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mnyquist

Gods and Religon

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Faith in Seven is similar to katholicism. Rh'llor too, in some way (white-black vision of the world, deity with heart on fire and demonish devil), even Drowned God (died deity and reborn followers).

Old gods are most mysterious, I think.

Martin had vision. Wonderful!

Well arguably the Old Gods are the mystical aspects of catholicism, the St Theresa' of Avila kind of thing. I have also heard that the Orthodox church has a strong meditation tradition.

Also R'hllor is nothing like God as presented in the Bible (the proper bible, not that fanfiction written by Greeks which grafts on all that dying rising, son of god nonsense) since R'hlor is very dualistic, more Zoroastrian than "All evil comes from the Lord" God.

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actually a slight problem with the Westerosi religion... or atleast the faith of the Seven (and probably the Old Gods).

Lacking a devil type figure (all of the Seven, even the stranger are portrayed as benevolent) how do they answer the problem of evil...

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**remember that the bible says that pharoah's servants and the priest of Baal performed miracles too, worth noting that Baal and Molech worship involved burning children alive)

Apparently, the priests used to beat drums really loudly while the children were burning, so that the parents wouldn't hear them screaming.

Worse still, perhaps, was the practice of live burial of new-born babies in clay pots, as a gift to the gods. Archaeologists have found a number of these grisly artefacts in South Eastern Turkey.

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actually a slight problem with the Westerosi religion... or atleast the faith of the Seven (and probably the Old Gods).

Lacking a devil type figure (all of the Seven, even the stranger are portrayed as benevolent) how do they answer the problem of evil...

That is not a problem. Not too many religions have such a concept in the first place. Originally neither did Judaism or Christianism.

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That is entirely subjective.

To the extent that it is so hard to agree on a definiton of religion, yes it is. But really...

I wouldn't say that the Old Gods are clearly moral, nor have many of the early tribal religions of our own world been. Many relied on an interconnectedness to nature. People weren't raping, killing and being cruel as a rule but they did not need a specific commandment telling them exactly how they should conduct themselves.

The more clearly moral religions usually end up being the most immoral.

If I remember correctly those who pushed for the Seven didn't give much consideration for the Children of the Forest and their Old Gods, nor did early Christians have much morality when dealing with "savages and their pagan ways.

Oh, I see. You define a "moral religion" as one that codifies rules of conduct.

Yes, but that metric those would be the most immoral ones, of course.

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That is not a problem. Not too many religions have such a concept in the first place. Originally neither did Judaism or Christianism.

Well Judaism apparently still lacks a devil:

The Talmud mentions the Satan in many places. In all of these places, the Satan is an agent of God, and has no independent existence. Sometimes the Satan is conflated with various demons, such as Asmodai. At times there is even some sympathy for him. Commenting on the Book of Job, the rabbis express sympathy that his job was to "break the barrel but not spill any wine."[20]

In Kabbalistic literature and its derivative, Hasidic literature, the Satan is seen as an agent of God whose job is to tempt one into sin, and then turn around and accuse the sinner on high. An additional understanding of Satan is from a parable to a prostitute who is hired by the King (God) to tempt his son (a Jew). The prostitute has to do the best she can to tempt the son; but deep down she hopes the son will pass the test. Similarly, Kabbalistic/Hasidic thought sees the Satan in the same situation. His job is to tempt us as best he can, and then turn around and accuse us; deep down, however, he hopes we will resist his blandishments.

The problem or downside of having this attitude towards Satan, is that when something epically evil happens it can be very hard to explain. Hence the massive attention played to the Holocaust

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_theology

Where as it might be possible, where such an event to happen to Gnostics, or Zoroastrians, Muslims (atleast many Muslims seem ready to blame the devil for everything), a certain kind of Christian* and pagans that they would be able to say the physical world is evil/Angra Mainyu was especially powerful/Shaitan was especially triumphant/Satan was lucky then/Mars the God of War was successful...

Where as if you believe God is omnipotent and all powerful then massively evil events give you a far greater delimma, because it has certainly gone beyond mere "we are being punished for our sins" when most of the victims were children...

*Christianity, which is heavily influenced by Zoroastrianism, does give the devil more power, but more importantly gives Satan agency separate from God.

Yet still the devil isn't that powerful in Christianity either.

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To the extent that it is so hard to agree on a definiton of religion, yes it is. But really...

Oh, I see. You define a "moral religion" as one that codifies rules of conduct.

Yes, but that metric those would be the most immoral ones, of course.

Not sure what you meant by your last sentence.

