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Old 08-13-2011, 10:21 AM   #21
Matthias Wasser
 
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Default Re: And the Angel of Irony wept...

Open your eyes; that wheel of fire is clearly a dude.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:19 PM   #22
robkelk
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Default Re: And the Angel of Irony wept...

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Is there anything in Christian or Jewish scripture indicating a single gender for angels? The Qur'an is quite explicit that angels are all male, which is a touchy subject for Khalid…
If I recall correctly, angels in Christian traditions are genderless. The correct pronoun is "it", not "he" or "she."

(This obviously doesn't apply to In Nomine... at least, not to the game's Mercurians.)
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:22 PM   #23
Phoenix42
 
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Default Re: And the Angel of Irony wept...

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If I recall correctly, angels in Christian traditions are genderless. The correct pronoun is "it", not "he" or "she."

(This obviously doesn't apply to In Nomine... at least, not to the game's Mercurians.)
Well, considering that the only angels named in the Bible explicitly are Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, which are all male names, and are referred to as male... oh, and the fact that the whole thing was written by mysoginists... ^^
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:45 PM   #24
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Well, considering that the only angels named in the Bible explicitly are Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, which are all male names, and are referred to as male... oh, and the fact that the whole thing was written by mysoginists... ^^
I think we can have this conversation without actively insulting other people's belief systems and the figures behind them.

Back on topic: I think the two "men" mentioned in the story of Lot are implied to be angels, too, so perhaps that's another example of celestial gendering in the Bible.
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:50 PM   #25
Rocket Man
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Default Re: And the Angel of Irony wept...

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I think we can have this conversation without actively insulting other people's belief systems and the figures behind them.
Yes, please.
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Back on topic: I think the two "men" mentioned in the story of Lot are implied to be angels, too, so perhaps that's another example of celestial gendering in the Bible.
Zechariah 5:9 has a passage (I believe the only one in the Bible) that suggests female angels:

9Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.
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“It's not railroading if you offer the PCs tickets and they stampede to the box office, waving their money. Metaphorically speaking”
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Author: "What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger"

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Old 08-14-2011, 07:13 AM   #26
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Default Re: And the Angel of Irony wept...

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I think we can have this conversation without actively insulting other people's belief systems and the figures behind them.

Back on topic: I think the two "men" mentioned in the story of Lot are implied to be angels, too, so perhaps that's another example of celestial gendering in the Bible.
I think that, considering the social and cultural circumstances of the age(s) when the Bible was written, it would indeed have been unthinkable in the purest sense of the word to consider a powerful celestial entity being a female. Just as, say, God is always referred to as a "He". Despite all the stuff about the nature of God being incomprehensible to humans, there was never any question that God was, in fact, male.
That does not mean that the people who wrote the books of the Bible were actively trying to discredit women, which, after all, was not even necessary. Almost all societies at the time were not exactly of the opinion that all humans were equal.

Therefore, I think it is very reasonable to conclude that the writers of the Bible, and therefore the Bible itself, were misogynistic in the modern sense of the word. That's no insult, it's a rather simple statement. It does not mean that modern Christians are all misogynists.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:14 AM   #27
Matthias Wasser
 
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If I recall correctly, angels in Christian traditions are genderless. The correct pronoun is "it", not "he" or "she."
English pronouns (as with many other languages) have a lot of ambiguity. Aside from the distinction between strict sexedness and gender identity (which of course can be fluid, and so on) there's an active/passive distinction that makes God the Father a "Him" and animals sometimes "it"s.

Of course it's likely in-universe that changes to language allowing people more freedom to define their gender identity, like changes allowing more freedom generally, are Infernal in origin (certainly in spirit) and angels resist them.

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(This obviously doesn't apply to In Nomine... at least, not to the game's Mercurians.)
This is easily changed, of course.

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I think that, considering the social and cultural circumstances of the age(s) when the Bible was written, it would indeed have been unthinkable in the purest sense of the word to consider a powerful celestial entity being a female. Just as, say, God is always referred to as a "He". Despite all the stuff about the nature of God being incomprehensible to humans, there was never any question that God was, in fact, male.
That does not mean that the people who wrote the books of the Bible were actively trying to discredit women, which, after all, was not even necessary. Almost all societies at the time were not exactly of the opinion that all humans were equal.

Therefore, I think it is very reasonable to conclude that the writers of the Bible, and therefore the Bible itself, were misogynistic in the modern sense of the word. That's no insult, it's a rather simple statement. It does not mean that modern Christians are all misogynists.
Extremely misogynistic-by-our-standards societies have had no difficulty imagining female deities - certainly the ancient Hebrews believed in them, even if factions among them discouraged their worship - so this is really orthogonal.

(Also, all that stuff about God being unknowable and transcendent comes later. The God of Abraham and Isaac is male because he has a male body.)
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Old 08-14-2011, 01:53 PM   #28
Rocket Man
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Therefore, I think it is very reasonable to conclude that the writers of the Bible, and therefore the Bible itself, were misogynistic in the modern sense of the word.
I still would prefer to avoid the use of that particular word -- misogyny means hatred of women, something that I don't feel is backed up by the evidence. (I write for a living, so I'm fussy about precise meanings at times.)

