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Griffin
23-09-2009, 14:37
Here's a question. Is it heresy to be a atheist in the 41st millenium ? Are the local arbites gonna kick down your door and come drag you away for the firing squad or will no one really care ?

Debate.

Damage,Inc.
23-09-2009, 14:41
I suppose it depends on how "active" one is in ther atheism. I'm not entirely sure how religion works with Imperial Law or how exactly the Ecclesiarchy fits in that guidance. I don't think there is any specific laws against not worshiping the Imperial Cult, so long as you aren't being a Heretic per say or actively working against the Imperium.

Iracundus
23-09-2009, 14:45
Not believing in the God-Emperor of the Imperium IS working against the Imperium, according to Imperial doctrine. There is no separation of religion and state. The head of state is the godhead of Imperial faith, so refusal to believe in the Emperor is being anti-government.

The Arbites might not punish you directly, but the Ecclesiarchy will, or one of their local adherents in an example of vigilante justice.

Lord Inquisitor
23-09-2009, 14:49
Technically speaking, many if not most loyalist Space Marine Chapters don't accept the Emperor's divinity, so I guess you could regard them as atheistic, and they only get away with it by being large semi-autonomous mobile strike forces of genetically engineered superhumans.

So yeah, generally speaking, atheism = heretic in the 41st millenium, unless you have a battle barge under your command.

Note that for those that know of them, the Chaos Gods are simple fact, so "belief" starts to be somewhat immaterial. The Chaos Gods are there whether you believe in them or not!

Emperors Teeth
23-09-2009, 14:52
Note that for those that know of them, the Chaos Gods are simple fact, so "belief" starts to be somewhat immaterial. The Chaos Gods are there whether you believe in them or not!

However, the Chaos 'Gods' are not technically 'Gods' in the typical sense. They are exceptionally powerful warp entities, which essentially makes them aliens with crazy powers people consider to be Godlike.

Iracundus
23-09-2009, 14:53
Note that for those that know of them, the Chaos Gods are simple fact, so "belief" starts to be somewhat immaterial. The Chaos Gods are there whether you believe in them or not!

Not quite. The Chaos gods are each a giant vortex of emotion and accreted souls. They expend energy in providing gifts to their followers, and separate off portions of themselves to create daemons. Without an influx of power, they would gradually dwindle and die off, although the major powers all would have huge reserves of power so this would not happen quickly. Before this happened, they would also likely expend power to attract more worshippers and promote their own particular ideals and emotions in order to generate some power for themselves.

DarkMatter2
23-09-2009, 14:55
Generally, the 40k background is iffy as to whether or not the general populace is aware of the existence of the Chaos Gods.

Bassik
23-09-2009, 15:09
The Emperor was the Richard Dawkins of the far future, so he's got my vote.

Sai-Lauren
23-09-2009, 15:20
Generally, the 40k background is iffy as to whether or not the general populace is aware of the existence of the Chaos Gods.
Probably covered as the general, unknowable, darkness outside the Emperor's light, where even contemplating considering thinking of looking anywhere near here means you're going to be damned (in lots of nasty and painful ways).

Underhive gangs in Necromunda don't seem to be too religious (well, there's House Cawdor and the Redemptionists), so it's probably a visibility thing - on a very devout world, or close to a church, atheism=heresy and a one-way trip to your own personal bonfire. If they can't see you, if you can fake it enough in church (or contribute enough to the collection plate), then you're probably free to do what you want.

LexxBomb
23-09-2009, 15:40
Within the Imperium it is against the law not to recognise The Emperor as a God... which in itself goes against everything The Emperor was trying to achive with the Imperial Truth during the Great Crusade... so you could argue that any athiest in the 41millenium is actually more loyal to The Emperor's vision but is also deifying the Laws written in his name.

snottlebocket
23-09-2009, 15:43
The imperium abides by a pretty basic rule of thumb. 'if you're not with us, you're against us and if you're against us... you'll burn heretic'.

Condottiere
23-09-2009, 15:45
Probably as long as you remain below the radar and pay lip service to the Imperial Cult, no one will bother you. Richard Dawkins might be tolerated as a harmless crank in some of the more liberal societies, until he collects a following, at which point he and his associates will probably be pulled in for questioning.

Known heretics should probably emigrate off-planet.

Felwether
23-09-2009, 16:05
Essentially I think it's a case of "Sure be an atheist but make damn well sure you don't tell anyone." well, in most societies anyway.

Kurisu313
23-09-2009, 16:20
Here's a question. Is it heresy to be a atheist in the 41st millenium ? Are the local arbites gonna kick down your door and come drag you away for the firing squad or will no one really care ?

Debate.

Not believing in the Emperor is heresy, pure and simple. You'd be hung, drawn and quartered and put up on a pike as a reminder to everyone else. In the last chancers novels, one of the 'inmates' was in there for not believing. However, he was very vocal about it, so if you keep quiet you should be okay.

However, that is simply the 'average' belief. The beliefs of the imperium are wide ranging across a multitude of worlds. Some may see the emperor as a non-god, and are therefor atheistic. They still believe in the emperor, however.

Remember, Atheism is simply the lack of belief of Gods. It is not anti-religion. Buddhists are atheists. If you believe in and worship the emperor, but believe he is simply a great man, then you are an atheist, but not neccesarily a heretic. Not all Emperor-Botherers would agree, however!

About the Chaos Gods, it's easy for us to sit here and say that they definately exist, but the average joe imperial citizen may well have never heard of them. Those that have may well not understand their true nature. It's possible to be atheistic in a universe where gods exist! After all, that's what god followers believe about atheists like me!

People above have said that the chaos gods are not gods in the true sense, but they are. What exactly is a god? It doesn't have to be an all omnipotent, omniscient deity like the abrahamic god, it could be one of a senate of gods, like the greek or romans, or whatever. They are powerful enough to call themselves whatever they like!

Idaan
23-09-2009, 17:04
However, the Chaos 'Gods' are not technically 'Gods' in the typical sense. They are exceptionally powerful warp entities, which essentially makes them aliens with crazy powers people consider to be Godlike.Which is exactly what a god is in 40k. They are "gods" in 40k's typical sense, so that's a moot point.

As per wiktionary, heresy is a "doctrine held by a member of a religion at variance with established religious beliefs, especially dissension from Roman Catholic dogma."

That said, I could imagine a world being version of Stalinist Russia turned up to eleven, technically denying the existence of gods, but still worshipping individuals like Stalin, Lenin or the Emperor as pinnacle of humanity. Actually, Lenin in his mausoleum preserved in a "deathless" state and turned into a symbol for all people to believe in is a pretty good equivalent for the big E.

C4Clan
23-09-2009, 17:45
Buddhists are atheists.

OT but it has to be said: Buddhists are not atheists. Atheists deny the existence of gods. Buddhists deny the existence of an omnipotent creator like the murdering sociopath aka abrahamic god (at least in the Original version where it was not even omnipotent)

Lord Inquisitor
23-09-2009, 17:49
However, the Chaos 'Gods' are not technically 'Gods' in the typical sense. They are exceptionally powerful warp entities, which essentially makes them aliens with crazy powers people consider to be Godlike.

Haha I like the way this thread is going. So they don't count as "gods" because they actually exist? ;)

They are worshipped as gods, they're supernatural semi-omniscient beings that crave mortal attention, I think that fulfils the criteria.

Kurisu313
23-09-2009, 18:21
OT but it has to be said: Buddhists are not atheists. Atheists deny the existence of gods. Buddhists deny the existence of an omnipotent creator like the murdering sociopath aka abrahamic god (at least in the Original version where it was not even omnipotent)

Atheist do not believe in gods.

Buddha is not a god.

Ergo, Buddhists are Atheists.

Lothlanathorian
23-09-2009, 18:37
I like where Idaan is going with his train of thought.

And I am pretty sure that in 40K, Militant Atheism gets you dead. Just plain old atheism, well, not so much. If you live on a world where not everyone is constantly in church or praying, you can get away with it. However, if you live on a world where the Church is in power or is all important (Medieval Europe), then being an atheist will get you all kinds of tickled with the fish-hook yard rake.

Brother Siccarius
23-09-2009, 19:44
Here's a question. Is it heresy to be a atheist in the 41st millenium ? Are the local arbites gonna kick down your door and come drag you away for the firing squad or will no one really care ?

Debate.

Yes-no. It's heresy, but if you're an atheist in the 41st millenia you tend to keep your mouth shut. Of course, it all depends on your brand of atheism. You can believe that the Emperor was not a god but a man to be revered rather than worshipped and still live a pretty good life, ask the marines.

However, as with Idaan's definition, there are hundreds of variants on the Imperial cult. I wouldn't expect them to all get along with eachother. Course the fun part comes when they both declare each other heretics (it gets even more fun when both parties are Inquisitors!).

MvS
23-09-2009, 19:59
This topic has been discussed before and many of the same points surfaced.

Atheism, not believing in any gods or accepting the possibility of there being gods, is heresy within the Imperium because faith in the Emperor's divinity is both required by law and drummed into Imperial citizens from birth (which makes atheism very unlikely, although agnosis might be common in some circles).

The Chaos Gods are gods as far as that term has any meaning.

We could say: "the Chaos Powers are aliens from a realm made of souls and emotions who require the souls of mortals to exist, who vie for these souls by creating religions, cults and 'pacts' with mortals, and who respond to prayers, rituals, worship and faith - and in fact need worship... but they aren't gods" but this would be drifting into largely meaningless semantics.

Space Marines, like Buddhists, are not necessarily atheists in the absolute sense of the word.

Space Marines recognise the existence of the Chaos Gods as gods, refering to them as such throughout the imagery. They simply despise these gods as unclean and against the Emperor. Techmarines actually worship the Machine God. All Marines seem to believe in their immortal souls, and the factual existence of souls within the imagery is well established.

Similar to many Buddhists with regard to Buddha, Space Marines may not, generally speaking, refer to the Emperor as a god, but they regard him as having all the powers, desires and responsibilities of a god, hearing their prayers, working miracles and looking after their souls (this last being a departure from most main-stream Buddhist denominations). Similarly, Buddhists, be they of either of the main denominations (Theravada or Mahayana), both treat Buddha as though he were a god (hearing and even answering prayers) and also have gods in their mythologies, although they don't necessary worship them (they aren't as high up the spiritual 'tree' as the Buddha).

You have as much chance of meeting a 'militant atheist' in the Imperium as you were in early medieval Europe. There may be a sliding scale in terms of strength of belief, but outside the Tau Empire atheism would be a rare commodity - against the norm, against the law and against what seems to be the entire educational and indoctrination systems throughout the Imperium.

:)

Tedurur
23-09-2009, 20:04
Atheist do not believe in gods.

Buddha is not a god.

Ergo, Buddhists are Atheists.

Buddhists does not believe in Buddha, they believe in Buddha´s teachings which are very much theist, albeit lacking an omnipotent creator.

Also, sorry for taking this OT

Kurisu313
23-09-2009, 21:46
Buddhists does not believe in Buddha, they believe in Buddha´s teachings which are very much theist, albeit lacking an omnipotent creator.

Also, sorry for taking this OT

I'm no expert on buddhism, but I was under the impression that their religion did not involve any gods.

However, I may easily be wrong.

Spider
23-09-2009, 22:02
Buddhists does not believe in Buddha, they believe in Buddha´s teachings which are very much theist, albeit lacking an omnipotent creator.

Also, sorry for taking this OT

Thats what makes them atheist.


Lack of belief in a god or gods = Atheist. Thats all there is to it.

Aliarzathanil
23-09-2009, 22:15
The Imperium is pretty big on worshiping the Emporor.
I would suspect that a convicted atheist would probably get away with immolation-if it were a first offense.
Immolate some sense into them! That's what I say!

Mudkip
23-09-2009, 22:16
In one of "The Last Chancers" books there is a Penal Legion trooper who is there because he doesn't believe in the Emperor. He is treated pretty badly by the assorted scum and vermin of the Penal Legion for his outrageously immoral stance.

darker4308
23-09-2009, 23:20
For all purposes there could be "no gods" in the warhammer 40k universe, but the way that the storytellers bias events anything could be true. I mean you get burned as a heritic if you do not tread the party line. I would not be suprised if there are some skeptics out there.

madprophet
24-09-2009, 00:02
"Any one failing to salute the Image of the Emperor or the Imperial Aquila or making disparaging remarks about the Emperor, the Ecclessiarchy or any recognized saint of the Imperium will be flogged, drawn and quartered" - The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer

'nuff said. :D

LexxBomb
24-09-2009, 01:00
Atheist do not believe in gods.

Buddha is not a god.

Ergo, Buddhists are Atheists.

Im sure there was Buddhist stories that involved gods... heck isn't Goku in one of them... Goku being the Monkey God who was punished by Buddha to help a monk Spread the religion/guard him on his journey... this was later turned into the TV show "Monkey" or "Monkey Madness"... heck even this gets explored in Dragon Ball with the main character being based on this God.

Argastes
24-09-2009, 01:52
You mean this guy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Wukong

Doesn't seem to have been viewed as a divine figure.

That said, Buddhism isn't strictly atheistic, but the teachings of Buddha aren't concerned with gods. You could say that gods are irrelevant to Buddhism, not that their existence is explicitly denied. Of course over the religion's history, different types of Buddhism have incorporated various practices and ideas that revolve around gods or god-like figures.

LexxBomb
24-09-2009, 04:29
Some scholars believe that the character Sun Wukong was based on Hanuman (Sanskrit: हनुमत्), the "monkey god") of Hinduism described in a book by the historical Sanzang. Sun Wukong became so well known in China and in many parts of East Asia that he became a deified being worshiped and revered by many to this day.
*taken from the hyperlink above.

Condottiere
24-09-2009, 06:39
Divinity covers a multitude of definitions, and might represent a dichotomy in the worshipper's mind. A man may acquire god-like powers and ascend to a higher plane of existence, and in his benevolence may intervene in the lives of mortals, if he becomes aware of individual plights.

Orkeosaurus
24-09-2009, 06:52
Some branches of Buddhism have gods, but gods aren't a part of the core religion.

There's also a minor chaos god of atheism. (Invented as sort of a throwaway, I'd guess.)

weissengel86
24-09-2009, 09:32
Atheism would be heresy in the Imperium but I would argue athiesm does not even exist in 40k either.

When Gods and souls are proven to exist atheism would be only held by people who didn't think at all or were seriously delusional.

Of all the heresies in 40k or varied beliefs none of them are atheistic. Even those who oppose the emperor don't doubt his existence or power or even god-like nature. They dispute what he claimed or that one should worship him but no such lack of belief exists. People can say he was just a man but I find that uncompelling. Somebody who is effectively Immortal, Supremely Prescient, a massively powerful Psyker, and messianic can not be reasonably referred to as "simply a man".

But you really cant draw many parallels to atheism or religion in reality. Religion in 40k is rather different then in reality. Even the Eldar the most advanced race in the 40k universe (excluding necrons) are religious in nature despite not adhering to the imperial faith or having advanced understanding of (40k) reality. They also don't dispute many of the claims made concerning the emperor or his powers. Non-belief is effectively a non-issue. Disputes do not revolve around this issue.

You could claim that the Chaos Gods aren't gods but just warp entities but this is simply arguing semantics. This is like arguing that meter should be spelled Metre instead of Meter (or vice versa). It is an arbitrary claim that is no more valid then claiming the Chaos Gods are in fact Gods. The word god =/= omnipotent Judeo-Christian type god.

Argastes
24-09-2009, 11:21
Some scholars believe that the character Sun Wukong was based on Hanuman (Sanskrit: हनुमत्), the "monkey god") of Hinduism described in a book by the historical Sanzang. Sun Wukong became so well known in China and in many parts of East Asia that he became a deified being worshiped and revered by many to this day.
*taken from the hyperlink above.

Right, but within the context of Buddhist myth, he wasn't a god. He was a mythical character who was (or may have been) derived from another religion's god, and has since been re-deified in folk traditions.

Lord Inquisitor
24-09-2009, 15:18
Atheism would be heresy in the Imperium but I would argue athiesm does not even exist in 40k either.
Well, as far as the Imperium is concerned anyway (leaving the Chaos/Eldar "gods" aside for a moment), the Imperial Cult reveres the Emperor as a god. One can imagine that either disbelief in the Emperor or at least the rejection of his divinity (you accept the Emperor exists, even revere him as a brilliant man, you just don't accept him as a god, as many Space Marine Chapters do) that would be considered atheism and consequently heresy.

Makiaveli
24-09-2009, 16:20
Atheist do not believe in gods.

Buddha is not a god.

Ergo, Buddhists are Atheists.

Umm but Buddhists do believe in some form of higher power etc etc. (not an expert, so work with me here). Atheists don't believe in any higher power/states/etc. You live, you die, you cease to exist.

