Is the Richard Armitage religion idolatrous?

Richard Armitage Todd Snyder

Disheveled [g]-d?: Richard Armitage with Todd Snyder, tweeted by Snyder, April 26, 2013.

Continued from here.

This post doesn’t really have a beginning. I can’t tell you precisely when I started thinking about this question, though it was early on. All my thoughts were inchoate and seemed unworthy of a discussion. I’ve decided for the purposes of blogging to leave them impressionistic rather than to try to develop them fully, mostly (although I’ve read a ton of Weber in my time) because if I got into twentieth-century sociology of religion discussions I’d get jammed up with footnotes and never get to the interesting stuff. And twenty-first century religious studies questions whether religion is even a category. I’m sooooooo not going there.

Youthful [g]-d? Richard Armitage, while at the Birmingham Rep, photo tweeted by Andrew Whiteoak, April 18, 2013.

Youthful [g]-d? Richard Armitage, while at the Birmingham Rep, photo tweeted by Andrew Whiteoak, April 18, 2013.

Richard Armitage religion questions I’ve had

I can find fragments of discussions in my diary; for instance, when Dear Friend asked me, about five months into my blogging journey, if what I was doing is the contemporary version of what girls did with Elvis in the 1950s or the Beatles in the 1960s, and if that activity bears any relation to the behavior of young women who were visited by Marian apparitions in the period I studied as a scholar, and earlier.

About the time I was wondering that, I was noticing that a lot of the fangirls I was becoming acquainted were focused not only on Richard Armitage, but also on other actors or celebrities — and I was wondering whether, if fandoms are like religions and their objects are like deities, if fans who admired multiple celebrities intensely might be seen as polytheists. We used to joke off and on about polyamorous fangirling. We talked a lot as well, around the time I started blogging, about “celebrity worship syndrome” and whether we might be suffering. Do we “worship” Richard Armitage in more than the rather loose sense, metaphorical of the term? Is the reason I’ve only ever been interested in Armitage with this intensity somehow related to my other monotheistic relationships?

I can find a reference in my diary to musing that from my perspective there seems to be much less stigma visited on fandom in Japan than in many other places, and that it seems legitimate to develop a more (for lack of a better word) emotionally intimate or intense relationship with the object of one’s affection there than it does here. Adding that to the religious line of thinking, I was musing around the question of whether one of many reasons Japan might be friendlier to fandom is that it has not had a strong monotheism. In other words, I was wondering about whether a society that had been either polytheistic or (as Japan is now) largely non-identifying with religion would be friendlier to celebrity fandoms than societies with strong monotheisms, which would potentially always be concerned about idolatry, particularly in the case of a fandom focused on a single individual. (Lest you worry, although I am not talking about it today, I’m not going to leave the commodification component out of all of this — I read recently that British actors have repeatedly been marketed in Japan as a sort of package, or “boy boom.”)

Richard Armitage religion discussions we’ve had

Those questions together have inter alia both a psychological component (“is intense fangirling emotionally unhealthy?) and a religious one (“is intense fangirling idolatrous?”). So it wasn’t surprising when, about two years after that, someone who described herself as a new fan raised the question of fandom, parasocial relationships, and the extent to which certain practices in the fandom might transgress the demands of ethics or religion. I, quite frankly, think the parasocial label is at best judgmental, at worst, useless for describing what many fans experience and what the meaning of the object of the fandom could be in the daily life of a fan, and I said so, elliptically but rather controversially. Some responses to the veiled implications about fan idolatry were vehement. As much as that discussion had a subtext for a lot of its participants related to what was happening in the fandom at that specific moment, it was the kind of question that had been simmering in our thoughts for a long time, particularly because every now and then someone would actually peel off with the explanation that they thought they were over-involved and needed to separate themselves from Armitage. I used to get a question about that from time to time. Or someone would leave with the explanation that her partner couldn’t handle her involvement with our favorite actor — which raised in addition the question of whether a celebrity crush is like a crush on someone you know, or whether a celebrity is a real challenge to a romantic relationship, or — as is often charged by those who make fun of fangirls — a celebrity crush takes the place of a real relationship to the detriment of the crusher.

The man in question plays foosball with Jamie Edwards.

Deus ludens? The man in question plays foosball with Jamie Edwards.

