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Burnthem
11-11-2007, 14:15
Ok, can anyone clear this up for me -

Marines don't believe that the Emperor is a god do they? They just think he is a man, an extremely gifted man, but a man nonetheless.

Now normal citizens, for the most part, believe that the Emperor is an actual God, hence the continued existence of bodies such as the Ecclesiarchy.

But then Marines are portrayed as devout warrior monks, spending long periods at a time in meditation and prayer. So the question is; If marines dont believe in a God per se, what the hell is it they pray to? Do they pray to the Emperor anyway, knowing he's a 'man', or do they pray to the 'Imperial Cause' or what? :confused:

It seems to conflict that the Marines are both uber-preists and at the same time Athiests?

HELP!!!

Xgladar
11-11-2007, 14:36
They dont see him as a diety,but as something to be revered.

like when they say "for the emperor!" in battle,they are doing it because they follow him.
i should go into details but i cant be arsed

Deus Mechanicus
11-11-2007, 14:37
yeah pretty much

mistformsquirrel
11-11-2007, 14:40
I think the key to remember is that for one - not all Marines think the same way.

First Founding chapters? Definitely think of him as a Man not a God. But by the 41st millenium I have no doubt there are chapters that truly worship the Emperor of Mankind.

All that said - its a cult of personality I think. You don't have to believe someone is a God to be utterly and selflessly devoted to them. Look at historical bodyguards, especially for dictators. The Samurai would actually be a fair approximation in this case now that I think of it; except the Space Marine's Lord is inaccessible. Nevertheless, they fight, die, and even live solely for the Emperor (and sometimes their Primarch as well); He is their reason to exist, and while he may not be a God figure to them, He remains their purpose and motivation.

brother alinski
11-11-2007, 14:45
Marines are worrior preists. They belive the emperor is a man and there creator. They are living incarnations of the emperors will. Not to mention the primarchs being there gean farther, Its the same idear with there balters and power armour, a chest plate that is respected and cleaned will save the marnes life, but if the machine spirit is niglected then the chest peace wont hold.

Spyros80
11-11-2007, 14:48
Also don't forget that Space Marines are subjected to psychological conditioning and subconscious hypnotherapy as part of their training.
That could explain a lot!

downundercadet07
11-11-2007, 15:05
In many ways they are similar to the Buddhist monks which revere Siddartha, even though not all sects believe he is divine. They mediate and live in isolation as well.

Arkley
11-11-2007, 15:10
I would guess there would be one or two chapters that would revere the Emperor as a god...

I would add that "IF" Traitor Geneseed is used (and I have to believe this is the case) i.e. the Blood Ravens (Thousand Sons my guess anyway)...

I would or could suggest Word Bearers geneseed again if it was used might display a chapter that do see the Emperor is a God and worship him so.

But I am just guessing :D.

BrotherAdso
11-11-2007, 15:40
When you get right down to it, there's not THAT much difference between venerating and elevating an imprisoned, supposedly infalliable mortal who is your literal Creator and sacrificed himself to save your race.....and being religious.

The Marines do not "worship the Emperor" only in the very strictest sense...the worship him in most ways we would recognize as religious, though. The only really significant difference is that they acknowledge his existence in the mortal, physical realm, and his falliability/non-invulnerability therein.

-Adso

Argastes
11-11-2007, 19:28
It seems to conflict that the Marines are both uber-preists and at the same time Athiests?

HELP!!!

There is no conflict, because worshiping an entity is not the same thing as deifying that entity (labeling it as divine). People who were raised in the modern Western world and it's intellectual, cultural, and religious tradition (i.e., probably 99.9% of the people who post on this forum) tend to have trouble grasping the concept of worshiping an entity, and treating it with extreme religious reverence, and yet not viewing that entity as divine; because in Western religion, and most of the non-Western religions we have much knowledge of, gods and only gods are what get worshiped. So we cannot quite wrap our heads around how someone could worship an entity and simultaneously deny it's divinity. The idea is alien to us. It strikes us as a paradox.

But the fact is that many cultures all over the world do not deify what they worship. Ancestor worship is prevalent in a number of religious systems. Hero worship is also a facet of many religious systems. Worship of the natural world or various parts of it is also commonplace in many non-Western religions. None of these forms of worship view the object of their worship as a god. If we view this as paradoxical, it's only because we have been conditioned to accept a view of religion that is artificially narrow and does not truly encompass the diversity of human religions belief. You asked for "help", so here's my advice: If you want to understand the religious beliefs of the Space Marines, simply discard that narrow view that people must always deify what they worship, and that all religions revolve around gods in the Western sense. Accept that just like many people in the real world worship and pray to people/things that they don't view as gods, the Space Marines worship and pray to the Emperor despite not viewing him as a god. It's still a religion, it's central figure is just viewed differently than the central figure of Abrahamic religions.

Lastly, just because the Space Marines don't view the Emperor as a god, doesn't make them atheists. There have been some mentions in the fluff of various chapters' belief systems, or "Chapter cults", also including pantheons of gods which are entirely distinct from both the Emperor and the Primarchs. So at least some chapters worship the Emperor, and their Primarch, and various gods (don't tell the Ecclesiarch). We have very little info about the non-Imperial gods of various Chapter cults, but my personal speculation would be that in many cases, they are related to or derived from the gods worshiped in the primitive societies from which many Chapters recruit.

Nostro
11-11-2007, 19:41
I discovered a new word :p

If your athy, your faith is starting to show weaknesses.

athy
athier
athiest

:chrome:

* join the fight against typos in titles, now ! *

malika
11-11-2007, 20:39
I think the Space Marines see the Emperor as some sort of father figure. In many cultures there is worship of the prime-ancestor, so basically the ancestor who "started" the clan/family. This ancestor isnt seen as a God, but still as a special and holy figure. There is a certain level of spirituality, perhaps in a similar way as done in Buddhism and other oriental religions, but not diety worship like in religions such as Christianity or Islam.

Oh wait...Argastes just pointed this out. Well, got nothing to really add to that! But personally Im intruiged by the potential of seeing more "oriental influences" in the Space Marines spirituality!

