The Elder Scrolls

Understanding Dwemer Philosophy: The difference between Atheism and Anti-Theism

This may seem like a petty difference, but there is more to it than you would think.

Atheism is a philosophy that denies the existence of gods and other higher beings; doing so by analysing and developing theories against the existence of god; proving its nonexistance. Ludwig Feuerbach states that god is a product of human imperfection that gives birth to imaginations of a perfect being, while simultaneously falling slave for it. This imagination has now become fetish, that alienates the people from their own creative powers and numbs them from material injustices (speaking with Marx, it has become the opiate of the Masses). In short, Atheism denies the existence of god as a whole and sees humans and their mind as the highest and mostly developed entity on earth, entitled to form their own destiny and grow as a whole through creativity and innovation.

This was not the thinking of the Dwemer. They were well aware of the existence of Aedra and Daedra, and their powers. The basic axiom of their philosophy was not denying godhood, but the need to fight it. They did not want to be devote slaves to the gods up in the sky as the Chimer did; they did not want enlightenement and blessings; they wanted to grow from their own powers, by their own will, without the intervention of any Aedra or Daedra. The dwemer detested the idea of being worshippers, whose only answer to hardship is vainly hoping for a god to receive their prayers.

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And from this hatred against mindless worshipping and the gods themselves arose the desire and need to challenge and overcome them. Kagrenacs studies and the construction if the Numidium served no other purpose than to challenge the gods, and in the end, becoming greater than them. It is the craving for personal freedom, independence and power that fuels the dwemer‘s competition with the gods.

They are aware of the existence of gods, but want to overcome them by their own power and will. Therefore, they are no atheists … they are anti-theists, fighting against (anti-) the gods (-theos) that, through their power, hinder them from the total unfolding of their own might.

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