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Forging and fitting religion

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Usurper, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. Usurper

    Usurper Dreamer

    I currently have two established religions within my world (with plans to add more). One based on astronony, astrology, and the veneration of stars. The other a sort of angel worship greatly inspired by Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christianity. But they both feel...half-done. I have some basic tenants, doctrines, and myths. But being born and raised irreligious, I'm not entirely sure what even is missing.

    Whay are some tips for constructing religions? Are there any particularly good places for me to look for inspiration?
  2. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

    Tenets, doctrines and myths are all well and good, but relpractiis really all about the people who practice it. Religions preach certain values and promote a lifestyle. How much does this affect the people? Do they mostly fully embrace what their religion preaches, or do they mostly just pay it lip service, or is it somewhere in between? Are the values of the culture aligned with those of the religion? If so, it is likely the people embrace the religion, if not, it will be mostly lip service, or perhaps there are reformation movements within the religion.
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    There are different kinds of religions. For most of us in the West, our understanding of religion is highly colored by the Protestant Reformation. For us, religion has two principal aspects: an internal faith, and a formal organization with property. Even the congregationalists have a place to meet. The former one, though, is where we often get tunnel vision.

    Rome had a religion, sponsored and run by the state. Nobody cared if you "believed in the gods." All they asked was that you observed the rituals. It was all about external conformity. Any number of other ancient, state religions were similar.

    Now swing around to something like Buddhism or Confucianism. With the latter, especially, you'll get people who argue it's not a religion at all but a philosophy. Or, as with Taoism, a sort of life discipline.

    Finally, consider any number of animalistic, totemistic religions practiced in tribal societies.

    Human beings are varied and, let it not be overlooked, wildly inconsistent. Start reading about different religions, especially ones you're not already familiar with, and I bet you'll find some inspiration.
  4. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

    relpractiis? Cripes, what the hell did my phone do here? It's supposed to read "religions are really all about the people who practice it."
  5. Halfman

    Halfman Acolyte

    When I'm forging my religions in my worlds I try to start with the creation myth, then some sort of symbolism(such as with Christianity and the cross, or in one of my stories the owl god is symbolized with an owl, obviously). After I get these down and decided, I try to think about how it came to be as widespread and popular(or not popular) as it is; some of the prophets/leaders who helped spread the word, and then I consider the core beliefs that the religion entails. I also try and make sure I think about how the religion impacts the culture of the people who follow it. Does the religion exemplify strong family values and the importance of privacy? Does it dictate that its people can't eat meat, or that its faithful followers are not allowed to drink, have sex outside of marriage, or even something as foreign (to us) as not being allowed to leave the land in which it is worshiped, or something unique such as that.

    There are endless possibilities for what you can do with your religions. For a brief summary, I'd focus on:

    • Name of religion
    • Creation myth
    • Core beliefs
    • Symbol
    • Impact on culture
    • Names of God/Goddesses or Deities
    • The history behind the prophets/leaders and how they spread the word
    • The competing religions and the relationship between the two
    • The pros and cons of the religion, including the history of the violence and peace the religion has caused
    • Debate the extent of the follower's devotion to their religion, as well as their possible intolerance towards other religions

    I hope I was helpful.
    Ban and skip.knox like this.

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