Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

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Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Khemehekis » Sat 30 Jun 2018, 03:52

In this thread, I'd like to discuss how a conworlder's religion influences her/his conworld.

First, there are the Christian conworlders -- J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and J. K. Rowling being perhaps the most famous today. I often see Christian conworlders on the Web. Sometimes their confiction is allegorical for some arcane interpretation of what Christianity is about. I've seen Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Anglicans/Episcopalians bathe in these arcane Christian musings on the Internet before . . . I'm not sure I've seen a Mormon do it. But there probably are some Mormon conworlders out there -- after all, the Deseret alphabet is a con-script!

Much has been written about Christian themes in Tolkien's Middle-Earth, although all I've read by him is The Hobbit, so I don't have much to say on it. Lewis' Narnia, though not as intricate and complex as Middle-Earth, is a rather in-your-face allegory for Christianity. Aslan, the lion (the animal at the top of the Chain of Being!), dies and is resurrected. Even Edmond dies and gets resurrected, from what I recall. Just as Christianity has the world created in seven days, the children's entire time in the wardrobe lasts only one hour in our dimension.

Then there's Rowling, with her Harry Potter wizarding universe. A lot of Fundamentalist Christians are vocally opposed to Harry Potter, because of the Wiccan trappings and because Rowling has admitted Dumbledore is gay. But, as a collaboration of editors at Conservapedia wrote:

(Spoilers ahead!)
Spoiler:
http://www.conservapedia.com/index.php? ... rry_Potter
Christian Theme in Harry Potter
Spoiler warning
This article contains important plot information

Despite some criticism from mainline Christians who oppose Harry Potter for allegedly endorsing witchcraft, the series includes some aspects that parallel Christianity. Harry's death and rebirth at the end of Book VII (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) can be seen as mirroring the rebirth of Christ. Just as the savior of humanity was reborn, so Harry Potter, as the fictional savior of the magical world, is reborn. Further, this rebirth carries a special, significant guardianship trait: as Christ died to forgive the sins of humanity, resulting in salvation for all mankind, so Harry's death grants a protective magic to himself and to his friends. It could be said that Harry Potter teaches the nobility of meaningful sacrifice.

Praise
Spoiler warning
This article contains important plot information

The Harry Potter series has earned a lot of praise for some (but not all) of the moral messages it conveys to readers. A theme thoughout the series is Hermione Granger's fight to acheive equal rights for non-wizards, house elves in particular. However, the books also snub political correctness, shown when Hermione tries to free the house elves working at Hogwarts to no avail, who are happy and content with their job. While Hermione's attempt to raise house elves to equal status with wizards is praiseworthy, her attempts to 'free' house elves at the price of their own happiness is not.

The books also encourage readers to turn away from the temptation of evil. Throughout the series Harry is shown to have powers viewed as dark and evil, including a direct link to Voldemort's mind. Despite this, however, he is never tempted to become evil himself (as Dumbledore thought he might), similar to the way in which Jesus resisted the temptation of the Devil.
Then there are Jewish conworlders. I know a number of people here who are ethnically Jewish: Shemtov, Peterofthecorn, Helios/Zontas, Khemehekis. I'm sure a number of us practice the religion. And I recall Shemtov saying that one of his concultures or conworlds was inspired by his religious beliefs (I don't remember much more of it, perhaps Shemtov can join in the conversation).

What would an Islamic-themed conworld be like? A Wiccan-themed conworld? A Scientology-themed conworld? And what about the Dharmic religions (Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jain)?

Then there are all those atheists out there. Conlanging and conworlding attract a lot of nerds, and large percentages of nerds are atheist. A lot of atheists create strictly scientistic conworlds, but I recall how Ahzoh's Vrkhazhian conculture had a lot of macabre fascination with death (at least in the past, I'm not sure if he's changed it since). And then there's this observation by Zumir, in the thread How NOT to Conworld (speaking of preaching in conworlding): It's bad enough if their superiority is based on something we can all agree with, e.g nonviolence or universal cooperation, but all too often they become mouthpieces for the authors' personal views. It becomes pretty unforgivable if these views don't even make sense for the setting of the story (for example, atheists in a high fantasy setting).

I'm not sure on agnostic and ignostic trends in conworlding.

Then there are the deists, among which I count myself. I make God quite possibly real in the Lehola Galaxy, although of course, God (assuming S/He is real), is the creator of the entire universe, and not just one galaxy. I don't have immortal Elves, nor healing magic spells, nor bags of holding -- Lehola is not and never was an elf-dwarf-and-orc (or an elf-Worf-and-dork?) conworld. It is based on New Age and UFO beliefs, and includes planets with Greys and reptoids, in addition to humans and several original sapient species.

Aside from the unremarkability of FTL travel, the only real deviation in Lehola from the current Terran understanding of science is the iteli, or God-created guiding force (from the Kankonian word for "guide") for evolution. Scholars on Lehola's planets have noted how there seems to be a force guiding evolution throughout the universe, as identical species have evolved independently, multiple times, on several different planets. There are "bioswaths", taxa that appear to evolve together on similar planets, such as the cetacean bioswath, which evolved on Earth, on Kankonia, on Cetonia, and on Tayaon, among other planets. Another example of bioswaths is entire chordologue (vertebrate-analogue) phyla which pop up independently, with the exact collection of extant and extinct species in the phylum being unique to each planet. The same chordologue phylum evolved independently on Saros and Ispatchi, for instance, so both planets have animals like the dokux, the soxus, the thep, the rasu, the dopon, the s'futh, the phinep, and the fichod.

I have at least one very deistoid traditional religion in the Lehola Galaxy. From my description of the Sumakhar religion of Kolotha on the planet Shanu:
Sumakhar does not teach that God is an anthropomorphic man with ten fingers and ten toes; rather, it sees the concept of God in virtues and good works, and interprets God as meaning the fact that a certain act or quality is good or bad, right or wrong. Sumakharis see God, for instance, in the fact that theft is wrong.
So, how have your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) influenced your conworlding? Are there any religious influences on famous conworlds I've missed in my OP? Discuss here.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Tanni » Sat 30 Jun 2018, 09:52

Khemehekis, you have reached 2018 posts on » Sat 30 Jun 2018, 04:52 !
My neurochemistry has fucked my impulse control, now I'm diagnosed OOD = oppositional opinion disorder, one of the most deadly diseases in totalitarian states, but can be cured in the free world.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by eldin raigmore » Sat 30 Jun 2018, 13:44

When I began my conworld Adpihi/Reptigan I was a believer. My parents were medical missionaries sent in 1959 by the Methodist* Board of Global Missions to the CMCH** in Vellore in the state of Madras*** in southern India. My father taught at the Medical College and practiced at the Hospital.

