What's in a god?

From: danny bourne <d.bourne_at_dial.pipex.com>
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 03:57:04 -0800

>Argh! How many times do I have to say it. Humakt has no free will.

You have to say it just as many times as others will say that Humakt only has no free will if you believe in a subjectivist point of view of the gods of Glorantha. It's difficult enough to prove that humans have/don't have free will, let alone to try and do the game for the gods of Glorantha

The gods behaviour, wishes and rsponses are
>defined through ritual and heroquest. Their will is a function of what
>they are and they _can't_ change that. You seem to be confusing freedom
>of action with free will. the gods do have freedom of action within the
>bounds of their established behaviour and ritual, but they have no way
>to change that behaviour or their nature - nor any way to express such a
>wish. That would be an act (and an expression) of free will.

That's not necessarily true - unfortuantely it's one of those chicken and egg situations. If you believe in subjectivism, then yes Humakt has no free will and will act only in the way his worshippers expect him to (which also should mean no freedom of action either). If, however, you believe that the worship of Humakt has grown up around Humakt being what Humakt is, then it's not necessarily the case that Humakt has no free will. It is entirely possible that he could change the Way he Is and his worshippers would either follow suit or go off and worship someone else. Would a god exist if he had no worshippers is an interesting question, IMO - are they empty vessels which have magic points chanelled into them or are they existential beings regardless, which just happen to 'live' in the realm outside time?

Being the cynic & stirrer that I am, of course my view (in the minority of one) is that all the gods were created by the priestly classes at the dawn of time & they use the pow sacrificed to them to tap into earth power (for want of a better term). The more worshippers, the more power, the more power the more you can tap into this earth power. Creating a figurehead (the god) simply makes it easier for the worshippers to have something to worship. One could even say that that's the secret of the god learners.

Not that this is the secret of the god learners; I could tell you what it is but I won't .... just yet.


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