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Maria the Virgin Witch (TV).


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HaruhiToy



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:01 pm Reply with quote
Yttrbio wrote:
And the way she goes about it suggests she's really only doing it for her own sense of self-satisfaction (because she doesn't help everyone).

So why do the various kings, warlords, and church rulers get to wage war for their sense of self-satisfaction? Why are they considered not playing God when Maria is? Where is the free will of their victims which include their levied followers as well as their opponents?

Double standard much?

I understand the inherent need of deity to be dispassionate about human suffering and all (believers go to heaven), but in this I am still on Maria's side.
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Harleyquin



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:16 pm Reply with quote
I'm not sure how Maria forcibly stopping battles near her doorstep with magic = interference with the free will of humans = rejection of the natural order of things. I don't equate free will of humans to wage war on each other as equivalent in scale to the natural order (physics etc.), just a part of it.

The other witches watching the skirmish between the French and the English armies worked from the shadows, their actions are not exactly that of uninterested observers yet are covert enough not to annoy the heavens above.

To be fair to Maria, she always gives a warning to the assembled armies to take a hike or take a pummelling from whatever fantastical creature she summons. If the armies opted to ignore her and try to kill her for interfering, the end result of lots of bodies on both sides is equivalent to letting both of the armies at each other.
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Yttrbio
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:34 pm Reply with quote
It's a different standard because Maria's powers are supernatural. And it's so routine in anime for superpowers to be part of the natural fabric of the setting that it's going to take some adjusting to recognize that, in the Christian context, "supernatural" specifically means outside of the framework that God built.

The kings, warlords, and degenerate church act within that framework. That's why they "get" to wage war, because to deny them the ability to do so would be for God to deny them free will. But free will doesn't mean the external freedom to do what you want, but the internal freedom to choose. And so a poor farmer could choose to refuse to go to war (and suffer terrible consequences as a result). But those choices have to occur in the context of a world that imposes consequences on those choices, otherwise they are meaningless, and Maria's interference breaks that.

Harleyquin wrote:
I don't equate free will of humans to wage war on each other as equivalent in scale to the natural order (physics etc.), just a part of it.


You don't, but the Christian God does, and that's what Michael is an avatar of.

Harleyquin wrote:
The other witches watching the skirmish between the French and the English armies worked from the shadows, their actions are not exactly that of uninterested observers yet are covert enough not to annoy the heavens above.


The covertness, and its importance, becomes a significant point later on.

I'm not trying to convince you, of course, and I don't know how much the show itself cares about it. Like I said, as an atheist, I don't actually believe any of it. But I think the conflict is much more interesting than the way you are pitching it.
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Harleyquin



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:10 pm Reply with quote
Is it the Christian God or Yttrbio who made the argument that free will = natural order? Since the God isn't posting in this forum, I will have to conclude that you are speaking on the Christian God's behalf for the show's arguments.

I have no knowledge of the source material and two episodes is not enough to draw a reasonable conclusion on the world setting and its take on morality. Perhaps you are right in your interpretation, perhaps not. Next episode should reveal a few more clues. If you're speaking with the benefit of knowing the setting behind this, then I'll have to wait a few weeks in before deciding whether your argument about free will = natural order = witches have no business stopping war and interfering with both is convincing.
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Yttrbio
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:21 pm Reply with quote
Again, I don't know where the show is going to go in terms of these issues. But I'm not pulling from the show, I'm pulling from Christian theology. Forests of paper and seas of ink have been spent arguing doctrine and theology among various branches of Christianity for over a millennium, and I think you're really missing out if you don't want to use that to inform some of the show's conflicts.
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Harleyquin



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:27 pm Reply with quote
I'm not operating on the assumption that all aspects of Christian theology apply to this series. Until I hear it from the horse's mouth (in this case Michael or his subordinates) all I can tell from the first two episodes is Michael is none too pleased at Maria for using her magic openly in defiance of a warning he sent out.

Thus far, Michael is unhappy with Maria for the half-baked stance she is taking. I do remember the point he made about Maria only moving when provoked by what she's close enough in proximity to and that her reasons for using magic on neighbouring skirmishes is unacceptable to the heavens.

Outside of this, there's little material to work with on what the show is trying to put forward. You're more than welcome to use Christian theology as a construct to help you understand, I'm going to decline and wait and see what else the series has to bring out.

