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Pooky
04-10-2007, 01:46
How many gods are there in WH40k? And how many of them "exist"? Firstly, lets look at the gods:

Astartes/ IG/ Loyalists: The Emperor, The Machine God
Chaos: Khorne, Tzench, Slaanesh and Nurgle
Eldar: Khane' (possibly the same as Khorne?)
Dark Eldar: ???
Tau: Science and Technology! :D
Orks: Gork and Mork
Tyranids: ???
Necrons: The C'Tan

And by "exist" I mean, how many gods do we "see in action" so to speak. We obviously see the Chaos gods since there are CSM with all the marks and gifts of their gods. The C'Tan exist since the Nightbringer and Deciever exist. But what about gods like Gork and Mork? We don't see anything of them anywhere...

Finally, if all these gods exist, then why don't they fight their own battles instead of using the people, aliens and beings in the 41st M to fight for them?

Ktotwf
04-10-2007, 01:48
All of them exist, with the possible exception of the Machine God.

The Emperor seems to watch over things, although whether he actually does anything is a matter of personal taste (but the fluff seems to indicate he does)

Gork and Mork have profound effects on Ork psychology and political life.

Argastes
04-10-2007, 02:01
The Adeptus Astartes do NOT view the Emperor as a god, and it's suggested in the fluff that at least some chapters worship their own gods, completely unrelated to anything believed in by the Ecclesiarchy.

I'd imagine the Dark Eldar believe in the same gods as the Craftworld eldar. Especially Khaine, the God of Murder! He's the only one left, anyhow. Dark Eldar may be depraved and sadistic, but they and the CWE are still branches of the same cultural tree.

Gork and Mork's existence may not be confirmed through "in game" effects like Marks/Icons or their actual presence on the tabletop(!), but the fluff makes it clear they're not just a figment of the Orks' imaginations.

flare8521
04-10-2007, 02:08
You forgot the harlequin's Laughing God.
There are also good hints that the machine god is actualy a C'Tan (let us not start over the debate here though).
And if you look for a Nid god, it would have to be the Hive mind. I'm not saying it's a god but com'on, a single thing controling that big an army? getting close...

Zapherion
04-10-2007, 02:15
the machine god = the Emperor or at least so the mechanicas think (personally i dont believe in the machine got at all....all just alot of mumbo jumbo in my opinion) As for the laughing god, you dont acutally experience/encounter him in the game. In the fluff though, indeed there is a laughing god, and there is also the eldar got that will destroy slanesh...yennehd or something...sorry, im not an eldar player (help me out wit the spelling please :P)
Also, just to be annoying, Flare8521, are you not getting mixed up wit the c'tan that is meant to apparenly reside on mars (void dragon or something?) cos personallym ive literally heard nothing about the machine got being a c'tan...unless its the deciever, but he gets blamed for everything hehe :D

flare8521
04-10-2007, 02:17
Well yeah it's the Void Dragon i was talking about indeed. I thought it was the machine god. I could be wrong.

Ktotwf
04-10-2007, 02:21
The Adeptus Astartes do NOT view the Emperor as a god, and it's suggested in the fluff that at least some chapters worship their own gods, completely unrelated to anything believed in by the Ecclesiarchy.


What the hell are you talking about? Of course the Space Marines worship the Emperor as a God - one line in the BGB does not outweigh an entire bucketload of fluff.

Without the SM worshipping the Emperor as a God, the Black Templar make very little sense, no?

Argastes
04-10-2007, 03:35
What the hell are you talking about? Of course the Space Marines worship the Emperor as a God - one line in the BGB does not outweigh an entire bucketload of fluff.

Without the SM worshipping the Emperor as a God, the Black Templar make very little sense, no?

Don't be ridiculous, there's much more to it than the BGB. The idea goes back to 2nd Edition, if not RT. In addition the core rulebook, other sources saying the marines don't regard the Emperor as a god include the 3E codex and several others. The reason for their unusual views is also stated--they remember the Emperor's original decree, made prior to the HH, forbidding his worship as a God. Their belief in this matter is the main source of the tension between the Ecclesiarchy and the Adeptus Astartes. I'm sure some posters with access to more of the fluff can provide additional sources. I'm also sure that when you start to actually think about the "bucketloads" of fluff that "prove" they see him as a god, you will discover that in 99% of cases, it's never actually stated he's a god to them--they just speak of him in a religious tone, and so when we see that, and know that the rest of the Imperium does see him as a god, it just snaps into place in our minds that the SM do too.

I never said they don't worship him, or revere him, or pray to him, or make offerings to him, or speak of him in a religious tone, or whatever. They clearly do; that doesn't mean they think he's a god. They know he's a man. Their creator and (in a sense) father, their lord, the founder of the Imperium, the savior and protector of mankind, etc., etc..... but still a man.

As for the BT, their religious overtones are emphasized more than other Chapters, but that doesn't prove they think he's a god. They revere him in the same way as the other chapters, but more devoutly.

EDIT: Actually, I'd allow that in some cases of the most fervently devout chapters, such as the BT, the issue of the Emperor's divinity sort of creeps into a grey area where their religious overtones are so strong that one could argue they do see him in a divine light. But where that does occur, it's an exception that pertains only to the most fanatical chapters; the 'codex norm' is that he's not a god.

2nd EDIT: Aha, some definitive Index Astartes excerpts:

"The Dark Angels Chapter gives praise to the Emperor of Mankind but, much to the chagrin of the Ecclesiarchy, do not revere him as a god. Like most First Founding Chapters, the Dark Angels venerate their Primarch as much as they do the Emperor, who they worship as the founder of the Imperium and as their creator. To the Dark Angels the Emperor is a man, not a god."

