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Apr 08 2012

An Easter message

Dang. I can never keep those nonexistent supernatural entities straight.

OK, and then the Holy Ghost must be a ghost, like Casper. But what is his dad? A wizard? And where does the Easter Bunny fit in? I’m thinking maybe Jesus is a lich, but he’s also a Furry, and once a year he dresses up…

Hey, is this that sophisticated theology people are always talking about?

91 comments

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  1. 1
    Q.E.D

    Quick Google-fu reveals no Jesus Lich art. I wish I had the skills to remedy that lacuna.

  2. 2
    Cosmic Snark

    Happy Lich Day!

  3. 3
    marcus

    That would be sophisti-MA-cated. Jeebus don’t they teach you biologist how to spell?

  4. 4
    D

    I think revenant is also a obvious choice.

  5. 5
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I hated liches back when I played D&D.

    I like lichens, though. Does that count?

    Happy Lich Day, one and all!

  6. 6
    Vidar

    Jesus is actually on the ‘List of fictional liches’ page of wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_liches
    Check under ‘Print’.

  7. 7
    Glen Davidson

    The only meaningful question left to ask is, how do you still a lich?

    Incantations, arrow to the knee, couple of rounds to the head, what?

    Glen Davidson

  8. 8
    Weedless Monkey

    Anyhoo, happy monkey.

  9. 9
    Bronze Dog

    Looking at the text, I couldn’t help but think of a certain general talking about the Doctor.

    “He is not a god. He is not a devil. He is not a goblin. He is not a phantom. He is not a trickster. He is a man of flesh and blood.”

  10. 10
    Jadzia626

    Hey, is this that sophisticated theology people are always talking about?

    You know, I studied theology for a while – once upon a time. Back in Oz – that is, Australia. This is certainly more creative and reflective than most theology I’ve ever encountered. They also did some actual research!

    Also, we were just having some theories about the easter bunny on twitter. Why does he hide his eggs? Is he embarrassed of being an male and egg-laying mammal? I think so. Either that or he keeps his chickens in the wrong place.

  11. 11
    consciousness razor

    In fact, all the Holy Prepuces were his phylacteries, so as soon as the last of them is destroyed, we can be sure he’ll never return.

  12. 12
    Ing

    @Glen

    Destroy the body as well as their soul jar…which can be difficult as they tend to hide and protect it absurdly well.

    IIRC they can tell when its destroyed and can make a new one so best bet is to kill them first and then destroy the soul jar while they’re regenerating

  13. 13
    echidna

    Is he embarrassed of being an male and egg-laying mammal? I think so.

    Nothing wrong with being an egg-laying mammal. ;)

  14. 14
    maneatinglemur

    Wait, wasn’t Easter when Jesus crawled outta the tomb, saw his shadow and there was six more weeks of winter?

    Seriously, the more I read stuff like that, the more religion seems like LARPing for people who don’t want to play dress-up (pedoclergy excepted).

  15. 15
    pipenta

    Eggs? Ha. Next thing you’ll be telling me you think they are chocolate. You fail to grasp hostility of the Easter Bunny.

    Those goodies he has hidden for you to find and eat? Those are cecotropes.

  16. 16
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    The only meaningful question left to ask is, how do you still a lich?

    Buy hir a drink. Be a good listener. It isn’t so hard.

  17. 17
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Also, I’m pretty sure that Jerry Garcia was a lich for maybe the last eight years of his life.

  18. 18
    Jadzia626

    Soooo … basically the Lich King is Jesus? Blizzard will not be pleased …

    http://www.originalsoundversion.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/wrath_of_the_lich_king.jpg

  19. 19
    littlejohn

    I suppose Casper was a good choice for a ghost familiar to all of us. But who was Casper before he died? He looks a lot like Richie Rich, but Richie grew up and is running for the Republican presidential nomination. He thought “Richie” was too goofy a name for a politician, so he changed it to the much less silly “Mitt.”

  20. 20
    ginmar

    I….I….OMG. Somebody on my facebook posted, without any shred of irony, a picture of Jesus wearing a red, white, and blue robe. Yeah.

  21. 21
    Cosmic Teapot, not the Antichrist.

    Theology is like trying to decide whether Santa wears boxers, y-fronts, a thong, or goes commando.

  22. 22
    ChristineRose

    Yeah, but there’s no evidence that Jesus had a soul jar or performed a ritual to bind his soul to his corpse either. You could just as well say he secretly drank the blood of his gullible followers.