I’ve never really liked these questions. First, even if mental illness sometimes manifests itself via fandom, I don’t think fandom, even intense fandom, is a cause or even necessarily a sign of mental illness. Second, I don’t think a celebrity crush occupies the same potential emotional space as a crush in real life, or even a real life romantic relationship. And then there’s the religion question. To me these questions are tied together, but I’m going to start unraveling on the “loose thread” of the religion term.

Is the Richard Armitage religion idolatrous?

The “idolatry” label for how fans treat Armitage never really resonated with me; it didn’t even make me angry because it so missed the point. In part, I think it doesn’t intrigue me all that much as a thought because I am a rather religious person and what I experience with G-d is even now rather different than what I experience around Richard Armitage. There are similarities, even significant ones, but my feelings about what I understand my relationship with G-d to be are laden with all kinds of other matters that have to do with culture and obligation and morality and family that don’t enter into my perspective on Richard Armitage in quite the same way. Hence I’ve never felt afraid that I’ve been putting Richard Armitage before G-d or even into the same category. On the contrary, it seemed as if, as Armitagemania took on intensity I was able to recharge particular elements of my relationship with G-d (this has to do with the experience of flow, but that’s something for later).

g-d as boyfriend? Richard Armitage and Sophie Lapin, Australian tv host, in Spring 2013 during the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey press tour. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Of course, maybe that’s just me and others are experiencing something idolatrous. I’m doubtful, though, and I ended up thinking that we were dealing, as so often in fan policing, with a case of displacement. Still, do we treat Richard Armitage like G-d?

I still tend to say “no.” A lot of Richard Armitage fans are somewhat to very (conventionally) religious and don’t seem to have any problem managing all of their allegiances. Then, too, most of the use of pseudo-religious labels by fans seems to be tongue in cheek; we are laughing at ourselves, not truly engaged in shrine-building or pilgrimages in their original senses, for instance. In terms of things that we might associate with “inappropriate worship”: Many of us feel that our experiences of Richard Armitage have changed our lives, of course, something which is highly significant — but this experience is not solely a religious one. Teachers change our lives, as do certain experiences. Although I have heard a few pseudo-“miracle stories” attributed to Armitage over the years, they’ve always been shared confidentially and privately, which to me suggests that the people telling them are aware of the idolatry “problem,” conscious of avoiding it, and aware that they’re dealing with something other than G-d when they encounter Armitage. If they were really engaging in idolatry, I don’t think they’d be hiding what they were saying and experiencing. Someone once told me she thought that G-d was working powerfully through Armitage, but she stopped short of saying he was a prophet, and the Bible tends to suggest that G-d can work powerfully through many kinds of people, not just prophets or judges but also ordinary people. There’s also the question of images and the use of images to generate certain kinds of feelings or represent types of relationships, but as the Catholic Church has long recognized, the mere possession or use of an image does not necessarily imply that one is worshiping the image, and I don’t think the way that I (at least) or most fans use images of Richard Armitage does more than slightly approach the definition of dulia, let alone latria. That, too, should be the subject of a separate post in this series, because I know many fans look at pictures of the crush for particular purposes — and so have I, over the years.

The Richard Armitage religion + irrationality (?)

richard-and-kermit

Also from Australia. Because stuffed animals are not real.

The last piece of this that connects at least tangentially to religion and has come up a great deal in the last year or so in the Armitage fandom is the question of why we believe things to be true about which there is little solid evidence and which cannot be proven either way — and just as interestingly, why we are willing to fight tooth and nail over them. Religions are often said to involve a necessary belief in the irrational, the supernatural, or the unprovable (an interesting article discusses this phenomenon for religion from an anthropological point of view.) Another fan friend and I spend a lot of time puzzling over this question, and what finally got me to start publishing these posts was a discussion over an article she sent me over the weekend, about fans who believe that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are secretly married. I don’t find much of this article all that convincing (all fans, not just those who believe in odd or apparently false ideas, are heavily emotionally involved; it’s not clear exactly how hostility to authority plays a role in embracing a false idea when there is no authority; and the explanation that participants in these discussions are pedantic or bored is just plain judgy and condescending, given that most fans have those moments and outsiders in general don’t understand why fans find it important to argue about things they consider unimportant. What both of us found interesting, though, was the suggestion that the people who police conspiracy theorists (whichever you understand to be the policers and whichever the conspiracy theorists) are just as emotionally involved as their counterparts.