As a agnostic, I like to think I have a bit of a handle on the atheism angle, as I tend more towards that as I get older and therefore spend some time contemplating it.

**EDIT**
I'm no expert on buddhism, but I was under the impression that their religion did not involve any gods.

However, I may easily be wrong.

I leave the above since I said it, but wanted to add Kudos to you for saying that that. Not many people have the guts to say they may be wrong :)




Thats what makes them atheist.


Lack of belief in a god or gods = Atheist. Thats all there is to it.

Umm...I wish I had seen this before I jumped on Kurisu. Are you an atheist by chance? Are you aware of the existence of agnostics? I don't believe there is a god(s). But I believe that I may be wrong in that there may be things out there I don't know about. Thus you statement is false since it doesn't allow for me to exist.

Also, according to your logic, Christians are atheists. They do not believe in gods. Would you deny they "lack belief in gods"? Note you used the word "or" thus my argument holds as much water as yours.



Back OT: If you deny that the Emperor is the God-Emperor of Mankind, which you would if you were a atheist, then that would be heresy. How is that any different from calling him a "corpse rotting on a throne" which I believe is popular with some types of heretics?

Orkeosaurus
24-09-2009, 17:21
Actually, Makiaveli, Atheism and Agnosticism aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

One is a statement of belief, one is a statement of knowledge. You can believe something based on what you recognise to be incomplete knowledge.

Makiaveli
24-09-2009, 17:51
Actually, Makiaveli, Atheism and Agnosticism aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

I guess this depends on how you define them.




One is a statement of belief, one is a statement of knowledge. You can believe something based on what you recognise to be incomplete knowledge.

I could argue that atheists believe they have complete knowledge and thus their belief is accurate. And the second part covers faith since it covers believing without complete knowledge.

And this is way off topic and we are about attract the attention of the Inquisition....

Lord Inquisitor
24-09-2009, 18:05
I could argue that atheists believe they have complete knowledge and thus their belief is accurate.
Poppycock. Name one atheist who says they have "complete knowledge."

I could argue that there's no such thing as agnosticism. Either you believe in one or more gods or you do not. If you state that you have no rational or irrational belief in god(s) then you are atheistic - whether you simply don't believe (or have no cause to believe) or actively disbelieve marks you as a "weak" versus "strong" atheist.

Anyway, dragging this back to 40K, the Space Marines are a curious lot. I've not really thought about this before. On this subject, I've been flicking through the Marine codex. They don't believe the Emperor as divine, so they could be defined as atheists in this respect, yet they have Chaplains who preach a cult of worship of some fashion. Yet if they don't worship the Emperor, what exactly do they worship?

Lothlanathorian
24-09-2009, 18:49
The Chaplains, in this regard, and my own opinion, would be there more to make sure that they aren't worshiping anything that isn't the Big E, also. Checking for signs of Chaos taint and heresy. Less like Imperial Priests and more like, well, Space Marine Chaplains lol. The Imperium is super and they make sure you think so, too. Just because he isn't a god doesn't mean they don't venerate his awesomeness and make war in his name.

Orkeosaurus
24-09-2009, 19:14
I guess this depends on how you define them.More specifically, it depends on whether Strong Atheism (I know there is no God) or Weak Atheism (I don't believe there is a God) is being debated. I was actually referring to Weak Atheism more so than Strong, but I probably should have specified that looking back.

(There's also Weak (I don't know if God exists) and Strong (it is impossible to know if god exists) Agnosticism as well.)


I could argue that atheists believe they have complete knowledge and thus their belief is accurate.That would be Strong Atheism. Which is incompatible with (either form of) Agnosticism.


And the second part covers faith since it covers believing without complete knowledge.Some degree of faith is needed in all endeavors, though. It's hardly exclusive to the religious.

Kurisu313
24-09-2009, 19:16
Umm but Buddhists do believe in some form of higher power etc etc. (not an expert, so work with me here). Atheists don't believe in any higher power/states/etc. You live, you die, you cease to exist.

As a agnostic, I like to think I have a bit of a handle on the atheism angle, as I tend more towards that as I get older and therefore spend some time contemplating it.

**EDIT**

I leave the above since I said it, but wanted to add Kudos to you for saying that that. Not many people have the guts to say they may be wrong :)





Umm...I wish I had seen this before I jumped on Kurisu. Are you an atheist by chance? Are you aware of the existence of agnostics? I don't believe there is a god(s). But I believe that I may be wrong in that there may be things out there I don't know about. Thus you statement is false since it doesn't allow for me to exist.

Also, according to your logic, Christians are atheists. They do not believe in gods. Would you deny they "lack belief in gods"? Note you used the word "or" thus my argument holds as much water as yours.



Back OT: If you deny that the Emperor is the God-Emperor of Mankind, which you would if you were a atheist, then that would be heresy. How is that any different from calling him a "corpse rotting on a throne" which I believe is popular with some types of heretics?

I apologize for the continuing of topic-ness, but I feel that I have to address this.

Atheism is only a lack of belief in a God.

Atheists can:
Believe in an afterlife
Believe in a creation story
Be religious

None of the above violate what an atheist is.

99% of the atheists you meet probably won't believe in any of that (I certainly don't), but the single, sole requirement is the lack of belief in any gods.

If someone worships the Emperor as the saving grace of his people, an all-powerful, omnipotent psyker who is the greatest human to live, is still an atheist. He is not a heretic by definition, as he believes in the Emperor, but different Emperor-worshiping cults will have different beliefs, and a more 'fundamental' Emperor worshiper might consider him a heretic.

Makiaveli
24-09-2009, 19:58
Poppycock. Name one atheist who says they have "complete knowledge."

Didn't say it was true, just that I could argue the point.



I could argue that there's no such thing as agnosticism. Either you believe in one or more gods or you do not. If you state that you have no rational or irrational belief in god(s) then you are atheistic - whether you simply don't believe (or have no cause to believe) or actively disbelieve marks you as a "weak" versus "strong" atheist.

This is true. However, society has chosen to recognize a distinction between someone who says there is no god and one who says I don't believe there is a god.



Anyway, dragging this back to 40K, the Space Marines are a curious lot. I've not really thought about this before. On this subject, I've been flicking through the Marine codex. They don't believe the Emperor as divine, so they could be defined as atheists in this respect, yet they have Chaplains who preach a cult of worship of some fashion. Yet if they don't worship the Emperor, what exactly do they worship?

I think this falls into the category of the game's fluff has evolved past it's origins as a "beer & pretzels" game. Back in the RT days, I doubt anyone worried about it.

MvS
24-09-2009, 21:51
Gentlemen, lets focus ourselves on 40K discussion. There are other threads for discussions on the nature of religion, theism and atheism per se, and these discussion rarely end well... :)

Worship of the Emperor is integral to the Imperium and unless we argue over sophistry, suggesting this worship could be just 'hero worship' instead of religious worship, all Imperial citizens are required to worship the Emperor through religious observances as their saviour deity.

The argument as to whether Space Marines are atheists is a different one. With the caveat that anyone can make a Marine Chapter to fit their own designs (so there is lots of room for atheist Marines) the Adeptus Astartes in the 41st Millennium tend not to be atheists.

Although a Marine could be described as an atheist for not believing the Emperor is a god, this becomes problematic when we take into account their factual knowledge about the existence of the Chaos Gods or the belief in the Machine God (that may or may not be confined to Techmarines). They know gods exist, even if they are 'bad' gods, so they cannot not believe in divinities - even if they don't call the Emperor a god.

However, if they don't call the Emperor a god, the fact that they know other gods exist, added to the fact that they pray to their Emperor, regard faith in him, his works and his laws as essential to Mankind, consider him as supernaturally powerful as the Chaos Gods he despises (or more so) and is the custodian of their immortal souls, it would still be very pedantic to describe Marines as 'atheist'.

Granted, the term 'atheist' is an essentially contested one, with a subtly different meaning being employed by different groups and in different philosophies, so we could argue about this all year and that's even before we start dragging in terms like anti-theist, non-theist, pan-theist,deist and agnostic...

Makiaveli
24-09-2009, 22:30
Gentlemen, lets focus ourselves on 40K discussion. There are other threads for discussions on the nature of religion, theism and atheism per se, and these discussion rarely end well... :)

Worship of the Emperor is integral to the Imperium and unless we argue over sophistry, suggesting this worship could be just 'hero worship' instead of religious worship, all Imperial citizens are required to worship the Emperor through religious observances as their saviour deity.

The argument as to whether Space Marines are atheists is a different one. With the caveat that anyone can make a Marine Chapter to fit their own designs, so there is lots of room for atheist Marines, the Adeptus Astartes are not really atheists.

Although a Marine could be described as an atheist for not believing the Emperor is a god, this becomes problematic when we take into account their factual knowledge about the existence of the Chaos Gods or the belief in the Machine God (that may or may not be confined to Techmarines). They know gods exist, even if they are 'bad' gods, so they cannot not believe in divinities - even if they don't call the Emperor a god.

However, if they don't call the Emperor a god, the fact that they know other gods exist, added to the fact that they pray to their Emperor, regard faith in him, his works and his laws as essential to Mankind, consider him as supernaturally powerful as the Chaos Gods he despises (or more so) and is the custodian of their immortal souls, it would still be very pedantic to describe Marines as 'atheist'.

Granted, the term 'atheist' is an essentially contested one, with a subtly different meaning being employed by different groups and in different philosophies, so we could argue about this all year and that's even before we start dragging in terms like anti-theist, non-theist, pan-theist,deist and agnostic...

:)

Hmm....you make a good point (several actually, but confining myself to the 40K one as requested :) ).

The SM's that don't acknowledge the Empreror's divinity do indeed seem to believe that he can and will aid them in battle. They do believe, with his help, that they can defeat the Ruinous Powers. Thus I guess they are engaged in hero worship as you danced around. But since the Emperor can indeed help out (unless you believe some other power is aiding the SoBs), they aren't wasting their time praying, unless of course the Emperor only answers prayers from good looking chicks ;)

weissengel86
25-09-2009, 00:10
The argument as to whether Space Marines are atheists is a different one. With the caveat that anyone can make a Marine Chapter to fit their own designs, so there is lots of room for atheist Marines, the Adeptus Astartes are not really atheists.

Although a Marine could be described as an atheist for not believing the Emperor is a god, this becomes problematic when we take into account their factual knowledge about the existence of the Chaos Gods or the belief in the Machine God (that may or may not be confined to Techmarines). They know gods exist, even if they are 'bad' gods, so they cannot not believe in divinities - even if they don't call the Emperor a god.

However, if they don't call the Emperor a god, the fact that they know other gods exist, added to the fact that they pray to their Emperor, regard faith in him, his works and his laws as essential to Mankind, consider him as supernaturally powerful as the Chaos Gods he despises (or more so) and is the custodian of their immortal souls, it would still be very pedantic to describe Marines as 'atheist'.

Granted, the term 'atheist' is an essentially contested one, with a subtly different meaning being employed by different groups and in different philosophies, so we could argue about this all year and that's even before we start dragging in terms like anti-theist, non-theist, pan-theist,deist and agnostic...

:) QFT, most discussion like this are usually purely semantic and meaningless bickering about what atheism means or whether or not the Emperor is divine or just a man or the chaos gods are gods or just "warp entities". Which is what I said earlier. Atheism doesnt exist in 40k and using analogies from reality doesn't work because 40k is not reality nor does it even follow the same rules

Simply going back and forth about the definition of atheism or religion is really meaningless.

Using the "Strong" Atheism definition (denial of the existence of god/gods) no such thing even exists in 40k it cant be heresy because there is no such thing in 40k. The same thing could be said of the Dungeons and Dragons Universes the gods exist in an obvious and totally clear manner no confusion or debate even exists. Maybe this happened before the chaos gods or the warp was known to exist but absolutely not around or after the time of the emperor. The Emperor's "secular truth" was pure bogus and he knew this too. It was only a scheme designed to weaken the powers of the chaos gods.

Using the "Weak" Atheism definition (lack of belief in god/gods) may be found and would be considered heresy as I have read fluff mentioning that many dont even know of the existence of the chaos gods but then again those people usually believed that because their Imperial priest told them in order to keep them safely ignorant.

Using Agnosticism (I dont know about the existence of god/gods)is heresy but not likely to exist. Seeing planets have daemon portals open up and daemons spill through doesn't exactly leave a lot of ambiguity. Total sheltered ignorance also doent count either.

Using "Strong" agnosticism (which is actually called Acognosticism denying that it is even possible to know god/gods exist) has never been represented or even hinted at in any fluff i have ever read. Probably because the philosophical knowledge of the authors is minimal at best :p.

When asking questions like this you need to have your definitions clear or else you have several pages of semantic arguing that usually just gets closed by the moderators :p because it isnt even possible to have a consensus or reasonable dialog on this subject and people usually just start foaming at the mouths.

Condottiere
25-09-2009, 00:39
The Chaplains are there for spiritual guidance, to clarify in the Marine's mind his place in the universe, should he ask.

To a certain extent, I think the Marines practise Ancestor Worship, in the sense that they stem from a Primarch, and he stems from the Emperor.

Orkeosaurus
25-09-2009, 00:44
As I understood it, Acognosticism goes a little further, saying that not only can the existence of God never be proven, but that any discussion of God/theology is meaningless because of God's unknowability.

But, yeah, "Godhood" in 40k is quite a bit different from Godhood as it's understood in the real world. It's more along the lines of "extremely powerful being" than anything fundamental to existence.

weissengel86
25-09-2009, 06:44
As I understood it, Acognosticism goes a little further, saying that not only can the existence of God never be proven, but that any discussion of God/theology is meaningless because of God's unknowability.

But, yeah, "Godhood" in 40k is quite a bit different from Godhood as it's understood in the real world. It's more along the lines of "extremely powerful being" than anything fundamental to existence. Yeah your right about both points acognosticism does go farther and means what you said but thats a discussion for another day;)

Godhood is also different from what we usually refer to it as (at least the average persons connotation). You also dont need to have a god to be religious or have a religion either. Just read what people posted about Buddhism if you say atheism is just "lack of belief in gods" then Buddhists are in fact atheists.

If Space Marines dont view the Emperor as a literal God (using a nebulous definition of god of course ;)) It still doesnt follow that they arent religious or atheists. The Chaos Gods are clearly and unambiguously known to exist. Souls are unambiguously known to exist so are daemons. Ancestor worship is also not atheism or non religious either. I for believe SM are in fact religious. Not viewing the emperor as a "god" does not logically conclude with SM being non-religious.

Griffin
25-09-2009, 09:13
I'm amazed this thread has actually made 3 Pages without collapsing in on itself. A cookie and some beers to all my fellow warseers.

LexxBomb
25-09-2009, 09:35
I'll take my cookies with milk and codine...(trying to regrow the cartlidge in my knees)

Imperialis_Dominatus
25-09-2009, 11:49
I suppose an individual who had never seen an Eldar Avatar, Living Saint, Act of Faith, C'tan, Daemon or similar could try to be an atheist. But try that in space controlled by any race which is theist and he will find himself in a load of trouble.


Poppycock. Name one atheist who says they have "complete knowledge."

I could name a few in my experience who certainly seem to think so. :p

Then again, such is the province of any supremely arrogant person, regardless of religion or lack thereof.

Argastes
25-09-2009, 12:33
Just read what people posted about Buddhism if you say atheism is just "lack of belief in gods" then Buddhists are in fact atheists.

You do know that it's not uncommon for Buddhists to be described as atheists or for people to identify as both Buddhist and atheist, right? I've seen Buddha's teachings described as atheistic in history-of-religion textbooks. Atheism is indeed just "lack of belief in gods", it's not the same thing as actually being irreligious.

As for Space Marine religion, it should be noted that in addition to a sort of hero-worship/ancestor-worship directed towards the Emperor, some chapters actually also worship their own pantheons of "chapter gods". This is stated in the 3rd Edition SM codex; I don't have a page reference, but if anyone wants to dig out their copy and take a look, it's mentioned somewhere towards the back of the book, maybe in or near the special characters section (wish I could remember exactly).

Lord Inquisitor: Getting back to your question from earlier, they don't regard the Emperor as divine but that doesn't mean they don't worship him, or that he isn't the central figure in the chapter cult. They do, and he is. It is possible to worship something that is not regarded as an actual god. Hero-worship, ancestor-worship, nature-worship, sky-worship, fire-worship, animal-worship, and many others are all real-life examples of people worshiping something they don't view as a god. (Seems like most people in the thread recognize this already, but no-one had actually given this answer in response to Lord Inquisitor's question on page 2, so there we go). And in chapters that venerate "chapter gods" alongside the Emperor, they are obviously also an important part of the chapter cult.