    There is quite a bit of evidence that Jesus practiced sorcery though. The Jews accuse him of it (there are accusations in the Bible and accusations against the various persons in the Talmud who have been identified with Jesus), he treats blindness by spitting on dirt and pasting mud on someone’s eyes, and he uses simple tricks to turn water into wine and produce loaves and fishes out of nowhere. He’s also very much a faith healer. But necromancy? Not really. He doesn’t talk to the dead, visit the underworld, or create and control zombies, ghouls, and vampires. The 500 people who walk out of the graves don’t seem to be any of the above either.

    My guess is paranoid schizophrenic with delusions of supernatural power who thought that special people don’t have to follow the rules about cheating. That puts him right up there with Popoff, Koresh, Jim Jones, L. Ron, Haggard, Aimee Semple McPherson, Pat Robertson, the Bakkers–an awful lot of people actually.

  23. 23
    andyo

    meh, you say potato, I say BRAAAAAINS

  24. 24
    Snoof

    But necromancy? Not really. He doesn’t … visit the underworld …

    Look up the Harrowing of Hell some time.

  25. 25
    dianne

    So the only remaining question then is, in a fight between Jesus and Xykon, who would win?

  26. 26
    spiffo

    Wrath of the Lich King of Kings

  27. 27
    coyotenose

    Glen Davidson @ #7:

    Before or just after destroying the lich’s physical body, you must also destroy its phylactery: an enchanted object, often innocuous, that contains the lich’s soul and vital essence. Otherwise it will regenerate a new body after a short time or possess an existing nearby corpse.

    Although phylactery defenses vary according to the power and creativity of the lich – and make no mistake, they are all powerful and clever – when the wards are finally removed, it’s really just as destructible as any other small object.

    For instance, say you’re working at your desk, and some witch-hunter mails you a lich’s phylactery. Opening the envelope, you find a plain cracker. Knowing that this particular lich practices Transubstantiation Magic, allowing his phylactery to regenerate again and again after being eaten and pooped, you draw from your desk Dobsonsbane, Hammer of Thundersnarks and a Nail +2, +4 versus Carpenters…

  28. 28
    nemothederv

    I think @4 D has it right.

    Think of in terms of your dad giving you a list of stuff to buy at the grocery store and you come back with everything but one item. He then sends you back to complete the list.

    The classic story of a revenant you’d probably hear most is the one about the farmer who died but came back from the dead to bring in the crops so his family wouldn’t starve.

    Picture “The Crow” without the goth makeup and kung fu.

  29. 29
    Scarina

    @19 LittleJohn: No, I’m pretty sure Casper is Richie Rich. He grew tired of his hollow pursuit of money and took his own life. Lisa Simpson said so.

  30. 30
    nemothederv

    Would voldemort technically be considered a lich?

  31. 31
    coyotenose

    As an actual Furry, PZ, I resent being in any way compared to or associated with something as childish, ridiculous and inane as religion or Jesus Christ.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go visit the N.C. Zoo with my family. *puts on coyote ears and tail, like every other time*

  32. 32
    coyotenose

    nemothederv @ #30:

    I’m not sure that Voldemort actually died, but he wouldn’t be a lich anyway, since there’s no hint that his body after his return was undead. He’s just a plain old boring immensely powerful evil wizard, sorry.

  33. 33
    Gregory Greenwood

    he was not a vampire. While he transubstantiated wine into blood, he never drank it from a person.

    What about his cult? The whole “transubstantiation of wine into jebus-monster blood, drink it to be accepted into the fold of the ‘saved’ and thus receive immortality” thing sounds suspiciously similar to vampire mythology…

    So, at this point we have a mythological structure where jeebus was a powerful supernatural creature (possibly a lich, but with distinct overtones of vampire) who rose through sorcery from his own death, and who uses some dark ritual involving blood to corrupt humans into ghoul like, mindless followers of his death cult with the promise of becoming immortals after their death, and he will one day rise again to bring about the apocalypse…

    So, basically, jeebus is a character out of Vampire: The Masquerade.

    Well, it doesn’t make any less sense than mainstream christian theology.

    I keep trying to forget that people actually take this stuff seriously. I can only dream of how much better the world would be if christianity and all the other toxic religious mythologies that afflict our species existed only as particularly dark roleplaying games enjoyed by dice-wielding geeks and holding exactly zero influence over day to day life.

    Of course, in such a game, atheist characters would have massive bonuses on their roles to resist unevidenced theist claptrap, and would receive improvements to their ‘snark’ stat as a class attribute, but at the cost of the negative attributes ‘shrill’, ‘militant’ and ‘hurting the cause’…

  34. 34
    cadrpear

    His phylactery is the Ark of the Covenant, I would guess. Explains all the defense on it.