Admitting those problems, this article and the discussion we had finally points in the direction of what I want to say about what many intense fans including me and possibly or probably not including you are doing with and about Richard Armitage — we are constructing a tulpa. Although I am going to use that term very loosely, this process explains both the kinds of activities we are engaged in and the intensity of our attentions, along with the religious or quasi-religious features of the fandom.

Next — what is a tulpa? and what does it have to do with Richard Armitage?

Next post.

~ by Servetus on May 20, 2015.

20 Responses to “Is the Richard Armitage religion idolatrous?”

  1. […] Continued from here. […]

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  2. you just had to go and mention Robsten… 😀 I do agree that the people who police are just as involved as those they’re condescending about (I include myself in that statement).

    I am VERY glad you are tackling these issues b/c I have been struggling with a lot of these aspects myself, thus my limited involvement in the fandom as of late. somewhere along the way Richard Armitage became my moral compass, even though I tried to guard against it. while it’s inspirational that he made me want to be a better person and I’ve grown in positive ways b/c of this, I should not be striving to reach a bar that he has set. I should not be trying to wipe out certain parts of myself b/c “Richard would never act that way, what would Richard think, etc.”; it’s ended up reversing and making me feel that I’m not enough.

    the daydreaming became a real problem for me as well. I always have my head in the clouds, that’s just who I am. while the scenarios stayed innocent, they stayed consistent. every time I let my mind wander, Richard would be there. the daydreams didn’t alter much either, which is the opposite of what my daydreams usually are- a creative outlet – they just hung around like a heavy fog.

    it’s become too intense for me, in a personal way, and I’ve had to look other places in order to give myself a break. that has never happened to me before, throughout my various “crushes” and experience in fandoms. it’s left me very confused and my Armitage creativity at a standstill :/

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    • what got me about that article, too, was the diagnosis of “obviously” irrational beliefs in fandom as applying primarily to conspiracy theories about relationships. Actually, there are plenty of similarly irrational beliefs in fandom that we don’t question simply because they don’t involve a relationship. It made me realize that believing irrationally that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are together is very similar to believing irrationally that Richard Armitage does (or doesn’t) smoke.

      re — wiping out certain parts of yourself — yeah. I want to talk more about why tulpas do what they do (or why we build them the way we build them), but if one of their functions is allow us to help ourselves or inspire ourselves to achieve goals, then you have a tulpa that is out of hand, I think. We don’t know all that much about what Armitage is like, IMO, so we can assign all kinds of valences to his behavior or statements, but those are ours, and if they are bugging you … well, do we really know that Richard Armitage wouldn’t act a certain way?

      I can’t speculate about your daydreaming, only about my own — I tend to have very long-lasting fantasies, and I always end up asking myself, what is this really giving me? Sometimes the fantasy that won’t go away does point to something important that is missing (in my case) anyway.

      I get the “it’s too intense for me.” I’ve had weeks like that. Or you could say, I’ve had five years like that …

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      • yes, I know that the virtues I’ve assigned to him may not even apply to the “real” man but they apply to the perception of him that I’ve built in my mind. that’s what bothered me the most: that I know these things intellectually, yet I still found myself letting them influence me in negative ways. as I’ve talked about previously, these “crushes” fill a void in me that needs to be filled at that time; I think this is just a case of what I need changing and so I need to tweak things.

        as for the irrational beliefs in fandom, I really don’t like the absolutes that get thrown around. what may be irrational or obvious to me may not be to you & vice versa b/c it’s our personal beliefs. in so many of these cases we don’t “know”, so why is it so important to be right? if others want to celebrate what I feel are delusions, as long as they’re not hurting or slandering anyone, let them have their fun. it makes them feel good to believe the dream. I don’t want to be the one that takes away their feel good place unnecessarily.

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        • re rational vs irrational, I agree with you — my point is solely to say that there are certain kinds of beliefs that are cast as irrational, while other convictions that are just as flimsy don’t earn that label. To take a non fandom example, it’s said to be irrational to believe that the US did not land a spacecraft on the moon, but even badly abused and abandoned children tend to believe that their abusive parents love them and didn’t want to hurt them, and we don’t call that irrational. If we’re going to use the “irrational” label to describe certain kinds of beliefs in the absence of evidence (or in the face of strong evidence to the contrary), then we have to apply it more equitably, I think.

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  3. I’m at work so haven’t been able to read it all yet. Just wanted to see I’ve really been missing your indepth posts and can’t wait to read this when I get home!

