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Atheist... or Worshipper?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by SaltyDog, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    LOTR et al. may not have atheists, but they don't dwell a lot on religion, from what I can recall. Tolkien does more of that in the Silmarillion.
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Yes, I think that would work fine, and all it would take was the author establishing that these are how the people are and I don't think anyone would have a problem with it. I certainly wouldn't.
     
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  3. That would be a large divergence from human nature. I think it's somehow ingrained in us to seek out something higher than ourselves, even if that is just a noble ideal, or a system of morality, or the potential of the human race itself. It's also ingrained in us to wonder, why? how? what if...? To be curious about the natural world, and try to understand it. Or even to notice the natural world and see it as fascinating or beautiful or really anything other than surroundings we live in...it's a very human thing to do.

    It would be totally foreign, and difficult to relate to.
     
  4. Holoman

    Holoman Troubadour

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    In Mistborn the Lord Ruler was worshipped as a god and he had a huge religion following him.

    LOTR has no established religion, but it goes into the subject heavily outside that series and hints at it in LOTR. Illuvitar (sp?) is God, and Gandalf is resurrected by a virtual god when he returns as Gandalf the White.

    Not read the other two.
     
  5. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I confess to not having read wheel of time. But I recall religion in both LOTR and Mistborn. I think I recall some in the inheritance cycle as well...but it has been quite a while.
     
  6. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Thanks. Beings like what I described wouldn't even be atheists. They wouldn't be anything. They would just "be".
     
  7. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    That would make for an interesting read. I would suspect such a race would not progress very far scientifically, culturally etc because they would seem to lack the intense curiosity found in humans.
     
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  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    True. If it's just not something that occurs to them given how they're wired, then I think you could argue that they're not atheists in that they don't even consider the proposition. It would interesting to play out the ramifications to society as a whole, the advancement of sciences (if in fact there is any at all) and so on. Could make for a cool story.
     
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  9. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    For some perhaps. If one were inclined to create fantasy worlds that mirror our own, I can see the merit in that point of view. The worlds I try to create are so far removed from our reality that what I described is completely feasible.

    It all depends on the reader's willingness to suspend disbelief.
     
  10. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I agree. Religion seems to appear in all the books I read, although sometimes it doesn't receive much focus and other times it's "disorganized," i.e. no organized religion but merely systems of belief about the nature of the world/reality.

    Fantasy is peculiar because various types of fantasy introduce beings with great power. If gods, goddesses, immortals, and the like exist...I think that having some form of religion would be a logical result. If the powerful beings are merely humans (mages and the like) or monsters, I could still see some form of worship–although maybe the way worship rather than religion, per se, manifests would be unusual (i.e., not Earth-based).

    In my current project, I've settled on the idea that different lands and different peoples have different belief systems centering around magic, some of those are religions, but all of them have as their origin a single source. The peoples in these lands don't realize that the god/force/essence behind their own belief system is the same thing behind the belief systems of other lands.
     
  11. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    With the Inheritance cycle, only the dwarves believed in religion. I haven't read LOTR in awhile, and don't worship it, so I probably shouldn't of mentioned it. The Mistborn, at the start, I believe the characters didn't believe in a god, or the lord ruler. He was found out to be not immortal, and not a god.

    Sorry if these posts offended anyone, they did not mean to.
     
  12. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Mistborn... never read, but a quick search suggests religion exists. I know Sanderson doesn't shy from religion in his fantasy, at least from listening to his lectures.

    Tolkien clearly avoided "religion" in a fantasy world being a good catholic, but religious themes? Yeah. Absolutely.

    Eragon... never read, but sounds like the trilogy goes into some religion, dwarves being polytheistic?

    WoT... I only read three books and so long ago I don't recall a danged thing... I'm not a fan. But, while mostly lacking religion, it seems form a search that religion plays some small part.

    The trick is, what does the story and its world need?
     
  13. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Indeed. I'll even venture further to posit that science and philosophy could not only exist but flourish in a world like that.
     
  14. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Sage

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    Correct with the dwarves. Mistborn did have religious themes, (I haven't finished the series yet so I'm probably lacking in there) but at the start, I think the characters were atheists. Lol I probably shouldn't of even mentioned theses books. Most of these I did say do have both atheists and believers of a religion.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  15. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Assuming that A) humans exist in this world B) if they did they're like us and C) that a belief in some sort of deity is necessary to have intense curiosity.
     
  16. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    My world is based on 15th century Russian culture...so one God it is and I wouldn't write it any other way. There are no strong religious messages or anything like that. But if we're creating real worlds, then there needs to be some sort of belief system to make characters rounded.
     
  17. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I think the argument goes the other way.

    I don't suggest religion is necessary to have intense curiosity.

    I suggest intense curiosity makes religion, science, etc more likely. The drive to understand things, to put them in a context makes us ask the bigger questions about why things exist and how they came to be.

    I think that is our hyper-curiosity that leads us to be ask questions like "where did we come from?" and "why are we here?" which can lead to the great finds of both science and religion.

    If people are just to content to "be" and not think about such things, it seems what they really lack is curiosity rather than religion or science.

    I didn't mean to suggest that humans had to exist in said world, rather that one of the characteristics of humans that has lead them to great achievements in science etc is their inherent curiosity. I think any race that lacked it would not progress as fast.
     
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  18. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I have no doubt that science and philosophy could flourish in such a world, but I would suggest there is no reason to believe it would flourish more than a world with religion, such as ours.
     
  19. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Excepting periods in history where, because of encroachment into the sphere of religion, science is seen as a threat and there is an force actively opposing its progress. A society without out any religious conception whatsoever might not have these periods of stagnation.
     
  20. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Good points. I believe that anything is possible in fantasy. A being can be content with simply existing and still have curiosity about the world around them.
     

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