*(before there was a United Methodist Church; that is, before the merger of the EUB and the Methodists)
**(Christian Medical College & Hospital)
***(now Tamil Nadu)

All foreigners working at the CMCH lived in “the medical compound”. There was also a “mission compound” for the purely-religious workers, and at least for the children there was little interaction.

The medical compound was both international and inter-denominational. No two families from the same country were from the same denomination; no two families from the same denomination were from the same foreign country. In fact I met my first Yankees there!

In India 🇮🇳, Christianity was and is legal, but denominationalism wasn’t (isn’t?). So Methodists, Seventh Day Adventists, Anglicans, etc. were all merged into the Church of South India.

School-age children of people who worked at the CMCH could all attend “Vidhyalaym” as long as they could speak English. This included all the school-age kids from the medical compound, and also many Indian kids. I’m not sure whether or not the Indians outnumbered the foreigners; but they certainly outnumbered any single other country-of-origin.
Except for our Principal, all of the teachers were Christians. AFAIK all the foreigner teachers had been born into Christian families. Some of the Indian teachers were born into families with multi-generation Christian traditions; some were the first Christian converts in their families and were therefore estranged. (You could make a good guess from their names. Mrs. Gudjapudthee was born Buddhist, but Mrs. Thomas was born Christian.)

We had to learn as much as pre-teens can learn about Indian religions. Mostly that meant Hinduism. Buddhism and Islam were also big players locally. We met a few actual Sikhs. Not quite sure we met any Jains. We only heard about Parsees.

———

Beginning at that age I already thought deeply about theology. I say this without feeling as boastful as that might sound; it’s just that I was already a nerd, and religion (especially Christianity, and especially theology) was one of the things I was nerdy about. I read the Books of Narnia while visiting our neighbors’ houses. My family read C.S. Lewis’s nonfiction on road trips. We also read Wm. Barclay. Elton Trueblood and E. Stanley Jones were friends of ours. And so on.

So I started thinking about Adpihi. The first word in the Adpihi language was (prepare yourself for a shock) “Adpihi”. I decided it meant “hi, LORD”. I had no idea I was already committing myself to vocative case, familiar vs. socially-distant, and high upward-honorific; and now that I think about it, fusional.

I also started working on the conculture. My first problem was, how could it be simultaneously both an absolute monarchy (God being the monarch) and a perfect libertarian democracy?

I never forgot about it, but I didn’t work on it as hard once I became adultish. I came up with a science-based conlang/conworld/conculture I called Reptigan; then decided that Adpihi should segue into Reptigan.

When my first marriage broke up (1977-1978) I quit believing. At first I kept it to myself (mostly!); I found my belief in God to be damaging to me, but if someone else’s belief was helpful to them, I didn’t see why I should bother them nor be bothered by them.
After September 11th 2001, and especially after the fundamentalist anti-Islam hate-speech in reaction to it, I started thinking that anyone’s religion is a threat to everyone.. I became an “evangelical atheist”.

In Feb 2001 I was disabled, (permanently as it turns out). I started working on conlanging again. In Feb 2006 I discovered the conlanging community online and really got into it.

I didn’t and don’t think that because I’m no longer a believer, the citizens of Adpihi should change their beliefs (or, rather, have their beliefs changed by me).

———

Belief in a monotheistic God is pervasive in Adpihi. If I adopt the manner of speaking that elemtilas employs when describing the Daines of his “the World”; the Adpihi don’t have to “believe in” God because they know He/She/It exists. Every aspect of each inhabitant’s life is heavily influenced by his/her personal relationship with God; and they all just assume the same is true of everyone else.

Religious discrimination and religious intolerance are not permitted in Adpihi.
But there is a huge unintended and unconscious handicap imposed on the non-religious.
The Adpihi are unaware how many of the benefits of their society are funneled through religion.
If an immigrant needs one of these benefits they’ll be told they can get them through their (is “church” the right word?).
The local will think that, since there’s no religious discrimination, the immigrant will not have a problem if the closest churches are only approximately their own religion.
It will never occur to the local that the immigrant simply has no religion.

The Adpihi all worship (if that’s the word) the same God. So in their minds they all belong to just a few closely similar religions. In my own mind, however, I think there are as many Adpihi religions as there are nuclear families or households.

———

Maybe I should write more here? Right now I can’t think what else I really should post on this thread. If I think of anything I’ll edit it in later.
Last edited by eldin raigmore on Sun 08 Jul 2018, 19:05, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Salmoneus » Sat 30 Jun 2018, 14:03

Khemehekis wrote:
Sat 30 Jun 2018, 03:52
In this thread, I'd like to discuss how a conworlder's religion influences her/his conworld.
With respect, I'm not sure that's what you're doing. You seem to be mentioning that, rather than discussing how.

The first question here must surely be: define 'influence'. The second question is then: in what way can religion influence conworlding?
I'm not sure I've seen a Mormon do it. But there probably are some Mormon conworlders out there -- after all, the Deseret alphabet is a con-script!
The main trend is indeed for Catholic* (and Jewish) SF&F authors (there are also countless evangelicals but, ironically, they tend to write only for other evangelicals and not to reach the outside market). However, Mormonism is heavily represented in the genre - certainly out of all proportion to its prevalence! The most prominent is Orson Scott Card, who is not just Mormon but very demonstratively so. Tracy Hickman, co-author of the Dragonlance books, is another example. And L.E. Modesitt Jr is, as I understand it, not a Mormon himself, but has lived in Utah a long time and many of his books are overtly influenced by, or even about, Mormonism.

