The Conclave

The Ordos Majoris - Hobby, Painting and Modelling => The Dark Millennium => Topic started by: Easy E on August 31, 2009, 06:36:05 PM

Title: Sainthood
Post by: Easy E on August 31, 2009, 06:36:05 PM
Any ideas on how Sainthood works in the Imperium.  The background is rife with examples, however I'm not exactly sure with how they fit into the "grand" scheme of the Church of Man's dogma.

Are they simply intersetional figures?  You can't pray directly to the Big E, so you pray to Saint Nobody instead? 

Were the  Saints devine instruments of his will?  Were they avatars of the Emperor? 

Were they simply martyrs that are being honored? 

Are they just local od's combined into Imperial faith to bring the locals in line? 

I suspect the answer is... YES. 
 

Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Kaled on August 31, 2009, 06:57:23 PM
I suspect the answer is... YES. 
I'd agree with that.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Charax on August 31, 2009, 07:06:27 PM
They are inspirational figures bestowed the title of Sainthood to inspire awe and reverence among the Ecclesiarchy's followers. Focal points of worship that can be used as examples of virtue and faith when conducting speeches to the masses. They are not divine instruments of His Will (although they may well be called such in speeches) and nor are they all avatars of His Power (with very few exceptions)
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Tullio on September 01, 2009, 01:30:27 AM
Sainthood is discussed at length in The Inquisitors Handbook, but it basically boils down to this -

1. Links between the mortal and the divine - the Saint acts as a shning example of how the Ecclesiarchy wants the masses to act. They are the best of all, and yet at the same time more accessible than the Emperor. They were all mortal once, after all. Saints therefore can be a rare (And thin) ray of hope to the masses

2. Subverted local beliefs - like the Christian usurping of local Pagan belief systems, more recently converted cultures can have holy men and demigods rehashed into more acceptible Saint-worship (Or into local devils and djinns)

Tullio
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: GhouraAgur on September 09, 2009, 06:57:18 AM
1. Links between the mortal and the divine...

Strictly speaking, as the "divine" is simply the "positively" focuses psychic energy of the teeming masses of the Imperium (Think Hellblazer) it is doubtful that they were instruments of "His will" as "He" isn't willing much these days.

(Personal speculation! Warning! Warning!)
However, I theorize it is entirely possible that by the combined faith of the Imperium, a warp entity was created, much like Slaanesh, and that HE, the Emperor, a true GOD and not some
superhuman-psychic-corpse-on-Terra, could will stuff.  And the Saints could be sent, and directed by him.

Where, for all their psycic power, the Eldar in their depravity gave birth to Slaanesh, so by the pure, honest, loving faith of the masses was a being born, wrathful against the enemies of mankind, but willing to save (so long as the 'dex is Imperial) his servants.

All in all, humanities ultimate salvation might arise from their worship after the Emperor's demise, as what protection was there for their souls under the aethistic regime of his-imperial-greatness?  Yet now, it is known that in the warp is a great light, and a place of peace and rest, where souls are protected and free from danger, free from the perils of the Warp.  Why?  Because enough folks with enough psychic energy coursing through them willed such a place into being.   It could be said that the faithful created the saints, in a roundabout sorta way.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Inquisitor Sargoth on September 09, 2009, 01:08:34 PM
I think it's alll a matter of press coverage.

Is a long-dead martyr really famous on a world? Candidate for sainthood. Is a local system of belief fairly easily subverted? Likewise. Is there a famous, pious and somehow holt person out there doing the Emperor's work? Candidate for living sainthood. Or burning as a witch.

Whether some saints are instruments of Emperor's will can be argued either way. But even if they do exists, doubtlessly not all of them are honoured accordingly. Many die unknown.

So, as I said, it all depends on how famous you are.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Dosdamt on September 09, 2009, 02:26:29 PM
Oh lordy lord not the Emperor-Power-of-Love concept again. Quick, kill it!

The Imperial Faith, as far as I can tell, is one of fear, hate, shame and guilt.

