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Religious Debate in the 41s millennium?


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#1 Darth Smeg

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 08:46 PM

I just finished The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, and I was fascinated by the zeal and even violence by which the various factions and orders within the Catholic Church disagreed on matter of theological doctrine.

In the book, there is a gathering between Fransescans and the Pope's envoys, discussing a disagreement of doctrine about whether or not Christ was poor. This would somehow determine the right of the church to meddle in secular matters, and as such was an important topic both to Pope and Emperor.

The debate descends into a regular fistfight, with the robed monks of several monastic orders insulting and kicking each other in a general melee and mayhem, and together with the tales of prosecution of large cults/factions for Heresy, people burnt on the stakes for refusing to accept that Jesus did not preach poverty left me quite amazed.

Now, I figured it would be amusing to make something like this the setting of a DH adventure, travel to some shrine-world to observe/participate/investigate a delegation in such a debate about doctrine. A debate about some insignificant aspect of a minor saints life or teachings, that descends into open warfare between orders within the Imperial Cult.

However, to which degree is anything up for debate within the Imperial Cult? Even if this debate was restricted to the ordained ministers of the cult itself? I know new saints are added all the time, so obviously the cult is alive and no static, finished thing.

Thoughts?


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#2 Bilateralrope

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 09:16 PM

The core rulebook, on page 263, says that there are many ways that people worship The Emperor. As long as He is the sole god that they worship*, the Ecclesiarchy tries to sanction their practises, no matter how bizarre they seem. It also makes an effort to make sure that preachers from one part of the galaxy don't mistake worship in another part for heresy.

 

But I also remember mention of a planet where two factions are in a religious war. Both worship The Emperor in a sanctioned manner, they just disagree on the details.

 

*And other details like hating Xenos.



#3 Snidesworth

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 11:33 PM

The Ecclesiarchy, by and large, is happy to let sanctioned cults come to blows over dogma provided it doesn't spiral out of control. This weeds out the week, strengthens both sides and if the Emperor favours one over the other then he shall make his will known in the outcome. Conflict is something the Imperial Creed has never shied away from.



#4 Gregorius21778

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 11:48 PM

Well, I think your core question ("How much is up for debate at all?") is the reason for the conflict.

Let´s get back to the real medivial example. One of the many reasons people where burned over "issues" like "did Christ teach poverty" would have been that the ruling party (in this case: catholic church) deemed threaten by the possible outcome ("He did! You do it wrong! Stop your worldly ambitions!") that it allowed burning those who had an other opinion.

Why should the imperial cult debate? 
They know that the can´t enforce a "unitarian line of everything", the wide wars would be to much of an effort. It the faction seems to have a "dangerous" doctrine (at least in the eye of the local bishop!) but rooting them out would be a feisty effort... you try debating first. 

If this doesn´t help at all... you have an eye on how things develop...

The other notion:
Perhaps it is a point the Bishop really does not care about ("Well... so the saint frowned about dogs...so what??") but the public (consisting of humans, and humans being what they are) deem it a matter worthy for dispute... and a fight!

In such a case, the Bishop might ignore things at first. A weak bishop will ignore things further (as they spiral out of control), a "strong" one might want to put things to an end... favouring one side over the other..for any reasen (personal; political, theological)

In this case, the discussion is in the part "before out of control".. if it EVER comes to "out of control"!

 



#5 Cifer

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 01:35 AM

I could see this happening on a local (i.e. planetary) scale, especially when it comes to local saints.Quivvar Nog from the IH is an excellent example, with some worlds adopting the 'sanitized' noble savage version and others arguing that the whole point of his life is that he's not your average Imperial clothed in a few well-tailored pelts. If one world was to have both versions in different regions, that might be reason for some heated debates.



#6 Jack of Tears

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 04:19 AM

But then you get into really sticky issues.  Consider a planet with a large mutant population do to the radiation in the local mines.  Considering the size of the population the local ministry is put in a difficult situation ... declairing the mutants enemies of the church and the empire may incite a riot ending in the bloody destruction of the temple itself.  

So the local bishop makes a radical decision and instead begins preaching acceptance and forgiveness toward the mutants ... proclaiming that even a mutant can be saved if he repents for his sins and accepts the Emperor - eternal living, eternal dying, savior of mankind, heart of salvation - into his heart. 

