Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Versus Istar

Neat little picture.

This article says nonsense.

Religion is a funny thing. It has to adopt to the times to survive.

I remember when I was in a particular religious study, they were discussing that Jesus was not accepted by the Jewish at the time because they were waiting for two kings; one a religious figure, which Jesus fit, and the other, a warrior king to throw the imperial rule of the Romans off them. It wasn't something I had heard before then, but they had a wide body of literature and theories to back their belief.

Since then I've seen a lot of studies that discuss how saints and angels are actually the incorporated gods and goddesses of the various countries that the Christian Church has occupied.

Time has a way of changing things in order to be more appealing to the people that practice it. Slavery for example, isn't something we have as a legal entity. Sure, we could argue the semantics of it back and forth in terms of having to have a job, and having to have enough money to survive and not work 80 hours a week, but hopefully no one has to worry about being whipped or beaten to death at work. Although boxers and people who work in the S&M may have something else to say about that.

Anyway, in terms of slavery, unless I"m really misremembering my bible, it's in there. There's even a whole section in there about how to treat your slaves.

Not something that comes up in every day conversation about the bible I'm sure.

It is one of the reasons why those who don't necessarily follow the bible, often want more than just "the bible says so" in terms of convincing arguments. The bible says a LOT of things. It's a very old book. It tried to cover a lot of ground for its time and still has a lot of relevance to many millions of people.

But as you can see above, in the whole Ishtar and Easter bit, we've still got a lot of theories on how things all work out.

In role playing games, it can be more difficult to do this. Many games have modern sensibilities despite their technological backward settings.  Any race or religion or culture that endorses slavery? Probably not going to be on the good guys side. Drow, orcs, and hobgoblins aren't traditionally the good guys and this is reflected in the evil things they do like have slaves.

But in terms of having symbolism and deities have all of these different culture elements incorporated into them, it can be more difficult in a setting like the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk say, where the deities are actual entities. Would you put up with the dilution of your church in terms of someone changing your portfolios, symbols, and other elements? It's pretty much an bypass in terms of games that do this. It's not dungeon crawl enough.

When setting up your own campaigns, think about the impact that the deities and the social norms have on the setting not only in terms of adventure, but how they interact with the rules. Dungeons and Dragons, despite being the backbone of the industry (or Pathfinder), has its simplicity knobs in alignment and when acts are evil, like slavery, despite their widespread use in the ancient world, and parts of the world today, the two do not mix unless you have a lot of buy in from the players.

Someone playing a paladin for example in a culture where slavery is normal? Is that really a lawful good person? It's best to discuss what the appropriate roles and opinions of such elements are and how they can impact the players enjoyment of the setting and how they interact with it.

For those who celebrate the holiday, enjoy it! For those who don't, enjoy, what is turning out in Chicago at least, to be a beautiful day.