"White Scars Space Marines hold true to the vision of Jaghatai Khan in the ultimate unification of Humanity. They venerate the Emperor as the ultimate Uniter and as their founding father, but not as a deity."

"To the Raven Guard, the Emperor is a distant figure, acknowledged as their founder and master of the galaxy, but who is not accorded the level or worship common amongst other Chapters."

"Like many Codex Chapters, the Blood Ravens do not venerate the Emperor as a god, but as the mightiest of men. This inevitably brings them into conflict with the Ministorum, but this is allayed by the fact that they do not know the identity of their Primarch, which leads them to give praise to the Emperor with a fervour greater than almost any other Chapter."

Feor
04-10-2007, 03:48
Full Tally:
4 Chaos Gods
1 Emperor of Mankind
2 Eldar Gods (Khaine + Creoragh... or however you spell it)
2 Orky gods
3-4 C'tan
Total: 12-13, 13-14 if you consider the Machine God and the Emperor to be seperate entities. Half the AdMech thinks so, half the AdMech doesn't so it's not even worth arguing which is accurate here.

Also, the main Chapters that worship the Emperor as a God are the Black Templars and the Grey Knights. The rest just think he's the greatest thing to ever grace the Galaxy.

Ktotwf
04-10-2007, 04:14
The whole just worshipping him as the "greatest man" is a silly, pointless semantic distinction. Just some way to somehow make the Space Marines different than humanity at large - when in reality it all seems pretty uniform in practice and creed.

Hive Mind 33
04-10-2007, 04:25
They do differ in worshiping thou. The steel cobras worshiped him as an animal totem. The space wolves hardly worship him. IN the BGB it states he is not a god but a great man, and his blood in in their vanes. Id tell you what the 3rd rulebook said but that is dead.

Argastes
04-10-2007, 04:39
The whole just worshipping him as the "greatest man" is a silly, pointless semantic distinction. Just some way to somehow make the Space Marines different than humanity at large - when in reality it all seems pretty uniform in practice and creed.

So fluff you don't like is silly semantics... Wow, deriding and scoffing at any fluff that doesn't square with your own ideas of how the fluff should be, how original! Never seen that one before.

I agree that, in practice, the fluff often offers little distinction. For both marines and regular adherents to the Imperial Cult, the Emperor is the object of strong spiritual devotion, whom they regard as the universe's supremely important entity, and whom they worship, offer prayer to, and so on. But if the theoretical difference doesn't strike you as very strong, then I think you're failing to appreciate it's significance, theologically and philosophically. Any student of theology or religious philosophy would tell you that that's a HUGE difference!

And in fact, it's stated in many places that the Space Marines DO differ enormously from the Ecclesiarchy in their practices and creed. They engage in all manner of barbaric practices such as blood sacrifices, the immolation of offerings, ritual scarring, and lots of other grisly, savage rites. Their cults are grim, war-centric, and often downright frightening, reflecting their grim, war-centric, and often downright frightening cultures. Ecclesiarchy's religious services probably resemble, in most ways, a real-life Greek Orthodox or old-school Roman Catholic mass (maybe with more skulls and a bit of a 'darker' feel). The religious rituals of a SM chapter would obviously vary enormously from Chapter to Chapter, but would generally include some much more barbaric, violent, bloody, or martial elements; an Adeptus Ministorum clergyman would probably be quite horrified by them. The reason people such as yourself overlook these differences, and think the practices of the SM and Ecclesiarchy are so similar, is simply because the fluff rarely examines either of them in much detail. If there was more focus on the religious views of both groups, everyone would know about the differences. But 40K fluff tends to focus more on battles than on theology, for obvious reasons, and so any mention of the differences is fairly rare and tends to be tucked away here and there in odd corners of the fluff. The religious stuff that does leak through in the majority of the fluff tends to be superficial, so when people see that both Chaplains and AM preachers shout "Praise the Emperor!" in battle, or invoke the Emperor's blessing, or whatever, they presume the beliefs of the two must be similar. That's obviously the trap you've fallen into.

Basically: Yeah, the differences between the two belief systems seem superficial IF your examination and contemplation of the fluff is also superficial. Read more carefully, pay attention to the differences when they are mentioned, think about what huge differences are implied even if the fluff doesn't pay much explicit attention to them, and the SM cults become clearly and radically different from Imperial orthodoxy.


Id tell you what the 3rd rulebook said but that is dead.

Previous editions' fluff is far from invalidated. Even official GW statements have said that a more recent editions' fluff may not be "truer" than that of an older edition; in fact, that it may be just the opposite. Basically, the age of an edition has no bearing on whether it's fluff is canon. BTW, the 3rd edition rulebook contains a short story in which a group of Space Marines are led by their Chaplain in prayer to "our gods and the Emperor"...

Ktotwf
04-10-2007, 04:43
The worship may be different, but the FACT OF THE WORSHIP remains the same. Yahweh, Zeus, Odin...etc etc etc. They are all Gods - worshipped differently, but they are Gods.

Perhaps, instead of trying to make angry emo arguments about how ridiculous my assertions are, maybe you should just consider the possibility that GW said one thing and did another.

We have had endless, long discussion on this very topic a couple of times before, and we have always come to the same conclusion - there is basically very little difference, not necessarily in the way the worship is conducted, but that the Emperor is a divine being to both the Space Marines and Ecclesiarchy.

Argastes
04-10-2007, 05:05
The worship may be different, but the FACT OF THE WORSHIP remains the same. Yahweh, Zeus, Odin...etc etc etc. They are all Gods - worshipped differently, but they are Gods.