And yes, Rob is correct; in traditional Christian theology, angels are sexless. That said, the forms they take on Earth certainly can appear to have a sex (and Matthias makes a good point about personal, non-animal beings not being an "it" -- it'd be nice to have some of Angelic's grammar at times, wouldn't it?)
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Old 08-14-2011, 02:32 PM   #29
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Zechariah 5:9 has a passage (I believe the only one in the Bible) that suggests female angels:

9Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.
Well spotted - Mercurians in action :)

Cassanos clarified what I meant quite well, so I won't go into that, except to say that I think that any of the known societies of antiquity is mysoginist (or, if you prefer, sexist) by our standards (including, even especially, the ones with female goddesses), but if anyone thinks that is an insult to their religion, I'm not sure what I can do there. Is it an insult to democracy if I call Athenian society sexist?

But indeed, as pointed out, this does not necessarily preclude the idea of female angels, goddesses or the like, so I admit my comment was beside the point. So returning to it, it might be useful to differentiate between different viewpoints here:

a) the viewpoint of the biblical authors - basically unknowable (and likely very diverse); one can make educated guesses as to what their idea of angels was, but even if one came up with something, it's pretty much moot either way: the final question would remain whether it matters to us what their conceptions really were (especially when one is talking about in Nomine, which pretty much tears up most of those conceptions).

b) the viewpoint of "mainstream" modern theology (if there is such a thing, granted) - which generally agrees, I think, that angels and God are beyond gender.

c) the viewpoint of literalist/fundamentalist evangelical Christianity (as per the example above), which in its stereotypical form assumes the Archangels and God to be unambiguously male.


In my view, In Nomine is pretty inextricably tied up with b). It features a modernist, often even postmodern view of religious themes to the point where most of the fundamentals of Abrahamitic religion (Heaven=Good, Hell=evil, to name just one) are relativised. Of course anyone is free to take the modern element out of In Nomine, I'm not arguing with that - it's just that by doing so, you're stripping IN of what I think makes it interesting in the first place; which is why I posted the link, because I think it's something rather strange to do - it derelativises (if that's a word) a setting the very core of which would seem to be its use of relativity. What we seem to be debating now is whether the gender angle is one such example of derelativisation... right?

(the over-use of the 1st person singular above is not due to my manic egotism, I'm just trying to emphasize that this is a personal view, and that I'm open to debate on the matter; my manic egotism manifests itself in other places :) )
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:02 PM   #30
Rocket Man
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In my view, In Nomine is pretty inextricably tied up with b). It features a modernist, often even postmodern view of religious themes to the point where most of the fundamentals of Abrahamitic religion (Heaven=Good, Hell=evil, to name just one) are relativised. Of course anyone is free to take the modern element out of In Nomine, I'm not arguing with that - it's just that by doing so, you're stripping IN of what I think makes it interesting in the first place; which is why I posted the link, because I think it's something rather strange to do - it derelativises (if that's a word) a setting the very core of which would seem to be its use of relativity. What we seem to be debating now is whether the gender angle is one such example of derelativisation... right?
A reasonable position, reasonably put. And I agree that part of what makes In Nomine interesting, to me and to many others, is its "familiar, yet unfamiliar" setting ... not quite to the extreme of Jack Chalker's "Everything you think you know is wrong," but certainly in line with Shakespeare's "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, then are dreamt of in your philosophy."

I also agree that the "Fundamentalist Christian IN" you linked to is probably not one that I would play -- and I'm a Protestant Christian! That said, I don't think IN demands the relativistic philosophy, even though it was obviously conceived in it. Those who want to tie it to a particular faith or to a more solid good-evil conflict aren't having Hurting Wrong Fun unless they push it on someone who's clearly not interested. Which is true of any take on any RPG, of course.

"Sexing" angels could reflect the relativity level of a campaign, sure. But it's not a guaranteed litmus test. Some doctrines don't particularly care what sex angels appear to be; mixed male-female Choirs and Superiors under those circumstances could still be part of a campaign that was tied to a particular faith's world view of Heaven, Hell and the beings that inhabit both. Done in reverse, though, the test is more likely to be accurate: a campaign that restricts celestials to a single apparent sex is likely to be "derelativizing" the setting by being tied to a particular religion's worldview ... or at least, representing an aspect of the players' real-life religious beliefs that they feel uncomfortable compromising on.

(And as a side note -- yes, I do consider "sexist" a more accurate adjective than "misogynist" for what was being described. Thanks for being accommodating; I hope I haven't been too rambling in return. )
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“It's not railroading if you offer the PCs tickets and they stampede to the box office, waving their money. Metaphorically speaking”
--Elizabeth McCoy, In Nomine Line Editor

Author: "What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger"

Last edited by Rocket Man; 08-14-2011 at 03:05 PM.
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