D&D General Nay-Theists Vs. Flat-Earth Atheists in D&D Worlds

Voadam

Legend
In D&D I'd say the strongest consistent defining feature is the granting of clerical magic.

I know you are conflating any magic as no practical difference but not all gods can make pacts with warlocks and not all warlock entities can grant cleric magic (Asmodeus as both god and arch-devil in some cosmologies should conceptually be able to to do both). There are things warlocks can do that clerics can not and vice versa even if there is some overlap. That is a practical difference that will be perceptible in world.

It is similar to rangers and paladins, both are magically empowered warriors, but there are practical differences.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
In D&D I'd say the strongest consistent defining feature is the granting of clerical magic.

I know you are conflating any magic as no practical difference but not all gods can make pacts with warlocks and not all warlock entities can grant cleric magic (Asmodeus as both god and arch-devil in some cosmologies should conceptually be able to to do both). There are things warlocks can do that clerics can not and vice versa even if there is some overlap. That is a practical difference that will be perceptible in world.

It is similar to rangers and paladins, both are magically empowered warriors, but there are practical differences.
Oh, no, I recognize that there are differences between warlock magic and cleric magic. What I’m trying to get at is the practical difference between the entities that grant those magics. If a god is defined as an entity that grants cleric magic and cleric magic is defined as magic granted by a god, that’s circular logic. But if cleric magic is defined as magic granted by a god and godhood is defined by some intrinsic property of the gods’s nature (which ai propose to be having a broad base of mortal worship), that’s logically coherent.

If instead cleric magic is defined by some factor intrinsic to the magic itself, and godhood is defined by the capability to grant cleric magic... Well, I suppose that’s logically coherent, if somewhat unintuitive. But then someone who believes a god is actually just a warlock patron could be proven wrong by a cleric of that god just... Doing some cleric magic... So in that context, nay-theists couldn’t exist, as the denial of an entity’s godhood would definitionally be in defiance of falsifiable evidence and therefore be flat-earth atheism. Is that the position you’re trying to argue? That types of magic are defined by their own intrinsic properties and godhood is defined by the sort of magic a supernatural being grants? That seems... backwards to me...
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Right, so the worship of gods has various benefits, including potentially what afterlife you’ll go to, and the gaining of divine magic. The worship is still what’s defining the difference.
This is a big deal, though. Titania can't change where I go when I die, but Correlon can. And not necessarily just through me worshipping him. He could bring me to Arvandor because I lived in a way that fits with what he's all about, and he wants me to join the Seldarine, even though I worshiped no one, or worshiped place and ancestor spirits, or whatever. Only gods can do that. Not even devils. Devils can trap a soul by it's own agreement to go to hell when it dies, but they can't intercede and take souls because they want them, they need special circumstances.
Ok, this one’s not bad. In some settings, gods can hear prayers from their worshipers or otherwise sense things related to their portfolio. I’m not sure this is necessarily unique to gods - can a warlock patron hear their warlock’s invocations of their name, or sense when their warlock uses their power? I’m inclined to say yes, but it is probably setting-dependent. It’s also tied to worship, so I’m inclined to file this under “benefits of worshipping a god” in settings where it’s present.
But here you are stretching the case to get it to reach your position. Titania can hear her name being invoked, sure. Lots of powers can. Mystra and Correllon both know when arcane magic is being used. Sehanine knows when someone is hunting by moonlight. Thor hears every lightning strike and every storm. Odin knows when a king or other leader is being hanged or when there are war dead to choose.

Gods don't have to be invited, invoked, summoned, or otherwise willfully interacted with by mortals, they can just manifest their will into the world at will. Archfey, great elder wyrms, archdevils, demon princes, etc, need that invitation or invocation.

To put it another way, it's not a benefit of worship. You don't have to worship Kord for Kord to know that you're staring into the eye of a storm or challenging a Frost Giant to wrestle. He knows because he is Kord, god of storms and of might and of striving against great challenges. He might bless you even though you are a nay-theist, what does he care? You sailed, laughing in challenge, into the eye of the storm, and survived. That merits a reward, if he is in the right mood. He's a god, he'll do as he pleases.
nay-theists couldn’t exist, as the denial of an entity’s godhood would definitionally be in defiance of falsifiable evidence and therefore be flat-earth atheism
I think you got that backward. The nay-theist doesn't care that the god exists and is indeed a god. The whole point is that the nay-theist acknowledges that the gods are real and are really gods, and believes that they shouldn't be worshiped anyway.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
This is a big deal, though. Titania can't change where I go when I die, but Correlon can. And not necessarily just through me worshipping him. He could bring me to Arvandor because I lived in a way that fits with what he's all about, and he wants me to join the Seldarine, even though I worshiped no one, or worshiped place and ancestor spirits, or whatever. Only gods can do that. Not even devils. Devils can trap a soul by it's own agreement to go to hell when it dies, but they can't intercede and take souls because they want them, they need special circumstances.

