View Full Version : The Emperors Imperial Truth vs Marine Chaplains.

25-05-2007, 19:52
Wiki says that in the Horus Heresy books: The Emperor proscribed religion and demanded that his followers accept Imperial Truth - that humanity must abandon fear and superstition in favour of science and logic.

But at the same time as this, the Marine Legions had Chaplains. They aren't exactly proponents of science and logic, are they?

The warriors who will bring the Imperial Truth to a world are religious themselves? :eyebrows:


25-05-2007, 19:59
Well, it's only in the books, it's not canon.

Also, it's the Imperium, the government lies to keep the population loyal and in check. The average man in the Imperium doesn't even know about chaos, and is practically brainwashed to believe in the Emperor and his armies.

Having the Emperor as a God-like figure and creating a religon around him could just be another way of controlling the population.

25-05-2007, 20:13
The average man does know about Chaos, the same way you know about Hell. Hard to make a person go along with a religion if you don't have some gibbly beasties waiting to eat him and his immortal soul. They're not going to know details, but they'll know it's out there, looking to consume you.

As to Space Marine Chaplains, while Chaplain implies religion, it's not automatic. They could easily be preachers of the Imperial Truth, like... what's his name, Sinderman, I think.

25-05-2007, 20:45
The average man does know about Chaos, the same way you know about Hell. Hard to make a person go along with a religion if you don't have some gibbly beasties waiting to eat him and his immortal soul. They're not going to know details, but they'll know it's out there, looking to consume you.

Well, we have no canonical info on the matter, and really it may vary from area to area, or from person to person.

So, people on the Eastern fringe, which is full of Tyranids, may not know about Chaos at all, but would know about Tyranids, whilst someone near the Cadian gate would probably know about chaos [otherwise it's hard to explain the demons], but may not know about Tyranids.

Alternatively, I could be making this up as I go along, and it may be absolute tripe.

25-05-2007, 22:12
Well if you mean why they had Chaplains in the HH and before, I think they they were there for two reasons:

1) To preach the Imperial Truth and keep the moral in check.

2) To ensure the Legions were keeping away from sorcery and Librarians etc. and make sure that nothing supnatural was going on.

And a guess would be they had very basic knowledge about the 'supernatural', as all those Chaplains in the Traitor Legions resisted the taint, bar that of the Emperor's Children, who converted for the religion. They wanted to worship the Emperor, after being denied that they sought out Chaos. So they must have had some basic knowledge to withstand that much taint, although that's just a guess.

25-05-2007, 22:58
The first Chaplains existed within the Word Bearers legion. After they were censured, the post was introduced to the other legions before the Dropsite Massacre by Malcador the Sigilite. Its purpose was to enforce the psyker ban and to keep marines motivated. After the Emperor's ascension, the roles and duties of the Chaplains were altered and expanded. Bear in mind that neither pre and post-heresy Chaplains worship the Emperor as a god. The difference is post-heresy Chaplains understand that there are gods, daemons and spirits, and that their faith is a potent defense against them. The Grey Knights understand this above all.

Space Marines still credit the Emperor with divine abilities, even while disputing his divinity: the Space Wolves, a chapter with a great hatred of the Ecclesiarchy and its abuses, still believe their souls take their rightful seat at the Emperor's table, yet don't worship him as a god. Perhaps the only difference is wording. Call the Emperor a god, or call him a warp-power - either term is applicable, and true.

The Imperial Faith wasn't some convenient creation of the High Lords of Terra. Indeed, it was a movement that pre-dated them by several centuries. It gained sufficient momentum and recognition after the Emperor's ascension to force the High Lords to make the Ecclesiarch, or head of the Imperial Church, a High Lord himself. True, it's a position that's been abused heinously - just look at Vandire - but it does serve a function. There's good and bad.

26-05-2007, 00:01
Exactly. There's really no problem here, and it seems most likely that the Chaplains are the closest thing to the Emperor's Imperial Truth as exists in the 'modern' Imperium. Which would help explain the animosity between Chaplains and the Ecclessiarchy.

As Feor says, although they are called Chaplains, that doesn't mean that they're religious leaders. At least not religion in the sense that we might think, in a similar way to the Imperial Creed.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I think the best description of Chaplains is to say that they're philosophical leaders responsible for morale, discipline and ritual. Space Marines don't generally worship the Emperor or have much in the way of superstition. In place of a religious creed, they seem to have more of a strict philosophy. They have a certain stance to important questions, but it stems from the philosophies of the Great Crusade, rather than religious writings and such. Thus, the Chaplains remind everyone of their duty to the Emperor and the Imperium, but the foundation of this duty is a unique philosophy rather than religious ramblings.

I guess it's similar to Nazi germany (yes, yes...) in the way that soldiers get their sense of duty from an ideology / philosophy rather than a religion. (It doesn't quite work, because Nazism tended to cross over into religion, but you get the idea)

heretics bane
26-05-2007, 19:28
well after the horus there where many churchs who worshipped the emporer in different ways but where either distroyed or absolved into the main church that we all know and fear

Corporal Chaos
27-05-2007, 03:49
Each Chapter has its own religious beliefs as its home world. The look at the Golden throns as an Icon to be emulated in duty but their religon comes from their backgroung. Look at the shamanistic Space Wolves, they see the Emp as a Hero not a god and follow their own rituals and teachings.