*notable among the religious catholics are, for instance, Chesterton, Tolkien, Verne, Wolfe, Walter Miller Jr and Anne Rice, as well as Fred Saberhagen, Clifford Simak, Anthony Burgess, Stephen Baxter, Jerry Pournelle and Tim Powers; lapsed or fomer Catholics include Frank Herbert, Stanislaw Lem, Karel Capek, Philip Jose Farmer and Robert Anton Wilson.
Then there are Jewish conworlders. I know a number of people here who are ethnically Jewish: Shemtov, Peterofthecorn, Helios/Zontas, Khemehekis.
Are you having a breakdown or something? Because you appear to be talking about yourself in the third person...

What would an Islamic-themed conworld be like? A Wiccan-themed conworld? A Scientology-themed conworld? And what about the Dharmic religions (Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jain)?
I think you're asking a very different question there. Being influenced by something doesn't mean making your work 'themed' - or vice versa. The are lots of broadly (or explicitly) dharmic SF&F stories out there, but most are not by actual believers. In fantasy we might point at something like the Wurts/Feist "Empire" trilogy, with its broadly buddhist setting, or in sci-fi no-one could deny that Zelazny's "Lord of Light" (in which a character takes on the role of the Buddha in rebellion against characters with the names and characters of Hindu gods) is "buddhism/hinduism-themed".
So, how have your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) influenced your conworlding? Are there any religious influences on famous conworlds I've missed in my OP? Discuss here.
Two other famous examples of strongly religious SF&F are Lovecraft (atheism) and Le Guin (taoism). It may seem odd to mention an atheist here, but Lovecraft wasn't just incidentally a non-believer: his atheism actively and consciously guided his fiction.


---------------------


To address the original question, an author's worldview always shapes their work - although many soi dissant 'religious' authors can for practical purposes be treated as having a secular worldview (consumerism, humanism, liberalism, communitarianism, etc) that just happens to have a God stuck onto it when they remember.

But how does it shape their work? In what way? Well, how about a typology of sorts...?


One prominent way is through iconography: an author borrows icons of a religion - images, words, narrative tropes - for their work. Sometimes this is subconscious - the Bible has been so fundamental in our culture that its echoes are often heard even where nobody realises they're repeating it. Other times it's very intentional, either to proselytise or to borrow the authority of religion for fiction: the author knows the reader will respond to certain icons in a certain way, even if they don't notice them. Just look at how many fantasy stories involve things like a prophesied saviour, a virgin birth (not often literal - but see how many heroes are secretly the children of authority-figure fathers, and often raised just by their mothers with rumours around their paternity), a betrayal by Judas, a last temptation, a crucifixion, and a resurrection... not to mention the old fallen angel.
Notably, religious iconography is often used by non-believers, or superficial believers. It doesn't require any genuine personal commitment.

Even more overt, there's the actual topic: a work can be 'about' a religion, in the sense of the religion being prominent in the setting and plot. This may be: glimpses of the 'real' religion (Mormons find a portal to Narnia; Mormons set up a colony on Mars); speculation based upon the real religion (what is Utah like in the year 3000?); or a parallel religion that looks suspiciously like a real one (Gofef Znith has a vision from the ahura Inorom). This can be a background element of the story - like the pseudo-Buddhism in the Empire novels - or the central plot (like Mahasamatman's new religion in Lord of Light).

And even more overt and specific, there's the question of the work: is the work explicitly about something? Some works explain or explore doctrinal issues within a faith - again, it can be overt, or in disguise. These stories tend to be written by very religious writers, for a religious audience, since the general audience lacks the doctrinal context in which the questions actually make sense and are important. But there are exceptions. Walter M Miller Jr's classic A Canticle for Leibowitz spends most of its wordcount discussing (implicitly and often explicitly) doctrinal questions, but in a way accessible to ordinary readers (questions like: what is the appropriate relationship between religion and science, and between religious or scientific authorities and political authorities? Is euthanasia morally permissable and if not why not? But also things like: what psychological difference may knowledge of the mercy of God expressed through the sacrifice of the crucifixion have for the Catholic believer as opposed to the pious Jewish believer?).

But more broadly, there's the issue of worldview. It's hard to pin this down, but often religious influence is not in specific superficial questions of doctrine, but in a broader way of seeing the nature of the world and the nature of morality.A few examples...

Tolkien is a strongly Catholic author, although overt signs of religion are very few - a few broad iconography choices, perhaps, like a creator god (who is almost never seen) and a fallen angel. Instead, catholicism is seen in Tolkien in the assumptions he makes and the things he is interested in. It's something you maybe only really notice when you read him alongside other Catholics like Miller or Gene Wolfe. One thing, for instance, is the role of hubris, and its relationship to failures of faith, hope, and charity. Everyone in Tolkien (whose motivations we see) is fundamentally good, but many have lost faith. Faith here is not specifically an overt, conscious faith in another being - few of his characters show any signs of overt religious concern - but a certain mindset, a trust in the world. Those who lose faith may then lose hope, and fall into despair - which Tolkien, as a Catholic, sees not just as a private tragedy but as a public threat. Denethor, for instance, despairs, and puts Gondor in jeopardy in doing so. On the other hand, those who lose faith may retain hope, and instead fall into hubris: the belief that they have the power to change the world themselves, that they know better than the creator (or his angels, or the world itself) and do not need help. Melkor doesn't want to destroy the world, he wants to perfect it, to do a better job than Eru; likewise Sauron just wants to make the world a better, more orderly, place; Saruman turns to 'evil' in order to defeat Sauron, because he believes he has that power himself. Or look at the hubris of Feanor, as seen in his pride in his work, or the hubris of Thingol and Turgon, good men who believe that can make their own little paradise outside the world, who are inevitably brought down. Tolkien sees hubris and despair as inevitable: even Aule is hubristic in making the dwarves. The whole point of the Ring is that power corrupts, because mortals, given power, lose their faith and destroy what is good in the world in attempting to preserve it - whether that's Boromir wanting the Ring for a military campaign, or Galadriel's vision of herself as the dark queen whose desire to protect Lorien has turned her into a tyrant. But forgiveness is always possible for the repentant, and even sin can be turned to goodness - Eru improves the world by creating elves and men because of Melkor; Eru approves of Aule's dwarves, when he shows himself repentant of having made them. So many 'victories' or actions of the gods are symbols of hope - whether it's Gandalf being sent as a messenger to raly hope around the world, or the new King being crowned as a symbol of hope in Gondor, or just the hobbits giving their countrymen the hope that they don't have to be passively bullied by Sharkey. I don't think Tolkien set out to write Catholic dogma in narrative form, but it shaped how he saw the world. And it's striking to read, for instance, Leibowitz and see how much Miller has in common with Tolkien despite the totally different setting and style - the terrible temptation of the power of the Ring, for instance, is mirrored by the terrible temptation of the power of the nuclear warhead...