There's nothing positive about it at all!
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: GhouraAgur on September 09, 2009, 04:43:40 PM
Oh lordy lord not the Emperor-Power-of-Love concept again. Quick, kill it!

The Imperial Faith, as far as I can tell, is one of fear, hate, shame and guilt.

There's nothing positive about it at all!

Nothing positive about its followers/enforcers.  But whenever "His grace" manifests itself through "miracles" who could argue it a bad thing?  Shot through the heart three times, but still going, not for any physical reason, but simply because humanity on the whole decided that every now and then, they deserve to win.

But like I said, depends who you're reading.  Holy water will be of little use where Chaos is the protagonist, whereas, were the protagonist a Sister of Battle, it'd be very effective against the deamon.  Then again, perhaps the shoddy performance of "holy" things is because humanity isn't quite psychic enough to make things work all the time.

At the same time, Chaos would loose a deal of its scaryness if it proved essentially harmless against a character of faith.  Where's the tension?  The conflict?  The drama?  Make the "holy" things too powerful, and the universe becomes a fairly boring place, at very least, for a wargame.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Inquisitor Sargoth on September 09, 2009, 05:30:28 PM
Most 'miracles' tend to occur on the battlefield against His enemies, of course...
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Aidan on September 10, 2009, 10:59:04 PM
I'd say the Saints, on the whole, are just convenient objects-of-worship to get around the fact that they're trying to maintain a monotheistic religion while people naturally gravitate towards belief in lesser deities. It's true in real life at well. So there are saints to represent all the other little facets for which the Emperor (or god) is to impersonal for.

That, and honest-to-goodness martyrs who'se p.r. campaigners have gone that little extra step for the good to the Imperium ('s propaganda engine!).


I'll make an analogy to Catholic sainthood in medieval Europe. Sainthood was achievable for people who emulated acts of Jesus - water into wine (or beer, for the Irish!), the ability to commune with animals, virginity, ability to fast, cure the sick, blah blah blah.

Yeah, there's a holy site in Amsterdam about some guy's vomit that wouldn't burn. No kidding.

-Aidan.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: N01H3r3 on September 11, 2009, 07:50:20 PM
Oh lordy lord not the Emperor-Power-of-Love concept again. Quick, kill it!

The Imperial Faith, as far as I can tell, is one of fear, hate, shame and guilt.

There's nothing positive about it at all!
The Imperial Creed isn't any one thing. In some instances, it's whatever your culture's pre-existing belief system consisted of, with all the names changed. In others, it's a unique combination of fanatical martyrdom, staunch traditionalism, a religion-based protection and extortion racket, ancestor worship, uncertain recollections of history, and variously a justification for pyromania, racism, sadism, masochism, intolerance of variation and fear of the unknown.

Combine those elements as desired to define the Imperial Creed. Every individual interpretation of the above (and many more besides) is equally acceptable, for there are more variations on the beliefs of the Imperium than there are people on Earth today.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Nash on September 12, 2009, 03:47:43 PM
An idea for a one-off Dark Heresy or Inquisitor scenario I had may be of relevance to this thread:

Knowledge of Chaos is supposed to be very restricted in the Imperium, and the Imperial propaganda machine would probably don't hesitate to go to any extremes to cover it...

Now imagine a Imperial citizen who's unknowingly a nascent psyker. There's a xenos attack on his planet and the pressure he's put through makes his talents reveal themselves in the most current way a weak psyker can: he ends up possessed. The possessing demon's first acts when he takes control could be to get rid of any danger to his new envellop and thus to kill all xenos in sight. Now, there were witnesses of the "lowly Imperial citizen suddenly turning into a killing machine" and this possessed got himself killed (blown to bits for example) after somehow managing to deal a blow to the xenos which then ensured Imperial victory (because his actions also motivated others to "get into the fight", eventually pushing back the xenos)... Wouldn't the propaganda machine make a "small local Saint" out of him? I'd say it's possible.