Burnthem
11-11-2007, 21:09
There is no conflict, because worshiping an entity is not the same thing as deifying that entity (labeling it as divine)


That single sentence pretty much answered every question i had! cheers mate ;)

Argastes
11-11-2007, 21:14
But personally Im intruiged by the potential of seeing more "oriental influences" in the Space Marines spirituality!

Me too! Or if not Oriental, then at least not clearly Christian. I think that since the Space Marines' "style" is superficially similar to that of European knightly and/or monastic organizations, a lot of people make the erroneous assumption that their actual theology and beliefs must also be a sci-fi translation of medieval Christianity; but in fact this is not so. The Space Marines appear to generally be either atheistic (although still intensely spiritual) or, arguably, polytheistic, and beneath all the pseudo-medieval Christianesque imagery, their cults are utterly different from anything the Abrahamic tradition includes. I think GW ought to explore this aspect of the Space Marines more thoroughly; as it is, they tend to give all the attention to the superficial side of it (the imagery, terminology, liturgical style, etc.) and gloss over, or neglect altogether, the actual theology. So we wind up with threads like this one, as people understandably assume that since Marine religion looks like Christianity in it's superficial aspects, it must be like Christianity in it's core beliefs (no offense, Burnthem... like I said, it's a completely understandable impression!). I'd love to see more attention paid to Marine religion by GW's fluff, highlighting the completely unique nature of their beliefs, and revealing the many aspects that are more similar to Eastern or "primitive" beliefs than they are to Western beliefs. Marine religion is NOT just crusader Christianity with God/Christ swapped out for the Emperor!


That single sentence pretty much answered every question i had! cheers mate ;)

Cheers! I'm glad I was helpful. :)

Kage2020
11-11-2007, 21:20
I've always seen the relationship more as a form of ancestor "worship" than anything else, and even then I would use the term 'venerate.' With that said, they both mean essentially the same thing. ;) So, erm, pretty much what everyone else is saying. :D

Kage

Kasonic
11-11-2007, 21:23
The Emperor was still revered as a god by the Marines when he was leading them in person.

PotatoLegs
11-11-2007, 21:33
I don't know about you, but I don't see how you can make the connection thinking that atheists aren't devout - if anything I see some pretty zealous and obnoxiously blind aethists, some as bad as fundamentalist nut jobs

Argastes
11-11-2007, 22:17
The Emperor was still revered as a god by the Marines when he was leading them in person.

According to basically 100% of the fluff on this topic, exactly the opposite is true. When he was alive in person, the Emperor made specific injunction against deifying or worshiping him; the Marines faithfully remember and obey this injunction, which is why they don't view him as a god, but the mass of humanity disregarded it after his death, and countless Emperor-worshipping cults sprang up in the post-Heresy period, eventually developing into the Ecclesiarchy as one of the cults grew particularly popular and eclipsed/absorbed the rest. The Emperor was never revered as a god less than when he was alive, leading the Marines in person.

IceFire
11-11-2007, 23:04
I think Marines are akin to angels (or archangels if they were the warrior angels, not too sure about that) and the Emperor is their god. Theres no point in praying to him and having faith about if he exists because you know for a fact that he does, however you would still follow him with zeal and passion because he is a god.

I suppose a bit of confusion arises from the term "athiest" or atheism. Atheism denies a god, it says that there is not a god and that people who worship their false gods are fools. Since the marine know the Emperor exists and know how great and shiny he is they are probably not going to fault people for looking up at him and seeing a god

kikkoman
11-11-2007, 23:15
Ok, can anyone clear this up for me -

Marines don't believe that the Emperor is a god do they? They just think he is a man, an extremely gifted man, but a man nonetheless.

Now normal citizens, for the most part, believe that the Emperor is an actual God, hence the continued existence of bodies such as the Ecclesiarchy.

But then Marines are portrayed as devout warrior monks, spending long periods at a time in meditation and prayer. So the question is; If marines dont believe in a God per se, what the hell is it they pray to? Do they pray to the Emperor anyway, knowing he's a 'man', or do they pray to the 'Imperial Cause' or what? :confused:

It seems to conflict that the Marines are both uber-preists and at the same time Athiests?

HELP!!!


Emperor=Queen of England

BrotherAdso
11-11-2007, 23:47
Emperor=Queen of England

Well, if the Queen of England had turned back the French at Agincourt herself, led the Royal Navy at Gravelines, returned the country from Roundhead Rule, and sacrificed herself to eternal torment in order to defeat Hitler, maybe.

Oh, and if she was also, literally the genetic primogenitor of all Britons. And superhuman.

So, to put it in netspeak...

Emperor=Queen of England
x2!!!!11!!!

-Adso

Sergeant Uriel Ventris
12-11-2007, 00:00
I'm pretty sure, especially if you look at the background info for the Grey Knights, that lots of Space Marines DO believe the Emperor is a god. They pray to him for protection, guidance, wisdom, etc. The whole "Science is best, makind and reason FTW!" was more of a Great Crusade thing. There may be some Chapters that see the Emperor as simply as super dude, but I'd say a good majority of them revere him as the Master of Mankind. Check the background.

victorpofa
12-11-2007, 00:03
The original marines knew he was a man, but the marines are recruited from the general populace who worships him as a God so [imho] they all now worship him as a God.

Argastes
12-11-2007, 00:53
The original marines knew he was a man, but the marines are recruited from the general populace who worships him as a God so [imho] they all now worship him as a God.

Sorry, fluff says that CURRENT Marines don't view him as a god. Besides, this makes no sense at all: Marines are recruited when they're barely more than children, and subjected to an extremely thorough and intensive indoctrination process; their indoctrination process makes the indoctrination of children in Wahhabist madrasahs look like Sunday school. You can't pretend that their pre-recruitment beliefs would not be entirely superceded by the indoctrination they receive as recruits, which would consist of the Chapter's beliefs as passed down since the time of the Great Crusade (and preserving the Emperor's injunction against his deification).

And besides, many of them are recruited from worlds where the people are basically hut-dwelling savages who have very little, if any, knowledge of the outside galaxy, and who probably have their own tribal religions which have nothing to do with the Emperor or, at the very most, view him in a fashion completely different from the orthodox Emperor-worship of mainstream, civilized Imperial societies. It's not like many recruits get taken from "the general populace".