Whereas if you look at one of Tolkien's closest successors, Donaldson in his Covenant novels, you see a similar 'faith-based' depth, and yet dramatic differences. Donaldon iirc is not explicitly religious himself, but he was raised Evangelical, and it shows. For him, the question of "faith" isn't an abstract form of hope - it's specifically belief in something. Something external that anchors morality. Covenant struggles to believe in the entire world in which he finds himself, and that lack of faith leads him to succumb to selfish temptations. Hubris, again, is omnipresent - but whereas in Tolkien hubris is seen in the horror of success (a success with terrible consequences), in Donaldson it's seen in failure. Humankind is inadequate, iniquitous, and when it believes itself to have power to defeat evil, it inevitably fails. Donaldson's world is a world of temptations, of evil things disguised as good - whether that's the Ravers, who possess the bodies of good people, of the paradoxical horror of the verdancy of the sunbane. Both Tolkien and Donaldson are broadly 'Christian' in their worldview (even if donaldson is personally post-christian), but the introspective, pluralist, indirect Catholicism of Tolkien is very different from the stark, overt, almost nietzschan post-evangelicalism of donaldson.

Le Guin, on the other hand, is a taoist. I don't know enough about taoism or le guin and her work to say too much, but even to the layman the influence is obvious. I've read The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness, and both are works obsessed with fundamental dualities (and the unseen unities they obscure), skeptical of individualism and of direct action. "To oppose a thing," she tells us in TLHOD, "is to maintain it".

Meanwhile, Lovecraft's atheism led him to a passionate nihilism. His 'cosmic horror' does not shy from the 'supernatural' (his atheism was not scientism!), but radically repositions humanity as worthless and powerless in a terrifying, uncaring world. "All my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large... One must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all." His way of expressing that atheism, however - mankind in the shadow of titanic beings that appear godlike to lesser mortals - echoes his childhood identification with graeco-roman paganism.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Reyzadren » Sat 30 Jun 2018, 23:29

I suppose my attitudes would have biasedly leaked onto my conworld (or vice versa), but I don't think religion influences it at all. Though, most readers here would otherwise assume that it has an atheistic view despite it not being described as such.

Imo, religion is just another arbitrary category situation that most conworlders seem to have when building; family, manners, sexuality, suicide, education on the frathwiki questionnaire. Like, who even cares about such things lol. Same thing for conlangers.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Lambuzhao » Sun 01 Jul 2018, 05:28

Definitely.

I started a long long time ago, when I was very young.
My conworld Tirga either was a future Earth, or a terraformed planet-colony, so there were plenty of nooks and crannies for
Animistic, Shamanistic, 2 polytheistic with MCU-level~developed pantheons of deities, Buddhistic, even Satanical elements to grow and spread early on.
Nonetheless, the main religions have been mostly domineering monotheistic juggernauts: fighting bratty kids in the "People of the Book" family.
One group of nation-states, however, supressed religiosity [ CCCP much ? :roll: ]

Ain't no rest for the wicked. [xP]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBgp5aDH23g

The struggle is eternal! [;)]
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by spanick » Sun 01 Jul 2018, 20:24

Well, I think the way it my being Catholic influences my conworlding is totally different than say how an authors relgiok would influence their work.

Most of my conlangs are alt-langs and therefore take place in the real world. I do tend to shamelessly make the speakers of my alt-langs Catholics. Gotski/Sortsbergish is a perfect example. I came up with a story of them becoming Eastern Catholics after separating from the Serbian Orthodox Church. The bishops in their country retain some nominal level of power and the populace is more religious than most modern European countries are. When I originally made Hállélannish (now Nortsääenglisch) they were meant to be Catholics despite being in an overwhelmingly Lutheran region.

The only con-religion I’ve come up with, which has not been described here, has elements borrowed from several religions but the trajectory from the outset was to make it something like Catholicism. That is, it was ultimately going to be monotheistic; have an important female figure; include veneration of ancestors; have both an organized structure; and have a priestly order as well as monastics.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by LinguistCat » Sun 01 Jul 2018, 21:11

I grew up in a Methodist/Catholic household, which turned into a purely Catholic household when my dad converted and I was baptized. Then I had a crisis of faith, found a polytheistic religion, and have been trying to practice that as well as I am able. Beliefs wise, I am somewhat agnostic but if this universe was created in part or in whole by the supernatural, I'd be very surprised if there was only one "god".

I have a tendency to make polytheistic worlds where there are actual provable multiple gods, or to leave it ambiguous as to what is true and different cultures and "characters" have different beliefs. I mostly conworld for story worlds so I tend to decide which way I'm going with that before I start writing at least.

I think it also affects some themes for my worlds and stories. Bad things can certainly happen, people's actions or bad choices can have dire consequences, and sometimes someone has to fix a mess that they didn't make and seems much bigger than they can deal with. Things can be unfair. But people in my worlds/stories can work to make things more fair, and better. They can try to fix things that someone else seemed to ruin. They can work together and be part of something bigger than themselves and fix things that would be impossible for one person.

Basically, outside of the actual religions in my conworlds, the general outlook of my worlds is affected, because I feel even if the universe is devoid of the supernatural, and/or that most of existence is devoid of life, and even if humans play an infinitesimally small part in the grand scheme of things, we still have this small speck to make better, and we are able to do that while we're here. And if life is out there for us to meet, maybe we can work together making our collective specks a little nicer. And if there are spirits or gods or whatever, we can really only do our best to relate well with them.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Shemtov » Mon 02 Jul 2018, 07:53

Khemehekis wrote:
Sat 30 Jun 2018, 03:52

Then there are Jewish conworlders. I know a number of people here who are ethnically Jewish: Shemtov, Peterofthecorn, Helios/Zontas, Khemehekis. I'm sure a number of us practice the religion. And I recall Shemtov saying that one of his concultures or conworlds was inspired by his religious beliefs (I don't remember much more of it, perhaps Shemtov can join in the conversation).

