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How can an individual be worshipped as an aspect of God without possessing a divine nature?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Erebus, Mar 21, 2021.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Minstrel

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    Millennia ago, a child was born to a virgin that would go on to form the most widespread religion in the world. He is remembered as " The Black Pharaoh, the son of Azathoth the creator, sent to save humanity from chaos and damnation. Although he would be executed by his enemies, his followers survived the purges to spread his message. Ultimately, it would be adopted by the majority of powerful nations, securing its place as the most dominant religion. However, as the centuries passed and the faith became more formalized, arguments rose up about the nature of God and his relationship with the divine. This would eventually lead to a division between two main factions.

    The first faction supported monophytism, which maintained that Azathoth possessed divine nature and that the lack Pharaoh was merely his representation on earth as humans would understand him. The other entities in the pantheon, such as angels and saints, are different expressions of the same deity. The second faction believed in dyophysitism, the idea that The Pharaoh had two natures, that of the Father and the Son, with the former being divine. As the Son is distinct from the father, he is subservient to it. This minor disagreement broke out into religious war, with the latter coming out on top.

    With the dyophysitists as the last man standing, the priesthood moved the religion away from its strictly monotheistic roots to take on a more phlythestic flavor. The Black Pharaoh was still worshiped as God, but was considered separate from the Father. All the other angels and were considered independent entities and also subservient to Azathoth. This completes the holy trinity which is at the center of this religion, with Azathoth, the angels, and the Pharaoh as representing different aspects. This places the Pharaoh at the bottom of the totem pole.

    The priesthood need to craft this religion around worship of the Pharaoh as the last aspect of the trinity. However, As the faction has removed the Pharaoh from his divine nature within the faith by emphasizing his humanity, worship of him seems like a hard sell to the public. The fact that he was also killed only emphasizes his mortality, thus questioning his exalted status. How can a priesthood justify this reasoning?
     
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  2. how is this any different than Jesus?
     
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  3. TJPoldervaart

    TJPoldervaart Minstrel

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    I agree, it seems very similar to Christianity (virgin birth, son of god, holy trinity). And because they seem alike, I think the most faithful solution (excuse the pun) would be to have different factions within the religion, have them disagree, and let them have faith in their version of the truth.

    You said yourself all this took place millennia ago, and civilization tends to be bad at correctly representing the truth of a time so far in the past, mostly because of the lack of evidence (no video material, for instance), the loss of knowledge, and the differences in perspectives between different people. Christianity has been around for 2000 years, and there are a lot of different branches.

    I imagine the priests in the world wouldn't have to represent the absolute truth. I doubt they would ever know it. But having different factions firmly believing their version of the truth would create mystery, tension, and believability (maybe realism, but I don't like that word).
     
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  4. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    I've noticed something of a trend when it comes to Erebus' threads.

    That aside, it's pretty neat keeping an eye out for how Not!Christianity influences things. I mean, I'm sure it's just a complete coincidence that Darth Maul had red skin and horns.
     
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  5. Erebus

    Erebus Minstrel

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  6. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Hmmm... well there's a vibe with a lot of your threads that you wind up getting stuck on some aspect of a story due to thinking there's only one way forward. It might just be that you're not telling us the other options you've already considered, but looking at things a bit looser might help.

    In science it's a big no-no to start at the answer you want and make the data fit that, but we write fiction. We get to laugh in their faces.

    You have the answer you want; having the church focus on his humanity AND having that be believable. How do you get there?

    I imagine a priest standing at the pulpit.

    "He walked among us," the priest says, "he talked among us. Laughed, learned and loved among us. And do you know what he saw in us? The same spark- the same potential for divine grace that he held in his breast. It simply needs to be nurtured. Care for your neighbors! Give to the poor! Whatever other virtue the religion values! Etc and so on!"

    ...or basically having him be the kind of god you can see yourself having a beer with.
     
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  7. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Erebus, you describe major developments in historical Christianity, specifically Monophysite and Arian. Both had no trouble gathering up followers, so perhaps just look at the historical precedents there.

    In addition, though, any historian of popular religion will point out that what the theologians say is one thing and what is practiced and believed among the common folk can be quite different. We know from later heresies that those holding clearly heretical beliefs themselves claimed they were completely orthodox Catholics. So there's plenty of room for the locals to adapt. As long as the priests bless the crops, it's all good. <g>
     
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  8. A Pineapple

    A Pineapple Scribe

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    This reminds me of a youtube vid which i recomend, if only for a laugh - st. Patrick's bad analogies.