I'm pretty sure, especially if you look at the background info for the Grey Knights, that lots of Space Marines DO believe the Emperor is a god. They pray to him for protection, guidance, wisdom, etc. The whole "Science is best, makind and reason FTW!" was more of a Great Crusade thing. There may be some Chapters that see the Emperor as simply as super dude, but I'd say a good majority of them revere him as the Master of Mankind. Check the background.

Yeah, no-one's saying that they don't revere him as the Master of Mankind. Or that they don't pray to him for protection, guidance, wisdom, and all that. I agree completely with both statements. They absolutely worship him as the Lord and Savior of Mankind, and as their Creator and Master; and they do undeniably pray to him. But none of those beliefs or practices are the same thing as revering him as a god--which the background, if you check it, makes it clear that they do not do. They worship him and pray to him and revere him and venerate him, but they don't deify him.

And as far as I know, there's nothing in the background of the Grey Knights that says they worship him as a god either. They do indeed worship him like all the other Chapters, and they certainly are even more devout and dedicated than the rest, but that doesn't mean they view him as a god.

thearchiver
12-11-2007, 01:46
Marines still worship him as a man, hence the current ill felling between Marines and the Ecclesiarchy seeing the marines dont see the emperor as a god.

Going by Ecclesiarchy ruling they are all heretics, ofcourse even the ecclesiarchy isnt dumb enough to move against the marines, or powerful enough to be able to pull it off.

TheDarkDaff
12-11-2007, 01:48
I think calling them Atheists is a bit strong. Do they not believe there are Chaos Gods now.

Argastes
12-11-2007, 01:57
I think calling them Atheists is a bit strong. Do they not believe there are Chaos Gods now.

Not to mention their own gods, the gods of the Chapter's cult ;).

Although the OP used the word 'atheist', I think it's fair to assume that he meant it only in relation to their views on the Emperor's divinity, not the existence of gods in general. It might not be the ideal word, but then, I can't think of any word meaning, "A person who accepts the existence of gods in general but does not believe that the Emperor of Mankind from GW's Warhammer 40,000 setting is a god," so I don't think we can blame the OP for using the term 'atheist' even though it might not be technically correct.

The Warmaster
12-11-2007, 02:47
I think calling them Atheists is a bit strong. Do they not believe there are Chaos Gods now.

An atheist could always see them as uber-warp entities, and not as gods.

Oh, and on the Chapter cult thing - I believe the Space Wolves Codex hints at the Wolves worshipping the local Fenrisian gods.

- N.

ryng_sting
12-11-2007, 17:35
The vast majority of Marines view him as a man with god-like powers, but still just a man. They venerate him because he is both the creator of their kind and of the Imperium itself, and know full well that faith is a potent weapon against Chaos foes. Many marines, unlike their pre-heresy counterparts, still cling to modified versions of the beliefs of their homeworlds, such as the Emperor guarding their souls, which is something they share with regular Imperial Citizenry. The only real difference, perhaps, is one of wording. Remember that atheism means 'without god', not necessarily a lack of belief in one. The Emperor himself knew the Chaos gods existed - at a time when he was essentially keeping people in ignorance, which is a rather pardoxical side-effect of Imperial Truth - but did not follow them. Same applies.

The Warmaster
12-11-2007, 22:51
The vast majority of Marines view him as a man with god-like powers, but still just a man. They venerate him because he is both the creator of their kind and of the Imperium itself, and know full well that faith is a potent weapon against Chaos foes. Many marines, unlike their pre-heresy counterparts, still cling to modified versions of the beliefs of their homeworlds, such as the Emperor guarding their souls, which is something they share with regular Imperial Citizenry. The only real difference, perhaps, is one of wording. Remember that atheism means 'without god', not necessarily a lack of belief in one. The Emperor himself knew the Chaos gods existed - at a time when he was essentially keeping people in ignorance, which is a rather pardoxical side-effect of Imperial Truth - but did not follow them. Same applies.

My dictionary defines it is "Belief that there is no God", which sounds like lack of belief to me.

- N.

narrativium
13-11-2007, 10:38
There's a difference between "belief that there is no god" and "no belief that there is a god". Atheism (a- without, theism belief in a god) is the latter.

The best example I can think of at the moment is King Arthur and his knights (okay, it's a mythology with lots of retellings, and the movies haven't helped) - but, he led them, they loved him, they believed in their cause. In this case the cause isn't any form of Christianity or other god-worship, just in the Emperor's authority and vision - but by and large they don't attempt to remove the religious views of the rest of humanity, since it spurs the Imperium on, keeps the Marines revered and feared, and they've got plenty of other problems to stay occupied with.

There's probably a similar analogy with Jesus and disciples, but without the "God" bit; their leader, now lost, had access to powers, and through their faith they access those powers and carry on his work.

ctsteel
13-11-2007, 11:19
from wiki:

An antitheist is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "One opposed to belief in the existence of a God." The earliest citation given for this meaning is from 1833. Furthermore, an antitheist may be opposed to belief in the existence of any god or gods, and not merely one in particular.

the space marines (particularly pre-heresy) tend to fit that description quite well

The Warmaster
13-11-2007, 11:25
There's a difference between "belief that there is no god" and "no belief that there is a god". Atheism (a- without, theism belief in a god) is the latter.

The two definitions there seem to be, more or less, reworded versions of each other. Because, wouldn't one without belief in a god technically believe that there is no god?


from wiki:


the space marines (particularly pre-heresy) tend to fit that description quite well

Yes, "antitheist" is the first word that came to mind when I read about the Imperium's stance on religion and gods in Horus Rising. The term "antireligious" is also applicable in that case.

As for "modern" Marines... there's no evidence of any of them being antitheists, at least not in any official canon that I know of.

- N.

Patriarch
13-11-2007, 11:38
But then Marines are portrayed as devout warrior monks, spending long periods at a time in meditation and prayer. So the question is; If marines dont believe in a God per se, what the hell is it they pray to? Do they pray to the Emperor anyway, knowing he's a 'man', or do they pray to the 'Imperial Cause' or what? :confused:

It seems to conflict that the Marines are both uber-preists and at the same time Athiests?

