God Learner (feedback)

From: Richard Develyn (richard@skaro.demon.co.uk)
Date: Mon 27 Apr 1998 - 23:02:59 EEST

Peter reminds me to answer feedback:

> Wrong. Brithos is a land where the Death God is not worshipped.
> Yet its inhabitants are shit-scared of Death.

I propose two possibilities:

There is some form of death worship going on there - non-human, so the
Brithos guys know nothing and care nothing about it. (Or how about
Underground - I've just thought?)

There is so much death worship going on that even though it is
relatively distant it still affects Brithos.


> Wrong. Orlanth is merely a name for the Storm God. If one wipes
> out all the Orlanthi, then there will be plenty of other people
> who will observe storms.

Ah, ok. I'll take this point on. What I meant by Orlanth was _the_ Storm
God. What I was proposing was that if a god owns a rune, or rather owns
the basic force which has been classified into a rune (to answer an
earlier point you made), then if he is destroyed then that basic force
has to go. So if it's not Orlanth, it's whatever _the_ Storm God is.
This is just the theist approach, though.

Then these two points go together:

> In case you missed
> it the first time round, physical manifestations do not need
> human or any sapient worship to happen.
- -..
> Even if all intelligent life in glorantha
> was eradicated, then there will still be storms.

I disagree.

If all intelligent life, or more specifically all life capable of
worship, in Glorantha was eradicated there'd be no more gods. Hence, I

think, there'd be no more Glorantha.

[Incidentally - I'm not extending my theories to cover pre-dawn time. I
don't know what was happening then (which I hope addresses another
objection you raised)]

Your statement about physical manifestation needs an explanation I'm
afraid, don't just shout it louder at me. What causes physical
manifestation? If the answer is scientifically based, why should that
supercede a conflicting theist (or mystic, or natural) explanation?


> A strong wind. Temples to Orlanth are only found in the Genertelan
> Barbarian Belt. There are plenty of mountain tops where strong winds
> can be found all over glorantha.

If you're saying, and _know_, not just saying, that in a land thousands
of miles away from _any_ storm worship whatsoever, there are mountains
with hurricane winds blowing in them, then my theory doesn't fit.

At the same time, teleport a Storm God worshipper there, and he's going
to realise that there is little correlation between Storms and his Storm

He's going to ask himself: Why am I bothering? Storms just happen. What
about all my myths where Orlanth (say) did such and such a thing with
his storms - sounds like it could have been a freak of the weather.

Same thing would happen if a Malia worshipper was teleported into the
middle of a huge plague, and there's no Malia presence there in any form

(or it's a very weak presence). Or, if you say Malia is just a name of
the Disease Goddess, there is no Disease Goddess worship anywhere in the
vicinity. It disproves the statement that the Disease Goddess is the
mother of disease, and breaks the theistic argument.

Earlier (in another post)

> The Brithini and the Vadeli
> are notorious atheists and the Malkioni are only marginally better.
> Many educated Malkioni see the Sun as merely a Glowing Ball of
> re and deny the existance of Gods. Despite this, they see the
> sun in the sky.

It's a similar point to the ones we've had before. I reckon the sun
don't shine so bright over there.

Now I _know_ this isn't the case on Earth. Sun worshippers I'm sure used
to believe that the sun shone brightest over their temples. Sun
worshippers got their come-uppance in this world when scientists come
along with instruments and proved them wrong.

My theory, and it _is_ just a theory, is that this can't happen in
Glorantha. Scientists can't disprove theists the way they can here. They
have to _share_ idea-space, theorem-space, whatever we care to call it.
Where there is a conflict, there must be compromise.

Back to your latest post...

> Odd. Before you claimed that one viewpoint cannot prove itself
> superior to another. Now you explicitly deny that the theist can make
> wrong predictions.

No, the theist would have said no wind. What I was trying to illustrate
was that the result would be a compromise - neither would be completely
right or completely wrong.

> How do you know that the Bears worship Orlanth?

I don't. I'm just saying that in order for the theist model to work
there must be some Storm God (as you've corrected me) worship going on
in accordance to the wind being experienced. If there's obviously no
human worship, then look to the animals.

> Anyhow I'm confused.
> If there are bears who worship Orlanth, are they preventing the full
> manifestation of the storm or increasing it.

Increasing it.

> To be perfectly frank, I do not have a great deal of time for this
> theory that the manifestation of gods are dependant on human worship.
> The greatest concentration of the sea gods are found in the depths
> where according to Tales #10 and Glorantha Beastiary, the worship
> of the Sea Gods is at its strongest near the shores.

Not necessarily human. I would have thought there were rather a lot of
fish worshipping the sea gods in the sea.

There is another possibility. With something like water, earth, fire,
man, beast, the manifestation is likely to be at the source - the
creation of the element. After that you can carry it wherever you like
and it's not going to disappear or diminish once you start getting away
from worship centres (or is it?).

- ----oOo----

Now David Dunham:

> I'd put more emphasis on the second part of the question: "and then
> they heroquest against Orlanth" -- I think this is what would cause
> him to cease to exist.

Killing all the worshippers I think is a temporary removal of Orlanth.
If there are still useful myths of him around then he'll soon start
being worshipped again. Destroying the myths is the important thing.

> But a god can indirectly affect it -- if Chalana Arroy never
> ever answers the sacrifice of a living being, and Shargash always
> answers a human sacrifice, people will adapt their way of worship
> accordingly.

As we were discussing with the free-will topic (dreams, and so on), I
think that C-A is forced to act the way she does in order to maintain
consistency with her myths. I think this is illusory free will, I think
the god is doing what is expected of it.

Conversely, should the god start losing worshippers, it would start
regaining free will. This has interesting consequences since it would
allow an unpopular god to actively change its stance on a few things in
order to regain popularity.

Your point about the theist way being the only way I hope I've now

- ---oOo---

David Weihe:

You made a few points about theism which I hope I have answered.

Your other one:

> Wrong. Dying happens and death exists. Whether this is because Humakt
> used the Original Death on Grandfather Mortal, or because all complex
> systems decay over time, or because there are evil sorcerors casting
> malign magic at every thing and everyone, is declared to be an
> unsolvable question on the order of the exact momentum and position of
> an object in our Universe. Otherwise, the various Points of View of
> Creation would not all be valid.

Unsolvable questions? Hmmmm - you should have a word with Stephen
Hawkings :-)

There is no such thing as a theory which is true. Only theories which
have so far not been proved false. Unsolvable questions fall into the
same category - they haven't been solved, yet...

- ---oOo---

Kevin Rose's points I think I moved much closer to. I have to admit that
my theories don't take into account this Runequest Sight business, or
gift bringers, because (a) they don't seem necessary and (b) I haven't
found a descent write up.

- ---oOo---

If I've missed anyone out, please forgive me.


Richard Develyn (http://www.skaro.demon.co.uk)


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