Bloodriver
25-09-2009, 12:58
If an Inquisitor asks you "Is the Emperor a god?", say "Yes.":D

Philip S
25-09-2009, 12:58
Although a Marine could be described as an atheist for not believing the Emperor is a god, this becomes problematic when we take into account their factual knowledge about the existence of the Chaos Gods or the belief in the Machine God (that may or may not be confined to Techmarines). They know gods exist, even if they are 'bad' gods, so they cannot not believe in divinities - even if they don't call the Emperor a god.
You are right, it is problematic, especially when everyone in the 40K (and real life) use the same words but mean totally different things when saying them.

I mean - would a Space Marine actually think a 'chaos god' is a 'god'?

I have a feeling that the Marines think of such a name like 'chaos god' as a common name; for a powerful xenos that lives in the warp and is made of energy.

There are may things called 'god' which are not really a god, like, um a 'rock god'. A rock god may rock out by they are not really a god; despite what they fans think :p

I'm sure some chapters accept the idea of gods, but the Ultramarines?

Wouldn't a chapter like the Ultramarine shave a more utilitarian approach to such matters? I'm curious as to your thoughts on this.

I suppose they (Ultramarines) could redefine the word of what 'god' means, but they may not see it as 'supernatural' or all powerful, infinite, and not as 'The God' who according to our modern religion made everything.

In other words 'god' may simply mean 'energy xenos in the warp', a 'lifeform'.

Part of marines 'indoctrination'?

Philip

Graf of Orlock
25-09-2009, 13:18
There are may things called 'god' which are not really a god, like, um a 'rock god'. A rock god may rock out by they are not really a god; despite what they fans think :p

Philip

Oi! Clapton IS God! :P

Philip S
25-09-2009, 15:15
Oi! Clapton IS God! :P
The prosecution rests :p

Philip

Condottiere
25-09-2009, 15:27
I thought Hendrix was the Guitar God?

Makiaveli
25-09-2009, 16:19
Atheism doesnt exist in 40k and using analogies from reality doesn't work because 40k is not reality nor does it even follow the same rules





I suppose an individual who had never seen an Eldar Avatar, Living Saint, Act of Faith, C'tan, Daemon or similar could try to be an atheist. But try that in space controlled by any race which is theist and he will find himself in a load of trouble.



ID said it for me. Just because an atheist in the 40K universe would be wrong, doesn't mean they can't exist. I could go to work and round up several people who would tell you this universe has just as much proof that God exists as the 40K universe does. Point being that faith makes proof, not the other way around. That Act of Faith was just mass hysteria, and the C'Tan was just Xeno trickery...probably used drugs in gaseous form.

nightgant98c
25-09-2009, 17:04
I'd say as long as you didn't make an issue of your non-belief, you'd be ok. If you were going on about it all the time, you'd be in trouble.

MvS
25-09-2009, 17:13
I mean - would a Space Marine actually think a 'chaos god' is a 'god'?

Indeed, this is the crux of the issue.

I've not yet met a Christian who refers to Satan as a god. I have, however, met many a Christian who attributes all the powers and interests of a god onto Satan. Under God he is the most powerful entity in all existence. He contends with God for souls and for control of the Universe. He has his own angelic servants - demons. He can hear prayers and even answer them. He is out looking for converts, etc, etc, etc.

Okay he's called a fallen angel, but what does that mean? In the Judeo-Christian tradition that means Satan, or Lucifer, isn't a god, but he is still the most powerful supernatural being in the cosmos after The God, and he's only not called a god because Judeo-Christian tradition is monotheistic. So monotheists literally can't refer to Satan as a god, despite the fact that he matches any number of 'evil god' tropes from other religions and mythologies, because the definition of monotheism is the singularity of the Divine. There is only one Creator and well-spring of all things in existence.


I have a feeling that the Marines think of such a name like 'chaos god' as a common name; for a powerful xenos that lives in the warp and is made of energy.

See I don't know about this. 'Knowing', or thinking you know, about the nature of a god doesn't mean you don't regard it as a god.

Marines may know that the Chaos Gods are amalgamations of souls and emotions in the 'stuff' of the Warp (although I'm not convinced they do - maybe the Grey Knights), but that doesn't mean that Marines don't regard them as gods. Or maybe they regard them as 'False Gods', like how ancient Hebrews used to look on the gods of other cultures, like Molech or any of the Egyptian gods.

It wasn't that they denied the existence of these other gods, but they were regarded as being much, much weaker than Yahweh and not the creator and 'owner' of the universe. So they were False Gods, but gods of a sort. It ties back to Satan and godhood - he is but he isn't.


There are may things called 'god' which are not really a god, like, um a 'rock god'. A rock god may rock out by they are not really a god; despite what they fans think

Sure, but this is more a case of a Marine saying to a 'heathen': "what you are worshipping can't hear your prayers, can't work miracles for you, doesn't want (or can't access) your soul, and is only a 'god' in the sense that you think it is".

Marines don't tend to say that in the imagery. They shout about false gods and heathen gods and daemon gods and unclean gods and heretics and infidels they don't say: thing-you-think-is-a-god-but-is-in-fact-a-vortex-of-emotion-in-the-medium-of-the-Warp-and-therefore-clearly-not-a-god

For me even if Marines don't regard the Chaos Gods, the Eldar Gods or anything else as 'gods' (as in actually using that word as their title), I think they still regard these worshipped spirit entities in a similarly religious/spiritual/demoniac way that an evangelical, waiting-for-the-Rapture style Christian would regard Satan: a uniquely powerful and malevolent supernatural figure whom many wrongly worship and who has a place in the 'correct' religion, but only as an evil adversary figure that will ultimately be defeated by the more powerful and 'true' god.

Like the Emperor and the Chaos Gods.


I'm sure some chapters accept the idea of gods, but the Ultramarines? Wouldn't a chapter like the Ultramarine shave a more utilitarian approach to such matters?

It depends. The Ultramarines are not the superstition-free exemplars of Imperial Truth that they were when Guilliman was alive. They have been steeped in 10 millennia of endless trillions of humans across a million worlds being indoctrinated to believe absolutely in the Divine and the Infernal, and they have seen too many daemons, too many wacky and evil religions that actually have 'gods' that answer prayers, and probably have had too many of their own prayers answered to be truly non-theistic and non-superstitious.

Even 'superstitious' in this context is a bit incorrect because although your common Hive citizen may have dodgy superstitions, Astartes have actually seen the knife edge of the 'supernatural'. They have seen daemons pushed back by the faith and prayers of the Grey Knights and Sororitas. They have actual 'proof' that blessing their machines and armour defends them against possession when fighting against Chaos entities. I would think these sorts of things would effect their view of the universe.

But maybe we're the ones looking at this wrongly. We are suggesting 'rationality' would equal a lean towards atheism in the 40K context, but is this really the case? Perhaps the rational response to the seeming irrationality of Chaos IS faith, religiosity and even theistic belief in some way.

If faith in the miraculous powers of the Emperor to protect the soul that you know you have really does drive back or burn other entities that match the description and mentality of mythological daemons, and which also respond to prayers and religious faith, wouldn't it be rational to accept that the Emperor is some sort of omnipotent spiritual saviour with all the powers and duties of a god? (Even if you don't refer to him as a 'god')

I don't suppose the first founding Chapters think of the Emperor as the Creator - although the myths and legends of the Space Wolves may have some sort of creation story associated with the Emperor, I don't know. Their belief in the divinity of the Emperor, however that divinity manifests (and even if they don't use the word 'divinity' to describe it), would not automatically imply that they have no understanding of the physical universe or how it came to be.

I should think that most educated Imperial citizens know something of science and the nature of the universe. The Emperor's divinity is no more predicated upon making him a Creator God that the legends of the Buddha's powers and wisdom had to be predicated on him being a creator god, or even having a supernatural creation myth for that matter.


In other words 'god' may simply mean 'energy xenos in the warp', a 'lifeform'. Part of marines 'indoctrination'?
Words have power though. Words encapsulate concepts and how we think is largely predicated upon them.

So just to go back and 'pick' on Christianity again, the idea of the 'Mystery of the Incarnation' is predicated upon the idea that Jesus was both fully God and fully man - fully human.

He had all the organs, physical attributes and physical weaknesses of any other human and could be killed or harmed just as easily. But he was also God, and it was only because he was God, with all of God's divine mojo, that he could be both entirely God while still being entirely human.

That doesn't mean that mainstream Christianity regards its Infinite, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent God as being human. It doesn't mean that Jesus, while he walked the earth, was Infinite, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent and that he was in fact 'faking' his suffering and human frailties - like when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion. He was so frightened he was supposed to have sweated blood and prayed to be 'let off' from his horrible fate ("If this cup may pass...")

It means that knowing the limited nature of something in one context (Jesus was fully human) doesn't alter its divinity or 'matchless spiritual relevance' in another context (Jesus was also fully God). It simply means that religious faith can reconcile opposites.

So I think a Marine could understand that daemons are a gestalt of specific, extreme and often very dark fragments of souls - but knowing this doesn't take away from the fact that these entities are still daemons both as a 'name' and also in the very real (in 40K) religious sense of wicked spirit entities that want your soul and that are driven away by faith in the Emperor.

In fact I imagine the factual existence of the soul and the potential for its immortality would in itself encourage a certain degree of spirituality and theism of some sort. If I knew that by truly believing in something and by genuinely praying to it, I could somehow strengthen my soul (which happened to be absolutely and demonstrably real and present) against demonic powers that want to take my soul and either chew on it or otherwise molest in for all eternity, I would take prayer and faith very seriously and regard them as the only rational choice. It wouldn't matter to me what I called them - I wouldn't have to call the focus of my prayers and faith The God, a god, The Enlightened One, an enlightened one, an all-powerful spirit, a vortex of other souls or whatever else.

The title becomes largely irrelevant next to the reality of what is is, wants and does.

kdh88
25-09-2009, 18:35
ID said it for me. Just because an atheist in the 40K universe would be wrong, doesn't mean they can't exist. I could go to work and round up several people who would tell you this universe has just as much proof that God exists as the 40K universe does. Point being that faith makes proof, not the other way around. That Act of Faith was just mass hysteria, and the C'Tan was just Xeno trickery...probably used drugs in gaseous form.

Doesn't this basically describe the Tau? AFAIK they don't really have a religion (the line between religion and philosophy is pretty fine, but I don't think the Greater Good is particularly close to it).

MvS
25-09-2009, 18:39
Yes I think the Tau are the closest thing we have in 40K to atheists.

Because they have no gods in their culture and because they are so psychically inactive, they don't experience the universe in the way the other races do - with gods and daemons striding about the cosmos.

In fact the Tau seem pretty closed to the idea of the supernatural and as far as I've seen tend to refer to Chaos creatures as 'aliens' with inexplicable powers.

Makiaveli
26-09-2009, 01:05
Indeed, this is the crux of the issue.

I've not yet met a Christian who refers to Satan as a god. I have, however, met many a Christian who attributes all the powers and interests of a god onto Satan. Under God he is the most powerful entity in all existence. He contends with God for souls and for control of the Universe. He has his own angelic servants - demons. You can hear prayers and even answer them. he is out looking for converts, etc, etc, etc.

Okay he's called a fallen angel, but what does that mean? In the Judeo-Christian tradition that means Satan, or Lucifer, isn't a god, but he is still the most powerful supernatural being in the cosmos after God, and he's only not called a god because Judeo-Christian tradition is monotheistic. So monotheists literally can't refer to Satan as a god, despite the fact that he matches any number of 'evil god' tropes from other religions and mythologies, because the definition of monotheism is the singularity of the Divine. There is only one Creator and well-spring of all things in existence.



See I don't know about this. 'Knowing', or thinking you know, about the nature of a god doesn't mean you don't regard it as a god.

Marines may know that the Chaos Gods are amalgamations of souls and emotions in the 'stuff' of the Warp (although I'm not convinced they do - maybe the Grey Knights), but that doesn't mean that Marines don't regard them as gods. Or maybe they regard them as 'False Gods', like how ancient Hebrews used to look on the gods of other cultures, like Molech or any of the Egyptian gods.

It wasn't that they denied the existence of these other gods, but they were regarded as being much, much weaker than Yahweh and not the creator and 'owner' of the universe. So they were False Gods, but gods of a sort. It ties back to Satan and godhood - he is but he isn't.




First off since, according to myth/Bible/whatever, Lucifer isn't a god since he is "just" an angel. Sure some people worship him as if he is a god. But does that change things?

The answer is, of course, depends on who you ask.

So unless we ask the writers of the fluff and get an answer, we are just talking around in circles.

And there is no second off since I changed my mind.

Argastes
26-09-2009, 01:34
First off since, according to myth/Bible/whatever, Lucifer isn't a god since he is "just" an angel. Sure some people worship him as if he is a god. But does that change things?

You totally missed his point. He was talking about the criteria by which entities are identified (or not) as 'gods'. He's saying that the determining factor isn't a certain set of attributes or powers that objectively qualify any entity that has them as a 'god'. The determining factor is the significance of the word 'god' and the concept of godhood in the religious/cultural baggage of the people being asked to make the identification. Whether they identify a given entity as a 'god' or not will depend largely on their ideas about the singular nature (or lack thereof) of the divine. In the Abrahamic monotheistic tradition, 'god' is an inherently singular concept and thus it's inappropriate for monotheists to call more than one entity 'god', even if, say, there are multiple entities that are supposedly comparable in their powers or attributes (not necessarily saying that God and Satan are comparable in this way in Christianity, but you get the point).

So what he was saying is that the question of whether Marines view the Chaos gods as 'gods' will depend entirely on what semantic baggage that word carries in their religious/cultural tradition.

EDIT: And just to clarify further, he's saying that the reason the Christian bible doesn't call Satan a god is that, in Christianity, that term isn't used to refer to anything other that the Man Upstairs. In Christianity, only God is a 'god'; any and all other entities, regardless of their powers, aren't called 'gods'. Whereas other people might use the term differently.

weissengel86
26-09-2009, 03:31
Yes I agree. MVS has basically hit the nail on the head and describes the problem exactly as it is. The problem is entirely revolved around peoples assumptions or definitions or just plain semantics.

People often argue in circles because they use conflicting definitions or just don't even explain the meanings of the words they use and simply assume others know.

You cannot argue that the Emperor is/is not a god without clearly explaining what you mean by god. The same goes for discussions on the religiosity of SM. Unless you explain what you mean by religious the discussion goes nowhere.

Argastes
26-09-2009, 03:42
Well, the space marine chapters are clearly stated to have their own cults (which literally means a set of religious practices), holy men, and in some cases even their own gods, and they are also clearly stated to worship the Emperor, so I think there is no argument over whether they are religious.

Philip S
26-09-2009, 12:49
@ MvS: Interesting thoughts there.


So monotheists literally can't refer to Satan as a god, despite the fact that he matches any number of 'evil god' tropes from other religions and mythologies, because the definition of monotheism is the singularity of the Divine. There is only one Creator and well-spring of all things in existence.
I think that's the same when any religion takes over another - the monotheism religions start out nice enough but at some point they all seem to literally demonise and twist the religions they replace to weed out those who refuse to convert (for the good of society naturally). Those who refuse the new god are not just following another version of the same god (Aten during the rule of Akhenaten seems to be the first monotheism, and all others after that seem very similar), they are following an 'anti-god' of some type and are evil.

Such anti-gods do not really fit with the tenants and philosophy of the religions, a single god is just that: one power that controls everything. In logical terms this would seem to mean that the Christian 'Satan' is literally another aspect of god -as god is everything - yet the Satan is not put over as an aspect of god. Which is odd as Christians do not have a problem with god being more that one thing at once (Jesus, as you mention later).

Off course it's blasphemy to point out that if god is everything, and god it in all of us, and god is everywhere, and god is all things, that god is (logically) also the devil.

*Gets pitchfork to round up any who agree with my ruse to burn them at the stake to avert suspicion away from me*

I would hazard a guess that the 'devil' meme has more to do with politics (which is apt) - I think we gained the most militant version of Christianity during the crusades.

Off on a tangent, it seems to me that Aten is the Archetype for the one god. Aten being the Sun god puts a lot of the core memes about god into perspective (live giver, bringer of light, can't look at god (well not while in a Sahara!), criminals like the darkness as it's hard to see their activities (away from god's gaze) etc.). I can see why the Jews like him (being released an all) and perhaps the big three are merely Chinese whispers of Aten?


See I don't know about this. 'Knowing', or thinking you know, about the nature of a god doesn't mean you don't regard it as a god.
Depends on the view point. A person who does not believe in god, who is confronted with a 'god' may convert on the spot, or they may not. 'Atheists' are a diverse bunch of people all grouped under one tag and attributed with characteristics and beliefs, which do not really relate to who they are as individuals. I know 'religious types' like to group people together around beliefs in a certain way, and they group around beliefs in a certain way (just as I did in that sentence), but atheism is not like a religion. It's not a strong belief that god does not exist (and thanks to religion that term seems 'loaded' and implies denial of a truth) it's a lack of belief that god does exists, or the desire to deny it. One is a strong denial emotion, the other is minor 'meh'. Many 'atheists' simply do not care, as it's hard to get excited about 'nothing', but they can get fervent, and stand together, about rejecting bulling. But it's more rejecting the bulling and imposing, than about telling religious types their god does not exist. It makes no sense to many an atheist, and like many things that make no sense, they drift to the back of their mind. Often it is dismissed as 'non-sense' and it literally is non sense when viewed by many using logic. Religion to a logical person is like a grab bag of every logical fallacy imaginable.

