Friday, April 03, 2009

A Conversation with Pavo Baradin

A waste of breath.

What? Oh, well you just muttered a quick prayer, right? You’re wasting your breath.

No offense meant, I just think you’d be much better off focusing your energy--and belief--on your own ability to accomplish the task than relying on some distant figure who doesn’t really care about your problems.

No, no, I understand he’s a benevolent god who only wants what’s best for the world, it’s just . . . look, are you sure you want to get into this? I’m going to be rather heretical and you may not like what I have to say. Can you keep an open mind and give me a fair listen? Because once I’m done I think you’ll be glad you did.

Ok . . . see those people drifting in and out of that temple across the street? They’re making themselves slaves, every one of them. Subjugating themselves. Lowering their value in the eyes of the world and, most importantly, in their own eyes. They could be working to better themselves and help each other, but instead they sit around praying and hoping and wishing that their god will somehow take care of it all for them.

And, sure, the god might help out some. The priests will channel his power to heal them and address their other needs, but it’s always for a price. If they’re not baldly taking money in exchange for these so-called favors, they’re taking dignity—in exchange for the god’s blessing you must worship the god, tell yourself and the world that the god is a higher level being than anyone else, more worthy of worship than anyone else. Ultimately, it’s not about you, it’s about furthering the god’s ends and raising him up as superior. Always, in the end, it’s about him, about them. They only help us to help themselves.

Well, I say don’t worship any gods, worship yourself.

Sure, they may have more power than you or I, they may be able to create miracles and alter the fabric of world. I’m not disputing their power. I’m arguing that doesn’t make them any more inherently valuable than anyone else. It’s a bully mentality. They’re saying, “I have all the power so I’m better than you. I’m grander. I’m more important. You’re a fly that I may notice enough to help out every once in a while, but really you’re nothing when compared to me. I’m stronger so I get to be the boss. Now go out and tell everyone else how wonderful I am, because you don’t really matter.”

Well, I say it’s not about who has the most power. Your existence is just as important as any god’s, and you don’t need to feel like you’re any less than any other being. You matter just as much as that god.

And you know what? You do have power. I have power, and he and she have power. We are all of us divine, if we just take the right perspective and know where to look.

How do I know? Because I’ve learned to tap into that power. I’m just beginning to understand the potential and how to draw on it. The gods get their power by standing on top of others. But by learning that divinity isn’t just about the gods but about all life everywhere, I’ve learned that when we focus on mutually lifting each other up we can make our own magic. Not when it’s just you or just me, but when it’s us. We do it together. When I can find the divinity in you and you can find the divinity in me, when we truly believe that we are all divine and don’t need to subjugate ourselves to gods or anyone, we can reach the power that gives us life.

But I’m talking in abstracts, here. Maybe it would be helpful if I told you my story so you could see how I’ve come to believe what I do . . .

(to be continued)


Lummox said...

So a cleric who doesn't follow a god, but life itself. Interesting. Very interesting.

Hadrian said...

Ooooh, me likey, me likey very much. Well written to boot. Kudos sir.

I know it may be hard to believe, given how the character eventually turned out, but Hadrian the cleric was originally conceived of as being like this guy. I was going to make him a non-affiliated Zen-like character, when he instead turned into the ultimate Inquisition style organization man.


Aerin said...


So...he heals with his penis? (Figured I'd get to it before Lummox could)

I like the concept, I always sort of wanted to do a paladin around the same sort of idea.

This part is always some of the most interesting part of the entire game, seeing who the characters are before some of the necessities of the gaming world cloud personality aspects. Always makes me wonder why I don't try to write more often...

Degolar said...

Thanks. I'm pretty sure secular humanism isn't really accurate to the D&D setting, but I thought it would make an interesting cleric variant to play.

Degolar said...

Pah-voh Bear-uh-dean

Aerin said...

Pay-Vo Ba-rad-in!

And actually worshipping an idea rather than a diety is core.

ingasing: some of these are just too easy...