74 – Religion in Spec Fic

The Mythcreant Podcast
What could make for light listening better than a discussion of religion? This week, the hosts discuss how gods, faith, and worship are portrayed in various spec fic stories. They delve into deep and introspective topics such as Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s concept of belief-driven deities and argue over why anyone would worship a squid god over a cat god. As a bonus, they explain why Vulcans do actually make good spies.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

The Imperial Cult from Warhammer 40,000

The Valar from The Silmarillion

Cthulu Mythos Dieties

Kushiel’s Dart (Kushiel’s Legacy, Book 1) by Jacqueline Carey

Israelite Exile to Babylon

Documentary Hypothesis

American Gods by Neil Gamen

Small Gods: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

Merlin (2008)

The Briar King (The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, Book 1) by Greg Keyes

The Old Gods from A Song of Ice and Fire

Faith of the Seven from A Song of Ice and Fire

The Lord of Light in A Song of Ice and Fire

Lost: Man of Science, Man of Faith (Episode)

Star Trek: Voyager: Sacred Ground (episode)

The Prophets from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

The Emissary from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

The Kai from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

The Ancients from Stargate SG-1

The Ori from Stargate SG-1

The Goa’uld from Stargate SG-1

Wishmaster (1997)

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  1. Michael

    Have you ever read David Weber’s books? Several plot developments in the Honor Harrington series revolve around a pair of worlds settled by religious fundamentalists and he put a great deal of thought into how they would have dealt with their new environment and evolved (socially as well as physically) over hundreds of years.

  2. Pteryx

    Yes, there is in fact a divine bard in D&D 3.5. It’s in Unearthed Arcana, and since all the non-sidebar content of Unearthed Arcana is in the Variant Rules section of the 3.5 SRD, so is the divine bard. (Though since the Variant Rules content was not carried over to Pathfinder, neither was that version of the divine bard.)

  3. Michael

    That was always which always bothered me about Harry Potter. Why would they go into hiding? Just turn witch hunters into frogs, or simply kill them. It’s no real threat. When your starting premise doesn’t really make sense, that’s just bad, even if otherwise I like the books.

    • Cay Reet

      During the novels, it’s justified with pointing out that witch hunts are no danger for full-fledged witches and wizards, but squibs and muggles get caught as witches, too, and they are killed. In addition, even though wizards and witches are very powerful, there’s a lot more muggles. Today, it would probably be safe for the magical world to come out of hiding, but in the past, there could have been a full-fledged war which would have caused casualities on both sides – but the magical community is far smaller and would have suffered more casualities overall.

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      It also should be noted that the idea of the wizards being in hiding because they fear attack by muggles was only introduced in Fantastic Beasts. There was no mention of it before then because it makes no sense at all.

      There was never a direct explanation for why wizards and muggles were separate, but the best one I can think of is that it was actually a move to protect muggles from being abused by wizards. This seems to play out with Voldemort wanting to establish wizard hegemony over the muggles, in violation of the rules put in place to protect them.

      • Michael

        It’s also mentioned in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban along with Tales of Beedle the Bard. The former notes that one witch apparently got burned forty seven times while impervious due to a spell, and the latter how they had begun to live double lives for protection. I agree it makes much more sense if wizards went into hiding so muggles would be protected though.

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