By doing so the Bishop prevents hostilities from boiling out of control and brings thousands of mutants into the fold ... indeed, because they had never expected to find forgiveness and acceptance, they become true and strong whorshipers, more believing and fanatical than most of the normal people on the planet.

But then along comes an Imperial census ship which discovers the blasphemy and reports it to the ecclesiarchy.  Does the church have the local ministry destroyed for heresy or accept what needed to be done in this situation and set a dangerous precident?

 



#7 Varnias Tybalt

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 06:19 AM

Also don't forget to consider the fringe Red Redemption. No matter how violent the Imperial Creed can seem in general, most ecclesiarchs dislike the Red redemption for their extreme views. Yet the red Redemption is a popular cult with many sympathizers, and they're all for the "burn, cleanse, purify!!"-line of thought, as .like it is a solution to every problem imaginable.

Im just saying that if you want a religious debate to spiral out of control, put in some Redemptionists, they are unhinged enough to make sure that violence will occur.



#8 Alasseo

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 10:20 AM

 It is worth noting that on many worlds the Redemption is a banned creed. However, even on such planets (like Necromunda) it can find a hold and flourish by hiding most of their stuff in lawless zones (like the underhive) and have the rest simply not admit that they are Redemptionists, but rather some other extremist cult (House Cawdor, for example).

I'm all for massive debate on pretty much any point on the Imperial Cult (having just been doing some reading into the Monophysite Controversy, after reading David Drake's Belisarius novels), and indeed conflict on any point, up to and including open warfare between two differing sects on maybe sub-sector scale before the Adeptus Terra has to try and put a stop to it. I'd note that the cardinal in charge of any particular diocese may decide to intervene sooner (and on a lower scale, a bishop, if it flares up in his bishopric etc.), but probably won't in cases less extreme than say, limited nuclear warfare and/or general conventional warfare engulfing a continent.


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#9 Rheist

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 10:48 AM

Varnias Tybalt said:

Also don't forget to consider the fringe Red Redemption. No matter how violent the Imperial Creed can seem in general, most ecclesiarchs dislike the Red redemption for their extreme views. Yet the red Redemption is a popular cult with many sympathizers, and they're all for the "burn, cleanse, purify!!"-line of thought, as .like it is a solution to every problem imaginable.

Im just saying that if you want a religious debate to spiral out of control, put in some Redemptionists, they are unhinged enough to make sure that violence will occur.

Couldn't agree more.  Some "devout" worshipers of the Emperor are just more militaristic than others, and throwing them all in the mix together might guarantee fun and fisticuffs.



#10 Varnias Tybalt

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 11:15 AM

Rheist said:

 

Couldn't agree more.  Some "devout" worshipers of the Emperor are just more militaristic than others, and throwing them all in the mix together might guarantee fun and fisticuffs.

fun and fisticuffs meaning lot's of swinging Eviscerators and firebelching Flamers.



#11 Bilateralrope

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 12:29 PM

Jack of Tears said:

But then you get into really sticky issues.  Consider a planet with a large mutant population do to the radiation in the local mines.  Considering the size of the population the local ministry is put in a difficult situation ... declairing the mutants enemies of the church and the empire may incite a riot ending in the bloody destruction of the temple itself.  

So the local bishop makes a radical decision and instead begins preaching acceptance and forgiveness toward the mutants ... proclaiming that even a mutant can be saved if he repents for his sins and accepts the Emperor - eternal living, eternal dying, savior of mankind, heart of salvation - into his heart. 

By doing so the Bishop prevents hostilities from boiling out of control and brings thousands of mutants into the fold ... indeed, because they had never expected to find forgiveness and acceptance, they become true and strong whorshipers, more believing and fanatical than most of the normal people on the planet.

But then along comes an Imperial census ship which discovers the blasphemy and reports it to the ecclesiarchy.  Does the church have the local ministry destroyed for heresy or accept what needed to be done in this situation and set a dangerous precident?

How did this mutant population suddenly go from not existing to being large enough to cause a riot ?

If the mutation is caused by chemicals or radiation, then it will take years before there are enough mutants for them to riot. Plenty of time to kill the mutants as they appear. If the mutant labour is still useful, they can still become a lower class who only works in the worst of the mines (which happened on Serphis Secundus, which is where the third mission of Purge The Unclean is set). If the Bishop preaches tolerance in this case he will be burnt for Heresy.