  35. 35
    Inaji

    Hey, is this that sophisticated theology people are always talking about?

    Sophistimacated monstrumology. I think. Could be theology, I get those two mixed up.

  36. 36
    Nutmeg

    Must…resist temptation…to post…on Facebook.

    I’ll just print it out and share it around the lab.

  37. 37
    DLC

    Transubstantiation, how does it fuckin’ work?

    I’m reminded of a discussion the other day about which Vampires were stupider, the Blade vampires or the Buffy vampires.

    If Jesus existed at all he was a Roman Empire era con man who was not much different than the other figures running about in those days claiming to be The Messiah™. /buzzkill
    So, my guess is he was originally a Rogue with hedge-wizard’s gloves, or perhaps a bard with illusion and charm magic.
    His phylactery was hidden in that cave, and taken off by his evil minions. Oh, and that dinosaur he was riding was no friendly browswer, it was a Dracolich!

  38. 38
    DLC

    oh and : Browser — plant eating dinosaur — herbivore. for some reason I couldn’t think of herbivore.

  39. 39
    reasonbeing

    Don’t try to reason it out PZ—the circular logic required could just ruin your day…

  40. 40
    nemothederv

    @34 james

    Didn’t the Ark belong to Moses?
    It seems the grail would be more appropriate. Especially considering it’s comes with an undead body guard and an earthquake machine.

  41. 41
    coralline

    Vidar, @6:

    Cute. All right, which one of you guys has an IP address hosted in Seoul, and updated Wikipedia this morning?

    :)

  42. 42
    IncredulousMark

    Much of my blog readership is US military…I wonder how many readers I’ll lose with this take on Easter in Kandahar:
    http://justdfacsmaam.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/the-easter-turkey-and-other-myths/

  43. 43
    cag

    Actually, jesus was an “n’t”. as in jesus isn’t and jesus wasn’t.

  44. 44
    omnicrom

    @30

    Voldemort qualifies. He either died or was incapacitated utterly and he resurrected from the Horcruxes he made which tether his soul to the world. To kill him they needed to break all his Horcruxes which ties back to needing to destroy a Lich’s phylactery to kill him.

    As for Jesus Ironically the guys best suited to take out a Lich are often the Faithful. Priests can do lots of magical holiness that blows up the undead very well.

  45. 45
    Moggie

    Everybody wants to discuss the taxonomy, but nobody wants to praise the typography? I think it’s rather pretty.

  46. 46
    Aratina Cage

    I take issue with Jesus post-Easter not being mindless. It seems to me that after his resurrection, he was nothing but a meat puppet and had lost all his individuality. So zombie still fits if you ask me.

  47. 47
    timgueguen

    Come on, it’s obvious Jesus was a Goa’uld. The tomb he supposedly rose from had a sarcophagus hidden in it. He obviously wasn’t a Tok’ra, as they’re not into founding religions around themselves.

    (It’s a shame the folks behind Stargate never had the guts to have a character from Christian mythology be a Goa’uld.)

  48. 48
    michaelvieths

    Actually, Stargate did have Sokar, who they described as being the basis for Satan. And they had Seth show up as a Jesus-like figure with a cult still hiding on Earth. They never _quite_ said ‘Jesus had a snake in his head’, but it was kinda floating at the periphery there.

  49. 49
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    The Catholics do consider Saint Peter Cottontail to be their first pope.

  50. 50
    Jadzia626

    It’s a shame the folks behind Stargate never had the guts to have a character from Christian mythology be a Goa’uld.

    Very true. Jesus was an obvious choice for a Goa’uld. I am willing to bet several pieces of silver that it crossed their mind and they either got told they weren’t allowed to, or were just to chicken to do it. I mean they did Ba’al, so it wasn’t like they didn’t know their bible.

  51. 51
    Gregory Greenwood

    timgueguen @ 47;

    Come on, it’s obvious Jesus was a Goa’uld. The tomb he supposedly rose from had a sarcophagus hidden in it. He obviously wasn’t a Tok’ra, as they’re not into founding religions around themselves.

    (It’s a shame the folks behind Stargate never had the guts to have a character from Christian mythology be a Goa’uld.)

    Shol’va, qri!

    *Goa’uld eye-flash*

    As much as I would have loved to see the creators of Star Gate have a go at depicting a figure from the Abrahamic religions as having an alien snake in their heads, if the show had made jeebus (or any prominent figure from christian, muslim or jewish mythology not identified as ‘evil’ in the scriptures) a Goa’uld, then the rapid-fire popping sound of fundie heads exploding would have swiftly been followed by the summary cancelation of the show.