I don't see why I should be "missing out" just because I choose not to use Christian Theology as a crutch to fall back on.
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Agent355



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:12 pm Reply with quote
Yttrbio wrote:
It's a different standard because Maria's powers are supernatural. And it's so routine in anime for superpowers to be part of the natural fabric of the setting that it's going to take some adjusting to recognize that, in the Christian context, "supernatural" specifically means outside of the framework that God built.

Yup. Magic is forbidden in Abrahamic religions because it openly defies the natural order of things. Even *miracles* are considered outside the natural order of things to the point where they could strip people of free will. If every prophet can split a sea to save people and subsequently drown the enemy soldiers, it'll take all the guesswork out of who and what to believe. That's why they're seldom used, and at least in the religious tradition I grew up in, one is not supposed to rely on miracles or even pray for them.

Quote:
The kings, warlords, and degenerate church act within that framework. That's why they "get" to wage war, because to deny them the ability to do so would be for God to deny them free will. But free will doesn't mean the external freedom to do what you want, but the internal freedom to choose. And so a poor farmer could choose to refuse to go to war (and suffer terrible consequences as a result). But those choices have to occur in the context of a world that imposes consequences on those choices, otherwise they are meaningless, and Maria's interference breaks that.

Harleyquin wrote:
I don't equate free will of humans to wage war on each other as equivalent in scale to the natural order (physics etc.), just a part of it.


You don't, but the Christian God does, and that's what Michael is an avatar of.

Harleyquin wrote:
The other witches watching the skirmish between the French and the English armies worked from the shadows, their actions are not exactly that of uninterested observers yet are covert enough not to annoy the heavens above.


The covertness, and its importance, becomes a significant point later on.

I think you have a point there. Open miracles may be taboo, but "hidden miracles" (like that in the Book of Esther) are something people can hope and pray for. So it would follow that in a world with magical witches coexisting with Abrahamic angels, the angels would have less of a problem with witches who act covertly.
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Spotlesseden



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:42 pm Reply with quote
from what i read in other books. Christians hate witches, they burned all the witches on stick that's why we don't have any witches nowadays.
spoiler[sarcasm]
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danilo07



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:57 am Reply with quote
Yttrbio wrote:
The kings, warlords, and degenerate church act within that framework. That's why they "get" to wage war, because to deny them the ability to do so would be for God to deny them free will. But free will doesn't mean the external freedom to do what you want, but the internal freedom to choose. And so a poor farmer could choose to refuse to go to war (and suffer terrible consequences as a result). But those choices have to occur in the context of a world that imposes consequences on those choices, otherwise they are meaningless, and Maria's interference breaks that.


Expect the show explicitly mentions how the evil in the world is a part of natural order, which means that evil itself is a creation of God. This is of course much closer to Manichaeism ( a religion whose doctrines Christianity completely rejected ) than it is to Christianity, but I think it's healthy to assume how the original author isn't quite familiar with Christian theology.
The reason why Maria's activity is seen as bad isn't because she is working out of God's framework, but because she is interrupting the normal flow of events.
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jroa



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:13 am Reply with quote
danilo07 wrote:

Expect the show explicitly mentions how the evil in the world is a part of natural order, which means that evil itself is a creation of God. This is of course much closer to Manichaeism ( a religion whose doctrines Christianity completely rejected ) than it is to Christianity, but I think it's healthy to assume how the original author isn't quite familiar with Christian theology.


All of the above is currently open to personal interpretation, but I disagree with your claim, which consists of assuming that this can only be the product of Manichaeism or even necessarily contrary to the teachings of Christianity, especially if we were to limit the scope to those philosophical views that would be available during the Middle Ages and not to more modern Catholic teachings.

Take Augustine (354–430 AD), for example:

Quote:
Augustine proposed that evil could not exist within God, nor be created by God, and is instead a by-product of God's creativity.[13] He rejected the notion that evil exists in itself, proposing instead that it is a privation of (or falling away from) good, and a corruption of nature.[5] He wrote that "evil has no positive nature; but the loss of good has received the name 'evil.'"[14] Both moral and natural evil occurs, Augustine argued, owing to an evil use of free will,[4] which could be traced back to Adam and Eve's original sin.[7] He believed that this evil will, present in the human soul, was a corruption of the will given to humans by God, making suffering a just punishment for the sin of humans.[15] Because Augustine believed that all of humanity was "seminally present in the loins of Adam", he argued that all of humanity inherited Adam's sin and his just punishment.[16] However, in spite of his belief that free will can be turned to evil, Augustine maintained that it is vital for humans to have free will, because they could not live well without it. He argued that evil could come from humans because, although humans contained no evil, they were also not perfectly good and hence could be corrupted.[17]


Evidently, the show is not going to get into all the complex nuances of the theology, even if the author had access to them. But I think this kind of philosophical argument, or at least a variation of the same, is what the show is trying to present as an element of its world view.

