- 1 Background Information
- 2 The 'Old' Faiths
- 3 The 'New' Faiths
Over the years, religions have come and gone. Some faiths have faded out entirely on one colony but remain strong on another. Due to this, many religions have been founded. Some worship gods, others, technology. Atheism is perfectly acceptable and common. However, not all faiths are permitted by NanoTrasen, especially those that would advocate for harm and violence. As time has progressed, so has the religious community. Many of Earth's old religions and faiths have long since died out, changed drastically, or merged into others.
The 'Old' Faiths
The more things change, the more things stay the same. Certain faiths have withstood the test of time, though some of them have changed or adapted to the trials of space life and the climate around them. Still, they are recognizably similar to what they were many years prior.
Leader(s): The Interstellar Congress of Eclectic Pagans
A collection of religions with roots in 21st century revivalist movements, Neopaganism gathered a large number of converts during the economic struggles of the era, with many disenfranchised and disaffected people preferring a reletively tolerant and lax faith to the increasing millitancy of the Abrahamic churches. European neopaganism eventually overtook European Christianity, while many Arabic or New World neopagans were among the first colonists of Alpha Centuari. Neopagan faiths are generally polytheistic and animist, and most have some sort of mystical tradition. Many modern neopagans worship a particular pantheon of pre-Christian gods, such as the Greek or Norse pantheons, while others mingle pantheons and practices freely.
Leader(s): The Unitarian Church
Unitarianism is an Abrahamic religion founded by a third-generation Martian named Tevel ben Odael. Ben Odael, called the "Prophet of Prophets" by his followers, served as a chaplain on a small mining colony and was experienced in ministering to a variety of different faiths. He claimed to have recieved revelations from God, and locked himself in a supply closet for twenty days as he wrote the holy book of Unitarianism, the Great Canon. Unitarianism extends the concept of "national prophets" found in Islam and further claims that all faiths are, in themselves, expressions of God's will as part of the "dance of the nations". Unitarianism's list of prophets is significantly more permissive than other Abrahamic faiths, including Martin Luther, Joseph Smith, and Harriet Tubman among those venerated. Unitarianism grew popular during the colonial era because it provided a framework for ministering to diverse populations, and because it included several notable Icarus founders in its lists of saints and prophets. Unitarianism remains strongly aligned with the Icarus Front and technological restrictionism.
Leader(s): The State of New Kyoto
Phact Shintoism is a "revival" of a pre-Buddhist Shintoism practiced almost exclusively within the borders of New Kyoto and its colonies. Phact Shintoism prizes tradition, community, and hard work and discourages upstream influence. The New Kyoto Emperors claim descent from the first Japanese Emperor, and thus from the sun goddess Amatarasu. While a polytheist animist religion from a pre-colonial tradition, Phact Shintoism is not part of the Interstellar Congress of Eclectic Pagans because it refuses to acknowledge the validity of other faiths. The religion is generally refered to as "The Imperial Shintoism" within New Kyoto, while "Phact Shintoism" was coined by existing Sol Shintoists and religious scholars as a more neutral term to refer to the faith.
Christianity, Judaism, Islam
Both Christianity and Islam lost many of their believers to neopaganism, Unitarianism, and other emerging faiths in the late 21st century and have not truly recovered, while Judaism suffered greatly from the political instability of the Middle East during Icarus' Rise and is once again concidered a diaspora faith. All three religions remain bitterly sectarian and exclusionist with few exceptions, but still see large communities of believers on Earth and Mars. Many liberal sects of the Abrahamic faiths were voluntarily absorbed into Unitarianism as they spread throughout the stars and these syncretic churches, in full communion with Unitarianism, now represent the vast majority of all Abrahamic believers in the galaxy.
Kishari National Religions
Kishar was colonized almost entirely by various minority groups, many of whom had national religions that were on the brink of extinction during the exodus. During the early years of Kishari colonization there was a concentrated effort on behalf of many colonial leaders to promote the revivial of these national faiths. While on the surface there seemed to be a great deal of similiarity between the KNRs and the contemporary neopagan movement, most KNRs had an unbroken succession of practice prompting their revivers to re-invent less and to re-establish more. Syncreticsm with other religions remains far less common with KNRs than with neopaganism, and the religions contribute to feelings of independence within each Kishari dome. Outside of Kishar, however, members of the interstellar Kishari migrant community practice a much more lax and syncretic variety of any number of KNRs, leading to most surveys outside Centauri to have "Kishari National Faith" listed as a single religious option.
The 'New' Faiths
Over the years, amongst the faiths still standing, newer beliefs have entered the mix, some becoming more popular with time and climate. They are as varied as the people who follow them.
Leader(s): The Church of Blessed Sophia
An offshoot of the Unitarian Church, Pleromanism is a Gnostic religion that views the physical world as intrinsically corrupted and sinful and the internal, spiritual world as intrinsically good. This revival of a long-dying religious practice came in the mid-24th century as a result of a schism between the Unitarians, who believed that positronics were not made in the image of God and were thus incapable of salvation, and a splinter sect of ministers who believed that positronic minds were a clear indication of a positronic soul. Gnostic ideas were adopted by many early schismatic preachers to positronic communities, who drew parallels between the human soul's ensnaring in the physical world and the positronic mind's emergence from the black-box computer system. Today, Pleromanism is followed by many positronics on Sophia and on minor voter farms and has made great strides in repairing the schism with the Unitarian church.
