Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

mnyquist

Gods and Religon

Recommended Posts

I don't see R'hllor or the Drowned God as Christianity equivalents because both feature an opposed deity, The Great Other and The Storm God, respectively.

Certainly in Christianity these would be compared to Satan, but the thing to know is that God in Christianity is infinitely more powerful than Satan, and is not locked into a power struggle with him, and there is no ying/yang thing going on. Both the religions of R'hllor and the Drowned God seem to view the opposing deity as equal and opposite to the "good" deity, as opposed to simply an evil force, that, while harmful to people, is absolutely nothing compared to their God.

I may be wrong in my reading of this, but that is what it seems like. As such, neither religion is truly comparable to Christianity on that fundamental level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

R'hllor is not comparable to Christianity as a belief system but i think it is similar to the early Christian church. Its a small sect in westreros, comes from the east, growing in power and influence, one true god etc Stannis could use the religion of R'hllor in a similar way to Constantine with Christianity to unite a empire under one king.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

R'hllor is not comparable to Christianity as a belief system but i think it is similar to the early Christian church. Its a small sect in westreros, comes from the east, growing in power and influence, one true god etc Stannis could use the religion of R'hllor in a similar way to Constantine with Christianity to unite a empire under one king.

Oh, so you're arguing that it's culturally similar, if not theologically similar? I can get behind that idea, for sure.

Personally R'hllor would freak me out if it was a real religion, as many characters point out, it appears they are actually worshipping some kind of fire demon, rather than a God. I picture R'hllor as a balrog-type thing, not very friendly. Certainly the Great Other may be even worse, but R'hllor seems like an extremely skethy figure imo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few points of clarification.

1. Yin and Yang are not, even remotely, like "good" and "evil". Thaoist doctrine makes it very clear indeed that neither one is healthy or whole without a sizeable amount of the other.

2. From a sociological standpoint at least, it is clear that the Storm God and the Other are direct parallels to the role that Satan has in many modern forms of Christianity. Namely, that of the adversary that must be vanquished but never mistaken for the One True God.

To put it bluntly, it serves the purpose of taking the blame for bad things when they happen and therefore answering the sometimes-thorny question of how come bad things happen at all if they follow the One True God.

Of course, as we have seen often enough, it also serves to feed unhealthy indoctrination based on fears of some sort of boogeyman, so that opportunists and scared people will hear and obey.

Christianity - much like the cult of R'hllor or even of the Drowned God, I must assume - does not have to be like that and arguably never should be. But the unfortunate fact is that in some senses it is more succesful when it loses its way like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not sure what you meant by your last sentence. The only distinctly moral religion of ASOIAF from what I can see is the Seven.

In which sense isn't the faith of the Old Gods moral?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few points of clarification.

1. Yin and Yang are not, even remotely, like "good" and "evil". Thaoist doctrine makes it very clear indeed that neither one is healthy or whole without a sizeable amount of the other.

2. From a sociological standpoint at least, it is clear that the Storm God and the Other are direct parallels to the role that Satan has in many modern forms of Christianity. Namely, that of the adversary that must be vanquished but never mistaken for the One True God.

To put it bluntly, it serves the purpose of taking the blame for bad things when they happen and therefore answering the sometimes-thorny question of how come bad things happen at all if they follow the One True God.

Of course, as we have seen often enough, it also serves to feed unhealthy indoctrination based on fears of some sort of boogeyman, so that opportunists and scared people will hear and obey.

Christianity - much like the cult of R'hllor or even of the Drowned God, I must assume - does not have to be like that and arguably never should be. But the unfortunate fact is that in some senses it is more succesful when it loses its way like that.

