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Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#21

Bellarom Wrote: I think everybody is familiar with this. God bad, religion of any kind bad, church bad, bla bla bla. It got boring pretty fast, franky.

When will I read a story where the established church in a story is actually good? I haven't found even one so far. Why do the gods have to be bad, can't they help the beings they created? Why do they have to be always sadistic bastards? Why does the church have to be bad? The god in the story can give blessings to the priests, for example, which enables them to heal people or remove curses. Let's say they get more power from the blessing, the more pious they are.

Authors always just like to create cheap antagonists with little creativty. Oh, the fantasy world's church is bad? How original.

Another thing, which relates to isekais where the MC meets the god/goddess: you won't be an insolent fool in front of someone that can give you endless torture. Seriously why do people write this? Is it because of all the japanese novels that do this? Think about it, it makes no sense. At most, it can establish that the MC is immensely arrogant or fearless, but that never reflects further in the story.

This is just a rant after years of not seeing any change. The fact that it's always the same probably means that nobody will agree with me, but now that I got this out of me, I don't care


Your argument does not apply at all to my story, therefore your argument is invalid. 
If you'd like to know why, I'd encourage you to read my book rather than divulge spoilers. 
Than you for the easy victory to your debate. 

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#22

Bellarom Wrote: I think everybody is familiar with this. God bad, religion of any kind bad, church bad, bla bla bla. It got boring pretty fast, franky.

When will I read a story where the established church in a story is actually good? I haven't found even one so far. Why do the gods have to be bad, can't they help the beings they created? Why do they have to be always sadistic bastards? Why does the church have to be bad? The god in the story can give blessings to the priests, for example, which enables them to heal people or remove curses. Let's say they get more power from the blessing, the more pious they are.

Authors always just like to create cheap antagonists with little creativty. Oh, the fantasy world's church is bad? How original.

Another thing, which relates to isekais where the MC meets the god/goddess: you won't be an insolent fool in front of someone that can give you endless torture. Seriously why do people write this? Is it because of all the japanese novels that do this? Think about it, it makes no sense. At most, it can establish that the MC is immensely arrogant or fearless, but that never reflects further in the story.

This is just a rant after years of not seeing any change. The fact that it's always the same probably means that nobody will agree with me, but now that I got this out of me, I don't care
I had no idea what "fedora-tipping atheism" even meant until I google searched it. I mean, I knew it was a hat, but I didn't get the reference. So it's kinda like an insult towards atheists. Cool...


Now, I won't go into the argument about religion being bad or good since, as many have pointed out, history is the best example for that. I personally don't think anything falls completely in one spectrum...

But I don't think it's atheism that's making the fantasy gods and religion boring. It's a system of belief, just like any religion. And I doubt if half the people writing god bad stories are truly atheist. Now certainly, you can dislike a certain trope, but you can't really call it boring. It's just your personal taste that many others might not share. If it's really boring, it has nothing to do with one's belief. The answer probably lies elsewhere. I don't know, like... poor and lazy storytelling??? 

I thought, at least as a writer, that much was obvious...

As for originality, nowadays most everything has been done before, so nothing is probably original anyway. It's just the writer's skill in moulding the tropes that makes a story good or bad. If you want originality, at least, fantasy isn't the place to look for. Originality doesn't lie in the concept, rather how you present them...

As for endless torture, I don't think that's something that a "morally good" god would do. Tricking the gods, arguing with them, even sometimes downright insulting them isn't really first introduced by the Japanese LNs. The Greek, Norse, Hindu, mainly the polytheistic religions had such stories. Though it usually never ended well for the mortal tricksters, sometimes they did come out with the last laugh...

And I think though the majority are those god bad, church bad stories, there are still many with good gods and religions. Especially, among those Japanese LNs, where the gods actively help out the isekaid person(and no, not just chaos or evil gods). If you haven't found stories with good gods, maybe you haven't tried looking...