I suspect how a person reacts to encountering a 'god' is down to their world view. It's pretty hard to generalise about how a person reacts and why, as there are so many variables. However, among all those variable there are people who will see a 'god' and simply not think of it as a god like a religious person would see it. I dare say this can lead to confusion when discussing what has been witnessed, as each person interprets what they hear according to their own views, and language is such a mutable thing.


It depends. The Ultramarines are not the superstition-free exemplars of Imperial Truth that they were when Guilliman was alive. They have been steeped in 10 millennia of endless trillions of humans across a million worlds being indoctrinated to believe absolutely in the Divine and the Infernal, and they have seen too many daemons, too many wacky and evil religions that actually have 'gods' that answer prayers, and probably have had too many of their own prayers answered to be truly non-theistic and non-superstitious.
It does depend, and I would image even seeing 'demons' can be framed in a way that they are not 'demons' as religious people see them. For example, a daemon can be a computer program, what if the Marine see a demons as merely a name for a given life-form rather than a spirit/ soul? What if they think souls are fake, mere 'impressions in the sand' and do not buy the whole god sale? What if their religious teaching are more like Buddhist teachings in principles, lack gods, but other religions will think of it as a 'religion'?

I think the marines could use the language of religion, yet think of it very differently. Marines were originally 'atheist' and did not believe is god and superstition, and that psycho-indoctrination still continues, maybe it brings about a mind-set that is very different from the average imperial citizen, yet the marine speaks in a way the average Imperial citizen would understand and understand quickly: more along the political lines of 'are you with us or against us' ultimatum based on a false dichotomy.


But maybe we're the ones looking at this wrongly. We are suggesting 'rationality' would equal a lean towards atheism in the 40K context, but is this really the case? Perhaps the rational response to the seeming irrationality of Chaos IS faith, religiosity and even theistic belief in some way.
Faith can work even if you do not place it in a god. You could have faith in your own abilities, faith in cause and effect, faith in reality, faith in 'proven' scientific models. You could have this, and be aware that a power called chaos can mess with this, but also be aware, or believe that your faith can counter act it. It may also channel into the idea that the warp is emotional and being calm and scientific and thinking will win out. It is 'faith' but gods and the Emperor have little to do with it.

Obviously you need a massive ego to go down this route, humble it is not, and you would probably think of yourself as 'just as worthy as god' to exist, and if so; I think the marines qualify for this. The marines may see a god and their mind does not turn to fear or doubt, they think 'how can I kick this beings minions out of reality, and if I can destroy it in the process so much the better'. They may never even think of it as being a 'god', and by that I mean a super powerful being with rights over the marine.

I think the big thing about a god comes down to 'rights'. Rejecting the authority of a supernatural being of immense power basically transforms a 'god' into a 'demon', 'fallen angel', 'minion'. It diminishes their power.

Perhaps that's why Atheists get such a hard time in many religious countries, even ones with free speech, because it not just a case no 'not believing', it's rejecting the authority of god, and therefore the authority of his followers. That's a threat to power, that is political, and that can cause serious friction.

Many atheists do not see it that way, they can follow a government based on god's teachings, and point out the more extreme flaws, and perhaps correct the system to something more co-operative. I dare say that atheists as a group are generally more accepting of other's view points and religions than many 'tolerant' religious groups. This is because many atheists generally base their decisions on common humanity and "treating other as they would like to be treated themselves" - which all sounds very familiar (as I said, many religions start out nice, it's only later they go off the rails!)


Words have power though. Words encapsulate concepts and how we think is largely predicated upon them.
I suppose there are chaos powers that personify science and cold rational thinking, probably an aspect of Tzeentch, though with emotion and chaos mixed in it will go awry.


So just to go back and 'pick' on Christianity again, the idea of the 'Mystery of the Incarnation' is predicated upon the idea that Jesus was both fully God and fully man - fully human.
Yep, God is in all of us. Except not like Jesus, and we are not divine, and we are all imperfect sinners and...

Where's the god bit? Oh, the 'good' bit, we, us, are the mortal filth. All our real desires are bad, all our real wishes are corrupt. We can not handle absolute power as absolute power corrupts, or rather it exposes our corruption. In other word we can not handle the power of god, so leave god's power to god. Do not challenge. To paraphrase.

Bit of simplification, but the sentiment seems true.

The problem with this way of thinking is ego. An ego will interfere with this, as having an ego will often make you take offence at being told to yield, and yielding to an idea, being told what to think is often a little to much. You can yield but it does not mean you agree with the idea. This is why being 'humble' is such a virtue, even though our leaders are anything but.

Basically; do as I say not as a I do. Believe what I say and do not question. Do not point out the obvious flaws to those who have not seen them. Basically 'shut up and do as you are told even if it is to your detriment'.

So Jesus being fully god and fully man is fine, it could be explained that Jesus has part of god in him, but Jesus also said that god was in all of us and that puts us on the same level as Jesus (which is probably Jesus' intent as it sound 'nice', but impolitical in the grand scheme of things). The current draft of Christianity is like a bill that has gone through government's legislative process - it has the same name, but it has changed, it is workable. So they philosophy may be off, it may have some 'quirks' which can be exploited, but it is workable and can be used to govern. It is about setting up a whole belief system where you have to act a certain way, even if you do not what to. It about how any government of power structure take and transforms a religions that is too big to their own ends.

Marines may see it this way. A tool. A means to an end.

Getting back to Jesus, this 'amendment' as I see it stops the common man from claiming they are part god just like Jesus and that they deserve respect and should be consulted of how they are governed (by consent) as no other man has 'rights' over them. I suspect Jesus may, if he was a man, or the original man the story is based on, was trying to tell a very different story to what we have now.

I mean: if power corrupts mortals, why give power to mortal man to administer the power of god?

They told you power corrupts, and that no man can resist, that all fall. That is the whole point of the devil, and the more power a person has, the more the devil can work them. Except the priest etc. because they are 'special' and have a 'calling', but then they keep getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar so that kinda blows it - they are human too! wow, it applies to them too - who would have thought?


In fact the existence of the soul and the potential for its immortality in itself encourages a certain amounts of spirituality and theism.
Or trigger the exact opposite. The marines may see the soul as a grand lie. A way for chaos to tempt mankind. Far from ever obtaining immortally, a warp entity may be able to harvest the warp image for their own ends, gaining knowledge and thoughts and power, and killing the human in the process. This whole process may be easier if the person does not resist, and even goes out of their way to help out.


The title becomes largely irrelevant next to the reality of what is is, wants and does.
Reality is as we view it. Not everyone sees it the same way ;)

Philip

LexxBomb
26-09-2009, 13:11
have you read any of the Nostgic texts like the book of Judas... I think you would find them interesting.

baphomael
26-09-2009, 13:36
An atheist might not necesserily be a heretic (though heresy might also include elements of atheism), but they'd certainly be an apostate and potentially a blasphemer.

Borg451
26-09-2009, 14:51
However, the Chaos 'Gods' are not technically 'Gods' in the typical sense. They are exceptionally powerful warp entities, which essentially makes them aliens with crazy powers people consider to be Godlike.

You talk as if God/s exist in REAL LIFE.

Explain yourself

Argastes
26-09-2009, 15:02
You talk as if God/s exist in REAL LIFE.

Explain yourself

No, he simply talks as if the word "god" had a single authoritatively fixed definition. Which it doesn't, since different cultures and different individuals have different ideas about what attributes qualify an entity as a "god", but he's not necessarily claiming the existence of gods in real life.

Condottiere
26-09-2009, 16:31
To name something, it's believed, gives us power over it; at the very least, it allows us to define it.

MvS
26-09-2009, 16:53
Philip: You raise a lot of interesting points.

Lets refocus a little onto the 40K universe (because I feel that we're all starting to stagger into a wider discussion - as we always do! :)), Marines and whether or not atheism exists in the 40K galaxy and whether humans in the Imperium are atheistic.


I suspect how a person reacts to encountering a 'god' is down to their world view ..... there are people who will see a 'god' and simply not think of it as a god like a religious person would see it

Well within the 40K universe we know that all humans within the Imperium, whether they like it or not, are either indoctrinated from the earliest age to believe absolutely in the divinity of the Emperor, the existence of their immortal souls and other religious / theistic notions, or they are at the very least expected to believe in these things even if they have slipped through the net in terms of daily indoctrination in the Imperial Creed (by being Hive Scum or trillionaire aristocrats perhaps).

As we have both suggested, there will be a sliding scale of belief and fervour within this massive spectrum. There will be those in whom religion and belief are so utterly normalised within their daily lives and (being as this is 40K) are so utterly terrified of retribution that they don't even spare a thought as to whether their beliefs are right or wrong, rational or irrational, they simply do all they are told without question. I would imagine that they say their prayers even when alone, because doing so is their culture, because it is utterly normal and because it is absolutely expected of them by the incredibly strict laws of the Imperium.

There will be others who believe passionately. They don't just worship the Emperor and have beliefs because it's their culture and the law. Their belief is like a firebrand. They are evangelists and preachers. They believe because they want to believe and would believe even if all other humans suddenly turned against them in disbelief. Their minds are never far away from questions of meaning and purpose in terms of their religious / theistic beliefs.

There will be those who are critically engaged with their beliefs (within the Inquisition and in some tiers of the Ecclesiarchy perhaps). They study the religious beliefs of the Imperium, question and theorise over the nature of 'the Divine', challenging themselves but still falling within the general heading of a believer - even if they drift towards agnosticism sometimes.

There may be humans within the Imperium who are left to their own devices and who have never experienced anything 'supernatural', nothing miraculous or 'infernal', and so their beliefs might be similar to those of the critical scholars of the 18th Century or educated people more generally at the start of the 19th Century - religion permeates their world, but they are certainly not at all worried about questioning and even ridiculing fundamentals of the Ecclesiarchy's teachings. Heaven help them if Imperial authorities take too much interest however. The reach, power and ruthlessness of the Spanish Inqusition in its time was nothing whatsoever compared to the 'normal' offices of the Ecclesiarchy, not to mention the Adeptus Arbites or the Imperial Inquisition.

Whatever the case though, such is the homogeneity of theism in the Imperium (even if the depictions of the divine are different from place to place, the fact that belief in the Emperor as a divinity is a formal expectation remains the same), if an Imperial citizen was confronted by a tall human warrior in glowing armour and with a shining gold halo, they would invariably think 'Primarch' or 'Saint' or 'Emperor' or other peronalities from within their cultural system.

Likewise, if they are confronted with a nightmarish creature with seemingly magical powers that has been summoned through a vicious ritual that desecrates Imperial symbology, then their minds are likely to hop to ideas of 'demon' or 'devil' and so on. Why? Because it matches the depictions and explanations of the infernal elements of their own religious and cultural beliefs (not that religion and culture can be easily separated in this case).


It does depend, and I would image even seeing 'demons' can be framed in a way that they are not 'demons' as religious people see them.
The Tyranids are a good case in point. They certainly don't look 'natural' because they don't evolve naturally. They are essentially custom made for specific belligerent or murderous purposes.

For your average Joe on a backwater Imperial planet who has never seen anything more frightening or 'supernatural' than your average Joe on Earth today, suddenly being confronted with a Lictor or worse, a Bio-Titan, I suppose depending on the cultural background of that Joe, such a monstrosity as that may be perceived as either a demon or an alien at the toss of a coin.

Those 'in the know' would be able to identify a difference, however. Particularly as genuine and passionate faith in the Emperor will effect a 'real' daemon but won't bother the Tyranid monstrosity bearing down on you at all.


For example, a daemon can be a computer program
Particularly to the Adeptus Mechanicus! :)


what if the Marine see a demons as merely a name for a given life-form rather than a spirit / soul?
Yes I think this is the main question that tends to come up in discussions like this.

I suppose the only short answer is that the logic can become circular if we pursue the argument too far.

If they see an entity with 'supernatural' powers that matches all the tropes of the religion of the Imperium for a demon, while understanding that this entity comes from a place where souls go and is formed from souls and emotions itself, and if they actually call this entity 'demon' - the same sort of 'daemon' they know fought against the Emperor during the Heresy with nightmarish sorcery and is therefore the same 'daemon' of religion throughout the galaxy - it becomes a bit circular to say that they don't really mean a real demon, daemon. It's just a name for a different brand of 'alien'.

In this case the alien is the daemon and the daemon is the alien. There's no difference. Knowing something of the nature of the demon doesn't necessarily change the fact that it is a demon. The example I gave with the notion of the Incarnation was about this - human and god. Both are the case to those steeped in that lore and that culture.


What if they think souls are fake, mere 'impressions in the sand' and do not buy the whole god sale?
I don't think Marines DO think this way though.

Souls are mentioned throughout the imagery as a reality. Souls aren't really defined very well, but we do know that they are tangible 'things' to the entities of the Warp and that the more psychically developed the species the more coherent the soul is - so that Eldar actually have fully conscious souls after death. Their mortal consciousnesses actually continue in the Warp, while Tau dissipate into nothing pretty instantly upon death.

I would think that belief in the soul within the Imperium is even more fundamental than faith in the divinity of the Emperor. Even in our own world belief in some sort of spiritual 'self' or soul is more prolific than belief in the divine - which is saying something.

I think the Imperium is even more so and that the Marines are no exception. Belief in the soul seems basic to the imagery and also 'true'. Souls exist in 40K.


What if their religious teaching are more like Buddhist teachings in principles, lack gods, but other religions will think of it as a 'religion'?

Yes but remember that a religion doesn't require a god, and the mainstream Buddhist schools or denominations are very much religions in terms of their ritual nature, belief in souls, purpose and direction to the universe and even in terms of their veneration of Buddha. Although they don't perceive the Buddha as a divinity per se, most Buddhists still pray to him and make offering to statues of him. This is perhaps not what Siddhartha intended but there we go. That's humans for you.

The point is if we didn't know about Buddhism and didn't speak anything other than English and then visited Sri Lanka, it wouldn't be ignorant and blinkered to observe that, judging by the ritual, veneration, offerings and prayers, this Buddha character must be a god. You would only be disabused of that notion once you learn the language and chat to a monk, and even then the fact that Buddha is still worshipped despite the fact he is not considered a god raises question about the relevance of the term 'god'.

If one man's god is another man's daemon, could not one man's Enlightened One be another man's god? Is the division relevant in absolute terms when the practices and concepts surrounding them are so similar?

I'm not interested in getting into a debate about Buddhist philosophy, theology and spirituality, because that is too much of a tangent. I'm just trying to suggest that even if we don't identify something as a god, it can still effectively BE our god but just by another name.

I think the Space Marines teeter around this to varying degrees depending on the Chapter.


I think the marines could use the language of religion, yet think of it very differently

I agree, but then there is plenty of room within religion too, from spiritualist humanism through to the most frothing and absolute theistic faith.


Marines were originally 'atheist' and did not believe is god and superstition, and that psycho-indoctrination still continues

Be that as it may, whatever the nature of their indoctrination their practices are demonstrably very different from how they were 'back in the day'. It's important to bear in mind the staggering gulfs of time between 'modern' Marines and the Marines that the Primarchs knew. There has been much more time between the inception of the Space Marines and the 40K 'present' era than there is time between the civilisations of ancient Mesopotamia and the modern day. Change is inevitable.

The role of the Chaplains, prayers, blessings, attitudes towards technology and so many other issues are the most obvious changes to Marine practice and philosophy.


Faith can work even if you do not place it in a god. You could have faith in your own abilities, faith in cause and effect, faith in reality, faith in 'proven' scientific models.
Indeed, but the point is that it isn't the focus of your faith that is most relevant. So it isn't the 'rightness' of science that scares off the daemon, it's the faith itself. If you had enough faith in the holy power of a cabbage it might also scare off a daemon in 40K.

So if we say that Marines are aware and informed enough to know that it is the power of faith that is the ultimate weapon against Chaos, then the practices of science are less ideologically relevant because they will know that it isn't the technology they they have faith in itself that is saving them. It's the faith - the feeling. So the quality of the effect against daemons is not reliant on the object of the faith.

Or is it? Whereas faith in your cabbage might have an effect simply because of the faith, faith in the Emperor may well have more of an effect because of both the faith itself and some other supernatural mojo to do with the Emperor himself.


It is 'faith' but gods and the Emperor have little to do with it

I don't think that the broad strokes of the imagery imply that any Marine Chapter regards faith more important per se than faith in the Emperor. I think they are pretty synonymous.


