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Fillyfoolish


Some trust in chariots and some in horses.

T
Source

Sunset Shimmer knows Equestrian religion is false. She has her doubts about human religions, too. As always, she turns to her friends for help.

Unfortunately for Sunset, her six friends have six rather different ideas about what lies above.


Fic updates daily until completion.

Please keep the comments civil and on topic.

Chapters (7)
Comments ( 171 )

Behind the scenes:

FoME: You managed to name the synagogue where I had my bar mitzvah, which is honestly blowing my mind…
Fillyfoolish: FOME there are like three names of synagogues in North America

In all seriousness, this is going to be a fascinating look at questions few ponyfics raise. Well, few ponyfics that aren’t unbearably preachy. This one doesn’t fall into that category. You’re all in for a treat.

This is interesting! You have my curiosity piqued!

Ok, curious. Nice mix of comedy and information. Will this be an anthology with each of the mane six, or continue from this onwards?

One quick question I have, regarding the description: when in the story will we see what Equestrian religion actually is? If I recall correctly, we weren't really shown any in the show, unless Equestrian religion is, like Confucianism used to be, very closely intertwined with the state.

Other than that, looking forward to seeing where this goes, especially with the rest of the Humane 6.

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For what it's worth, one of my fics has a brief scene that shows ponies just believing in whoever/whatever seems helpful. Rarity the romantic is fond of Aphrodite (of course), but she also throws some worship towards Bast in the hope of blessings for her cat, Opal.

I'm just sad that no one ever caught what I was doing with the pony goddess Rulena the Maker: "Rulena" is an anagram of "Lauren".

So all these downvotes are over... what, portraying Judaism at all?

Really nice start, and it's interesting seeing Twilight's perspective of religion. I wonder what the Drama tag is about...

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Which story isn't unbearably preachy? Besides this one so far? Cause I can't think of any, and I've read a few in the hope that the author doesn't preach.

After a moment of silence, Twilight sighs dramatically. “On further thought, I’m sorry, but I don’t think me dating you is kosher.”

I droop. “Why not?”

She leans over to nibble on my hair, and whispers in my ear, “It’s prohibited to eat bacon. It’s treif.”

Yup. That's precisely Twilight's sense of humor.

Boo, Twilight. Boooooooooooo.

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TThe Apocryphal Gospel Of Celestia (An Alicorn Princess Goes on Vacation and Finds Jesus)
Celestia goes on vacation, gets drunk, and makes a new friend.
Mockingbirb · 2.8k words  ·  38  4 · 528 views

It’s less “ponies discover religion” and more “ponies stumble on religion in the middle of a vacation,” but it’s still an entertaining read.

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It's framed as an anthology with the mane cast, but there is a larger story at play here.

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There are some snippets throughout, especially in tomorrow's chapter. That said, this story is (quite transparently) about human religious traditions, on the experiences of the humane 6. Although I considered Equestrian chapters, in the end this seemed to distract from the story's driving questions which are intimately human. A sequel to this story would likely take place in Equestria, and there are intriguing questions to explore there. But this is a different story.

If Equestrian religion is more your cup of tea, check out Ponky's excellent "If Horses Had Gods".

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Drama seemed more fitting than slice-of-life for the story as a whole. Some of the later chapters are... loaded. (I am fully expecting downvotes on Sunday and Monday. Pretty baffled about the downvotes today, this is as mild as the story gets. Maybe I need to add more content warnings.)

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If my records are correct, that line is credited to Gay for Gadot, when discussing the concept for this fic a few years ago. Seemed too good not to keep it in ^^

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baffled about the downvotes today, this is as mild as the story gets. Maybe I need to add more content warnings

Please try to ignore those, there is nothing you've put here that could justify them or warnings missing. We'll see what Sunday and Monday bring but for now, this is good.

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Don't worry about the downvotes, I'd ascribe them more to the fact that the story features religion as a driving factor than any content of the story itself. I can understand the discomfort (as a practicing Roman Catholic, I await the chapter discussing that and/or Christianity with equal parts anticipation and fear), but I would also feel free to dismiss most of the dislikes that discomfort generates; they're discomfort with the subject matter, not the story itself.

This was an intriguing read, and I learned some stuff I genuinely didn't know before! I like that it feels really lived-in, too. And of course Twilight would seize any opportunity to do a knowledge dump on Sunset, hah...

I've had ideas for EqG stories where Sunset and/or Twilight are religious (in the "believer but not dogmatic" way), with explanations for how they square their faith with their respective backgrounds and experiences. This is tempting me to revisit and explore those further.

