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Nov 19 2013

Cthulhu has a poll

If you happen to be an acolyte of the Cthulhu mythos, you might be interested in answering this poll. If you are not a follower of the mythos, do not answer this poll, or fell non-Euclidean creatures will nest in the eaves of your house, and gibber insanely through the night until your mind is a shattered ruin and they can slip in and gnaw on your soul. You have been warned.

I am best described as:
atheist 47.67%
religious (christian, muslim, or any other religious persuasion) 21.22%
agnostic 15.41%
deist (belief in a god without religion) 9.3%
other (please comment below) 6.4%

We will not judge our fellow atheists who fear an Elder God.

41 comments

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  1. 1
    richardelguru

    Not only did you warn us, but our firewall blocked the site. Cthulhu is truly great.

  2. 2
    Al Dente

    We will not judge our fellow atheists who fear an Elder God.

    Thank you for this, PZ. May you be eaten first.

  3. 3
    Noadi

    Ia Ia Cthulhu fthagn!

  4. 4
    kosk11348

    What do we have to do to be considered an “acolyte?” I’ve read a collection of Lovecraft’s short stories, including many of his most well-known, and I liked them. But I’m not a super fan or anything.

  5. 5
    Inaji

    In the comments over there:

    I also think you can have some Native American beliefs, and still be fully Lovecraftian, which I do, all of the above.

    :facepalm: I am so effing tired of this shit. Wačhíŋtȟuŋ šni.

  6. 6
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    :snort: I’ve heard there are many Lovecraftians who embrace some Eurasian beliefs.

  7. 7
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Caine: thanks for the warning, I didn’t read the comments.

    @everyone:
    I don’t think i have ever in my life employed a Lovecraft quote until today…and a couple hours later, *poof* this poll.

    Somehow, I feel as if many eyes are watching me, only to withdraw on their tentacular stalks whenever I turn in their direction, leaving me forever uncertain: is some amorphous thing seeking me, stalking me, never to leave, destined to haunt the fringes of my consciousness until my consciousness is no more? Or is this mere patterned hallucination? A residual memory of terror, imprinted in my genes as the desperate attempt of an evolving intelligence to protect her progeny manifested as the echo of a threat leaving no clue as to the source, only goading, in the mindless way of all genes, my brain towards desperate flight from anything that might be shade of servant of an Elder God, a flight that can never end, as safety can never be found.

  8. 8
    Rob

    For light relief, including a shout out to PZ see here

  9. 9
    Moggie

    Caine, be careful: she’s also a “Gray witch”, so she might turn you into a newt.

    It’s a little scary that some people read Lovecraft and see spirituality.

  10. 10
    gillyc

    kosk11348 @4 – well I voted and I haven’t ready anything by Lovecraft. I’m a big fan of Charles Stross’s Laundry Files books though, and I reckon that counts, right?

  11. 11
    Inaji

    Moggie:

    Caine, be careful: she’s also a “Gray witch”, so she might turn you into a newt.

    Forgive me for declining to shake. (Besides, I quite like newts.) :D Gad, some people. Want to play witch or wizard? I don’t care. Just leave us Indians out of it.

  12. 12
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I’ve never read Lovecraft.

    From all the praise and references I’ve seen on Pharyngula, I’m probably missing on something good.

  13. 13
    rabbitscribe

    Lovecraft was an outspoken atheist. Hitchens included a Lovecraft piece in the anthology of atheists writings he edited. And then there’s this:

    http://www.amazon.com/Against-Religion-Atheist-Writings-Lovecraft/dp/0578052482

  14. 14
    chigau (違う)

    I do wish those Newagers who say they do Native American™ beliefs would be more specific.
    The Americas is a big place.

  15. 15
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Pika* have believed rattlesnakes are terror-inducing murderers for quite some time.

    Is that what the newagers believe, because that’s excessive, but not exactly horrifyingly inaccurate, y’know?

    *couldn’t link directly into the slide show – appropriate image is august, 9 of 13.