Being worshipped does not make one a god. Yahweh, Zeus, Odin, etc. are all gods to their followers; the Emperor is not a god to the Marines. Your comparison is spurious. While you can say that all of those gods are worshiped differently but are still gods, you CANNOT similarly say that the Emperor, though worshiped differently by marines, is still a god to them. That's just untrue. Of course the "fact of the worship" remains the same, but the basis of the worship varies significantly. The Emperor-worship of the space marines is hero-worship and ancestor-worship, not god-worship.


Perhaps, instead of trying to make angry emo arguments about how ridiculous my assertions are, maybe you should just consider the possibility that GW said one thing and did another.

Umm, the only means they have of 'doing' things, other than releasing models, is saying them. If they say the Marines don't worship the Emperor, there's nothing they can "do" that contradicts that unless they figured out a way to release models that somehow refute it. Dunno what you mean by angry emo arguments, BTW.


We have had endless, long discussion on this very topic a couple of times before, and we have always come to the same conclusion - there is basically very little difference, not necessarily in the way the worship is conducted, but that the Emperor is a divine being to both the Space Marines and Ecclesiarchy.

But has no-one ever mentioned that there is an appreciable difference, theologically speaking, between the divinity of a true god and the "divinity" of a revered ancestor/hero figure? Again: You can say that the differences are superficial, but that only reveals that what's really superficial is your grasp of the theological distinction. If you don't think the difference is meaningful, cool--no one is forcing you to appreciate it. I do realize that to people who see religion as unimportant, even the most supposedly-drastic religious distinctions can seem trivial. But by the standards by which religious beliefs are compared in the real life, by people who appreciate their complexity and meaning, the difference is HUGE. Whether or not the fluff-writers have dwelt on it at length commensurate to it's weightiness, and whether or not you appreciate it. If you took this issue to a theologian or religious philosopher and told them you didn't think it was anything but semantics, they'd choke or laugh at you or both.

Ktotwf
04-10-2007, 05:13
Being worshipped does not make one a god. Your comparison is spurious. While you can say that all of those gods are worshiped differently but are still gods, you CANNOT similarly say that the Emperor, though worshiped differently by marines, is still a god to them.


Who says? I say being worshipped makes one a God. What is a God really but an object of worship?

You talk about the difference between a "God" and a revered ancestor - but they are really just different objects of worship in different belief systems.

Despite all your high handed and pretentious language (which is an unfortunately common element of these forums) you have done absolutely nothing other than say "NAH UH" and then insult my knowledge of Theology.

Consider this conversation over, I have better things to do than argue with the likes of you.

Imperialis_Dominatus
04-10-2007, 05:41
Who says? I say being worshipped makes one a God. What is a God really but an object of worship?

You talk about the difference between a "God" and a revered ancestor - but they are really just different objects of worship in different belief systems.

Despite all your high handed and pretentious language (which is an unfortunately common element of these forums) you have done absolutely nothing other than say "NAH UH" and then insult my knowledge of Theology.

Consider this conversation over, I have better things to do than argue with the likes of you.

Hey. Ktotwf. I'll admit that Argastes could have been a little... softer in his assertions against yours, but you really need to step back, take a deep breath... seriously man, are you re-reading what you're typing? This strikes me as borderline flaming... "the likes of you"? Christ. "Pretentious?" WTF.

I for one side with Argastes, but that does not influence my judgement of your post. I'm not gonna be wishy-washy touchy-feely about it, but I think Argastes deserves a bit more respect.

Now, let's use a real world example, a specific one even. I'm Catholic. I believe in one Supreme Being (it looks jumbled from the outside, what with the Trinity and all that, but suffice to say it's not). Now, a key part of Catholic religion is the idea of the Pope and Saints. These fellows are revered, even prayed to (the Saints anyways, the Pope is seen as God's voice on Earth). I'm not the most accomplished Catholic, some of the rituals therein are a mystery to me, but I do know that the Pope and the Saints, while revered, are not gods of any sort. However, a misunderstanding of this distinction, the argument we're having now, resulted in the different sects we see today.

That's not overly relavant, but what is important is this: the majority of the Ecclesiarchy is analagous to the Protestant branch in that it reveres the Emperor and no others. Though it bears structural similarities to the Catholic Church, this is only superficial.

The Space Marines are like the Catholic branch. The Emperor is sort of like the Pope, in that he's the highest regarded human alive. The Primarchs are also like Saints. They are revered, sometimes to the same extent or more as the Emperor. Now where it gets muddy is the idea of God or gods, but I never stated that the ideas of the Catholic Church were an exact match to the Space Marines, did I? The Chapters may or may not have their own gods, which may be slightly more revered than the Emperor or the Primarchs. In any case, the Emperor is not a god to the Space Marines. Ancestor worship also applies here, in that the Primarchs, the Emperor, and even fallen heroes are revered and prayed to and worshipped, but not as gods.

This is why I think that the Emperor is not a god to the Space Marines. It seems that it is difficult for you to accept this philosophy, but the very least you can do is see where I'm coming from. It's ok to validate an opinion or qualify it without agreeing with it. I, for example, can sympathize with both sides of the life-choice debate... but for fear of unleashing mod hell more than I already may have, I will not state my opinion here.

Suffice to say, the Emperor is not a God, at least not to many Space Marine Chapters by any stretch of the imagination.

Iracundus
04-10-2007, 05:52
Whether one kneels, prays, sacrifices and calls it "revering" or "worship" is a meaningless grammatical and philosophical hair splitting. In early and medieval Catholicism, the grammatical gymnastics were an attempt to justify the otherwise polytheistic system of offering up prayers to saints and Mary. One of the points upon which Protestantism was based on was rejection of this as simply polytheism under another name.

In particular in 40K, the fact both yield power up to the entity means they are equivalent and the same. Marines may say they are not worshipping the Emperor as a god, but everything they do amounts to the same. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

Argastes
04-10-2007, 06:08
Who says? I say being worshipped makes one a God. What is a God really but an object of worship?