What's interesting to me is that, by praying to that "local Saint", pious Imperial citizens may be slowly making it possible for that demon to come through into the materium again...
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: GhouraAgur on September 12, 2009, 11:13:38 PM
....
What's interesting to me is that, by praying to that "local Saint", pious Imperial citizens may be slowly making it possible for that demon to come through into the materium again...

Except that their psychic energy is directed towards a "holy" ideal.  No one worships Chaos by accident...really.  The Redemption, for instance, could easily bring about a demon, as their violent and hateful ideals would perfectly channel their psychic energy towards Khorne, or some other blood demon.  I even think some death cult might end up, in a round about way, end up worshipping Nurgle, who at times plays a role more akin to a Grim Reaper than just Papa Plague.

But the people in the scenario above were not at all aware of the diabolical nature of the pitiable psyker, rather, all their psychic energy is poured out into notions of hope, devotion, and salvation from mankinds enemies, they would not inadvertently be empowering any Chaotic deity...with the possible exception of Malal, but the above scenario said the man fought Xenos, not Chaos, so I doub't even he'd be involved.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: N01H3r3 on September 12, 2009, 11:17:39 PM
No one worships Chaos by accident...really.
But many worship it unknowingly. A great many Chaos Cults operate on this notion - the majority of lesser members do not know what it is they worship, only gaining true knowledge of the object of their devotions long after they're too deeply ensnares or too heavily tainted to go back, if at all.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Nash on September 13, 2009, 01:00:14 AM
No one worships Chaos by accident...really.
Erm... The Eldar didn't worship Slaanesh yet they brought it to life... True it's their actions and not their "prayers" to another god which did, but still... You don't need to worship Chaos per se to play its game.

In the case I was talking about it's the not prayers themselves that'd count, but their emotional charge... That's something a demon can tap into. Imagine all those pious Imperial citizens praying to Saint Whatever with hearts full of hate for the xenos abominations, that'd probably be stronger than most rituals performed by a handful of willing cultists...
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Dust King on September 15, 2009, 09:20:22 AM
Imagine all those pious Imperial citizens praying to Saint Whatever with hearts full of hate for the xenos abominations, that'd probably be stronger than most rituals performed by a handful of willing cultists...

I doubt the majority of the imperuims citizens are really aware of most xenos breeds and certainly aren't overly concerned about them, sure they are told to hate them but I doubt they are ever concerned enough to have any strong emotions about them. From how I understand the imperium most of the prayers would be asking for the strength to endure their tough lives or the chance for a better life. Most people would be more concerned with themselves and their families rather than something half a sector away.

There's probably a good chance that the belief and prayer in the imperium is all that's really keeping it going.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Nash on September 15, 2009, 11:13:24 AM
I doubt the majority of the imperuims citizens are really aware of most xenos breeds and certainly aren't overly concerned about them, sure they are told to hate them but I doubt they are ever concerned enough to have any strong emotions about them. From how I understand the imperium most of the prayers would be asking for the strength to endure their tough lives or the chance for a better life. Most people would be more concerned with themselves and their families rather than something half a sector away.
True, half a sector away it woudn't really matter (and that's if the news of anything happening ever reach that far) but I meant only the citizens from the planet which was attacked and saw the the "ascenscion" of the Saint...
If it's a Hive World, populated with, say, a hundred billions, even if only 0.01% prayed with hate for their attackers in mind, that would still mean ten millions of people...
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Nate on September 30, 2009, 11:33:23 PM

However, I theorize it is entirely possible that by the combined faith of the Imperium, a warp entity was created, much like Slaanesh, and that HE, the Emperor, a true GOD and not some
superhuman-psychic-corpse-on-Terra, could will stuff.  And the Saints could be sent, and directed by him.

Where, for all their psycic power, the Eldar in their depravity gave birth to Slaanesh, so by the pure, honest, loving faith of the masses was a being born, wrathful against the enemies of mankind, but willing to save (so long as the 'dex is Imperial) his servants.

