SFP

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-Molly and Brennan

Show Comments
  • AshlaBoga

    Guru Venkataraman.

    Hmmm, I wonder if he looks like a certain professor….

    • Rugains Fleuridor

      I am not ashamed to admit I don’t know what you mean.

      • Khlovia

        The alleged Gurwara.

        • AshlaBoga

          Bingo!

          Let’s face it. Why couldn’t an intelligent political religious leader pull one over on Alison.

          And if he’s a handler for Indian biodynamics, he might have several people capable of making someone vanish for 6 weeks.

          If this is the case, he’d be a truly dangerous foe.

          • palmvos

            ok, we have opportunity. now. motive. why would someone who is:
            a. knowingly promoting the local bio’s as deities to improve his own political power give the black hair in this bio’s armpit what Alison is doing?
            b. someone who sincerely believes that this guy and the others are gods care or have time to go argue with an american deity? (how else would a true believer reconcile Alison with Blue man?)

          • Weatherheight

            Okay, I like this idea.
            No idea if it’s true, but it’s interesting and isn’t too hard to shoehorn into place.

  • Lostman

    So… do I see acts of deicide in Valkyrie future?

  • Ellie

    are sita’s eyes supposed to be white?

  • Kate Blackwell

    Him being a biodinamic should not necessary disprove him also being a deva, like that’s two separate things entirely.

    • Tsapki

      Well it’s a simple matter of how they decided he was a deva.

      “I must be a divine being, I’m blue and I can fly!”

      “You have a biodynamic gene which can easily explain both blue skin pigmentation and body focused levitation and you were born briefly after a storm and are in the same narrow age bracket as a number of other people who are exhibiting strange and seemingly supernatural appearances and abilities. Got anything else we can’t reasonably trace to your genetics?”

      • Kate Blackwell

        Why can’t genetics be the method by which his divinity manifests, or the mechanism by which he was blessed in this way?

        It’s kind of how mainstream christianity does not have a problem and actually accepts evolution or the big bang as the phenomenons by which god created and guided the world.

        • bta

          Because them silly Indians can’t help themselves but give a spiritual dimension to an unexplained phenomenon, it’s precious. We Western secularists know better.

          /s, obviously.

          • 3-I

            Yeah, this arc is losing me in a hurry.

          • Kid Chaos
          • Weatherheight

            I am now having a flashback to 1980, sitting in the classroom for my drama class, listening to the extremely irritating voice of the teacher and wanting more and more to do something to irritate her in return, contemplating the cat poster on the wall.

            I had to have an “Arts” class, and I didn’t have the patience to play a musical instrument. t didn’t help that my girlfriend at the time had dumped me.

          • palmvos

            ::gives Weatherhieght tasty apples::

          • “Because them silly Indians can’t help themselves but give a spiritual
            dimension to an unexplained phenomenon, it’s precious. We Western
            secularists know better.

            /s, obviously.”

            This seems unfair to the narration and essentially a straw construction. All we’ve seen is that at least some people have decided that Dhruv is divine, and that at least one person decided to actively test if Dhruv was biodynamic.

            India has in its modern age a large number of people who do accept uncritical claims of the miraculous and the divine, and it also has a very vocal skeptics movement; this is a combination found in many countries, and depicting it this way doesn’t require making any special generalizations about India or its people.

          • bta

            We’ll see. But really, these two characters are talking past each other: whether he’s a biodynamic or not neither prove nor disprove his assumed divinity. It’s not something you can “prove”. And it’s not like he’s just a fraud with no power either.

          • Tylikcat

            Yeah, the sketchiest thing here (I might mean this from a narrative standpoint) is that he’s taken up with a bunch of militants that are apparently ready to shoot his childhood friend on minimal grounds.

          • palmvos

            once past some point of leadership/popularity there will be … passionate… people around the person. looking at the panels again i’d say the biodynamic did not expect the local incarnation of the inquisition.
            that being said… this is developing as a standard trope. please I hope the next page is something amazing. but i kinda doubt it.
            how many willing to bet she doesn’t die?

          • Tylikcat

            Well, I this was the extra from the last graphic novel of SFP, which I have, so I’m afraid I’ve already read it.

          • palmvos

            so…. can we have a spoiler or two? on what the next page may hold? no GoT spoilers, they wont help much.

          • Tylikcat

            No spoilers here – it doesn’t seem sporting. (Also, I like to motivate people to support this comic, because I want it to be around, y’know?)

            Though, um, I will say y’all are reading the tropes pretty well.

          • palmvos

            ::bows:: thank you. that’s better than the river song clip I thought I’d get as a response.

          • “Turbulent priest”

          • Lisa Izo

            I Am Izo the internet goddess of truth. Accept my statement for which I have identifued myself and all I say as true or suffer, nonbeliever:)

            /s

        • Timothy McLean

          Judging by the results of opinion polls, it seems that mainstream Christianity is far from universal in acceptance of science (at least in the USA).
          More to the point, wouldn’t that argument suggest that all biodynamics are gods? Or at least divine in some way?

          • Kate

            Going by an older strip with feral, they do see them that way yes.

          • Weatherheight

            While it doesn’t mesh well with modern science and inductive reasoning, it is possible that the twist in SFP is that all biodynamics are, in fact and in a very real way, re-incarnations of gods. It’s possible that all biodynamics are in the process of becoming divine beings (at least, compared to slines) and the process is relatively slow.

            Think something like Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End and you’ll see where I’m going with the idea.

            I don’t believe that’s the case – I agree with many other commentators that there doesn’t seem to be any evidence for it – but I can see it as an option.

          • Zac Caslar

            I just had an unproductive conversation very much to this effect and you’ll notice thus far arguments in favor of the Blue Man Cult are similar in being, “he could be a god because how would we know one if we saw it” and “he has unusual powers so he truly could be a god.”

            As usual it’s credulity and power worship in heart of the “educated, sophisticated” West. I bet the Middle East is a clusterfuck of murdered wanna-be Muhammad’s as well and it would really take a superhero to keep Pakistan and India -sorry, Hindustan– from going to war.

          • Oracle

            If literally anything Alison has said thus far means anything, it’ll take a hell of a lot more than a superhero to keep Pakistan and India from going to war– especially a fellow like our knockoff Manhattan here.

          • Weatherheight

            My last line did indicate that I don’t think the text supports the notion of biodynamics as manifest divines in any fashion (and indeed, I believe it argues against it), but I can see how people are getting there to consider the point.

            And I too would like to see more of what gives in the rest of the world regarding biodynamics – how does the introduction of biodynamics affect conflict hot-zones? The Wild Card books pretty much come to the conclusion that increases in power pretty much always leads to increases in frequency and severity of atrocities. I often wonder if cruelty is part of the human nature as a biological impulse, as a learned behavior, or as a biological predisposition triggered and reinforced by events. I suspect the latter, but…

          • Arkone Axon

            Eh… bear in mind that the Wild Card books were a mean spirited dystopian fantasy thing, where heroes only existed to be mocked and ridiculed to remind everyone that life sucks and everything is bad and if you believe otherwise that’s stupid and funny, and this is “realistic.” One scene had a man in a cowboy hat show up when a woman was accosted by muggers – and the muggers immediately shot him in the face and then went on to do whatever they wanted, because casual murders that the cops don’t even bother to investigate are totally a thing according to that sort of twisted “90 X-treme” belief.

