleric can pray to their deity for different spells each day.

Senjen wrote:
Arguing from the standpoint of an atheist in Golarian: Cayden Cailean actually works against the argument for gods existing. He was indisputably human. He took the test of the starstone and became an incredibly powerful human. If he can do it, so can anyone. Why should a I worship someone just because they were lucky enough to find a source of power? What I wouldn't argue against is that there are beings of greater than human power in the world. But I see no reason to worship them. They aren't gods, just powerful extra-planar beings.

But "gods" is the name that everyone has decided to call those powerful extra-planar beings.

Imagine someone says, "Dragons don't exist." A dragon is pointed out to them, and they reply, "That isn't a dragon, it's just a large lizard with wings that breathes fire." The issue is that that's the definition of a dragon (roughly).

To be clear, I agree that it's a perfectly valid position not to worship Golarion's deities. I just don't think claiming they aren't gods is very reasonable.

Except there are powerful extra-planar beings that aren't gods and the distinction isn't particularly clear.

Plus: Cayden Cailean was some dude who got a power boost and is now considered a god. There are other mortals and once mortals who are very powerful and claim to be gods, some of whom are generally considered such and some who aren't. Is Razmir a god? Are Nex or Geb? I don't think they claim to be, but how can you tell?

Scarab Sages

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I disagree. And its ok that we disagree on this. But honestly, this is a fantasy world with actual real deities that physically, mentally, psychologically, and magically impact the world. In front of their followers. In front of their enemies.

Requesting that your real world areligious choice be included in the game world doesn't make sense to me.

Why?

Because the game world, there is no real atheism. That's a rule of the world. A world in which any of the various archangels, prophets, or deities could jump down and thump you. In our world, its not likely that any religious figure or deity is going to physically manifest and thump you. And as far as actual proof, it just doesn't happen in our world. So being an atheist when there is no empirical proof of a deity makes a lot of actual sense. Being a true atheist (not the Rahadoumi version--where they just deny they are worthy of worship) in Golarian is insanity.


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Problem is asking for real world atheism (as opposed to Golarion atheism which is that the gods don't deserve your worship) is that it makes absolutely no sense in the setting. The gods and their servants aren't distant figures that appear in your morning toast maybe. They're in reach, tangible, approachable, and offer direct aid one way or another. To not believe in the existence of beings with god-like power that are capable of granting power to their followers with the evidence in place puts your character firmly in the zone of either ignorance at best or utter madman at worst.

It's not a matter of inclusiveness, it's the setting at work. Real world atheism makes as much sense in Golarion as thinking you can get by as a Flat in Eclipse Phase.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Atheism is a part of Golarion and has been from the start—our iconic wizard, Ezren, is an atheist, for example. The best and most up-to-date rules for how atheists interact with the afterlife and faith and that is currently found in Pathfinder RPG Planar Adventures, particularly on pages 64–69, where we discuss the nature of the soul and the cycle of the afterlife. This stuff won't be changing in the switch to the new edition.

It's important for us to be inclusive, obviously, and we're always on the lookout for ways to adjust and enhance the language we publish to be inclusive. For the Playtest, the langue for this isn't as clear as it should be for some things, obviously, and getting those elements more clear is as important (if not MORE so in some ways) as it is making sure the rules themselves work.

I for one have no difficulty in imagining an atheist in a world like Golarion. It's easier for me to imagine that, in fact, than "how can a creature as big as a dragon actually fly," and I pretty much accept that dragons can fly in Pathfinder without question.


Senjen wrote:
Ultimately most of this argument is beside the point. Paizo does an excellent job of making room for minority viewpoints. It really isn't asking much for atheism to be included as one of the minority viewpoints.

I honestly still don't understand: what specifically do you want Paizo to change?

thejeff wrote:
The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Senjen wrote:
In 2nd edition there are sorcerers who have access to the divine spell list. How is a cleric objectively different from a sorcerer who can cast divine spells. From within the game world you would not be able to tell the difference.

Sure you can. The sorcerer has a limited spell repertoire, while the cleric can pray to their deity for different spells each day.

Senjen wrote:
Arguing from the standpoint of an atheist in Golarian: Cayden Cailean actually works against the argument for gods existing. He was indisputably human. He took the test of the starstone and became an incredibly powerful human. If he can do it, so can anyone. Why should a I worship someone just because they were lucky enough to find a source of power? What I wouldn't argue against is that there are beings of greater than human power in the world. But I see no reason to worship them. They aren't gods, just powerful extra-planar beings.