The religion for the "main" Nation of Tauceti is highly Judaism-inspired, but it is an abandoned conworld, as I am a filler and the amount of different languages given the premise, stretched credibility, IMO. Marylhi was an attempt to ape Tolkien's Legendarium in a Jewish fashion, but I felt I could do nothing with it, as Orthodox Jews would have a different reaction to one of their own publishing a book describing an alternate creation then Catholics, even if that creation did not contradict our theology; they might even see it as another Dianetics.
I have two altworlds which have abandoned conlangs, but I still conworld in that both feature Religion as a centerpiece: Yonotauria, and The Greater West. The former is based on the idea that Greek Colonists adopted Abrahamic Monotheism from Israelites during the period of the Biblical Book of Judges. The main religion is Judaism-based, but is almost a self-parody, down to the detail. It also includes a religion that is a "Parody" of Christianity, in a way, but not completely so; I made it so it's more like the Judeo-Christianity of the Ebionites etc., so a lot of details about Christianity that would be heresy to Jews are missing; I doubt any Christian would find it offense, unless I acknowledged the "Parody" nature, and they refused to listen to the reasons why it is not completely so, and the fact a Judaism self-parody is active in the alt-world. There is also a religion who's origin is inspired by Islam: The idea that both the "Jews" and "Christians" corrupted there books, but a true book, which seals all thoughts on religion is revealed is definitely a nod to Islam.
The Greater West is based on the Idea that instead of Rome, a Neo-Hellenic empire arose, and that is the center of Christianity. Many of the differences between IRL Xtianity and the religion there, is based on "key moments" in the IRL Religion's formation that a Jewish observer would note more then others. Simonism is based on the fact that Maimonides says that Xtianity and Islam are necessary parts of G-d's plan, and the similar Kabbalistic idea that the rise of both religions are predicted many times in the Jewish Bible, but the latter obviates a non-Hellenic counterpart to Xtianity. Thus, Simonism was created, with Xtianity being only a step to the rise of Simonism. As Xtinanity had a "sister", for symmetry's sake I created one for Islam: Nog-Zardoshtism.
The World of Fuhe, the World where I actively conlang and conworld, has more subtle references. It was created by the Jewish deity, and thus incorporates some of the Kabbalistic idea that G-d "created and destroyed worlds" before ours, but ignores the common belief the these worlds are those that science has discovered- ie. Pre-anthropecene Earth, and the pre-Solar system Universe. Most of the concultures practice a variety of religious beliefs (there is even a heavy nod to Buddhism in two culture's faiths), but the people of Fuhe (the main culture, where I want to write most of the stories in) are for the most part Monotheistic, and aside from more gender-equality have the Moral System of Late Medieval/ Early Renaissance Xtian sphere and also the early Islamicate sphere; ie. very conservative in modern American terms. Judaism does play a part in the main story I want to write (Which I wanted to call the Cursed Child Trilogy before Rowling put out that Bastardization of her own work, but I am now calling the "Child of Destruction Trilogy"), but more in a political sense; one could read it as a subconscious and heavily veiled metaphor for my religious Zionism, but as some details only parallel based on political changes since the conception of the work, I am not sure if that was my subconscious' intention; it might be more of a Campellian "hero's journey". The main religious details in the world of Fuhe is in the Conlangs: all of them contain a word that resembles a Hebrew word of the same meaning, as Judaism teaches that all natlangs do, and can only survive if they do.
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by elemtilas » Mon 02 Jul 2018, 11:30

Shemtov wrote:
Mon 02 Jul 2018, 07:53
The main religious details in the world of Fuhe is in the Conlangs: all of them contain a word that resembles a Hebrew word of the same meaning, as Judaism teaches that all natlangs do, and can only survive if they do.
Curious: what Hebrew word is that? Can you give a reference to this teaching?
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Shemtov » Mon 02 Jul 2018, 19:11

elemtilas wrote:
Mon 02 Jul 2018, 11:30
Shemtov wrote:
Mon 02 Jul 2018, 07:53
The main religious details in the world of Fuhe is in the Conlangs: all of them contain a word that resembles a Hebrew word of the same meaning, as Judaism teaches that all natlangs do, and can only survive if they do.
Curious: what Hebrew word is that? Can you give a reference to this teaching?
It's not a specific word, rather the idea is that every language has what most linguists would call a false cognate to a :isr: word. This is why a lot of languages of the World of Fuhe's word for "and" is some variation of /wə wa va və ʋə ʋa ba bə/ etc., Though Fuheko borrows Japanese /to/ and I created a language where it's [ɠam] from :isr: /gam/ "also" . Even the name of the language Eroki Gǂama is a reference: Gǂama "Nation; Tribe" comes from :isr: /ʕam/ "nation", the voiced /ǂ/ being the closest equivalent to /ʕ/.
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Pabappa » Mon 02 Jul 2018, 20:44

I could write a lot here but I dont have time .... see http://www.frathwiki.com/Religions_of_Teppala which i slowly update from tiem to time.

