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Post by Zor » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:54 am

Religion in the Terran Sphere

Despite a general rise in education levels, standards of living, theological questions involving non human life-forms and general secularization of society, religion never the less endures as a powerful influence. About half of the population of the Terran Sphere still subscribes to some form of Religion or another. As a general rule, like most things, human religion is considerably more diverse than it was in the first century.

Abrahamidic Religion

Despite the rise in secularity and non montheistic faiths, Monotheistic Abrahamidic faiths are still prominent, make up in total about a third of the active religions today. Of which, the largest groups remain Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Christianity: The most successful Abrahamidic faith is that of Christianity, with some 80% of Abramahidic faiths in existence being generally classified as Christians. Of all the Abrahamidic Religions, Christians were the most likely to take to interstellar travel in the Pre-FTL age, as most sects of Christianity have no real reason not to do so in their theology. Also notable was the flexibility of Christian Theology, which has opened up Christianity to non human species to a much greater degree. Christian Theology differs massively, from very liberal churches to extremely strict sects.

The largest group of Christianity is Protestantism, making up slightly less than 35% of all Christians in the Terran Sphere. There are now over two thousand sub branches of Protestant Christianity with numbers in the tens of millions. Theology and structure differs immensely. The Largest Protestant denomination is the First Interstellar United Church, with its roots in Anglicanism which was born out of the second. It has over 120 billion members.

Catholicism and Orthodoxy (Primarily Russian) are tied for second place with each having around 15% of Christendom. In both cases, the Patriarchs and the Pope had authorized the establishment of Hierarchies in other star systems; including (in the case of Catholics) allowing the leaders of non solar catholic churches the position of Pope. This has led to some instances in the FTL age, as the Holy See of Rome has often created contradictory decrees with those of the Holy Sees in other star systems, as well as theological deviations and certain practices and rituals. In 2065, over three hundred popes attended the first Holy Council of Terra in an attempt to re-unify the Catholic Church and discuss theological issues. Of these, some eighty three re-unified with the Vatican, although a compromise was met in which each system’s head bishop retains the position of pope and the Vatican’s pope has the title of the Pontifex Primus. The rest either united into several new catholic churches with different or remained independent. Other Catholic churches which due to distance, or political/theological differences did not attend generally either became independent. Despite this the Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian body in existence. Although politically neutral, the Roman Catholic Church has met with hostility in some cases as it is Sol based, which puts it at odds with states which are active political rivals with Sol system.

Orthodox Christianity has made some attempts to unite itself with various discussions at seven consecutive councils of Constantinople. However, unlike Catholicism there is no overarching drive to re-unification among the Orthodox Churches. The United Orthodox church exists, but it is far less extensive than the Catholic Church and the authority of the Patriarch of Terra (based out of Constantinople) over priestly activities outside of Sol System is minimal.

Mormonism has been moderately successful, with several planets being populated being initially colonized by offshoots of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. About 5% of Christianity is Mormon. Besides that, there are a large number of smaller churches which have evolved on paths which distinctly separate them from the mainstream of Christian theology. Neo Arianism in praticular has become popular.

Judaism: Judaism has done well over the last 2,000 years, with about 5% of all subscribers Abrahamidic faith being Jewish. On many worlds there are Jewish Enclaves among Gentile society as well as a fair number of systems where Judaism is the main religion. This came out of the Interstellar Exodus movement in the 5th to 10th centuries AT, in which a fair number of Jews left sol system to start up what they considered to be perfect Jewish societies elsewhere. Today there is much controversy and debate among Jews and especially leading Rabbis over theological issues and matters of Jewish law.

Islam: Islam has on the whole has fallen back in terms of its status as an Abrahamidic religion. This is the case due to a lack of expansion, in sol system Islam remains a prominent faith and has resisted general secularization to a greater extent than Christianity but a major peace of theological baggage has held back the expansion of Islam, which is that of the Hajj. STL interstellar travel made the Hajj a practically impossible task for anyone outside of Sol System. Very few Muslims ever joined colonization programs and of those few, most of them were generally quite moderate that went along with other non Muslim groups. In nearly 18 centuries of STL colonization, only twenty one worlds were colonized exclusively by Muslims, less than half the number colonized by Jews, and of those twenty one two failed completely, one regressed significantly and one developed an offshoot religion which eventually displaced Islam in that system. Muslims which lived among non Muslim societies evolved on its own accord. In some cases Islam was abandoned or died off and in a few cases it became predominant, but the most likely scenario was that it developed as a minority faith alongside other religions and secularism. The fact that in most places Islam became a minority religion among various other faiths has had a great affect on the majority of modern islam