You talk about the difference between a "God" and a revered ancestor - but they are really just different objects of worship in different belief systems.

Despite all your high handed and pretentious language (which is an unfortunately common element of these forums) you have done absolutely nothing other than say "NAH UH" and then insult my knowledge of Theology.

Consider this conversation over, I have better things to do than argue with the likes of you.

This post is kind of ironic, since you just a moment ago were criticizing me for "angry emo arguments". As for "pretentiousness"... I can't believe you would engage in what is basically a theological debate and then deride others for using a few lengthy words. Whatever; enjoy your better things.


Whether one kneels, prays, sacrifices and calls it "revering" or "worship" is a meaningless grammatical and philosophical hair splitting. In early and medieval Catholicism, the grammatical gymnastics were an attempt to justify the otherwise polytheistic system of offering up prayers to saints and Mary. One of the points upon which Protestantism was based on was rejection of this as simply polytheism under another name.

In particular in 40K, the fact both yield power up to the entity means they are equivalent and the same. Marines may say they are not worshipping the Emperor as a god, but everything they do amounts to the same. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

Yes, it's still worship. So I guess it all amounts to the same thing if you don't accept that religious differences can be meaningfully divided into any categories more specific than "worship" or "not worship". But if that's your belief, then I don't understand how you'd see the distinctions between real-world religions either. Do you think that the differences between Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Islam, etc. are nothing but split hairs because they are all just different forms of worship? If worshiping a god and worshiping an ancestor is all the same because it's all just worship, do you perceive no difference between Mormonism and the ancestor veneration of Chinese culture?

I guess I'm just baffled that two religious practices which are fundamentally different in their premises, and superficially similar only in some points of practice or "style", could be dismissed as functionally identical simply because they focus on the same entity. Again: According to the standards by which religions are studied in real life, the difference is huge. It's far more than just "grammatical hair splitting". The belief of the Marines is quite different from the belief of the Ecclesiarchy; how can you say the ceremonial side of things is more important than the underlying belief?

Invader Nails
04-10-2007, 06:20
Er ... not to interrupt this fine tizzy y'all are having, but I thought I'd point out a couple of things.

THING THE FIRST: Khaine is most certainly NOT Khorne, for all kinds of reasons.

THING THE SECOND: The C'tan are technically not "gods," if one defines 40K gods as "noncorporeal warp entities based on the thoughts and feelings of mortal beings." Really they're just really big, really powerful, really intelligent aliens. Like the Lovecraftian entities that inspired them, they are only "gods" to lesser beings who don't/can't understand them.


Carry on.

Iracundus
04-10-2007, 06:22
The point is they are NOT fundamentally different in their premise, nor are they funadmentally different in their details. The only difference is what they choose to call it for themselves. They both revolve around symbolic displays of subordination to the entity they call the Emperor and how that entity is meant to be the supreme ideal of that which is desirable or good.

stormblade
04-10-2007, 06:24
Whether one kneels, prays, sacrifices and calls it "revering" or "worship" is a meaningless grammatical and philosophical hair splitting. In early and medieval Catholicism, the grammatical gymnastics were an attempt to justify the otherwise polytheistic system of offering up prayers to saints and Mary. One of the points upon which Protestantism was based on was rejection of this as simply polytheism under another name.

I may revere my friend who was in the army because of his courage but that does not mean that I worship him.

1. Difference between he revere and worship is, also, not a one of grammar but one of meaning- what words mean has nothing to do with grammar, grammar concerns itself with declinations, word order and the like.

2. In early Catholicism saints weren't worshiped

3. The polytheistic Medieval Catholicism, as you refer to it, was born due to mixing of pre-Christian polytheistic myths and heroes which were, conveniently replaced by Christian saints.

4. There are plenty of different reasons why each protestant group split from the Church and me trying to elaborate on them would be of no use as I'm not so familiar with the topic.

BTW- You obviously haven't got a clue about what philosophy really is.




In particular in 40K, the fact both yield power up to the entity means they are equivalent and the same. Marines may say they are not worshipping the Emperor as a god, but everything they do amounts to the same. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

-By this logic the English worship their royalty as god because they have statues of them and sell plates with the picture of a Queen on them.

Furthermore by your logic- stupid teenage girls in USA worship Justin Timberlake- because they lend him power.

And when we are talking of metaphysic a rose might no longer be a rose if you perceive it differently.

Iracundus
04-10-2007, 06:26
Revering in this religious context is not the same as "revering" your friend in the sense of merely respecting. If you revered your friend in the same way as the Marines do their Emperor by bowing, praying, and offering sacrifices to, then yes you would be worshipping him. The Marines are doing the exact same thing as the Ecclesiarchy only they are just calling what they do by a different name.

I know quite a lot of philsophy so do not be so quick to paint with a broad brush, and in particular that much of the this linguistic rigamarole around this particular aspect is Western religious baggage that evolved to try and juggle the dichotomy of offering up prayers to saints and other figures while still claiming to be monotheistic. There is more to philosophy than Western philosophy or leftover theological dogma baggage from the medieval era, and there is more to philosophy than petty arguing over the semantics of the English language. It is this precise haggling over petty linguistic points that has rendered academc philosophy to the sidelines and increasingly irrelevant in the modern world while other fields actually functionally pursue the questions philosophy is mean to at least think about.

It is more and more sounding like it is the Catholics here who are getting prickled about the uncomfortable similarity between the Marines' relationship to their Primarchs and Emperor, all under a different name instead of that "worship" label, and the similarity to the relationship with saints; and in response try to hair split or invent fine or non-existent distinctions between two otherwise similar or identical groups of actions that differ merely in name

Hellebore
04-10-2007, 06:46
Er, the Emperor is not worshipped by many chapters. He is VENERATED and respected, but NOT worshipped.