I will never understand the extent of human cruelty, let alone over something as trivial as religion.

i'm with bacon horse on this one.

After a moment of silence, Twilight sighs dramatically. “On further thought, I’m sorry, but I don’t think me dating you is kosher.”

I droop. “Why not?”

She leans over to nibble on my hair, and whispers in my ear, “It’s prohibited to eat bacon. It’s treif.”

Yeah, I can see human Twilight having a Jewish background, especially with odd confusion she has about it, which is something I also share. And I think the downvotes you are getting are completely unfair.

But I do have one bone of contention: the background you are creating for this fic isn't very consistent. You are using a real-world religion, but you also seem to be using a specific EG setting.

“You can read Hebrew, then?”

Twilight nods. “Your book has transliterations, so you don’t have to, but yeah. Growing up, Bubbe Sparkle took me to shul every Saturday. That stopped when Bubbe and Zayde moved to Mareami. But for a while, every week, I used the time as an educational opportunity to study Hebrew linguistics.”

“Worth it?”

“Probably not.” She giggles. “In high school I did email an Israeli physics professor at Technion in his native language, so that must count for something.”

You're creating a world where an alternate version of Miami and the State of Israel exist side by side, which I find to be a bit weird. The issue with me is I am one of those people who wish the EG series did more world-building that distinguished it from Equestria and our own world.

I would prefer if you either take our world and use it as a setting or seek to develop the EG world and its own unique geography and culture, not try and mix both.

But aside from all that, this is a solid story and I hope you write more.

Mm, cool. If you want information first hand about Catholicism in Europe and the Neocatecumenal Way you can contact me if you want

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The existence of Israel is sad

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Hey, if you have any good pony puns for "Israel"... :derpytongue2:

I suppose the real fix is change "Mareami" to "Miami" (or "Florida" more generally but pony puns). Stories about Equestria Girls are stories about humans; the real life location of Israel is important to both the Jewish and Christian characters in this story. And then that fits with the interpretation of "horse puns are constrained to the city of Canterlot and its surrounding municipalities" which I think is consistent and canon-compliant but honestly I didn't watch much past Mirror Magic.

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Hey, if you have any good pony puns for "Israel"... :derpytongue2:

Well, I do have my own headcanon for the EG version of Jews that I plan to put in one of my stories: Yehuvim. With combines the Hebrew word for Jews, Yehudim, with "hoof." You could call it "Yehudia?"

I suppose the real fix is change "Mareami" to "Miami" (or "Florida" more generally but pony puns). Stories about Equestria Girls are stories about humans; the real life location of Israel is important to both the Jewish and Christian characters in this story. And then that fits with the interpretation of "horse puns are constrained to the city of Canterlot and its surrounding municipalities" which I think is consistent and canon-compliant but honestly I didn't watch much past Mirror Magic.

That makes sense.

I was thinking of coming up with your own EG version of these faiths. In one of my stories, the EG version of Christianity is Ameliorism.

But ultimately, it is your story. Do what thou wilt!

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Well, I do have my own headcanon for the EG version of Jews that I plan to put in one of my stories: Yehuvim. With combines the Hebrew word for Jews, Yehudim, with "hoof."

:rainbowlaugh:

Sunset: "Great. That's all we need. A Eweish princess."

Spike: looks at the camera "Funny. She doesn't look Eweish."

:pinkiecrazy:

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The EG world seem to have a fascination with horses.

The name of the social media platform in EG is "MyStable."

The portal to Equestria is in a horse statue.

Canterlot High uses "Wondercolts" as their mascot.

My headcanon is that they treat horses as their national symbol the same way Americans obsess over the bald eagle.

I literally just read fanfics that had a religion called "Markism" which worship Harmony and their 'God' is freaking Celestia.

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I read one story where Celestia bans the worship of herself because the fanatics commit horrible crimes in her name.

Ri2
Ri2 #26 · April 30th · · 1 · Friday ·

As a Jew, I fully endorse this chapter.

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Yeah she wasn't happy, the one i read was set in EqG world. The Markisim religion had use magic artifact where the human counterpart temporary took over the bodies of their pony counterpart to learn about their 'mark'/destiny. Celestia takes exception to that and if she caught any human in her ponies she just banishes them back to their regular bodies.

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You have my curiosity

Can you send me the link to the story?


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Me too!

Ya know what would be cool, If you mentioned Pentecostal Holiness in this. I'm a Pentecostal and we get very little representation when it comes to discussions about Christianity, even in the south. I'm not saying you make a big story out of it, but a mention would be cool.