The point is God created an universal framework where mankind has free will. The free will of humanity can lead to both good and evil actions, even if the Creator did not produce any of that evil directly. That entire framework, where both of those outcomes are possible, is in fact a creation of the Lord. Such is the natural order.

When Maria asks the Archangel if mercenaries attacking villages is part of the natural order, Michael says yes, but also immediately shows her the actual consequences of what she has just done. The villagers are about to attack the mercenaries, potentially killing them, which would be an act of further evil. Even after the mercenaries have been bound, it's still possible that they will loot more villages in the future. Maria might have the right intentions, but she isn't considering the big picture. The more she continues to act so boldly, the more even worse consequences could result due to her interference.

Quote:

The reason why Maria's activity is seen as bad isn't because she is working out of God's framework, but because she is interrupting the normal flow of events.


Which means she is unintentionally causing evil to spread. Maria is trying to do good out of her innocence and spiritual kindness, which isn't inherently a bad thing, but the methods she has chosen to use are dangerous and the role she is trying to fulfill risks placing her in a position of arrogance, where everything could be solved through her own means, whereas she is clearly just acting to get rid of the evil that is right in front of her and even Maria's witch powers do not grant her omnipotence or omniscience.
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Agent355



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:38 pm Reply with quote
Totally beyond the scope of this show, but how does Augustine philosophy interpret God hardening Pharaoh's heart in Exodus? That essentially made Pharaoh choose *more* evil in order to escalate things...

Free will and evil are among the most complex topics in religious philosophy. I doubt the show will delve into it much, but it's fascinating that its even dabbling there.

I'm also curious about the juxtaposition of witches, Valkyries, ancient mythical beasts and especially angels who differentiate themselves from the Church. The way Michael in the show insists that the Church doesn't represent him makes me wonder if the show's world runs on a sort of Deist philosophy (of which a very basic understanding could be: "God created the world and left it to run itself via nature")
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danilo07



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:02 pm Reply with quote
@jroa I am not an expert on Christian theology and I could be completely overblowing things, but I guess the bulk of my issues comes from using the word natural order and seeing how the entire scene was framed.
Quote:
The point is God created an universal framework where mankind has free will. The free will of humanity can lead to both good and evil actions, even if the Creator did not produce any of that evil directly. That entire framework, where both of those outcomes are possible, is in fact a creation of the Lord. Such is the natural order.

Here is the thing though, I don't think you can equate the word framework with a word natural order. All of the evil in world is in fact completely unnatural ( according to Augustine himself ), it's product of human choice which turns against it's inherit good and God-loving nature. The word order seems to imply how the integral structure of the world requires evil to exist, this is something quite similar to what Manichaeism espouses. To me I think there is a difference in saying that it is possible for evil to exist within God's framework, and that it's only a part of natural order for evil to exist in God's world. One is focused on possibility, the other is imperative.
The way the entire scene was framed also seemed to confirm this idea. Right after humans are liberated, St. Michael immediately predicts their future misdeeds simply because of his anthropologically pessimistic stance.
Quote:
I'm also curious about the juxtaposition of witches, Valkyries, ancient mythical beasts and especially angels who differentiate themselves from the Church. The way Michael in the show insists that the Church doesn't represent him makes me wonder if the show's world runs on a sort of Deist philosophy (of which a very basic understanding could be: "God created the world and left it to run itself via nature")

I think Augustine connected the practices of witchcraft with the worship of pagan Gods. I also, don't think that God in this world is deist version of God. For if he were a deist God, he wouldn't send his saint to stop Maria.
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Harleyquin



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:46 pm Reply with quote
This is why it's never good to go in with preconceived ideas and concepts when trying to untangle what is being presented in something new. Until there's more data from future episodes (or those who can be bothered to find the source material and read it for themselves) everything regarding the "plan" for the God and the angels portrayed in the show is pure speculation and conjecture until a fuller picture is revealed through the show setting.
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Yttrbio
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:53 pm Reply with quote
You're right! Why were we even holding a discussion about topics relevant to a show's themes? What were we thinking?

If you don't want to participate in this discussion, then don't. But I fail to see what's "not good" about it.
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HaruhiToy



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:52 pm Reply with quote
Yttrbio wrote:
But I fail to see what's "not good" about it.

Unapproved thoughts. Apparently.
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