  16. 16
    Rob Grigjanis

    fell non-Euclidean creatures

    Hyperbolic creatures? Going around exaggerating and whatnot. Very annoying.

  17. 17
    Inaji

    Chigau:

    I do wish those Newagers who say they do Native American™ beliefs would be more specific.

    Why they believe in the Pure Spirituality of the Noble Savage, closer to The Land than Arthur™, of course. So says Crystal Rainbow Fox Dances Across Water Beaver Tree Summer Rain Gray Mist Smith.

  18. 18
    Moggie

    Beatrice @12:

    I’ve never read Lovecraft.

    From all the praise and references I’ve seen on Pharyngula, I’m probably missing on something good.

    Weeelll… yes and no. The writing is often excessively purple, just this side of laughable. The characterisation is paper-thin. Don’t expect many women, or any relatable women. For horror, it fails to actually be scary. And yet… there’s something there, cheesy comfort food for a dark and stormy night. Not being a very analytical reader, I can’t describe why I enjoy Lovecraft. But there’s no reason not to give him a try: you can pick up his work really cheaply (particularly if you can use e-books), and it’s all an easy read.

  19. 19
    anuran

    Tsathoggua is my co-pilot

  20. 20
    michaelbusch

    still be fully Lovecraftian

    Disregarding the incredible ignorance of lumping hundreds of different groups together, and offensiveness of appropriation: what does that even mean? It’s like saying “I’m fully Whovian”. Or has someone mistaken Lovecraft’s stories for a serious suggestion?

    Also, Caine: Lakota?

  21. 21
    John Horstman

    I thought deism describes a belief in a non-interventionist god, not a belief in a god (interventionist or not) without a religion. I’ll grant that a religion formed around a god that does not act or even necessarily exist in our universe would be somewhat silly, but then I also think religions formed around gods that DO (supposedly) intervene in reality are pretty silly, so…

  22. 22
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @michaelbusch, re: Caine:

    Yes, Lakota, but I don’t know the expression in Caine#5. She may be willing to provide a translation …or not.

    Obviously from context it’s going to be something tinged with anger and/or contempt. Knowing Caine, and if I had to choose, I’d be willing to put more money on contempt than anger.

  23. 23
    michaelbusch

    @Crip Dyke @22: My Sioux-English dictionary indexes “Wačhíŋtȟuŋ šni” as “to have no sense”. But I don’t know how good of a translation that is.

  24. 24
    Inaji

    Michael @ 20:

    Also, Caine: Lakota?

    Yep. As for what I said, it means having no sense, but more in the stupid, silly idiot who can’t think sensibly way.

  25. 25
    michaelbusch

    @Caine: Thanks for the translation! Languages are fun.

  26. 26
    Jacob Schmidt

    So says Crystal Rainbow Fox Dances Across Water Beaver Tree Summer Rain Gray Mist Smith.

    Bwahahaha.

    I’d have bursted out laughing, but I was worried of waking my partner.

  27. 27
    raven

    Cthulhuism strikes me as having the best chance of actually being The One True Religion.

    Stealing from PZ Myers it is:

    You will die someday. The universe doesn’t care. That will be the end.

  28. 28
    raven

    I’ve never read Lovecraft.

    From all the praise and references I’ve seen on Pharyngula, I’m probably missing on something good.

    Well you are. For some eldrich values of “good” beyond time and space and human imagination.

    Lovecraft managed to describe a reality that few even want to think about.

    The universe is unknowable and might make sense but probably doesn’t. Humans are insignificant to the point that it doesn’t really know we are even here. Except when it is actively trying to kill us.

  29. 29
    Owlmirror

    Bob Howard has the canonical answer to the question:

    THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE TRUE RELIGION. ARE YOU FEELING lucky, believer?
     