 

If the mutation is caused by the warp, then the mutants are a symptom of a more serious problem. Exterminatus is probably the solution.



#12 Ignayus

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 02:39 PM

Speaking of Redemptionist, I believe in the core rule book that Arch-Deacon Ludmilla is trying to gain the Ecclisarcy's favor and support for the movement, although instead of smooth-talking and passing on a considerable amount of thrones for charity, she leaves wagons full of bar-b-que'd heretics at the front door of the Church.

While usefull, I would think that some in the church may go to believe that the wanton and careless violence expressed by the Redemptionist may be chaos tainted (I could see Khornite groups working with or through them) or Ludmilla openly accuse the church on scintilla for being "to weak against the multitude of heresy's committed every day".  That and throw in some twisted Thorian logic here (i.e. Ludmilla being the next Sebastian Thor) and you got a circus of WTF to please the whole family.



#13 Darth Smeg

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 08:17 PM

I've opened up a can of worms! Good. Glad I did :)

This is too good a hook not to use.

An assembly of various cults, fractions and orders gathers on the shrine world of Terklus VII to determine the True and Orthodox history of St. Manicius defeat of the warboss Gruff'naw. Did he wield his chainsword left or right handed? Paintings and writings from the crusade give conflicting evidence (he was in fact ambidextrous), and this is an important matter of doctrine as it determines the layout of temples, the seating order of formal events and the arrangements of militant orders on parades, and probably many other and perhaps more important things amongst the faithful.

The Acolytes are sent to either:

 - Investigate one or more parties for possible heresy. Would this be the mandate of the Inquisition, or the Ecclessiarchys own inquisitors?

 - Protect a priest attending. Maybe a friend of their own Inquisitor or his allies

 - Investigate a string of bizzare, ritualistic murders suspected of an occult connection. Their investigation brings them into conflict with one or more parties of the debate

 - They have their own reasons for being on location, not related to the religious debate at all. An ongoing investigation of another kind, and then they get trapped in the turmoil.

As tempers rise, perhaps stoked by truly heretic factions out to cause discord and violence, matters escalate. High ranking priests of various factions accuse each other of various heresies, some ******-raids lead to some burnings, and discord breaks out into open warfare. One faction plans a raid or expedition to seize control of a local guard or PDF base, to get their hands on some heavy weapons. Nukes? Declares the temple area too infected by the heresies of other factions to remain in the light of the Emperor, and declares intent of nuking it.

Can the Acolytes avert disaster? Can they discover the cancer beneath the turmoil? Can they play the peacemakers in such troubled waters? Can they survive the war of the faithful?


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#14 Matteus Iorga

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 08:47 PM

Hi,

I find this thread most interesting, especially so as I've been trying to find some matter and reference about the Imperial Creed. I mean, aside from the phrases you may find here and there in the various books, codex, even Dawn of War, that is (such as "hope is one step to unhappiness"). Someone mentioned the novel Belisarius as containing references to the Imperial dogma.

Does someone have a list of such references, so as to give flesh to what appears to me as a simple doctrine (the Emperor is God and saviour, hate all xenos period) but which might be the seed for various plots. As goes the common saying : the devil rests in the details.

Thanks for your insight and answer.

 



#15 Bilateralrope

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 09:22 PM

Darth Smeg said:

I've opened up a can of worms! Good. Glad I did :)

This is too good a hook not to use.

An assembly of various cults, fractions and orders gathers on the shrine world of Terklus VII to determine the True and Orthodox history of St. Manicius defeat of the warboss Gruff'naw. Did he wield his chainsword left or right handed? Paintings and writings from the crusade give conflicting evidence (he was in fact ambidextrous), and this is an important matter of doctrine as it determines the layout of temples, the seating order of formal events and the arrangements of militant orders on parades, and probably many other and perhaps more important things amongst the faithful.

The Acolytes are sent to either:

 - Investigate one or more parties for possible heresy. Would this be the mandate of the Inquisition, or the Ecclessiarchys own inquisitors?

 - Protect a priest attending. Maybe a friend of their own Inquisitor or his allies

 - Investigate a string of bizzare, ritualistic murders suspected of an occult connection. Their investigation brings them into conflict with one or more parties of the debate

 - They have their own reasons for being on location, not related to the religious debate at all. An ongoing investigation of another kind, and then they get trapped in the turmoil.