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  4. Really, really interesting stuff. Keep getting sidetracked on the links and can’t formulate an opinion yet. I can’t say that I worship RA in the sense that I would worship The Creator, but I’m self-aware enough to know that I tend to put him on a pedestal above what’s really rational given that I do know that he’s just a guy who happens to appeal to me physically, emotionally and from afar. I try to keep it light-hearted and fun and approach it with a sense of humor, but there are days when I do question my intense fascination for him and wonder WHY it’s become so involving that I devote hours to it almost every day on a habitual level, like an addiction. Is it healthy? I don’t want to stop yet, and it hasn’t caused me any serious harm yet, and probably most importantly it hasn’t damaged my relationship with the real man in my life, so… hopefully it’s healthy. I do wonder, though.

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    • This is a link heavy post because it tries to tie a lot of stuff together and to add supplemental information that is more thought-provoking than necessary tightly argue.

      One of the questions I’d like to raise here is, if we can abandon the healthy / unhealthy axis when talking about fandom (because it’s just a variant of good fan / bad fan). If we can talk about world-building or tulpa-building as a normal process in which most humans engage, we can talk about the purpose of this kind of preoccupation in a more useful way, I think. Fandom isn’t healthy or unhealthy, it’s just one manifestation of particular kind of emotional or intellectual or contemplative or spiritual process …

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  5. 1st, about fans who think Pattinson and Stewart are married….does his fiancee FKA Twigs know? LOL

    2nd, thank you for all the new words I had to look up (dulia, latria, tulpa). It’s very rare I’m confronted with a word that sends me to the dictionary (thanks for the easy links). Not sure how I will work them into everyday conversation, but I did lose my temper with a hockey ref once and called him an ineffectual nescient eunuch, much to the enjoyment of the fans around me, so you never know what will come out of my mouth.

    Lastly, after reading what you wrote, I have decided I won’t be struck by lightning. Possibly will have a discussion with the devil about my lustful sexual sometimes perverted thoughts about Mr. A (yes, I have named all our children), but that’s a far cry from worshipping a false idol (the devil’s in the details). I believe in God. I believe Jesus Christ is who He said he was. I still feel very guilty if I take His name in vain, even a simple “Jesus!” or “Geez!” (usually this is directed at Sunday drivers who will not move to the slow lane and have made me very sympathetic to those who succumb to road rage…and yes I still want to ram them with a tank). This is usually followed by a humble mumbled “sorry, Lord”. I think our worship of RA is like that of the Beatles or Elvis, and perhaps we do strive to be better people because he appears to be a genuinely caring soul. But would I change my own beliefs if he believed otherwise? No. Would I follow him if he decided to go all Charles Manson on us? Hell no. I would be heartbroken if he fell off that pedestal I’ve placed him on, but I would realize he’s only human.
    Sometimes I wonder about people on FB who, when someone posts how they want to kiss him, etc., respond “leave my husband alone”…I give them the benefit of the doubt but I wonder… Yesterday I saw a photo of RA in Spooks and I saw a pimple near his temple. I pointed it out and said he’s human after all. A woman rebuked me for being disrespectful of his perfection….okay, I had a response but thought better than to start a vitriolic war of words, but I am still bugged…and disturbed that she might be disturbed…mentally. I wish I had read your commentary yesterday and might have responded in a more profound manner.
    I also wonder about these twits on Twitter (God! Is there anything more ridiculous than Twitter?) who respond to RA’s tweets by calling him “Daddy”….Daddy?!?!? Someday I will lose it and respond, “you poor pathetic little bastard”.

    So, while I happily live in my very long running (years) fantasy of life with RA, I am still a sane functioning human being….contrary to what my sister thinks, although she’s decided she likes the fantasy world I’ve conjured up, especially as it applies to her…I told her the Readers Digest version and now she’s an enabler.
    Sorry for the ramblings. Bet you now wish you had a word limit like Twitter.