HELP!!!

Short answer, because GW arsed up the background since RT. Instead of ultra-devout/superstitious marines amongst a more world-weary "normal" imperial population, they abruptly switched these.

Unfortunately marines were already mystical warrior monks/knights templar/special forces and still are, so we get the fluff contradictions you have set out and it doesn't really make sense. Are the marines supposed to have several prayer sessions each day in between target practice / meals like they used to?

In the real world, the Romans deified their emperors both living and dead, all of whom were clearly mortal and more flawed than the WH40K Emperor. However the Romans seem to have been much less religious than subsequent societies, there seems to have been an awful lot of lip service going on. This is understandable if you are told Caligula is a god you must venerate. Whether anyone actually offered private prayers to the Roman emperors is debateable.

Secular tyrants (Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin) inspired religious tendencies in and godlike personas to their devotees, again it is hard to seperate public behaviour from the private. However even now there are some unapologetic Germans and Russians who go misty-eyed at the mention of their former rulers, and its still bad manners to make fun of Boney when in France. The intense devotion rapidly falls apart once they are dead (losing a major war helps too). But these people only spent a few decades in power.

Bearing these in mind I doubt the marines would have managed to revere their undead creator for 10,000 years without having reverted to deification. These are people who regard their weapons and armour as living things, some of them are from "prehistoric" societies. As you say, there isn't anything else for the marines to pray to. I prefer to think the old fluff is the one which prevails, where most humans and Marines don't really understand how the Imperium came to be or what the Emperor is, and anyone who thinks they do is a deluded heretic ripe for "re-education".

sainthale1988
13-11-2007, 11:47
not all marines can be considered black and white athiests anyway (try telling a black templar) also marines (and people in general) can have devout faith in other things than God (eg. Communism, Democracy, any football club etc). Marines are devoties not mainly to the Emperor devine, but the emperor supreme ruler, high commander and to the imperium of man

Patriarch
13-11-2007, 11:50
This makes the renegade/chaos marine situation that more poignant. Having always been directed to worship a living corpse, the scales fall from the renegades' eyes.

Once they no longer see the Emperor as divine, they are free to fight selfishly for themsleves, or devote themsleves to an entity more "deserving" - such as the Chaos gods who may offer more tangible rewards.

The Inquisition has also been recast as more worldy and pragmatic, again I think this is a mistake. In the real world, nasty religious fanatics don't make sense (burning witches, torturing heretics) unless they are true belivers too. Although they may well cast themsleves above the common herd they are trying to save, these people genuinely believe they are furthering the faith amongst waverers, rather than wielding the faith as a weapon to keep secular power amongst the credulous.

Hellebore
13-11-2007, 12:36
The two definitions there seem to be, more or less, reworded versions of each other. Because, wouldn't one without belief in a god technically believe that there is no god?

- N.

Technically no, because in order to be an A-theist, you need to have knowledge of Theism in the first place.

Religions are social constructs and as such no human is born with an understanding of or belief in, god(s). It is up to the society they are born into to provide an environment under which the religion meme will be passed along.

Religions are also more or less memocidal, they 'kill' other memes by tying the 'truth' of reality to themselves - thus unless another meme is part of the religious meme, it becomes 'wrong' and the effect is that it is 'bred' out of the memepool.

Thus one can not believe in god(s) through the simple expedient of not knowing the concept of god(s) in the first place.

One cannot disbelieve something until they encounter its belief in the first place.

So you could have humans that grow up without supernatural explanations for the world around them, and thus never encounter the concept of god in the first place.

These people wouldn't be a-theists, they would be non-theists or sumsuch.


Hellebore

Burnthem
13-11-2007, 12:37
The Inquisition has also been recast as more worldy and pragmatic, again I think this is a mistake. In the real world, nasty religious fanatics don't make sense (burning witches, torturing heretics) unless they are true belivers too. Although they may well cast themsleves above the common herd they are trying to save, these people genuinely believe they are furthering the faith amongst waverers, rather than wielding the faith as a weapon to keep secular power amongst the credulous.

Dont forget that there are many many different groups/factions/gaming clubs within the inquisition, with a broad spectrum of ideas ranging from the fanatically devout to the ultra-scientific :)

Agrip. Varenus Denter
13-11-2007, 14:14
lol @ gaming clubs in The Inquisition, Burn. :) I can see them all gathered around for a rousing game of Yu-gi-oh!

Setrus
13-11-2007, 17:16
But personally Im intruiged by the potential of seeing more "oriental influences" in the Space Marines spirituality!

If I remember correctly the the tigers of veda has oriental influences with rebirths and stuff like that, you could check it out and see how it works.

http://www.fightingtigersofveda.com/

malika
13-11-2007, 17:20
If I remember correctly the the tigers of veda has oriental influences with rebirths and stuff like that, you could check it out and see how it works.

http://www.fightingtigersofveda.com/


Yeah, but thats different. I mean when dealing with Space Marine sprituality, so they could still be these "gothic" styled warriors, but their "religion" isnt like Christianity on which so much in the 40k universe seems to be based off, but is more influenced by oriental religions/cultures. Of course not too obvious but not too subtle either.

Lisiecki
13-11-2007, 22:11
Yeah, but thats different. I mean when dealing with Space Marine sprituality, so they could still be these "gothic" styled warriors, but their "religion" isnt like Christianity on which so much in the 40k universe seems to be based off, but is more influenced by oriental religions/cultures. Of course not too obvious but not too subtle either.

A Cast of warrior monks bringing religion to the masses, heathens and aliens while cutting a bloody path of destruction in there wake, killing entire populations at a time.

Yep, nothing like midival Christianity at all

Argastes
13-11-2007, 22:20
EDIT: oops nevermind

malika
13-11-2007, 22:20
A Cast of warrior monks bringing religion to the masses, heathens and aliens while cutting a bloody path of destruction in there wake, killing entire populations at a time.

Yep, nothing like midival Christianity at all

Im not talking about the way they spread their message, this whole discussion isnt about that. Its about Space Marine spirituality, they dont view the Emperor as a God in the Christian sense, so how is the Emperor worshipped/honored/etc.