She pauses. “Acknowledging a Creator doesn’t affect my daily life. It doesn’t change how I live. Creating the universe doesn’t grant a being moral authority over its inhabitants, you know?”

“Uh, no, I don’t know.” I’m not sure what I expected her to answer, but it wasn’t that.

She chuckles. “Earth is the teensiest speck of a massive universe. The solar system is a rounding error compared to all that exists. From what I understand, Equestria is even smaller. Do you think the Creator of everything gives a damn about humans and ponies?” I wince. “Human ethics are questions for humans to work out."

I can see Sci-Twi having this view. Your characterization of her in this exchange in particular is very good.

Oh, now I see what you meant, I'm guessing not all of her friends will be as good receptive of criticisms or curiosity than Rarity or Twilight. Or maybe some other kind of problem may arise further down.

Still, I like the idea you have for this story, and now I'm certainly interested in seeing all of it. The alternate explanation of why Sunset left Equestria was... rushed, but since it's not the main focus of the fic I don't really mind it, and it's an original take as far as I'm concerned. Plus, the story is interesting with the interactions between Sunset and her friends that it doesn't fall in the 'I would rather see this subplot develop' trap.

Great job so far, keep it going!

This is a solid bit of discussion between Rarity and Sunset, who always make for good conversation-mates, My only big concern is Rarity’s attitude towards religion feels a bit too similar to Twilight’s (observer-but-only-sorta-believer); I’m hopeful we’ll get to see some of the seven have an absolute belief in a higher power, especially given the contrast that would provide to Sunset’s background in this chapter.

(I do have to wonder why Sweetie Belle isn’t tagging along with Rarity at all, though.) :unsuresweetie:

You know, I wonder what *Celestia*, would think of human religion?
let's say for the sake of argument that About half of humanity is religious. Those that aren't embrace the view that humans are a tiny slice of life on a spec of dust orbiting a spark. In a universe incomprehensibley big.

Those that are religious? You have the eastern religions which broadly speaking see life as a lesson to be learned over and over again in the search for some knowledge, understanding enlightenment or evolution, and can be stuck in a cycle of life death and rebirth until such a thing is reborn. Or you have the more western religions where humans have some inherent flaw or break within them that requires the intervention of some all knowing all loving super being we would never possibly live up to to intercede on our behalfs. Mileage can vary depending on that this action should take. Notions of either guilt or dishonour become our driving factors.

Then one element that is nearly universal across our cultures is the notion of our own insignificance or u worthiness and a desperate search for either meaning or grace. The only people who believe themselves to be the exception to the rule are our worst dictators and monsters. There vast majority of us seem almost resigned to our insignificance... One way or the other.

I don't know if it's true or not. I'm not even sure if it's a bad thing. As I said, the hubris to believe they can change the course of history is a trait shared by all of the worst of the Children of Men.

I wonder what an outsider might think of that? Someone from another universe that might actually have the right to critically judge humanity. The Equestrian universe is a kinder, gentler place. With a God who is present and, whilst maybe not all powerful is demonstrably all loving. Where the worst abuses of power by nobility is a snobbish attitude and the world's problems can actually be solved in 20 minutes with tea, an honest conversation, and some compassion. I wonder which of earth Religions would appeal to Celestia? If any? Luna, I think, would see the appeal of a benevolent merciful deity.

But, as I think all too many people know... Wanting to believe in something is never enough.

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I observe there are notable distinctions between Twilight and Rarity's relationship to their respective religions and beliefs in God. Rarity accepts a personal (Christian) God but has only a weak belief. By contrast, Twilight actively rejects a personal God but a strong belief in what few attributes of God she agrees with. One story goal is focusing on the subtle ways that religion differs beyond the overt doctrine/practices. This chapter could have been a Jewish Rarity instead, and the compare/contrast with Twilight would still hold.

You're right, neither is an "absolute" believer. We're only two chapters in, though :-)

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True and valid points. I wasn’t meaning to suggest that they were identical, just that having those somewhat more casual relationships to belief back to back stuck out a bit. That said, the distinctions between them and how they treat faith as individuals are noticeable and important.

Huh. Wouldn't have pegged Rarity for a Catholic. My money was on Rainbow. But maybe that's myself projecting. I still consider myself a Catholic. Despite having major issues with a decent chunk of dogma, and what can only be described as sheer fury with certain leaders in the Church for the way things have been ran for the last century. I daresay plenty would decry me as a Heretic for daring to suggest that Catholic Dogma on LGBT people was flat out wrong and needs to change. And the failures of the Church in basic *decency* are a matter of public record. A stain yet - in my opinion - to be cleaned. If it ever can be.
And the worst kept secret in Catholicism is that most Catholics (at least in the west) ignore Catholic teaching on sexual morality to some degree...

