Societas Imperialis Sceptri Coronaeque

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    In response: The idea of Reclaiming by Nicoletta Mithra

    Lunarisse Aspenstar

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    In response: The idea of Reclaiming by Nicoletta Mithra

    Post by Lunarisse Aspenstar on Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:33 am

    This thread is in response to Cpt. Rhiannon's post from "Vanquish the Devourer! 4.27.114":

    Elsebeth Rhiannon wrote:
    Captain Mithra; since you speak of appreciating honest words, it would you do well to openly admit that your Empire's religion does indeed contain as its core beliefs the idea that the Amarrian people has been chosen by God to bring other peoples to His light, if necessary by conquest and slavery. Even the most peaceful Amarrian sects tend to disagree only on to what extent such violent means are necessary - not on the task God has given to the Empire.

    That is not "my very own perception" of the Empire. It is what your nation is. Any discussion between us will be completely fruitless if you are unable to admit in public.


    Cpt. Rhiannon,

    I could start by questioning whether the "idea that the Amarrian people have been chosen by God to bring other peoples to His light, if necessary by conquest and slavery" is one of the core beliefs of Amarrian religion or not: I'd say it's not, as it really is a very derived concept of Amarrian soteriology. But that's not the point made here, I guess. The point is, if I take you right, Cpt. Rhiannon, that this is a belief most Amarr keep close to their heart and that it is of central importance and deeply ingrained in how the Amarrian people deal with outsiders.

    If you agree so far, I do admit that in the minds and hearts of most Amarrian citizens, whether they are pious laity or simply paying lip service to the faith - or even more worse are ambajzilan (Laity that thinks they would know Scripture), such an idea is at work.

    The Amarrian religion, though, isn't one that is simply defined by what the people do and believe. Amarrian religion is prescriptive and normative and this is certainly one reason why this wide spread misconception about parts of the Amarrian religion, that you present here, arose. Let me explain the subtle differences:

    1. "The Amarrian people are chosen by God."
    Here the implication is, that if you're an Amarrian, then you're chosen by god. Actually, if you study Scripture closely you'll find another implication, that is: If you live righteous and in fear of God, then you're chosen by God.
    Now, you didn't say "are", but "have been". I'm not sure you're aware of the difference here, but it really makes a point: It's a historical incident. It just so happens that the Amarrian people exhibited these qualities and thus the two get coincidentally conjoined. To this day, though, it's the clear position of the Amarrian churches that "right makes might" - and not the other way around, as the Bloodraiders and other adherents to Sani Sabikism hold. Amarrian religion is aware that this has been a historical contingency that an entire people lived like that:
    The knowledge that good pedigree isn't a guarantee for someone to be a good human, someone who lives righteous and in fear of God, is something you do very well find in Amarrian religion, society and state, reflected e.g. in the fact that an Amarrian holder can fall into disgrace and as deep as ending up as a slave.

    What this means is, that there are different layers of meaning to Amarr, that do overlap, but can come into conflict as well. If you say "the Amarrian people are chosen by God" and you don't see that this is nowadays to be understood as a tautology (The Amarrian people - understood as those people, that are chosen by God - are chosen by God) rather than an empirically interesting proposition (The Amarrian people - understood as those people of Amarrian ethnicity - are chosen by God), then you're merely demonstrating that you're not using the word as a competent speaker would. (To your consolation: few people within the Empire use this word competently, as I pointed out above.)

    2."Chosen by God to bring other people to His light."
    Again, here's an implication at work: If you are chosen by God, then you're chosen to bring other people to His light. This implication is, strictly speaking, not part of Amarrian religion. The Amarrian people were chosen among the sinners to be saved, simply because they were worthy to be saved. The 'mission' to bring other people to His light is something that was added as a responsibility to His chosen people in the course of our history with him. Still, the implication doesn't work: There's no necessity to it that a chosen of God has to bring other people to His light.

    I said "responsibility to bring others to His light" and this is a very important point here: The Amarr aren't chosen to bring others to His light, it's rather that they have the responsibility to bring others to His light: To enable others to live a life in righteousness and fear of God. This might not sound so terribly different from one another, but the implications differ widely.

    3. "To bring other peoples to His light, if necessary by conquest and slavery."
    The end justifies the means. Yes, that's pretty much how one could summarize the Amarrian approach here. Still, one would have to loose a few words about how to understand this. It doesn't mean: Everything goes in respect to achieving a goal. It's quite different from that, in many respects. What it means is more alike to: Whatever you do to achieve bringing people to His light, make sure that it is justified by this end. It is, basically, meant to be a warning not to forget the end in considering how to achieve it and end up doing things that are not justifed by the end.

    As said above, the chosen of God are people that live righteous and in fear of God. Ethical considerations are something they take to heart, if we take this religious teaching to heart. If it is not justified to bring people to His light by conquest or slavery, then they don't do it. Of course there are tomes filled with debates about the justifiability of slavery by now in Amarrian culture and, yes, we deem it acceptable under certain circumstances. And I'd venture the guess that we care as much about whether you think of this as acceptable as you care about whether Amarr consider your rituals acceptable. Still: Slavery might be used if deemed necessary, but it isn't deemed necessary a priori.

    So, well, after all is said and done and regardless of the nuances I tried to bring to the fore, I have to admit to what you've said: Of central weight in Amarrian culture is the idea that the Amarrian people have been chosen by God to bring other peoples to His light, if necessary by conquest and slavery. It's how most people of Amarrian ethnicity would define what it means to be Amarr, even though it's a flawed and skewed view not entirely true to the religious teaching. I have to concede: this is not merely your very own perception of the Empire.

    What I do contest, though, is that you "live as neighbours of a vastly larger and more powerful Empire with a mandatory religion the major tenets of which includes the idea that it would be better for us to not be free and independent." First, I'm not so sure whether the Empire is vastly more powerful then the Republic.
    But more importantly there is no belief in Amarrian orthodoxy that you'd be better off as unfree and dependant. The belief of the Amarr is another one: That you're not ready to be free and independant, until you live a righteous life in fear of God.

    That this is a belief you might find threatening in its own right is something I do entirely understand.

    -N. Mithra

    Originally posted on IGS YC114.04.04
    Original thread with responses:

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