PDA

View Full Version : The power of faith?



ORKY ARD BOYZ
30-09-2009, 08:37
The Imperium empasises the power of faith, stating that with the power of faith they may overcome their foes. Sebastian Thor himself said that: "A single man with faith can triumph over a legion of the faithless." Does faith have any useful benefits beyond being useful against daemons? How does faith hurt daemons anyway?

On an unrelated topic: Space Marines aren't meant to have a sex drive, but the Space Wolf Codex states that a wolf lord makes a pass at a woman, while the Space Wolf novels hint at an intimate relationship between Ragnar and a woman. Are the Space Marines capable of sexual desire?

Condottiere
30-09-2009, 09:47
Maybe's it's dietary, since the Wolves have large feasts and probably ingest stuff full of healthy hormones and testerone. Perhaps even their equivalent of Texas oysters.

LexxBomb
30-09-2009, 11:42
well I would assume that Marines are pumped full of Testosterone to have that much muscle mass and as such they would probably have all sorts of sexual urges... its just that there a no women in the Chapters and they release their sexual fustration out by killing aliens... It would explain alot about Calgar.

gunners
30-09-2009, 12:00
We all agree that SM are larger than normal human beings..
That wolf lord, and Ragnar for that matter, must tower those woman! Or does the new codex also imply some kind of super female wolfkin??
Is everything on Fenris enlarged, from their wolfs to their woman??

Like that no one has yet to comment on the OP "true" question...:p

Corrode
30-09-2009, 12:03
One of the Horus Heresy books has the recorder-turned-Lectitio Divinitatus-priest woman pushing a Horror of Tzeentch back with the sheer power of faith in the Emperor (remember this is prior to his 'death'). As far as the book describes it at the time her sheer faith in the Emperor as a god is enough to send the daemon packing.

Condottiere
30-09-2009, 12:38
I'd like to answer that question, but I can't figure it out even in Fantasy.

Faith is a belief in a power or spiritual being for which there's no scientific evidence. Is the power that's generated originating from oneself, unconsciously triggered by that belief, or are you acting as a conduit for an external force?

NightrawenII
30-09-2009, 13:08
The Imperium empasises the power of faith, stating that with the power of faith they may overcome their foes. Sebastian Thor himself said that: "A single man with faith can triumph over a legion of the faithless." Does faith have any useful benefits beyond being useful against daemons? How does faith hurt daemons anyway?

He meant it metaphoricaly. ie. A man with faith will be more devoted to the case and will more willingly sacrifice himself to it than man, who doesnt believe in anything.

Karhedron
30-09-2009, 14:51
On an unrelated topic: Space Marines aren't meant to have a sex drive, but the Space Wolf Codex states that a wolf lord makes a pass at a woman, while the Space Wolf novels hint at an intimate relationship between Ragnar and a woman. Are the Space Marines capable of sexual desire?

Whether or not Marines are capable of sex has always been left ambiguous in the fluff (and probably rightly so). The vast majority live a monastic lifestyle and probably channel their energy into righteous hatred of their foes.

Wilder chapters like the Space Wolves might allow opportunities for such frollicking (do their have flaxen-haired shield maidens in the Fang?) but I think it is best to leave such things alone. In the grim darkness of the 41st millenium there is only war. Sex is not really part of the story (apart from Slaneesh) so is best left "off-screen" IMHO.

Vesica
30-09-2009, 14:52
He meant it metaphoricaly. ie. A man with faith will be more devoted to the case and will more willingly sacrifice himself to it than man, who doesnt believe in anything.

This ^

Its why you will never see atheist suicide bombers, the faithless value life more the than the faithful.

ryng_sting
30-09-2009, 17:26
Whatever faith-based effects are, they're inimical to warp creatures. It may be a case of a 'positive' overpowering a 'negative', but who can say for sure?

Damned ironic either way, how Imperial Truth mutated into the Imperial Creed.

imperial90
30-09-2009, 17:35
I cant beleive no one has mentioned the sisters of battle yet, they are perhaps the best example of the power of faith, not to mention beings like the living saints of the imperium, all examples of the sheer power of faith within the Imperium affecting things beyond the daemonic.