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#26

Ramingo Wrote: History has shown what? That religion is bad? peoconfused
Didn't know that religion has free will and did those atrocities on its own.  DrakanBook

Anyway, entirely good or bad gods are boring, but I doubt that has anything to do with atheism and more with people just being bad writers or not bothering to do some research.
A thing doesn't have to have agency to be bad.  From the perspective of humans cyanide is bad, even though from the point of view of plants it's just a pesticide, and not a super-effective one either.

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#27
I do not know about what can be found in the webnovel isekai world, but I have a traditionally published recommendation for you:

The Mistborn trilogy, by Brandon Sanderson, has some very, very interesting things to say on the matter of religion, which I am afraid I cannot spoil. It does take place in a world with an oppressive "church."

After a prophesied hero failed, a dark lord has ruled over the world for a thousand years, setting up all sorts of organization to enforce his rule. He declares himself to be a sliver of infinity, and the god of the people. Among the main cast of characters, there is some very interesting religious discussion. The MCs hate the dark lord, and are therefore technically atheist, but there is a character who is trying to convert everyone to religions that existed prior to the ascension of the dark lord.

I should also note, that the author is definitely not an atheist.

This is only one small part of that absolutely awesome book series. I am leaving out things about other awesome characters, the awesome magic system, etc. It will likely become a movie maybe five years from now. I highly recommend.

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#28

Half Wrote: To give my perspective on the "why" question:

I think the logical outcome of most murder-hobo level-grinders is demi-god status. It really can't end up anyplace else without a hard cap. So, at that level, the only viable things left to fight are gods. Now, no matter how much of a cold-blooded murder-hobo the protagonist is, most readers would probably frown on killing a nice, helpful and peaceful god just for the sake of more levels. So the God needs to be evil, or at least bad enough that nobody cares much if they get offed for the sake of the MC's level-up.


Is this cookie cutter story really what constitutes as a plot with webnovels? Copying the progression of a D&D campaign? Perhaps the problem is not that a nice religion gets in the way but this very rigid story structure isn't allowing for more interesting plots.

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#29

WasatchWind Wrote: The MCs hate the dark lord, and are therefore technically atheist
I'm not quite sure, but I thought atheism doesn't mean hating the god, but not believing in its existence. To hate something, you have to believe it exists. Of course, I'm not talking about the dark lord in The Mistborn Trilogy(I love that series btw), cause the protagonists believed that he was no god but just another person with too much power. I'm talking about the general belief system...

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#30

sunandshadow Wrote:
Ramingo Wrote: History has shown what? That religion is bad? peoconfused
Didn't know that religion has free will and did those atrocities on its own.  DrakanBook

Anyway, entirely good or bad gods are boring, but I doubt that has anything to do with atheism and more with people just being bad writers or not bothering to do some research.
A thing doesn't have to have agency to be bad.  From the perspective of humans cyanide is bad, even though from the point of view of plants it's just a pesticide, and not a super-effective one either.
It's the use that is bad, not the thing itself.   DrakanFascinating

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#31
"I want to add; it's true from the arcaeological evidence that the aztecs did practice human sacrifice, but don't forget who recorded these rituals."

Hmm, so the rites were documented by archeological excavation, which found pits and lake bottoms filled with the remains of sacrificial victims, not by the written accounts they themselves left. Also by the artworks left by the Aztecs and celebrated on their public buildings. They were quite smitten with the concept of ritual killing. They invented soccer, which used a human head to kick about, and ended with the beheading of the loosing team.  The ritual murder of state enemies, virgins, children, animals, so on is pretty much the result of most magical thinking used to "placate" nature in its various deified manifestations worldwide, and a formalized method of social control and subjugation gleefully used by many early civilizations, though few with the zest and abandon of the Aztecs. I guess some group had to come out the winner in the ritual murder sweepstakes, and it seems the Aztecs broke the tape.  Old testament accounts show a proclivity for slitting the throats of bulls, goats and other large animals, Island cultures preferred chickens and such, likely due to the scarcity of husbanded larger animals. Factually, humans like to celebrate the kill, regardless. Today we have taxidermy and mount the heads, etc. (for no apparent religious reason).