Fair enough. But I see no reason for someone not to have a religion of the Storm God, or of the Great Other. If they truly are equal opposites to the Drowned God and R'hllor, then there is no logical reason to prefer one to the other. In Christianity, God is not "locked into eternal struggle" with Satan, He could kill Satan instantly if He wanted, and ultimately will, so being a theisitc satanist is a foolhardy religion, and furthermore could be described as actually evil, insofar as if we take the presuppositions of Christainity to be true, then God is the Creator of everything (including Satan) and is as such worthy of worship and such. On the other hand, I see no likewise reason to worship R'hllor over the Great Other (what if you prefer the cold to heat?) or to worship the Drowned God and not the Storm God (especially given that Drowned God approves of various activities that many would consider immoral).

Also good point on ying and yang not being good or evil, it is more just you have to have moderation and stuff. I don't know much of Eastern philosophy, but I think moderation between both extremes is generally a theme there.

In which sense isn't the faith of the Old Gods moral?

Well, the Old Gods are apparently opposed to murder, rape, incest, violating guest right, etc. I think that begs the question, "Who the fuck says so?" There is no Bible equivalent like the Seven-Pointed Star, there are no priests through whom the gods speak directly, all there is is faces in trees through which the old gods can see stuff. What's to say that the early followers just made up rules for societal convenience, rather than actually know them to be rules? Maybe that's what he meant?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol maybe but I thought the Storm Kings were just followers of the Seven?

I think they were latterly, but as their line comes from the Age of Heroes (before Andals, therefore before the Seven) they must have worshipped other gods, presumably the Old Gods, never heard of them worshipping the Storm God though, just mention that Durran (first Storm King) married Elenei, daughter of the sea-god & wind-goddess .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think they were latterly, but as their line comes from the Age of Heroes (before Andals, therefore before the Seven) they must have worshipped other gods, presumably the Old Gods, never heard of them worshipping the Storm God though, just mention that Durran (first Storm King) married Elenei, daughter of the sea-god & wind-goddess .

In terms of the Storm King and religion I would think it went something like this.

The First Men invaded and creates their kingdom and holds their own gods

The First Men convert to the Old Gods

The Storm Kings intermarries with Andals and over time take on the Seven

The Baratheons replaced the Storm Kings

That's how I see it anyway. The story about the sea god and the wind goddess are probably deities worshiped by the First Men before they took the Old Gods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fair enough. But I see no reason for someone not to have a religion of the Storm God, or of the Great Other.

Really? I have read nearly all of the available material about those gods and it jumps out to the eye that their whole point is that no one would ever worship them.

For starters, that would make life a bit too interesting for confort. You don't want to go around asking priests of R'hllor or Ironborn to pretty please slay you.

Besides, except perhaps for Melisandre, no one ever talks about either of those two deities as if they believed that people would willingly worship them. Victarion, particularly, speaks often of the Storm God but seems to understand that he is very much a Satan of sorts.

If they truly are equal opposites to the Drowned God and R'hllor, then there is no logical reason to prefer one to the other.

I don't remember any of the characters ever suggesting that they are equal opposites. Their roles are, obviously enough, to be defeated by the "true" deities and their True Followers.

As for logical reasons, I'm sure there are some doctrinary directives being taught to say why it is so. On a more practical level, the whole point of following a Faith is to commune with one's faith brothers in agreement. Religious practice isn't about "being logical" but rather about communion, inspiration, mutual support and nurturing of hopes and virtue.

In Christianity, God is not "locked into eternal struggle" with Satan, He could kill Satan instantly if He wanted, and ultimately will, so being a theisitc satanist is a foolhardy religion, and furthermore could be described as actually evil, insofar as if we take the presuppositions of Christainity to be true, then God is the Creator of everything (including Satan) and is as such worthy of worship and such.

I don't know that I understand what you mean here. It looks like that you find satanism silly early on that paragraph, which I kind of agree, yet how can you say that it is worthy of worship then?

On the other hand, I see no likewise reason to worship R'hllor over the Great Other (what if you prefer the cold to heat?) or to worship the Drowned God and not the Storm God (especially given that Drowned God approves of various activities that many would consider immoral).