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if it had crossed their minds, but there are still some places where a television show run for profit simply cannot go without begging for the kind of trouble that makes shareholders queasy.

  52. 52
    epicure

    I don’t know about ‘lich’ – but I do know that ‘lych’ (sometimes ‘lyke’) just denoted a corpse – in England many churchyards have a lychgate, which is able to accomodate coffin and bearers.

  53. 53
    Kristof

    I heard that before – see: http://youtu.be/LmJ2HQ3I2t4

    But what about his daddy? – see: http://youtu.be/22QfKkzF-cU

  54. 54
    DonDueed

    Wow, who’d’ve thought what a little typo could lead to? For all these centuries they thought “INRI” stood for Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Iudaeorvm, when all along that last “I” was really a lower-case “L”.

  55. 55
    jamesevans

    @26, spiffo: HA!

    This is quite possibly the dorkiest, and yet at the same time, the BEST Pharyngula thread ever. Rather enjoyable reading that has filled me with cold, undead mirth, and chilly chuckling like the sound of rattling bones.

    It could get dorkier, though. We haven’t brought up Tolkien yet. I was disappointed that Vidar/wikipedia’s lich list didn’t include Sauron. One could argue that—after he was drowned and his body was destroyed in the sinking of Numenor, he rose again in spirit and managed to manifest himself in hideous physical form, no longer able to take on a fair semblance, what with the Ring being a type of phylactery and all, and that he was even called “The Necromancer” at times throughout his distinguished evil career—he, too, like Jesus, was in fact some permutation of a lich.

    There, you’re welcome.

    This discussion has now officially reached its dorky apex.

  56. 56
    coyotenose

    Epicure @ #52,

    That’s the root of the name for the modern fictional undead “lich”, courtesy of Dungeons & Dragons.

    There’s even a tradition of this, since the “wights” from Tolkien (and later D&D) were just named for a word meaning “man”.

    Imagine my surprise as an ignorant nine year old D&D gamer to find “lychgate” in the dictionary.

  57. 57
    dianne

    So is PZ going to change the name of TZT to TLT?

  58. 58
    Kagehi

    It’s a shame the folks behind Stargate never had the guts to have a character from Christian mythology be a Goa’uld.

    Umm… Actually, the later enemy they ran into, which very nearly destroyed the ascended, the Ori, where “very” Christian. Origin mythology, babbled stuff that was very close to Biblical content, a distorted version of the truth, which made the ascended the “legions of evil”, when the truth was that those words where describing the Ori themselves, etc. One pair of episodes where even called, “The Fourth Horseman”, parts one and two. And, its always kind of been my thought that, if the devil was real, and wanted to win, the best way would be to create a religion that presents a simplistic ideal of peace, while promoting hate, fear, confusion, and war, then casts itself as the savior, and the side of good as the enemy of mankind. Exactly as the Ori did to their followers.

    If that whole section of the show wasn’t one vast allusion to Christianity, in all its forms, I don’t know what would be (I mean, short of naming on of the Ori priests John, Paul, or etc.).

  59. 59
    Kagehi

    Right, also forgot, there was the frozen Ayiana, who could heal by touch, but got drained each time by it, until she finally died from doing so, so its not like “Jesus like” abilities where not being attributed to either the ancients, or the Ori, or both, in one manner or another. They danced around the issue very well, with the Ori being the closest to coming right out and saying it, but anyone paying attention can find allusions to the idea, all over the place. ;)

  60. 60
    robro

    @christinelang #24

    He doesn’t talk to the dead, visit the underworld, or create and control zombies, ghouls, and vampires.

    Not so sure about that. In the transfiguration scene he talks with Moses and Elija, both of whom are quite dead. And then he speaks to Lazarus and the widows son to raise them from the dead. Sounds like talking to the dead to me. And you might even say that he created zombies or some such when he raised people from the dead.

  61. 61
    Gregory Greenwood

    Kagehi @ 58 & 59;

    There we see a very clever application by the creators of Stargate of the ‘just different enough’ principle. The nods to christianity were there, but they ere very careful to avoid any ‘smoking gun’ scenario that would make the unambiguous statement that christianity was a system of moral and intellectual enslavement similar to that of the Goa’uld or Ori. The only way the xians could really complain would be to essentially say; “all that theocratic tyranny, genocide and warmongering is so obviously all about christianity – stop stealing our ideas!”

