Kahuna Burger said:I'd say you're missing the point, but its looks more likely that you're ducking it.
Actually, it looks like you are missing the point.
The cleric class represents divine casters... casters who derive their powers through some form of spirituality.
No, the class represents those who have divinely obtained powers. Spirituality doesn't enter into the equation at all. One could easily be a D&D cleric with no spirituality of any sort, so long as one had a divine power from which your powers spring.
The actual descriptions of divine power indicate that sentient dieties are only one source of it. There are numerous real world examples of diety free spirituality. Saying that they could only be represented by a magic free npc class is saying in almost so many words that "they aren't real religions". Its insulting and serves no purpose.
No, it says that they aren't best reflected by the Catholic church inspired deity driven class used by D&D. Your narrow view (all people who are spritiual must be clerics) blinds you to the fact that spirituality is not the exclusive province of clerics. In point of fact, clerics should be the exception, not the rule, like all PC classes. In point of fact, most individuals of a psiritual bent should be Experts or something similar, because clerics are rare to begin with. Assuming that certain spiritual devotions are better represented by classes other than the cleric isn't insulting them, it is reflecting the fact that the cleric class doesn't fit all spiritual paths, many would be better reflected by a a cadre of educated experts, or monks of various stripes, or adepts, among other choices.
With the exception of faith healers and other frauds, there aren't a lot of real world traditions that claim to give access to planned, controllable bursts of supernatural energy.
Have you read Exodus recently? Most of the classic clerical spells in D&D are drawn from there.
Therefore, NO religion should have "in D&D terms" spellcasting power. So I guess clerics don't exist... In fact, cleric is a class. Its used to represent a) a certain style of magic and b) a certain kind of character. I and others have easily fit characters unconcerned with gods, or even rejecting of gods into both the mechanics and flavor of the class with no problem.
You may think it does, but, of course, the designers of the Scarred Lands, Greyhawk, and Forgotten Realms disagree with you. A godless cleric may be technically permitted by the rules of the game, but they don't fit the character class design at all.