Thats BRILLIANT...
/me wanders off to rethink certain shadowy figure's motivations...
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: N01H3r3 on October 01, 2009, 12:21:30 AM
However, I theorize it is entirely possible that by the combined faith of the Imperium, a warp entity was created, much like Slaanesh, and that HE, the Emperor, a true GOD and not some
superhuman-psychic-corpse-on-Terra, could will stuff.  And the Saints could be sent, and directed by him.

Where, for all their psycic power, the Eldar in their depravity gave birth to Slaanesh, so by the pure, honest, loving faith of the masses was a being born, wrathful against the enemies of mankind, but willing to save (so long as the 'dex is Imperial) his servants.
The Eldar, in their depravity, gave birth to Slaanesh, whose first act was to all but annihilate the civilisation that created it.

The Eldar are far more potent in a psychic sense than humans and are capable of far greater extremes of psychology and emotion than humans. Just because they created a god in the Warp does not mean that any species can do it, and given the precedent set, the act of doing so (which wasn't quite as accidental as might often be believed, as suggested by the novel Farseer by Bill King) is not a simple one, nor one that can come to fruition unnoticed.

And before you start with the "ah, but Slaanesh is evil" or some such line... Chaos is amoral, beyond the petty definitions of human morality. The first act of She Who Thirsts was to devour the souls of billions or trillions of Eldar, and those who died first in those terrible moments were those whose souls were closest in ideal and nature to Slaanesh itself - those who, when you think about it, would have made the greatest of servants for the new Ruinous Power. It hardly seems like a voluntary act, were such a notion even relevant for a gestalt disembodied pseudo-consciousness consisting entirely of a single defining emotional concept.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Tullio on October 01, 2009, 01:03:20 AM
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ah, but Slaanesh is evil" or some such line... Chaos is amoral, beyond the petty definitions of human morality.

I still beg to differ - not only because that view belittles human morality, which can hardly be called petty just because the beings that uphold it are physically fragile, but also because Chaos (Note I say Chaos, not the Warp) universally causes misery and corruption to all it touches. Chaos is born out of evil, even if the Warp isn't.

Let's not put the Ruinous Powers on a pedastal here - they have a conciousness that is alien and ineffable, certainly, but I certainly would hesitate to ascribe a kind of innocence to thier actions. An evil creature that has no choice to be evil still is evil.

Tullio
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: N01H3r3 on October 01, 2009, 01:15:46 AM
I still beg to differ - not only because that view belittles human morality, which can hardly be called petty just because the beings that uphold it are physically fragile, but also because Chaos (Note I say Chaos, not the Warp) universally causes misery and corruption to all it touches. Chaos is born out of evil, even if the Warp isn't.
In a 40k context, human morality is petty by comparison because it's one of several competing theories - Eldar and Ork morality are no more or less valid, for example - and because it considers only humanity. Chaos is something beyond any physical existence we can observe or experience, the true depths of its nature is beyond corporeal definition, and existing beyond any natural definitions we can place upon it.

Chaos is born of emotion, nothing more and nothing less. Emotion without limit, unfettered and unrestricted, is dangerous, destructive. It isn't, in and of itself, evil, because that's a subjective human term ill-suited to giving definition to, say, a being who embodies and is given form by all the hope, progress, corruption, magic, mutation, deceit and manipulation that ever has been and ever shall be. The Warp is no less dangerous, really, its presence when uncontrolled inherently destructive to the fabric of the material universe, but it could no more be called evil than a beaker of concentrated acid could be ascribed with the same moral outlook.

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Let's not put the Ruinous Powers on a pedastal here - they have a conciousness that is alien and ineffable, certainly, but I certainly would hesitate to ascribe a kind of innocence to thier actions. An evil creature that has no choice to be evil still is evil.
Are they conscious, though? Does their nature in any way resemble human consciousness? Their diffuse nature, the formless nature of their natural domain, and the fact that they do not exist within any temporal context (time is meaningless from their undefined perspective) mean that comparisons to human consciousness are difficult at best and essentially irrelevant at worst.