    And if confronted, the creators had a copper bottomed get-out-of-jail-free card in the biblical injunction to ‘be wary of false prophets’ – they could say that the Goa’uld and the Ori are allegories for false prophets and those who would place greed/hedonistic personal gratification/’worship of their own intellect’ above the ‘true’ faith. It would be difficult for the fundies to prove otherwise.

    The Goa’uld in particular are utterly immoral sadists who are so totally egomaniacal that they impersonate deities as a reflection of their truly monstrous egos, and are so badly afflicted by the techno-crack that is the sarcophagus technology that their mental state often degenerates until they think they actually are gods, completely buying into their own hype. Further, they will never bend the knee to any ‘higher power’, whether Ancient or otherwise, not because of any rational objection, but because they are too arrogant and conceited to do so, and because they have no intention of enaging in any system of morality that may stop them engaging in their decadent desires and would hold them accountable for their actions…

    Is any of this starting to sound familiar yet? The Goa’uld could easily be cast as the evil atheists of the Stargate universe; mirroring rather closely (whether by accident of design) the ridiculous straw-atheism that only exists in the heads of fundies.

    Now, depicting Abraham, Moses or Jeebus himself as having alien snakes in their heads would probably be harder to spin…

  62. 62
    Rip Steakface

    I’m not sure that Voldemort actually died, but he wouldn’t be a lich anyway, since there’s no hint that his body after his return was undead. He’s just a plain old boring immensely powerful evil wizard, sorry.

    Rowling has said, I believe, that Voldemort and the Horcruxes were her take on the idea of the lich. Makes sense – there’s plenty of other common magical creatures in Harry Potter, so there’s no reason she wouldn’t go for the classic lich.

    So, at this point we have a mythological structure where jeebus was a powerful supernatural creature (possibly a lich, but with distinct overtones of vampire) who rose through sorcery from his own death, and who uses some dark ritual involving blood to corrupt humans into ghoul like, mindless followers of his death cult with the promise of becoming immortals after their death, and he will one day rise again to bring about the apocalypse…

    So, basically, jeebus is a character out of Vampire: The Masquerade.

    I’ll bet he was embraced by Cain himself.

  63. 63
    Rip Steakface

    Bleh, blockquote fail. Should read:

    So, at this point we have a mythological structure where jeebus was a powerful supernatural creature (possibly a lich, but with distinct overtones of vampire) who rose through sorcery from his own death, and who uses some dark ritual involving blood to corrupt humans into ghoul like, mindless followers of his death cult with the promise of becoming immortals after their death, and he will one day rise again to bring about the apocalypse…

    So, basically, jeebus is a character out of Vampire: The Masquerade.

    I’ll be he was embraced by Cain himself.

  64. 64
    Rip Steakface

    Typo’d again. Fuck it.

  65. 65
    Akira MacKenzie

    Speaking of D&D, I wonder if Christian clerics can turn Jesus?

  66. 66
    Gregory Greenwood

    Rip Steakface @ 63;

    I’ll bet he was embraced by Cain himself.

    Oh, how very sacrilicious…

    Yup, Second Generation all the way for jeebus I think.

    Now the question becomes; which Clan is he the progenitor of? From the inconsistent, self-contradictory babble in the bible, I would have to go with Malkavian, especially with the bit about drinking your Antedeluvian’s blood making you loose your faculties putting a whole new, and rather entertaining, spin on the vampire version of Communion I was talking about @ 33 upthread…

  67. 67
    ChristineRose

    @Snoof, 24:

    You’re right, I forgot about the harrowing of hell. Not exactly classic necromancy but not that far off.

    @robro, 60:

    He raises people from the dead but they seem to be alive afterwards with normal function and no desire for BRRRAAINZZZ. But you’re right, he does manage to talk to the dead. And healing is sometimes considered one of the necromantic arts, so I guess I’ll accept it. Jesus was a necromancer.

    Still not sure about the Lich part though. There’s nothing to indicate he had a soul jar, or that it was destroyed, or that he continued to rot after death. The Bible is all over the place on the details though. Sometimes only his hyped-up followers can see him. Sometimes anyone can see him. Sometimes he’s a ball of light. Sometimes he looks like a normal person, but not at all like Jesus. Sometimes he looks just like himself, complete with gaping wound. Sometimes he walks around like a person and sometimes he teleports. That sounds kind of vampire-ish except for the light/daytime part.

  68. 68
    nicksirman

    So if Jesus is a lich, we really need to get set on finding his phylactery. However he has been dead for quite a while, and apparently ascended to the outer planes, so he may have become a demilich, which is far more powerful and harder to destroy.