The religious beliefs are all based on beliefs Ive held at one point or nother, inlcuding today ... either beliefs that i have, or that i dont have. e.g. Yŭni is a god of nature, based on how before I was 12 yrs old I worshipped nature before breaking away to worship the supernatural. Both of these belief systems were entirely my own creations, at least consciously ... I dont think it's possible to be truly innoivative in religion since there are only so many ways to answer basic spiritual questions. In my early teen years I joined mainstream Christianity but even within Christianity I've found hundreds of ways to diverge from the mainstream. Today I believe only in an omnibenevolent, all-powerful God.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Shemtov » Tue 03 Jul 2018, 23:17

Shemtov wrote:
Mon 02 Jul 2018, 19:11
elemtilas wrote:
Mon 02 Jul 2018, 11:30
Shemtov wrote:
Mon 02 Jul 2018, 07:53
The main religious details in the world of Fuhe is in the Conlangs: all of them contain a word that resembles a Hebrew word of the same meaning, as Judaism teaches that all natlangs do, and can only survive if they do.
Curious: what Hebrew word is that? Can you give a reference to this teaching?
It's not a specific word, rather the idea is that every language has what most linguists would call a false cognate to a :isr: word. This is why a lot of languages of the World of Fuhe's word for "and" is some variation of /wə wa va və ʋə ʋa ba bə/ etc., Though Fuheko borrows Japanese /to/ and I created a language where it's [ɠam] from :isr: /gam/ "also" . Even the name of the language Eroki Gǂama is a reference: Gǂama "Nation; Tribe" comes from :isr: /ʕam/ "nation", the voiced /ǂ/ being the closest equivalent to /ʕ/.
I will also give examples in natlangs:
:eng: Seven Bib. :isr: [ʃɛβaʕ] (note that this can apply to PGrm */ˈse.βun/.) Proto-Slavic *vъ Bib. :isr: /bə/ ([β] was an allophone of /b/, and could occur in this context. Bib. :isr: /ʔaħ/ :mon: /ax/ Bib :isr: /kohen/ Hawaii <Kahuna> "Priest".
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by elemtilas » Fri 06 Jul 2018, 01:27

On the Influence of Religion on Geopoesy
Edit: This article primarily reflects my understanding of Truth at the time of writing, as transcending the particulars of religion. Much of this understanding is further reflected by the various peoples of The World, their religions, philosophical and ethical systems and so forth.
Much is being said on religions in an invented world that is influenced by the author's own religion. That's as natural as one's own native language or cradle culture being the source of influence and inspiration for an invented language or culture. After all, how many SAE / IE invented languages are out there!

Christianity has served as inspiration for religions in Gea. There are indeed several rites that comprise the universal church; there are sister religious streams that either died out or never were in the primary world. I think, though, it would be fair to say that as a proportion of the population and as a focus of narrative & descriptive writing, Christianity itself (as an individual religious system) does not really come to the fore. There is no obvious allegory or anything like that.

The majority of Gea's people are not even Men and thus have, in the strict sense, no business even being Christians. Daine have no need for the salvation Jesus offers, Hotay, Dwarrows, Trolls, Yttuun, Teyor, Polupodes, etc, etc --- none of these are what we'd call "human" and thus await some other fate. The philosophical, moral, and ethical aspects of Christianity might indeed be beneficial to them, and it's been the case that many other folks are drawn to that, but the core of Christianity, the Eucharist and the salvation of Man's soul, have no direct bearing.

As for Men, even among them and for whom Christianity is perhaps the ideal religion, Christians are not the most numerous. They have about 1/4 to 1/3 of Gea's population. Zoroastrians and Buddhists together have probably a half or a little more. Judaism, Christian hybrids, Paganisms and various local or tribal cults account for the remainder.



But more fundamentally, I'd address how an understanding of Truth, more than my particular religious affiliation per se or church of record, shapes the whole foundation and history of the invented world.

The application of Reason to questions of origins, creation, evolution of the universe within its laws and fundamental concepts, the rise of stars and planets and the inception of life on Earth (and maybe also Mars!), the very complexity and growth of life within the whole system of the universe all not only point to but affirm the existence and action of a directing Author. An intelligence and creative power beyond our comprehension; an executive with means to bring into being we can not approach. Deists will recognise here, I believe, the work of Nature's God, whose providence we can see in action in every aspect of the workings of the universe.

Thus, as in the primary world, the secondary world is, being a subcreation, alike in general concept and outline though not of any particularly grand scope or being in external fact. It is a model, a miniature, crafted with some level of detail and painted more or less accurately!

Beyond the Reason of the senses and the thought of the mind, we also have experience in history to guide us. Beyond the mere acts of Design and Creation, we know from history that God is and has been active within the life and being of the world. Beginning with his very nature (Love) and form (Relationship) he has devised and created a universe not only that we could evolve within but, from before, that would be entirely suitably designed for us to evolve within. Each step of this Evolution, from the first inception of life on this planet has been one leading towards the time in history when God and Man can meet face to face. And all throughout there has been at the root the concept of relationship.

Christians, of course, as well as, perhaps, our elder brethren, will here recognise our Father, Creator and great Lover. We understand his action as not just one of distanced authorship, but rather of relationship with the authored. In so far as he came among us and became one of us and lived among us and experienced with us the entire span of human life from conception to death, he related to us. The world ever after was fundamentally altered. We can no longer be content with mere facts of observation. It is no longer enough to know what a star is or how the laws of thermodynamics work. Ever since, it is become imperative to understand the simple facts of the created order in their proper place: the whys and wherefores and rationales.

The Creator has come into his Creation. Has lived with and talked with them. Has called them to himself, to be like him, to take up their true nature and ultimately to be with him in a relationship of Love.

And so, thus, like the primary world, the invented world is alike in concept. All That Is (their name for the universe) is both a story of Relationship, Creator and Creation together, and also a love story, Creator for the Created, Created for their Creator and also for one another.




For me, the idea of religion influencing artwork is not so much one of mechanics. Obviously, you can find symbols, iconography, motifs and narratives that are familiar from Christianity or Buddhism. But rather, the greater influence is upon the underlying conception & nature of the invented world. And, of course, this influence can perhaps best be observed in the lives and experiences and natures of the World's peoples. If I may be so bold, I offer here an in-world understanding of their own situation:

It is quite impossible for us beings of Gea to imagine a time or a place outside the confines of the World, and yet if we wish to contemplate the awesome moments of the Creation, or even the dread moments of the Eschaton, we must even confront the fact there was indeed a time before all time moves to be and a place apart from which all place is. Just as there shall yet be a time beyond when no time shall press onwards and a place where the last things of Creation shall eventually come to their foreordained dissolution.

For in that time before all things was only LOVE, as a flame imperishable and a power mighty above all others. And came then our Heavenly Father who had even conceived a new World, a place where at last Love could be. In all the heavenly realm in those timeless times was the Father, the One, and with him was the Word, and the Word was him, and he was the Word, and the Word was LOVE.