Not to mention even removing the metaphysical aspects of faith in 40k, faith is what holds the imperium together, far more then anything else. It is mankinds unified beleif in The God Emperor of mankind that holds them together, that he protects and serves them. Faith truly is the most powerful tool in the imperium, even when you ignore its visual affect (such as that performed by the sisters of battle) they dont lie when its said in the Imperium, it holds no equal, for it IS the Imperium.

Askil the Undecided
30-09-2009, 18:25
The important thing about this is that religious faith in 40K isn't just a bit of deluded bull it is a collective focus of humanity's unconscious psychic ability forming a 'true' wellspring of divine power that fuels miracles.

Forget Ork belief magic, these are real magical miracles actually fuelled by belief, rather than total rollocks based on the writing of one ignoramus techpriest.

JHZ
30-09-2009, 19:29
99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999% of Imperial faith is BS. Praying to the machine spirit in your gun does not make it work any better, but when it does work, you think "well, good thing I prayed to the Machine." If faith alone would make you win great victories, why doesn't Imperial armies kick ass and chew bubble gum 24/7?

Yes, there are case of psychic energy manifesting through a person, but is it real faith, latent psychic power or merely the Emperor, or some other force, using your body as a lightning rod into reality. I mean, how different is it for the Emperor to lend his powers to a mortal from a Chaos god doing the same? I don't see much difference between a Khorne worshiper gathering skulls and spilling blood, and getting Khorne's approval, and a faithful servant of the Emperor killing His enemies and getting blessed with holy power.

I don't even think Sisters use "faith" as much as they do in the game. Some of the faith can be just lucky shots that get marked as "the Emperor was with us that day." I'm not saying He cannot grand them power to slay a Daemon or something, but it's not some Flanders type of a thing where they go:
Sister Flanders: "Sister Flanders to Emperor, Sister Flanders to Emperor, baddi-ilies ahead."
*sky cracks, hand of Emperor descends and zaps the enemy to death*
Sister Flanders: "Thank-dilie you."
Emperor: "Okely-dokely."

Or Monty Python's Dead Bishop on the Landing sketch:
Church Police: "O Lord, we beseech thee, tell us 'oo croaked Lester!"
*thunder*
Voice of the Lord: "The one in the braces, he done it!"
Klaus: "It's a fair cop, but society's to blame."
Church Police: "Agreed."

Dexter099
30-09-2009, 23:25
What the people of the Imperium, and especially Euphrati Keeler recognize as the power of their faith in the god-emperor protecting them is actually his psychic force kicking the Chaos Gods where it hurts.

The thing is, the Emperor is such a powerful psyker.

As for the Space Wolf codex fluff, I have ceased to care after learning of the ridiculous concept of cavalry being more effective for superhumans than bikes are.

slightlyplausible
01-10-2009, 01:44
99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999% of Imperial faith is BS. Praying to the machine spirit in your gun does not make it work any better, but when it does work, you think "well, good thing I prayed to the Machine." If faith alone would make you win great victories, why doesn't Imperial armies kick ass and chew bubble gum 24/7?


I hold that Machine Rituals are actually long since forgotten instructions. Let's say during the Dark Age of Technology in order to start up a complicated machine you had to perform a very specific task. Since the Mechanicus has long lost its understanding of technology the only way they can use old technology is to assign ritual to the instructions.

Without faith the Imperium would die. Mankind is up against serious threats. The average guardsmen/citizen lacks the mental capacity to "deal" with the lethality of these threats ( think major demon incursion). Inquisitors are forced to wipe out large swathes of human population simply because exposure corrupts their sanity beyond repair. Sure, there are individuals who are more resilient, think Inquisitors, Space Marines, and Grey Knights). But the average joe needs something to believe that a big guy is working for him. This belief not only helps keep the mind sane and also fuels the Corpse-Emperor's own psychic powers.

dude37
01-10-2009, 02:12
99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999% of Imperial faith is BS. Praying to the machine spirit in your gun does not make it work any better, but when it does work, you think "well, good thing I prayed to the Machine." If faith alone would make you win great victories, why doesn't Imperial armies kick ass and chew bubble gum 24/7?
i pray to the machine god when my comp don't work and it seems to fix its self. go Omnissiah!!
bubble gum??


