StanLemon

Which Shard Was The Best God

41 posts in this topic

As the title says, which Shard do you think has functioned as the best deity for their people. For instance, while Honor ultimately died and had been losing his sanity a little before it, he seems to have been pretty well respected by both humanity and spren and helped pull humanity through a never ending war driven by another Shard. Endowment has probably the most stable Shardworld in the Cosmere, though we don't really know what she does beyond sending Return that may or may not fulfill the reason they chose to come back. Harmony may be restricted in what he can do but he does appear to at least be nudging things in a better direction. Preservation not only created his people but worked out a plan to free them of the threat of Ruin despite his own impotence.

I'm curious on all your thoughts on who functioned best as a god

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

None of them.

At best they can be guardians, but they are no more Gods than Xerxes, Alexander the Great, or Napoleon.

What does worshiping them actually get you? You die and then what? stick around for maybe a minute and then disappear from their influence for eternity.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Frustration said:

None of them.

At best they can be guardians, but they are no more Gods than Xerxes, Alexander the Great, or Napoleon.

What does worshiping them actually get you? You die and then what? stick around for maybe a minute and then disappear from their influence for eternity.

Yes. And that's why Harmony is the best spiritual leader of the Shards. And why it was not that big of an achievement.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll withhold final judgment until we've seen all of the Shards but at this point Harmony seems to be in the running for the best, insofar as he's trying to guide his world without acting to the point that the world gets dependent on his constant intervention, he's actively protecting it against some sort of outside influence, he's actually worried about Odium while most of the other Shards apparently are not and he's willing to admit at least to some people when he's made mistakes.

Also, he's the only Shard who has a regular communication line open to his followers that we know of, though Honor apparently used to before he was killed. Autonomy might be more communicative via different avatars but she probably covers every possible case in the book due to her modus operandi.

44 minutes ago, Frustration said:

What does worshiping them actually get you? You die and then what? stick around for maybe a minute and then disappear from their influence for eternity.

You're assuming that worship has to 'get' you something after death. That's not nearly as universal a belief as you might think. Most ancient civilizations for example either didn't believe in an afterlife or thought that everyone was going the same place anyways, so worshipping the gods was done to either 1) not get smote or 2) to gain their favor while you're still alive. Judged by that standard, acting in accordance with the intent of your world's Shard(s) can get you access to storming awesome magic, even if the form doesn't follow any special rituals. Follow the general ideals associated with Honor? You get to be a surgebinder. Act in accordance with Preservation's intent (or Harmony's) and you can be an allomancer, assuming the genetic lottery also favors you. You don't even need to do anything on Nalthis because Endowment will gift you a Breath that keeps you magically healthier than normal (and gives you the potential to Return) as long as you're born there.

Likewise the less personal influences a Shard can have on your world are things that the ancients would have appreciated, like Honor doing what he could to guide the planet through the cycle of Desolations, or everything Harmony is doing for Scadrial even if you personally never speak to him or get anything directly from him or one of his agents.

Edited by Weltall
7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Frustration said:

None of them.

At best they can be guardians, but they are no more Gods than Xerxes, Alexander the Great, or Napoleon.

What does worshiping them actually get you? You die and then what? stick around for maybe a minute and then disappear from their influence for eternity.

This depends on how you define a god. Most gods in human religions didn't need worship to still be considered a god. And Shards are for most purposes gods. Especially Preservation and Ruin as they created their world and people. I made this thread to ask the question of who did the best at being a god for those under them, not to argue the validity of whether they are gods or not. Even if they have no hold over a person after they die, their mere existence influences their people's entire lives

Edited by StanLemon
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Weltall said:

Act in accordance with Preservation's intent (or Harmony's) and you can be an allomancer, assuming the genetic lottery also favors you.

Allomancy doesn't require that (see: Kelsier), just genetic chance.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Frustration said:

None of them.

At best they can be guardians, but they are no more Gods than Xerxes, Alexander the Great, or Napoleon.

What does worshiping them actually get you? You die and then what? stick around for maybe a minute and then disappear from their influence for eternity.