All this aside, most modern religions abjure these methods of control, at least at the ritual level. Such ritual killing and mass murder is now an exclusive function of political bodies that are largely separated from theosophic underpinnings, though individuals and small groups still take that burden upon themselves.

In any case, it is still a rich well of inspiration for many writers and some genres can't seem to exist without soaking in it.

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#32

I Wrote:
WasatchWind Wrote: The MCs hate the dark lord, and are therefore technically atheist
I'm not quite sure, but I thought atheism doesn't mean hating the god, but not believing in its existence. To hate something, you have to believe it exists. Of course, I'm not talking about the dark lord in The Mistborn Trilogy(I love that series btw), cause the protagonists believed that he was no god but just another person with too much power. I'm talking about the general belief system...


I apologize, I misworded my comment - yes, they are atheist because they don't believe he's God. 

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#33
I'm very glad to read this discussion of human religion here, both in historical accounts and the various fictions. It seems essential to world building, plot development and character crafting to work out theology, pantheon(s) and their scope of influence. It would be just as interesting to discuss alien religious beliefs, and even other-dimensional or mathematical religions. Plus, maybe it would help authors avoid the trope of the MC appearing in a dreadful hall of judgement so often.

Back in the day, I really enjoyed reading the “The Cleric Quintet” novels, so I think it’d be fascinating to read about a protagonist's adventure while experiencing an increasingly personal relationship with a deity. I’d like to read about an even more intimate one than the main character Cadderly enjoyed in Salvatore’s novel.

I’m also dead surprised that RR has clearly banned the discussion of religion ANYWHERE on their site, and yet... they rarely enforce one of their “Major Rules” of RR, as far as I can tell.

“Political and religious discussions are not allowed anywhere on the site. It just creates too many ill feelings, and our site is not the place to argue about these topics.” https://www.royalroad.com/support/faq

The fiction on RR is littered with religion, and readers are holding detailed discussions of it all the time. The power of argumentation will always show the merit of the words being said, so I disagree with RR’s stance, and even more so since they (apparently) rarely enforce their own major rule.

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#34

sunandshadow Wrote: On the other side of this issue I've seen a surprising lack of Isekaied people who actually are faced with danger if they even mention that they haven't heard of the official religion before.  Nor are there many situations where someone declares the MC out-caste/untouchable because they don't know the customs and rituals locals consider important.

Well I doubt most isekais are thinking much about that - it's something interesting that would happen if you time traveled to the middle ages - everyone would be extremely wary of you, because you don't have any connections to anyone. You have no family in the area, no lord, no land, etc. 

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#35

WasatchWind Wrote: Well I doubt most isekais are thinking much about that - it's something interesting that would happen if you time traveled to the middle ages - everyone would be extremely wary of you, because you don't have any connections to anyone. You have no family in the area, no lord, no land, etc.


Most people that pop up in an area with no connections are usually considered criminals or escaped slaves, etc., and are usually reported.

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#36
Art imitates art and so you end up getting a lot of the same.

There's a reason the word "trope" exists. Tropes can be hard to avoid because we're just so damn used to them, especially in writing. You read something enough and you start to internalize it and believe it blindly. We've all read the greats and the classics, and we take inspiration, whether we accept it or not.

Also there's some real world stuff mixed in there too. For some reason, it's really really hard to divorce reality and fiction nowadays.

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#37

WinterKing17874 Wrote:
WasatchWind Wrote: Well I doubt most isekais are thinking much about that - it's something interesting that would happen if you time traveled to the middle ages - everyone would be extremely wary of you, because you don't have any connections to anyone. You have no family in the area, no lord, no land, etc.


Most people that pop up in an area with no connections are usually considered criminals or escaped slaves, etc., and are usually reported.


Which is why it helps to enter the world as a certifiable badass.