But "gods" is the name that everyone has decided to call those powerful extra-planar beings.

Imagine someone says, "Dragons don't exist." A dragon is pointed out to them, and they reply, "That isn't a dragon, it's just a large lizard with wings that breathes fire." The issue is that that's the definition of a dragon (roughly).

To be clear, I agree that it's a perfectly valid position not to worship Golarion's deities. I just don't think claiming they aren't gods is very reasonable.

Except there are powerful extra-planar beings that aren't gods and the distinction isn't particularly clear.

Plus: Cayden Cailean was some dude who got a power boost and is now considered a god. There are other mortals and once mortals who are very powerful and claim to be gods, some of whom are generally considered such and some who aren't. Is Razmir a god? Are Nex or Geb? I don't think they claim to be, but how can you tell?

They don't grant their followers spells, so they aren't deities. That seems pretty clear to me.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tallow wrote:

I disagree. And its ok that we disagree on this. But honestly, this is a fantasy world with actual real deities that physically, mentally, psychologically, and magically impact the world. In front of their followers. In front of their enemies.

Requesting that your real world areligious choice be included in the game world doesn't make sense to me.

Why?

Because the game world, there is no real atheism. That's a rule of the world. A world in which any of the various archangels, prophets, or deities could jump down and thump you. In our world, its not likely that any religious figure or deity is going to physically manifest and thump you. And as far as actual proof, it just doesn't happen in our world. So being an atheist when there is no empirical proof of a deity makes a lot of actual sense. Being a true atheist (not the Rahadoumi version--where they just deny they are worthy of worship) in Golarian is insanity.

Well, we have, in 2018, people who claim that the Earth is flat, chemtrails are a thing and Bigfoot exists (no offense, James) so I wouldn't say that having a faux-medieval world where people believe that all those purported angels and devils are just hoaxes and illusions cast by sly magicians is too far off. Gods are real, huh? Ever heard of that Razmir guy? I know everybody says he passed the test but mark my word, he's just a phony wizard pretending to be a deity! He's fake! Like they all are! It's a conspiracy! THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE! No, I don't need my special potion, I'm fine.


The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
They don't grant their followers spells, so they aren't deities. That seems pretty clear to me.

Well, Razmir seems to, though we know better.

It's never actually been clear to me why he doesn't. At least now that there's a Mythic power that allows it. I suppose he's just not a Mythic wizard.

Given the Mythic ability, granting spells isn't really a clear distinction.


James Jacobs wrote:
Atheism is a part of Golarion and has been from the start—our iconic wizard, Ezren, is an atheist, for example.

Misotheist, rather, but nonreligious all the same, which is what counts, I'd think. I'm just picking nits.

Tallow wrote:
Because the game world, there is no real atheism.

Eh, since when has evidence been a prerequisite for believing things?

Personally, I'd be very interested to see more 'false' religions in Golarion. Personality cults like Razmir's, but also very flawed cosmologies and such that are intrinsically tied to philosophies and social norms.

I can't remember the name of the one religious organization from Faerun, that believed that there was a set level of misery in the universe and by living a miserable life you could make someone else's life happier . . . but that religion fascinated me, because it was the sort of thing that humans would come up with.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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thejeff wrote:
The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
They don't grant their followers spells, so they aren't deities. That seems pretty clear to me.

Well, Razmir seems to, though we know better.

It's never actually been clear to me why he doesn't. At least now that there's a Mythic power that allows it. I suppose he's just not a Mythic wizard.

Given the Mythic ability, granting spells isn't really a clear distinction.

He doesn't because we want to retain the story that he doesn't. Simple as that. NPCs exist to enable stories, not to be perfect. :-P


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Mr. Jacobs-

Any chance we can highlight polytheists (e.g. "I pray to all appropriate deities as appropriate- Gozreh won't help me succeed in a grand romantic gesture and Shelyn won't help me survive a storm while at sea") or pantheon worshipers (e.g. "As a right and proper dwarf, I venerate Torag's entire family") or any non-deity based traditions (e.g. animists, ancestor worshippers) in the core in a way that wasn't done as much in PF1?

Like at least indicate "this is a thing that people do", so we can talk about it more later?

Scarab Sages

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Visanideth wrote:
Your insistence that acknowledging your real life beliefs is so important makes as much sense as christians demanding God and Jesus to be included in the setting would.