Yet the notion of changing to a Church that better fits my political and social beliefs is... Alien to me. Or do they become theological beliefs when you start conceptualizing where God themselves stands on such things? I suppose I'd rather be thought a misguided fool, led astray by modernism than leave the Church in the hands of those i regard as equally estray, and not to be trusted. I want the Church to be kinder. More inclusive. Willing to defend the marginalised and vulernable. And if I leave it, it becomes less inclusive. Less kind. I want to see the Church Change. Not to change churchs.

I don't know if that's Loyalty or Disloya!ty.

Mind you, as Dara Obrien once described it, Catholicism is a sticky religion. Lots of people stop believing in God. Still Catholic. I could join the Taliban, and I'd merely be regarded as a *Bad* Catholic. So I don't suppose it matters really. Nobody gets to tell anyone what their religion *really* is. That's between them and God. Or, I supose, the voices in our heads which is still a possibility...

That's an interesting take on Sunset's past! I like how you connected Rarity's generosity to her religion, too.

Also, French Catholic? What's the difference between that and Roman Catholic?

Please bear in mind that I don’t know too much about the Catholic faith.

I love that Twilight is Jewish. This is canon (Tara Strong is Jewish).

1) Yehoovim is a good pun for Jewish Ponies.
2) I'd love a take on Talmudic exegesis. It's some good stuff.
3) The Kuzari principle would be an interesting take on theism: Tl;DR, this theory holds Judaism is correct because of mass revelation. Other religions had individual prophets, but the Torah was revealed to 600,000 Jews (2.1 million if you count women and priests). Either it happened, or 2.1 million people lied to their kids and so on...

I am rather confused about what you are trying to say with this story, is it just supposed to be surface level sugar coated takes on a few religions?

“At any rate, I think you’ll find mass with me quite different than anything with Twilight. Certainly it will be different than what you grew up with.” She sighs. “Though I must confess, even in my life, religion is different than it was growing up. I’m afraid it lost the spotlight.”

Mass here should be capitalized.

Other than that... the exploration of Equestrian religion was interesting, and Sunset's point about what constitutes a miracle across the mirror was a good one, but to me, Rarity's more cultural Catholicism was a bit of a letdown when I expected a more theological examination, like Twilight's in the previous chapter. This isn't to say that her experience isn't valid, only that I incorrectly set my expectations for the chapter.

Oh, boy. The comment section on this story is gonna be a friggin' minefield.
Not that that's your fault, it's just something that's pretty much guaranteed to happen.

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Sorry for the confusion -- I've fixed the bad wording. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Fixed the case, thanks for the catch.

As for the "cultural Catholicism", maybe you'll find today's chapter more to your liking? :duck:

“Ah.” I chuckle and give her a thumsb-up. “Do your worst.”

*thumbs-up

Ri2
Ri2 #46 · May 1st · · · Sunday ·

Well, that's one religion Sunset probably isn't joining.

Ok, there's some weird phrasing in this chapter during the characters' actions between conversations.

I'm guessing this will be the main "conflict" of the story, though Sunset's doubts about 'the point' makes me wonder just when is this happening chronologically. She's met Celestia again considering the last chapter, so this would be after the Memory Stone incident, but by that point Sunset seems pretty secure about her role in life.

Maybe I'm just overthinking it.

Now I'm more interested about how this concludes. It'll certainly be interesting.

I agnozied over each one. It became too much for me.”

Should read “agonized”. Also, if I’m not mistaken, the solider didn’t throw a weapon at Christ, he stuck a spear into His side.

Don't like the idea of Fluttershy thinking Twilight might be going to Hell.

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Fixed, thanks.

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We'll have to wait and see :twistnerd:

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Oddly enough, figuring out what goes between the dialogue in a dialogue-heavy story is one of the hardest parts of fiction writing for me... In some respects, screenplays can be easier...

In terms of timing, I don't think it's specified explicitly in the story, but maybe sometime after high school, early in university? It doesn't seem too important... At least in my experience, the questions Sunset grapples with apply even when you're secure with your secular/earthly role. Indeed, once you become secure on Earth, it's natural to ask, what happens next?

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Fixed. I consider spears as weapons (and I'm sure Fluttershy does too), but changed for clarity. Thanks.

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Sunset doesn't like it, either.

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