And the Word spoke and began to create! The Firstborn creatures were the Powers and the Angels, and they tend the halls and manses of the heavenly realms.

And now come they and array themselves around their Heavenly Father. Of all the Angels, there are four kindreds; and the Powers, though numerous, fifteen in number are best known, the First Born of All and of them, Seven were chosen for a great Work by their Father, and of them all, these Seven were the equal of their Captain, the First of the Firstborn and he was the equal of the other Seven in might of lore and depth of wisdom and the splendour of their faces was the very splendour of their Heavenly Father.

Whereas Men fall on their faces when Angels appear on Gea; even mighty Lucifer the highest of Angels falls on his face when even the least one of the Seven passes by on some errand of the One. Nigh the Father are the principles, Wisdom and Prudence, and they are with the One before all worlds were sung into being, and before all the angels and even the Powers came into existence. Next the Father are the Spirit, the Mercy & the Compassion of God. And then the Logos, that is the Word, whom Men call the Lord Krist, the Blessed Son, sitting at the foot of his Father: before him is the Codex - written with seven kinds of searing fires upon an enduring flame are the eternal Torah, the Law, and the eternal Gospel, the Euengelion. And at last, beyond even the Beloved Son there is the heart of all heavens, the seeker after all hells, LOVE itself, the Creator and the Lover of all Creation, the One whom we joyously dare to call Father, the One who loves with complete devotion the mightiest Power and smallest bit of wanatomic stuff. The One who knows every Angel, every Man, every Daine, every Teyor, & aye, every ruined Hotai, every beast and spirit of land or sea or air, every mountain and every river, every star and every galaxy, every piece of matter and stringy bit of energy in every time and place. Whether it is Wisdom or Mercy or the Beloved Son or the Spirit that enters the World and walks softly upon the face of Gea, the One who is truly there is LOVE.
(from Chorography).

In a world (universe, really) that is neither entirely fallen nor entirely unfallen, we can find themes both of sin (turning from God) and redemption (turning back again); fall from grace and remaining in grace; living in the kingdom of the world and living in the kingdom of God. The Christian dualities that are not oppositions of state as usually understood (light / dark) but rather are the nature of relationship.

So, sin and fall are the status of relationship marred between Men and God (and also between the fallen Angels and God). Man and Angel kind together or severally turned away from the Father and denied him. However, the Father is always facing them with open arms and bared heart yearning for their return and reconciliation. Remaining in grace and living within the kingdom of Heaven (as it exists in Gea) are those of Teyor and Daine kind. Having accepted the will of the Father from before, they have never turned away and although they live in Gea and participate in its reality, they also live and exist apart, separate from those whose relationships are marred.




What Does All This Mean?

What all this comes down to is that we, made in the likeness of our Father, it is natural for us to create. Imperative even. Some of us have the gift of painting or of music or of sculpture; some are engineers and artisans. I see geopoesy as an art that reflects back to the ultimate Creator a vision of that divine creativity.

It is therefore a gift and the return of that gift: the created being making a model of a created order for the Creator of that Order as a thing of delight and blessing not only for him but also for any others who chance to look upon it!

Geopoesy is an act of contemplation. A world naturally has its ending, its being, and its beginning. But it also has its origin and its design; its Designer and its Creator. The art gives opportunity to dwell & muse on these things, for in as much as they are manifest in the being of the primary world, so they are manifest in the invented world, the subcreation.

Geopoesy is an act of meditation. While there are no doubt aspects of the World that involve silliness & fun, there are also within the endeavour, many opportunities to consder and think about deeper issues: Good & Evil, Free Will, the Human Condition and Human Nature, Morality, Ethics and their right place in all areas of the life of people, their history and culture.

Ultimately, geopoesy is an act of prayer. Of conversation and relationship with our Father, of exploring the difficulties and labours of life and the things that trouble the spirit through a modelling of that which is real.
Last edited by elemtilas on Sun 15 Jul 2018, 17:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Ahzoh » Fri 06 Jul 2018, 04:43

OP wrote:but I recall how Ahzoh's Vrkhazhian conculture had a lot of macabre fascination with death (at least in the past, I'm not sure if he's changed it since).
No, not in the same way. The Empire of Vrkhazh is now a lot like India; the people don't all believe the same things, though there are some key beliefs that tie all the different religions together. The religion of the capital city and the greater area surrounding it is a shamanic religion but with no gods or other divine spirits. The Muxebs near the mountain base believe in a polytheistic religion called The Sun Cult, which centers around the sun goddess Hiqqal.

All the way north in Ontsamidzo, they believe in hundreds of gods who watch over humanity. They also believe that a human's physical body is an avatar (not a vessel) of their soul. They also believe that the three moons of Sedi are other worlds that a people reincarnate on after they die and this occurs in a cyclic manner.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by eldin raigmore » Sat 07 Jul 2018, 17:15

@elemtilas:
Isn’t it much more natural, if one is assigning a sex (or gender) to the Creator, to conceive of Her as a Mother, rather than as a Father?
Particularly if She is the Originator of Life?

I think that would be more consistent with the life-experience of every land-dwelling tetrapod; or at least every placental or marsupial mammal.

Who do we see giving birth, providing sustenance, etc.?


——————————

This isn’t a criticism — at least, not in the narrow, strict sense.

I’m just (IMO) pointing out an opportunity for you to explain a feature of your World that is counter-intuitive to at least some of your readers.

—————

Looking forward to more!

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Edit: As Salmoneus points out, having your conworld influenced by a religion, doesn’t mean it’s your religion, nor that that religion is a theme of your conworld.
However, AFMCW Adpihi, religion (or religions) is consciously and intentionally a theme — maybe the main theme — of that conworld.
However, religion is not a major theme of Reptigan, the successor conworld to Adpihi.
Edit: It appears more than one responder to this thread, has at least one conworld in which more than one religion is a major influence; and in which relations (hostile or competitive or neither) between religions, is a major feature.
Is that true for most responders?
I don’t think conflict between one religion and another is a major feature of any (I.e., either) of my conworlds thus far.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Pabappa » Sat 07 Jul 2018, 22:06

My planet has only one religion ... though the specific beliefs of Ridia vary from place to place, no culture views a neighboring culture as worshipping the wrong god.