Fun aside: My recent favorite character archetype has become the guy who has actually heard God's voice in this fantasy world, and needs to figure out how to share God with people who are like "Yeah, we can make fire from heaven too. So what?" It's very Exodus-like.


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Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Atheism is a part of Golarion and has been from the start—our iconic wizard, Ezren, is an atheist, for example.

Misotheist, rather, but nonreligious all the same, which is what counts, I'd think. I'm just picking nits.

Tallow wrote:
Because the game world, there is no real atheism.

Eh, since when has evidence been a prerequisite for believing things?

Personally, I'd be very interested to see more 'false' religions in Golarion. Personality cults like Razmir's, but also very flawed cosmologies and such that are intrinsically tied to philosophies and social norms.

I can't remember the name of the one religious organization from Faerun, that believed that there was a set level of misery in the universe and by living a miserable life you could make someone else's life happier . . . but that religion fascinated me, because it was the sort of thing that humans would come up with.

Or antitheist, but yes, Ezren believes gods exist, but are not godly and should be actively opposed (from what I gather from his background).

There's a major problem trying to look at Golarion from an Earth POV in that there would be philosophies we cannot fathom springing up all around. Not only do they have all the same input we have, and look how divisive we are about interpreting that, but they also have the supernatural to integrate into their worldview. It doesn't help that folklore from all around Earth has been woven into the mix, as well as forces of chaos & evil trying to sow dissension via disinformation.

I would doubt there's much agreement in Golarion universities as to what is or isn't a god (especially since it seems more a matter of scale with no omnigod(s) in the mix.) And worship, since it implies a subservient mindset, would be a contentious topic as well.
So our real world interpretation of an atheist doesn't translate much better than real world religious views do, especially monotheistic ones. All context, from the mundane to the metaphysical, would be altered.

There'd likely be "anti-worship-ists", "would all you cults stop fighting-ists!", and "people before gods-ists" and similar views, but agnosticism would likely fade away w/ all the compiled evidence and it and atheism would be a passive position for those who haven't explored the evidence so discount it from afar. We'd have to coin new terms because a skeptic (with resources) should come to the conclusion that the entities that call themselves gods do in fact exist. Since those gods come in so many flavors, the word "god" likely carries only the gravitas of power and not all the baggage we tend to have on Earth.

And then there's the position we're in as players. We objectively know that there are gods in that fictional setting. Even as an advocate for atheism (me), I can't understand wanting to label a PC ignorant of that Golarion truth. Unlike Earth, those more likely to believe in gods (with its non-omni meaning) are the educated Golarions, even if they also disrespect or despise divine meddling, etc.

I also don't think an exhaustive list of worldviews (et al) would ever find an end. A sweeping comment about inclusion & variety should suffice. And it sounds like Paizo made one.
Cheers.


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scottieboy86 wrote:
The way I see atheism working in a roleplaying game with gods is that the atheist acknowledges the gods' existence and power but does not find that power alone as sufficient reason for reverence. I actually find that very logical, especially in a world where deities are powerful but not all-powerful.

This is always how I have viewed it (being an atheist myself).

Arguably, gods in RPGs aren't really Gods in a contemporary sense anyway.


Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Atheism is a part of Golarion and has been from the start—our iconic wizard, Ezren, is an atheist, for example.

Misotheist, rather, but nonreligious all the same, which is what counts, I'd think. I'm just picking nits.

Tallow wrote:
Because the game world, there is no real atheism.

Eh, since when has evidence been a prerequisite for believing things?

Personally, I'd be very interested to see more 'false' religions in Golarion. Personality cults like Razmir's, but also very flawed cosmologies and such that are intrinsically tied to philosophies and social norms.

I can't remember the name of the one religious organization from Faerun, that believed that there was a set level of misery in the universe and by living a miserable life you could make someone else's life happier . . . but that religion fascinated me, because it was the sort of thing that humans would come up with.

Alatrism actually, but misotheism could come up as well. James Sutter and I have already had this conversation. It was decided to call it atheism instead just due to ease of use for most people. Which is fine with me.


Castilliano wrote:
Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Atheism is a part of Golarion and has been from the start—our iconic wizard, Ezren, is an atheist, for example.

Misotheist, rather, but nonreligious all the same, which is what counts, I'd think. I'm just picking nits.