I cant beleive no one has mentioned the sisters of battle yet, they are perhaps the best example of the power of faith
answers the other question too. thats who the space wolves do it with.

akinokurisu
01-10-2009, 08:18
Whether or not Marines are capable of sex has always been left ambiguous in the fluff

All *my* marines are incredibly prone to homoeroticism at the drop of a bolter.

NightrawenII
01-10-2009, 08:58
99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999% of Imperial faith is BS. Praying to the machine spirit in your gun does not make it work any better, but when it does work, you think "well, good thing I prayed to the Machine." If faith alone would make you win great victories, why doesn't Imperial armies kick ass and chew bubble gum 24/7?

I talk nicely to my *machines* and they work. When my mom or sister use then, they dont. And there is only one step left to pray to them, ya'now.:chrome:

JHZ
01-10-2009, 09:27
What the people of the Imperium, and especially Euphrati Keeler recognize as the power of their faith in the god-emperor protecting them is actually his psychic force kicking the Chaos Gods where it hurts.
But is it really that, or something else. In Fire Warrior daemons have a problem with an Ethereal, because its mind is disturbingly calm and there's no emotion to get a hold on and infiltrate it. All without any psychic powers and God-Emperor. So is the faith in the Emperor truly something where He Himself manifests himself through you (though it would explain why he doesn't do much these days, as his spirit is in a gazillion places over the galaxy running his subjects like some divine real world RTS), or is it merely a set of mind, sort of "I roll to disbelieve".

I'm not saying that He doesn't manifest himself in some ways, but be fair, in a world where people believe in little pixies in machines, etc., there's a strong chance many cases of "miracles" are not at all divine, but because the chips were against them and their faith was strong, it must have been the Emperor that came in and saved them.


I hold that Machine Rituals are actually long since forgotten instructions. Let's say during the Dark Age of Technology in order to start up a complicated machine you had to perform a very specific task. Since the Mechanicus has long lost its understanding of technology the only way they can use old technology is to assign ritual to the instructions.
Yes, that's my point. It's not the chanting and blood sacrifice that "make ship go now!", but it's just pressing the big red button marked "On" at the end of the ritual. And when they get Guru Meditation Error, they are baffled and decided that it's the Machine Spirit on a **** mood. Nothing to do with magic in reality, but to them it is.

The rituals for maintaining your gun are pretty much basic stripping and oiling, mixed in with lots of prayers and other stuff. If you don't do it right, the Machine will not be happy with you, while in reality it just jams because you forgot to oil it. "Faith" really doesn't help it, but it won't hurt either, because it's better than going into battle knowing that at any second your gun might crap on you and you might die. But have faith in the God-Emperor and even you can be a winner.

The Uplifting Primer mentions different prayers for different things, like for accuracy. You really think the Emperor is going to come down and guide the shot, or is it just something to ease the mind of the soldiers and boost up moral? Remember when in Saving Private Ryan the sniper always said a little prayer before firing a shot. You think God came down and helped him out, or was it just him easing him down and relaxing to get a good shoot?


Without faith the Imperium would die.
I agree. That's the whole point. It's like walking against an enemy force of 10 times your numbers and having a priest say "Dudes, relax, God'll take care of you, just have a little faith." It's better than "You'll buy the folks back home maybe a few hours more with your deaths."


bubble gum??
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2QL1Sy_9Ag&feature=related


thats who the space wolves do it with.
Now that's extra heretical.


I talk nicely to my *machines* and they work. When my mom or sister use then, they dont. And there is only one step left to pray to them, ya'now.:chrome:
I make my plants grow with threats and petty insults.

MvS
01-10-2009, 11:05
Its why you will never see atheist suicide bombers, the faithless value life more the than the faithful.
Thatís an increasingly common, though very much unfounded, opinion promoted by the like of Dawkins and Hitchens, which is a shame because the very valid and important aspects of their critiques often get sidelined by the ease-of-use of their more sensationalist and wide-of-the-mark biases. The secular (and initially Marxist) LTTE in Sri Lanka pioneered suicide bombing long before it became ŗ la mode amongst Islamist terrorists. In fact the British security services sent out people to learn from Sri Lankan authorities how to protect against suicide attacks in urban areas.

