Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Imperial Church: Part II

The Space Cardinal
O_N here! Today we continue our dive into the Church of Terra Ascendant. Today on the menu: the beliefs and worship structure of the Church.
The Church’s belief system is pretty simple (their focus is more on behavior and rituals than on faith). Every single thing has a spirit associated with it. For sentient beings, this spirit serves as the ‘soul’, but for objects it just sort of lurks nearby. These spirits have “spiritual energy” which can be transferred from spirit to spirit. 

Ghost of a Machine
The human spirit is strong, allowing man to tame these spirits with rituals and technology. AI is a method by which a spirit may serve man directly, but the spirits are weak and require human guidance. Strengthening the spirits would drain strength from those they serve, so they must be kept weak.  

After death, very strong spirits remain attached to systems they governed, allowing those still in the system to, by honoring those spirits, continue to benefit from their strength. Since the Galaxy is a system created by the Galactic Architects, and since Mankind’s spirits are the strongest, this allows man to benefit from the strength of the Architects.

The Church tames and commands spirits through rituals which must be performed exactly correctly, much as a machine must be operated properly. Exactly, in fact, as a machine must be operated properly. The Church’s rituals incorporate technology heavily, and a significant portion of the education of a Priest is devoted to the operation of the various divergent machine interfaces throughout the Empire. Priests, who can be pretty much anyone, are basically ritualist/engineers, complete with education at a Priests' College, leaving the Clones free to preach about the dangers of the Colserans and the greatness of Mankind.

The Church's emphasis on precise ritual, and the integration of machines, means that most Imperial Citizens learn how to operate the machinery they have to interact with on a day to day basis from the Church in the form of basic personal rituals.

So, what do you think? I tried to really break away from the mold of "vaguely catholic monotheistic/emperor-worshiping dogma-based religion" that you normally see as Empire-ruling religions in fiction. A lot (read: almost all) of my inspiration came from the religion of pre-Imperial Rome.

EDIT: I'm leaving this up for archival purposes, but it's definately NOT what we're going with. I'm brainstorming better ideas based on feedback now!

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