Opining that Jesus or God are fictional characters is trolling, by definition?

I guessed I missed the memo.

In this thread about most popular fictional characters, “God” and “Jesus” were nominated. IMO, perfectly valid candidates.

Yet Twixter comes in with:

Also, IMO, if some people take issue with such an entirely reasonable opinion, let THEM go start a thread somewhere else expressing their disagreement.

I don’t necessarily take issue with Twixter personally, if this is now general policy for moderators. But if it is, the policy sucks.

I missed both that post by Twixter, and the official ruling that I cannot consider God to be a fictional character.

If this ruling is upheld, may I have a list of all god/goddesses that may not be considered fictional?

Her name is twickster, which both of you have been around long enough to know.

You’ve also both been around long enough to know that a mod note in a Cafe Society thread is not a general ruling for the board. Trying to misrepresent it as such is not really helpful. You guys know better.

This is was a thread in Cafe Society. Remarks such as the ones in that thread have the potential to lead to a hijack on religious issues, and shouldn’t have a place there.

Of course, whether God or Jesus are fictional characters would be appropriate in other forums, especially Great Debates. In some other forums, not so much.

Next thing y’know, we’ll be getting goosed for suggesting that The Flying Spaghetti Monster is fictional.

I’d say calling God a fictional character in some films is perfectly valid. Does anybody think the character of God as portrayed by George Burns or Morgan Freeman is an accurate representation of an existing being?

Also, by that standard now that I have read the thread, calling the devil a fictional character would also be trolling. :rolleyes:

That doesn’t justify the kind of throwaway lines that were made in the thread. Neither post mentioned this kind of role as what they had in mind.

Sorry, cut and pasted her name and shouldn’t have. The fact remains, though, that she said that calling God and Jesus fictional characters has been ruled effectively trolling in similar threads. I don’t know if this is true, but I can see where Jesus can be an iffy case, what with there actually being some(questionable, but not nonexistent) evidence for his being. God hisself, however, I’d like a separate ruling on. I didn’t make that example out of disrespect, but because of the different ways the character has been portrayed through the years. In radio, television, books, movies and stage plays the fictional character permeates our culture, and I call the character fictional because most often it serves a purpose in the narrative that is most alien to the deity described in either the New or Old Testament. When I say God the fictional character, I mean exactly that-George Burns, Alanis Morissette, Morgan Freeman, Groucho Marx, Sir Ralph Richardson, John Huston, Orson Welles and a Host of others. Sometimes the character is a replacement for the original Greek Chorus and sometimes he/she is a type of Jiminy Cricket, but nowadays it is almost never strictly the Biblical deity twickster mistakenly thinks I was mocking.

Seriously you guys.
I consider myself a liberal but if someone had said “A Republican who’s not an idiot” I would understand it’s an insult.
Just because you disagree with a position others hold doesn’t mean you get to drag it onto every conversation to demonstrate your contempt.

Those are both the most recent and most popular depictions of God in the movies. I apologize for not pointing that out.

There might be an argument to be made on these grounds, but your post didn’t make it. As I said, to all appearances it seemed to be just a throwaway line from an atheistic point of view. As such, it is the sort of thing that can easily cause a thread to derail.

I’m an atheist myself, so I don’t disagree with the sentiment. However, I don’t think that thread was an appropriate place for the remark as you phrased it.

How I phrased it?

That was only an attempt to pad the count beyond the aforementioned movies, radio programs, books, television programs etc. in an attempt to qualify it as a character more popular than Sherlock Holmes, who also gained fame through amateur productions and fan fiction.

There are a lot of ways to troll in a thread about fictional characters without insulting someone’s deity, and the mods would probably call you on that as well.

Dorothy Parker once reviewed an autobiography by commenting that the author was now her new favorite character in fiction.

Naming Sybil of the 17 personalities, Bridie Murphy, or Allison DuBois as one’s favorite fictional characters would probably be trolling, and yet would also have a lot of people nodding in agreement.

They’re all disingenuous answers to the question, as they presuppose that everyone pretty much acknowledges them as fictional.

The thread wants fictional characters with, for lack of a better term a known provenance. Legendary or mythological characters might not even be great answers, just because it sometimes turns out that there is a real person behind the fiction-- or at least a composite. That is probably true with Jesus.

As far as G-d goes, he may or may not be fiction, but his popularity is not due to his existence as a character in fiction (cf., Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple). His popularity is due to people believing him not to be fictional.

Sorry, Czarcasm, you didn’t make your point very clearly. It can still be read as an effort to take a poke at theists. The issue isn’t whether God is fictional or not, but whether such a remark might lead to a hijack on the issue in an inappropriate forum.

If after that many examples it could still be read as some sort of poke at theists, then maybe the real problem is hypersensitivity.
Edited to add: Never mind that list of approved gods and goddesses I ask for earlier. I think I know how narrow that list actually is.

I think you’ll find it is co-incident with the list of entities that a significant number of people on these boards believe not to be fictional. It’s not an unreasonable ruling since in the context of Cafe Society, any allegation that a particular entity is fictional when many posters believe it is going to result in the thread being derailed by a debate about fictionality or otherwise.

What? A made-up ridiculous creature that’s intended to mock religious belief, and you’re telling me it’s fictional? My world is shattered, I tell you - shattered.

It’s just lame. It’s pretty much the same kind of lame as it would be if someone answered “Jesus!” in a thread titled “Who is the nicest world leader?” or “Who is the best action hero?”

Karen Armstrong’s A History Of God is an excellent exploration of how the “character” of God has changed throughout Judaism, Christianity and Islam: even the god of the Old Testament is not a single unvarying entity, but one who goes through a number of distinct portrayals according to the needs of his worshippers. In that sense God is very certainly a literary character, and forbidding discussion of that for fear of possible offence is an extremely foolish ruling.