You gonna be the 101st guard to fight (and die to) a man wielding nothing but a goddamned pencil?

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#38

RoboRoyoRoa Wrote: “Political and religious discussions are not allowed anywhere on the site. It just creates too many ill feelings, and our site is not the place to argue about these topics.” https://www.royalroad.com/support/faq

The fiction on RR is littered with religion, and readers are holding detailed discussions of it all the time. The power of argumentation will always show the merit of the words being said, so I disagree with RR’s stance, and even more so since they (apparently) rarely enforce their own major rule.
You're getting it wrong, bud. The political and religious discussion that are banned are the real-world religions and politics, and not the fictitious ones. Especially discussions that could potentially lead to insulting someone's religion or political views, which a member might find offensive and might pretty soon devolve into a catfight of curses and name-calling(It happens)...


That's why, this place prefers to stay out of those real-world troubles, though it isn't entirely avoidable. I for one, won't like the forum to become a toxic hell-hole and have no problem with that policy...

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#39

Ararara Wrote: In "Candelit Lives", I didn't get the feeling that the Gods were evil, or bad. Divine magic is used to heal, and Divine Paladins hunt Eldritch abominations across the land. We even met a God, for a short talk once, and she was nice.
Woohoo!


Shadow Wrote: It's rooted in Japanese Light Novels,
I'm not so sure about that.  Offhand, I can think of several examples:
  • By the Grace of the Gods
  • Cautious Hero
  • Didn't I say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life? 
  • KonoSuba: God's Blessing on this Wonderful World!
  • Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? 
And flipping over to anime, Dragonball and its successors.



Bellarom Wrote: When will I read a story where the established church in a story is actually good? I haven't found even one so far.
Going through my favorites list, I can find many instances where the organized religion or god/goddess was benevolent, either generally or to the protagonist:
  • Eight
  • Fire and Blood
  • Little Devil
  • Forgotten
  • Legion, God of Monsters
  • Three Lifetimes
  • Dark Skies
  • Lament of the Fallen
There are others where it's a bit of a mixed bag.  In Loki's Honor sets up two of the gods as antagonist to the protagonist, but the rest are neutral or benevolent (esp. some of the recent stuff).  In Valediction, the premise of the story is a hero refused his goddess' demand, and so she punished him, leading into chapter 1; it's unclear whether the goddess is good or bad; is she good because she enforced the rules she set out ("obey me or be punished") or is she bad because she demanded something the hero refused to do? 

In any event, the fact that you haven't read (or can't recall reading) a story where the gods or church are viewed positively suggests that whatever methodology you use to root around the barrel of stories that is Royal Road tends to lead you to selecting stories where gods or the church are viewed negatively.  Admittedly, you probably just had some stress to vent, and you feel better now, but you ought to consider whether you need to mix up your methodology. 

Re: Your fedora-tipping atheism makes your fantasy gods boring

#40

I Wrote:
RoboRoyoRoa Wrote: “Political and religious discussions are not allowed anywhere on the site. It just creates too many ill feelings, and our site is not the place to argue about these topics.” https://www.royalroad.com/support/faq

The fiction on RR is littered with religion, and readers are holding detailed discussions of it all the time. The power of argumentation will always show the merit of the words being said, so I disagree with RR’s stance, and even more so since they (apparently) rarely enforce their own major rule.
You're getting it wrong, bud. The political and religious discussion that are banned are the real-world religions and politics, and not the fictitious ones. Especially discussions that could potentially lead to insulting someone's religion or political views, which a member might find offensive and might pretty soon devolve into a catfight of curses and name-calling(It happens)...


That's why, this place prefers to stay out of those real-world troubles, though it isn't entirely avoidable. I for one, won't like the forum to become a toxic hell-hole and have no problem with that policy...
Agreed. This is a meta-discussion about how stories portray religion, which is suitable for a forum about writing, not some discussion about the relative merits of Rastafarianism and Old Order Mennonites (the former has better music, the latter better pastries).
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