Is Nanase christian?

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Is Nanase christian?

Postby Pixiest on Fri Apr 29, 2005 10:11 am

http://www.elgoonishshive.com/d/20030416.html

I did a forum search for Nanase + christian and it doesn't appear this has been discussed... But is Nanase christian or is the cross just ornamental? (or something she wears to please her mom?)

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Postby Beacon on Fri Apr 29, 2005 10:17 am

Considering how she ditches the rest of her outfit, I doubt she'd bother to keep the cross just for her mother. I think I've seen some other pics of her with a cross, but I can't think of where at the moment.

Now, given what we know of her mother - A: She's conservative and B) She despises homosexuality - it seems very possible that she's a devout Christian. Now, as for how much of that has actually passed on to Nanase, that's hard to tell.
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Postby Pixiest on Fri Apr 29, 2005 10:23 am

I suppose it COULD be both ornamental AND to please her mom. I think Crosses are pretty.

(of course, they're not when you think about the fact they were a form of execution, but as simple jewelery they're very attractive.)

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Postby DaGeek on Fri Apr 29, 2005 12:15 pm

I don't think she's a Christian, I mean, she ditches her outfit, disobeys her mom alot, etc... Her mom sounds like a Christian though
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Postby DaGeek on Fri Apr 29, 2005 12:16 pm

By the way, an add on to my last msg (Didn't feel like using edit button :P) she could be just going with the flow and all that... Dunno, seems like EGS is entirely non-Christian
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Postby Tuitsuro on Fri Apr 29, 2005 12:46 pm

You usually don`t wear a cross without it having some meaning; mostly because they are rather uncomfortable and not exactly the prettiest thing to be on a necklace.

Then again, maybe she's Misato cosplaying? O_o
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Postby regal on Fri Apr 29, 2005 12:52 pm

I don't think anyone's religious beliefs have come up. That can be a tricky minefield Dan doesn't want to enter. Already there have been some unflattering assumptions about Nanase's mom. But as for Nanase's cross, it doesn't automatically mean anything. She could have just liked the way it looks. It could be a Christmas gift from a great aunt.
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Postby DarkShive on Fri Apr 29, 2005 12:59 pm

regal wrote:I don't think anyone's religious beliefs have come up. That can be a tricky minefield Dan doesn't want to enter.

The closest I've gotten to religious issues was in Tam eh Tedd, and that's about as far as I'm willing to go. The only way I could do it without opening up a can of worms and/or being disrespectful would be to make it as serious and non-stereotypical as possible, and that's really limiting. It's not something I really want EGS to focus on.
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Postby Tuitsuro on Fri Apr 29, 2005 1:04 pm

I wouldn`t say 'tricky minefield' as much as it's something that would probably require a lot of plot development.

But I would like to think at least some of the characters have different religious views; even if they never actually come up in-story.
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Postby Pixiest on Fri Apr 29, 2005 1:07 pm

Thanks Dan =)

That doesn't answer the question but it answers the question behind the question.

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Postby Illjwamh on Fri Apr 29, 2005 1:33 pm

It's a shame that religion has become such a hot topic in today's world. I respect Dan for not wanting to touch on it, but I wish it wasn't necessary for him to have to shy away.

In a perfect world, characters' religions could be mentioned in passing, without the meaning being anything more significant than another minor detail about their character.
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Postby Kizor on Fri Apr 29, 2005 2:23 pm

DaGeek wrote:I don't think she's a Christian, I mean, she ditches her outfit, disobeys her mom alot, etc...


Christians can vary from area to area, but that made no sense to me.

As for the cross... don't know. Large and ornamental ones are more likely to be just that. Small, plainer and functional ones are more likely to be symbols of faith. Wearing one under the clothing is a strong indication of the latter and an actual crucifix a giveaway.

I had thought of this briefly. There hasn't been a lot of opportunities to express the characters' religion. Anyone not of the we-live-for-the-One we-die-for-the-One zealot variety wouldn't likely demonstrate it during the general mayhem that's been going on. Okay, so Ellen's creation poses a few interesting questions (which I dealt with in about three minutes), but if any of the crew had them they were off-panel. There wasn't much of the others' reactions aside from "ooo... kay?" and they sure as hell wouldn't voice their concerns while Ellen was present.

Religion is a very powerful tool, and as such carries great potential to help or to harm a comic strip. While it could've been powerful to, say, have Nanase pray to herself on the way to the Nest, it's probably for the best that the subject has been kept to the sidelines. Dan does good mayhem, but he's no Willis.