All that aside, faith does have real power in the 40K galaxy beyond the 'power of faith' as it is in reality. Faith is a belief, against the odds, in something we would really like to be a certainty. This faith doesn't have to be in religious or supernatural things, but it does have to be existent even against the odds. The faith that you will win against the enemy, even when you are outnumbered. Or faith that things will turn out okay, in spite of evidence that may suggest the contrary.

Faith, to us in the real world and to people in the Imperium, is a fundamental aspect to our existence as intelligent and social beings, though often in lesser forms than those shown in the imagery. Because we are sentient and intelligent we can observe our environment, learn from it and identify patterns. This allows us to make predictions of likely outcomes based upon past experience. So we can say to ourselves that we have mixed with our neighbours (say) so many times now without them attempting to hurt us it seems unlikely that they will try to hurt us today. So we go out to meet them.

But then, because we are intelligent, we also know that human behaviour can change for all kinds of unexpected reasons. We also know people can lie and be manipulative. So we know that we can never wholly know as a 'factual' and unchangeable reality that our neighbours will NEVER try to hurt us. So we choose to believe that our past experiences and what we WANT to be true are factual. We generate a certainty that is not, truly speaking, an objective 100% certainty. It's just very likely. So we trust our neiɡhbours for another day.

That's a 'small' example of an everyday belief or act of faith (bearing in mind 'faith' doesn't apply uniquely to religious, theistic or spiritual terms). As I touched on previously though, we also have faith in other less likely things. In this respect faith is often linked to hope. I hope that if my unit of soldiers can fight off the enemy long enough we'll be rescued by an extraction squad, so I convince myself and my men that this will happen providing we don't give up, and so we fight. I may be proven wrong, but then I'm dead. If I'm proven right, the fact that we all had faith that we would be rescued kept us fighting and out of enemy hands.

In a social sense a commonality of faith can generate a more cohesive society. So, in other words, if we all have faith in the same (or similar) norms - like laws and codes of behaviour and methods of establishing 'meaning' - we help create or enforce a group identity with generally common goals, which are vital for any functioning community.

The Imperium has all its social norms based around the Emperor and the 'rightness' of the Imperial system and (although there are dissenters) these normalised social 'facts' (that the Imperium is an objective 'good' and that the Emperor is a god who watches over and judges everyone) unite the people who are normalised within them into a common identity. They don't even have to like the identity to accept they are part of it. They may even rebel, but the point is they recognise that there is a 'norm' to rebel against, however dysfunctional that 'norm' may seem.

Regarding the Warp, this is more under-developed in the imagery but it is something that has interested me particularly. The WHF answer is that faith creates magical effects because the faithful are imposing a certainty (perhaps subconsciously) onto the ambient magic that saturates the Warhammer World. So all they are doing is using their own latent psychic connection to the Winds of Magic to force an existent energy (aethyr, warp, magic, etc) into a predictable outcome. So they all believe that Sigmar will smite someone if that someone does X, Y or Z, then their collective and absolute faith that this will happen actually wields the Winds of Magic into a form that causes the predicted outcome.

This can get confusing in the Fantasy imagery because we also have gods and daemons taking an active and conscious role in the dealings of mortals, so there might also be 'genuine' divine intervention. But still, the faith example stands.

In 40K it's more difficult. We could say that those who witness (or perhaps even create) miracles are in fact latent psykers and that their absolute faith in a particular outcome forces Warp energy to create the expected outcome. So my faith that my Aquila will drive back that daemon merely focuses my latent psychic powers into a blast that drives the daemon away.

This works, but it isn't satisfying enough by itself (for me). I like to think that daemons and gods are (as is 'canonical') amalgamations of similar souls, extreme soul 'fragments' and various strong emotions that somehow form into something tangible and powerful within the Medium of the Warp. To start with these gods and daemons were not sentient or intelligent. They were just echoes and states of the mortal experience all focussed into one area within the Warp. If they manifested to humans, their forms and behaviour were dictated by the conscious beliefs and subconscious expectations of the mortals who witnessed them.