            A more accurate portrayal of “superheroes in a realistic setting” would be the timeline for the late lamented “City of Heroes” MMORPG. Where superheroes fought on both sides in World War 2, and during the Cold War heroes from both sides of the Iron Curtain stopped nuclear war even as it began before ramming a peaceful solution down the throats of the leaders of both sides. That led to the games’ actual backstory and mechanics, where the player characters were treated as licensed and registered members of “Hero Corps,” a private corporation that subcontracted out to municipalities, providing superheroic services with responsible oversight (i.e. no massive collateral damage, no treating the police as annoying meddlers) as well as compensation to heroes (medical coverage, legal counsel, etc).

          • Weatherheight

            I didn’t get that vibe at all from Wild Cards; I read about a world where shit happens and people respond like people. Some well, some poorly, but most just trying to get by as best they can.

            I will admit that there was some pretty heavy stuff in the series, but that stuff was real in our world too. it just got repackaged.

          • It gets that way toward the end – from somewhere around the introduction of Ti Malice…

          • Arkone Axon

            Yeah… the series began in 1987… but eventually it was the 90s and what comic fans refer to as the Dork Ages, when everything was X-Treme! The same decade that gave us comic book characters like an assassin turned demonlord turned reluctant hero who has all kinds of powers but still carries giant guns because it’s X-treme!, a “darker, edgier” version of an eldritch horror that had lost its early appeal due to oversaturation of the market, and blood and gore and gratuitious violence galore, hypersexualization of females with no room for internal organs in their tiny little wasp torsos, and pouches and pouches and pouches galore.

          • AshlaBoga

            “casual murders that the cops don’t even bother to investigate are
            totally a thing”

            Depends on what country you live in. In the USA that’s pretty unusual, unless they were underprivileged visible minorities in somewhere like Detroit.

          • Tsapki

            Aka, if you were some unfortunate black man being lynched in the South.

            A lynching was a social event. People put on nice clothes, brought their families, had a grand old time and took smiling pictures with the corpse for posterity.

          • AshlaBoga

            Yeah, normally Axon seems cynical, but they’re actually being naive in thinking that cops sometimes don’t care about murder victims.

            Pickton the pig farm got some of his victims from my area, and believe me, nobody reported them missing for a long, long time. If you kill a prostitute in Vancouver, BC and people don’t notice, I suspect that means that street worker murders aren’t paid much attention in most place.

          • Dafydd Carmichael

            The “in somewhere like Detroit” modifier isn’t required.

          • AshlaBoga

            Well, that just means reality is even worse than my perception. How disheartening.

          • Timothy McLean

            It’s possible that we were all created last Thursday with memories, scars, navels, novels, and so on that merely appear to have a history going back billions of years. Does this idea have any value at all?

          • Weatherheight

            It does to me – it helps me realize that I might, maybe, not know everything and should seek to more humble.
            It may not to you, and that’s cool too. Everyone has to find the meaning to make their lives full.

          • Timothy McLean

            So…out of the countless possible things that you can’t prove are false, you pick a few that you like and treat them as sacrosanct axioms? Why not only believe in things that can be (and have been) proved to be true?

          • Weatherheight

            Who said anything about sacrosanct? I didn’t – I merely suggested that alternate interpretations can offer useful insight into the human condition and provide a meaningful way to live.

            The problem with proof is that we’ve come to accept that only material proof is worthwhile. But the material world contains no values. Reduce an object to its component string packets and you still won’t find meaning you can measure. And meaning is as much a part of Truth as is the material world. The judgements we make about right and wrong rest not only on material truth but also on the Meaning we assign to that material truth.

            We make the meaning of the world, and we test that meaning against the world and our lives. Meaning exists in our heads, and so does the world each of us lives in. Yes, there is a real world out there, but cognitive psychology is firm on this point – our perceptions and what we experience with our senses shape our viewpoints, and our viewpoints limit how we filter our perceptions. We see the world as we expect to see it and it is VERY hard to radically shift that point of view.

            Since this is true, we ought to test everything at some level (which is why I’m mostly in favor of examination of all truths, even the ones that represent the foundation on which my life rests), but we also ought to accept that we are limited and accept the possibility that we could be wrong (which, of course, is not our natural state of being – me included).

          • Timothy McLean

            Other peoples’ opinions are certainly worthwhile, but there is a difference between opinions and facts.
            According to everyone who isn’t a philosophy major, there is definitely some shared universe that exists outside all of our minds and has a number of consistent characteristics. Understanding how that universe works and what happened in it is absolutely critical to many important parts of our lives, from infrastructure to medicine to the legal system. I don’t think you’re seriously endorsing the acceptance of “alternate facts,” so I’ll leave that there.

            All too often, I see religious apologists trying to pretend that religious beliefs deserve special consideration like any other opinion. But there are two major problems with this.
            The first is that religions generally make a number of factual claims about the universe (which is one of the big things that distinguishes them from philosophies). For instance, Christianity claims that God created the world, then flooded it because His creations weren’t playing nice with each other, then Jesus died on a cross and made things better. (I’m summarizing.) Hinduism claims that there are a lot of gods and some other stuff I’m not familiar enough with to even try to summarize. Scientology claims that Xenu is a thing and therefore you should give them all your money. Followers of those religions generally aren’t particularly keen to prove or disprove those beliefs, instead trying to figure out ways to interpret everything else to fit those beliefs. (Which is why I made some assumptions about what you were talking about—they fit with what I’ve heard from basically everyone else.)
            But back to Xenu. Religious claims, by their nature, tend to give themselves more moral weight than other opinions. For instance, I think Worm is awesome, but I’m not going to try and convince other people to learn its teachings or ask myself “What would Skitter do?” It’s not hard to see why this could be a problem if you look at just about any religion you don’t have a personal investment in, or members of your religion with more extreme beliefs than yours. Westboro Baptists, Crusaders, Scientologists, and countless more…all sorts of horrible, horrible behaviors which came about because of how highly people value their religious values over every other value.

            TL;DR: Religious beliefs cannot be treated the same as facts or typical opinions, because they demand different privileges by their very nature.

          • Weatherheight

            Interesting distinction – are you asserting that this sort of behavior is unknown outside of religion?

            I fully agree that religious behavior that is oppressive or destructive needs to be placed on the ash-heap of history. And I agree that, for all the reasons you’ve stated, religious thought should be combed through and searched for as much internal consistency as possible.

            But, there’s a very large “throw out the baby with the bathwater” streak here. Meaning matters. and matter is without intrinsic meaning. As humans, we build our lives on that meaning. Religion, philosophy, and science are all paths to different truths that provide different meaning to our lives.

            If you can find meaning using nothing but the scientific method, that’s awesome. Not everyone can. I’m getting an element of ‘”my method of finding truth is vastly better than your method” superiority in your post of the sort you’re decrying in your post, which is a bit ironic, isn’t it?

          • Timothy McLean

            Of course you can’t find meaning using the scientific method. But I don’t see why you need to use religion to find that meaning. It’s a complete non sequiter. Why do you need a god to tell you what matters? Why should anyone?

            Religion in general enables the negative aspects, because the latter grow directly out of the attitudes which the former accept. The big one is the importance of religious tradition as a meaningful authority. If you teach people that God is great, that good things are good only because He commands them, that those who serve Him will be rewarded, you can hardly claim innocence when some of those people decide that all of that means following God is more important than tolerance or peace or life. That’s exactly the attitude taken by every dangerous religious extremist ever.