Obviously you need a massive ego to go down this route, humble it is not, and you would probably think of yourself as 'just as worthy as god' to exist, and if so; I think the marines qualify for this

Nooo!

Ego is the great trap of Chaos! Ego brought the Primarchs down. Ego is what convinces you that your way is better than the Emperor's way. Faith in something greater than yourself keeps you humble and Marines are supposed to be 'unsullied by self aggrandisement'.

I think that a Marine saying he will burn daemons with the faith he has in his own amazingness would get a slap and a week on penitential rites from the company Chaplain...


Perhaps that's why Atheists get such a hard time in many religious countries, even ones with free speech, because it not just a case no 'not believing', it's rejecting the authority of god, and therefore the authority of his followers. That's a threat to power, that is political, and that can cause serious friction

Which also helps explain why the Imperium slaps down non-believers so harshly. To challenge the divinity of the Emperor is to challenge the norms of the Imperium and the authority of the High Lords. If you know the Emperor is a mad and rotting semi-carcass screaming throughout eternity, then the authority of those who act in the Emperor's name is questionable.

'Happy is the mind too small for doubt', and all that jazz.



The marines may see the soul as a grand lie

Maybe, but I don't get that from the imagery. The setting is science fantasy - like Clash of the Titans with spaceships. It isn't our universe in the future any more than the ancient Greece of mythology is actually the real ancient Hellenic civilisation.

weissengel86
26-09-2009, 18:49
Such anti-gods do not really fit with the tenants and philosophy of the religions, a single god is just that: one power that controls everything. In logical terms this would seem to mean that the Christian 'Satan' is literally another aspect of god -as god is everything - yet the Satan is not put over as an aspect of god. Which is odd as Christians do not have a problem with god being more that one thing at once (Jesus, as you mention later). I dont understand where you get this. I dont know how these "anti-gods" dont "fit" with the tenants and philosophy of the religions. They fit perfectly. You cant take a vast oversimplification and generalization of "religion and apply that to each individual religion and claim something violates its tenants especially when you dont even understand its philosophies and tenants.


Off course it's blasphemy to point out that if god is everything, and god it in all of us, and god is everywhere, and god is all things, that god is (logically) also the devil. Its blasphemy to claim God is everything. No monotheistic religion and most certainly not the three abrahamic religions have ever claimed or hinted at god being everything. What you are describing is Pantheism or Panentheism not Monotheism. Monotheism means more then just one god. Logically God is a separate entity from the world He (technically God isnt male but saying It just doesnt fit) is not part of or in everything. Therefore Satan is not part of God or an aspect of God. Lucifer is a fallen angel and he happened to be the most powerful fallen angel who was basically the left hand of God (Christ is the Right Hand). Many people vastly exaggerate the powers of Lucifer or what he is responsible for. This comes from biblical illiteracy and lack of understanding not from core tenants of Christianity. Lucifer is a being in the world and supernatural and very powerful being yes but not the incarnation of evil that Movies or TV shows portrays him as. People often confuse what is displayed in media or rumours on the internet for fact or historical truths.


I would hazard a guess that the 'devil' meme has more to do with politics (which is apt) - I think we gained the most militant version of Christianity during the crusades. Meme always seemed silly to me. For one it is funny that Religion is a Meme and yet somehow Atheism is not a Meme.


Aten being the Sun god puts a lot of the core memes about god into perspective (live giver, bringer of light, can't look at god (well not while in a Sahara!), criminals like the darkness as it's hard to see their activities (away from god's gaze) etc.). These core memes are not really historically verified or even logically conclusive. These "memes" only look like good patterns on the surface but when examined in full the similarities fade quite a bit.


Depends on the view point. A person who does not believe in god, who is confronted with a 'god' may convert on the spot, or they may not. 'Atheists' are a diverse bunch of people all grouped under one tag and attributed with characteristics and beliefs, which do not really relate to who they are as individuals. I know 'religious types' like to group people together around beliefs in a certain way, and they group around beliefs in a certain way (just as I did in that sentence), but atheism is not like a religion. It's not a strong belief that god does not exist (and thanks to religion that term seems 'loaded' and implies denial of a truth) it's a lack of belief that god does exists, or the desire to deny it. One is a strong denial emotion, the other is minor 'meh'. Many 'atheists' simply do not care, as it's hard to get excited about 'nothing', but they can get fervent, and stand together, about rejecting bulling. You make the mistake here you go against. You are generalizing beliefs held by atheists. You claim it is not a strong belief held against god and yet many do hold these views. You are buying into the stereotype you rail against.


But it's more rejecting the bulling and imposing, than about telling religious types their god does not exist. It makes no sense to many an atheist, and like many things that make no sense, they drift to the back of their mind. Often it is dismissed as 'non-sense' and it literally is non sense when viewed by many using logic. Once again overgeneralizing. Many atheists are like this but you are claiming that atheists as a whole simply lack belief in gods when clear evidence exists many are not so subtle or apathetic. I merely have to quote Dawkins or Hitchens or Dennet to disprove this generalization. I have friends who are atheists who merely dotn care or simply lack belief but this is not true for all.


Religion to a logical person is like a grab bag of every logical fallacy imaginable. This is a loaded statement and amazingly ignorant and insulting. It isnt any different then claiming religious people are stupid or me claiming atheists are stupid and posts like these are why threads like this get closed.


It's pretty hard to generalise about how a person reacts and why, as there are so many variables. However, among all those variable there are people who will see a 'god' and simply not think of it as a god like a religious person would see it. I dare say this can lead to confusion when discussing what has been witnessed, as each person interprets what they hear according to their own views, and language is such a mutable thing. You agree with it not being a good idea to generalize people but you make many very sterotypical generalizations about people religious and atheist.


For example, a daemon can be a computer program, what if the Marine see a demons as merely a name for a given life-form rather than a spirit/ soul? What if they think souls are fake, mere 'impressions in the sand' and do not buy the whole god sale? What if their religious teaching are more like Buddhist teachings in principles, lack gods, but other religions will think of it as a 'religion'? Ok see here the problem is that you are blurring the lines between Reality and warhammer 40k. No fluff at all exists to suggest this. Marines use exteremely vivid religious imagery. I have never read a single line or "quote" from any SM that claims they think the soul is anything other then real and in fact a soul.


I think the marines could use the language of religion, yet think of it very differently. Marines were originally 'atheist' and did not believe is god and superstition, and that psycho-indoctrination still continues, maybe it brings about a mind-set that is very different from the average imperial citizen, yet the marine speaks in a way the average Imperial citizen would understand and understand quickly: more along the political lines of 'are you with us or against us' ultimatum based on a false dichotomy. They dont use the language simply because the Imperial citizen understands it because they use this language to talk to one another all the time. Marine spend hours in prayer by themselves asking for penitence and strength. They do not do this for the benefit of others.


It is 'faith' but gods and the Emperor have little to do with it. No evidence exist to show this is true. For one how many Saints exist in the 40k universe? St. Celestine for example. People have literal powers derived from faith in the emperor not just vague nebulous "faith" in "science". People repel daemons by faith not simply positive thinking. You are seriously blurring 40k and reality and not making the disticnitions necessary to keep your arguments valid.


The marines may see a god and their mind does not turn to fear or doubt, they think 'how can I kick this beings minions out of reality, and if I can destroy it in the process so much the better'. They may never even think of it as being a 'god', and by that I mean a super powerful being with rights over the marine. this flies in the face of everything in 40k. The emperor is a super powerful being. You cannot seriously tell me sopmebody who has lived for millenia who is the greatest psyker in all of humanity and maybe even one of the greatest in the universe (a person who singlehandledly provides an anchor for ships in the warp for lightyears distance is not just a human). Then of course you have to realize that he is the Emperor i.e. leader and savior of mankind he has absolutely full rights over the SM. The SM have fought for ten thousand years sacrificing everything to protect what he has created and serve him in every way possible.


I think the big thing about a god comes down to 'rights'. Rejecting the authority of a supernatural being of immense power basically transforms a 'god' into a 'demon', 'fallen angel', 'minion'. It diminishes their power. It would be hard to diminish the powers of these entities. They destroy worlds and corrupt peoples. They give powers beyond the grasp of any human. They are in fact supernatural.


So Jesus being fully god and fully man is fine, it could be explained that Jesus has part of god in him, but Jesus also said that god was in all of us and that puts us on the same level as Jesus (which is probably Jesus' intent as it sound 'nice', but impolitical in the grand scheme of things). The current draft of Christianity is like a bill that has gone through government's legislative process - it has the same name, but it has changed, it is workable. So they philosophy may be off, it may have some 'quirks' which can be exploited, but it is workable and can be used to govern. It is about setting up a whole belief system where you have to act a certain way, even if you do not what to. It about how any government of power structure take and transforms a religions that is too big to their own ends. Jesus has never said that I dont even know where you even got this. It also highlights my point that you are way off base here. 40k is not and never will be reality. You cannot merge the two and use arguments practically based in both universes. You use arguments used in reality towards 40k which doesn't work. Apples and oranges. You also use arguments in 40k towards reality which once again is apples and oranges. they dont compare or work.

It isnt possible to use strict analogies from real life and use it to argue against 40k "religion"

Philip S
26-09-2009, 19:33
@ MvS: Good stuff!


Lets refocus a little onto the 40K universe (because I feel that we're all starting to stagger into a wider discussion - as we always do! :)),
Probably a good idea ;)


Well within the 40K universe we know that all humans within the Imperium, whether they like it or not, are either indoctrinated from the earliest age to believe absolutely in the divinity of the Emperor, the existence of their immortal souls and other religious / theistic notions, or they are at rthe very least expected to believe in these things even if they have slipped through the net in terms of daily indoctrination in the Imperial Creed (by being Hive Scum or trillionaire aristocrats).
Yes, so was our civilization, we used to burn women at the stake for being intuitive or answering back. Look at us now. We still do it! ('we' with regard to the entire population of the world) yet some of us are different now.

Some people just do not take to indoctrination and figure things out. Sometimes the first thing they figure out is to keep their mouth shut. All our scientific teaching were not born in a vacuum, and I dare say it's the same thinking that much of the population had before but never expressed in public.


Likewise, if they are confronted with a nightmarish creature with seemingly magical powers that has been summoned through a vicious ritual that desecrates Imperial symbology, then their minds are likely to hop to ideas of 'demon' or 'devil' and so on. Why? Because it matches the depictions and explanations of the infernal elements of their own religious and cultural beliefs (not that religion and culture can be easily separated in this case).
They could, but some may not. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Electricity used to be magic, some people still think it is magic. Warp energy is 'energy'. In regards to a human warp energy may be seen by science as any other energy. I mean, if you take all the heat energy out of a human body it dies, it you stop the electricity or overload it, you die, and it turns out in 40K there reality has a underlying energy that if you remove you die.

Now in the warp the energy can be sentient, but this is no more a miracle that atoms, chemistry and electricity being combined, arranged and harnessed in a certain way yields our sentience.

What's the difference? Matter is energy in another form, so we are a 'sentience born of energy', and demons are a 'sentience born of energy', and looking at it in that frame demons do not seem so strange or un-scientific.

Are we a 'materium demons'?

If those in 40K do not know how these warp demons are made, their physiology as such, it does not mean that everyone with fill in the blanks with their imagination. Some will seek to understand (and obviously get into trouble). This gets to the heart of the matter, some people do not see the universe in terms of a religious mindset, and none of the religious memes are going to stop them from saying 'I don't know but I'll find out'. They are naturally resistant to the religious memes. It does not infect them.

If the whole of psychic engineering and warp physics was laid out, I wonder if it would still be magical and supernatural if you 'know' it's a natural phenomena of the universe? Like electricity is natural.

I know electricity is crude example, but as I mentions before part of us, out brains fire way, if electricity put into the right context can make sentience, is electricity magical? Or 'just' electricity?

Going back in time it seems that our word 'magic' seems to have it roots in the Greek as our word 'machine'. In fact it seems the too are related, in the old mindset out computers and technology are literally magic, but I do not think it is seen the same way now.

The more we know the less room their is for magic, and just knowing that someone else knows is often enough to do it. A marine may not need to know the actual workings but the principles and basic understanding may be enough. An explanation of sort, sort and sweet.

As an example, if someone asks if they can be seen in the warp and if they have a soul - the replay me be a sort 'no, your atoms have an underlying stabilising energy, this energy can be consumed by warp entities as your flesh can be consumed by animals, so it is good to protect yourself. You use physical weapons to defend yourself from animals and you need mental weapons to defend yourself from warp entities. Strong emotions attract them as load noises attract lions.'

The parables could be endless.

A marine is indoctrinated in this, they could be very bloody minded about it. I not saying for certain that this is how marines look at it, it is merely a hypothetical and one possible avenue to control the mind and keep it focused. Once trained in this way of looking at it, it could become a 'religion', and 'faith' that they are right. It does not however mean they would look at 'gods and demons' and think 'gods and demons' in the same sense as the man cowering under a table plea bargaining with the Emperor to be spared.


Maybe, but I don't get that from the imagery. The setting is science fantasy - like clash of the Titan with spaceships. It isn't our universe in the future any more than the ancient Greece of legend is really the real ancient Greece.
Fair enough, all I'm saying is that humans are human, and as such the 'atheists' are in their hidden or not.

Even back in the days of Greece there were some who sought reason - it's when structured logical thought was first born, all the way back then.

In regard to the Imperium I figure their is still diversity, everyone is different - some are prone to religion, some aren't. I dare say that in the Imperium it may be foolish to express atheism, or advocate rational thought in regard to gods, but their are advantages to rational thought and benefits derived form seeking to understand -tactics, knowledge, understanding, technology etc. it will not go away as it is fundamental to human survival, and that way of thinking will have side effects and lead to questions.

It may not be expressed but it does not mean it is not there - like an taboo, once the taboo is gone we find it the taboo behaviour was not so rare. In times gone by it seemed everyone was religious, but now we find a much smaller proportion of the population are religious. In the UK, it seems to be less than half.

Philip

PS; Edit:
I dont understand where you get this. I dont know how these "anti-gods" dont "fit" with the tenants and philosophy of the religions. They fit perfectly. You cant take a vast oversimplification and generalization of "religion and apply that to each individual religion and claim something violates its tenants especially when you dont even understand its philosophies and tenants.
Yeah, we all do it ;)


Meme always seemed silly to me. For one it is funny that Religion is a Meme and yet somehow Atheism is not a Meme.
A lack of belief is a lack of a meme. It's missing. The meme was not passed on. However, if a person believes in 'Atheism' as a teaching, or a philosophy, or even as a religion then it's a meme too.

I dare say that many an atheist simply says 'I don't know', a bit of a generalisation, but 'not knowing' is no 'a meme'.

A fine line and easy to argue against, but I hope you take it in good faith.

Imperialis_Dominatus
26-09-2009, 20:07
You talk as if God/s exist in REAL LIFE.

Explain yourself

You talk as if you actually believe that a) that kind of post will not offend anyone or b) if it does they don't matter.

Explain yourself.

MvS
26-09-2009, 23:10
Probably a good idea

:D ;)


Some people just do not take to indoctrination and figure things out
I agree completely. There's plenty of room in 40K for doubters and disbelievers of all 'levels' from agnostics, to those who couldn't care less either way, to dyed in the wool atheists (maybe even the odd anti-theist and that's without even looking towards the Tau).

The points I'd like to make are that:

1. Any human who expresses doubt or active disbelief in the divinity of the Emperor is probably on a short road to chastisement, imprisonment, torture and/or death, depending on the severity of his or her 'crime'

2. Those who actively doubt the existence of gods (rather than those who simply don't think about it and those who are agnostic) would not be your average Imperial citizen at all. We're told the Imperium is kept incredibly ignorant about science and technology (although I don't buy quite how far this is often expressed in the imagery). We know that all citizens are expected to believe everything they are told by their superiors, not least the Ecclesiarchy, on pain of death or arco-flagellation. So anyone who actually gets doubts not just about the government or their lot in life, but about the fundamental and basics 'truisms' of their existence - the Emperor is Divine and the Emperor Protects - would probably be more 'worldy' and more expeienced and educated than most.

3. All this said, lack of faith in the Emperor as a divinity may not actually be 'correct'. If the Emperor is becoming a 'true' god, perhaps forming in the Warp or whatever, then not believing and not dedicating oneself to him wholly may be the more foolish and ignorant path. The Grey Knights know something that most do not and they worship the Emperor as a divinity. Their success at fighting Chaos and keeping themselves free and untainted by it are legendary...