The only distinctly moral religion of ASOIAF from what I can see is the Seven.

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I favor the religion of the Old Gods over the Drowned God, the God of the Seven, and R'hllor. Unfortunately there isn't much to analyze, they're nameless, faceless, and in most part a mystery.

A lot of the charm of GRRM stuff in ASOIAF is because of the mystery.

I wonder if it'll all pay off, end just as ambiguously, or end as unsatisfyingly as something like Lost or The Dark Tower series.

Building a mystery is the "easy" part.

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Apparently, the priests used to beat drums really loudly while the children were burning, so that the parents wouldn't hear them screaming.

Worse still, perhaps, was the practice of live burial of new-born babies in clay pots, as a gift to the gods. Archaeologists have found a number of these grisly artefacts in South Eastern Turkey.

It's true that moral religions (or atleast Christianity and Islam) often suffer from the urge to go on crusades, jihads and inquisitions.

But atleast they have lower rates of infanticide.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychohistorical_views_on_infanticide

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Because OBVIOUSLY all non-Abrahamic religion promote infanticide. Cute.

I said moral religions: Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism* are moral religions, though they are not Abrahamic..

Christianity and Islam are the two moral religions most likely to invade your country, build a mosque/church on your holy site and burn you alive/behead you for failure to convert though. Despite these drawbacks, they are still reasonably good at doing the job that religion is supposed to do (making society more stable by emphasising moral behaviour).

*Although India and China both have high rates of female infanticide, they are still religions that have a heavy emphasis on moral behaviour.

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IMO

The red god (rholler) and the Great Other are the only "real" gods with evidence that they exist and have extreme power (think about the others and red preists) not quite sure how dragons play into this but could be a possible connection to rholler because they both represent fire. Evidence for this is also the constant conflict between "fire & ice", "good and evil", "shadow and light" as represented in the title of the series.

On the other hand i think the Old Gods is not essentially a diety but a power discovered by the CoF and carried on through greenseers like Jojen, Bran and Bloodraven

The Seven and other gods such as the Drowned God, etc are all believed in by their specific cultures and thus cause a unity within the communities but i think that there is no specific or hard evidence for their true existance or posession of power.

.. but then again who knows for sure, i doubt it will ever be truely clarified by GRRM

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IMO

The red god (rholler) and the Great Other are the only "real" gods with evidence that they exist and have extreme power (think about the others and red preists) not quite sure how dragons play into this but could be a possible connection to rholler because they both represent fire. Evidence for this is also the constant conflict between "fire & ice", "good and evil", "shadow and light" as represented in the title of the series.

On the other hand i think the Old Gods is not essentially a diety but a power discovered by the CoF and carried on through greenseers like Jojen, Bran and Bloodraven

The Seven and other gods such as the Drowned God, etc are all believed in by their specific cultures and thus cause a unity within the communities but i think that there is no specific or hard evidence for their true existance or posession of power.

.. but then again who knows for sure, i doubt it will ever be truely clarified by GRRM

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R'hllor seems the most real, in that, as people have said, his followers actually seem to weild certain amounts of non-placebo-esque power. A lot of stuff the Drowned God and Seven and Old Gods followers do that they attribute to gods could easily be something else.

Also as for the problem of evil wrt the Seven, I would say that the gods give the humans free will to follow them or not.

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What I was going for was kind of how the gods relate to each other. Are the father and mother married, ala Zeus and Hera? Does the smith often walk among mortals for some reason? Did they come from anywhere? How was Westeros created? Are the gods said to reside somewhere? (perhaps far across the ocean, or on an entirely differfent plane of existance.) Things along those lines. We know who the gods are, but we really dont know that much about the mythology of them.

i thought the seven were all different aspects of the same god

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I believe it will all come together with Bran, Jon, Danny and Arya's stories. They have a deep connection with the energy's that will life. They had a different path to follow but in the end it all comes down to being on the verge of an apocalypse and all religions being one separated by different cultures, places, and needs. Basically its all a battle of Good vs Evil.

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The thing to keep in mind about the Old Gods is that they do not have their origons in humanity and are based in the beleifs of another race, and their decline was precipitated by coming into contact with humanity. All though the First Men did make peace with the Children they did not adopt the lifestyle of the children, they did adopt a beleif in the Old Gods dut ceded the deep forest to them. The Children seem to be a dying race and the power of the Old Gods might die with them. Is there a signifigance in Brynden being called the Last Greenseer? Bran is seen as being his replacement but he does not have the eye color associated with this, he is the wolf who will fly.

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