Argastes
13-11-2007, 22:28
A Cast of warrior monks bringing religion to the masses, heathens and aliens while cutting a bloody path of destruction in there wake, killing entire populations at a time.

Yep, nothing like midival Christianity at all

The question is about their actual theology and the tenets of their belief, not the social and political consequences of it. No matter how much the Space Marines' religion may superficially resemble medieval Christianity in terms of the social and political arrangements it creates (or the "style" of it's liturgy and the language in which it is articulated, i.e. the generally Christian atmosphere/imagery and the use of terms like "chapel", "monastery", etc.), it is utterly different in theological terms. Theologically, it has more in common with traditional Chinese beliefs than with Christianity or any Western faith.

BrotherAdso
13-11-2007, 22:36
And even style isn't so consistent as you might imagine. There were riots across the United States in the mid-19th century when Presbyterians and Congregationalists decided to put crosses on the steeples of their churches -- since only d**mned dirty Catholics use such symbols. It also shows the way extremely different belief systems can adopt the same symbolic language to express themselves.

Marines have Gothic trappings over what amounts to a system of extremely inflexible ancestor-worship and/or Pantheism, depending on the chapter in question. The revere the Emperor as their genetic father, their benevolent protector, and their moral and practical guide. They revere their Primarch beside him for these same reasons. They don't turn to Him for spiritual succor, though -- for the odd bit of luck or superstition, many Marines probably still turn to the Gods of their former people.

There are exceptions, of course, like the Black Templars, who DO seem to have a pretty deistic, actively religious interpretation of the Emperor's will. But it seems to me they are in the minority, not the majority.

-Adso

malika
13-11-2007, 22:41
But do the Black Templars view the Emperor as a God?

Lisiecki
13-11-2007, 22:45
The question is about their actual theology and the tenets of their belief

Ohhh ok i got ya.
the theology that teaches that they were created in the image of the savior of humanity.
That man is inherently weak, and only by following in the actions of that "god" can they be saved.
That only those who give them selves up to his teachings and protection are able to have any chance of resisting outside temptation.


The strength of the Emperor is Humanity, and the strength of Humanity is the Emperor.
* The Sermons of Sebastian Thor, Vol. XXVII Ch. LXII


A single man of faith can triumph over a legion of the faithless. Untold billions of the faithful can never be opposed.
* The Sermons of Sebastian Thor, Vol. XI, Ch. IV




Love the Emperor,
For he is the salvation of Mankind.
Obey His words,
for He will lead you into the light of the future.
Heed His wisdom,
for He will protect you from evil.
Whisper His prayers with devotion,
for they will salve your soul.
Honour His servants,
for they speak in His voice.
Tremble before His majesty,
for we all walk in His immortal shadow.

* Imperial Hymnal



I tread the path of Righteousness. Though it be paved with broken glass, I shall walk it barefoot; though it crosses rivers of fire, I will pass over them; though it wanders wide, the light of the Emperor guides my step.

* Confessor Dolan of Chiros - Sermon on the road to Gathalamor



What is it to be a Space Marine?
It is to be pure, to be strong, to show no pity, nor mercy, nor remorse.
What is it to be pure?
To never know fear, to never waiver in the fight.
What is it to be strong?
To fight on when others flee; to stand and die in the knowledge that death brings the ultimate reward.
What is the ultimate reward?
To serve the Emperor.



What is your life?
My honor is my life.
What is your fate?
My duty is my fate.
What is your fear?
My fear is to fail.
What is your reward?
My salvation is my reward.
What is your craft?
My craft is death.
What is your pledge?
My pledge is eternal service.

Wazzahamma
13-11-2007, 23:11
I see it as an extreme form of 'ancestor worship': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancestor_worship

Mixed in with 'charismatic authority' in regards to the Emperor:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charismatic_authority

It doesn't need to be religious in a strict sense.

Argastes
14-11-2007, 00:03
Ohhh ok i got ya.
the theology that teaches that they were created in the image of the savior of humanity.
That man is inherently weak, and only by following in the actions of that "god" can they be saved.
That only those who give them selves up to his teachings and protection are able to have any chance of resisting outside temptation.

But their theology is still fundamentally rooted in ancestor/hero worship of an entity whom they do NOT view as divine, and it's also arguably rooted in pagan polytheism, so it's still quite different from Christianity. Yeah, you can pick out some theological similarities, just as you can pick out some similarities between Christianity and Buddhism, but they're still entirely different faiths with entirely different theological assumptions about the nature of the divine.

And out of the six passages you quote, the first four are completely worthless and irrelevant to this discussion, because they are from the teachings/beliefs of the Ecclesiarchy (which does view the Emperor as a God, and is generally more similar to Christianity), not from the cults of the Space Marines, which are what we're talking about about here. All those four quotes accomplish is to prove the Christianesque theology of the mainstream Imperial state religion, which is completely different from Space Marine religion.

Your last two quotes are the only ones that have anything to do with the Space Marines. Let's look at what they say: They espouse purity, strength, pitilessness, mercilessness, remorselessness, fearlessness, courage, service, honor, and salvation through these traits. None of these form a particularly strong parallel to Christianity. The only one that even comes close is the salvation thing, and since even that is rooted in a completely non-Christian definition of "salvation" and a completely non-Christian means by which it can be achieved, that's not very compelling either.

Lisiecki
14-11-2007, 00:21
: They espouse purity, strength, pitilessness, mercilessness, remorselessness, fearlessness, courage, service, honor, and salvation through these traits.


How exactly are these not ideal of midival christianity. Look at the crusades, the multiple blessings of wars, warrior popes, support for capital punishment, corporal punishment under the guise of 'spare the rod and spoil the child,' justifications of slavery, world-wide colonialism in the name of conversion to Christianity, the systemic violence of women subjected to men, and more

BrotherAdso
14-11-2007, 01:15
Medieval Christian texts espouse piety, humility, divine earning, self-flagellation (metaphorically), extreme asceticism, belief in miracle and revelation being commonplace, fear of God's displeasure in the next life and the Devil in the world, etc.

Christianity rarely blessed the wars of the middle ages -- the Crusades are quite atypical. Much of the time, the Church spent its time intervening between squabbling barons and kings so that they wouldn't kill each other (something good Christians shouldn't do).

