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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Ron Miel's Avatar

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    Default Rules clarification about religion

    A thing that comes up sometimes in the OOTS forum. Somebody asks a question about a detail in a strip, why a particular god or cleric wears this item of clothing, or carries that object. To answer one might say that it is a reference to a particular myth about the god.

    But I'm nervous about giving such an answer. The forum has very strict rules about discussing religion. Answering might get me an official warning. I'd like to know, just to be clear, is it allowed to answer such a question?

    The rule is, we are allowed to discuss Marvel comics/ cinema Thor, OOTS Thor and D&D Thor, but not real Thor. What about ancient literature such as Norse sagas or the Illiad, where heroes encounter gods? These aren't religion per se. I'd say it's closer to Marvel Thor than real Thor. But I'd like to make sure.

    And finally, can we discuss movies such as The Ten Commandments, or The Last Temptation of Christ?
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    Sheriff in the Playground Administrator
     
    Roland St. Jude's Avatar

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    Default Re: Rules clarification about religion

    Sheriff: You can answer such a question with clearly fictional sources. References to real world religious texts, persons, etc., are out of bounds, even if characterized as "myths" or "historical religion" or "literature."

    This exchange from 2012 indicates the long and consistent forum policy on this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland St. Jude View Post
    Sheriff of Moddingham: The prohibition is on real world religion. The line is real world/not real world. It isn't a modern/ancient, mainstream/fringe, or whatever other distinction one might imagine. I don't think "mythology/religion" is a useful or viable distinction. Mythology of real world religions is out of bounds whether it's ancient mythology or modern mythology. Mythology of fictional deities are fine.

    So if you want to talk about obviously fictionalized Thor, as represented in the AD&D 2e Deities and Demigods or in the recent movie, for example, that's fine. But as soon as that discussion gets into real world Thor, that's a problem. Often a single post can be made that is clearly discussing the fictional, but it quickly turns real world, because the real world analog exists and speaking just from within the fiction is limiting. It's natural, but it's also prohibited.

    As always, I advise erring on the side of caution.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Roland is absolutely right, but I just wanted to add that this is why it's OK to discuss Thor's actions in OOTS, but it's not OK to try to extrapolate traits of Durkon's religion based on how people worshipped Thor in the real world. Those details are not part of the work of fiction that's being shown here, they're part of someone's actual religious beliefs.

    So to elaborate on the specific question about Ragnarok: You can talk about how Ragnarok happens (or exists as a concept) within Wagner's Götterdämmerung, or in Marvel's The Mighty Thor comics, or the Thor movie, or Neil Gaiman's American Gods, or any edition's version of Deities and Demigods. You can even compare and contrast these different sources. What you can't do is compare them to the actual Poetic Edda and discuss the religious beliefs that may or may not have surrounded it.

    Yes, the authors of any work that includes fictionalized versions of real world deities are effectively crossing that line when they choose to write such a story—but let that crossing be on them, not on you. As long as you discuss works that no real human takes their actual religious beliefs from, you should be fine.
    EDIT: Sheriff: And just to elaborate on The Giant's last point, when he says "works that no real human takes their actual religious beliefs from," that includes takes or has taken in the past. And it works the other way, don't discuss works that are themselves collections, retellings, etc. of real world people's religious beliefs.
    Last edited by Roland St. Jude; 2019-09-11 at 10:38 AM.
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