Well, R'hllor is presented as very much a bargaining god in the books. I can easily picture the Red Priests, particularly Melisandre, believing that there are such things as worshippers of the Others - essentially, people who root for the other team. Far as what we have seen of R'hllor's doctrine goes, the choice may well be arbitrary and bound only by the social and martial pressure from other priests and followers.

The Storm God is however quite unfit for worship. Victarion and Aeron show him to be a bringer of disgrace and ill happenings and nothing more. More to the point, the Drowned God is somewhat more developed then R'hllor, and rises above the amoral force that the Queen's Men make out of the later. If the Queen's Men's practice is proper and respectful to R'hllor is something of an open matter, of course, but Melisandre and Stannis (and Selyse) have shown little if any interest in reigning those excesses.

Also good point on ying and yang not being good or evil, it is more just you have to have moderation and stuff. I don't know much of Eastern philosophy, but I think moderation between both extremes is generally a theme there.

Yes, that is a fair statement.

Well, the Old Gods are apparently opposed to murder, rape, incest, violating guest right, etc. I think that begs the question, "Who the fuck says so?"

I believe that, in Christian terms, those would be the People of Good Will.

There is no Bible equivalent like the Seven-Pointed Star, there are no priests through whom the gods speak directly,

Speaking though priests is (at least arguably) less direct than praying directly to the Old Gods.

all there is is faces in trees through which the old gods can see stuff. What's to say that the early followers just made up rules for societal convenience, rather than actually know them to be rules? Maybe that's what he meant?

Religion is meant to be created by the faithful and cared for by the faithful. And the faithful are supposed to take responsibility for that care.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In which sense isn't the faith of the Old Gods moral?

I made a post earlier in the thread about the Old Gods, the thing we have to keep in mind is that their origon is not based in mankind, they were origanally the Gods of the Children and maybe the Giants. The First Men did end up adopting them eventually but only after fighting a war that lasted centuries and resulted in the destruction of many weirwood trees ecspecially in the South. The Andal invasion more or less eradicated the remaining weirwoods South of the Neck.

The question we should ask is how the First Men became converts? Like any kind of new religion somebody must have been the first convert. If the people who adopted it were seen to be more prosperous and enjoying a better life that surely must have been an impetus to adopt the new faith and the customs that went along with it.

All though the First Men adopted the religion, they did not adopt the lifestyle of the Children. They did not live deep in the forest underneath Weirwood groves. Mankind has also been responsible one way or another for eradicating the Giants, Unicorns, Mountian Lions, Mammoths and Dire Wolfs, creatures that the Children feel a kinship with. Leaf said Giants were both their brothers and their bane. Perhaps Giants prayed at these groves and led the humans to them.

The one area of great interest that we have not seen is the Isle of Faces. What exactly are the Green Men? What function have they had both now and in the past beyond keeping the peace with the First Men which seems redundant with the arrival of the Andals.

The real question is if the religion and the weirwoods can survive the extinction of the Children that Leaf hints at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Luis: Very good points. With respect to the satanism thing, I was saying the whole time it is inherently illogical to be a satanist. My last comment was that it is logical to follow God, not satan. Sorry for the poor wording. I might say more later but I'm busy now, just thought I would clarify that one point

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope it is not to late to throw in another idea.

I would like to learn more about the organisation and structue of religious groups in the world book.

For example some questions relating to the Faith of R'hllor:

Do all believers understand themselves as slaves of R'hllor?

Is the High Priest of Volantis the pontifex maximus or are there more high priests in other cities like Myr and Asshai? If so, is there a supreme priest somewhere else?

How old is this faith? Was it the faith of the Valyrians or is it originated in Asshai?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well ritual of being ordained in both the seven and R'hollor, the closest we event got ordaint ritual R'Hollor how Aliester submerge himself in fire, and it video game we don't event know is ordaining ritual for the red priest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say that it's likely that the Worship of the Seven is not so big on the Greek Mythology-stories, and more on the philosophical, at least somewhat among the more learned. But I could be wrong.

I view the Seven as partly based on Roman Catholicism (which GRRM has acknowledged) but also more as Jungian archetypes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×