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'Small Gods' and 'Divine Misfortune'

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posted on May, 15 2010 @ 11:48 AM
For some reason I have been reading alot of fiction that deals with gods and how they effect how humans act. I'm a big Warhammer 40,000 nerd and read alot of the fiction on that. But lately I have read a lot of Terry Pratchett, and a book called Divine Misfortune(DM from here on out) by A. Lee Martinez. The two authors have a common view of gods in that they derive great powers from worship and then more often then not forget to care about the source of the power ie. us mortals. That is about where it ends. In DM the gods once created never really go away and there is no mention on monotheistic faith. The gods can lose almost all power but never really go away. On Discworld the gods can be promoted, demoted, or not exist at all, only to pop back into existence when some one needs them again. In DM the gods seem to have defined, classic roles and domains. On the Disk a god can some from anywhere, including the god of things that get suck in drawers.

So this brings me, one who is not at all convinced by gods at all, to wonder: Are gods able to exist by thought alone? If they are, would random occurrence in a believer's life be attributed to the god? Does a belief in gods awaken a latent power in humans?

Let me explore the above questions, and then I would like to see that all of you think.

Q: Are gods able to exist by thought alone?

I think so. you cannot disprove a negative. For people like me who like to take apart a bigots argument that God allows for say the persecution of a race or other religion you get to a point where the bigot assumes that you are questioning the existence of God and says to you "Well why don't you just go out and prove that God does not exist then!" They know, or rather should know, you can't. I cannot say for sure that God does not exist because it might. God may have a body and may look human and may do all kinds of things to stay hidden, or not. So working from that point you can safely say that ALL gods exist, from Thor god of thunder to Buggerit the goddess of paper cuts and hang nails. If you suddenly have something happen in your life, assign a god to it, become a prophet and boom a god is born. Gods are a way of really assigning blame to sense less events. Why did grandma fall down and break her hip? Was it because age had taken her balance and strength? Or was it a divine judgement?

Q: If gods exist, would a random occurance in a believer's life be attributed to the god?

A: Yes. What do the deeply religious say when mechanical failure causes an accident, or any other seemingly random event, that kills a person? More often then not, it is a variation of 'It was His will'. Really? The mechanical failure was Gods doing? Would it not just have been that the owner of the vehicle never got it serviced and the breaks failed? This one almost answers its self.

Q: Does a belief in gods awaken a latent power in humans?

A: This one is not so cut and dry for me. I think so, but am not sure. I have memories of my Nan (My wife's grandmother) who was deeply faithful. She had horrid medical problems and never once did I hear her complain. She knew that she was in gods hands. She was 89 years old when she passed, and up until the day she died she was thinking of others. I know everyone says that, but she was. She knew all 76 people in our family's birthdays, names, and addresses, she made sure she updated her book and come hell or high water, this woman would make sure she got to the post office to mail out Christmas and birthday cards for every one. She could not walk after the age of 78. I cannot remember my own fathers birthday, and have no idea what my mothers address is. You see the church going old ladies who always seem to have the time to knit sweaters for the homeless or cook meals for the needy. They will do amazing things on faith alone. What I am unsure of is whether or not this same feeling of faith could cause the species to under go some sort of psychic transformation.

I am sorry about the walls of text. Please tell me what you think.

posted on May, 15 2010 @ 11:48 AM
Wiki entry for Faith healing. I don't think it can be brought on by an outside source, but that it comes from with in.

This is as close as I could get to a list of gods

Diskworld gods

Divine misfortune

Sorry all of the above are wiki entries, but I need to make lunch for my kids, will edit soon.

EDIT1: Added links

[edit on 15-5-2010 by Obinhi]

posted on May, 15 2010 @ 12:50 PM
reply to post by Obinhi
Yesterday, I took the car to pick up a piece of furniture. I saw an old lady and, for some reason, stopped to ask if she was OK. Turned out she'd gotten lost so I offered her a lift. After picking up my stuff, she told me she'd been visiting the graves of her daughter and husband. She was 88 and lived about 8 miles away and told me about herself on the way. She was religious...Carmalite I think.

As I was dropping her off, she explained how her daughter had died at 14 in her sleep. She said her daughter had sent me to ensure she made it home safely and hoped I'd be blessed in my days. To be honest, I found the whole thing quite moving and borderline eerie. She was a lovely lady and left a sprig of dried flowers from the graves to remember her.

The reason I mention this is because it addresses your questions in a personal way. Her belief in God was confirmed...her thoughts lent subjective reality to God. Your question about 'random occurrences' is sorta answered by her sense that not only God, but her daughter had been active in helping her. When she got home, her faith was stronger than when she left.

Slightly off-topic, I'm a fan of Pratchett too. I think it was around the release of Small Gods that he began to attract deserved critical acclaim in the UK.

posted on May, 15 2010 @ 07:22 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Curious, Did you feel god move you to do that or were you just being nice? Is there a difference? Thank you for sharing.

posted on May, 16 2010 @ 01:50 AM
reply to post by Obinhi
I was being a gentleman, but there was a sense of the inexplicable about it all. For some reason, probably my imagination, it seemed somehow meaningful.

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