Endowment could Return you, but I don't think it currently works that way.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, StanLemon said:

Endowment has probably the most stable Shardworld in the Cosmere, though we don't really know what she does beyond sending Return that may or may not fulfill the reason they chose to come back.

I would dispute this. Warbreaker is set during a particularly stable period on Nalthis. The backstory includes a long, devastating war and the creation of Nightblood, one of the most destructive things in the entire cosmere. And Endowment oversaw all of that, didn’t try to stop or mitigate the damage that we know of, despite the fact that she is constantly meddling in human affairs by choosing people to Return.

I’m not sure what Edgli is up to, but the well-being of the people on her world is not a priority for her.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, RedBlue said:

And Endowment oversaw all of that, didn’t try to stop or mitigate the damage that we know of

Considering that part of the reason she Returned Shashara and Warbreaker seems to have been to create Nigtblood, I'd say she even did the opposite of mitigating damages.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something we definitely don't know but that is both relevant and interesting for this conversation is how much the original vessels thought of taking up the Shards as a form of apotheosis. I mean, they were comparing themselves to Adonalsium, so its possible that they wouldn't have exactly thought about taking up Shards as being the same as becoming gods, especially if they didn't realize quite the scale of transformation their minds and spirits were going to undergo. That said, we've seen enough of them refer to themselves as gods that clearly they now associate themselves with the term. But the point I'm trying to get at is this: in some religions (I'd make the case that this is true of the Abrahamic faiths for example) the idea of godhood can be associated with responsibility. That is to say, God is supposed to be the being that cares for people and helps them in addition to holding together the universe and standing against evil. I don't know if most of the original vessels had that perspective, or if they just saw taking up the Shards as taking up power rather than responsibility.

However, I would say that Sazed, both as a religious scholar, and someone who wasn't aware of any power greater than the Shards, very much approached taking them up as becoming a being of infinite power and infinite responsibility, and as such I think he's fought a lot against the Intents of his own Shards not for the sake of self preservation (pun not intended) but rather so that he's able to better care for the people of Scadrial. I think he truly sees being a god as a duty rather than a privilege, and as such, I'm inclined to believe he is the best god that we've seen.

Except perhaps Lightsong. Lightsong was am excellent god. He just lacked the power to back it up. 

7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Frustration said:

If you made a thread to ask my opinion, don't get upset when my answer isn't the one you want.

I wasn't upset, but you weren't answering the question

Quote

Your question was: Which Shard is the best God?

and my answer is that none of them are, because none have the criteria to be a God in the first place.

This isn't an answer, they very much do fit the criteria for being a god. Especially Preservation and Ruin. Please explain how they do not fit the criteria for being a god to you

Edited by StanLemon
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, StanLemon said:

This isn't an answer, they very much do fit the criteria for being a god. Especially Preservation and Ruin. Please explain how they do not fit the criteria for being a god to you

  1. Perfection
  2. Omnipotence
  3. Omniscience
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Frustration said:
  1. Perfection
  2. Omnipotence
  3. Omniscience

That is a very Abrahamic centric view of gods. 99% of all religions have never considered that for gods. Not to devolve this into a religious debate, but there are many many people who argue that the Abrahamic view of god doesn't even fit that criteria.

Edited by StanLemon
4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I'm not upset, but you are not adding anything to the conversation at all. Merely creating a tangent based on your personal view of what makes a god when discussing godhood in a fictional story where the Shards are very much the gods of the setting. As I said, your reply wasn't an answer. The Shards are the gods of the Cosmere whether they live up to what you would consider a god in real life. And the question was who has been the best god. Saying that they aren't gods when in the setting they very much are is not answering the question

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Harmony seems to be doing well, under the circumstances. It will be interesting to see how the southerners treat him in their religions. 

Endowment seems to act similarly to Sazed, sending out Returned when she thinks it's worth intervening. But I suspect that she caused the Manywar by pushing the Five Scholars to create Nightblood, which may or may not have been a deal with Cultivation. If that is the case, then she goes a step beneath Sazed.

Honor, Cultivation, and Odium killed a planet with their schemes and are in the process of killing another, so they go to the bottom of the list. 

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think any of the Shard's is better than another, but they sure can have better vessels.