At some point these gods and daemons became more self-aware and self controlling, so instead of just being mortal inventions or just being what mortals expected and/or wanted them to be, they developed their own desires and personalities, albeit along very specific lines (Khorne will always be aggressive and angry, for instance). So they started to impose their own certainties upon themselves. they started to want to be particular things. So they went out of their way to encourage and force mortals to imagine them, believe in them and even physically perceive them in the ways that reinforced the gods' and daemons' own desires and self-perception.

If everyone stopped believing in gods of war, killing or rage, then although the vortex of emotions and souls that constitute Khorne in the Warp won't suddenly dissipate, perhaps his 'selfness', his intelligence and self-perceived identity, will start to fade. So the 'god' dies even though the energy that makes him up remains. I like to think that this is what the Emperor was trying to achieve with his secular and atheistic imperial Truth. He couldnít destroy the massive vortices within the Warp, but he could dissipate their individual will, their singular identities and perhaps therefore their ability to deliberately and consciously affect the minds of mortals.

In this context, faith may be able to drive daemons away because it forces upon the daemon a contrary perception - that something else (the Emperor, the Machine God, etc) is more powerful or more relevant in that particular contextn than the daemon. So observing the daemon matters. The belief and the emotions generated by the daemon are important to the daemon. So if you aren't frightened enough or don't regard the daemon as much of a threat because you've got the Emperor at your back, I imagine this somehow weakens the manifestation of the daemon within the mortal universe. As if it actually requires a particular sort of emotional and intellectual response in order to operate at optimum levels.

Obviously, if you are latent or even conscious psychic, your faith may well have far more profound effects than if a non-psyker confronts a daemon with his/her faith, but I think the pattern would stand in general whomever the daemon approached. Some faith that you can be saved and that the daemon cannot harm your soul (even if it destroys your body) is better than none.

In fact we are told that most mortal souls dissipate upon the death of the mortal 'host', with only the deepest/strongest held character traits and beliefs remaining to float around in the Warp and gradually gather together, like-to-like. Genuine faith is a very strong thing in mortals and perhaps is one of those things that remain after the soul dissipates. So a bit of your identity/soul marked by your complete believe in the benevolence of a God Emperor and his power over the forces of Chaos would perhaps be poison to any daemon that tried to consume it in the Warp. Or perhaps it would rush to other bits of souls that are marked with the same belief, slowly creating a new entity in the warp that responds to mortals who empower it further or fulfil it's raison d'Ítre - those mortals that pray to the Emperor and believe in his Chaos busting powers.

So we get a cycle of wish fulfilment, from mortal to Warp and from Warp back to mortal. ? believe in you, pray to you and empower you with my soul, you go out of your way to encourage these beliefs, prayers and so on in the hopes of attracting more souls after death.

Anyway, faith has power in 40K. :)

Imperialis_Dominatus
01-10-2009, 11:23
Man, it's too early to read an MvS post. I'm pretty sure I agree on all points (all over 9000 of them) and thank him for the info on Sri Lankan suicide bombers.


I talk nicely to my *machines* and they work.

My observances to the machine spirit consist of threats, obscenities, verbal and physical abuse, and generally too much hatred, spite, and rage to be healthy.

My machines work just fine though.

MvS
01-10-2009, 11:29
Man, it's too early to read an MvS post. I'm pretty sure I agree on all points (all over 9000 of them) and thank him for the info on Sri Lankan suicide bombers.
Too early? I had to get up at 06.45 this morning.

Thereʼs no justice... :(

Imperialis_Dominatus
01-10-2009, 11:40
I should be saying too late since I just got off work. But my body's circadian is still on normal. Which means it is too early, being 5 a.m. So there. :p

JHZ
01-10-2009, 11:46
Too early? I had to get up at 06.45 this morning.

There's no justice... :(
Did you also go to bed around 10pm and wake up twice a night to pee, because that's what I'm begining to do almost every night lately. I must be getting old. I tell ya, kids these days...

MvS
01-10-2009, 16:10
Oh my God, yes! Although I tend to lie in bed unable to sleep because I'm so desperate to pee while wishing I had the energy to actually get up and go to the toilet.

LexxBomb
01-10-2009, 17:04
Too early? I had to get up at 06.45 this morning.