Not wishing to hasten the immiment derail, I will not touch Illi's post with a ten-foot stick.
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Postby DeaExMachina on Fri Apr 29, 2005 4:15 pm

Considering that the cross predates christianity by upwards of 2000 years, she may be choosing to not ditch the cross for reasons her mother may be ignorant of.
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Postby Tuitsuro on Fri Apr 29, 2005 5:47 pm

Well THAT's true, but 4000 years later the cross has come to pretty much represent christianity.

GPF did a storyline a few months ago where christianity played a big part, and it really did bring mix reviews. It's not exactly the best topic for an online webcomic. Interesting, but not good mainstream storyline material.

But at the same time, I`m one of the ones who enjoys any amount of controversial material. And anything that develops the plot of a character. Religion in itself can tell you a lot about a person.

But the more I look at it, the more I just think she looks like Misato from Evangelion. Maybe it's just me. >_<
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Postby Death Mage on Fri Apr 29, 2005 5:50 pm

I think the best question to ask is:

Does it matter?

One could argue about the whole Christian vs magic thing, but really, you can believe in the basics without strictly adhering to the tendants. But given how much diversity is already in EGS, does it matter what religions the characters are?
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Postby Illjwamh on Fri Apr 29, 2005 5:50 pm

Kizor wrote:Not wishing to hasten the immiment derail, I will not touch Illi's post with a ten-foot stick.

Oh, pfft. It's not that precarious a topic. :P
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Postby Illjwamh on Fri Apr 29, 2005 5:52 pm

*double post due to super-fast posting by Death Mage*

Death Mage wrote:I think the best question to ask is:

Does it matter?

One could argue about the whole Christian vs magic thing, but really, you can believe in the basics without strictly adhering to the tendants. But given how much diversity is already in EGS, does it matter what religions the characters are?

Right on, yo. In truth, the characters' religion is completely irrelevent to the rest of the story, or the comic in general. Maybe they don't have any at all, who knows? Or cares? I know I've certainly never given it a first thought - let alone a second one - until I saw this thread.
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Postby Tuitsuro on Fri Apr 29, 2005 5:59 pm

Death Mage wrote:Does it matter?


I really hate that question. I know it's valid, but look at it in context; you're asking is it valid to ask about a part of a fictional character. Obviously none of it would really matter, but it's a part of the character, so we want to know. We`re bunnies for god's sake. :P

What's worse, is that question really becomes condescending quickly. If I were to say I lost a level 80 character in "such and such" game, and someone replies, "Does it really matter?" Well, of course not since it was just a game, but obviously I had put effort into the character, so it meant something to me. It may not matter in RL, but it still matters to the person.

The same could be said for a person who gets into a minor accident with their car. Say they get a big dent, maybe some superficial paint damage. Here again one could say "Does it really matter" since most of what the car does is get you from one place to another (I know, it's not ALL it does but it's the main point in having a car.) and the body and paint really don`t have that much to do with it. But it still marrs the car and the owner's image, if only to themselves.

Sorry to go off on that. ;)
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Postby Death Mage on Fri Apr 29, 2005 6:09 pm

Does not knowing if she's christian or not damage or alter your perception of the character? Should we know eveyr tiny aspect of their lives? Should we automatically need to know all of the major aspects? If we are given all of the information now, it can weaken story lines later.

We all know Nanase's character from what has been revealed in the story so far. We've been given all of the infomration that Dan has seen fit to give us so far. Asking for too much information is not necessaraly a good thing. Sometimes, knowing certain bits of information cna alter the perception of the character.

Nanase is Nanase. If her religion or lack thereof were an important part of the character, we'd know about it already. Dan is especially good at focusing on the characters, and having them act true to themselves. We don't really need to know all of their motiviations behind their decisions to recogonize their patterns, and know their characters well enough.
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Postby Tuitsuro on Fri Apr 29, 2005 6:46 pm

I think a person's religion can be important, so it's not a tiny part of their lives. I`m not asking what Moperville South served for lunch on March 3rd. I can also respect Dan's decision in not saying anything about it. But this thread is ASKING for speculation, and that's what I like to come on the forums and do. :D

She IS wearing a cross. If her mother made her wear it, then why not simply wear it inside the shirt? Why on the outside? It IS a valid question.
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Postby Death Mage on Fri Apr 29, 2005 6:56 pm

Yea, it's a forum for discussion, you are right about that. But my stance is, it doesn't matter either way. LIke I said, if it was an important character point, we'd already know.
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Postby Weavah on Fri Apr 29, 2005 7:02 pm

Nanase wearing a cross suggests that she is some type of Christian, or at least closer to being one than she is to being a Zoroastrian, Pagan, or Cthulhu Cultist.

Shall we begin the rampant speculation?

Tedd doesn't strike me as being a particularly religious individual, though it's likely that Grace makes him want to have someone to thank.