Warrior popes were the exception, Julian was reviled by almost all later doctrinal thinkers.

Capital punishment of the evil has little to do with Christianity specifically. In reality, the Church was more likely to be in the role of sparing a doomed man by intercession with his lord than condemning him or her to death.

Etc, Etc. The code of the Marines is a very different beast. It has no emphasis on the otherworldly, which suffused medieval Christian worldviews. It has no emphasis on moral and spiritual duties, just material ones. It has no emphasis on salvation, but instead on anihillation. It has no emphasis on empathy. It has no doctrines of confession of beatification. It has none of the emphasis on divine learning that medieval Christianity had. The Marine gains the appreciation of the Emperor through beating the snot out of others. The stereotypical Medieval christian would have believed it to be bought through humility, confession, etc.

Marines have the outward trappings of High Gothicism, but their standards of behavior and morality fit High/Late Reniassance-era Reformed Inquisitors, Puritan Witchfinders, or Nazi Stormtroopers more than Medieval Christians.

The Warmaster
14-11-2007, 02:45
Technically no, because in order to be an A-theist, you need to have knowledge of Theism in the first place.

Religions are social constructs and as such no human is born with an understanding of or belief in, god(s). It is up to the society they are born into to provide an environment under which the religion meme will be passed along.

Religions are also more or less memocidal, they 'kill' other memes by tying the 'truth' of reality to themselves - thus unless another meme is part of the religious meme, it becomes 'wrong' and the effect is that it is 'bred' out of the memepool.

Thus one can not believe in god(s) through the simple expedient of not knowing the concept of god(s) in the first place.

One cannot disbelieve something until they encounter its belief in the first place.

So you could have humans that grow up without supernatural explanations for the world around them, and thus never encounter the concept of god in the first place.

These people wouldn't be a-theists, they would be non-theists or sumsuch.


Hellebore

Actually, both are atheism, although they are different forms - it's considered implicit atheism to have no prior knowledge of theism in the first place, whereas explicit atheism requires knowledge of it. As for nontheism (which can be considered synonymous, to an extent, to secularism), that's just a way of describing anything that excludes belief in gods (a secular government, much like that of the pre-Heresy Imperium, would be an example of something nontheistic) - atheism would technically be considered a subcategory of nontheism, I suppose.

- N.

Taipan
14-11-2007, 02:57
Well, we must also remember that the theology of the Adeptus Astartes has been largely forced upon them by the Adeptus Terra, by the formation of the Chaplains. Prior to the Horus Heresy, Space Marines had a mostley secular, science-based worldview. The Emperor himself wished humanity to be liberated from superstition and bigotry. There is even evidence he did consort with xenos (Eldrad mentions conversing with the Emperor prior to the Drop Site Massacre), and his beliefs would be considered abject heresy by the Priesthood.

Now that the Chaplains are in place, Marines have been indoctrinated into supersition of many things (the Warp, being incomprehensible to most non-psykers), so their theology should be considered a recent development. Given the very strained relations between the Adeptus Astartes and the Adpetus Terra, even if some Chapters (like BT) consider the Emperor divine, the vast majority still venerate him as a great man. So, their 're-education' into theology isn't as complete as the average Imperial citizen.

BrotherAdso
14-11-2007, 03:26
Well...if by recent innovation, you mean "roughly 10,000 years old..."

Also, Chaplains are not under the direct supervision of the Ecclesiarchy -- they train and indoctrinate their own, within the office of the Chaplaincy in the Chapter. So they don;t have to conform to or educate the Marines with any of the standard Church of the Emperor stuff -- and, indeed, most don't. They are, however, exemplars of devotion to the Great Primarch and the Emperor.

-Adso

Hellebore
14-11-2007, 03:38
Actually, both are atheism, although they are different forms - it's considered implicit atheism to have no prior knowledge of theism in the first place, whereas explicit atheism requires knowledge of it. As for nontheism (which can be considered synonymous, to an extent, to secularism), that's just a way of describing anything that excludes belief in gods (a secular government, much like that of the pre-Heresy Imperium, would be an example of something nontheistic) - atheism would technically be considered a subcategory of nontheism, I suppose.

- N.

I know we are getting into semantics, but I don't see how that works.

As far as I understand it, theism is belief in god(s) and a-theism is seeing theism and then not believing in god(s).

So in order to be a- something, you need to know the belief first.

I don't see how the absence of knowledge construes the denial of knowledge. One is the active understanding of, and disbelief in, a concept. The other is simply not knowing the concept to have an opinion on it in the first place.

They may end up with the same result (no belief in god) but they get there differently.

I just don't see how the absence of a belief equals the holding of a belief simply because they produce the same phenotype.

Hellebore

The Warmaster
14-11-2007, 04:05
I know we are getting into semantics, but I don't see how that works.

As far as I understand it, theism is belief in god(s) and a-theism is seeing theism and then not believing in god(s).

So in order to be a- something, you need to know the belief first.

I don't see how the absence of knowledge construes the denial of knowledge. One is the active understanding of, and disbelief in, a concept. The other is simply not knowing the concept to have an opinion on it in the first place.

They may end up with the same result (no belief in god) but they get there differently.

I just don't see how the absence of a belief equals the holding of a belief simply because they produce the same phenotype.

Hellebore

I explained that here:


Actually, both are atheism, although they are different forms - it's considered implicit atheism to have no prior knowledge of theism in the first place.

Just remember, I didn't make those definitions myself.



you are all idiotzorz

http://www.militaryplaques.com/Emblems/America%20Love%20It%20or%20Leave%20It!.jpg

Yes, a classic example of tolerance and diversity.

Thing is, I don't live in America.

- N.

Hellebore
14-11-2007, 04:35
I explained that here:



Just remember, I didn't make those definitions myself.

- N.

Well if those are the official definitions I'll have to take it up with the thought philosophers then:p

I can't see how the two can be the same at all, because ignorance should never be a default disbelief in something but I can't really argue with 'official' definitions...

