Theological introspection...

Since the Chosen of Eilistraee is a religious oriented player group, naturally there is a place to have theological discussions. That is in-game religions; please leave real-world religion out of it. Debate the fine points of a certain dogma, how a church can enforce worship while staying true to its tenets or simply why one deity is better than another one is. All are free to talk about it here.

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Theological introspection...

Post by Pheurazath » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:12 am

So, up I set, after another long night at work, in which I was left alone to my thoughts most of the night, while bailing cardboard boxes. During such moments when I'm free to do such thinking, I often indulge in a great deal of introspection, and tonight, I happened upon a notion upon which made me wonder if I am the only one who feels as such, and for that matter, what others might think of it. While I welcome all comments on this, I do ask everyone keep an open mind and be polite with any and all criticism.

This notion, is simply, that no matter what power a person names the higher power they worship, in almost all cases, save a few, they are promised an afterlife in paradise, or eternal torment, depending on how they lived their life. I believe whole heartedly that the life I've led so far assures me a road to that paradise. But when I think about it, I mean really think about how I feel about that. I don't want it. I'd rather spend a million lifetimes among the imperfection of the mortal world, even if it meant retaining the memories of every lifetime, than exist in such a perfect place. I would rather have to struggle, sweat, and toil to achieve an ideal world, than have it handed to me.

Is this madness I speak? Am I to be declared noble and selfless?

((To the moderators, if this fringes too close to RL matters, I'll understand. If there's a more appropriate board on here for this, let me know and I'll move it.))
Primary (Pheurazath AKA Kalkyril Ilindl)
Secondary (Virgil Stahne -- A repentant Warlock)
Other Secondary (Skrach -- A rogue, a rat, touched by the best)

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Re: Theological introspection...

Post by Bhaern Quel » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:23 pm

Considers moving to general discussion as this section is for discussions FR religions. For now it can stay here I think. Topic itself not banned, just depends on correct section based on how discussion goes.

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Re: Theological introspection...

Post by Irennan » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:12 pm

Madness? Absolutely not, everyone has his/her own ideas of what makes a life worthy of being lived. It's just matter of what each person finds contentment in.

To answer to you, thing is that when you assume the existence of a place like a ''paradise'', you're doing just that: assuming. Even if you are promised such a place as a reward for living a ''good'' life (where even good is kinda vague, varying accordingly to the moral standards of the different beliefs) and accept this system, what you know (actually, what you choose to believe) is basically nothing concrete, only that what awaits you will be somehow pleasant.

However the definition of pleasant isn't the same for all. So, since we're talking about very vague and indefinite things, it could easily be that the ''paradise'' isn't a place, rather a sort of new life which varies dependently on the individual to fit his/her needs, whether they consist of struggling to achieve his/her idea of good world, or just enjoying a ''perfect'' life. This means that, lacking certainty, you can imagine your afterlife as you see fit -and as it can make you feel better- without being constrained to what other people imagine about it.

Fact is that -alas- we don't know crap about all of this (not yet, at least), and currently thoughts on the matter are destined to remain just that -speculations-
So IMO making a problem out of the common belief about this is just futile, and cause of discontent. Just my 2 cents, which I hope can be of some help nonetheless.

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Re: Theological introspection...

Post by Alaric Darkrose » Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:51 am

I wouldn't say madness. There is something innately beautiful in living in an imperfect world. There is an element of unpredictability to it that makes the world interesting.

As for the reward/punishment scale, please allow me to examine this from a neutral standpoint. The world is, and has always been, an unjust and unfair place. I think the desire to know that you are rewarded and/or punished for their actions in the afterlife is a longing for a sense of justice. If you are a generous and well meaning person, it gives you comfort to know that you will be treated as such in the afterlife. It is also just as comforting thinking that those who go around imposing their will on others and being a rotten individual will also meet their just deserts to balance the scales, so to speak.
"There are those who think, and those who dream. I, for one, refuse to choose between the two." -Liriel Baenre.


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Re: Theological introspection...

Post by T'rissrak » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:20 pm

My knowledge of these things is little, but I hope my view may help you. I was first exposed to the idea of an afterlife about six years ago. My group found long before I joined that humans offer better trade deals if we spend some time talking to them on non-business matters. Something to do with gaining their trust and it was why I, an entertainer, was brought along at all. (It goes without saying that my ability to distract the humans was critical to negotiations.) Curiosity on both sides brought up the subject of religion.

The idea of paradise after death did, indeed, seem appealing at first. However, the longer I listened the more I understood that it was, as humans say, the carrot at the end of the stick. Instead of threatening torment or teasing the possibility of reward in this life, as is done in drow culture, their clergy made promises about a next life. It was obvious why this was so appealing. Those we traded with were impoverished with little possibility of gain no matter how well they schemed within the confines of human law. Faith in something intangible ensures that hope is never completely crushed, no matter how horrible their lives may seem. And hope is a powerful method of control. (I was amazed to hear of the plush lives led by their -male!- clergy: completely supported with barely any effort on their part.) If they stole the items they were to trade with us and escaped to a better life, their clergy assured them they would suffer for all eternity. On the other side of hope is fear. We already know well how fear controls a population; it just seems that humans cannot actually carry out all of their threats so they invoke an intangible punishment.

It seems to me that for some life is so terrible that belief in a better death is all that keeps them sane. And for some it is chasing that better death and fear of a worse one that is the only thing keeping them from following a way of life favored by the Spider Queen. If you need neither a carrot nor a stick to live a good life, then it is not madness at all to disregard them.

May you dance with the Dark Maiden.
Usstan aske’th lil drathir / Lu’l’sssiks ‘udtila naut zhaun / Usstan jousus ussta flamgran / Lu’l’drathir jialaus a ussa

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Aylstra Illianniis
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Re: Theological introspection...

Post by Aylstra Illianniis » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:38 pm

As a follower of a faith that is far from mainstream, not to mention both eclectic and unorganized, I can say that it probably depends on your idea of "paradise". I mean, if your idea of the perfect afterlife is drinking in Odin's mead hall and fighting daily in the halls of Valhalla, is that any less a paradise than singing hymns all day and walking and talking with Yahweh in heaven, or spending eternity with a bunch of virgins in the Paradise of Allah? Or a brief stay in the Summerland between lives? It's all a bit objective, I think, so I suppose it depends on how you view the idea of a paradise beyond death.

It does, as Alaric pointed out, balance the scales to a certain degree to believe that good or bad folk (depending on your own moral ideals and/or those of your culture) will get their "eternal reward" (to quote Jafar from Aladdin) in the next life. I think, however, that there are some things which are universally seen as good or bad. Obviously these ideas are eiseir to express in fiction via ficticious religions like we have in FR (eilistraee vs Loth as a prime example). But they do help us to sort out our own feelings and beliefs as a result of examining what is good or evil in an in-game context.
By the Dark Maiden''s grace do we meet. May she guide and protect us.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

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