Tallow wrote:
Because the game world, there is no real atheism.

Eh, since when has evidence been a prerequisite for believing things?

Personally, I'd be very interested to see more 'false' religions in Golarion. Personality cults like Razmir's, but also very flawed cosmologies and such that are intrinsically tied to philosophies and social norms.

I can't remember the name of the one religious organization from Faerun, that believed that there was a set level of misery in the universe and by living a miserable life you could make someone else's life happier . . . but that religion fascinated me, because it was the sort of thing that humans would come up with.

Or antitheist, but yes, Ezren believes gods exist, but are not godly and should be actively opposed (from what I gather from his background).

Antitheism is more about the establishment of religion, which is a bit unintuitive. Misotheism is hatred of the gods themselves. In a world with verified deities, misotheism and antitheism would go hand in hand.


James Jacobs wrote:

Atheism is a part of Golarion and has been from the start—our iconic wizard, Ezren, is an atheist, for example. The best and most up-to-date rules for how atheists interact with the afterlife and faith and that is currently found in Pathfinder RPG Planar Adventures, particularly on pages 64–69, where we discuss the nature of the soul and the cycle of the afterlife. This stuff won't be changing in the switch to the new edition.

It's important for us to be inclusive, obviously, and we're always on the lookout for ways to adjust and enhance the language we publish to be inclusive. For the Playtest, the langue for this isn't as clear as it should be for some things, obviously, and getting those elements more clear is as important (if not MORE so in some ways) as it is making sure the rules themselves work.

I for one have no difficulty in imagining an atheist in a world like Golarion. It's easier for me to imagine that, in fact, than "how can a creature as big as a dragon actually fly," and I pretty much accept that dragons can fly in Pathfinder without question.

Thanks! Given our other talks about religion in Golarion, I knew you'd get where I was coming from.

In hindsight, I feel like I should've mentioned alatrism somewhere sooner in this conversation. That seems like a good way to bridge the gap between being inclusive to real world atheists without needing to reorient or distort the setting of Golarion. Maybe. But using the term atheism a little more loosely than in the real world is fine too.


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The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Davick wrote:
The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Senjen wrote:
I'm an atheist myself and I think the OP has a point. There are so many religious assumptions built into the game that it does feel uncomfortable at times. The argument that there is evidence of the gods in Golarian feels very much like arguments I hear in favor of religion in the real world. I agree that the discrimination against atheists is not as severe as against other minorities but it definitely does exist. I live in the American South and believe me that it is very possible to lose a job if the wrong employer finds out you are atheist.

Emphasis mine.

Um... aside from the fact that Golarion’s gods talk to their worshippers, perform miracles, grant people magical powers, and have physical realms that you can go and visit?

Dude, have you heard the evidence believers in the real world would state too? I don't wanna get into this here, but they will argue all of those things. ALL of them.
Certainly. But there’s a difference between just claiming those things without evidence and being able to walk down to your neighborhood temple and pay a cleric to knit your flesh back together with the power of their deity.

There are non cleric ways to do that too though. No deity required. Accepting magic does not require accepting the divine.

And how many people can afford that anyway? I hear stories about pastors in the real world healing lost limbs too. Do you accept that as evidence?

You seem particularly obstinate in opposing this. I don't know why this is.


Here are my thoughts. Most people have faith in one or more gods, but it is more a faith of convince. They hope that the gods will either protect them from the dangers of the world, or not do something to hurt them. There may even be small shrines to the local creatures that are powerful enough. The world of Golarion is a lot more dangerous then our own. Further, humans and demihumans are still a part of the food chain, to some degree at least. I also feel that one must consider the fact that magic, has very flashy and provable effects.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Mr. Jacobs-

Any chance we can highlight polytheists (e.g. "I pray to all appropriate deities as appropriate- Gozreh won't help me succeed in a grand romantic gesture and Shelyn won't help me survive a storm while at sea") or pantheon worshipers (e.g. "As a right and proper dwarf, I venerate Torag's entire family") or any non-deity based traditions (e.g. animists, ancestor worshippers) in the core in a way that wasn't done as much in PF1?

Like at least indicate "this is a thing that people do", so we can talk about it more later?

I do like that and I suspect it would be the default for most people, even if clerics stay tied to one deity. People might have some they prefer to others, due to worldview or just what situations they find themselves in - sailors will focus on sea and weather gods, because that's what they need most.

