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Thread: Fiction and Religion

  1. #41
    Supporter Torey's Avatar
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    Re: Fiction and Religion

    Quote Originally Posted by Aikadon View Post
    How far can you take admiring a fictional tradition or religion? I was scrolling through the wikipedia Religions list, and under the category "Phony/parody religions" came Jedi, next to "the church of the flying spaghetti monster".

    Personally, I feel like I qdmire the Jedi faith, and some of its philosophy and practice, so to have it bluntly called "Phony" before my eyes was... uncomfortable. And i have long since meditated on the Titan faith, the holy light, and the Elemental lords of the Warcraft universe, as well as the worship of the Nine Divines from the Elder Scrolls universe.

    Is it... Wrong? Unmotivated? "Phony? To believe in, pray to, meditate on, or even worship beings depicted by humans in popular culture? I'm thinking, it's not like these entities are new. The Elemental lords are a personification of the elements, common in modern paganism, and for an example Talos is also very simular to some ancient religious entities.

    So what are peoples thoughts on the matter? Am i "phony", or can i dare to take these thoughts seriously? Is there an aspect of the situation i'm not considering?
    I think that one can take that admiration as far as they like. It's personal choice what one believes, regardless of whether others do or do not also believe - as long as your beliefs are your own and you aren't pushing them unfairly down the throats of others or allowing them to dictate a radical deviation in your ability to function as a member of society or a member of your family. I suppose, although I'm not a Wiccan and don't necessarily agree with anything in the Rede, it could be said, "an it harms none, do what thou wilt".

    There are members on this forum who work with otherwise "fictional" deities, spirits, etc. In fact, we have one member who is a dedicant of Toothless the dragon from the film, "How To Train Your Dragon".

    No one has the right to tell you that it's "wrong, phony, etc.". If it brings you satisfaction then go for it.

    I've been attracted to aspects of various fictional universes, but I've never attempted to work with them at all because I differentiate between so-called "fictional" creations and established mythologies - that being said, Medusa and others have made a great point in that it could be said that all religions stemmed from something that someone essentially "just made up" based upon a combination of their personal experiences, perceptions of the world around them, cultures, etc. What is the ultimate difference between a mythological archetype and a modern fictional creation that emulates that archetype? One could argue intent behind the creation of the fictional emulation - but I believe that with enough belief and energy poured into it, such an "entity" could theoretically evolve into an Egregore. At that point, hypothetically, the intent surrounding its "invention" no longer matters.

    I think that Star Wars' Jedi concept has a great deal to offer as a philosophy and ideology if not a literal interpretation of The Force as a natural unseen source of power within the Universe. I don't know that it's fair to say that we can better prove the existence of something simply because it's been around longer and has been practiced longer when talking about metaphysical concepts that cannot be definitively measured - I do, however, believe that the line may become blurred when it comes to what separates actual metaphysical phenomena from imagination.

    Either way, if worshiping Tolkien's Valar or the Elder Scrolls' Akatosh gives one fulfillment, then they should be allowed to explore that paradigm without being ridiculed for it, even if the majority of people around them don't agree.

    For reference, there are a great number of books written about the underlying religious themes within the Star Wars anthology:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...ars%20religion

  2. #42
    PF Ordo Hereticus MaskedOne's Avatar
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    Re: Fiction and Religion

    Star Wars has a Jedi dinosaur. Exempting that I'm not sure more than 10 people on the site know of this point beyond the fact that it's a point of trivia that I have far too much fun with, that fact alone should elevate its standing above mere fiction on weight of sheer, concentrated awesome.

    Okay, I'm done being a Star Wars geek for the next 30 seconds. You may all return to your regular business.
    "It is not simply enough to know the light…a Jedi must feel the tension between the two sides of the Force…in himself and in the universe."
    ―Thon

    "When to the Force you truly give yourself, all you do expresses the truth of who you are,"

    Yoda

    Yoda told stories, and ate, and cried, and laughed: and the Padawans saw that life itself was a lightsaber in his hands; even in the face of treachery and death and hopes gone cold, he burned like a candle in the darkness. Like a star shining in the black eternity of space.

    Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

    "But those men who know anything at all about the Light also know that there is a fierceness to its power, like the bare sword of the law, or the white burning of the sun." Suddenly his voice sounded to Will very strong, and very Welsh. "At the very heart, that is. Other things, like humanity, and mercy, and charity, that most good men hold more precious than all else, they do not come first for the Light. Oh, sometimes they are there; often, indeed. But in the very long run the concern of you people is with the absolute good, ahead of all else..."

    John Rowlands, The Grey King by Susan Cooper

    "You come from the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve", said Aslan. "And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth; be content."

    Aslan, Prince Caspian by CS Lewis



  3. #43
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Fiction and Religion

    Quote Originally Posted by Aikadon View Post
    How far can you take admiring a fictional tradition or religion?
    You can take it as far as you like.

    I should add the caveat of 'within legal limits' or something like that but that is really up to the individual person. If one wished to sacrifice to Namira and eat the flesh of the sacrificed person then that would be one's religious and spiritual prerogative... the morality and legality (and ensuing consequences) are of course questionable, but people do a lot of socially unacceptable things in the name of religion. And of course I say all that with tongue firmly in cheek... but it illustrates my point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aikadon View Post
    Personally, I feel like I qdmire the Jedi faith, and some of its philosophy and practice, so to have it bluntly called "Phony" before my eyes was... uncomfortable. And i have long since meditated on the Titan faith, the holy light, and the Elemental lords of the Warcraft universe, as well as the worship of the Nine Divines from the Elder Scrolls universe.
    I think that certain fictional faiths have a lot to offer in terms of serving as the foundation for a spiritual system. Sometimes even moreso than currently existing faiths, simply because they have been created and idealised by someone who has spent a great deal of time and energy on the process. And then a fanbase has come along, fleshed them out and given them life, so to speak. There is absolutely nothing invalid or phony about that at all, in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aikadon View Post
    Is it... Wrong? Unmotivated? "Phony? To believe in, pray to, meditate on, or even worship beings depicted by humans in popular culture? I'm thinking, it's not like these entities are new. The Elemental lords are a personification of the elements, common in modern paganism, and for an example Talos is also very simular to some ancient religious entities.
    If you are a pantheist, absolutely not. Using a fictional deity as the interface through which you interact with the Divine is not at all wrong or unmotivated. I would argue that there is very little difference between that and using an established mythological deity as the interface.

    If you are a hard polytheist then it is a little trickier, because we could argue that fictional deities do not have a literal presence in Thisworld or the Otherworlds. BUT... as a hard polytheist I absolutely believe that the consistent and widespread belief and worship of fictional deities creates egregores. Essentially, if enough people believe in and worship a figure like Zenithar, then a being will come into existence who embodies everything that a) the Elder Scrolls series tells us about Zenithar, and b) everything that millions of people around the world feel and experience when they meditate upon Zenithar. And at that point, who can argue that it is wrong to worship a being that actually 'exists'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aikadon View Post
    Am i "phony", or can i dare to take these thoughts seriously? Is there an aspect of the situation i'm not considering?
    You are not phony at all. Aside from everything else that I've said, there is actually a well established neo-pagan tradition of working with fictional and pop-culture figures. It is certainly not a new concept and is something that is becoming more and more widespread. The momentum is already there... in ten or twenty or fifty years time, these beings are going to be just as 'real' as any deity from ancient mythology.

  4. #44
    Copper Member Aeran's Avatar
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    Re: Fiction and Religion

    Although I would love to see an example of people manipulating the biomagnetic field to the same degree with biofeedback.
    I wasn't trying to be snide here, I really would like to see any material on that.

  5. #45
    Sr. Member Ektor's Avatar
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    Re: Fiction and Religion

    I believe that anything that can make you feel connected to something bigger and more spiritual is valid as a religious symbol. Religions are just representations, anyway.

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