          • Weatherheight

            Your argument is to agree that scientific method cannot find meaning. You then preclude another method to finding meaning. Okay, what, to you, is a valid method to discover meaning, since you also seemed to disparage philosophy in earlier posts? I’m not saying religion is the only option for meaning – I’m simply saying it isn’t inevitably linked to destructive outcomes in all cases, which seems to be the premise you’re advocating.

            If one accepts religious texts whole-cloth, your observations are valid. I don’t subscribe to that view, as should have been obvious in my posts, and I don’t support those that don’t bother to think about their theology, which also should have been obvious in my posts.

            What I’m hearing you decry is complacency, thoughtlessness, and laziness of thought. I’m on board with that, 100%.

            You’re engaging in the logical fallacy that because some people of faith are guilty of this intellectual indolence (and I tend to think the majority, but that’s my bias showing) that the rest are also guilty of this and cannot be trusted thereby. You are engaging in profiling, prejudice, and any other buzzword that allows us to judge a group of people by their most socially visible members.

            It’s a thing we humans do, because it makes life easier.

          • Timothy McLean

            When did I disparage philosophy? And why do I need any fancy belief system, whether religious or not, to find meaning? You keep asserting that I need something of the sort if I don’t want to live a sad, meaningless life, that I can’t just find meaning on my own, but my personal experience heavily contradicts that.

            It seems disingenuous to suggest that I should accept your view as what religion “really” is when most people accept every part of religion to one extent or another, especially with Abrahamic religions. (I’ll freely admit I’m less familiar with Eastern and other religions.)

            As to your statement that religious belief doesn’t facilitate religious extremism…I’m no professional author and I’m not writing a book chapter on the subject, so I’d recommend looking into Dawkins’s The God Delusion. There’s a couple of chapters on why we should care about religion, and there’s a whole section about this specific thing. (It starts on page 341 in my copy.)
            One quote which summarizes the section fairly okay, if you don’t want to find a copy: “[W]hat is really pernicious is the practice of teaching children that faith itself is a virtue. Faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument. Teaching children that unquestioned faith is a virtue primes them—given other ingredients that are not hard to come by—to grow up into potentially lethal weapons for future jihads or crusades.”
            And before you tell me that unquestioned faith isn’t the norm in modern religion—it is. I’m speaking from experience here. I went to a Lutheran school and was taught to accept God’s teachings unquestioningly. Once, when I brought a book about evolution into school—just brought it to school, mind, not even showed it off or anything—it was promptly confiscated. I got into trouble for bringing a book to school that arguably questioned the religion my classmates and teachers followed. And the thing was, it wasn’t even that religious of a school. I mean, it was connected to a church and facilities in the school were used for church activities (and vice versa), but it wasn’t not like some stereotypical Catholic school. And I grew up in a pretty liberal town; I can only imagine what someone in the deep south would have dealt with.

          • Weatherheight

            “According to everyone who isn’t a philosophy major, there is definitely some shared universe that exists outside all of our minds and has a number of consistent characteristics. ”

            I call that just a bit disparaging.

            I didn’t ask you to accept my vision of religion; I suggested that you may wish to open yourself to a broader image of it in your own life. I also said if you didn’t want to, that’s cool – literally, I might add. If you can find meaning without resorting to a deity and it works, keep doing it – I’m all for it, particularly if it leads you to justice, compassion, and mercy.
            And for the record, faith without question, to me, isn’t faith – if a person doesn’t have doubts about the meaning of it all, then they’re probably not thinking enough.

            I am truly sorry you were abused with religious dogma and authoritarianism. That is, to me, a valid reason to reject religious dogma and religious authoritarianism. I also have experienced that, but in general I find that people who are asshats to start with use faith as a weapon – truly good people take the good stuff of faith and set aside the abusive stuff. I am sorry you’ve not met anyone like that and I’ll hope someday you do.

            Thanks for talking with me – I had a lot of fun finding out about you.

          • Timothy McLean

            It wasn’t intended as disparaging. There are philosophical arguments for there not being such a shared universe. In fact, it really is true that we can’t know if there is such a universe. But people who aren’t philosophy majors don’t worry about that, because our day-to-day lives rely on the assumption that such a thing exists. It’s a useful assumption, but nothing more.

            I know that religion is a broad subject. There are a bunch of different things it can be and do. But none of the good things it does are unique to religion; I’d argue that they are all accomplished more effectively or efficiently by modern secular institutions. And on top of that, religion—even the notion that religion and its tenants deserve special treatment simply because they are religious—opens the door to too many abuses for me to think it is a net positive. Nothing else in history, save the most zealous forms of nationalism*, has anything resembling the level of fundamental importance and unquestionability which religion demands.
            Anything else can be questioned. Science and philosophy are built on the idea that ideas should be challenged, and nothing else really objects to it the way religion does. If you argue with the mayor about politics, the worst you’ll be called is an asshole. If you argue with the priest about religion, you could easily be deemed Ungodly, Heretical, Evil. I should hope this makes the reasoning behind my opinions on religion clear.

            *Not that there’s a solid divide between the two. North Korean nationalism is built in part around the Supreme Leader’s cult of personality, which in many ways resembles a literal cult.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KGiHirSATM

          • Kate Blackwell

            To me, no, this is a dumb idea, but not that much dumber than actual things religions do teach and people believe.

          • Timothy McLean

            The latter point is close to mine. Though I’m more precisely trying to skewer arguments based on “You can’t prove it isn’t true!”

          • Random832

            I’ve always thought that the idea that we must have been created in the past makes for a rather unimaginative version of this theory.

            Clearly, we will have been created next Thursday, with memories including having this conversation.

          • Timothy McLean

            Heretic.

          • Oracle

            No more so than the humanity of Jesus Christ suggesting that all humans are divine, if we accept the interpretation that the biodynamic gene is simply the mechanism by which an external divine entity manifests in Dhruv.

          • Timothy McLean

            Using biodynamic powers to prove the divinity of one biodynamic but not all of them is like using color vision to prove the divinity of one species but not all color-seeing species.

          • Arkone Axon

            Who’s to say that they’re NOT all divinities?

            Not just in a “all biodynamics are modern day pagan deities made manifest” sense, but in a “we all possess the divine within us” sense. One of the reasons why Jesus is respected by the Jewish people is that Jesus never actually claimed to be unique or particularly special – he called himself a son of man, and encouraged people to behave in a godly fashion. Which is what EVERY religion does – they don’t just say “thou shalt not do this or that,” they say “you are a descendant of the divine, here is a guide to behaving in a godly (i.e. godlike) fashion.”

          • Timothy McLean

            Well, I don’t remember anything suggesting anyone thinks that. And it seems like it would be awkward for almost half of these new gods to believe that there’s only one god.

          • As a Jew, I’m not sure where you’re getting this idea that Jesus is respected by the Jewish people. We actually don’t think about the guy at all, unless we’re studying comparative religion or something. I don’t, in fact, have an opinion about Jesus, nor do most Jews.

            I mean, we’re AWARE that he’s important to Christians, and out of politeness, we don’t badmouth the guy in public much, and stuff like that, but it’s not like we particularly care about it.

          • Oracle

            I mean, he had to have been respected by SOME Jewish people. Those Jewish people would later go on to become Christians.