 

I think Edgli has a good head on her shoulder, given how she made the Returned.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, StanLemon said:

I wasn't upset, but you weren't answering the question

As a matter of fact, "none of them are X" is a perfectly valid answer to the question "who is the best X"

4 hours ago, StanLemon said:

This isn't an answer, they very much do fit the criteria for being a god. Especially Preservation and Ruin. Please explain how they do not fit the criteria for being a god to you

It might be helpful if you actually gave a criteria for being a god and explained why these two fit it

3 hours ago, StanLemon said:

That is a very Abrahamic centric view of gods. 99% of all religions have never considered that for gods. Not to devolve this into a religious debate, but there are many many people who argue that the Abrahamic view of god doesn't even fit that criteria.

Well we are arguing over a book made my a Mormon.

By the way, do Chronos fit your criteria for being a god?

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think this topic is about irl religions and definitions of god or God or whatever. The people in-book worship the Shards as their Gods and that's that.

My vote goes to Leras / Preservation. Even after everything he was still kind enough to offer some comfort to the recently deceased. He was aware of how his own mind was being warped by the power he held and planned for it. He sacrificed himself for his people.

Honor... I'm really suspicious of. There's the switcheroo with the humans and singers, plus the torture of his Heralds. Feels like he might've used people as pawns "for the greater good" of containing Odium. Cultivation is on the suspicion list for the same reasons.

Odium and Ruin aren't considerations for best god.

Endowment... hmm... Her magic system is of questionable morality. And her system of Returning people seems more cruel than kind.

Autonomy's Avatars don't seem all that great. The Sand Lord initiated a massacre. Patji commits massacres for breakfast.

Other Shards we know too little about.

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, mathiau said:

As a matter of fact, "none of them are X" is a perfectly valid answer to the question "who is the best X"

Normally I'd agree with this, however it's established in the Cosmere that Shards are gods. Even the more Cosmere aware characters more or less agree on that. 

Edit: it is a valid answer to believe none of them are worth being treated with worship as they don't fit the bill for what someone should worship but what I can't agree with is saying they aren't gods at all in a setting where they very much are. My first response to Frustration was simply conveying that it depended on how Shards have fit the bill by most interpretations of what a god is. I wasn't even the only one to do so.

Quote

It might be helpful if you actually gave a criteria for being a god and explained why these two fit it

Let's see, they created Scadrial and all the life on it. They guided and influenced said life. 

Quote

Well we are arguing over a book made my a Mormon.

Yes, yet Brandon rather than just going with a Mormon centric view has created a pantheon that's intriguing and complex. A creator god who could and did die and mortals who ascended to godhood

Quote

By the way, do Chronos fit your criteria for being a god?

I'm assuming you mean Kronos from Greek mythology? Or is this a reference I'm overlooking?

 

14 minutes ago, Honorless said:

I don't think this topic is about irl religions and definitions of god or God or whatever. The people in-book worship the Shards as their Gods and that's that.

Thank you

Edited by StanLemon
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, StanLemon said:

Normally I'd agree with this, however it's established in the Cosmere that Shards are gods. Even the more Cosmere aware characters more or less agree on that. 

That's not how I remember it

Quote

“The Shards,” Khriss said, drawing Kelsier’s attention, “are not God, but they are pieces of God. Ruin, Preservation, Autonomy, Cultivation, Devotion … There are sixteen of them.”

Arcanum Unbounded, page 264-265

Quote

Let's see, they created Scadrial and all the life on it. They guided and influenced said life. 

So your criteria is "Must have created the planet, the life on it and guided life's development"?

Quote

Yes, yet Brandon rather than just going with a Mormon centric view has created a pantheon that's intriguing and complex. A creator god who could and did die and mortals who ascended to godhood

Yes and no

Quote

Billy Todd

How closely does Adonalsium map to the gnostic demiurge?

Brandon Sanderson

A little bit.

Billy Todd

So, not completely? I'm not completely off?

Brandon Sanderson

That's not off at all. 

Billy Todd

So, not the urge, but the demiurge. 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, well I'll have to go read to make sure what I'm talking about then. Your answer is: I will go read and make sure I know. I thought I knew what I was talking about.