    It is odd that many liches get mistaken for other things. For example confirmed lich and former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who retired from politics to pursue a more active career in necromancy and is now working as a raid boss in Shawinigan Quebec. His lichdom is not even listed in his wikipedia page. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Chr%C3%A9tien

  69. 69
    Rip Steakface

    Still not sure about the Lich part though. There’s nothing to indicate he had a soul jar, or that it was destroyed, or that he continued to rot after death.

    Well, as stated above, he could easily be a Demilich. There’s also the long standing idea of the Holy Grail, which is very likely his phylactery.

  70. 70
    robro

    @christinelaing #69:

    He raises people from the dead but they seem to be alive afterwards…

    “They seem”…I don’t think the biblibook says much about the risen after they’re raised. Perhaps later copyists redacted out any mention of zombie-like behavior like eating brains.

    sounds kind of vampire-ish except for the light/daytime part

    Maybe in Jeebus’s day sunlight wasn’t an issue for vamps. Anyway, I recall reading that the whole “vampires can’t be exposed to the sun” business is a fairly recent Hollywood addition. Of course, they would know in Hollywood (where many vampires live). IIRC Bram Stoker’s story has the vampire in the sun. Also, the vampire in Murnau’s Nosferatu emerges from the hulk in broad daylight…possibly an accommodation to camera limitations. I mean, it’s hard enough to film a vampire, imagine doing it in the dark.

  71. 71
    timgueguen

    I never saw any of the Stargate episodes that had their main focus on the Ori, but I’ve seen enough comments on them to know that some viewers though they were supposed to be a thinly disguised Islam.

  72. 72
    fishwithfeet

    Haha! I had to refrain from using Facebook today due to the massive number of “He is risen” posts… I could barely contain myself, so instead of offending everyone I just stayed away. However, I am now extremely tempted to share this with them. :-)

  73. 73
    gregvalcourt

    This was my cousins facebook status today:

    Well the rabbit I nailed to my fence is still up there and hasn’t moved in a while. Jesus=1 Easter Bunny=0.

    Wow.

  74. 74
    anteprepro

    Warning: Giant comment about a tangent.

    I never saw any of the Stargate episodes that had their main focus on the Ori, but I’ve seen enough comments on them to know that some viewers though they were supposed to be a thinly disguised Islam.

    Interesting idea, but that only works in so far as Islam is similar to the other Abrahamic religions and in so far as one believes they did so without referencing any cultural features or unique concepts that would clearly indicate a connection to Islam. But, of course, those who think it is actually supposed to represent Christianity (as I’m betting you do as well) have the following facts.

    1. The authors live in a culture where Christianity is the majority religion, and thus the excessive allegories and overwrought, archaic manner of speech is probably supposed to be an allusion to the Bible instead of the English version of the Koran, since aping that style of speech is irrelevant to an English speaking audience that, like the authors themselves, have probably not heard Muslims quoting the Koran in English as often as they’ve heard Christians quoting the Bible in English.

    2. The term “hallowed” often used by the worshipers is one that exists in Christianity, and outside Christianity, but that is typically not used in Islam. Similarly, the concept of “sin” and “salvation” used by the Ori are more consistent with Christianity than Islam (see the fourth quote here ). I will grant that this doesn’t mean much, because they also use the term “path” and “enlightened” as well, which are terms more common in Buddhism than Christianity. But if that sheds doubt on the idea that Origin is Christianity, then the idea that Origin is really Islam should be in even more doubt. Also, the reference to Buddhist terms might be explained by the fact that it more easily describes Ascension, which was established beforehand and probably was inspired by Buddhism or similar sets of beliefs.

    3. The religion’s holy text is Book of Origin. The Bible’s first book is Genesis, a word for beginning, that is all about the origin of the world. The Koran’s first sura sort of has a name that translates into Opening. It is a short prayer for guidance. The one after that is the longest sura of the Koran, and it also has the theme of guidance, and is about Moses and contains parts about God reviving the dead. It’s called “The Calf” or something to that effect. It is clear that if “Origin” is meant to be a reference to anything, it would be an allusion to the Bible based on its first and most well known book, rather than a reference to the Koran.

    4. The regions controlled by the Ori resemble medieval European architecture moreso than Middle Eastern. The same similarity occurs with the armor used by followers. These are clear allusions to a time and place where Christianity was dominant, which is alluded to again by the titles of an episode, “Crusade” (also by the fact that this story arc includes stories of Ancients from Arthurian legend, which occurs in roughly the same time and place, give or take a few centuries).