All three deities are female, but one of the three can take any form, including males. The other two ... the always-female ones ... are indeed associated with childbirth and abortion, but I havent drawn any parallels between human childbirth and the creation of the world. That is, the Ridians would likely not say that Màlamen gave birth to the world, just that she created the world. So this creation is not really a feminine act in this religion.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by spanick » Sat 07 Jul 2018, 22:39

The religion of the Dnuikta' is at its core a fertility cult focused on the worship of two gods, male and female. They view creation as the result of the coitus between the two. So, in their mind they wouldn't view creation as a specifically feminine act as much as a cooperative act between the sexes.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by elemtilas » Sat 07 Jul 2018, 23:55

eldin raigmore wrote:
Sat 07 Jul 2018, 17:15
@elemtilas:
Isn’t it much more natural, if one is assigning a sex (or gender) to the Creator, to conceive of Her as a Mother, rather than as a Father?
Particularly if She is the Originator of Life?
Well, logically, you might think so! And I would tend to agree: after all, Daine are terribly matriarchal & femininodeferrential in nature.
I think that would be more consistent with the life-experience of every land-dwelling tetrapod; or at least every placental or marsupial mammal. Who do we see giving birth, providing sustenance, etc.?
Indeed! And isn't Daine mythology filled with weather queens, seasonal queens, natural phenomenon queens and so on and so forth!

And yet...the Creator is distinctively...Daddy.
This isn’t a criticism — at least, not in the narrow, strict sense.

I’m just (IMO) pointing out an opportunity for you to explain a feature of your World that is counter-intuitive to at least some of your readers.
I think a Daine would offer you a wry little smile and perhaps a wink.

They don't know either! Apart from what lore they've learned from their mentors, the Teyor, and what little they recall of having met the great Powers, they as a race have no direct experience with the Creator. Those few that ever did, and a couple are indeed still living, recall him being, well, distinctively male in nature.
Looking forward to more!
I appreciate your taking the time to read, consider and respond! I too hope to see much more discussion and revelation in this thread! I'd like to thank Khemehekis for starting it up!
Edit: As Salmoneus points out, having your conworld influenced by a religion, doesn’t mean it’s your religion, nor that that religion is a theme of your conworld.
I don't disagree, though for some, it might actually be so! Or that is to say, closer to so than not so!
However, AFMCW Adpihi, religion (or religions) is consciously and intentionally a theme — maybe the main theme — of that conworld.
However, religion is not a major theme of Reptigan, the successor conworld to Adpihi. [/edit]
Edit: It appears more than one responder to this thread, has at least one conworld in which more than one religion is a major influence; and in which relations (hostile or competitive or neither) between religions, is a major feature.
Is that true for most responders?
I don’t think conflict between one religion and another is a major feature of any (I.e., either) of my conworlds thus far.
There is certainly interreligion conflict in The World. More typically among Men, who don't actually seem to get the point and just end up squabbling. Interestingly, and perhaps happily, that conflict is least among the Christians, where here unity is so sadly not the case. The main hot zones of religious contention are in the Ehrraneo-Sandhian region, down in the southern reaches of Irinsurea. And again over in Demeteia and Afareia. The Men there like to apply religion to their political strife, so it's not always clear if any given war is really about creed or about greed.
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Re: Conworlders' religious influences on conworlds

Post by Ànradh » Sun 08 Jul 2018, 05:02

Uh... Hmm.

There are three major ethnic groups (names, as ever, in constant revision), that I'll dub Toms, Dicks and Harrys.
Toms and Dicks are from the same ethnic family, and their religions are directly descended from a common ancestor, as are their languages. In turn, the Toms' religion has a major schism forming between the 'left hand path' and 'right hand path', partly the result of, and deliberately exacerbated by, the Dicks' 'military conquest.
When the Dicks invaded, the Toms essentially split into two groups, with the annexed members of the settlements generally following the right hand path, and the guerrilla elements generally following the left. The primary reasons for this being that right hand path adherents tended towards asceticism, pacifism and restraint over the left hand path's more aggressive and visceral tendencies.
The Dicks are conflating common elements between the Toms and Dicks' religious tales (mother goddesses—one goddess with three phases of existence, the other a triple goddess—conflict with Chaos as a main theme, deistic leanings), while demonising mostly left hand path practices as corruptions; combined with patronising those who speak the language of the Dicks, by making it the language of law and commerce, and instigating a caste system that placed invasion collaborators over those who resisted, they've successfully sown the seeds of a sectarian conflict to undermine the guerrilla's influence amongst the general populace.
(Harrys are an unrelated ethnic group, considered a group of savages by both Toms and Dicks, so their religious beliefs don't factor into the main conflicts of the setting, though they do inform some of the practices that allow many to feel justified in being racist pricks to them; specifically, Harrys are ocean going, coastal nomads that worship a number of beast-headed sea deities, while Toms and Dicks believe the ocean to be home to Chaos and its evil servants.)

I feel like all of this would be hard to do convincingly in a setting where there's a powerful, interventionist god/pantheon of a true faith, since those praying to false gods would be at a distinct disadvantage.
My other option would be a war in heaven type deal, but that doesn't allow the kind of political propaganda that I have here.
I more or less need a setting where gods aren't real, or may as well not be; I've been keeping it ambiguous for now, involving entheogenic and ecstatic ritual practices to really cloud the issue, which rather nicely adds a touch of psychological horror to things too, but, obviously, my view here assumes that this realistic political situation can't coexist with magic and gods, which rather gives away my atheism... but I haven't even considered the question of how atheists might be treated in my setting's current iteration—I'm not sure they'd be very common—so, while it informs the setting, atheism's not going to be present in anything other than an off hand reference.

So, in answer to eldin's post-scripts, I'd say neither religion nor religious conflict is the primary theme of my conworld, so much as they are facets of the primary theme of political conflict.
Sin ar Pàrras agus nì sinne mar a thogras sinn. Choisinn sinn e agus ’s urrainn dhuinn ga loisgeadh.
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