Since the Development of Hyperdrive, the Muslims have attempted to expand their faith and have met with some success as well as colonizing several worlds in the Outer Expansion Sphere. Never the less, Islam still makes up for only about 10% of the Abrahamidic world. Islam has faced some resistance in expanding outward as it is ultimately considered a Terra centric religion, wich often alienates it from potential converts in independant star systems and can alienate it from nations which have little regard or an anamosity towards the Homeworld. It also has had some serious theological issues, while the violent extremist fundamentalism of the first century has died out along with Wahabi Islam, there are still issues involving non Human baselines and radically divergent sects of Islam that some consider heresy. Ijtihad has become a nessesity for the survival of Islam in this era.

Splinter Faiths: Along with the traditional trio of Judaism, Christianity and Islam there have emerged various other faiths from them. What constitutes them is an issue which theological professors have endlessly debated on, but it is generally agreed that when a new holy book has been added to the canon/one is removed and/or that a certain figure is the/a messiah or another prophet of god it constitutes a new religion. These have been surprisingly common, normally appearing on worlds were society is hit by some sort of major setback (a destructive war, major natural disaster, problems in the development phase of colonization). A few have managed to combine two existing religions while others have even managed to bring in polytheism in some way or another to faiths with their roots in Abrahamidic Religion.
Last edited by Zor on Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:41 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Religion

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:20 pm

Hrm... FTL in this verse seems not as timely as in other sci-fi societies. I wonder if there can be all sorts of religious schisms amongst the Catholics, with popes decrying each other as anti-popes.

Do we see some space colonies becoming Very Catholic, or ending up with the RCC as a significant political force? Hell, for all we know, contraceptives might grow totally out of fashion when people are busy repopulating some alien planet. :D

You should put some detail into those abrahamic sects with alien members. Do we have lizard men or space rhinos who venerate, like, alien deities who the Catholics have converted into saints? Saint Reptor, of Zigon V!

Oh man. Perhaps there can be alien popes, even! The Space Pope! :D


"Sometimes Shroomy I wonder if your imagination actually counts as some sort of war crime." - FROD

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Re: Religion

Post by Zor » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:24 am

Religion in the Novan Empire
Ruling over more than three hundred billion citizens spread across over a hundred heavily populated planets/moons (as well as many more space colonies and minor settlements) the Novan Empire is understandably has a large degree of internal cultural variation. While the Novan Empire does attempt to promote a unified imperial high culture through educational and cultural programs run by the crown, the nobility and private citizens and occasionally stomps out a culture that is widely deemed to be repugnant, they normally allow a great deal of religious freedom (greater than in the Union of Free Socialist Worlds or the Domain of Liberated Mankind). One will find diversity among the Novan Empire’s religious communities, from ancient Terran faiths including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Reformed Scientology, Shinto and paganism to newer religions such as local sects of the Pantheonist movement and various local faiths which developed in isolation and atheism is no stranger to the Empire. That said, there are some local traits of Religion in the Novan Empire of note.

Tiers of Legitimacy
While Novans are generally tolerant of other faiths, allowing locals to worship as they please so long as their faiths are not an active hindrance to the Empire’s Ambitions, this is done so more for practicality’s sake rather than more egalitarian beliefs. Freedom of religion in the Novan Empire exists as much as for the belief that unwarranted suppression of religion is an evil in of itself as of the simple fact that persecution against a useful or benign faith will generally drive it to become a malignant force. Not everyone in the Novan Empire is assumed to be equal, there are different legal classes of people including reconstructs, subjects, citizens, nobles of various rank and the Imperial Family as legal classes and other informal ones. The latter three are the biggest holders of power, and tend to be focused around worlds which have been culturally reshaped by various efforts towards the Imperial Culture, which have a tendency to organize things in a hierarchy of more and less legitimate. This can be broken down into four rough categories…

