Sunday, August 27, 2017

ImagiNations - Backgrounders (Religion)


As I teach the new generation about history, inside I weep for the lack of imagination and interest in nearly everything historical. Many students do get into sports history, but they do not see it as such. This is sad, really, as there is so much to our history to draw inspiration and passion from.

In the here and now, I receive inspiration from a great many influences, none of which cause my brain to be ill-affected or vulnerable to chemical influence-ers (you have permission to borrow my new word). Many of these worthy influences are based on historical groups or events, others are religious or political. Few are or will ever be social. If anything, I consider myself an anti-socialist.

I am intrigued by history, how accidents of history have resulted in the creation or destruction of burgeoning empires or peoples. Often, I reflect on the opposite of what occurred.

If you are still reading, see below.

The religions of my world are not fully known as yet. Seafaring is about two hundred years or so behind what it was in our own history. Thus, the globe has not been fully mapped and most of the interiors are unexplored.

Major Religions

Of the known religions, three figure centrally in the histories of the four major and three minor powers:


Some declare this religion a splinter group of another major religion, which may or not be an accurate claim. Yahooists believe in the human necessity of accumulating knowledge and then disseminating this knowledge through its many libraries, collectively known as the Church of Yahoo. The Great Library of Yahoo is actually located in a Free City within Khornwallistein. This Free City of Yahoo supports those who work in the Great Library, including by having an independent military force to defend their information vaults.

Yahooism is based on the teachings of Yahoo, a priest of Yarweg, whose visions of Heaven resulted in his defrocking and excommunication. That he liked playing with little girls and boys is merely salacious rumor, spread by his enemies.

Priests and Wives (Nuns) of Yahoo are responsible for the collection of information, which is copied and then sent to the Great Library in large caravans, twice a year. Yahooists have built improved roads, which they call Great Information Highways, between their libraries and the Great Library of Yahoo. These highways are constructed, at the cost of the Church of Yahoo, whose members support the effort with money and labor. The Yahooians especially, for that is the name by those in the Free City of Yahoo call themselves, strive to be seen as the most pious and are often working on a highway in distant areas.

About ten centuries ago, a schism arose between two large groups of Yahooists, the "Centralizers" and the "Diversifiers." This disagreement was over where the gathered information should properly reside within the church; Centralizers felt it should go first to the Great Library, from thence it would be dispersed to the other libraries, Diversiviers thought otherwise, that the information should be copied first and then sent to all libraries from its origin. The Diversifiers apparently won out, as their methods are in current use by the Church.

The symbol for Yahooism is the "Y", but it actually looks very much like a cross, because the original version broke and the wooden bar fell in such a way as to fall horizontal, with the vertical bar appearing to split it in half. It's a rather long story, but it makes a sort of sense.

Variations in the symbol have been grudgingly accepted over the centuries, with regional differences being the primary motivator or causality of such changes.


Perhaps the oldest known religion, Yarwegians are somewhat bi-polar in that moderate Yarwegians are honest, peaceful, and hardworking members of whatever society they happen to live. However, fundamentalist Yarwegians are rabidly fanatical and reject nearly everything that did not come from another Yarwegian.

Interestingly, Yarwegians are very missionary-minded, and their missionaries, called Routers, are also great accumulators of knowledge, but only through Yarwegian priests can such knowledge be shared.

Yarwegianism does have a characteristic that the other two religions do not, in that it is both an ethnicity and an independent religion. Yarwegians, as an ethnic group, originally come from Yarweg, a quite distant land which is mostly unknown in the civilized world, but many chose to leave their homeland under murky circumstances. At least, no known Yarwegians ever talk about it with strangers, even with converts.

The symbol for Yarwegianism is a circle, with two "blobs" in contrasting colors, usually black and white, but can be red and blue, green and yellow, etc.  These represent the exchange of information between "Routers."


Googlians date the founding of their religion from the moment The Great Googly Moogly appeared to an librarian-acolyte, H.R. Puffinstuff, at the Great Temple of Yahoo, in the year 1540. This Yahooist quickly quit the religion, as he felt he was not paid enough and that the story of his visitation would be a great source of income.

Unfortunately for him, Yahooists have little stomach for heresy and he fled west with threats of death and worse posted on the door of his house.

Like Yahooism, Googlianism requires its believers to acquire knowledge, even at great cost to others, but especially never to themselves. This has resulted in attacks on Yahooist great information highways and caravans. Googlians have also infiltrated Yahooist groups and libraries and stolen batches of information. Googlians almost never share their information, except through specific sites where patrons must be accompanied by a Googler.

Googlian temples dot the land, but only in those regions which tolerate it. This is completely fair as Googlianism is quite intolerant of other religions, largely due to their withholding of knowledge  from Googlian seekers. Local worship centers, known as "conversation rooms", are more common, especially in the less densely populated areas.