The Dunkel family did not raise any questions of faith when they suddenly aquired a new member via a weird interaction of magic and alien technology.

Grace and her siblings were probably not raised with any kind of faith in mind.


Dan has done a good job of providing relatively few indicators of religion.



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Postby Minivet on Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:06 pm

I think there's a good reason, besides controversy, for leaving out religion. Despite what outsiders often think, religion is extraordinarily flexible. Christianity has accommodated through history vastly different cultures, social structures, and (secular) worldviews. Really, our information about Nanase and her mother could point to any number of religious situations. For example:

  • The mother is a strict Christian conservative; Nanase keeps the cross even while wiggling out from under her thumb because she believes in a more tolerant form of Christianity.
  • The mother is a strict Christian conservative; Nanase keeps the cross because while disliking everything she comes in contact with about her parents' religion, and not practicing religion in her private life, she still considers herself a Christian if asked, and hasn't brought herself to admit she probably isn't.
  • The mother (a Japanese-American, remember) is a non-Christian social conservative, possibly Buddhist; Nanase's Christianity is a small rebellion, though her mother would be unlikely to get angry about it.
  • Whatever their respective beliefs, she wears it for purely ornamental reasons. This is sometimes done.


What's important here is that while the religions and attitudes within the religions can vary, the conservatism and rebellion is constant. This sort of conflict is more compelling to us, more arresting, than direct religious conflicts. What's really at stake is people's worldviews and desires. While a thousand years ago these opinions would often be determined by religious standpoints, argued over in purely religious terms, now religion in the West is more often a supplementary adjunct. So whatever happens between Nanase and her mother, it can be done, and done well, without bringing religion into it.

Actually, I suspect the last option is rather likely -- I looked at other appearances of Nanase -- here, here, and here, for example -- and the cross is nowhere in evidence. If it were a really important part of her identity, she's wear it a little more often, I think.
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Postby Cullin on Fri Apr 29, 2005 9:02 pm

You know, everyone has been pretty respectful so far in this thread and I just wanted to say thank you for that. I'm a devout Catholic and sometimes people have no problem with sharing their...negative thoughts on Christianity as a whole. Sometimes because of the faith itself and sometimes because of something someone of the faith did to another person. But I'm glad that I've put up with people who made unfair assumptions about me based on my faith because now I appreciate kinder people who are tolerant of others no matter what they believe, and I believe appreciation of good people and tolerance are two things everyone can embrace.
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Postby ravenb on Fri Apr 29, 2005 10:07 pm

I'll second Cullin's thank-you. As a Protestant from a Pentacostal/Charismatic background, I like to think I've seen both the best and the worst of modern Christianity in that culture. And while bigotry of the sort practiced by Nanase's mom is often correlated with conservative Christianity, I'll hasten to point out that hatred of any sort is antithetical to what we believe. Which doesn't mean it doesn't crop up with disturbing frequency ... but I neither make excuses for that nor lay the blame for it at the foot of the cross. I thank all of you for not making the over-generalizations about my own people that are so common on the Internet. I'm impressed with the quality of the people here. :)

As for Nanase, I imagine that she's going through the crisis of identity that all of us experience in our teenage years -- even more so, since she's also struggling with her gender preferences. I suspect her reasons for wearing the cross are mixed, and probably not entirely known even to herself. In one respect, it's a shield against her mother's criticism -- "I'm still a good girl, don't get mad at me" -- and the fact that it's so prominent makes it a rather loud proclamation of her loyalties. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

At the same time, though, the fact that she still feels the need to belong to the church -- that she fears the consequences of coming out even when she feels like she's drowning -- makes me think that it matters to her as more than something to make her mom happy. She may just want to feel like she still belongs to the world she was raised in -- and believe me, when you grow up in that kind of family, you eat, sleep, and breathe church -- or it may be that she does have faith, to some extent. She may fear that God will reject her for what she has become, in which case the cross is a reminder to Him that she still wants to be part of His family. What she may be sorting through, right now, is whether Ellen is the sort of lover she can bring home to Father, regardless of what her mother says. It's not an easy decision to make.

But all of this, if it's happening at all, will be going on in the back of Nanase's mind, and we're not going to see it on screen -- because, as Dan points out, everybody's so sensitive about this issue that the only way to deal with it is to go out of your way to show that you aren't being a bigot (in either direction). The essentials of Nanase's struggle for identity can be dealt with without getting into the religious aspect directly, though it will surely always be a factor in her decisions. The familial conflict between mother and daughter is enough for a comic to deal with, and it can be dealt with more frankly without offending anyone in the audience. Probably a good call, Dan.

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