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May 10, 2012

Comments

skidmarx

If I want to be sure how big an octillion is, I might have to googleplex it.

ajay

A lot like the Hindu calendar, then. One thing that strikes you about the Biblical calendar by comparison is how small-scale it is.

NomadUK

One thing that strikes you about the Biblical calendar by comparison is how small-scale it is.

Little things amuse little minds.

Barry Freed

That's because the more gods you have the more time they take up with all their shenanigans to get anything done. One god just needs less time. No need for all that putzing around taking on animal form to schtup the locals or tricking giants or the like. That is the theory which is mine.

ajay

Little things amuse little minds.

Michael Bay, among others, has made more money that he will ever be able to count by betting on exactly the opposite.

Barry: also they seem to have a much more gung-ho, grand projet approach to godding. YHWH occasionally sends brief ambiguous messages in dreams or produces a bit of food or something. Vishnu organises an army of demons to churn up the ocean using a giant snake wrapped round a mountain and, when the mountain starts to sink, turns himself into a turtle and stands under it to keep it afloat.

Charlie W

What I want to know is: when can we collect all the nerds who say the universe is a simulation, or a hologram, or somesuch, into a group and name it as a religion in its own right?

ajay

I am sure this is a thing in an Iain M Banks novel. Called the Last Revelation or something? Maybe "The Algebraist"?

ajay

Not to be confused with Elson Roa and his gang of hovercraft-riding nudist solipsist mercenaries, who all call themselves "God" (except for one, who's an atheist and calls himself "me").

Barry Freed

Ajay, see that's exactly what I'm talking about. Do you know what it's like to organize an army of demons? It's worse than herding cats! They're called "demons" for good reason. This takes a lot of time. And that's just, what, with the turtle - two incarnations out of ten? Meanwhile Shiva drinks that ocean up and goes out and destroys a few divine city fortresses for good measure. None of this "Oh, I've created this and that all according to their kinds and these and those according to their kinds and now I'm all knackered and better go have a lie down."

ajay

Sorry, are you saying that the Hindu pantheon are badly organised, or that YHWH just has a terrible work ethic?

NomadUK

Michael Bay, among others, has made more money that he will ever be able to count by betting on exactly the opposite.

Betting on what he perceives to be the opposite, perhaps, in which perception he's sadly mistaken.

Barry Freed

I'm sticking with my original more gods = more time vs. one god = less time theory. Counterintuitive perhaps because you'd think there'd be more for one god to do but that's not counting on the element of competition and all the hilarious hijinks that more gods necessarily get up to.

ajay

Eh? No, I mean he's made lots of films aimed at entertaining little minds, and they generally involve very big things (asteroids, spacecraft, giant robots, aircraft carriers) indeed.

Barry: this is the theological version of Parkinson's Law, isn't it.
1: gods want to multiply subordinates, not rivals;
2: gods make work for each other.

Therefore:
Pantheons expand to fill the venerative space available.

Makes a lot of sense, intuitively. Think of the amount of time Thor spends being outsmarted by Loki or arguing with Odin. That's just a deadweight loss in terms of billable deity hours for both of them.

alle

I don't think Norse mythology had a calendar at all, though. There was an eschatology all right, but the chronology was awful. Summary: After being randomly created by a very large cow, the Gods settle in a big tree. Lots of interesting things happen. All the Gods then die in Ragnarök. The human race then takes over, sacrificing stuff, including each other, in the hope of favors from said Gods.

For all their beserking and amanita-munching, even the Vikings should have been able to see through that.

Ken MacLeod

even the Vikings should have been able to see through that.

Well, they did. One of the many, many great under-stated moments in Njal's Saga is the one where, about two-thirds of the way through, everyone becomes Christian.

chris y

I don't think Norse mythology had a calendar at all, though.

Nor did Greek or Roman. The Greeks occasionally dated events from the first Olympiad, but that was recognised as a man made kludge. Ab Urbe Condita was invented by Denis Shortarse at the same time as Anno Domini. In both traditions the origin of the world just happened, y'know?, then, whenever that was.

I'd be curious to know how old the Jewish calendar is; I'd bet not very, in the greater scheme of things.

alle

This could actually be how the world ends. In the not too distant future, some low-level terraformer forgets to close a tag while fixing code in the OmniSystem, and the last we all see is a lot of garbled italics on our VR HUD displays.

chris y

Sorry, any better?

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