          • Arkone Axon

            As a fellow Jew… you’re supposed to be studying. That’s what we do, remember? “Rabbi” doesn’t mean “priest,” it means “scholar.” And that’s what Jesus was – a carpenter’s son turned Rabbi. He was a Reform Jew, basically.

            And it’s not just courtesy that keeps us from badmouthing the guy in public. He was a fine example of the teachings of Hillel, when he was summarizing up the Torah thusly: “That which is hateful unto you, do not do unto others. That is the whole of the Law, the rest is merely commentary.”

            Most Jews do have an opinion about Jesus. And that opinion is generally “I wish more of his followers would emulate his example.”

          • saysomethingclever

            “No more so than the humanity of Jesus Christ suggesting that all humans are divine . . . ”

            this particular phrasing of yours drew a direct line for me to:

            “Thou art god, I am god. All that groks is god.”
            ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

          • Weatherheight

            Heinlein Reference Upvote!
            +5 Internets!

        • zellgato

          Logistically there isn’t an issue with that.
          “Presentation-ally” there is.

        • AshlaBoga

          Well “Big Bang” and “Let there be light!” sort of work well.

          I’m not sure how it works if all the other biodynamics aren’t gods.

          • Dafydd Carmichael

            In Many cultures they would be considered gods. The problem is that godhood implies some sort of higher purpose or value. I’m pretty sure that all the biodynamics we’ve met are deeply flawed like the rest of us.

            And this guy? What’s the golden Kalashnikov for??

          • Lisa Izo

            Bling.

        • thebombzen

          This is called “Occam’s Razor.” While we don’t have certainty that Dhruv isn’t a god, it’s an extremely plausible and fairly simple story that Dhruv is biodynamic, and much less simple were it to be some other phenomenon that has yet to be explained. We accept that Dhruv is biodynamic until we receive evidence to the contrary in this case, because it’s by far the most likely outcome.

        • Graeme Sutton

          Mainstream christianity hasn’t so much accepted evolution or modern physics as surrendered to them, there’s a reason why mainstream church attendance has dropped precipitously while fundamentalists (i.e. those that cling to their irrational beliefs like their immortal souls depended on it) are making a revival. Most other religions have observed this pattern and are determined not to repeat it that’s why the muslim and hindu mainstream tend to respond with massive opprobrium with a smattering of violence whenever anyone comes near their religious traditions with anything like textual criticism.

          • Timothy McLean

            I haven’t heard anything about Hindu fundamentalism, or fundamentalist movements in any non-Abrahamic religion for that matter. I don’t suppose you have any sources I could look over?

          • Graeme Sutton

            Fundamentalism is probably the wrong word for hinduism, Hindu nationalism or just extremism would be better, but it has a long and varied history in India. The past few pages of SFP have been basically filled with hindu nationalist symbols, associations and imagery (the BJP (Bharatiya Janata party), the saffron clothing etc. I’m not sure whether the Shiv Sainiks or Sangh parivar are actual organizations but they follow a similar pattern to actual Hindu nationalist organizations like the RSS, ‘Shiv’ refers to both the Hindu god Shiva and the 17th century king Shivaji who founded the Maratha confederacy and is now a symbol of anti-muslim sentiment). Pretty much any history of 20th century India will tell you something about Hindu Nationalism since it’s one of the most important political forces (the man who shot Gandhi was a hindu nationalist for instance) The best book I can remember reading about this was ‘The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence and India’s future’ by Martha Craven Nussbaum but I haven’t read many books about India since 2010 when I was last really interested in the country. Things to note include the fact that the current prime minister of India probably actively aided in anti-muslim ethnic cleansing by Hindu nationalists when he was governor (or whatever their provincial leaders are called, first minister? something like that) of Gujarat province in the early 2000s.

          • Arkone Axon

            Actually, Christian, Jewish, and other religious groups have long accepted that there’s plenty of room for leeway in their texts. The Catholic Church’s position on creationism versus evolution, much like that of Judaism, is that of Theistic Evolution:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution

            TLDR: G-d created everything, and the evolutionary process is how He created life over billions of years.

            Whereas Islam’s views on evolution have remained pretty consistant since the 9th century… and consisted of accepting it, much like how they accepted science and mathematics in general (which is how their golden age became a golden age in the first place):

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_views_on_evolution

            People tend to forget that modern scholarship not only developed from cloisters of religious groups who prized learning and studying and introspection over more material concerns, but that a lot of universities and institutes of higher learning were specifically created by religious groups. Not to mention the advancements to science made by religious figures such as Gregor Mendel, or how the Catholic Church maintains the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which includes members of every denomination (including atheists) among their ranks.

            Modern “Evangelicals” and their ilk are a recent aberration, not the historical rule.

          • Weatherheight

            Like all human institutions, there’s the good and the bad.
            Comes from being made of humans, I suppose.

          • Arkone Axon

            Well, maybe we’ll see an institution made of donkeys some day.

          • Weatherheight

            I wish I had thought of this response yesterday…
            We have lots of institutions made of donkeys – they’re in the capital cities all across this great nation!

            ::flips a microphone into the air and watches it fall to earth::

          • Graeme Sutton

            Did you read my comment? Because that’s exactly what I said. These religions have conceded their truth claims to science and as a result they’re rapidly dying. It’s very difficult to sustain religious faith in co-existence with Darwinism for the simple reason that it makes it unnecessary- until the mid-19th century even the most skeptical people usually stopped at deism because otherwise they had no way of explaining where life came from. Now we know and the answer is interesting but it doesn’t provide much meaning for life or reason to believe in God. The theory of evolution solved one of the biggest seemingly divine mysteries humanity faced and gave us faith that all other mysteries would eventually have cool but soulless answers as well. The only religions that have survived with anything like their previous power have done so by some combination of fighting an ideological battle against science itself like evangelical and pentecostal christianity, capitalizing on swaths of the global population who still haven’t been reached by education like hinduism or simply barring the doors and making a bloody example of anyone who tries to leave the way Islam does. (also unless you meant to write the 19th century I’m pretty sure Islam didn’t adopt evolution that long ago since it wasn’t discovered yet.)

          • Arkone Axon

            Actually, that’s almost (but not quite) the exact opposite of what you said. I never claimed that said religions were “rapidly dying,” or even slowly dying. I specifically stated that modern science was BORN from organized religion, and that said religions have had a very, very, very, VERY long history of both accepting science, furthering science, and promoting science. The modern crop of anti-intellectual denominations are doomed to die out almost as quickly as earlier splinter groups that also ended up as mere footnotes in history.

            The theory of evolution didn’t solve any great mysteries, except for the question: “How did wolves become dogs?” Science doesn’t answer “divine mysteries,” science provides FACTS. And science is also about acknowledging said facts and not glossing over and ignoring them when they inconveniently contradict your theories. I say that because you’re “pretty sure Islam didn’t adopt evolution that long ago” because you clearly didn’t look at the second link. Here, let me copy/paste a few snippets:

            “In Kitab al-Hayawan (Book of the Animals), the 9th century scholar al-Jāḥiẓ references several parts of modern-day evolutionary theory such as animal embryology, adaptation, and animal psychology. One notable observation al-Jāḥiẓ makes is that stronger rats were able to compete better for resources than small birds, a reference to the modern day theory of the “struggle for existence.”[15] In the same century, Persian scholar Ibn Miskawahy wrote about the evolution of man in his books, Tahdhīb and Fawz al-aṣghar.[16]”

            “In the 19th century, a scholar of Islamic revival, Jamal-al-Din al-Afghānī agreed with Darwin that life will compete with other life in order to succeed. He also believed that there was competition in the realm of ideas similar to that of nature. However, he believed explicitly that life was created by God;[19] Darwin did not discuss the origin of life, saying only “Probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some primordial form, into which life was first breathed.”