There is a big difference between worship (which is entirely th perview of religion and superstition) and venerating and respecting someone who was the founder of your entire warrior brotherhood, and saviour of humanity in general.

SOME marine chapters do worship him, but worship requires supernatural power, and not many marine chapters believe the emperor a god.


The whole rosarius thing with the chaplains is because they don't follow the imperial creed, nor believe the emperor to be a god. The Ecclesiarchy give it to them to tie them to the Imperial Creed.

Chaplains aren't religious officiers either, they are morale officers, watching over the indoctrination and mental health of his charges.

Hellebore

jaweyermuller
04-10-2007, 06:51
I would have to agree that the Space Marines DO NOT worship the Emperor as a God. In many of the novels and even the Daemonhunters codex it is said for many chapters that they believe the Emperor was the greatest Human ever and that he far outstriped everyone who was or will be, but because the Adeptus Astartes are basically descendants of the Emperor through the gene-seed it is hard for them to agree that the Emperor is a diety, they do however believe he is very much alive in the Golden Throne and playing a role in the Universe, except the Soul Drinkers. Sarpedon has his doubts about the corporeal existense of the Emperor.

Imperialis_Dominatus
04-10-2007, 06:54
It is more and more sounding like it is the Catholics here who are getting prickled about the uncomfortable similarity between the Marines' relationship to their Primarchs and Emperor, all under a different name instead of that "worship" label, and the similarity to the relationship with saints; and in response try to hair split or invent fine or non-existent distinctions between two otherwise similar or identical groups of actions that differ merely in name

As the only *declared* Catholic here, I'd like to clarify. I believe that the worship of the Emperor by the Space Marines is similar to my religion's veneration of Saints and the Pope and such, without treating them as gods. I am not prickled about it; what I am, in fact, prickled about most is Ktotwf's treatment of other members. In fact, I am furious about that. Arguing about the distinctions between different Emperor-worship is, frankly, small fries to that. In the end, I won't lose sleep over this. There are other things to care about. I am willing to have a reasoned debate, but it's not like I'm looking to, for example, burn you at the stake, Iracundus.

Are there any Catholics here who are feeling as Iracundus described? I'd like to see if I'm some sort of anomaly.

Argastes
04-10-2007, 06:55
The point is they are NOT fundamentally different in their premise

Premise of the Ecclesiarchy's cult: The Emperor is our God!

Premise of the Space Marine cults : The Emperor is a great hero who did a lot of good, but he's not a god; we have our own gods, who are different from the Emperor.

You seriously, honestly think those are fundamentally the same premises?


nor are they funadmentally different in their details. The only difference is what they choose to call it for themselves. They both revolve around symbolic displays of subordination to the entity they call the Emperor and how that entity is meant to be the supreme ideal of that which is desirable or good.

The symbolic display of subordination is worship, the belief that the entity represents idealized good is belief in benevolence. Okay, so they both worship him and view him as benevolent. But one DOES NOT think he was a god; they think he was a mortal man! And they have their own, entirely seperate, gods instead! I really can't express how confused I am that you don't see this as a major point of difference. It seriously makes me question your ability to tell religions apart from one another. I'm not saying that to try and be insulting or demeaning, I swear to you: I honestly do not grasp how you can see no difference between one faction who believes an entity is a god, and another who believes he was a man.


Revering in this religious context is not the same as "revering" your friend in the sense of merely respecting. If you revered your friend in the same way as the Marines do their Emperor by bowing, praying, and offering sacrifices to, then yes you would be worshipping him. The Marines are doing the exact same thing as the Ecclesiarchy only they are just calling what they do by a different name.

Well yeah, of course. I feel like here you are arguing against an assertion that no-one has actually made. It's pointless to try and argue that the SM's treatment of the Emperor amounts to worship, because we all already know that and no-one is denying it. The question isn't whether they worship him, it's whether they view him as man or god. So yeah, they're doing the exact same thing as the Ecclesiarchy--namely, worship--but there is still a major difference in the way they view the object of their worship. Once again, I have to ask--you don't think that different answers to the "man or god?" question make a difference between religions?


I know quite a lot of philsophy so do not be so quick to paint with a broad brush, and in particular that much of the this linguistic rigamarole around this particular aspect is Western religious baggage that evolved to try and juggle the dichotomy of offering up prayers to saints and other figures while still claiming to be monotheistic. There is more to philosophy than Western philosophy or leftover theological dogma baggage from the medieval era, and there is more to philosophy than petty arguing over the semantics of the English language. It is this precise haggling over petty linguistic points that has rendered academc philosophy to the sidelines and increasingly irrelevant in the modern world while other fields actually functionally pursue the questions philosophy is mean to at least think about.

Couldn't speak to that, philosophy's not my field, but... just to be clear, are you saying that the question of whether an entity is human or divine is a "petty linguistic point"?


It is more and more sounding like it is the Catholics here who are getting prickled about the uncomfortable similarity between the Marines' relationship to their Primarchs and Emperor, all under a different name instead of that "worship" label, and the similarity to the relationship with saints; and in response try to hair split or invent fine or non-existent distinctions between two otherwise similar or identical groups of actions that differ merely in name

For the record, I'm an atheist. And again, I have to say that it sort of sounds like you aren't sure what we are actually arguing over. Where did you get the idea that anyone has said the Space Marines don't worship the Emperor? They do, none of us deny it. When you insist that their practices are still worship, but just under a different name, it sounds like you think you are arguing against someone who has said that the marines don't worship the Emperor. But no-one has said that.