All our scientific teaching were not born in a vacuum, and I dare say it's the same thinking that much of the population had before but never expressed in public
Theistic belief was/is even more fundamental than your comment might suggest. Most of the greatest scientists of the Enlightenment and before believed in some concept of the divine because it was entirely natural to their culture and personal identity. I know that modern writers like Dawkins have questioned whether they 'meant' their beliefs, but for me this misses the point. These beliefs do not have to occupy an either/or place in the mind of the believer. If it occupies a fundamental part of one's identity at the back of one's mind, it isn't necessarily something one even considers putting up for questioning - like whether one's taste in music is factually or objectively 'correct'. The question doesn't even rear its head as important necessarily, at least until one is confronted and has pressure exerted for a definition or refutation.

As Galileo used to say, there is the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature, both describe different elements of God's Creation.

I'm not supporting or contesting this view. I'm just saying that it's easier to question one's reality than it is to stop believing something that pretty much everyone accepts as fact - PARTICULARLY when the thing in question cannot easily be exposed to an observational test of veracity (or at all).

So I think it might be more likely for an Imperial citizen of any stripe to question the nature of the Emperor's divinity, or the teachings of the Ecclesiarchy, or the nature of meaning and purpose to existence, but not to write-off the Emperor altogether as a god. It seems more likely to me that in the Imperium as it is described (more indoctrinated, draconian and more fanatically religious than any regime or culture in human history), doubters would more likely relegate the God Emperor to an irrelevancy in day to day life, but not non-existant.

Plenty of people even in our own world never think about gods or religion, but automatically want to marry in a church (or equivalent), have their children baptised (or equivalent) and take comfort in some religious belief, however hazy, when they are very old and nearer the grave. More often than not citizens of the Imperium would be like this only many times multiplied I would think


They could, but some may not. Familiarity breeds contempt. Electricity used to be magic, some people still think it is magic. Warp energy is 'energy'. In regards to a human warp energy may be seen by science as any other energy.

A few things there. Firstly 'science' is considered arcane, creepy and magical within the Imperium. The Warp must be more so because of its general freakiness and general lack of consistency.

Secondly, electricity doesn't respond to emotions, beliefs and faith. It doesn't form into shining angels descending from on high in columns of light, bearing fiery swords and working miracles. If it did in our world today I would imagine many people would instantly turn to traditional beliefs, and many more would turn once they have proof that they are not witnessing some sort of technical illusion.

This is the point in the 40K universe. Belief or lack thereof may exist, but the cultural tropes exist for the believer and unbeliever alike, and if an incredibly and supernaturally (seemingly illogically or 'magically') powerful entity suddenly manifests, looking and behaving like a trope from the inherent religious beliefs of the countless trillions of galactic human society, then I would imagine it wouldn't be contempt for the image that they feel upon seeing this entity. I think it would be either a deep confirmation of what they already suspected to be true, or a terrifying panic that what they thought impossible has turned out to be a reality.


...but this is no more a miracle that atoms, chemistry and electricity being combined, arranged and harnessed in a certain way yields our sentience.

But again, my previous point was that it is the beholder that sees the miracle. There isn't an objective supernaturality that is required. Some genuinely regard conceiving a baby or meeting the perfect partner is a 'miracle', even though they understand completely how these things happened and know that there weren't any floating angels or burning bushes along the way making it happen.

And that's in our reality. In a fantasy reality where certain people can read minds, walk on water, shoot flames from their eyes, project their 'astral ' selves over great distances, and where dreams personify and prayers are answered by entities answering the cultural desciption of angels and demons, and where you are indoctrinated from infancy to believe in gods and spirits, I think it is probably even more likely that you will see miracles and curses all around you.

Erring on the side of superstition seems to be the fundamental norm in 40K, not questioning whether that demon in front of you and cringing away from your Aquila is relevant in a religious sense or just as an exotic 'alien'.


If those in 40K do not know how these warp demons are made, their physiology as such, it does not mean that everyone with fill in the blanks with their imagination. Some will seek to understand (and obviously get into trouble). This gets to the heart of the matter, some people do not see the universe in terms of a religious mindset
Right, I agree.

Enough Inquisitors have been depicted as not being particularly religious or interested in the teachings of the Ecclesiarchy for this to make sense. However, there is a difference between believing in the dogmas of the Ecclesiarchy (or any established religion) and believing in the divine in some manner or another.


They are naturally resistant to the religious memes. It does not infect them
'Memes' are a concept coined by Dawkins. They have a use as a descriptive tool but they aren't 'factual'. They don't exist like genes. They are a geneticist's attempt to conceptualise and understand the workings of the brain and the values it creates, and they don't really fit well with contemporary understanding of neurology or intelligence. The concept of 'memes', though containing a rationality, is no more factual or deontologically 'absolute' than the predictive qualities of the Social Sciences - in other words, they aren't factual or deontologically 'absolute' at all. Just concepts in a vast field of competing concepts.

A concept is not 'infectious' despite what the God Delusion or even many religious texts might suggest. Theism isn't an infection any more than any other belief or value judgement. It's either considered and defendable or frothy and fanatic, like any other ideology or value (like which language is 'best', what women are most attractive and so on). This line of thought ends with the idea that if we could just 'root out' the bad ideas, the bad memes, we'll save the world from its ailments. But this is an a-historical view, because 'good' ideas can go 'bad', and ideas that start of 'bad' in some way can eventually turn into something appropriate or even 'good'.

A mannerism or personality trait like a propensity towards violence or aggression, a lack of patience or even an inability to understand or relate to the feelings of others are all existent problems that can be inherited genetically or developed socially and are much more fundamental than the ideas, values and ideologies that trigger acting out on them or that are used to express (or worse, excuse) them. It is the underlying propensities and experiences of the person that are more revealing, not a tick box of whether they have been 'infected' by a particular idea, which is an oxymoron. An idea only takes root in already fertile ground, otherwise anyone exposed to any idea would suddenly adopt it.

I think a vast majority in the Imperium would react like a religious nutter in any given circumstances, not because they are religious and religiosity and violence automatically walk hand in hand, but because every individual and all social structures are indoctrinated and structured specifically to be frightened, intolerant and unthinkingly obedient and because Imperial citizens are so brutalised in their own lives that it becomes natural to seek meaning in the intangible and also to brutalise others.

Belief in the God Emperor is as much a culturally re-enforced identity as it is an acquired idea that can be released. Ideas are easy to change, fundamental perceptions of identity, or what our 'self' is and means, are not.


If the whole of psychic engineering and warp physics was laid out, I wonder if it would still be magical and supernatural if you 'know' it's a natural phenomena of the universe? Like electricity is natural.
I don't know. I find myself thinking about humans in our far more educated and intellectually free real world who still have theistic, religious and/or spiritual beliefs, however vague.

Few, if anyone, within the Imperium have the benefits we do, quite the opposite in fact, and if any of us can say 'the natural' is the fundamental expression of the divine, then I'm sure Imperial citizens could say the seemingly (or even actually) miraculous powers of the Warp as being the ultimate expression of the divine.

In other words, understanding the nature of the elements that comprise something that you consider divine doesn't have to change your fundamental belief in its divinity. Faith isn't simply irrational as many would have it. Faith can incorporate rationality and anything else the believer wants it to - hence the persistence and power of faith (for good or ill).

In the 40K imagery this 'power' is also physical and literal, not just psychological or metaphorical.

Let's say a Marine says 'god' as a proxy for 'supremely powerful and exotic entity of emotion and idea', and regards prayer as an exotic way of wiring a metaphysical plug to create specific and hopefully predictable effects, and whether they have genuine faith in the Emperor and venerate him as a means to a practical end... well... how is of this fundamentally different from 'normal' but genuine religious / theistic faith, prayers and god veneration...?

Do you see what I'm saying here. I'm not sure I'm doing the point justice. I'm pretty tired. :)

spetswalshe
27-09-2009, 00:53
Jesus has never said that I dont even know where you even got this.

1 John 4:4 and John 15:4 - also 'Live in me, let me live in you, sayeth the Lord.' (I don't have the book reference for that one, it came up in Cathedral Studies a lot though).

Of course, all can be taken in a different meaning from what I'm intending, but that's rather the point of the Bible. The idea of the Devil as Lucifer as the fallen angel comes from one particular interpretation of Isaiah 14;12 - if we're being purely literal (and oversimplify the Day Star/Lucifer entymology) then the Devil is simply a kind of 'prosecutor' angel, and no more evil than Gabe or Mikey. Of course, in my experience very few sects of Christianity are based purely upon the bible - two thousand years of interpretation (along with Popes, saints and the like) tend to agree on Lucifer as Devil in his fallen angel incarnation.


A mannerism or personality trait like a propensity towards violence or aggression, a lack of patience or even an inability to understand or relate to the feelings of others are all existent problems that can be inherited or developed and are much more fundamental than the ideas, values and ideologies that trigger acting out on them or that are used to express (or worse, excuse) them...[snip] I think a vast majority in the Imperium would react like a religious nutter in any given circumstances, not because they are religious and religiosity and violence automatically walk hand in hand, but because every individual and all social structures are indoctrinated and structures specifically to be frightened, intolerant and unthinkingly obedient and because people are so brutalised in their own lives that it becomes natural to seek meaning in the intangible and also to brutalise others.

Can mannerisms or personality traits be inherited? It's been a long time since I took Psychology so I'm not aware if any definate links had been established. If someone could point me to reference works I'd be in their debt.

I wholeheartedly agree with the second part of this quote. Everything, from architecture to education to whatever propaganda the Munitorium allows it's workers for 'entertainment', focuses the Imperial citizen to react to the extraordinary or unusual with either fear, hatred or both. Some will actively reject this, some will passively do so, but the majority will reach for the pitchforks and torches (or the vox-link to the Arbites precinct) as soon as they see that guy with the extra ear.

I'd also like to supply props, as I think this is probably one of the most interesting and enlightened discussions I've seen on here - and I came upon this thread with the simple intention of posting the words 'cleanse and purify' a bunch of times in capital letters.

LexxBomb
27-09-2009, 01:04
1 John 4:4 and John 15:4 - also 'Live in me, let me live in you, sayeth the Lord.' (I don't have the book reference for that one, it came up in Cathedral Studies a lot though).

Of course, all can be taken in a different meaning from what I'm intending, but that's rather the point of the Bible. The idea of the Devil as Lucifer as the fallen angel comes from one particular interpretation of Isaiah 14;12 - if we're being purely literal (and oversimplify the Day Star/Lucifer entymology) then the Devil is simply a kind of 'prosecutor' angel, and no more evil than Gabe or Mikey. Of course, in my experience very few sects of Christianity are based purely upon the bible - two thousand years of interpretation (along with Popes, saints and the like) tend to agree on Lucifer as Devil in his fallen angel incarnation.


unlike say the Jewish population of the world who view Lucifer as a prosecution angel...The evil hellspawn version was a political tool to control the masses by the Roman Catholic Church just like why there are only 4 out of a possible 14 gospels.

Orkeosaurus
27-09-2009, 01:18
My understanding was that originally Satan wasn't in any way opposed to God. He's just a thorn in humanity's side because he represents the concept of Temptation.

I'm no theologian, though.

weissengel86
27-09-2009, 02:05
'Memes' are a concept coined by Dawkins. They have a use as a descriptive tool but they aren't 'factual'. They don't exist like genes. They are a geneticist's attempt to conceptualise and understand the workings of the brain and the values it creates, and they don't really fit well with contemporary understanding of neurology or intelligence. The concept of 'memes', though containing a rationality, is no more factual or deontologically 'absolute' than the predictive qualities of the Social Sciences - in other words, they aren't factual or deontologically 'absolute' at all. Just concepts in a vast field of competing concepts. Thank the Emperor somebody realizes this. Memes are a completely unscientific term and yet people use it like it is scientific:rolleyes:.

Once again MVS hits the nail on the head.

Argastes
27-09-2009, 02:07
Orkeosaurus: In Hebraic myth, Satan was originally a "prosecutor" figure; in God's "court", he is the one who accuses humans of evil and points out all their wrongs. In this version, he wasn't an enemy of God at all, but one of his servants. He didn't do evil, he sought to expose it for God's judgment. The Christian interpretation is obviously very different. I don't think it's entirely fair to say that Christianity's Satan is an invention of the RCC; he was well-established before the RCC existed, e.g. his portrayal in Revelation which was written before 100 AD.

EDIT: The biggest single problem with "meme" theory is that the division of cultural information into distinct units is totally arbitrary.

Orkeosaurus
27-09-2009, 02:20
Ah, interesting.

That explains the whole thing with Job.

madprophet
27-09-2009, 03:32
Perhaps it would help to define our terms here. Many of us are assuming that god and God are the same. God is a Jewish concept (adopted by Christianity and Islam as well). God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent - He is the creator of heaven and earth and all they contain. He has no beginning and no end. He has no wife, no siblings, no partners, no rivals (Satan is an angel who cannot do anything without God's permission) and no children in the conventional sense (even Jesus, the son of God, is co-eternal with God). God is described (albeit differently) in the Torah, the Gospel and the Quran.

A god is any of a number of divine beings that have eternal life and youth and are possessed of great power but aren't omni-anything. Zeus is a god - he is subject to anger, jealousy, lust, greed and a whole host of other human emotions and weaknesses. He is not the creator of anything, he has a beginning (he was 'born', he has a mother and a father, namely Chronos and Rhea), he has a wife (Hera), siblings (Poseidon and Hades), children (Apollo, Artemis, Athena, etc.) and to top it off, the Olympians were a dysfunctional family. Zeus was unfaithful to Hera on multiple occasions, fathering a number of semi-divine mortal children with human women (most notably Heracles).

The Emperor is a god, not God. He was born in 9000 BCE in Anatolia, so he clearly did not create the universe or mankind (he had parents after all) - he was subject to a full range of human emotions and limits. He had children (the 20 primarchs), it is unknown if he had a wife or not, I don't remember any mention of an Empress in the fluff but he did have a succession of mortal wives prior to becoming the Emperor. Like Zeus, the Emperor has a dysfunctional family - his oldest son tried to kill him! The Chaos gods are rivals of the Emperor and completely independent of him - they are also gods but none of them are God.

The Space Marines follow a variety of religions. Some chapters worship their ancestors, others may even worship God - the early fluff about the Dark Angels implied they did. The Salamanders seem to follow a form of ancestor worship. The Imperial Fists seem to worship the Emperor as the personification of humanity. Dorn is described as genuflecting to the Emperor during the Siege of Terra, implying he and his followers regarded the Emperor as a god but the Emperor told him "time is too short and we have known each other too long" - meaning he didn't attach too much importance to the veneration. Ironically, the one chapter known to worship Emperor as God turned traitor (the Word Bearers); even more ironically, they turned traitor after the Emperor told them to knock it off.

The traitor legions vary from devotion to a single Chaos god (e.g. the Emperor's Children) to all the Chaos gods as an array (e.g. the Word Bearers) to Chaos as a single entity (e.g. the Alpha Legion) to outright atheist (e.g. the Iron Warriors)

The Imperial Truth was that there are no gods - the problem arose when mankind discovered there were indeed gods and they weren't the quaint animism of the ancients but more like the demons of Biblical revelation. The Emperor was, even when he was alive, very much a god - he just didn't seem all that interested in worship. Hell, nothing in the 40k backstory precludes the existence of God either, He just isn't the object of the Imperial Cult.

Getting back to the legal status of atheism - the Lex Imperialis as described in the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer details 4 laws about religion

1) Anyone who fails to salute the image of the Emperor or the Imperial Aquila will be branded on the left cheek and court-martialed (and presumably punished in some way)

2) Anyone who fails to observe set times to worship the Emperor will be flogged and sent to a penal battalion (a.k.a. sentenced to death by suicide mission). Times for such worship to be determined by the Ecclesiarchy.

3) Anyone who speaks ill of the Emperor, the Ecclesiarchy, or any saint of the Imperium will be flogged and sent to a penal battalion

4) Anyone who worships anything other than the Emperor or a Saint of the Imperium either by written or verbal devotion or erects an unauthorized shrine will be drawn and quartered.

An atheist could obey the outer forms without any inward belief and be safe from any Imperial retribution but vocal or active atheism is likely to get you fatally killed. Insulting the Imperial Cult - especially by actively denying it - is likely to get you sent to the gallows.

Religion outside the conventional Imperial Cult exists - the Commissariat is expert at adapting the Imperial Cult to meet the needs of local religious belief but these religions, once approved by the Commissariat have the status of a Rite within the Imperial Cult. Even the Space Marine religions are regarded as within the Imperial Cult even though many chapters do not see the Emperor as a god and some may even preserve pre-Imperial religious beliefs.

Worship of the Chaos gods is witchcraft and that's entirely illegal. Exodus 22:18 is very much a part of the Imperial creed and is taken very seriously. Of course, witches in 40k aren't cutesy nature-worshiping goth chicks partying nude (with the mildly amusing explanation of being 'sky clad') nor are they a cackling Disney crone stirring a cauldron. They are malicious psychics who have turned on the rest of mankind, part of a galaxy-spanning conspiracy to destroy all life, all light, even reality itself.