Billy Todd

So, there's the creator, which is the urge, which is the creator of the Universe. *large hand gesture* The demiurge is actually God. The demiurge is the one that creates [its] universe, *small hand gesture inside larger gesture* and entities living within the universe need knowledge of that which is beyond what the demiurge has created.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, that matches pretty well.

JordanCon 2018 (April 22, 2018)
Quote

I'm assuming you mean Kronos from Greek mythology? Or is this a reference I'm overlooking?

Yes, I had forgotten English speaking people wrote it with a K

27 minutes ago, Honorless said:

I don't think this topic is about irl religions and definitions of god or God or whatever. The people in-book worship the Shards as their Gods and that's that.

I think letting people worship you like a God without being one makes you a very bad Spiritual figure.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, mathiau said:

I think letting people worship you like a God without being one makes you a very bad Spiritual figure.

I think many of the Shards would disagree on themselves being false gods. Again, you're all trying to frame it from a Christian point of view but the Cosmere isn't Christian. And the topic is not about the nature of god.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Honorless said:

I think many of the Shards would disagree on themselves being false gods. Again, you're all trying to frame it from a Christian point of view but the Cosmere isn't Christian. And the topic is not about the nature of god.

I'm saying you can't discuss the quality of a god without first discussing the nature of godhood

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Frustration said:
  1. Perfection
  2. Omnipotence
  3. Omniscience

This is, I feel, a very subjective definition.

I'm not sure you realize this, but I'm a Kemetic Pagan. The gods I worship are those of ancient Egypt, and they fit none of these criteria.

But I'll tell you now, I will get very offended if someone starts trying to explain to me how my gods aren't actual gods.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, mathiau said:

I'm saying you can't discuss the quality of a god without first discussing the nature of godhood

While I understand the sentiment, there are other threads discussing that, I am concerned about getting this thread super off topic with that discussion, considering that people have been discussing the nature of godhood at least as far back as written history, and likely have been doing so since the idea of gods first appeared in the human mind. And I don't say that to be disingenuous, I legitimately just mean that we could have a whole thread just dedicated to what it means to be omnipotent, or omniscient, or perfect, let alone trying to discuss all three of them alongside any other attestations we make make of divinity (I actually remember there was a thread discussing some of this stuff this past spring, and whether or not the Shards really count as gods.)

Push come to shove, we can all agree that the vessels are not perfect, and that compared to a monotheistic deity they fall woefully short, but that doesn't mean we can't answer the question as to which is best among the Shards. Even if we were to agree they've all failed to be good gods, we still can ask which has been the least bad, if nothing else. And that is the question of this thread.

 

Edit. I'm realizing that it was Frustration that was objecting with the whole Shards not being gods thing. I apologize if my comments don't work being directed at you, mathiau. My apologies.

Edited by HSuperLee
5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mathiau said:

That's not how I remember it

She says they are not God and we have enough context to know she's talking about Adonalsium. Pieces of God are still divine godly beings

Quote

So your criteria is "Must have created the planet, the life on it and guided life's development"?

No, but you were asking about why I say those two especially qualify

Quote

Yes and no

I fail to see the relevance of this quote as it's more of a comparison than the source Brandon is pulling from

Quote

Yes, I had forgotten English speaking people wrote it with a K

The reason I asked is because there is another God in Greek myth actually named Chronos who is the personification of time. Yes I'd consider all the Greek Titans gods. Afterall Helios the God of the Sun was a Titan. Titans were still deities, just their generation had its own title

Quote

I think letting people worship you like a God without being one makes you a very bad Spiritual figure.

I completely agree with this point. But to the Cosmere Shards are gods. That doesn't make them not flawed. The vast majority of human mythology is filled with flawed gods. One reason I like the Cosmere so much is that Brandon explores the question of what it means to be a god. 

Generally across human mythology gods share these traits. An aspect or dominion of the world, society, or human nature. Posses great power (though this can get complicated if you get into the minutia). Guide the lives and world of "lesser beings". There is a lot more I could write on this subject but I don't want to bog down this thread with too large of a thing. Studying religions across human history is a hobby of mine which again is one of the reasons I'm fascinated with the Cosmere 

Edited by StanLemon
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.