Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Major Religions

"Godlings we called them once. The man-like beings that live deep in the Ancient Cities. The Old Warlords wrote much on the fortitude of these. . ."humanoids". . .that poured out of the Labyrinths when their Engineers cracked open the Ancient Gates. They will eat the flesh of Men as beasts and speak in their own alien language. There is a fierce intelligence in them akin to our own. Take care, if you are sincere in delving into the Ancient Cities."
-Roger the Mercer, Trader at the Last Stop Delver Tavern

Within the Mother Empire there are several major religions practiced.

Messianics: The Messianics follow the Law of the Messiah, who is also the Empress or Imperatrix and Supreme Ruler of the Mother Empire. Messianics believe that their leader is a Living God and the embodiment of Sophia -- the Creator God who sacrificed Herself so that Mankind could successfully escape Eden during the Ancient Cataclysm.

Priests are the main instruments of the Messiah and are each carefully chosen at adolescence for training and eventually bonded with a Patron Saint at the completion of their training. Priests wield strange powers following the completion of their training which culminates in a Trial at the so-called "Hall of Souls."

The Messianics catalog 777 Saints, some of which are embodied through a Priest, others remain asleep within the Hall of Souls. Priests are known by both their birth name and the name of their Patron Saint -- indeed, they are considered one and the same by the Laity.

Priests are promoted to High Priests -- overseeing a congregation -- and Bishop -- overseeing a City or other high administrative function -- as they serve and prove their faith. The Messianics follow The First Book of the Law and The Second Book of the Law.

Baptists: A splinter group from the Messianics that believe that all persons are capable of Ministry if they feel the calling from within themselves, apart from a special training process and a Priesthood. Baptists hold Chapel in private residences and they abhor any sort of structure in their faith.

The Baptists are tolerated by the Messianic Church as the Baptists follow both books of The Law and still believe in the divinity of the Messiah. Indeed, the Messianic Church still view the Baptists as part of their Laity and not a separate religion -- just misguided. In some regions more radical Priests of the Messianic faith will cooperate with Baptist Ministers in some religious holidays and good works.

The Baptists are so named due their reinterpretation of Baptism as the main rite that allows for any person to Minister -- as opposed to the strict tiers of Priesthood and training followed by the Messianics.

Unitarians: 500 years ago there was a rebellion within the Messianic Church where a high ranking Bishop took 100 Priests and High Priests to start a new country on the western coast of Nod. This is referred to as the 100 Heresy in the history books. The Unitarians believe that the Messiah has failed in her mission for Mankind and have developed their own Utopia based on new principles of government. The Unitarians refer to their institution as the All-One Church and have a strict socialist society ruled by powerful warrior-priests entitled Palace-Deacons or Paladins. The law imposed by the All-One Church on its Citizens is strict and unforgiving as Order and Law are seen as the true saviors of Mankind.

The Messianic Church considers the All-One Church heretical and will only ever refer to them as the Occidental Church for their geographical location in the west (or Accidental if they are being vulgar in their reference). There are those that follow the Unitarian faith in the Mother Empire, but they keep their faith a secret and, indeed, there are whispers of its members infiltrating the government and even the Church itself at the highest levels.

Spiritualists: The Spiritualists believe that there are "good" as well as evil spirits dwelling in the darkness and seek to commune with these unseen forces. Spiritualists are considered heretical and must practice their faith and its arts secretly. Spiritualists claim that they can commune with the dead via their ability to contact the Spirit World. Although most people believe that all unseen forces are inherently demonic, desperate people seek out the Spiritualists for the abilities they claim to have.

Adherent to these ideas refer to themselves as Spiritual or Spiritualists -- though only those with the dedication to hone the Subtle Talent can contact the Darkness Unseen, the Spirit World. Messianics and others that regard the so-called Spiritualists with suspicion use the vulgar Demonologists or Devil Worshippers when referring to this faith and its adherents.

The Messianic Church is quick to exorcise those who have had contact with or follow the so-called Spiritual path. Any contact whatsoever with the unseen is a potential pathway for demonic forces into the physical world. Spiritualists insist that this is not so.

Other Faiths: Magic-users follow their own religion -- called the Old Faith -- which is supported by the Messianic Church. In The Second Book of the Law it is written that Wisemen (the name the Church uses for Magic-users) supported the Messiah in her campaign against the Old Warlords for peace and to end the Great War. To this day, Magic-users and their Orders are respected and supported for their ongoing contribution to the Mother Empire.

The Hassan people also follow a religion which resembles in many ways the practices of Wisemen. Indeed, it is said that Magic-users and their Orders follow the original faith of the Six Tribes that left Eden.

The Bantu people also have their own religion that resembles the Old Faith in many ways, but in their own language. The Bantu people have a strong sense of tradition and avoid integrating into Westman society entirely. This is partially due to how far over the waters, to the south, their home country is -- the Bantu that settled in Nod hold strong to their traditions so as to preserve their cultural identity so far away from their homeland.

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