Not sure how to highlight it mechanicly.


James Jacobs wrote:
thejeff wrote:
The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
They don't grant their followers spells, so they aren't deities. That seems pretty clear to me.

Well, Razmir seems to, though we know better.

It's never actually been clear to me why he doesn't. At least now that there's a Mythic power that allows it. I suppose he's just not a Mythic wizard.

Given the Mythic ability, granting spells isn't really a clear distinction.

He doesn't because we want to retain the story that he doesn't. Simple as that. NPCs exist to enable stories, not to be perfect. :-P

Pretty much what I'd thought. And it definitely works that way.


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Davick wrote:
Alatrism actually, but misotheism could come up as well. James Sutter and I have already had this conversation. It was decided to call it atheism instead just due to ease of use for most people. Which is fine with me.

There really isn't a good term for the Golarion "atheist" position in the real world, since the situation doesn't arise. We don't have clear knowledge of powerful extra-planar entities.

I've used the analogy of real-world rulers who were treated as gods - Pharoahs and other ancient emperor types. They're clearly real. They clearly have the power of life and death over those around them. They claim to be gods.

Would someone in one of those realms have to deny the existence of the Emperor in order to be atheist? That would be crazy. You can see him, hear him speak.

Not quite a perfect analogy, since they didn't actually have supernatural powers, but then in Golarion there are plenty of non-Gods with all kinds of special powers.


One thing you can be certain of, is that anyone advocating polytheist or pantheon clerics have never worked for a council, commission, or any other executive, legislative, or judicial group, because workload increases exponentially with the number of bosses you have. Those poor clerics would have little time to adventure, and even if they started an adventure, boss #2 might pull them out at any time to work on his/her/its project. And it will only get worse as you level up (higher level employees attract more attention). And that doesn't account for what happens when boss #4 and #7 don't like each other.

Don't get me wrong, polytheism and/or pantheonism is fine for the casual worshipper.


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Mechagamera wrote:
Don't get me wrong, polytheism and/or pantheonism is fine for the casual worshipper.

My personal perspective is that polytheism or pantheonism should be basically the default for everyone who is not a cleric or other representative of a specific church. Like if you're a soldier on the eve of a major battle, why wouldn't you make offerings to basically everyone who you don't find personally distasteful who might be able to help? Like pray to Gorum for strength, Pharasma for forbearance, Torag so you keep a clear mind under pressure, and Iomedae for courage, and Cayden for luck when you need it most? Seems like a thing which shouldn't be rare.

Of course, the most common kind of atheism in one's fantasy world would most likely be "the gods aren't really on my mind ever" (which is probably the most common kind anywhere.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

If clerics are going to deity only, I kind of hope at some point that we do get mechanically distinct classes for those who draw power from philosophies or from a whole pantheon.

A Pantheon focused divine caster could be something that focuses heavily on domains, with an ability to swap out their domains at the start of each day, for instance.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Mr. Jacobs-

Any chance we can highlight polytheists (e.g. "I pray to all appropriate deities as appropriate- Gozreh won't help me succeed in a grand romantic gesture and Shelyn won't help me survive a storm while at sea") or pantheon worshipers (e.g. "As a right and proper dwarf, I venerate Torag's entire family") or any non-deity based traditions (e.g. animists, ancestor worshippers) in the core in a way that wasn't done as much in PF1?

Like at least indicate "this is a thing that people do", so we can talk about it more later?

We can, potentially, mention this in the core in the context of whatever we end up doing to cover the concept of religion, but the cleric class is not the place to do so. This would be in-world information rather than rules information, and the footprint of world information in the Core Rulebook is still being determined.

It WILL be covered in the actual campaign setting products we do, of course.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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MMCJawa wrote:

If clerics are going to deity only, I kind of hope at some point that we do get mechanically distinct classes for those who draw power from philosophies or from a whole pantheon.

A Pantheon focused divine caster could be something that focuses heavily on domains, with an ability to swap out their domains at the start of each day, for instance.

This is absolutely my hope for 2nd edition.

In an altered 1st edition real world timeline, the cleric would be the divine caster who gains power from the worship of a single deity, while the oracle would be the divine caster who gains power from the worship of a pantheon or philosophy or the like. That specific description IS how things work in Golarion, but it's not directly supported by the wording in the 1st edition Core Rulebook or Advanced Player's Guide.