Lord Cook
28-05-2007, 17:50
The space marines don't worship the Emperor as a god. They revere him as a great human who created them and led humanity to greatness, but that is all. Nevertheless they still have 'faith' in that greatness, and their outlook inspires in them a great devotion to his work. The chaplains support that, inspire men to greater feats of courage and valor, etc. etc.

The Ecclesiarchy on the other hand do worship the Emperor as a god, and spread this to Imperial society as a whole, so hive workers, administratum clerks, imperial guardsmen, etc. all revere the Emperor as a living god to be worshipped. This puts them in opposition to the marines, who by ecclesiarchical standards are all heretics. Ironically, the Emperors Children wouldn't be heretics pre-HH, but obviously that changed when they switched their worship to follow the Chaos gods.

28-05-2007, 20:17
I've allways looked on the pre-heresy chaplains as a sort of commissars, only for the astartes instead of the guard. That is mostly what you other guys have been saying here though :)

28-05-2007, 21:31
"Ritual" and "religion" are two very different things.

"Ritual" can either be the changing of the guard at buckingham palace, or the holy communion practiced by catholics. One is religious and one is not, but both carry meaning to people. Chaplains in my mind look after the ritual of a marine chapter, the rites and initiations into the higher ranks of a secular order, while acting as counseler to the astartes in their care.

28-05-2007, 22:01
If I remember right, there is a line or two in "False Gods" which implies the idea of Chaplains was to covertly spread the taint of Chaos to the other Marine Legions.

Lord Cook
28-05-2007, 23:30
If I remember right, there is a line or two in "False Gods" which implies the idea of Chaplains was to covertly spread the taint of Chaos to the other Marine Legions.

I think this smiley sums up my thoughts as to this quote: :wtf:

29-05-2007, 03:32
I think all it suggested in Flase Gods was that the idea of having Chaplains first came from the Word Bearers. It didn't specifically say that Chaplains worshipped chaos.

29-05-2007, 09:17
The whole Chaplains revere the Emperor as a man but not a god is a rather hair-splitting academic point really. After all in current 40K, they offer up prayers and hymns and believe the Emperor watches them from some afterworld. It's worshipping him as a god in everything except name.

Given 40K's parallels from the medieval era, I've always seen the Chaplain/Ecclesiarchy distinction to be like the medieval theologians arguing about whether Jesus was always divine, mortal and became divine through his life and actions, etc... and calling each other heretics over different interpretations. There is even mention I believe of a similar parallel argument in the original Sisters of Battle Codex for 2nd ed. It's a matter of hair splitting definitions but for all practical purposes the Chaplains are acting like conventional religious freaks.

29-05-2007, 10:31
Indeed. However the Chaplains might have been pre-heresy they now at the very least have added elements of Emperor worship to their canon.

Some Chapters openly worship the Emperor as a manifest god, others, like the Ultramarines, are not quite religious nutters but neither do they only preach Imperial Truth, they also revolve around the a cult of the personality - both of their Primarch and even more of the Emperor.

Remember that the Emperor was only trying to steer humanity away from religious belief and its evil twin, superstition, because of the dangers of Chaos and how it is empowered by faith, belief, fear and all that jazz. But the Emperor was perhaps deceived by his optimism, because emotions are the prime force in the Warp, even before belief and superstition, and even if you have trillions of humans who don't believe in a single deity and don't worship anything, if those humans still feel rage, hate, dissatisfaction, cynicism, despair, fear, selfishness, pride and so on, then the Chaos Gods continue to grow and still have very broad ways to pierce into the minds and hearts of mortals. Actual worship and sacrifice may give them more direct access to your soul and mind, but it is not the only way...

Since the Emperor and Horus fought, the situation has changed with regard to the worship of the Emperor and the acceptable utility of religion. The only thing that keeps Imperial society on the straight and narrow, and the only thing that humans can regularly drive back daemons with, is their faith in their messainic saviour, the God-Emperor of Mankind, (the powers, purity and successes of the Ordo Malleus, Grey Knights and Sororitas being perfect cases in point). The Emperor IS, to all intents and purposes, a god in the sense that is meaningful within the 40K imagery.

The difference for me between the Ecclesiarchy and the Marine Chaplains is that where the Ecclesiarchy is bound up with lots of mythology, bone-rattling mysticism and ritual, the Chaplains GENERALLY have a less superstitious understanding of the nature of the Emperor while he was alive and now he has 'ascended'. So generally they don't just have blind faith and monkey-see, monkey-do Ecclesiarchal faith, they also have an spiritual understanding and physical connection (gene seed) with their god/spiritual master. But they are, now, religious figures as well as morale boosters and purity checkers.

Lord Cook
29-05-2007, 11:45
A good summary MvS.

01-06-2007, 05:55
I think this smiley sums up my thoughts as to this quote: :wtf:

Page 406.

The Chaplain Edict was to be used to start warrior lodges in the other legions. The same type of lodges that Erebus had used to taint the Lunar Wolves.

01-06-2007, 16:16
The emperors 'imperial truth' was a lie. He was scared someone would dabble in the warp, discover its secrets and be able to challenge him for power so he hid knowledge of it from mankind to further control it.

Death to the false emperor!