Innocence? No... that would ascribe sapience to them, a sense of self-determination, which I don't see as being the case. The Ruinous Powers, IMO, are about as good or evil as an earthquake, no more moral than a tsunami. It is an existence, of sorts, beyond the mortal definitions of morality created by species whose fundamental nature could not be more different from that of the Ruinous Powers.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Tullio on October 01, 2009, 01:19:42 PM
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In a 40k context, human morality is petty by comparison because it's one of several competing theories - Eldar and Ork morality are no more or less valid, for example - and because it considers only humanity.

Imperial morality, I grant you, considers only humanity. I don't see how it becomes petty simply because of the existence competing moral systems. The same logic leads one to label all morality petty, whether alien or a human system.

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Chaos is something beyond any physical existence we can observe or experience, the true depths of its nature is beyond corporeal definition, and existing beyond any natural definitions we can place upon it.

I'm prepared to accept the idea that the Empyrean is essentially ineffable, but Chaos can be experienced though it's manifestations in the real universe. And yes, a Warpstorm can hardly be blamed for it's actions - it's merely a case of metaphysics, no more, just as an earthquake is indeed just physics.

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Are they conscious, though? Does their nature in any way resemble human consciousness? Their diffuse nature, the formless nature of their natural domain, and the fact that they do not exist within any temporal context (time is meaningless from their undefined perspective) mean that comparisons to human consciousness are difficult at best and essentially irrelevant at worst.

Innocence? No... that would ascribe sapience to them, a sense of self-determination, which I don't see as being the case. The Ruinous Powers, IMO, are about as good or evil as an earthquake, no more moral than a tsunami. It is an existence, of sorts, beyond the mortal definitions of morality created by species whose fundamental nature could not be more different from that of the Ruinous Powers.

Here, I suspect, we’ll suffer a difference of opinion not easily resolved by reference to the background. The way I see the Ruinous Powers, they are the spiritual manifestation of the sins of Mankind (And other races … though I’m sure the teeming billions of Mankind have a significant influence on their nature). While they might not have any choice about their nature and actions, being without free will, as their source is evil, to too are they. They have motives and goals that make sense to themselves but are difficult to comprehend because of their power and longevity. And to me, they seem to manifest a consciousness, a self-awareness, even if this is mostly seen through their daemonic servants.

Of course, I can scarcely back any of this up with a nice neat quotation from the background, this is just the impression that I’ve got from my reading

Tullio
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: N01H3r3 on October 01, 2009, 09:02:21 PM
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In a 40k context, human morality is petty by comparison because it's one of several competing theories - Eldar and Ork morality are no more or less valid, for example - and because it considers only humanity.

Imperial morality, I grant you, considers only humanity. I don't see how it becomes petty simply because of the existence competing moral systems. The same logic leads one to label all morality petty, whether alien or a human system.
On a galactic scale, or when considering the warp, morality is petty. Morals being a construct of society (and one which changes as the context it exists within changes), they cannot adequately encompass things vaster than the societies from which those morals originate.

To human morality in the 41st Millennium (that is, the morality of the Imperium of Man), genocide is an acceptable response to territorial disputes. Humans are, ostensibly, 'good' primarily because they are human, so long as their behaviours fall within expected boundaries. Non-human sapients are fundamentally deemed 'evil' by that same morality, irrespective of the manner in which they behave.

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I'm prepared to accept the idea that the Empyrean is essentially ineffable, but Chaos can be experienced though it's manifestations in the real universe.
Do the acts of a believer define a religion? Certainly, while the servants of Chaos may engage in deeds that may subjectively referred to as evil (where 'Evil' is a notion defined by morals, which are in and of themselves, unique to a given culture and thus subjective), their doing so is a matter of their interpretation of the needs of their patron, rather than necessarily being the irrefutable will of the Ruinous Powers.

Beyond that... the Immaterium is anathema to the structures and fundamental nature of reality -  reality is order, driven by rules and mechanisms that continue inexorably, while the Immaterium is formless, shapeless and entirely mutable to the designs of any with the will to exert upon it. Manifestations of Chaos in the material world will be, due to their nature as extensions of the Aethyr, inherently destructive to the world.