Just to make things clear: This argument is not about whether the Marines worship the Emperor. We accept that they do. It is about whether their view of him as a MAN, rather than a GOD, is a point of significant difference between them and the official Imperial cult. So no, we're not hair-splitting; we're not trying to define the Emperor-worship of the Marines as something other than what it is. Instead we are trying to say that the Marines' beliefs about the [I]nature of the entity they worship are different from some other people who worship the same entity. I hope that clarifies matters.

Pooky
04-10-2007, 07:22
Ok, so moving away from the debate from the Emp being a God or not (let's just say he is for now)...

No one has answered me why don't the gods fight their own wars on the astral plane (or whereever gods fight)?

GildorInglorion
04-10-2007, 07:26
I think that there is one missing, if I read correclty through the thread:

the Star Child

What do you think?

Nick

Pooky
04-10-2007, 07:36
No one has answered me why don't the gods fight their own wars on the astral plane (or whereever gods fight)?

Is it because gods need the thoughts of people for them to exist? For example, if IF all the orks died out then would Gork and Mork no longer exist since there is no one left who believes in them? Look at Slaanesh, if the Eldar weren't into "loving" :D things so much then Slaanesh wouldn't exist. If the Eldar didn't exist then Slaanesh wouldn't exist... Maybe I'm off the mark, I don't know...

Shiakou
04-10-2007, 07:57
Are there any Catholics here who are feeling as Iracundus described? I'd like to see if I'm some sort of anomaly.

Maybe we're both anomalies then. I mean, I'm Catholic, and I pray to Mary (affectionally called "Mama Mary" of course), but I don't think of her as a God.

Maybe Iracundus simply knows more about philosophy than he does about catholicism.

Iracundus
04-10-2007, 08:00
There are two groups of people here that I was addressing.

One is the group that is saying the Marines "venerating" is different from "worshipping". The Marines do exactly what the Ecclesiarchy does. They sacrifice to the Emperor, pray to him, ask him for blessings, seek to be by his side in the afterlife. Every last thing they do is the same as the Ecclesiarchy, differing only in the fine details of dogma. They may claim it's not worship, but that is the bit where it's hair-splitting or inventing distinctions out of nothing as what they do is fundamentally the same as what the Ecclesiarchy does. The Marines are worshipping the Emperor in effect, no matter what linguistic gymnastic they may use.

The second is the group arguing the distinction between worship of the Emperor as a MAN and worship of him as a GOD. That again is also arguing semantics. When was the last Man that lived for millenia, and is supposedly still living and immortal, that wielded such immense psychic powers and is the epitome of all that is good and noble? The capabilities of the Emperor are sufficiently removed from the rest of humanity that it is nonsensical for them to try and claim he is a normal Man. They may arbitrarily define him as a Man but that is purely arbitrary. An analogy would be a religion among micro-organisms trying to classify a human as the "epitome of all single celled bacteria". It is again just a matter of labels as the Emperor is no more an ordinary man than a human is a bacterium. It isn't even a matter akin to Buddhism as the Emperor never offers any way or hope for others to "transcend" or be like him. Also to players outside the 40k universe, we know the true nature of the Emperor which is a melding of the minds of many shaman psykers into one entity within one body, and this is impossible for any human in 40K to aspire to or to train towards.

As above, the fact they do things such as seek his blessing, pray to him, give sacrifices in his name and do all that other religious stuff means their justification of "he's just a hero" is again empty excuse. They may believe in it fervently but it doesn't change the underlying fact that they are not fundamentally different from the Ecclesiarchy. They may differ in details of dogma such as whether or not they truly believe the Emperor is the source of the warp and the universe (which some more fanatical members of the Ecclesiarchy seem to believe).

Samsomael
04-10-2007, 08:03
Ok, so moving away from the debate from the Emp being a God or not (let's just say he is for now)...

No one has answered me why don't the gods fight their own wars on the astral plane (or whereever gods fight)?

I think it would have to do with their power. Each god's power is related to how many followers they have and how much psychic ability they have.
It also has a little to do with the gods psychology. The gods themsleves reflect their followers mind set.

If I remember my early fluff correctly (bare in mind my old man's memory and reaching back over a decade of fluff and I think has something to do with Dark Millenium) Gork and Mork would actually flatten any one of the Chaos gods as they have so many followers with some psychic potential, making them extremely powerful. They don't do this however as they are rather erratic - a reflection of the Ork psyche - and so can't be bothered.

The other thing is that maybe the only real way (possible conjecture here) to defeat a 40K god is to destroy their followers. No followers -> no psychic potential for the gods to live on. That .. and why bother fighting when you can get others to do it for you?

Just to add to the debate raging at the moment. I always saw (this being IMHO) the relatioship between the Emperor and the SM's as being a bit buddhist like. The Empreror is a transcendent being that the SM's aspire to be like. They ask him for guidence and protection (in the form of prayers) and try to reach his form of 'perfection'. The rest of the human population have no hope of becoming anything like the Emporer (no modifications, geneseed etc) and so see him as being more god-like.

Shiakou
04-10-2007, 08:09
The second is the group arguing the distinction between worship of the Emperor as a MAN and worship of him as a GOD. That again is also arguing semantics. When was the last Man that lived for millenia, and is supposedly still living and immortal, that wielded such immense psychic powers and is the epitome of all that is good and noble? The capabilities of the Emperor are sufficiently removed from the rest of humanity that it is nonsensical for them to try and claim he is a normal Man. As above, the fact they do things such as seek his blessing, pray to him, give sacrifices in his name and do all that other religious stuff means their justification of "he's just a hero" is again empty excuse. They may believe in it fervently but it doesn't change the underlying fact that they are not fundamentally different from the Ecclesiarchy. They may differ in details of dogma such as whether or not they truly believe the Emperor is the source of the warp and the universe (which some more fanatical members of the Ecclesiarchy seem to believe).