In 2nd edition, it remains to be seen how this might all play out. Personally I'd like to see it retained, with an Oracle (or some similar base class) being added to the game in some product after the Core Rulebook to fill this role in a setting. It's not something we can cover in the Core Rulebook though—we only have enough room to fit one full spellcaster class for the 4 traditions of magic. Of course, in theory, the expanded thematic utility of the sorcerer can fill this role in a pinch for those sorcerers who cast from the divine list.

In any case, in time we'll have all this covered by player options. But having it all covered on launch day within the pages of the Core Rulebook is very very very unlikely to happen.

But who knows what the future might hold!


James Jacobs wrote:

In an altered 1st edition real world timeline, the cleric would be the divine caster who gains power from the worship of a single deity, while the oracle would be the divine caster who gains power from the worship of a pantheon or philosophy or the like. That specific description IS how things work in Golarion, but it's not directly supported by the wording in the 1st edition Core Rulebook or Advanced Player's Guide.

In 2nd edition, it remains to be seen how this might all play out. Personally I'd like to see it retained, with an Oracle (or some similar base class) being added to the game in some product after the Core Rulebook to fill this role in a setting. It's not something we can cover in the Core Rulebook though—we only have enough room to fit one full spellcaster class for the 4 traditions of magic. Of course, in theory, the expanded thematic utility of the sorcerer can fill this role in a pinch for those sorcerers who cast from the divine list.

Interesting. I was wondering if the divine sorcerer covered the mechanical design space for the Oracle enough that there wasn't need for another spontaneous divine caster.

Good to know.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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thejeff wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

In an altered 1st edition real world timeline, the cleric would be the divine caster who gains power from the worship of a single deity, while the oracle would be the divine caster who gains power from the worship of a pantheon or philosophy or the like. That specific description IS how things work in Golarion, but it's not directly supported by the wording in the 1st edition Core Rulebook or Advanced Player's Guide.

In 2nd edition, it remains to be seen how this might all play out. Personally I'd like to see it retained, with an Oracle (or some similar base class) being added to the game in some product after the Core Rulebook to fill this role in a setting. It's not something we can cover in the Core Rulebook though—we only have enough room to fit one full spellcaster class for the 4 traditions of magic. Of course, in theory, the expanded thematic utility of the sorcerer can fill this role in a pinch for those sorcerers who cast from the divine list.

Interesting. I was wondering if the divine sorcerer covered the mechanical design space for the Oracle enough that there wasn't need for another spontaneous divine caster.

Good to know.

There's actually NOT anything to know, rules mechanics wise, about a 2nd edition oracle. My comments above are strictly about an in-world flavor and role. IF we do an oracle, I would like to see them work with pantheons or philosophies, but the game mechanics of that are up to the design team. It's all beyond the scope of the playtest though, so it's not something that I want people to get too distracted by for the next year or so.


Davick wrote:
The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Davick wrote:
The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Senjen wrote:
I'm an atheist myself and I think the OP has a point. There are so many religious assumptions built into the game that it does feel uncomfortable at times. The argument that there is evidence of the gods in Golarian feels very much like arguments I hear in favor of religion in the real world. I agree that the discrimination against atheists is not as severe as against other minorities but it definitely does exist. I live in the American South and believe me that it is very possible to lose a job if the wrong employer finds out you are atheist.

Emphasis mine.

Um... aside from the fact that Golarion’s gods talk to their worshippers, perform miracles, grant people magical powers, and have physical realms that you can go and visit?

Dude, have you heard the evidence believers in the real world would state too? I don't wanna get into this here, but they will argue all of those things. ALL of them.
Certainly. But there’s a difference between just claiming those things without evidence and being able to walk down to your neighborhood temple and pay a cleric to knit your flesh back together with the power of their deity.

There are non cleric ways to do that too though. No deity required. Accepting magic does not require accepting the divine.

And how many people can afford that anyway? I hear stories about pastors in the real world healing lost limbs too. Do you accept that as evidence?

You seem particularly obstinate in opposing this. I don't know why this is.

Clerics are the only people who can cast divine spells without the limitations of a sorcerer's spell repertoire, so it's not particularly difficult for someone to prove that they're a cleric.

Clerics can only do this if they follow the tenets of their deity, so it seems pretty reasonable to conclude that their power derives from said deity.

A first level spell only costs 27 sp. Even if this is too expensive, you can always hang around at a temple until someone arrives in need of healing, or just ask an acolyte to cast a cantrip for you.