            (Darwin originally developed his theories to reaffirm his belief in G-d; he didn’t turn atheist until the death of his daughter, which is when a lot of people do tend to have crisis of faith. But Darwin himself saw no inconsistencies between belief in his theory and a belief in G-d)

        • Balthazar

          I doubt a diva would be dependent on drugs and have to carry an ak around but my knowledge on Hinduism is a bit rusty so I could be wrong.

          • Oracle

            Divas are usually dependent on drugs. Devas, somewhat less so.
            For what it’s worth, though, the Devas got their immortality from a substance called Amrita and in some myths had to imbibe it frequently after they were cursed to lose their immortality.

      • Urthman

        If we found a giant monster in the Pacific, people might ask, “Were the Godzilla movies based on something real?” But if we found a giant monster that looks *exactly* like Godzilla as seen in the movies, I think we’d be more justified in claiming, “Godzilla is real! The movies were actually based on something true!”

        • Weatherheight

          The Kaiju fan in me loves the Godzilla based analogy.
          +1 Internets to you.

        • Tsapki

          First off, yes the Godzilla movies are based on something real. They are called dinosaurs, enormous saurian creatures that at one point in the distant past roamed the Earth. We know this and mental images of giant monstrous beasts, ancient and more recent such as giant squids and massive crocodiles, are clearly the inspiration for everything from sea monsters, to dragons, to kaiju. Godzilla is admittedly also based off the horror of nuclear warfare.

          Now, for your second part, which movie? We have numerous renditions of Godzilla. The original movie? Some of the later ones? The despised American remake? Mecha-Godzilla? Which one is the ‘true’ Godzilla? If the creature looks like any one of them should people accept the whole line as real? Would we have a war where the true Godzilla fans purge the followers of the Fauxzillas? Much like every other mythological creature, we usually have numerous renditions and re-imaginations of how these fantasy beings exist. What if some blonde clean-shaven guy with lightning powers went around calling himself Thor? The original Nordic depiction of Thor is a wild-haired redhead with a beard.

          This is the same kind of thinking behind fortunetelling. Be vague enough and let enough time pass and someone who wants to believe it to be true will find a way to make it seem plausible.

    • Dave M

      Exactly! I’m thinking he isn’t too bright, or he would have pointed that out. Or pointed out his physical form may have been born biodynamic, but now he has trancended beyond such mortal considerations.

      Instead, he gets angry she won’t call him by his chosen title. In the immortal words of the Hulk, “Puny God”. 🙂

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    uh oh

    • Kid Chaos

      “Open fire”? How rude! 👿

  • JohnTomato

    “That escalated quickly.”

  • I’m not an expert on hinduism or anything, but I’m pretty sure you’d probably, like, KNOW if you were the reincarnation of Vishnu. And I mean actually know, not just delude yourself into it.

    • Timothy McLean

      You could say the same thing about being the Second Coming of Christ, yet whatever your spiritual inclinations, there are many people who think they are that despite clearly not being such (judging by both simple mathematics and the consistent lack of Armageddon).

    • Incendax

      Avatara are infamous for not realizing who they are. The whole religion focuses heavily on the idea of seeing past illusion and discovering the truth. So suddenly realizing you are the avatar of a god works within that narrative. You just ‘realized the truth’.

      • Weatherheight

        To use a more western example, Christ apparently knew who and what he was from an early age according to one of the Gospels (canon), the issue never gets mentioned in the other three Gospels (canon), and is rather a big deal in several other Gospels (Gnostic). In one of the Gnostic gospels, Christ created birds from clay (or possibly dirt – been too long since I’ve read them) as a child and had to be told that doing that probably wasn’t a good idea.

    • Sendaz

      I think we have to wait and see this Guru since he seems to be the one helping Ramesh and potentially others recall his past lives….

  • Timothy McLean

    “I never took you for an atheist, Sita.”
    “It’s not like I live in a culture where open nonbelief in the local gods is heavily stigmatized or anything.”

  • zellgato

    I’m sure this will end will for that guy.. Wonder if he’s bullet resistant..
    cause I feel like he’s probably gonna get it instead of her.

    • Walter

      Whatever he’s doing to lift those candles and fly can probably stop bullets too.

      • zellgato

        Yeah.. but depends on how his powers work. Does he have to see, recognize and then actively use it on it?
        or is it area effect control and anything entering is effected.. Judging by the movement and such. It seems more like the “targeted awareness” version..
        Which, unless his kinetic vision and mental reactions are also tuned up, means he probably wont’h ave the action or the vision to catch said bullets.. Unless he’s trained up to “solidify” the air around him as his fist instinct in danger

        A good example is magneto stopping bullets vs jean grey stopping them.
        magneto just puts a field around an area, and it is effected if it enters.
        Jean Grey has to mentally visualize the interaction. Which is why she can’t catch bullets. Though later learned to make barriers. and later still got upgraded via phoenix and or death /relife depending on which jean

        • Walter

          Well, the precedent is in “Ramesh’s” favor. Furnace was able to melt bullets, Alison’s TK can stop them. He’d be the exception if his power didn’t stop bullets.

          It’s certainly possible, but in general the trend of this comic is to elide the activation time issue that you are bringing up.

          • zellgato

            Furnace was constant area heat. Allison’s TK isn’t set on “other stuff” its reinforcing her and her touch. Like Conner Kent (super boy). As soon as it touches it’s targeted area.

            I do hope that this fellow is resistant though. But at the same time, that means she’ll die and he’ll go all Asura’s wrath and probably will end up in combat with alison by default of “no one else can stop him”
            That.. or actually I bet.. He’ll rampage. Alison will refuse to combat.
            They’ll send David? (Knife guy) instead and Alison will want to stop that because knife guy doesn’t want to hurt anyone anymore but doesn’t really have a choice

          • Walter

            I don’t think she’ll die. This comic has been running a long time, and I don’t think a woman has ever died in it? Also she just got introduced a few pages ago. I’m pretty confident she’ll stick around a while.

          • Zorae42

            Cleaver’s Mom. According to Patrick, that receptionist lady that let the terrorist into the hospital (and possibly some of the other protestors?). I think there might have been a female doctor operating on Feral when he attacked too.

          • zellgato

            Alternateive i had in midn will turn out she’s biodynamic of the hard to kil kind

  • Jon

    I’m going to go against the grain here and suggest that blue guy is probably about to save her life.

    And that he likely gets seriously injured in the process, possibly triggering his panic as he realizes he isn’t really a god.

    • Kifre

      I don’t think that’s necessarily going against the grain. In the Ramayana Sita’s problem was more Rama bending to his followers attitudes than Rama himself being hostile towards her (IIRC).

    • Graeme Sutton

      We don’t know what his power set is, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t know his own vulnerabilities. If he can convincingly fake being a hindu deity he’s probably at least somewhat physically invulnerable.