Hellebore

Argastes
14-11-2007, 06:48
"Soft", or implicit, atheism is the unwillingness to accept a positive belief in a god. "Hard", or explicit atheism is the positive belief in a negative answer to the question of god's existence. It's "I don't believe there are gods" as opposed to "I do believe there are no gods". It's refusing to believe in the existence of something, versus believing in it's nonexistence.

Argastes
14-11-2007, 07:00
How exactly are these not ideal of midival christianity. Look at the crusades, the multiple blessings of wars, warrior popes, support for capital punishment, corporal punishment under the guise of 'spare the rod and spoil the child,' justifications of slavery, world-wide colonialism in the name of conversion to Christianity, the systemic violence of women subjected to men, and more

BrotherAdso already shot holes in most of those claims, but even if they were systematically characteristic of medieval Christianity, the point remains that those were political positions adopted by the Church in spite of and contrary to the theological tenets which formed it's foundation. Whether or not the political behavior of Christian leaders was pitiless does not reflect on what their theology said. No matter how much cruelty the Church leaders condoned in the political sphere, their theological value system still espoused meekness, compassion, pacifism, and love. They might not have always faithfully obeyed the commands of that value system, but that doesn't change what it actually said. And what it actually said is radically different from what the value system built into Space Marine theology actually says.

If the question was, "Is Space Marine religion similar to medieval Christianity in terms of it's practical social/political consequences and the behavior of it's followers?" then you might have an argument here (sort of...). But since the question is one of actual belief and actual theology, not the behavior of those who adhere to that belief and theology, there is very little argument for any similarity between SM religion and medieval Christianity.

Hellebore
14-11-2007, 07:04
"Soft", or implicit, atheism is the unwillingness to accept a positive belief in a god. "Hard", or explicit atheism is the positive belief in a negative answer to the question of god's existence. It's "I don't believe there are gods" as opposed to "I do believe there are no gods". It's refusing to believe in the existence of something, versus believing in it's nonexistence.

If that's true then someone without the knowledge of god in the first place can't be either, as they are neither unwilling nor refusing, they are simply ignorant of the question in the first place.

Hellebore

Argastes
14-11-2007, 07:07
If that's true then someone without the knowledge of god in the first place can't be either, as they are neither unwilling nor refusing, they are simply ignorant of the question in the first place.

Hellebore

Yeah, I'd agree that someone who has never been exposed to the concept of gods wouldn't exactly fit into either type of atheism. Although we might quite easily devise a third type for them.

Hellebore
14-11-2007, 07:09
Yeah, I'd agree that someone who has never been exposed to the concept of gods wouldn't exactly fit into either type of atheism. Although we might quite easily devise a third type for them.

Ignorance? :p

This was what I'd been trying to get across previously. And the point of this line of reasoning (I think - I've forgotten) was that you could get people who weren't theists OR a-theists becoming marines.

Hellebore

BrainFireBob
14-11-2007, 07:12
In response to the OP- it's because Hellebore is a zen taoist nazi ninja blowfish.


Actually, no, it's because they come from planets which have versions of the Imperial Cult, and they re-interpret the Emperor in that context. In their childhoods, he was god. Knowing "better," he's still god-like.

EDIT: I'd argue that being not even exposed to the concept of god is a gedanken of such limited usefulness as to be pointless, since inherent in any idea of any greater power is the core concept of godhood. Fate, even luck, implies the existence of greater powers ruling destiny. You'd have to strip even the seeds of those concepts. I'd argue that that means eliminating sentience alltogether.

Hellebore
14-11-2007, 07:13
In response to the OP- it's because Hellebore is a zen taoist nazi ninja blowfish.


Hahahahaha!:D

Well it IS true, I said it, and we all know if you claim something to be true it IS...:angel:


Hellebore

Lisiecki
15-11-2007, 05:57
Medieval Christian texts espouse piety, humility, divine earning, self-flagellation (metaphorically), extreme asceticism, belief in miracle and revelation being commonplace, fear of God's displeasure in the next life and the Devil in the world, etc.


Yep nothing more loving and kind than passion plays

Argastes
15-11-2007, 12:40
Yep nothing more loving and kind than passion plays

Actually, neither the word "love" nor the word "kindness" appeared in what you just quoted... Although, what's so bad about passion plays? They reenact a pivotal moment in the Bible. Yeah, it's a rather gory moment, but it's not like you can accuse of them of choosing that part of the Bible for their plays just to indulge their violent natures, because it really is arguably the most crucial (hahah!) part.

And what's your point, anyhow? That passion plays somehow negate all the differences between Space Marine theology and medieval Christian theology, and prove that they're similar after all?

GR_Zombie
15-11-2007, 15:27
I may have missed it, but what does the big-a$$ eagle have to do with anything?

Imperialis_Dominatus
15-11-2007, 16:51
Yep nothing more loving and kind than passion plays

Bunk, as proven by...


Actually, neither the word "love" nor the word "kindness" appeared in what you just quoted... Although, what's so bad about passion plays? They reenact a pivotal moment in the Bible. Yeah, it's a rather gory moment, but it's not like you can accuse of them of choosing that part of the Bible for their plays just to indulge their violent natures, because it really is arguably the most crucial (hahah!) part.

And what's your point, anyhow? That passion plays somehow negate all the differences between Space Marine theology and medieval Christian theology, and prove that they're similar after all?

And as for this...


I may have missed it, but what does the big-a$$ eagle have to do with anything?

Ignorance is bliss.

Gdolkin
16-11-2007, 01:33
oo'eck, I can't respond as I'd like to at the moment as I'd rant about the differences between atheism, agnosticism, conceptual ignorance of 'God', and secular humanism, and about the meanings of 'faith', 'worship' etc.., but damn good thread guys, keep it up. Hooray for thinking Warseers, doing socio-psycho-anthropology on Space Marines keeps us sharp :)
I bet one of us can find an example of a Marine saying 'For the God-Emperor' or some such thing. Or 'He is watching us, and He shall receive our souls' type of dogma. As I say though, actual examples shouldn't settle it. Banging together our concepts of the Marines is its own reward, you can learn a lot about our world through the eyes of other people and their frames of reference.