    Like the majority of ordinary British citizens, I used to be a good old-fashioned atheist, secure in my conviction that folks who believed–in angels and demons, supernatural manifestations and demiurges, snake-fondling and babbling in tongues and the world being only a few thousand years old–were all superstitious idiots. It was a conviction encouraged by every crazy news item from the Middle East, every ludicrous White House prayer breakfast on the TV. But then I was recruited by the Laundry, and learned better.
     
    I wish I could go back to the comforting certainties of atheism; it’s so much less unpleasant than the One True Religion.
     
    The truth won’t make your Baby Jesus cry because, sad to say, there ain’t no such Son of God. Moses may have taken two tablets before breakfast, but there was nobody home to listen to the prayers of the victims of the Shoah. The guardians of the Kaaba have got the world’s best tourism racket running, the Dalai Lama isn’t anybody’s reincarnation, Zeus is out to lunch, and you really don’t want me to start on the neo-pagans.
     
    However, there is a God out there–vast and ancient and infinitely powerful–and I know the name of this God. I know the path you have to walk down to be one with this God. I know his secret rituals and the correct form of prayer and his portents and signs. I have studied the ancient writings of his prophets and followers in person, not simply relying on the classified digests in the CODICIL BLACK SKULL files and the background briefings for CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN.
     
    I’m a believer. And like I said, I wish I was still an atheist. Believing I was born into a harsh, uncaring cosmos–in which my existence was a random roll of the dice and I was destined to die and rot and then be gone forever–was infinitely more comforting than the truth.
     
    Because the truth is that my God is coming back.
     
    When he arrives I’ll be waiting for him with a shotgun.
     
    And I’m keeping the last shell for myself.

  30. 30
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    My only Debbie Downer moment about HPL is that, while an interesting writer with very wonderfully creepy ideas and worldbuilding (if you enjoyed the short stories, try At the Mountains of Madness and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, my two favourite of his longer works), he was also a virulent and gross racist, and it’s not completely uncommon to come across some really grossly racist thing in his works. He had a black cat he called “Nigger-man”, for instance, if you’ll excuse me using the word, and that cat appears in The Rats in the Walls as a character; The Call of Cthulhu, viewed as the seed work of the whole Lovecraft mythos, refers repeatedly (as do a number of other stories) to “mongrel half-breeds of low caste”, and such.

    In fact, I had thought for a while of writing an interrogation of The Call of Cthulhu that called out the narrator’s racism, pointing out innocent reasons for the actions blamed on the POC in the story.

    So, yeah, fascinating stuff, but be aware, if you haven’t read it before, that HPL isn’t without his seriously problematic side. I enjoy his work, but I don’t recommend it unreservedly, and I think it would do well with some small edits. The thing about his racism is, it doesn’t really advance the story any, it’s just side-shots alongside the story.

    Ftaghn nagh Yog-Sothoth!

  31. 31
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    My only Debbie Downer moment about HPL is that, while an interesting writer with very wonderfully creepy ideas and worldbuilding (if you enjoyed the short stories, try At the Mountains of Madness and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, my two favourite of his longer works), he was also a virulent and gross racist, and it’s not completely uncommon to come across some really grossly racist thing in his works. He had a black cat he called “N****r-man”, for instance, and that cat appears in The Rats in the Walls as a character; The Call of Cthulhu, viewed as the seed work of the whole Lovecraft mythos, refers repeatedly (as do a number of other stories) to “mongrel half-breeds of low caste”, and such.

    In fact, I had thought for a while of writing an interrogation of The Call of Cthulhu that called out the narrator’s racism, pointing out innocent reasons for the actions blamed on the POC in the story.

    So, yeah, fascinating stuff, but be aware, if you haven’t read it before, that HPL isn’t without his seriously problematic side. I enjoy his work, but I don’t recommend it unreservedly, and I think it would do well with some small edits. The thing about his racism is, it doesn’t really advance the story any, it’s just side-shots alongside the story.

    Ftaghn nagh Yog-Sothoth!