  • Philip Bourque

    So because he is a biodynamic, he can’t be a Deva? Why?

    • Mechwarrior

      Because this isn’t an “all myths are true” universe.

      • Philip Bourque

        Looking pretty true to me.

        • Mechwarrior

          What’s true? That he’s a biodynamic whose abilities gave him blue skin and the ability to levitate?

          That doesn’t make him divine.

          • Philip Bourque

            Why not? What makes a person divine? Does he have to walk on water? Split a dozen loaves of bread and fish between a thousand people? Resurrect the dead? Have the Pope declare him as such? Be a good person?

          • Mechwarrior

            So far, he’s not demonstrating any sort of ability or knowledge that sets him apart from biodynamics who aren’t considered divine. So why declare that he might be?

    • Scott

      Because his blue skin and telekinetic abilities are tied to a genetic anomaly and not divine intervention. Now, it could be argued that the genetic anomaly is simply how the divine intervention manifests. However, this seems unlikely considering the fact that this same gene has been seen to produce wildly different results in hundreds of other people with each one making it less and less likely that Dhruv actually was divinely blessed.
      At this point, the number of caveats and exceptions that would have to be made in order to allow for Dhruv being a Deva are so numerous that it simply isn’t a plausible explanation.

      • Kate Blackwell
        • Tylikcat

          …that page creeps me out a lot more in retrospect.

        • Scott

          I’m sorry Kate but without you actually telling me why you are linking me to that page it is very difficult for me to have any reaction other than “Yes, that is also a page from this comic.”

          • Kate Blackwell

            “Now, it could be argued that the genetic anomaly is simply how the divine intervention manifests.

            However, this seems unlikely considering the fact that this same gene
            has been seen to produce wildly different results in hundreds of other
            people with each one making it less and less likely that Dhruv actually
            was divinely blessed.”

            The linked comic shows that hindu are aware of the biodinamic phenomenon and do consider all of them to be divine.

            So it’s not that they are ignorant of the genetic aspect of it, they just ascribe a spiritual meaning to a natural phenomenon.

            I’m not saying Dhruv is divine, mind, just that they would believe him to be regardless, and it makes no sense they didn’t figure him to be a biodinamic before this.

          • Scott

            Okay, I see your point now. Honestly, though, this almost comes across as an inconsistency within the comic. At the very least, Sita is actively preaching heresy.
            If the faith she follows has decided that biodynamism is a manifestation of divine blessing and that all biodynamic individuals are divine, then it does seem that she has some explaining to do in regards to why she doesn’t believe Dhruv is an avatar. Were she a skeptic then this exchange would make perfect sense to me but she professes to be “the most devout person”. I realize that not every person of faith follows or accepts every teaching of that faith but this does seem kind of odd now that you’ve pointed that out.

          • Lisa Izo

            Maybe she’s devout about science 🙂

      • Philip Bourque

        In a universe where super powers are apparently randomly generated by indeterminate causes, a kid in India just happens to fit the description of one of their deities. You want to say that’s a coincidence?

        • Lisa Izo

          Yes? Just like it’s a coincidence that Alison has the powers which seem to correspond to the traditional american comic book concept of a superhero. I mean… super strength and invulnerability might be linked, sure, but how do those two link up with FLIGHT? What does superstrength or super-toughness have to do with the ability to defy gravity? Nothing really. Coincidence that Superman and Supergirl have that same combination of powers and she grew up in a country where comic books would be a significant influence when it comes to people with powers.

          • Philip Bourque

            From what I understand, Alison’s powers are actually a form of telekenesis masquerading as super strength, invulnerability and flight.
            And it’s not a coincidence, it is as God (the author) wills.

          • Lisa Izo

            So basically like Superboy’s tactile telekinesis or Maxima (from Grrlpower) and her Zero Point Telekinesis. Okay fair enough, although ‘coincidence’ and ‘as god wills it’ seem to be pretty much the same thing when the God (author) can create a coincidence. 🙂 Doesn’t mean it suddenly is not a coincidence just because the author made it happen. The author could just be making it happen because the author wants it to be a coincidence in universe. 🙂

    • Zac Caslar

      Because being blue and telekinetic are a really low threshold for granting divinity.

      Where’s the immortal’s wisdom? Where’s the serenity and sense of a place in the eternal? Where’s this guy being anything but a kid raised in a cult?

      • Oracle

        The Rastafarians proclaimed that the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie was an incarnation of capital-G-God. This was only reinforced by his insistence that he was mortal, which was seen as a sign of his divine virtue of modesty.

        Not saying that Dhruv is a god, but we’ve already set the threshold pretty low…

      • Philip Bourque

        Wisdom? Serenity? What deities are you worshipping?

        • Zac Caslar

          The kind that come back as Devas, obviously.

  • Talina M

    I think the issue is not his divinity or lack there of. It’s more about him being “handled” by this Guru for the Guru’s agenda. Divine or not, using someone to take control of a country is the problem.

  • Jshadow

    The question wether he’s a deity or not, which he OBVIOUSLY isn’t, can be debunked with a simple question: https://youtu.be/WYW_lPlekiQ

    Like seriously, if the guy is a deity, WHY would he even need all the dodads and nicknacks for?
    Why all the nicknacks that only please the mortals, when deities are omnipotent?

    • Weatherheight

      The problem here is what we mean by the word “deity”. Omnipotence as a trait of being a deity is a Western notion, born of Abrahamist (if that’s the right term – someone correct me if needed) insistence that my God is better than your God. Please note – the First Commandment implicitly states that other Gods are, in fact, REAL.

      A far more common notion is that a god is supreme within its bailiwick but not so much outside of that bailiwick (and sometimes that bailiwick is very, very precise, indeed). For example, a mortal going to war against Ares is probably a losing proposition (unless Ares is amused by your impertinence and chutzpah), but challenging Ares in a matter of love or sexual passion will probably stack the odds in favor of the mortal. Remove “Ares” from that sentence and replace it with “Aphrodite”, and suddenly the tables are turned.

      The Jewish / Christian / Islamic Tradition doesn’t bear reasonable comparison with other faith systems, because it implants the idea of perfection as part of being a true deity. Take a closer look at practically any other faith system or mythology and you’ll see that the gods is us, but more so.

      • Jshadow

        Doesn’t make my point irrelivant.
        Why would a divine/speritual being care for earthly materials? Sacrifices are one thing, but this is something complitely different. He has a GOLDEN ASSAULT RIFLE. How vain can a person be?
        Also, since the whole base of this comic is that people have somebatshit crazy powers is all the more fact that he’s just a human mutant and not a deity.

        • Graeme Sutton

          Have you ever seen a representation of a hindu deity? Besides which a Diva is more like a heracles or achilles in their pantheon than an actual god, so having human trappings like weaponry is pretty justifiable.

          • Jshadow

            Deva not Diva.

            Also what you’re talking about is Asura.
            Asuras are prone to attachment, delusions and ignornace. While Devas posess intelligence and wisdom which allows them to distinguish between reality and illusion and are therefor unimpressed by material world.

            So yeah this guy’s totaly NOT who he claims to be. His obvious vanity is a dead give away.

          • AshlaBoga

            Feral did say that when she was in India they thought she was an Asura right?

            What would that entail?

        • AshlaBoga

          Some of the Greek gods were more vain than half of Hollywood combined.