    5. Vala’s pregnancy with the Orici, leader of the religion, is portrayed as a virgin birth (the child is sired by an Ori) and the child, Adria, is a half-Ori, half-human with incredible powers. She was basically evil female Jesus, except the parallels were minimal in the plot.

    6. And, of course, the magical humans granted with the power of the Ori are called Priors, which is one of various ranks/titles for priests in Christendom.

    It’s pretty much undeniable that it is supposed to be a send-up of Christianity. But, I found an article attempting to make the case that it is really mocking Islam, just so I could get where these people are coming from. The basic arguments?
    -Muslims are hypocrites who talk about peace while actually being violent!
    -Muslims have a glazed over look in their eye when talking about how much they love their religion!
    -People formerly enslaved by false gods are willing to believe in the Ori while ignoring the similarities it has to their evil, former “gods”! They are now slaves due to their own choice and afraid to be free!
    -Because this is obviously applicable to Allah and not Yahweh:

    “What is the measure of a god Gerak? Is it the scope of their power or how they choose to wield that power? Would a god who is prepared to lead us on the path of enlightenment so contradict this divine benevolence by destroying all those who refuse to believe in him?”

    -Because Christians witness to unbelievers and never use violence, and Muslims only resort to violence and never try to spread their message through words! (Note that this would actually make Muslims dissimilar from the Ori if true).
    -Because Muslims calling for conquest remind us of fascism, Nazism, and the Spanish Inquisition!
    -Because Muslims don’t accept criticism, aren’t self-reflective, are convinced they are right and see everything different as corrupt!

    Yeah. That’s why the Ori and their believers are obviously based off of Islam and not Christianity. Indeed. Totally buying it. Where can I buy the blinders that these people have? They’re common enough, so I’d bet they’re not too hard to find.

  75. 75
    anteprepro

    Also, if Jesus was a lich, I hope he didn’t spend too much time picking out his phylactery, since he was promptly beamed up to his moon base after his revivification and final transformation into one of the undead. I mean, seriously, that was a fucking waste. Apparently Jesus couldn’t help any of his cleric friends get to a high enough level to cast one fucking raise dead. They can do so at level 9, for 5,000 gp. Yet Jesus is at least level 11 and had 120000 gp to crap away, and decided to spend it on being able to come back from the dead without someone else’s help. He didn’t help his friends with his vast power and resources and then went out of his way in order to make sure that he was self-sufficient enough that he wouldn’t have to even ask his friends to help him. Jesus wasn’t just a lich; he was the first libertarian.

    gregvalcourt: Looks like decency is about as rare as creativity among the Christ-kin. Perhaps we should start calling them the Lich-in-spirit?

  76. 76
    Nemo

    One of the big recurring villains in SG-1, pre-Ori, was Senator Kinsey, a religious right type. I think the first overtly Christian character who wasn’t a bad guy was General Landry, introduced alongside the Ori.

    Daniel Jackson made wonderful atheistic speeches, thinly disguised as anti-Goa’uld speeches. Te’alc reveled in the death of gods, and though of course they were always “false gods”, he never gave any sign that he thought there was another kind.

  77. 77
    Dabu

    I suspect that prior to his death, Jesus was actually a druid. Not always a nice tree-hugging one, either.

    He spent lots of time wandering in the wilderness, produced lots of fishes where there’d only been a few before, withered a fig tree, talked with God in the garden, transferred madness into a bunch of pigs, and used regeneration on Lazarus. It has to be that, rather than Raise Dead, as Lazarus never showed up to defend Jesus at his trial, which suggests that Lazarus was rather miffed at being regenerated as a bullywug.

    His legacy has been a religion that performs energy drain on the lifestyle of anyone who adopts it, and his phylactery is one of the zillions of crackers handed out at Catholic services worldwide. However, it can only be destroyed by an infidel removing it from the church and unceremoniously disposing of it. PZ unfortunately got the wrong one.

  78. 78
    scrawnykayaker

    @55 Sauron was NOT a lich! He was already an immortal spirit, a Maia, so he did not need the Ring to achieve immortality by becoming undead. Tolkein doesn’t explain WHY Sauron could not assume a pleasing form after the wreck of Numenor, but that seems to be beside the point.

    In one of the posthumous publications, it says that the Ring tapped the evil inherent in the universe caused by the discord of Melkor in the Music of the Ainur before the creation of the world. Sauron made the Ring and invested his power in it for that purpose, not to become immortal.

    The Nazgul, OTOH? Totally liches.