Beyond clerics, the deities have plenty of extraplanar servants gallivanting around the material plane, and there are people who have literally travelled to their homes.

I'm not sure what you mean by "this." I think the position that Golarion's deities are not deserving of worship is entirely logical, but I don't see how it's reasonable to assert that they don't exist at all. If you're referring to your suggestion to change how the rulebook discusses atheism, I still don't understand how exactly you want that altered.


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I'm going to split this post into two. One is where I take the post at face value: As someone who not only isn't religious, but actively dislikes the muslim/judaic/christian deity I do not feel excluded by Pathfinder in any way, shape or form.


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Here's the post where I actually post how I feel about this thread: I am absolutely sick to death of everyone who has an agenda creating threads declaring <insert group here> are going to feel excluded from Pathfinder unless Paizo does <insert demand here>.

Yes, Paizo have a largely liberal bent. Yes they want to be seen as inclusive to all people. No, using this as a bludgeoning weapon to strongarm Paizo into acceding to your demands is not appropriate.

Religion is a very real part of Pathfinder. No it isn't the type of religion where you'll find Shiva, "God" or Allah. It's the type where you'll find Thor and Isis. This in no way impacts me as a person of the 21st century where gods such as Thor and Zeus adorn the tv screen as superheroes and the father's of superheroes.

People are really going overboard with their special snowflakeness and I wish I could say it was limited to just Americans but the metric thread where the exact same tactic was applied demonstrates it's non-Americans as well.


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Davick wrote:
One difference, is that alignment is made up, and atheism is real. And just like I'm sure you weren't trying to say atheism is silly like alignment, I don't think Paizo was trying to make a judgement statement on atheism either.

Sorry. But in this grand modern age what you just said could be construed as hate speech. Calling someone's religious beliefs "imaginary" and "made up" is highly offensive to those who believe in such things (many who believe in alignment call themselves christians). I'm sure given you're championing the cause of the poor downtrodden atheist you'll refrain from belittling people's religious beliefs in future posts.


John Lynch 106 wrote:

Here's the post where I actually post how I feel about this thread: I am absolutely sick to death of everyone who has an agenda creating threads declaring <insert group here> are going to feel excluded from Pathfinder unless Paizo does <insert demand here>.

Yes, Paizo have a largely liberal bent. Yes they want to be seen as inclusive to all people. No, using this as a bludgeoning weapon to strongarm Paizo into acceding to your demands is not appropriate.

Religion is a very real part of Pathfinder. No it isn't the type of religion where you'll find Shiva, "God" or Allah. It's the type where you'll find Thor and Isis. This in no way impacts me as a person of the 21st century where gods such as Thor and Zeus adorn the tv screen as superheroes and the father's of superheroes.

People are really going overboard with their special snowflakeness and I wish I could say it was limited to just Americans but the metric thread where the exact same tactic was applied demonstrates it's non-Americans as well.

it could impact your spell list. But seriously this is a game to escape reality not embrace it.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
Davick wrote:
One difference, is that alignment is made up, and atheism is real. And just like I'm sure you weren't trying to say atheism is silly like alignment, I don't think Paizo was trying to make a judgement statement on atheism either.
Sorry. But in this grand modern age what you just said could be construed as hate speech. Calling someone's religious beliefs "imaginary" and "made up" is highly offensive to those who believe in such things (many who believe in alignment call themselves christians). I'm sure given you're championing the cause of the poor downtrodden atheist you'll refrain from belittling people's religious beliefs in future posts.

Are you actually saying that there are people who believe that the alignment system applies to real life? Like, they think that every person's moral character can be plotted on a 3 by 3 chart? And they would think that someone calling it imaginary is "hate speech," despite the fact that it was literally invented by game designers as a game mechanic for an imaginary world?

Maybe I'm way off base here, but it doesn't seem particularly likely that there's anyone who would be offended by the assertion that the alignment system isn't real.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Yes, Paizo have a largely liberal bent. Yes they want to be seen as inclusive to all people. No, using this as a bludgeoning weapon to strongarm Paizo into acceding to your demands is not appropriate.

How exactly is anyone trying to "strongarm Paizo into acceding to their demands?" Davick hasn't even been particularly clear about what his requests are, much less made demands.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nearly the entirety of modern mainstream pop culture appeals or caters to a secular audience. Not to be rude, but this isn't as "important" as you assert.

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