Thereʼs no justice... :(

I know how you feel...Ive been up for 2 days researching a paper on the comerical failure of the electric vehicle.

ryng_sting
01-10-2009, 18:02
Try planning a wedding with your fiancee. It takes endurance to withstand such mind-melting crap like the wedding channel, however much my beloved likes it.

AndrewGPaul
01-10-2009, 19:14
On an unrelated topic: Space Marines aren't meant to have a sex drive

Says who? I've been hearing this little titbit for years, and no-one's ever come up with a source.

NightrawenII
01-10-2009, 19:51
Says who? I've been hearing this little titbit for years, and no-one's ever come up with a source.

Seeing how they go throught hypno-therapy and psycho-conditioning I doubt there is place for romantical desire.

LexxBomb
02-10-2009, 04:26
I dont care if they go through hypno-therapy or psyvho-conditioning... unless you actively remove the art of the brain that governs emotional responce and development then maines will always be able to love and hate... you cannot hate something unless you have the ability to love something as well.

it could be aluded to that marines are capable of having sex drives because of the Sensei. The Emperor was a man and had many sexual partners over the years and it has been published that the sensei exist because "The Emperor was a man with human desires" now if the Primarchs are created from the Emperor and share his genetics then they would also inhert this desire to embrase women/men and as such their progeny the space marines would as well.

JHZ
02-10-2009, 13:45
I dont care if they go through hypno-therapy or psyvho-conditioning... unless you actively remove the art of the brain that governs emotional responce and development then maines will always be able to love and hate... you cannot hate something unless you have the ability to love something as well.
Mandatory comedy response. (http://lh6.ggpht.com/_TVVDdbRQQfg/SCx79bN8XEI/AAAAAAAAGA0/ZsozG7Od9n4/1173277998-1169755784268953.jpg)

And then for the serious one. You don't need to remove anything, just re-wire stuff. I mean, with psycho-conditioning you can make a person freak out near anything white and fluffy, if you want (been done (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Albert_experiment)). The therapy simply reverts all that energy from love to weapons. It makes love equal killing mutants, burning heretics and purging the unclean. To a Marine that would be "love". I remember one theory on the word Astartes, which I believe went along the lines of it being a mix of two words, or names of two old gods for love and war. In other words the Adeptus Astartes love war.

Besides, an erection is not an emotion. If we talk about pure sexual drive, that too can surely be reverted into better use. If Marines had an active sexual life, it would be reported, but they don't. They're monks. Monks don't go fooling around (or they're not suppose to be). Besides, these aren't your average monks. These are genetically engineered super monks that have been reprogrammed from the ground up. Remember, Marines begin before puberty, so all that prime time for self-exploration and noticing girls is spent in bolter drills and bullying the weak (in other words, using the energy from sexual urges to kill stuff). By the time they get out into the world, they don't even remember what women look like.

Also, even if a Marine did get his hands on a woman, fat chance of doing anything. All that testosterone and steroids they have pumping in their veins might makes them super manly down stairs, but robs them of the ability to stand up to the occasion. Another nail in the coffin on Marine sexual lifestyle.

Vikingkingq
05-10-2009, 02:02
Regarding the power of faith, we have some interesting examples in the case of the Living Saint Sabbat in Sabbat Martyr. The reincarnated Saint is clearly beyond human - she can see the future, take out a Baneblade in single-combat, heal the dying through her blessings, and talks about higher-order things happening in the Warp. It's not, however, clear if Sabbat's a Warp entity that is capable of manifesting itself through human forms or a genuine source of miracles.

Moreover, it's almost impossible, within the context of a psycho-reactive warp influenced by the collective belief of the Imperium, to tell which it is. I suppose it might be possible to test it by getting a psyker to look at a saint, or to surround a saint with blanks and see if they can still do miracles.

By extension, the same thing is true with ordinary individuals who accomplish great feats by means of their faith - whether it be banishing a daemon or something else.

Regarding the Mechanicum rituals, you also have a problem with the whole psycho-reactive thing. An entire Imperium believes that there are such things as machine spirits and that rituals are necessary for placating them. Given that, it's quite possible that machine spirits now exist because people believe they do. Unless you do the blank test, it's hard to tell.