  79. 79
    Part-Time Insomniac

    I’m kind of torn. Lich, sure he fits the profile, but the way some Christians act and think . . . the neverending quest to convert, the lack of any logical thinking, believing no one can ever be a moral and upstanding unless they accept Jeeeebus . . . we’re sure he’s not some lich-zombie crossbreed?

  80. 80
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    I’m kind of torn. Lich, sure he fits the profile, but the way some Christians act and think . . . the neverending quest to convert, the lack of any logical thinking, believing no one can ever be a moral and upstanding unless they accept Jeeeebus . . . we’re sure he’s not some lich-zombie crossbreed?

    Mmmm, but liches do raise armies of ghouls, while not being ghouls themselves. At least in WoW they do. So I’d go with lich myself.

  81. 81
    Ing

    Liches WANT zombie armies. It fits. Lich controls zombies.

    Though he could be a Mindflayer with a shapeshifter spell.

  82. 82
    Ing

    I am going to point out that the nature of the believer is closer to a thrall than a zombie. So either a Lich with lots of experience in enchanting, or a Mindflayer in human disguise.

  83. 83
    Gregory Greenwood

    Ing: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream So I Comment Instead @ 81;

    Though he could be a Mindflayer with a shapeshifter spell.

    Why is it that I feel more drawn to Mindflayer jeebus? It must be the face tentacles, and my theory that all Mindflayers are actually secret servants of Cthulhu.

    Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

    Hmmm, I may be spending to much virtual time around here…

  84. 84
    gravityisjustatheory

    Apart from dying and coming back to life again, JEsus doesn’t really share any obvious similarities with the undead.

    IMO, he was just a dual- or multi-classed cleric/mage, with resurection/raise dead prepared as a contingency spell.

  85. 85
    anteprepro

    IMO, he was just a dual- or multi-classed cleric/mage, with resurection/raise dead prepared as a contingency spell.

    I agree that he doesn’t have many traits of the undead. Except that I don’t agree with your explanation above, since that wouldn’t explain how he retained his wounds, since resurrection and raise dead spells would heal those.

    I…I think I should stop now. I’m getting dangerously close to becoming a sophisticated theologian…

  86. 86
    jamesevans

    @ #78, scrawnykayaker:

    Valid points on Sauron, especially the immortality part, but I have to take extreme exception with your Nazgul comment. I purposefully ignored them as lich candidates, because they were in fact wraiths that had lost their corporeal shells well before being commanded to chase after Frodo. Without robes or some form of clothing, they moved about essentially unseen (if not unnoticed, due to the dread that overtook those near them) by anyone but the wearer of the Ring.

    Getting back to Sauron, I certainly did not mean he satisfied all criteria, and therefore could only be called a variation on the lich theme. After all, once the Ring was destroyed, so was his immortal being. Although it did not provide his immortality from the beginning of his existence, he nonetheless came to depend upon it, and could not hope to live forever without it. For all intents and purposes, it acted much the same for him as a phylactery does for a lich.

    I love this thread.

  87. 87
    twincats

    Rowling has said, I believe, that Voldemort and the Horcruxes were her take on the idea of the lich. Makes sense – there’s plenty of other common magical creatures in Harry Potter, so there’s no reason she wouldn’t go for the classic lich.

    Now I have a picture in my head of Ms. Rowling sitting at her laptop and consulting a copy of the D&D 1.0 Monster Manual.

  88. 88
    rickpitre

    Prof. Myers, I am deeply troubled that you know what a furry is.

  89. 89
    scrawnykayaker

    @86 IIRC, Sauron was not truly destroyed when the Ring was destroyed, but simply weakened so catastrophically that he could no longer take any form (something about “…can only gnaw himself…”). He remains immortal, but inconsequential.

    You’re right about the Nazgul. The term “Ringwraiths” pretty convincingly indicates that they are wraiths. However, I just don’t think that’s as funny as “totally liches.” Sometimes you have to go for the one that sounds better, accurate or not.

    This is a great thread. It’s more fun when everyone agrees that everything under discussion is fiction!

  90. 90
    Fabricio Ferreira

    So… Arthas the Lich King was really Jesus all along? And Deathwing is the Beast of the Apocalypse?

    IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW! REPENT NOW, BEFORE THE WRATH OF THE PANDAS CONSUME YOUR SOUL!

  91. 91
    Fabricio Ferreira

    But Jesus may not be a Lich. Craft Contingency Spell (Raise Dead) with a trigger of “3 days after being nailed in a wooden cross” would do the trick.

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