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The way I see the Ruinous Powers, they are the spiritual manifestation of the sins of Mankind (And other races … though I’m sure the teeming billions of Mankind have a significant influence on their nature).
Technically, it's likely closer to teeming quintillions - on a previous incarnation of the Conclave, Helst and a couple of others worked out an approximate population of the Imperium of Man, which was somewhere in the region of 3.3x10^18 (330,000,000,000,000,000) human beings.

Beyond that... the view's a little humanocentric, don't you think? Afterall, for all their bluster about dominating the universe, there is no guarantee that human beings are the single most populous sapient species in the galaxy. Orks may well have a legitimate claim to that particular title. Also remember that it's not raw numbers, but rather collective psychic magnitude that defines influence upon the Warp.

Chaos certainly has a lot riding on mankind, and appears as a dark reflection of it more often than not... but consider that Chaos has existed since long before mankind ever did, and the only Chaos God created since the rise of humanity as a psychic species... was created by the folly of the Eldar, rather than by the collective ills of mankind.

For me, Chaos is emotion, or rather, the resultant psychosympathetic reaction of the tides of the Immaterium upon reaction to the emotions of sapient creatures. Every stray thought, every dream and nightmare, every idle imagining ripples through the Aethyr, and where particular thoughts and emotions are particularly strong or frequently reinforced by similar feelings, they coalesce into something greater.

Khorne is at the core a representation of and gestalt pseudoconsciousness formed from all anger, hatred, defiant pride, aggression, etc that has, is, and ever will be felt by any mortal creature anywhere in the material galaxy reflected by this particular corner of the Warp. Nurgle is similarly despair, hopelessness, acceptance, tradition, inventiveness, reliability and simple joy. Tzeentch is change for better or worse, manipulation, deceit, hope, imagination, and the desire for progress. Slaanesh is the pursuit of pleasure and the desire for sensation or fulfilment. Everything an individual is can be found, somewhere, within one or more of the Chaos Gods if you look hard enough... the good and the bad. Chaos is destructive because it is emotion without restraint or compromise, Id without Ego or Super-ego. Slaanesh represents it best - when done in moderation, the pursuit of pleasure is beyond objection... but to seek pleasure to the exclusion of all else, with no regard for taboo or cost, is dangerous and destructive.
Title: Re: Sainthood
Post by: Tullio on October 01, 2009, 09:33:48 PM

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To human morality in the 41st Millennium (that is, the morality of the Imperium of Man), genocide is an acceptable response to territorial disputes. Humans are, ostensibly, 'good' primarily because they are human, so long as their behaviours fall within expected boundaries. Non-human sapients are fundamentally deemed 'evil' by that same morality, irrespective of the manner in which they behave

I agree. But I'm still not convinced. Your view of morality seems to be very sociological - and that's just fine as a way of explaining morality. However, to call morality (Alien or human) petty because of the existance of an ineffable power ... I still don't see the reasoning behind it. It's like me calling my own belief system next to irrelevant because of the existance of tsunamis.

In any case, as it relates to the Ruinous Powers, it's hard to ascribe amorality to them when throughout the background we see a system of reward going on. No Berserker was ever struck by lightning for lopping off a Guardsman's head, to give a crude example. The Gods are fickle when it comes to thier believers, that's for certain but they do seem to actively reward attempts to be evil.

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Beyond that... the view's a little humanocentric, don't you think? Afterall, for all their bluster about dominating the universe, there is no guarantee that human beings are the single most populous sapient species in the galaxy. Orks may well have a legitimate claim to that particular title. Also remember that it's not raw numbers, but rather collective psychic magnitude that defines influence upon the Warp.

Ok, fair enough, to say “The Ruinous Powers are the spiritual manifestation of the sins of sentience” might well have been more accurate. My point was that humans are no small factor in the way the Ruinous Powers act and evolve.

Tullio