Burnthem
16-11-2007, 08:17
but damn good thread guys, keep it up. Hooray for thinking Warseers, doing socio-psycho-anthropology on Space Marines keeps us sharp :)

Why thank you :)

The Warmaster
16-11-2007, 11:10
oo'eck, I can't respond as I'd like to at the moment as I'd rant about the differences between atheism, agnosticism, conceptual ignorance of 'God', and secular humanism, and about the meanings of 'faith', 'worship' etc.., but damn good thread guys, keep it up. Hooray for thinking Warseers, doing socio-psycho-anthropology on Space Marines keeps us sharp :)

Thank you. It's what we do. Well, what I do, anyway.



I bet one of us can find an example of a Marine saying 'For the God-Emperor' or some such thing. Or 'He is watching us, and He shall receive our souls' type of dogma. As I say though, actual examples shouldn't settle it. Banging together our concepts of the Marines is its own reward, you can learn a lot about our world through the eyes of other people and their frames of reference.

The only example I can recall is, in the book "Soul Drinker" (for those who haven't read it, I suggest you do, if you like good Space Marine fiction), where Sarpedon uses the term "God-Emperor" (although as many believe, this could be due to the whole Ecclesiarchial enforcer thing, given that he was speaking to an Inquisitorial representative at the time).

- N.

TheLionReturns
16-11-2007, 12:03
For me space marines have one motivation in life and that is to perfect their martial skills to carry out the Emperor's will. They revere the Emperor as a provider of their mission if you will, and their Primarch as their leader and tactical inspiration. However, this explains reverence not worship. The actual practise of worship, ie the prayer etc, is for me more of a tool for honing skill. Worship is used to train the mind in its mission and to teach focus and discipline. I think of the worship as the mental side of the training as opposed to the martial and tactical sides.

Gdolkin
17-11-2007, 00:24
After posting my last one last night i read IA:Iron Hands (cos I love those metal nutjobs) and there are several references to their 'divine mission' in spreading the word of the Emperor during the Crusade.. shame that's been retconned in favour of Imperial Truth and a secular Imperium during the Crusade, well, a shame for the purposes of this thread anyway, I actually like the idea that the Emperor totally rejected divinity both for himself and in general.. Shame my favourite First Founding Legion's IA article now says a load of crap about them spreading the 'divine' creed of the Emperor, and the legends of Medusa from the time of the Crusade and Heresy talking about 'the most Holy God-Emperor has been lost to us'.. tsk. Actually, I think I caught Ferrus Manus saying something like "God-Emperor" in 'Fulgrim' last week.. might have to check that..
So Sarpedon says 'God-Emperor', but possibly only because he's talking to an Inquisitor eh? Anyone got examples of 40k era Marines saying such things amongst themselves, away from representatives of the Emperor-Deifying Imperium? I bet there are such examples, GW lets so many inconsistencies and contradictions of character and background pass.. often in the same paragraph of a BL novel I see blatant examples of 'style over substance', that is, if something sounds cool then never mind that it makes no consistent sense.. oops, digressed into elitist over-analytical grumbling, my mistake..
TheLionReturns makes a good point, the Marines' 'worship' of the Emperor could well be seen as an expression and reinforcement of their focus on and dedication to the mission He has given them, to protect humanity and kill the alien, mutant and heretic etc.. Perhaps they are not so much 'worshipping' the Emperor in the obvious Christian sense (as many have argued here) as 'worshipping' His teachings, His example, His ideals, and honouring the responsibilities that He has laid upon them.. Ask yourselves, are there not a great many kinds of attitudes and behaviours concerning something/someone/some idea/whatever, aside from the obvious "O Lord I love thee, please don't smite me, smite him", that could be called 'worship'?

The Warmaster
17-11-2007, 01:21
After posting my last one last night i read IA:Iron Hands (cos I love those metal nutjobs) and there are several references to their 'divine mission' in spreading the word of the Emperor during the Crusade.. shame that's been retconned in favour of Imperial Truth and a secular Imperium during the Crusade, well, a shame for the purposes of this thread anyway, I actually like the idea that the Emperor totally rejected divinity both for himself and in general.. Shame my favourite First Founding Legion's IA article now says a load of crap about them spreading the 'divine' creed of the Emperor, and the legends of Medusa from the time of the Crusade and Heresy talking about 'the most Holy God-Emperor has been lost to us'.. tsk. Actually, I think I caught Ferrus Manus saying something like "God-Emperor" in 'Fulgrim' last week.. might have to check that..

You should remember that the IA articles are most likely written in the perspective of an Imperial - a 41st Millennium Imperial at that, which is probably the reason that all the "divine crusade" stuff slipped in there. I believe there's been background concerning the Emperor's condemnation of theism and religion since the Realm of Chaos books (in which it was heavily hinted at), although it's only become more pronounced since, as far as I can tell, the second 3rd Edition Chaos Marine Codex (in which it mentions the Emperor chastising the Word Bearers for their religious fanaticism).


So Sarpedon says 'God-Emperor', but possibly only because he's talking to an Inquisitor eh?

I believe he also uses the term again, although under similar circumstances. Then, when talking to a Dark Eldar Archon in the third book (for those who know, is it Bleeding Chalice or Crimson Tears? I tend to mix the two up), he explicitly states that the Soul Drinkers worship no gods.

I'm certain I've seen examples of Marines referring to the Emperor as a god. Although I can't cite any sources now, I've seen at least one Black Templars quote that uses the term "God-Emperor".

- N.

I am the Monkey King
17-11-2007, 05:06
I have a feeling (though I could be very wrong) that there could be a Space Wolves quote or two involving the God-Emperor, since they actually consider Him to be a God. However unlike most Marine Chapters they don't actually worship him, more kinda go "Lookit me God, I killed 47 Orks armed only with a pin, aren't I great" (i.e. call upon him to witness acts of valour and strength, same as Russ).

So umm...

Most marines worship the Emperor but not as God, a few worship Him as God and the Wolves don't actually worship Him but its as a God that they're not worshiping Him.

Hellebore
17-11-2007, 05:24
Yeah, I'd agree that someone who has never been exposed to the concept of gods wouldn't exactly fit into either type of atheism. Although we might quite easily devise a third type for them.

Having thought about it I'd say that it would be called 'null-theism' - it's a nonconstruct, an absence rather than a presence.

Hellebore