    But in all seriousness, it doesnt take divinity to be worshipped. There are many that worship the virgin mary and and the prophet Mohammed (though both are technically banned). Calling this Black Pharoh a divine instrument would be enough.
     
  9. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    Wasn't Azathoth like, nothing but chaos and damnation in Lovecraft's stories?

    Anyways, I guess in the interest of trying to kind of help you out a bit with your business:

    If you want to copy-paste Christian lore in a fictional context to explore the ideas of Christianity, that's great. In fact, lots of people do that. So, the parallels to Christianity aren't a huge problem as long as your willing to accept that a lot of readers will be turned-off by this since they'd see it as a lazy copy-paste job.

    Make him a Buddha? Or saint or prophet? I mean, mortals are venerated and "worshiped" all the time through-out culture. Maybe put him in a similar role as Mary who is venerated almost to the point of worship despite being universally regarded as "just a mortal".
    It's kind of a tricky answer because you can't "remove his divine nature" while also asserting him as an aspect of the trinity.

    I'd also recommend looking into the Hindu avatars, especially Krishna for some ideas. Krishna is absolutely worshiped as a deity despite technically being a mortal incarnation of one aspect of Vishnu/God.
     
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  10. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    That's what I was thinking too
     
  11. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    While I agree with the sentiment, and people worship all kinds of things (I even knew one who worshipped Voldemort who is obviously a fictional character) I am not aware of any recognizable religion that worships Mary or Mohammed. Both of these are considered important but not the equivalent of God.
     
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  12. A Pineapple

    A Pineapple Scribe

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    Thats why i specified that it was banned. In the Catholic church worship of Mary as divine is specifically banned, but that does not prevent people from errecting alters to her or praying for her protection.

    Muhammed is considered a prophet only in Islamic tradition, but insults or even a depiction of him is considered blasphemy which could be punishable by death. He has achieved a status beyond human.
     
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  13. Son of the Roman

    Son of the Roman Scribe

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    you are trying way too hard to make a fantasy copy of Jesus. The sheer amount of theological terms and concepts you used was fun to read, but is laughable if taken as a unique story. If you just wanted a theological answer, it would probably be best to go to a theology forum.
     
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  14. Malise

    Malise Scribe

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    I want to mention that in East Asian religions (specifically Chinese), that it's actually the norm for very heroic mortals to be enshrined as actual gods residing in the heavenly pantheon years after they have died and that's it's preferred if those gods didn't originally have a divine nature. It's because religious syncretism between indigenous polytheism and Buddhism, emphasizes the point that anyone can reach enlightenment (which is ironically mostly interpreted as immortality and godhood; which sorta goes against the concept of nirvana) if they work hard enough for it. And by hard, I mean hard, but again, theoretically, anyone can do it.

    With the mindset that being born immortal is not much in the grand scheme of things engrained in society, the priesthood doesn't have to justify anything, because as long as an individual is awesome enough, they might as well be divine. If that mindset is not present in society, then the priesthood can certainly make it, like how early Christians convinced most of the Polytheists in Rome that Jesus and that one God from the backwater province of Judea, was more powerful than Jupiter.

    To give you a real-life example that's sorta similar to the Black Pharoh, Yu the Great-Emporer of Xia, is a god who happens to show up in textbooks as a historical figure or a legend possibly based on a historical figure. He technically was born as a demi-god offspring of another mortal turned god, but that still meant that he was born mortal and had to earn his immortality, and not to mention, unlike Jesus, nothing in his childhood prophesized future greatness/divinity because well...it was just average. So what did he do to gain his godhood? Become a civil engineer in 2300 BC, when there wasn't too much competition to be the best civil engineer in the world, so he civil engineered so hard that he became divine and an elected emperor. This was despite the fact that he physically died from a mundane illness, but due to his awesomeness, the common people just assumed that we went straight to Tian to become a god and began worshiping him.

    Later on in history, Yu's priesthood added that Yu was a god of water, invented alcohol, and was a philosopher and there are still fights between central Chinese provinces to claim Yu as their historically correct god-Emporer despite lack of historical data. The reasoning behind all this? Yu's awesome, that's it. If it worked for Yu, then it should work for the Black Pharaoh priesthood to justify and handwave contradictions in their dogma.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
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