As tempers rise, perhaps stoked by truly heretic factions out to cause discord and violence, matters escalate. High ranking priests of various factions accuse each other of various heresies, some ******-raids lead to some burnings, and discord breaks out into open warfare. One faction plans a raid or expedition to seize control of a local guard or PDF base, to get their hands on some heavy weapons. Nukes? Declares the temple area too infected by the heresies of other factions to remain in the light of the Emperor, and declares intent of nuking it.

Can the Acolytes avert disaster? Can they discover the cancer beneath the turmoil? Can they play the peacemakers in such troubled waters? Can they survive the war of the faithful?

 

Investigating a possible heresy of one of the parties involved sounds like it would fall under the mandate of the Inquisition and the Ecclessiarchy.

 

I doubt that any faction trying to raid a local guard or PDF base would be able to take it over, it is much more likely that the faction is able to issue orders to that base. Then you have the Adepta Sororitas to consider, as they are part of the Ecclessiarchy while the guard and PDF forces belong to a different organisation within the Imperium.



#16 Darth Smeg

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 10:06 PM

Bilateralrope said:

 

Investigating a possible heresy of one of the parties involved sounds like it would fall under the mandate of the Inquisition and the Ecclessiarchy.

Both? I've always thought of investigations of heresy amongst priests as a grey area of contested jurisdiction. Plain heresy to the Imperial creed would be the concern of the Ecclessiarchy, but matters of mutation, chaos worship or other 'Heresies' would be the task of the Inquisition.

Bilateralrope said:

I doubt that any faction trying to raid a local guard or PDF base would be able to take it over, it is much more likely that the faction is able to issue orders to that base. Then you have the Adepta Sororitas to consider, as they are part of the Ecclessiarchy while the guard and PDF forces belong to a different organisation within the Imperium.

Yes, I was thinking of an expedition in the line of  "Follow me, men! Death to the heretics!" more than a takeover by force. Or a ******-and-grab raid, where some cause a distraction when others are on "official visits" or something.


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#17 Friend of the Dork

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 02:21 AM

Bilateralrope said:

Jack of Tears said:

 

But then you get into really sticky issues.  Consider a planet with a large mutant population do to the radiation in the local mines.  Considering the size of the population the local ministry is put in a difficult situation ... declairing the mutants enemies of the church and the empire may incite a riot ending in the bloody destruction of the temple itself.  

So the local bishop makes a radical decision and instead begins preaching acceptance and forgiveness toward the mutants ... proclaiming that even a mutant can be saved if he repents for his sins and accepts the Emperor - eternal living, eternal dying, savior of mankind, heart of salvation - into his heart. 

By doing so the Bishop prevents hostilities from boiling out of control and brings thousands of mutants into the fold ... indeed, because they had never expected to find forgiveness and acceptance, they become true and strong whorshipers, more believing and fanatical than most of the normal people on the planet.

But then along comes an Imperial census ship which discovers the blasphemy and reports it to the ecclesiarchy.  Does the church have the local ministry destroyed for heresy or accept what needed to be done in this situation and set a dangerous precident?

 

 

How did this mutant population suddenly go from not existing to being large enough to cause a riot ?

If the mutation is caused by chemicals or radiation, then it will take years before there are enough mutants for them to riot. Plenty of time to kill the mutants as they appear. If the mutant labour is still useful, they can still become a lower class who only works in the worst of the mines (which happened on Serphis Secundus, which is where the third mission of Purge The Unclean is set). If the Bishop preaches tolerance in this case he will be burnt for Heresy.

 

If the mutation is caused by the warp, then the mutants are a symptom of a more serious problem. Exterminatus is probably the solution.

I'm not sure if you got the "sudden outbreak of mutation" from, when I read Jack's post I immedeately thought of Sepheris Secundus, where mutants are tolerated to exist as long as they stay down in the dangerous minds. Incidentally, alot of those mutants are also devout believers in the God Emperor.

Then again because of the Broken Chains the Inquisition has been called in so now anything can happen - I'm still not sure if my players will initative some kind of mutant holocaust or not. And yeah we're not talking about warp mutants here.