LexxBomb
27-09-2009, 08:56
Perhaps it would help to define our terms here. Many of us are assuming that god and God are the same. God is a Jewish concept (adopted by Christianity and Islam as well).

you will actually find that the concept of God comes from an Ancient Egypt Religion which came about when a certain Pharoh came to power and made it the state religion. when he died the state religion was changed back and all depictions of him were changed and his name was erased/changed to incorporate the many gods... think Tutankumra becames Tutankumun (not his actual name - dont have my notes on me from when I wrote a paper on ancient death religions). Any way the Jews took this religion and it evolved into the Hebrew Faith... THe fun begins when you get to the Historical figure of Abraham... The Hebrew faith and people were desended from his legitimate children while the tribes that eventually created the Islamic tribes were descended from his illigitimate children... as such the Hebrew (and thus Christian) God and the Islamic God are one and the same.


back onto subject and I noticed an error in GW's fluff. In the Horus Heresy books we know that The Emperor destroyed all religion within the Imperium and as such there should be no such thing as an Imperial Priest... I was re reading the latest Dark Angel Codex and in the story of the Lion and the Wolf Imperial Preiest are sacrificed to a deamon as an insult to the Emperor... surely if there are no such things as Imperial Priest then how can they be sacrificed.
side note that story has been around since at least 2nd Ed so for the writters of Horus Hersy books please reread codex's.

Lothlanathorian
27-09-2009, 09:23
back onto subject and I noticed an error in GW's fluff. In the Horus Heresy books we know that The Emperor destroyed all religion within the Imperium and as such there should be no such thing as an Imperial Priest... I was re reading the latest Dark Angel Codex and in the story of the Lion and the Wolf Imperial Preiest are sacrificed to a deamon as an insult to the Emperor... surely if there are no such things as Imperial Priest then how can they be sacrificed.
side note that story has been around since at least 2nd Ed so for the writters of Horus Hersy books please reread codex's.

Just one more reason as to why that series of books is a huge let-down to all of us. It is full of lose and fail.

MvS
27-09-2009, 10:59
Can mannerisms or personality traits be inherited?

I deleted a paragraph that would have made sense of what I was saying a bit more. Various hormonal and neurological problems can be inherited, various 'types' of autism being an example, and these often inform how a person approaches the world, regardless of upbringing - although an upbringing focussed on treating and/or transcending such 'in-born' difficulties can help ameliorate this.


The evil hellspawn version was a political tool to control the masses by the Roman Catholic Church just like why there are only 4 out of a possible 14 gospels.
It's actually a lot more complex and interesting than that.

The idea of an evil tempting adversary came along before Christianity had become the coherent Latin church. Forgetting for a moment the far more ancient beliefs of Zoroastrianism where we have an evil adversay figure, Ahriman (or Angra Mainyu) to the singular Creator God, Ahura Mazda, the Essene sect of Judaism that many scholars are now starting to think John the Baptist was part of, regarded themselves as the most 'correct' of all Jews and that God's judgement was imminent. They believed that they were the only ones who were getting it completely 'right' in the eyes of God. The problem was that bad things continued to happen to them, which seemed at odds with their social self-perception of being God's Chosen people. So within their theology the idea of the devil started to evolve more and more into an adversarial role, out to pull down God's works and loyal servants - very much like Ahriman.

So any time they were persecuted or struck by disease or whatever else, obviously this was the Devil's work, not God's.

It has been suggested that this sort of thinking evolved in Christianity, mixing with other concepts found in Zoroastianism and Mithraism where there are objectively 'evil' adversaries to the creator god and the redeemer god. Throw all this into a mixing pot along with the politics of the declining Roman Empire and question about how can the Kingdom of God, the Christian Empire, still be declining? Why does bloodshed and barbarism still exist and why are the pacifist Christians, the supposed 'good guys', the ones on the receiving end? Enter St. Ambrose and St. Augustine who suggest that the mortal world in inherently imperfect regardless of the perfection of God's word that Christians try to follow. This played nicely into the growing tradition about an adversary who blights the perfection of God's creations.

As for the non-canonical Gospels, the majority of them are so full of bunk or 'Christianised' pagan stories, even the early scholars of Christianity found them dodgy. The explanations for the decisions of which Gospels were to be considered 'canon' and which would not be are well documented. Not everything is a conspiracy...

This doesn't mean that religion and Christianity can't and have not been used as devices of control. It just means that they weren't necessarily intended to be these things, nor yet were all the decisions that formed the various religions made with the intention of controlling or suppressing people. The fact that they can be used that way is part of their tragedy I suppose.


The Emperor is a god, not God. He was born in 9000 BCE in Anatolia, so he clearly did not create the universe or mankind (he had parents after all) - he was subject to a full range of human emotions and limits. He had children (the 20 primarchs), it is unknown if he had a wife or not, I don't remember any mention of an Empress in the fluff but he did have a succession of mortal wives prior to becoming the Emperor. Like Zeus, the Emperor has a dysfunctional family - his oldest son tried to kill him! The Chaos gods are rivals of the Emperor and completely independent of him - they are also gods but none of them are God.

Your post is excellent. :)

LexxBomb
27-09-2009, 12:47
It's actually a lot more complex and interesting than that.

As for the Gospels, the majority of them are so full of bunk or 'Christianised' pagan stories, even the early scholars of Christianity found them dodgy. The explanations for the decisions of which Gospels were to be considered 'canon' and which would not be are well documented. Not everything is a conspiracy...

Its good to have others well versed in many aspects of knowledge and I enjoy reading your posts... one thought for you regading the choice of the 4 books and this is a thought that the Anglican/Church of England taught to their priests... of which I heard from a Primate (Arch Bishop of a Country) - The reason there are only four Gospels is that the Bishop of Rome in 100AD decided that a gospel was only needed for each of the four points on a compass - also The Church of Rome had to establish itself as the centre of the Christian faith.

Iracundus
27-09-2009, 13:03
you will actually find that the concept of God comes from an Ancient Egypt Religion which came about when a certain Pharoh came to power and made it the state religion. when he died the state religion was changed back and all depictions of him were changed and his name was erased/changed to incorporate the many gods... think Tutankumra becames Tutankumun (not his actual name - dont have my notes on me from when I wrote a paper on ancient death religions). Any way the Jews took this religion and it evolved into the Hebrew Faith... THe fun begins when you get to the Historical figure of Abraham... The Hebrew faith and people were desended from his legitimate children while the tribes that eventually created the Islamic tribes were descended from his illigitimate children... as such the Hebrew (and thus Christian) God and the Islamic God are one and the same.


You refer to the Aten and Akhenaten, aka Amenhotep IV. The Aten wasn't a sudden new idea, but an aspect of the sun he elevated first to prominence and then to the exclusion of all other traditional Egyptian gods, particularly Amun, with its politically and economically powerful priesthood. His son was Tutankhaten, later changed to Tutankhamun, with the restoration of the Amun priesthood. It is doubtful whether belief in the Aten really spread beyond the Pharaoh and his nobles and court beyond a superficial veneer. Atenism was actually even more elitist and exclusive than the traditional gods, as the Pharaoh claimed to be exclusive intermediary between mortals and the Aten, somewhat akin to how Chinese emperors claimed to be the intermediary between Heaven and Earth.

Although some have hypothesized some link to Judaism, I don't think it's been proven and there may be an element of "monotheism bias" by people trying to link any form of monotheism together.

Cheesolith
27-09-2009, 13:06
The imperium abides by a pretty basic rule of thumb. 'if you're not with us, you're against us and if you're against us... you'll burn heretic'.

I thought the rule was "You're against us".

madprophet
27-09-2009, 13:24
You refer to the Aten and Akhenaten, aka Amenhotep IV. The Aten wasn't a sudden new idea, but an aspect of the sun he elevated first to prominence and then to the exclusion of all other traditional Egyptian gods, particularly Amun, with its politically and economically powerful priesthood. His son was Tutankhaten, later changed to Tutankhamun, with the restoration of the Amun priesthood. It is doubtful whether belief in the Aten really spread beyond the Pharaoh and his nobles and court beyond a superficial veneer. Atenism was actually even more elitist and exclusive than the traditional gods, as the Pharaoh claimed to be exclusive intermediary between mortals and the Aten, somewhat akin to how Chinese emperors claimed to be the intermediary between Heaven and Earth.

Quite true, the Pharaoh was the 'son of the sun' - an idea that existed in Chinese and Japanese Imperial cults as well. The cult of Aten vested all divinity in Aten but did not claim he was the omni-everything creator, only that he was the only god worthy of worship. This leaves him in the realm of a god, not God. :eyebrows:



Although some have hypothesized some link to Judaism, I don't think it's been proven and there may be an element of "monotheism bias" by people trying to link any form of monotheism together.

There isn't any real link to Judaism since the God of Israel was the only divine being, was the source of everything and was omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent. The Jews denied the existence of all other gods (the Atenists did not deny the existence, only the worthiness of the other gods), they denied the existence of divine rivals, siblings, spouses and children, they denied even the existence of an anti-god (Satan is a minor angel who serves to charge man with sin, but if man will repent God generally ignores him).

Jewish scholars maintain that the influence runs the other way, that pharaoh was motivated to accept this form of diluted monotheism by Joseph - interestingly enough the Egyptians have found coins bearing the name of Joseph (http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD256109) :angel:

Iracundus
27-09-2009, 13:33
Jewish scholars maintain that the influence runs the other way, that pharaoh was motivated to accept this form of diluted monotheism by Joseph - interestingly enough the Egyptians have found coins bearing the name of Joseph (http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD256109) :angel:

I'm skeptical of that alleged influence as well, as that too sounds a bit like over valuing Judaism and monotheism.

Aside from religious reasons, there were quite possibly political considerations involved in the decision to exalt the Aten. The priesthood of Amun had numerous temples, vast tracts of land, and was very wealthy from the revenues from that land. The priests were therefore politically powerful. Atenism, by having Pharaoh be the only intermediary, was an attack on the power base of the priesthood, and an attempt at consolidation of more power into the figure of the Pharaoh.

Condottiere
27-09-2009, 13:52
Which pretty much makes Akhenaten the Egyptian counterpart of Henry VIII.

There's also the fact that a god can be jealous.

Makiaveli
27-09-2009, 14:33
You totally missed his point. He was talking about the criteria by which entities are identified (or not) as 'gods'. He's saying that the determining factor isn't a certain set of attributes or powers that objectively qualify any entity that has them as a 'god'. The determining factor is the significance of the word 'god' and the concept of godhood in the religious/cultural baggage of the people being asked to make the identification. Whether they identify a given entity as a 'god' or not will depend largely on their ideas about the singular nature (or lack thereof) of the divine. In the Abrahamic monotheistic tradition, 'god' is an inherently singular concept and thus it's inappropriate for monotheists to call more than one entity 'god', even if, say, there are multiple entities that are supposedly comparable in their powers or attributes (not necessarily saying that God and Satan are comparable in this way in Christianity, but you get the point).

So what he was saying is that the question of whether Marines view the Chaos gods as 'gods' will depend entirely on what semantic baggage that word carries in their religious/cultural tradition.

EDIT: And just to clarify further, he's saying that the reason the Christian bible doesn't call Satan a god is that, in Christianity, that term isn't used to refer to anything other that the Man Upstairs. In Christianity, only God is a 'god'; any and all other entities, regardless of their powers, aren't called 'gods'. Whereas other people might use the term differently.

This is one of my biggest issues with "modern" Christians. No offense.

Way back when, God wasn't God. He was Jehovah (or various spellings, point holds). As far as the Jews were concerned, he was their god. Not the only god in existence, but the only god they worshiped. Of course, prior to this he was part of a pantheon with a wife and kids. He even had a son named Jeshua or some such.

Now your point about different points of view holds. I also think this thread amply demonstrates the truth. 50 people equals 35 different opinions ;)

Iracundus
27-09-2009, 14:34
There are similarities. The major difference however is the fact Atenism didn't last long beyond Akhenaten's death. It had been his pet project, and likely the nobles of the court just went along with it to keep in favor. Atenism's swift extinction suggests it never became entrenched among the general populace. The return of the old priesthood and familiar gods was probably welcomed.

Argastes
27-09-2009, 16:01
This is one of my biggest issues with "modern" Christians. No offense.

Way back when, God wasn't God. He was Jehovah (or various spellings, point holds). As far as the Jews were concerned, he was their god. Not the only god in existence, but the only god they worshiped. Of course, prior to this he was part of a pantheon with a wife and kids. He even had a son named Jeshua or some such.

Hmm, so how is this a problem with modern Christians? Btw, no offense taken at all--I'm not Christian! I'm just wondering what you are getting at here.

MvS
27-09-2009, 16:07
The reason there are only four Gospels is that the Bishop of Rome in 100AD decided that a gospel was only needed for each of the four points on a compass - also The Church of Rome had to establish itself as the centre of the Christian faith.
Yes that was the Bishop of Lyons, Irenĉus. He was trying to find some sort of inherent symmetry and 'naturalness' to the 4 Gospels by situating the number in something else - like the four points of the compass. However, the 4 Gospels weren't decided upon just because of old Irenĉus, he merely backed up the idea that was already emergent (there were other doctors of the early church who also backed the 4 'canonical' Gospels).

The authorship of the other Gospels is contested today and was in the early days of the church as well. Politics played a big part in the rejection of some of the apocryphal gospels. Some of them were written by gnostics, some by other 'heretical' groups with different political agendas for the direction Christianity should go. One of them was effectively pantheistic (the Gospel of Marcion). Some were (and are) so fantastical and wacky that even the uber-pious of early Christendom found them more 'Harry Potter' than 'Life of Christ'.

All that said, the 'types' of Christianity that each of these Gospels presented weren't just flashes in the pan that were stamped out. Many of them lasted for a couple of centuries as distinct Christian sects, and despite arguments between different bishops and priests, until the persecution of Christians was formally ended in 313AD most Christian groups regarded each other as family - albeit often argumentative and deeply misguided family.

But we're going off topic again. We're all going to Hell for this. :)

On topic... um... atheism would indeed be a heresy of sorts within the Imperium. Atheists, or at least very sceptical theists or deists may exist in the Imperium, but they probably keep their mouth shut tight.

Other species and races may well be atheistic, the Tau most notably.

The Eldar seem to see no difference between their scientific understanding of the universe and their theism. They know, as far as any mortals can, what their gods are and how they are formed, but they also recognise the fundamental connection between their race and the shadows and constructs they manifest within the Warp, and which in turn effect them back. Their religion and their science are not mutually exclusive and nor are they 'squeeze fits', like some modern day creationist 'sciences'.

The Eldar's understanding of the universe is a dilution of the Old Ones own (even less blinkered) union between sorcery, the physical sciences, thought and emotion - or whatever else.

Condottiere
27-09-2009, 16:15
But the Eldar seem to have a more Nature based religion, where respect has to be accorded to the powers, whereas the Imperial one is based on fear and unstinting devotion.

Argastes
27-09-2009, 16:36
Yeah, true.... so? The point is, for the Eldar there isn't a gulf between the natural universe which is understood scientifically, and the supernatural which is understood spiritually. To them, gods and spirits are as objectively real as the laws of physics. They have a unified understanding of reality that incorporates the "real" universe and the Warp (the universe of gods and spirits and magic) together and allows them to be examined using the same modes of thought. Unlike humans today, their religion and their science aren't built on different forms of knowledge.

EDIT: Soooo, what this means is that terms like "theism" and "atheism" don't work quite the same way for the Eldar as they do for us.

Condottiere
27-09-2009, 17:00
Eldar may reject gods and refuse to worship them, but they probably do believe that they exist.

madprophet
27-09-2009, 17:59
The Eldar gods exists. Isha (the unwilling 'bride' of Nurgle) and Mensha Khaine (still invoked by the Eldar) are real enough given the fluff and Slaanesh began life as an Eldar god.

Argastes
27-09-2009, 18:14
Eldar may reject gods and refuse to worship them, but they probably do believe that they exist.

:facepalm: You are still missing the point entirely. The whole point is that the Eldar KNOW gods and spirits and such exist, and that those things are as matter-of-fact to them as anything in the natural universe. They aren't objects of some separate sphere of knowledge as they are to us today, they are as clearly and indisputably real to the Eldar as gravity or electromagnetism. Do you get it now? Of course they believe they exist, that's been the point all along.

Condottiere
27-09-2009, 18:34
There's a different philosophical approach involved.

Nature religions tend to be all inclusive where acceptance is the norm, whereas the ones practised by the Imperial Cult tend to be top-down paternalistic authoritarian driven, which rely heavily on faith.

Argastes
27-09-2009, 18:37
Okay.... like I said the last time, that's interesting, but so what? When you originally pointed this out, it seemed to be in response to what MvS said about the Eldar view of spirituality and the supernatural, and how to them, understanding of these topics isn't distinct from understanding of the natural universe. Am I mistaken, and are you not actually trying to respond to that point? I'm a bit confused over what you are trying to say. Because what you are saying, if it is in response to what MvS said, isn't really meaningful.