          In some tellings, Athena cursed Medusa with her hideous visage to punish her for being RAPED by Poseidon.

          Many of the myths I’m familiar with make most of the supervillains in this comic look like superheroes in comparison.

          • Jshadow

            Well this is Hindu we’re talking about, not Greek so same rules don’t apply.

            And it would entail that this guy an ashole.
            1stly his reaction to him being told that he’s not a deity he claims to be
            and 2ndly “OPEN FIRE ON HERETIC!” line.

          • Bruce Munro

            Hm, it’s not him saying that?

            Personally I’m not so much impressed by the gold assault rifle as the fact he’s wearing _sneakers_. 🙂

          • Tylikcat

            Hey, they’re comfortable! I am all for comfortable footwear, and not just for women!

          • Weatherheight

            As Bruce said, I don’t think he’s saying that. The line on the previous page where he asks, “Do my followers know you’re here?” indicates to me that those followers have an axe to grind (or bullets to share) with her.

            Now if he were an enlightened one, it seems to me he would be exercising more control over his followers, but .. zealots are rarely very controllable.

        • Weatherheight

          Oh,I think your point is VERY relevant, and I think the text will bear you out.

          But it’ll be a tough row to hoe to convince blue and floaty of that point. That’s what is generating the drama and tension here.

      • Lisa Izo

        Cant write that much on my smartphone and I am not religious but the first commandment does not implicitly state there are other gods. It implicitly states that there are NO other true gods.

        “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” has the implication that all others that claim godhood are not really gods, and therefore should not be worshipped. It isnt justifying their claims.

        • Weatherheight

          It is logically impossible to have no other gods before a given god if there are no other gods. Abraham came from a culture where polytheism and poly-propitiation was very, very common. That injunction to eschew those other gods specifically deals with that because Yahweh was also a jealous God.

          The old Testament is FILLED with confrontations between religious groups and is a litany of “My god is better than your god”, not “your god is non-existant.” There is lots of evidence that the Jewish traditions lived shoulder to shoulder with the Hittites, the Canaanites, and other faiths of the lands around the Dead Sea. and the Hebrews needed to protect their cultural, ethnic, and tribal identity (because that’s what we did in those days – oh wait, we still do it).

          The insistence that all other gods are non-existant is actually fairly recent and appears to trace back to early Christianity more than Judaism. It’s become very much a thing since the establishment of the Greater Church (initially the Catholic Church, but it’s a major part of the theology of Protestant faith systems, too). My reading suggests this had/has a lot to do with political and socio-economic power after the fall of Rome as well as with theological consistency (and that’s probably an oxymoron, as well).

          Your point is well taken – that is the common interpretation in the modern age, but it hasn’t always been quite so strict. However, I have been doing theological and biblical studies and theological studies for forty years and comparative religion studies for about 30 (starting during my last year of college). Attitudes about faith change over time as the faithful reinterpret the sacred texts – meaning adapts as people adapt. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – we don’t burn and drown witches anymore, we don’t ostracize the divorced as we used to, we don’t treat those whose sexual orientation doesn’t fit into a box NEARLY as badly as we used to. Even within the Body, attitudes about these things are being accommodated and reinterpreted and a more internally consistent theology is developing. It’s slow and painful and there will be speed-bumps, but knowing where that theology came from is useful in taking a look at it with clear eyes.

          There are theological scholars who will tell you that I don’t know what I’m talking about – and that’s cool. They’re part of the discussion too.

          The Bible as we know it came about well after Christ was sacrificed. The New Testament didn’t have a canonical list until around 400 CE. Pope Damascus I and the Council of Rome met in 382 – that same council also validated the books already canonized as the Old Testament and paved the way for the first Latin Vulgate Bible to be canonized. But it wasn’t until the Council of Trent in 1546 that the Catholic Church finally told all of its churches that yes, the standards that had been in place for 1000+ years were the last word in the truth and you’d better use them (fall of Rome might have had something to do with that, I suspect). Even in modern Christianity, most protestant churches use 27 books in the New testament, the Roman Catholic Church uses those AND the Apocrypha as well (+8 books and some additions to .. crap.. Daniel? I think?), and I seem to recall that one of the African churches (Ethiopian, I think) has a few more.

          I started looking into Buddhism and Hinduism my last year of college when I heard a rather interesting idea that elements of Christ’s teachings are rather similar to Buddhist teaching – and yeah, I see the point they were making (disclaimer – after 30 years of looking at Buddhism and Hinduism, I still have no real clue what I’m talking about once you get past the surface meanings).

          This doesn’t mean I think you’re a bad person. But this donkey is a Deacon of the Most Holy Pedantry Church (as is well documented) and starting off with “I’m not religious” implies ignorance on the topic. That’s like dangling a carrot in front of me…

          To everyone else, I apologize for the length of the rant.

          • Mechwarrior

            There are a few lines in Genesis that suggest that Yahweh was part of a pantheon at the time the original myth was created, probably serving as the chief deity like Zeus or Ra, but mention of the other deities was removed after Judaism became codified as a monotheistic religion.

          • Weatherheight

            (I’m making several assumptions here: a) Abraham was real, and b) our source text is reasonably accurate. I realize that with a religious text, this is debatable – thank you for your cooperation, everyone).

            Abraham was the son of Terah, a 9th generation child of Noah. Terah lived in Ur with his three sons but left Ur and went to Haran (or Charan, or Charran), which is generally believed to have been North and maybe a bit to the west of the Promised land of Canaan, where modern turkey is now. Apparently, Terah, Abram, Sarai, and Lot (yes, that Lot) were to go to Canaan but they settled short of their destination (the reason is never quite spelled out explicitly). It was after Abraham arrived in Haran that he was told by Yahweh to head south to Canaan. That land was named after one of Noah’s grandsons, who was given the land by Yahweh but whose descendants apparently didn’t live up to that covenant with Yahweh because Yahweh decreed that Abram was now the heir (it’s possible that somewhere along the way that the line of Canaan failed to produce a male heir).

            Yahweh incorporates elements of some of the Gods of Ur, of the Philistines, and to some extent the Hittites (sons of Noah, but no followers of Yahweh). And He was indeed most part of a pantheon (based on various early religious texts). but there’s a fair amount of debate as to how important. He’s definitely a Mountain God, but it’s unclear if that’s because that’s where he was originally worshipped, if he actually was a place god of a specific mountain, or if he was associated with the sky and therefore one had to go as close as possible (some of the sky gods of Babylon and Ur appear to have been worshipped only at the tops of ziggurats). Last time I researched (altogether too long ago), there’s evidence for all of these options.

            Fascinating stuff, if you can stay awake for it. 😀

          • Lisa Izo

            “It is logically impossible to have no other gods before a given god if there are no other gods.”

            Actually it is, if the other ‘gods’ are false gods who are not ACTUALLY gods. That’s sort of the entire point of monotheism as compared to polytheism. The entire line is basically ‘All other religons with more than just me in it are praying to fake gods that don’t actually exist. I’m the only real god. Your god is not really god.’ rather than ‘My god is greater than your god.’ (aside from the idea that ‘My god is greater than your god because my god actually exists and your god is made up.’)

          • Weatherheight

            That idea that “your god really doesn’t exist at all” is pretty new in the 10000+ years of human society. We’ve just bought into it wholly in modern theology.