#18 Ignayus

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 07:06 AM

Darth Smeg said:

Bilateralrope said:

 

 

Investigating a possible heresy of one of the parties involved sounds like it would fall under the mandate of the Inquisition and the Ecclessiarchy.

 

 

Both? I've always thought of investigations of heresy amongst priests as a grey area of contested jurisdiction. Plain heresy to the Imperial creed would be the concern of the Ecclessiarchy, but matters of mutation, chaos worship or other 'Heresies' would be the task of the Inquisition.

Bilateralrope said:

 

I doubt that any faction trying to raid a local guard or PDF base would be able to take it over, it is much more likely that the faction is able to issue orders to that base. Then you have the Adepta Sororitas to consider, as they are part of the Ecclessiarchy while the guard and PDF forces belong to a different organisation within the Imperium.

 

 

Yes, I was thinking of an expedition in the line of  "Follow me, men! Death to the heretics!" more than a takeover by force. Or a ******-and-grab raid, where some cause a distraction when others are on "official visits" or something.

I would think any matter that would overtly hurt the morale or image of the Imperium would warrant the Inquisition's notice, after all, imagine how bad it could get should two factions within the church suddenly decided to draw their fighting out into the open, even drawing upon their base followers to attack others of the opposing cult.  The Ecclessiarchy may tolerate some infighting and weeding out the weak in such a manner but an open schism that everyone can see and know about would be to dangerous to leave unchecked. 

Not to mention, you can imagine the chaos that could/would insue if someone (say a high ranking bishop or something) decides to play the heretic card and call the Soroitas on their enemies, who do they side with? And what would happen if you create another Temple Tendancy type movement (which, according to Dotdg) already exists within Calixis.

Even though the Ecclesiarchy would definatly want to make sure the fires of such an event are put out, it affects the Imperium on the whole and the Ordo Hereticus simply wouldn't stand-by and watch.



#19 Bilateralrope

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 10:13 AM

Friend of the Dork said:

 

I'm not sure if you got the "sudden outbreak of mutation" from, when I read Jack's post I immedeately thought of Sepheris Secundus, where mutants are tolerated to exist as long as they stay down in the dangerous minds. Incidentally, alot of those mutants are also devout believers in the God Emperor.

Then again because of the Broken Chains the Inquisition has been called in so now anything can happen - I'm still not sure if my players will initative some kind of mutant holocaust or not. And yeah we're not talking about warp mutants here.

Jack only gave two options:

1 - Accept the mutant.

2 - Risk a riot.

The only situations I can think of where they are the only options are ones where the mutants show up suddenly. If they show up slowly, then there is plenty of time for a third option. Although the mutants on Sepheris Secundus weren't warp mutants, they weren't a threat to the non-mutant population until they received assistance from outside the mutant population. Assistance in the form of alien technology and a demonic pact.

Anyone preaching tolerance towards mutants before the terrorism started is likely to be killed by the planets rulers. Once the terrorism started, that just means more people wanting to kill the guy preaching tolerance. So preaching tolerance doesn't sound like an option for Sepheris Secundus.



#20 Friend of the Dork

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 12:28 AM

Well the difference in his example would be the governments ability to control and supress the mutant population. Sepheris Secundus may have a large mutant population, but also has a long tradition of forcing mutants to live down below in the most dangerous mines, while in the OPs example I suppose the mutants live among the general populace, which would require a certain amount of tolerance to begin with. If however the mutants were just seen as second rank citizens, such as in southern US before or the old South African apartheid system, then a mutant uprising could be a serious threat.

Still I suppose a warp tainted mutants or some nuclear holocaust would be necessary for the mutants to actually take over or do irrepairable damage. The Imperium would shrug off a few thousand people and mutants killed in riots, as long as it did't affect the Imperial tithe too much, while the damage for a single nation on a single planet could be significant, causing large coorporations or noble houses to go bankrupt.

As for tolerance on Sepheris Secundus, in order to accomplish that you would have to persuade the nobles of the planet, which means there would have to be great monetary incentives. Even now the production caused by the existence of the mutants is significant, but had the Baron actually managed to spread his social experiement and gotten more nobles, including the Queen herself to test it out themselves, and then introduce serfs that can withstand extreme temperatures and conditions thus mining more and making the rich richer.

But this would take time and the non-mutants would keep their prejudice for a long time even if conditions for the mutants could improve somewhat as they would be recognized for their worth.






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