Challenge: make me a new religion

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Somes J
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Challenge: make me a new religion

Post by Somes J »

Copy/pasted from SB:

A little worldbuilding exercise: think up a religion that has the following features without being basically just Crystal Dragon Christianity/Islam:

Missionary: is a project of universal conversion.

Exclusive: is in opposition to other belief systems, believes itself to represent the one truth and all other religions/alternative systems are false, evil, or inferior.

Cosmological: draws legitimacy from claims to describe the fundamental nature of the universe.

Soteriological: claims to offer its followers some kind of "salvation".

So, any ideas?
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Re: Challenge: make me a new religion

Post by Destructionator »

This is an old thread, but I haven't been here for a while either and there's no replies... so eh I'll throw some ideas out.

I've been thinking about a philosophy-ish thing where the core idea is that there's a way things should be and the way things are, and that misalignment manifests itself as things like unhappiness in people and physical processes in nature.

Let's go through the bullet list:

missionary: you want to get everything into alignment because not only does it give people what they /really/ want (which of course is something they might not realize themselves), but it also just gets the universe running smoothly as it ought to

exclusive: well, this is the nature of the universe! If the others are right, it is just coincidence that they line up in those areas, but ultimately they are still a source of friction, grinding the universe's gears

and the other two i think are already covered.

Of course, the devil is in the details, a religion isn't just one little statement. And the beauty is you could jam just about anything in there. You could say nature does a pretty good job lining up right, so we should be hands off and harmonious. You could also say nature is far too unordered and needs to be tamed - why else would we be here if not part of the universe's attempt to right itself?

But, it is worth noting that while "the universe" is kinda like god, there's no dichotomy between earth and heaven if you will. There's no difference between natural and supernatural. It's all just expressions of the universe.

So if someone asked them "how do you know 'god' exists?", the answer would be "ummm duh it is all around us".

Obviously I haven't thought all that much about this, but there might be some interesting starting point buried in here :)
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Re: Challenge: make me a new religion

Post by Blackwing »

Honestly, the reason why this never got any replies is probably that the request is nigh-impossible.

'Cause those four traits are pretty much the things that set Christianity/Islam apart from all the other religions on the globe.

Even Judaism, their closest relative, doesn't have two of those traits (Judaism isn't Missionary and it doesn't offer salvation, unless you count 'resurrection and eternal life for everyone who died and got buried as an intact corpse, even if they're not adherents of the faith' as offering salvation).

Any religion that has those four traits is inevitably going to sound Crystal Dragon Jesus-y to some extent or another.
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Re: Challenge: make me a new religion

Post by speaker-to-trolls »

Destro's religion sounds a lot like Taoism to me. I cannot help but wonder what the explanation would be for where disorder comes from, if 'things are supposed to be the way they are' then how can things being as they are lead to them being how they should not be?

I got the impression Buddhism kind of fulfills these qualifications, though it isn't as violently exclusive as Christianity or Islam it does, in its harsher forms, see other religions as distractions from enlightenment, I think.
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Re: Challenge: make me a new religion

Post by NoXion »

Here's something I originally wrote up a while back for this thread, but never finished. I'll just post it for the sake of contributing something:


Carriers of Pandemica, the Prime Infection


Reports of this religious movement-cum-bioweapon can be found as far back as the 61st millennium somewhere at the far end of the Sagittarius Arm of the galaxy, but little was known of the origins of this perversity until the Core Accords of the 86th millennium, when one of the splinters of the former Fang Empire present at the negotiations offered classified information as part of a ceasefire agreement. According to Imperial Documents, Starkeeper Tzol Nux of the Sybaris Cluster, an ambitious Fang noble with eyes on the Imperial Throne, tasked a hand-picked team of the best scientists with developing a new bioweapon, one that would combine the deadly indiscrimination of a highly infectious and fatal pathogen with the charisma and psychological power of an evangelical religious movement. Microbiologists and nanotechnologists worked on the artificial bacterio-virological agent, while psychologists, memeticists, and neuroscientists composed a tailor-made religious doctrine designed from the ground up to work with the agent. Following a successful test of its effectiveness, Starkeeper Tzol Nux ordered a dozen Scouting Fleets to covertly sweep areas of the Sagittarius Arm of the galaxy for a suitable system in which to properly deploy Pandemica for the first time. The targeting parameters were for Pandemica to be unleashed in a relatively undeveloped Terran system with a large proportion of biological inhabitants. In less than three centuries a target was found, the close binary system which the mostly-human Terran inhabitants called the Eyes of Amadeus. The coordinates given for this system by Imperial Documents match up with Mechanical Union reports made centuries later of the location and extent of the ostensibly Terran polity calling itself the Divine Agent. By this time Pandemica had trillions of Carriers scattered across hundreds systems and hundreds of thousands of ships, this along with the continuing spread of Pandemica being what had brought this small part of the greater galaxy to the attentions of the Mechanical Union, a power capable of projecting itself across large parts of the Milky Way at this point. Sending a small fleet of only a few hundred thousand ships to investigate, the Mechanical Union first opened diplomatic channels with the Divine Agent. While the courtesies of diplomacy were observed, it was clear even to the most artificial of the Mechanical Union delegation that the prospect of a powerful interstellar polity and culture which by its very nature could not accept the gifts of Pandemica, was a distinctly unpleasant one. With that in mind, the delegation left as soon as was polite, having long acquired what they had been truly seeking; a sample of the "gift" which had been hanging in the very air.

The Mechanical Union had sufficiently sophisticated analysis procedures to determine that the bacterio-virological agent ubiquitous to the areas controlled by the Divine Agent was artificial in origin, possibly about three to four hundred years old. While the possibility that this was a Fang scheme did cross the machine minds of the Mechanical Union, there was no hard evidence. Nevertheless the zeal displayed by the Carriers in spreading these microbes greatly concerned the Mechanical Union, even if being a Carrier had alleged benefits.

The Quarantine Wars

The Pandemica pathogen has a horrifying complexity about its symptoms; healing processes are slowed or stopped completely, meaning the flesh of Carriers becomes increasingly gangrenous and necrotised, yet simultaneously the pathogen makes sweeping biochemical changes to the metabolism and other biological functions which keep this rotten state of physiological affairs going despite the damage. Yet this is but a smaller part of a larger pattern which played out across hundreds of systems - the Pandemica infection would make an appearance, spreading virulently and making life a misery, and then when all seemed lost the missionaries would appear, bringing words and rituals that made the symptoms bearable.


The basic idea was that the Fang Empire was using religion to enhance the effectiveness of an anti-Terran bioweapon. The complex and adaptable nature of the pathogen itself makes it harder to eradicate, while the religion serves the dual purpose of spreading the infection as well as providing the only widely-known easy relief of the symptoms, without actually curing the associated diseases. Through this the Empire believe that they can weaken the Terrans and their allies, yet make them embrace that weakness by taking advantage of their tendency towards religious tolerance.

It's probably not quite what the OP was asking for, but I thought I'd share in any case.
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Re: Challenge: make me a new religion

Post by Shroom Man 777 »

Ancestor worship in a sci-fi society that uploads the minds of the dead into a central database that, by virtue of pretty much qualifying as a real-life afterlife, becomes of real religious significance. The consciousness of the dead individuals are merged with the others, combining their collective wisdoms without erasing the individuals outright, and bits of these wisdoms and stuff can be imbued into the next generation (particularly if this sci-fi society is into manufacturing its next generation).

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