            There’s no evidence in their writings that suggests those earlier writers denied the existence of those other gods – just their relevance to the lives of those writers. It’s a pretty subtle distinction.

            I do agree that, lately, we’ve changed the definitions, but they have changed.

    • Lisa Izo

      Also what does God need with an xbox 360 and Guitar Hero?

  • Weatherheight

    So I’m seeing here two forces in tension . I’m seeing the desire to recreate oneself, to declare on one’s own terms who and what “I am”, and, on the other hand, I’m seeing a delusional rejection of one’s past as a means of escape from cognitive dissonance.

    We are who we are, but does that preclude us from becoming something else? And does changing into someone else mean that we must thereby reject what we once were?

  • Rugains Fleuridor

    Notice how he flipped out about the name, and then calmed right back down. He just has to get his due respect, no matter who you are.

  • Oracle

    Interesting to note that even in some parts of the United States biodynamic individuals are seen through a religious lens– ‘Nef’ being a slang term derived from the Biblical Nephilim.

  • Martin Cohen

    I highly recommend this animated retelling of the Ramayana:

    http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/

  • Bud

    Woah, shades of the Wildcards series. I LIKE IT.

  • Bruce Munro

    Now I’m wondering if those biodinamics whose forms change when they develop powers to some extent change according to their cultural expectations?

    • Weatherheight

      This is an interesting point – IS there a four-armed, jet-skinned, red lipped woman with an elongated tongue wandering the streets of Cleveland?

      • Arkone Axon

        If there is, it’s probably A: an Indian-American woman, and/or B: someone with a very particular set of fetishes. “Yes! I look HOT!”

        • Mechwarrior

          The previous chapter indicates that B is unlikely.

          • Kifre

            Actually, a change in physical appearance might be a symptom with multiple causes when the biodynamic gene kicks off. With Ramesh, he is also exhibiting telekenisis, which we already know can manifest in physicality (like Allison’s invlunerability). Why not also manifest as a change in appearance based on subconscious aesthetics? At the same time, those with clearly maladaptive or unwanted physical changes may fall under a different subset of biodynamic individuals whose physical changes are a manifestation of something other than telekenetic ability.

  • Arkone Axon

    How many of the readers here remember “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?” I’m looking at the current story arc and I can’t stop thinking about Benjamin “the Emissary” Sisko and the Prophets of Bajor. Anyone who hasn’t seen that show should really check it out (and not just because it is, IMHO, the best of the Star Trek series).

    A recurring theme in the series was Sisko’s reluctance to accept the spiritual or supernatural when he was a Starfleet officer, and by definition an elite warrior-scientist (every SF is required to be fully versed in everything from ass kicking to science defying. The engineers know how to fight, the tactical officers know how to handle tools, and that’s part of the reason why the Klingon Empire ended up surviving largely because the Federation was propping them up). There were even episodes devoted to the outrage by fundamentalist Bajorans who felt insulted by the insinuation that the Prophets were “merely” energy based non-linear entities living in the wormhole itself. And Sisko himself kept getting pulled in two directions – often his duty as a SF officer conflicted with the role of Prophet.

    But by the end of the series Sisko has largely reconciled the two aspects. The Prophets ARE energy based non-linear entities… and thus are able to see the past, present, and future and have all the abilities to which they are ascribed. Their home IS the Celestial Temple. They truly are devoted to the Bajoran people… and Sisko himself was literally created due to their meddlings (and a bit of what might be considered sexual crimes, but tell that to the Prophets). He IS the Emissary, accepting the role and saving the Alpha Quadrant, and Bajor.

    In other words, what I’m saying here is that there’s no reason why biodynamics can’t also be spiritual entities. If the superpower is “taps into the divine power” or whatnot, then there you go. After all, if 2+2 = 4 and 2*2 = 4, then 4 is the output and one doesn’t need to be invalid for the other to be valid.

    …That being said, I don’t know if the kid’s really an avatar, but I DO feel fairly certain that he’s being manipulated and used. It’s not the deities that get greedy and nasty, it’s the priests. (Again, look at DS9 and Winn Adami)

    • Lisa Izo

      Because nothing ever has gone wrong with a person proclaiming themselves to be a god/emissary of god(s) or a superior being who demands devotion or of a superior race of beings due to having a different appearance/different skills and abilities that the people to be ruled did not have. Nope, never in the history of the human race has that turned out to be a bad thing 🙂

      /s

      I agree about the bajoran priest thing tho, that woman was terrible. Kai Win i think right?

      • Arkone Axon

        Never said it didn’t have drawbacks. I was referring specifically to how both the religious AND the sectarian explanations could be simultaneously true. And yep, Kai Winn. First Vedic Winn, until her elevation to the Kai.

        • Lisa Izo

          Sounds sort of like the argument made by defense attorney Henry Drummond (based on real life Clarence Darrow) in Inherit the Wind about how to reconcile the Creation myth and the scientific age of a fossil he presented (after being told he was not allowed to present scientific evidence, but could present RELIGIOUS evidence) being millions of years old, while ‘prosecutor’ and religious scholar Matthew Harrison Brady (based on real life William Jennings Bryan) was claiming the Earth was no more than 6000 or so years old, and was created on October 23rd, on a Tuesday at 9:00 AM or something like that.

          —-

          Drummond: Look, Mr. Brady. These are the fossil remains of a marine prehistoric creature found in this very county, and which lived here millions of years ago when these very mountain ranges were submerged in water.

          Brady: I know. The Bible gives a fine account of the flood. But your Professor’s a little mixed up in his dates. That rock is not more than six thousand years old.

          Drummond: How do ya know?

          Brady: A fine biblical scholar, Bishop Usher, has determined for us the exact date and hour of the Creation. It occurred in the year 4004 B.C.

          Drummond: Well, that’s Bishop Usher’s opinion.

          Brady: It’s not an opinion. It’s a literal fact — which the good Bishop arrived at through careful computation of the ages of the prophets, as set down in the Old Testament. In fact, he determined that the Lord began the Creation on the 23rd of October, 4004 B.C. at, uh, 9:00am.

          Drummond: [Is] that Eastern Standard Time? Or Rocky Mountain Time? It wasn’t Daylight Saving Time, was it, because the Lord didn’t make the sun until the fourth day.

          Brady: That is correct.

          Drummond: That first day, what do you think, it was 24 hours long?

          Brady: [The] Bible says it was a day.

          Drummond: Well, there was no sun out. How do you know how long it was?

          Brady: The Bible says it was a day!

          Drummond: Well, was it a normal day, a literal day, 24 hour day?

          Brady: I don’t know.

          Drummond: What do you think?

          Brady: I do not think about things that I do not think about.

          Drummond: Do you ever think about things that you do thing about?! Isn’t it possible that it could have been 25 hours? There’s no way to measure it; no way to tell. Could it have been 25 hours?!

          Brady: It’s possible.

          Drummond: Then you interpret that the first day as recorded in the Book of Genesis could’ve been a day of indeterminate length.

          Brady: I mean to state that it is not necessarily a 24 hour day.

          Drummond: It could’ve been 30 hours, could’ve been a week, could’ve been a month, could’ve been a year, could’ve been a hundred years, or it could’ve been 10 million years!!

  • So far, I’m not seeing any either/or-ness to this. Dhruv COULD be a biodynamic human who is an avatar of Vishnu and has therefore has become revealed as Ramesh. I don’t see any particular conflict yet.