Irandicus, what people believe is more important with regards to their religion than what they actually do, because beliefs, not actions, are the tenets of faith, not to mention the primary source of motives. A devout man and a heretic may do a lot of things the same way, but their belief is going to color whether they were doing it for a higher being or for themselves. This is especially true in the 40K universe where enough of a belief makes it real. The Space Marines believe the Emperor to be a Man, and because of that, he stays fundamentally human, and his presence in the Warp just reinforces that. You may say that these are just "details", but God is is the details.

Your problem is twofold;
1. Religion is based on beliefs rather than on fact. Realistically speaking, the God of the Christians, Jews, and Muslims are so alike that they may as well be the same being, and based on evidence, even non-existent; but so long as people believe them to be different, they will be different and they will exist as far as Religion is concerned.
2. In the 40K universe, a strong enough belief often translates into fact. This is the very basis of the Warp Gods. A million SM who believe the Emperor to be a Man might just very well be the one thing that keeps him from becoming a Warp Sentience in entirety.

destroyerlord
04-10-2007, 08:14
If the Eldar didn't exist then Slaanesh wouldn't exist... Maybe I'm off the mark, I don't know...
I'm not so sure about that one. The chaos gods in particular are described by the 40k rulebook as being great wells of energy in the warp that all flow together when lots of people experience the same type of emotion. The 'birth' of slaanesh as caused by the eldar was simply the moment when that energy became conscious of it's own existence. These thoughts and emotions that feed slaanesh are not solely from the eldar, however. If the eldar were wiped from the galaxy, human emotion would still feed it. Perhaps (and this is speculation) once a god becomes self-aware its own knowledge of its existence is enough to support itself. I'm not sure about gork/mork though, as I have never read one word of fluff about them. Are they described as warp entities in the same way as the chaos gods?

Iracundus
04-10-2007, 08:14
There is no evidence the Emperor is still fundamentally human. The belief of Marines or the Ecclesiarchy in their respective dogmas has little relevance to the existence or nature of the Star Child/Emperor. The fact the Ecclesiarchy (or some portions thereof) believe the Emperor is supreme and created the entire universe doesn't make it true. If we go by the old Inquisitor novel, the Emperor has split his minds into sub-minds, and that is also very fundamentally inhuman. If one goes purely by the RoC, then the Emperor is effectively a husk, or a husk with only mind while the soul of the Emperor floats in the warp as the Star Child. The Star Child however is already described as being composed only of the former Emperor's core, having shed everything else. That too goes against whatever argument of the Emperor remaining fundamentally human.

The RoC also already gives a reason for why the Star Child hasn't awakened: it is too weak. Only when the entire human race is desperate enough will its collective belief and desire for a savior give the jolt needed to push the Star Child into full consciousness. The Star Child though is every bit a warp god and is suggested via the Sensei to be able to interact with the material world. The particulars of what the Marines believe regarding the Emperor's Manhood isn't relevant.

Shiakou
04-10-2007, 08:21
There is no evidence the Emperor is still fundamentally human. The belief of Marines or the Ecclesiarchy in their respective dogmas has little relevance to the existence or nature of the Star Child/Emperor.

Actually, it does. So far as Warp entities are concerned, what their followers believe them to be influences what they actually are.


The fact the Ecclesiarchy (or some portions thereof) believe the Emperor is supreme and created the entire universe doesn't make it true.

I think that's more of an indication that not even the Warp can turn rewrite what has already happened, like the creation of the universe. Only GW can do that.


If we go by the old Inquisitor novel, the Emperor has split his minds into sub-minds, and that is also very fundamentally inhuman.

Sounds more to me like Multiple Personality Syndrome or DID.


If one goes purely by the RoC, then the Emperor is effectively a husk, or a husk with only mind while the soul of the Emperor floats in the warp as the Star Child. The Star Child however is already described as being composed only of the former Emperor's core, having shed everything else. That too goes against whatever argument of the Emperor remaining fundamentally human.

That's because souls are fundamentally inhuman; they're souls after all, no longer even corporeal.


The RoC also already gives a reason for why the Star Child hasn't awakened: it is too weak. Only when the entire human race is desperate enough will its collective belief and desire for a savior give the jolt needed to push the Star Child into full consciousness. The Star Child though is every bit a warp god and is suggested via the Sensei to be able to interact with the material world. The particulars of what the Marines believe regarding the Emperor's Manhood isn't relevant.

See, this is where things get controversial. For all intents and purposes, the Star Child is not fully a Warp God until all of humanity believes him to be so which is just another way of saying "until everyone including the SM believes him to be a Warp God". So long as the SM believe him to be just a Man, so long as they believe that they themselves can save the Imperium, that's not going to happen.

Iracundus
04-10-2007, 08:25
Then you've proven my point already if you're arguing that souls are fundamentally inhuman. The Marines' belief in the Emperor's humanity has nothing of relevance to the fact the Emperor exists as only a core soul remnant (albeit still stronger than a human soul) known as the Star Child.

Shiakou
04-10-2007, 08:28
Then you've proven my point already if you're arguing that souls are fundamentally inhuman. The Marines' belief in the Emperor's humanity has nothing of relevance to the fact the Emperor exists as only a core soul remnant (albeit still stronger than a human soul) known as the Star Child.

That's just one interpretation. But, so long as the Fluff maintains that His living body is on the Throne and that his soul is still connected, however tentatively, to his body, He is still partly human so far as I'm concerned. The only way he would be fully a Star Child/Warp God is if his soul was no longer connected to his body, which is just another way of saying that the Emperor is dead.