Condottiere
27-09-2009, 18:41
To a certain extent, it's the difference between Christianity and Eastern religions, by emphasizing everything on one God, it's easier to reject it totally when it doesn't make sense, whereas in the East everything has a possible spiritual dimension that could influence the material world, so the fact that greater spiritual beings or gods exist in some form is not an issue.

Argastes
27-09-2009, 18:58
Okay, that's all great, but I'm still not sure what you are driving at. Let's recap. MvS said:

"The Eldar seem to see no difference between their scientific understanding of the universe and their theism. They know, as far as any mortals can, what their gods are and how they are formed, but they also recognise the fundamental connection between their race and the shadows and constructs they manifest within the Warp, and which in turn effect them back. Their religion and their science are not mutually exclusive and nor are they 'squeeze fits', like some modern day creationist 'sciences'."

To which you seemed to reply:

"But the Eldar seem to have a more Nature based religion, where respect has to be accorded to the powers, whereas the Imperial one is based on fear and unstinting devotion."

How does your comment bear on that of MvS? I don't want to accuse you of babbling, but I'm not sure what you are trying to say. What MvS (and now myself as well) are saying is that Eldar knowledge of the spiritual/divine is seamlessly contiguous with Eldar knowledge of everything else that exists. It's about the lack of disjunction between spiritual and mundane knowledge. Your comments about nature religions and whatnot don't seem to be relevant to this point, but the way in which you initially offered those comments made it look like you think they are relevant and form some sort of counterpoint. I'm trying to make sense of what you're on about here.

Condottiere
27-09-2009, 19:26
I was trying to emphasize that the difference is in the approach that the Eldar and the Imperials have to their religious practices, confronted with the knowledge that greater spiritual beings exist would not cause a conflict for an Eldar, whether it was proven or not, since their view of the Cosmos would include it; whereas in a monotheistic society it tends to be all or nothing.

In some parts of Asia, around every block you might see a minor shrine to some minor spirit. These spirits could influence your environment, for good or ill. If these minor spirits exist, then certainly greater ones do. This causes no conflict in the Asians' capacity for scientific research, nor does discovering more about the material universe cause them to question their religious believes, even if it doesn't quite match up with their mythology.

Philip S
27-09-2009, 20:10
There's plenty of room in 40K for doubters and disbelievers of all 'levels' from agnostics <snip>
The concept of not seeing demons in religious terms was really geared towards the Space Marines. It was my attempt at describing a hypothetical mindset that would yield such a view point. I sure other humans could see thing this way, but I am not suggesting anyone would be actively championing such views in the Imperium.

The reason I figured marines may think it this 'atheist' way is because originally they did not believe in such things, the Emperor was against it, and the Emperor resisted being deified. While marines may be very different in current 40K, I suspect they may not see it the way everyone else does due to their heritage. They still have religion in a sense.


Theistic belief was/is even more fundamental than your comment might suggest.
True, but in the past of 40K they had the golden dark age of technology, and some may have retained cultural and idealogical ties to that era, and even the Adeptus Mechanicus may drift towards a concept of god that is a little alien to us. I wrote this in Adeptus Mechanicus religion (http://www.philipsibbering.com/WH40KRP/40K_7_AM_3_Religion.shtml) (Pantheism with a few caveats) a while back, it's pure fan fic, but I hope it illustrates the point that god is not always 'god' or 'God' and can be abstract, and that science can be seen as 'magical' yet 'scientific', it all depends on the mindset.


I'm not supporting or contesting this view. I'm just saying that it's easier to question one's reality than it is to stop believing something that pretty much everyone accepts as fact - PARTICULARLY when the thing in question cannot easily be exposed to an observational test of veracity (or at all).
I agree, though in 40K they once had a strong culture that did not include gods and demons in a religious sense, and some institutions still have ties to that time, such as the Space Marines. I know culture changes but 40K is not marked by changes, and the marines may not be that different from 30K. I know in 30K they had lodges, and cults, and ancestor worship, but that's not gods and demons.

What I am suggesting is that once a marine is fully operational they may seen things in a new light, one that downplay the power of demons and gods, or elevates them to being on a level of 'demi-god' though they may not see it quite like that. I suppose it's hard for an 'angel' to be as wowed by another angel as a normal human would be. Perhaps a demon is not something the marines see as being more that they are. They still treat demons as a danger but lack the mind numbing fear due in part to their view point (lack of 'soul' or a different view of what a soul is, as discussed earlier)


A few things there. Firstly 'science' is considered arcane, creepy and magical within the Imperium. The Warp must be more so because of it's general freakiness and general lack of consistency.
I agree but would marines see it this way? Do they see it as magic (which implies the warp) or an technology (device construction using natural forces). I suppose regular citizens could blur the lines, as they do not now either, but marines spend a lot of time being taught things.


Secondly, electricity doesn't respond to emotions, beliefs and faith. It doesn't form into shining angels descending from on high in columns of light, bearing fiery swords and working miracles. If it did in our world today I would imagine many people would instantly turn to traditional beliefs, and many more would turn once they have proof that they are not witnessing some sort of technical illusion.
I does when it's part of your chemical mind jumping from atom to atom. It still pain old electricity. That's my point, in context and supported by other elements (in this case basic natural atoms, forces and energy) electricity does respond to emotions, beliefs and faith. A humans is a bag of atoms bound with forces, powered with energy, and makes sentience. It's just how you look at it. A humans is more than the sum of it's parts, but one of those parts in electricity and it is acting in specific ways as part of a system. The warp entity may be such a system?

What if warp energy has many types and forms, and when combined they can form a sentience. It could be like a self ordering system, a chaotic system that responds and flows to emotional wavelengths or impressions, that then give rise to complex systems. Form basic energy to something very complex and fluid.

Being in the warp, which could be seen as underlying reality, if these patterns and structure become pronounce and strong enough they could manifest in the materium. The demonic worshippers actually forming the demon with their thoughts and building it there an then - a self ordering structure - into a demon. The chaos gods may be deeper and less formed and only personified in text. This makes the demons seem less of a 'being' and more of a reaction. I'm not saying this is the way it is, merely that it is easy to come up with new ways of looking at 40K without going against the background (that idea fits in with humanity creating the gods and demons) that fits an 'atheist' view point yet still has 'demons'.

Talking of which, if demons and chaos gods are made from emotional imprints into warp energy (inc 'souls') then they are derivative of out existence and less 'god like'.


In a fantasy reality where certain people can read minds, walk on water, shoot flames from their eyes, project their 'astral ' selves over great distances, and where dreams personify and prayers are answered by entities answering the cultural desciption of angels and demons, and where you are indoctrinated from infancy to believe in gods and spirits, I think it is probably even more likely that you will see miracles and curses all around you.
It's still relative to view point. I can think of fantasy ways in which all this becomes 'natural phenomena' and brought into the realm of science, and I would guess at some point, considering warp drives, that humanity thought of it this way too. While many have regressed and lost touch, the marines have an unbroken line back to the great crusade. Just knowing that all this was once 'science' may create a religion where they may not understand it all but they see it a certain way.


'Memes' are a concept coined by Dawkins. <snip>
Ops, this always causes problems. I think Dawkins is smart but not exactly wise, and he has a knack for framing things in a disparaging light towards religion which he seems to detest. Yet he seems to go about it with the fervour of an evangelical, and acts the same as those he denounces.

I use the term 'meme' out of convenience, but I tend not to use it like he does which causes no end of confusion. I am well aware of his versions shortcomings, but I used it for the fundamental idea behind it, so rephrase; 'interlinked concept blocks, packaged in a way that makes the whole lot easier to understand, where some people pick it up quickly and accept it and others have trouble and reject it'.

Not 'infection', I apologise for that, it seems to me that Dawkins likes to equate it to a virus, where your thoughts and personality are like your immune system, and some ideas are like a virus where some are defeated and some are not. The whole concept is loathsome and seem geared to elevate his view point to the 'pure logic' and anyone who differs is infected.

It seems to me he is putting forward his own religion, or anti-religion, and uses derision and mockery to divide. I do not agree with this.

Science?
To put it into context - I figure people have questions and seek answers, sometimes others have an answer they like and accept (same 'wavelength') and sometimes they do not. If no one has an answer that gels it is left open and vague (unless they invent one).

It seems to me, that religion answered many questions in a framework of knowledge level of the time - and it still does, evolving as our knowledge advances.

On the other hand, I understand 'science' to be a collection of methods to find out knowledge and verify the knowledge and that's all it is. Scientific method simply seeks 'the truth', and a truth that can be proved. There is no belief or faith structure in there.

However it seems people are religions, and science often becomes a religion. If you believe in a unproven theory as fact then you have turned science into a religion. It you think science will answer all our questions an cure all ills, you have a religion.

Often the 'correct' response is 'I do not know'. For example: 'evolution' I think it is likely, but I do not believe in it. If another theory came along that looked better and seems even more plausible I'd jump ship in an instant. I have no ties to a theory, it just that, a theory.

I am suspicious that Dawkins seeks (perhaps it is inadvertent) to turn science into a religion. To me a science religion is still a religion, and science and religion should be kept separate (method, faith). They are two separate things. I think it's fine to raise questions, but scientific theory does not trump religious 'theory' (I say theory in a sense that it is unproven and unsubstantiated by scientific method). Basically the two are up in the air. I think this is why creationists think the bible should be taught next to evolution as an option, and it only gets worse as science becomes more 'religious' to many. I think they are fine in their respective classes, but I do think that science should smarten up it's act and dump any belief or faith language.

I hope that clears up my position, so meme is not quite a 'Dawkins meme', more a 'Philverse meme' :p

Now, what was we talking about?

Ah, yes, so the marines may have passed on these 30K mindset 'memes' throughout history all the way to current 40K, and look for candidates that find it easy to accept these 30K 'memes'. In a 'can not kill and idea' type of way.


Let's say a Marine says 'god' as a proxy for 'supremely powerful and exotic entity of emotion and idea', and regard prayer as an exotic way of wiring a metaphysical plug to create specific and hopefully predictable effects, and whether they have genuine faith in the Emperor and venerate him as a means to a practical end, well... how is of this fundamentally different from 'normal' but genuine religoius / theistic faith, prayers and god veneration...?
All roads lead to Rome.

Philip

weissengel86
28-09-2009, 02:13
On the other hand, I understand 'science' to be a collection of methods to find out knowledge and verify the knowledge and that's all it is. Scientific method simply seeks 'the truth', and a truth that can be proved. There is no belief or faith structure in there. QFT, nice to see somebody realizes this besides me.


However it seems people are religions, and science often becomes a religion. If you believe in a unproven theory as fact then you have turned science into a religion. It you think science will answer all our questions an cure all ills, you have a religion. True also. People often make science out ot be more then it is. Science is a method nothing more nothing less. The problems come when people mistake science for truth or anthropomorphize science almost, saying "science" says this or "science" says that or "science" disproves this or "science" proves that. Of course science never proves anything and in fact a part of science isn't provability but falsifiability.


Often the 'correct' response is 'I do not know'. For example: 'evolution' I think it is likely, but I do not believe in it. If another theory came along that looked better and seems even more plausible I'd jump ship in an instant. I have no ties to a theory, it just that, a theory. I think I like you more then my first impression gave me ;)


I am suspicious that Dawkins seeks (perhaps it is inadvertent) to turn science into a religion. To me a science religion is still a religion, and science and religion should be kept separate (method, faith). They are two separate things. I think it's fine to raise questions, but scientific theory does not trump religious 'theory' (I say theory in a sense that it is unproven and unsubstantiated by scientific method). Basically the two are up in the air. I think this is why creationists think the bible should be taught next to evolution as an option, and it only gets worse as science becomes more 'religious' to many. I think they are fine in their respective classes, but I do think that science should smarten up it's act and dump any belief or faith language. Its called Scientism. Turning science into an almost religious faith.

I for one believe that Dawkins and others like him are responsible for decline in scientific literacy and problems gaining funding or whatnot because he offers this false dichotomy and by railing against religion he looks exactly like an intolerant fundamentalist. I know plenty of Creationists and they say that Dawkins is a gift from god because he does more harm then good to his cause. He alienates people and makes people view science as the enemy rather then just a process of gathering knowledge.

Iracundus
28-09-2009, 08:49
It's still relative to view point. I can think of fantasy ways in which all this becomes 'natural phenomena' and brought into the realm of science, and I would guess at some point, considering warp drives, that humanity thought of it this way too. While many have regressesed and lost touch, the marines have an unbroken line back to the great crusade. Just knowing that all this was once 'science' may create a religion where they may not understand it all but they see it a certain way.


The Eldar have their understanding of the warp as science, since their entire technological base is founded on the manipulation of psychic energy and its conversion into either matter (psychoplastics & wraithbone), or normal energy (heat and light on board Craftworlds for example as described in Eldar Codex).

This shows the warp does function in some predictable ways, with some rules and laws of its own, albeit ones that may hearken more to fantasy magical laws.

The existence of technological devices that manipulate the warp, or shield against it, from the Dark Age of Technology show this same principle again.

However, in the current era of 40K, such a mechanistic view of the universe is rare, and there is certainly nothing like systematic scientific inquiry into the workings of the warp. Even ostensible experimenters like the AdMech or the Logicians are more like mad scientist stereotypes, basically doing something bizarre and observing what happens, hoping it succeeds.

Makiaveli
28-09-2009, 15:39
Hmm, so how is this a problem with modern Christians? Btw, no offense taken at all--I'm not Christian! I'm just wondering what you are getting at here.

The fact that they assume that "God" was, is, and always has been the only deity in the universe. Not saying I have a problem with the theology/mythology, but the fact that they ignore the reality of where the religion came from.

Partly it comes from ****** who don't read. Even as a kid the bible left me going umm wait what? And yet these people don't even try to understand what they read or they just soak up what they are told and never try to think for themselves. Or scream persecution and religious freedom when they aren't allowed to persecute and eradicate other religions.

TL;DR I hate stupid people. And some stupid people are Christians. So I hate stupid Christians. Course I also hate stupid Satanists, stupid Wiccans etc. I'm not prejudiced except that I believe humans are stupid as a rule not an exception. That and I guess I shoulda stuck with decaf last night at work huh? ;)

weissengel86
29-09-2009, 02:21
The fact that they assume that "God" was, is, and always has been the only deity in the universe. Not saying I have a problem with the theology/mythology, but the fact that they ignore the reality of where the religion came from.

Partly it comes from ****** who don't read. Even as a kid the bible left me going umm wait what? And yet these people don't even try to understand what they read or they just soak up what they are told and never try to think for themselves. Or scream persecution and religious freedom when they aren't allowed to persecute and eradicate other religions. I agree except I often find "skepticism" is often an excuse for intellectual laziness or that self-proclaimed skeptics are only skeptical of certain things and never themselves or viewpoints they like.

"These people" who read things without critical thought or naive acceptance are equally atheists who read atheist books and repeat verbatim arguments from websites or books.

It is a mistake to see yourself as the only true skeptic or the only one who somehow sees the truth in books and the world when everyone else mysteriously misses it. Skepticism starts with yourself not things you don't want to believe in the first place.

Except this doesnt apply in 40k because skeptics usually have a habit of dying very horribly and in mass quantities.

One of these days i want to do a research paper on 40k philosophy :p

Makiaveli
29-09-2009, 15:00
I agree except I often find "skepticism" is often an excuse for intellectual laziness or that self-proclaimed skeptics are only skeptical of certain things and never themselves or viewpoints they like.

"These people" who read things without critical thought or naive acceptance are equally atheists who read atheist books and repeat verbatim arguments from websites or books.

It is a mistake to see yourself as the only true skeptic or the only one who somehow sees the truth in books and the world when everyone else mysteriously misses it. Skepticism starts with yourself not things you don't want to believe in the first place.

Except this doesnt apply in 40k because skeptics usually have a habit of dying very horribly and in mass quantities.

One of these days i want to do a research paper on 40k philosophy :p

I agree with you on that assuming you aren't accusing me of thinking I am the "only true skeptic" ;)

Good luck on finding a professor who would give you a shot at a 40K research paper...got a feeling that would be a "Holy Grail" type search :D

LexxBomb
29-09-2009, 15:16
It might not be that Hard here in SA... Im sure the Pop Culture or American Studies Departmewnt at flinders might let you... heck Ive been tempted to request to do a Doctorate and write a Historical paper on the background lore of warhammer 40,000... Technaically you could do such a thing because there is a large amount of reference material and novels can be used as historical evidence (mostly for how people were thinking) but given the history if ficticious you could probably do it as a Historical examination exercise... I would examine the history from either a Makavelian or Marxist point of view... might be fun.

... off to find the Histoty professor.