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    • I never feel bad about long comments.

      re: FKA Twigs — the linked article has a link to another article about what she’s been subjected to since she got together with him — lots of racism, apparently: http://www.salon.com/2014/11/24/racist_twilight_fans_wont_stop_harassing_robert_pattinsons_girlfriend_partner/

      re, Elvis or the Beatles — not that I necessarily want to spend a lot of time defending an argument that I don’t agree with (or perhaps, I should say, an argument that I believe misunderstands the evidence it is dealing with), but I don’t want to have misrepresented it — there are some striking similarities between the behavior of enthusiastic music fans and religious fervor (not in the mainline denominations so much) in terms of the way that they behave toward their objects. In particular, the ecstasy a fan might experience in the presence of her crush is very similar-looking at least to the religious ecstasy that someone who speaks in tongues might experience, or someone who experiences a direct revelation from G-d. Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions from what I right, but one thing I don’t want to be seen to be arguing is that fangirling is different from worshipping G-d because G-d is real and the objects of crushes are false idols. I do believe G-d is real, but that’s not the point of differentiating G-d from false idols (or as Jews would say, avodah zarah, foreign worship). The processes are similar (and for some people, possibly the same) and on my view, that should be instructive and enlightening, not a reason for drawling a line or separating ourselves from certain kinds of behaviors. And the point for me is not whether Armitage is who we believe him to be, but the process of building that pedestal and putting someone there. I’m not interested in judging the end outcome and whether Armitage is virtuous, but in understanding the process of fans deciding to think that he is.

      re: specific language usages — I think we have to leave room for slang and irony. “Daddy” is teen slang in parts of the US anyway for “boyfriend.” We might also consider that teens also often say things precisely because they are intended to provoke. But when a student walks into my office and sees my Thorin cutout and says, loudly, “that’s so sick!” I know he’s not accusing me of being mentally ill.

      The question to me is not whether it’s acceptable (or sane) to defend a belief about Armitage or not, but what is important about defending that specific belief for that specific person, because that touches on the process of tulpa building. I think what we defend or get annoyed about others not taking seriously enough or too seriously is generally more complex than honoring someone too much (idolatry) or protectiveness (what we used to call “Armitage Protection Mode” back in the day).

      I’m not a Christian any more and I’m still vaguely ashamed if I say Geez. (feeling my grandmother looking over my shoulder).

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  6. re: similarities between religious and celebrity worship – in my early adult years I found a fervor for my religious faith for awhile. I was introduced to aspects I had never had the chance to discover before and so it was all new and exciting for me. being a young adult who thought she knew everything, I would sometimes let it be known clearly what I felt was the “right” way. that died off eventually when I came around to the idea that there isn’t just “one” way and what is speaking to me may not be what is speaking to someone else, etc. in that sense, fandom experiences can feel very similar: the fervor, the need to spread the good, the eventual enlightenment that this is personal for everyone and so may be slightly different, and the freedom to question in what some may see as negative ways.

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    • yeah — nice parallel. As in fandom, too, it can be a feature of religious culture that age or experience aren’t necessarily decisive matters in a hierarchy. Intensity tends to be more important which is why we may give more credence to younger people who may be more intense than we — and admire them. (I could give examples out of conservative Xty but I think I’ll skip it.)

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  7. To simplify (since I am a simple woman) a tulpa seems to be a construct of a person’s thoughts and/or imagination. Since imaginations are as varied as the brains in which they reside, would not Richard, as a tulpa, change depending on who is thinking about him? And unless he decides to disclose “the real Richard” behind the image, highly unlikely but not impossible, all our tulpas are legitimate. There is no Richard Bible that I know of. Or a sacred text that outlines what rules we must follow to be proper fans. I agree that there are no right or wrong perceptions of him, since we don’t know much about him. He seems like a nice guy but he doesn’t even give his height with any consistency. I admit I am not a religious person, but I did carry a RA artifact with me on vacation. I think I showed it to you, Serv. I looked at it when I needed a mood elevator. I never thought of it as a religious icon or talisman, but I did leave my shrine at home. It wouldn’t fit on the plane because of the cathedral I built around it.
    This is such a great topic, thank you for raising it. Are there such things as RA heretics or RA orthodoxy? There must be, since “religious wars” seem to erupt periodically.

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    • Yes, nicely put. I think that we can say hypothetically that there are tulpas that might correspond more closely to the “real” Richard Armitage, but we as fans have practically no way of knowing what those might be. But this is why there’s such an uproar anytime a piece of information becomes public, because everyone’s tulpas have to be rebuilt, which is a process that is heavily dependent on the individual fan’s skill and persistence as a tulpa builder.

      It’s interesting, this question of religious practice as being definitive (or not) of religion. For example, many of us carry around pictures of our loved ones (I don’t but it’s not because I’m opposed to it or I hate them or anything). We don’t think of that as a religious practice, but it has nearly the same function, I believe.

