Gods and truth

From: Julian Lord <julian.lord_at_wanadoo.fr>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 01:35:23 +0200

Aaaaah ; the Truth about the gods thread ; long time, no see ... ;-)

Andrew Larsen :

> >> I think there are real problems with
> >> the approach that each culture's truths are mutually true even when they
> >> contradict each other.

I don't think so ; it simply mirrors the way people actually think, except when under the influence of some varieties of scientific discipline.

> >> That's a very late 20th century attitude which may
> >> work quite nicely for cultural and religious things, since we can't 'email'
> >> our diety or higher power for a direct answer.

No, it's NOT a late 20th century attitude IMO ; Gloranthans cannot compare their religions on the GD (lucky them...?), and it is inevitable that they contradict each other, just as it is inevitable that RW people contradict each other (case in point).

Gloranthan reality is transcendent (as are people's thought processes).

Transcendentalism mechanically engenders contradiction.

Therefore, "the approach that each culture's truths are mutually true even when they contradict each other" is a realistic approach.

> > In resolving this riddle, you arrive straight back at RW conundrums
> > on the nature of truth.
> It's only a red herring if you think that the gods don't know who they
> are or how they relate.

Most of them don't. Most gods are bound within the matrix of the culture they belong to.

> I see no reason why this should be so. There's no
> sense in any RW religion that I know of that dieties aren't aware of who
> they are and how they relate (although it's not the sort of topic that
> really occurs often in sources, so far as I know).

This is because RW religion generally seeks to reinforce a sense of self-identity and of one's place in a culture and a society instead of the opposite. So do Gloranthan religions. But, as in the RW, the relationship between microcosm and macrocosm (nor even the understanding of what the macrocosm *is*) is NOT an 'objective' constant of all religions ; indeed, what defines a particular religion is one 'singular' and exclusive relationship that is necessarily incompatible with concurrent systems, although both religions claim to hold the truth, and although neither system can be logically demonstrated to be false.

> A person knows who he or
> she is and what he or she does, and I have to assume that gods, being much
> larger and more powerful, would have the same self-knowledge.

Mystic, he say : self-knowledge and self-delusion transitory and false both. Anti-gods not know Truth ! Truth lies in Void. Transcend the Veils !

The sorceror says : only God has True knowledge of our nature, and the 'gods' you worship are but False Demons. The Truth is in the Abiding Book ; but even so, we will only understand the Truth if we become deserving of God, and He decides to reveal His splendour to us. Our self-knowledge is but the shadow of a shadow. Place your Trust in Malkion, my son...

The animist perhaps agrees with you.

"The" theist : which religion are we discussing here ? ;-)

> >> ultimately there can be only one thing up there going across
> >> the sky.

That is not true. How do *you* know if there isn't a different one every day, or ... seven suns each taking turns over a seven day period, or ... 294 suns in a year, or ... a whole mass of sun spirits that keep together in a big ball, or ... or whatever? How do you know ? Have you been there ? Why should I believe you ?

> I agree that Gloranthans have different ways of looking at the same
> thing, but ultimately, only one thing can have happened in any given event,
> such as the slaying of the Sun. Did the Sun die or did only a part of the
> Sun die? Both cannot be true in an objective sense, regardless of whether
> worshippers of that Sun are capable of objectivity.

But not regardless of whether objectivity itself is actually relevant in this case,

or even (more reasonably perhaps from an 'objective' POV) whether the Sun was ever 'slain' at all ; which the Malkioni certainly, and the Mostali, and many Mystics, and some people who were alive at the time, would simply deny.

Quite simply, 'the Sun was slain' is NOT an objective statement (unless you want to quibble about the two diametrically opposed meanings of the word 'objective' ; No? thought not ...)

The closest you can ever get to objective statement concerning the Sun, is to go onto a Gloranthan beach on a warm sunny day and state 'there is a Sun'. A statement that some Mystics would be happy to argue against BTW ; so even such a crass statement as that cannot be held as being generally accepted as a self-evident Truth.

> > There are also non-lunar myths in which Chaos is used as a positive
> > force.
> Let's see. We have Thed, the goddess of rape; Malia, the goddess of
> disease; Thanatar the god (or gods) of headhunting and knowledge stealing;
> Urain, the god of senseless violence; Vivamort (or whatever he's called
> these days), the principle of vampirism; Seseine, the goddess of temptation;
> Ompalam, the god of slavery and subjegation, Ragnaglar, the god of
> uncontrolled lust; Cacodaemon, the god of cannibalism (and various other
> nasty things), Pochorngo, the god of corruption, Krjalk, the god of
> monsters, and various other dieties, all considered to be chaotic. With the
> possible exception of Malia (who is something thought of as having a place
> in the universe despite her efforts in creating the Devil), by what measure
> are these not evil and destructive forces?

Non-Rule-One-wise (in more ways than one, to give in to the anti-god of pedantic humour) you forget Larseine, the god of quoting the whole GD ... ;-)

> If there are myths in which chaos is positive, I'd like to hear about
> them.

No such beast in Orlanthi mythology, because they believe that Chaos is Evil ('is' used in its strong sense). There's another semantic bugbear here BTW.

There are such myths, though. Some examples in Drastic : Chaos.

Essentially, Chaos is seen in those myths as the wellspring of all Creation and all existence.

Humakt's sword, Death, is sometimes described as a Chaos thing.

Julian Lord

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