Imperial Culture-Things that stem from the Hershel system and a select few things from cultures which have been integrated, fully or partially into the higher culture of the Novan Empire. Imperial Culture is seen as something which should be promoted and is, through various programs.
Provincial Culture-Provincial Culture is common among the more stable provincial regions of the Empire and what most Imperials think about. Provincial Culture is seen as being benign, not something to be actively suppressed and may, with careful examination and subtle adjustment might add something of note to the Imperial Culture at some future point. Those from the Imperial Cultural background (especially Nobles) which largely buy into Provincial Culture are seen as somewhat eccentric.
Savagery-Savagery refers to cultural elements that are a level below Provincial Culture. Savagery refers to traits that don’t (or in some cases don’t yet) warrant active persecution but are deemed as problematic in the long-term. Planets that have regressed to pre-industrial levels are generally considered to be savage, as are beliefs which go against typical imperial philosophy such as nations with religions which hold onto beliefs such as homophobia, sexual puritanicalism and so forth but keep it among themselves and are not actively hostile. Savagery is to be more actively dealt with using methods including dress codes, education programs, public works, laws regulating the affairs of business and so forth and the occasional bit of light censorship here and there. For someone from the Imperial High Culture to buy into a savage culture is considered to be unhealthy and generally casts said individual into very low regards.
Barbarism-Barbarism represents any society which needs to be immediately reshaped for the Good of the Empire. Barbarian ideas and ideologies are fundamentally incompatible with those of the Empire, encourage violence against others (the imperial government in particular) and are seen as something which needs to be removed from existence as soon as possible. Barbarian culture is seen to rarely have anything worth saving in anything outside of a museum, anthropological paper or textbook and campaigns in the purging of barbarism are intense. Laws are re-written, old media is outlawed and replaced with common Imperial material, architecture is demolished and leaders are rounded up en mass to be either executed or reprogrammed. In some extreme cases, societies are broken down on the most basic levels, families are broken up and people are relocated for-reducation. Said purge can be either partial or complete, but are hard and fast. The aim is for a hard and fast replacement of their culture. It is important to note that cultures deemed barbaric are fairly rare and would generally be disliked outside the Empire’s borders. Buying into barbarism is tantamount to treason for anyone from Imperial, Provincial or Savage cultures.

Religion is categorized accordingly to this system, although what is considered what varies from person to person and region to region. There are Imperial, Provincial, Savage and Barbarian faiths. Of which, Imperial Faiths are given significantly more leeway in expansion, although provincial faiths remain the most common, with pockets of Savage faiths and occasional holdouts of barbarian faiths in a few renegade provinces (such as unreformed sects of Norse/Germanic polytheistic/Christian composite faiths of Volksland).

Divine Right

One notable fact about those faiths that are classified as Imperial is that of active support for the Empire and its social structure (particularly the Throne of Worlds and the Emperor/Empress). While there is official separation of Church and State in the Empire, many religions do pose support for the Emperor. The Holy See of Hershel has long since declared that the Emperor is divinely ordained and has brought back the concept of the Divine Right of Kings, as does the Patriarchy of Nova Atlantis, the Spiritual Fraternity of Nova Australia and other prodestand bodies (although there theological reasons for this differ). The Assembly of Novan Shinto Shrines has declared that Amaterasu has blessed the House of Nishibori. Other Imperial faiths have construed similar belief systems, supporting their loyalty to Emperor and Empire, as do foreign faiths which desire to improve their legitimacy among the Empire.

Imperial Cults
The emergence of the Imperial Cult is a phenomenon which many see as a natural extension of the Theology of Imperial Faiths combined with nationalism. There is a statistically small set of movements (at most 50 million people) within the Empire which has turned to shifting their beliefs towards either direct veneration or outright worship of the Imperial House of Nishibori. These first emerged around 1800 and have exploaded in scale in the last few centuries. Various beliefs about the nature of this vary immensely, ranging from a belief of a direct if subtle connection between a god/the gods through this family to beliefs about divine heritage of the house. A common belief is that the success of the Novan Empire is divinely orchestrated and that the Novan Empire should conquer all of Humanity. Exactly why this has been done they exhaustively debate. Many members of these Imperial Cults serve in the Imperial Military and are renound for their zeal on the battlefield. The Imperial Throne has denied claims of divinity, but most Imperial Cults have encorperated a belief about how this divine connection is something they shall keep secret, at least for the time being.

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