      There are definitely RA heretics. There was a reason I picked my blogging handle — which preceded Armitagemania, but which I knew was going to be applicable anyway once I started blogging.

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  8. I missed this ,Servetus 🙂
    He is an escape.. I love those type of problems when Richard’s pic ,your post or someones comment can help.

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    • I think that’s correct — escape is what Armitagemania provides for probably the largest group of fans. So we construct an Armitage that provides that.

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  9. Finally, finally getting to comment on this – which is exactly what I wanted to provoke when I said that fandom had become boring :-D. Thanks for eventually letting me push your button…
    So, in answer to your question – “Ist the RA religion idolatrous” – the belly reaction is “NO”. But that is because I do not believe in gods, showbiz or otherwise, anyway (even though I have some sort of belief in the universe as a guiding influence). You listed all the things in which our expression of fandom resembles a religion in your previous post, from ritual, via relics, shrines (mea culpa), to sacred texts, to miracles. That would point to the fandom of RA being a religion. But religion also manifests itself in the response of the believers – and I don’t see a consistent response as such. If anything, then every fan has their own individual RAligion?!
    It may just be the German translation of the word idolatrous (götzendienerisch) but for me the word implies that the (false) god at the centre of idolatry is being served in some way by those who worship him. And that is exactly the point where I see fans admiring an actor differ from idolatrors (? what’s the word for people who engage in idolatry?) – I do not think that fans really serve RA as such. We may go and buy a mag he is interviewed in, or watch his films, listen to his audiobooks, splash out on a piece of merchandising, and that does benefit him. But only indirectly through revenues. Neither do I think that fans have that much clout, anyway, to be taken all that seriously by those responsible for employing and directing him. I do not really see how anyone’s individual interest in him is an expression of worship or invitation to follow him, as well. If anything, I more often than not have the impression that this supposed “false god” is only a reluctant idol, deflecting the “service” of his “worshippers”.

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    • Glad you’re here!

      I don’t think “real” religions have a “consistent response” either. If you look at large religions like Islam or Christianity for instance, it’s hard to say what the “consistent response” would be, and that’s true even if you come down to the level of sects or even single congregations. Every Christian has his/her individual G-d, too, especially these days, even if they say they are all worshiping the same one. Similarly, Christians have common practices of worship, but they are not all common to all Christians and some of them are so different as to be mutually exclusive. Some liberal Christians get past this problem by saying “we’re all the same, we all belong together,” but that is merely an agreement to acknowledge a “non-consistent response.”

      Word you’re looking for is “idolaters.”

      Even though the words are formal equivalents, I suspect “götzendienerisch” isn’t that great a translation of idolatrous, since the “latria” at the basis of the English word implies mental or spiritual veneration more than it does action, whereas I agree with you that the German “dienen” seems to suggest action in the world. That said, how we recognize idolatry in others is certainly via an action. I agree with you that fans don’t really serve Armitage, BUT I do think that in fact many fans think that we do (by buying things, for instance — or, potentially, if fans had followed the desires of certain fan initiatives last summer, by organizing ourselves as a market segment to “show our support”) and/or are worried that we do not do it sufficiently or are doing it wrong (witness the many messages I get about how Armitage is being harmed with potential employers by his fans’ behavior).

      re: the final question — the relationship of idolatry to whether [a G]-d wants to be worshiped. This is intriguing (and I’m thinking of Armitage’s statement in 2009 that he didn’t believe that actors need to go on a pedestal, and in the same his citation of “Hamburg Song” as a favorite — “I don’t want to be adored”). I agree that Armitage statements suggest that he does not want to be worshiped, although I don’t see that as relevant to the needs or desires of people to worship him. The question about [G]-d, however, is complex. If (let’s say) the Judeo-Xian G-d is real and what is reflected about that G-d in the Bible is true, that G-d did demand worship. However, if that G-d is a human construction, then humans constructed a god who demanded worship. (I tend to put you in the crowd of people who believe the latter, rather than the former.) In that case, the necessity of worship itself is something humans wrote onto their concept of that G-d: not a necessary characteristic of either G-d or religion but something that humans created in that particular episode of world-building.

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  10. […] get my teeth into some meaty discussions when Servetus recently started posting on the idea of an Armitage Religion or Armitage as Tulpa. Not that those posts can be belittled as “amusing”. But maybe, in […]

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