But here you are stretching the case to get it to reach your position. Titania can hear her name being invoked, sure. Lots of powers can. Mystra and Correllon both know when arcane magic is being used. Sehanine knows when someone is hunting by moonlight. Thor hears every lightning strike and every storm. Odin knows when a king or other leader is being hanged or when there are war dead to choose.

Gods don't have to be invited, invoked, summoned, or otherwise willfully interacted with by mortals, they can just manifest their will into the world at will. Archfey, great elder wyrms, archdevils, demon princes, etc, need that invitation or invocation.

To put it another way, it's not a benefit of worship. You don't have to worship Kord for Kord to know that you're staring into the eye of a storm or challenging a Frost Giant to wrestle. He knows because he is Kord, god of storms and of might and of striving against great challenges. He might bless you even though you are a nay-theist, what does he care? You sailed, laughing in challenge, into the eye of the storm, and survived. That merits a reward, if he is in the right mood. He's a god, he'll do as he pleases.
Alright. These are pretty good definitions. Thank you.
I think you got that backward. The nay-theist doesn't care that the god exists and is indeed a god. The whole point is that the nay-theist acknowledges that the gods are real and are really gods, and believes that they shouldn't be worshiped anyway.
I don’t think acknowledgement that the gods are gods is a necessary condition of nay-theism as it’s been defined here. “I believe the things you call gods are real but I don’t believe they are gods” and “I believe the things you call gods are real and are gods but I won’t worship them” would both be versions of nay-theism. Flat-earth atheism is rejection of the existence of gods that factually and demonstrably exist, not the rejection of their godhood.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Alright. These are pretty good definitions. Thank you.

I don’t think acknowledgement that the gods are gods is a necessary condition of nature-theism as it’s been defined here. “I believe the things you call gods are real but I don’t believe they are gods” and “I believe the things you call gods are real and are gods but I won’t worship them” would both be versions of nay-theism. Flat-earth atheism is rejection of the existence of gods that factually and demonstrably exist, not the rejection of their godhood.
Right, but you said "the denial of an entity’s godhood would definitionally be in defiance of falsifiable evidence and therefore be flat-earth atheism". Denial of an entities godhood is nay-theism, in the "I believe the things you call gods are real but that they aren't gods" sense.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Right, but you said "the denial of an entity’s godhood would definitionally be in defiance of falsifiable evidence and therefore be flat-earth atheism". Denial of an entities godhood is nay-theism, in the "I believe the things you call gods are real but that they aren't gods" sense.
Ahh, I see. Yeah, you’re right, my logic failed there. In my defense, I had just woken up.
 

Iry

Hero
A usually overlooked aspect of any Theism in a fantasy setting like D&D is the persuasiveness of more powerful entities. This can be heavily influenced by setting (like Eberron), but there are far more powerful entities with enormous charisma in the Yes-Theism category than the No-Theism. PCs don't have to deal with this, of course, and high level arcanists can protect themselves, but the masses of low level people in the world are much more likely to get smacked with 20+ success persuasion rolls in favor of worshiping Gods/Devils/Whatever than there are entities throwing around those kind of successes and preaching Nay or Flat Earth.
 

Voadam

Legend
I think even though the divinity/sacredness is tough to define, it is the more core aspect to being a god than worship.

Generally most stories of the non-ascended gods have them as existing before worshippers. So Correlon and the Seldarine were gods before Gruumsh spilled Correlon's blood and the first elves who worshipped him were made.

I have seen campaigns where gods are literally the creations of worshipers, but that is not the standard D&D cosmology.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Ahh, I see. Yeah, you’re right, my logic failed there. In my defense, I had just woken up.
happens to all of us, every once in a while
A usually overlooked aspect of any Theism in a fantasy setting like D&D is the persuasiveness of more powerful entities. This can be heavily influenced by setting (like Eberron), but there are far more powerful entities with enormous charisma in the Yes-Theism category than the No-Theism. PCs don't have to deal with this, of course, and high level arcanists can protect themselves, but the masses of low level people in the world are much more likely to get smacked with 20+ success persuasion rolls in favor of worshiping Gods/Devils/Whatever than there are entities throwing around those kind of successes and preaching Nay or Flat Earth.
I'm not sure what you're saying here. Are you contending that the gods are walking up to people and evangelizing?
 

TheSword

Legend
Back to the wall of the faithless again! So soon? Feels like only months ago.

Who cares about the hair splitting of a very small section, of a very small section of players.

Most of my players don’t even care who the gods are.

Of those that do care about gods in a setting, how many actually care about being an atheist character.

Of the Atheist characters, how many actually care what type of atheist.

An atheist in a pantheisistic world seems like being a rebel without a cause.
 

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