In short, as long as the Emperor is alive, he's still human.

destroyerlord
04-10-2007, 08:33
The particulars of what the Marines believe regarding the Emperor's Manhood isn't relevant.
But isn't that the whole premise of a religion? That it is a system of beliefs, not based on actual fact or evidence (yes I know, miracles have been observed, but that is open to conjecture too).

Messiah
04-10-2007, 08:40
Really they're just really big, really powerful, really intelligent aliens. Like the Lovecraftian entities that inspired them, they are only "gods" to lesser beings who don't/can't understand them.

The same could be said about warp entities, they are really just beings of another plane of existence/dimension, who happen to be able to influence our dimension, and be influenced by parts of it.

I however would argue that both C'tan and Warp entities are gods, simply because they are overly powerful and non-understandable.

Russell's teapot
04-10-2007, 08:45
The same could be said about warp entities, they are really just beings of another plane of existence/dimension, who happen to be able to influence our dimension, and be influenced by parts of it.

I however would argue that both C'tan and Warp entities are gods, simply because they are overly powerful and non-understandable.

The two I'm afraid are completely different.

Star Gods are creatures (probably not Carbon-based as you & I), but are 'real universe' creatures requiring nurishment from a physical source. That being munching on Stars or the 'life essence' (not souls/emotions) of other corpreal beings.

Warp entities are very different. They are avatars of emotion with no physical form of their own & require merely worship & souls/emotion to sustain them.

A C'Tan cannnot alter the fundamental physics of the 'real' universe, whereas in a Warp/'real' universe overlap such as the EoT, the laws of physics can be changed at the whim of a chaos god/lord.

Iracundus
04-10-2007, 09:50
Star Gods are creatures (probably not Carbon-based as you & I), but are 'real universe' creatures requiring nurishment from a physical source. That being munching on Stars or the 'life essence' (not souls/emotions) of other corpreal beings.

Warp entities are very different. They are avatars of emotion with no physical form of their own & require merely worship & souls/emotion to sustain them.


What you have just described are simply two different forms of life, one warp based and one based in the material universe. Both require nourishment in the form of energy input, whether it be the psychic energy of worship/souls or the real energy of stars. In 40K, any sufficiently powerful immortal entity seems to be classified as a god, regardless of what sort of entity they are.

DantesInferno
04-10-2007, 12:30
There is no evidence the Emperor is still fundamentally human. The belief of Marines or the Ecclesiarchy in their respective dogmas has little relevance to the existence or nature of the Star Child/Emperor.

I would have thought it would have every relevance: the kind of emotions which your followers are generating for a warp god shapes the very nature of the identity in question.

It's not a huge leap to think that "We're venerating the Emperor as a great man" is a plausibly different emotion to "We're worshipping the Emperor as a god".

And if you're going to argue that the distinction isn't an important enough one, what distinguishes "We're worshipping the Emperor as a god" to "We're worshipping the greater sentience of Chaos Undivided as a god"? Both are generating a similar emotion: belief in a single monotheistic deity. The difference seems to me to be largely a difference in name....

Imperialis_Dominatus
04-10-2007, 13:30
I would have thought it would have every relevance: the kind of emotions which your followers are generating for a warp god shapes the very nature of the identity in question.

It's not a huge leap to think that "We're venerating the Emperor as a great man" is a plausibly different emotion to "We're worshipping the Emperor as a god".

And if you're going to argue that the distinction isn't an important enough one, what distinguishes "We're worshipping the Emperor as a god" to "We're worshipping the greater sentience of Chaos Undivided as a god"? Both are generating a similar emotion: belief in a single monotheistic deity. The difference seems to me to be largely a difference in name....

I would agree that perhaps the emotions of Space Marines in relation to the Emperor is feeding the same entities that the Ecclesiarchy is feeding through its worship. However, that does not mean that the Space Marines are following an intentioned religion. I think that may be the crux of the matter here. The Marines may be doing something they do not intend. And thus the controversey. Of course, I have doubts that the Ecclesiarchy seek to feed an ever-growing Warp entity.

TheOverlord
04-10-2007, 15:11
Finally, if all these gods exist, then why don't they fight their own battles instead of using the people, aliens and beings in the 41st M to fight for them?

Because a good God ALWAYS delegates!

Messiah
04-10-2007, 16:25
What you have just described are simply two different forms of life, one warp based and one based in the material universe. Both require nourishment in the form of energy input, whether it be the psychic energy of worship/souls or the real energy of stars. In 40K, any sufficiently powerful immortal entity seems to be classified as a god, regardless of what sort of entity they are.

Quoted for truth.

stormblade
05-10-2007, 09:50
I would have thought it would have every relevance: the kind of emotions which your followers are generating for a warp god shapes the very nature of the identity in question.

It's not a huge leap to think that "We're venerating the Emperor as a great man" is a plausibly different emotion to "We're worshipping the Emperor as a god".

And if you're going to argue that the distinction isn't an important enough one, what distinguishes "We're worshipping the Emperor as a god" to "We're worshipping the greater sentience of Chaos Undivided as a god"? Both are generating a similar emotion: belief in a single monotheistic deity. The difference seems to me to be largely a difference in name....


Dante's Inferno hits the spot.

Belief is everything to the gods of the 40k- they are not 'fixed' beings, but beings that heavily depend on the way their worshipers perceive them- for they are merely the 'sum of all perceptions' of their worshipers and a different perception makes all the difference in the world(or in the warp more likely).

And on the side note I'd like to point to that saying that linguistic philosophy is meaningless is pretty much like saying that most moderns philosophers are meaningless charlatans.

And on the Catholic note I must say that although I'm a catholic- I don't care much for the saints and when I pray(not that often I'm afraid) I disregard that aspect of faith and most protestant churches split away for completely different reasons.(historical truth)