  32. 32
    Azuma Hazuki

    Cthulhu is Hello Kitty compared to Yahweh. He’ll drive you insane, eat you, and then you’re dead and gone. Cthulhu himself would be driven insane if he contemplated, or tried to contemplate, the idea of Yahweh’s infinite and eternal torture dungeons.

    Lovecraft got off easy. “The Laundry” may be a story, but the concept under it is all too real and has all too strong a grip on all too many people. Fuckin’ A, give me Cthulhu over ANY of the world’s major religions’ Gods and afterlives any day.

  33. 33
    Snoof

    CaitieCat @ 30

    He had a black cat he called “N****r-man”, for instance, and that cat appears in The Rats in the Walls as a character; The Call of Cthulhu, viewed as the seed work of the whole Lovecraft mythos, refers repeatedly (as do a number of other stories) to “mongrel half-breeds of low caste”, and such.

    Plus, there’s the short story The Horror at Red Hook, the plot of which is basically “In the city, there are weird (i.e non-white) people practicing a weird (i.e non-Christian) religion! The horror! The horror!”

    It’s an interesting contrast with At The Mountains of Madness (published four years later) where the protagonist is able to empathise with the Elder Things, alien creatures that are millions of years old, and is portrayed as reasonable and sympathetic when he does so. I’m not sure if that demonstrates Lovecraft’s changing attitudes or something else.

  34. 34
    yubal

    The city of R’lyeh has non-Euclidean features in its structures, the creatures living/serving there are in the worst case amorphic (Shoggoths), which does not violate euclidean properites.

  35. 35
    oursally

    >nest in the eaves

    no, no, they nest in the gambrel roofs. And the house has to be unbelievably ancient – gasp – two hundred years old – gasp.

  36. 36
    oursally

    And if you haven’t got a Miskatonic University sweatshirt yet, here they are:

    http://www.cthulhulives.org/store/store.lasso

  37. 37
    Gregory Greenwood

    We will not judge our fellow atheists who fear an Elder God.

    Sort of like a ‘Lovecraftian Wager’ rather than Pascal’s Wager, except, you know, not really a wager at all, what with you inevitably dying and the universe not caring either way and whatnot.

    It’s still immensely preferable to christian mythology though – Cthulhu might see you as nothing more than a light snack, and might shatter your sanity by his mere existence, but at least he isn’t weirdly obsessed with what goes on in your bedroom, nor does he have a penchant for the eternal torture of people who break any of a multitude of mostly petty, stupid and self-contradictory rules.

    If either of them actually existed, I imagine that Cthulhu would look down on Yahweh as a rather unsavoury sort.

  38. 38
    David Marjanović

    atheist 81.8%
    agnostic 6.66% [heh]
    religious (christian, muslim, or any other religious persuasion) 6.66%
    deist (belief in a god without religion) 2.67%
    other (please comment below) 2%

  39. 39
    David Marjanović

    Or has someone mistaken Lovecraft’s stories for a serious suggestion?

    Iä! Iä!

  40. 40
    microraptor

    [quote="CaitieCat"]My only Debbie Downer moment about HPL is that, while an interesting writer with very wonderfully creepy ideas and worldbuilding (if you enjoyed the short stories, try At the Mountains of Madness and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, my two favourite of his longer works), he was also a virulent and gross racist, and it’s not completely uncommon to come across some really grossly racist thing in his works. He had a black cat he called “N****r-man”, for instance, and that cat appears in The Rats in the Walls as a character; The Call of Cthulhu, viewed as the seed work of the whole Lovecraft mythos, refers repeatedly (as do a number of other stories) to “mongrel half-breeds of low caste”, and such. [/quote]

    Yeah, Lovecraft managed to be racist by the standards of [i]his[/i] time. He was also misogynistic, xenophobic, nihilistic… actually, I think the only thing in the world that he seemed to like was cats.

  41. 41
    microraptor

    Oh, blockquote fail. Been so long since I posted here I forgot which formatting FTB used. *Facepalm*

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