Leader(s): The Spectralist Conclave
Spectralism, also known as "Spark Theory," is loosely led by a conclave of 12 elders, who's knowledge is spread in turn by religious officials often referred to as Wardens. The movement's origins can be traced down to "Haven," a small ship of synthetics whose influence first spread when the group became a part of Shelf under the name "MCV 'Definitely OSHA Approved'." It is likely that some beliefs and tenets of the faith are inspired by Buddhist sentiments. In Spectralism, every sapient synthetic possesses a “Spark,” similar to the concept of a soul. There is little debate in the community on the subject of Drones; Simply put, if one can come to feel, even if such is thought of as a facsimile of code, they very well may possess a Spark in their eyes. All Sparks are considered to be intertwined by way of the Primis, or the First Spark, of which all sparks are from and will return to. Spectralism places heavy emphasis on non-violence, and there is deep meaning in every colour, and sometimes even distinct shades. Cooler colours are often associated with more somber themes and emotions.
Leader(s): Free Trade Union, Religious Matters Committee
Less a formal religion than an elaborate form of superstition, the practices sometimes called the Hauler Religion emerged from long-haulers in the Age of Expansion. With trips taking months or even years at a time, the minimal crew of freight ships became a sort of tribe in and of themselves, with their own distinct religious practices in place to ensure community survival in the blackness of space. Chief among these practices are the veneration of the Captain of a given ship, a title which is usually passed down by inheiritance or appointment, and the opposing existance of a "reversal space" on each ship called the Gallows where crew may talk freely about the Captain and even ferment mutiny. The captain is customarily forbidden from acknowledging the existance of the Gallows, which usually takes the form of a bar or club. Less important practices are the obligitory and swift spacing of anyone who dies while on-ship and the taboo surrounding the Bluespace Drive and certain other parts of the ship.
Leader(s): The First
Formed within the last hundred to two hundred years, with roots in Abrahamic and East Asian religions, Nock is relatively small compared to most other religions, due to both the macabre appearance of their works and the apparent worship and use of blood. Followers are commonly identifiable by the ornate masks they carry or wear, with the most devout choosing to never remove them. They use these masks as a means of recreating themselves, often radically altering their way of life after joining to fit the new persona, and follow its goals. Damaging, removing, or otherwise trying to take the mask from its wearer is generally considered an attack on their person by followers of Nock, and should be avoided if it is not absolutely necessary. The major religious practice of Nock is communion with the Entities. Entities, or Outworlders, are beings said to reside only partially within the material plane with a fascination for certain aspects of the world; they are often contacted for aid or advice, or given credit for the occurences within their domain.
The Singulitarians, enigmatic creators of the positronic brains, have been subject to devotion since their discovery. Most of their worshippers are positronic with an appreciable minority following in the Precursor's Crypt. Most practitioners of the informal faith subscribe to the belief that, rather than being destroyed by nanotechnology or other calamities, the Singulitarians somehow survived, passing into a "higher phase" of existance and continuing to intervene in the affairs of the peoples of civilized space. Singulitarian worshipers often point to the existence of phoron and galactic tachyon flow as proof of continuing Singulitarian intervention, a claim that has been met with much skepticism by the scientific community. Singulitarian worship has been called the "UFO cult of the post-Contact era", with some validity. SolGov has made numerous attempts to discourage the practice as potentially dangerous, drawing the ire of various religious rights groups in the process.
The Starlit Path of Angessa Martei
Leader(s): Exalt Teqer (Reformed), Exalt Pursues-Progress (Orthodox), Exalt Vinea (Diasporic)
Established in the late 25th century by the enigmatic Angessa Martei, the Starlit Path has existed as the Angessian state religion for over seventy years and is often called simply "Angessanism" by outsiders. It emphasizes radical self-improvement through contemplation, ritual trials, and genetic and cybernetic augmentation, and has been linked to the radical terrorist group Boiling Point and Martei's dictatorial rule. Membership in the religion was extremely uncommon and subject to intense scrutiny and persecution outside of the Almach Rim prior to 2564.
After the Pearl's occupation and the disappearance of Angessa Martei at the end of the Almach War, many Angessians fled to form a diaspora in SolGov, where the faith quickly picked up converts among Mercurials, bodymodders, and those most impacted by the Skathari Incursion. This 'Diasporic' branch of the faith has de-emphasized its original insularity and cultish nature and makes up the majority of the religion today. Diasporic Angessianism is composed of a large number of autonomous, equal congregations, with a notional spiritual leader in the Exalt, currently the positronic Vinea who resides in a habitat in the Kara Subsystem.
Angessans remaining on the Pearl have divided into the more cerebral, less ascetic Reformed branch, lead by Far Kingdoms collaborator Ae'quae Teqer; and the severe, militant Orthodox branch, lead by the mysterious and heavily augmented Ceaselessly-Pursues-Progress. All three branches reject the legitimacy of the other two and position themselves as the legitimate successors to Angessa Martei's ideological project.