Much of what Googlians do in their worship rites is unknown, with disgrunteled ex-followers being the sources of what is "known," likely their words must be taken with large doses of salt.

Note, that it is taken as a very offensive insult to refer to Googlians as "googs." Naturally, almost everyone who isn't a Googlian refers to them in that way.

The symbol for Googlianism is the dotted teardrop, often seen inside a solid colored circle, but nearly as frequently by itself. This symbol represents the accumulation of knowledge.

This competition for information and followers, often called subscribers, has resulted in a significant rise in religious and political tensions in the region.

As with most any religion, smaller schisms or revelations have resulted in offshoot breakaway groups. Here, the story is very much the same.

Small religions, cults, and societies.


The Society of the Book

This religious group, made up of heretics from each of the other major religions, believe that befriending humanity is the means to salvation. They do not reject the accumulation of knowledge, but rather limit what they accumulate by passing along bits of information to each other in the form of messages.
Worshipers value the Book, one copy of which is enshrined in each church. On worship days, members take turns writing messages or even drawing images by hand, into the book, as a means to share moments and events in their personal lives.
Adherents to this faith call each other and (to great dismay) everyone else they meet, "Friend." They then expect to be called friend in return, and they take it as an insult when they are not.

Too often, members overshare information, frequently making mention of things best kept to themselves, such as committing adultery or planning to do so, revealing intimate details that no one else ever wants to know, and some even write in timelines of events during their week between meetings. 

The ultimate form of acceptance in the faith is when someone else reads your message and writes " I like" in the margin. Unfortunately, this leads to trouble within the membership as the less pious make hay out of comparing numbers of "likes" with the other members.

Members do tend to annoy other religionists and non-religionists alike, as they stand on street corners and crossroads chanting "friend me, friend me, friend me" over and over again.


This is more of a cult or secret society than religion. The members, through means known only to them, "connect" with other members, who are generally people in positions of power and influence. Often, outsiders see this as a conspiracy of elites, but this is obviously the result of jealousy and envy, because those who know members of the organization aren't talking. 

It has been hinted that members are recruited by some secret message whereby they are invited to join. However, this has yet to be verified.


This one is definately a cult, possibly subversive. Its adherents communicate through short and cryptic messages that can only be deciphered by those "in the know."
Observers have witnessed Twaddlers greeting each other with a distinctive hand gesture; the hand, open palm facing the other person, is placed below and slightly in front of the nose. Then, the persons each wave their hand upward and to the right, in what some have called a "swipe." They then pass along to each other messages written on very small pieces of paper, where writing space is at a premium. Some think this is an effort to save money due to the costs of paper.

Since numerous Twaddlers have been caught in rather compromising positions, many think of its members as deviants and n'er do wells.


  1. Cute -- I like it.

    Might I suggest a few cults and sub groups.

    Facebookism. This is a sect of people who "friend" each other and distribute the tracts of their society door to door like penny dreadfulls, two bits for two dozen. They are also known as "Quackers" because of their chants as they perambulate about town. They believe that one can only meet with God Face to Face through these scriptures and come face to face with their fellow men through this same intercession.

    Linkedinism- This is a sect that believes in a mystical union of all believers who "link" with each other to create celestial networks of divine nepotism, and that only through common prayer and correspondence, (they write to each other perpetually asking about jobs, opportunities, business etc. They are more hard headed than the Quackers, and believe money and prosperity is the sign of Gods benevolence, and that within the society of Linkadinkadoo, is the means of human happiness.

    Twaddlededee- Also known as the Twitterers.... I need not say more. But I shall. These are believers in short pithy sayings who load their sacred scriptures with short acronyms by which the secret knowledge is handed down from on high and it is in the juxtaposition of some of the sacred acronyms, LOL, IMHO, BFF, BFFWB, etc that a true sacred speech is formed. They are called "twaddlers" "twiddlers" "Twitters" and "Nittwits". There is a heretical sect much persecuted by them called "twattlers" who believe in sexual liberation and free love orgies. These are virulently persecuted by the main sect but very popular with everyone else.

    The similarity of these names to traditional small sects in the 17th century is especially useful.

    In my own world I make do with the traditional Catholic, Luther, Calvinist, and Bobism.

    Bobism is a religion founded by a guy called Bob. He named it after himself. He wanted to name it after his wife Judy but that name was taken.

    1. Otto,

      Yes, I have about a dozen or so more religions to add, but most of them are in regions outside the central focus of the current project. After I receive the naval rules you've sent me (for which I have much appreciation), I will look at ways to expand the area a bit.

      I have purposely limited seafaring as with the lag between our history and theirs, I can take my time in opening up other sections of the world, which I have already mapped.

      Your suggestions below, with modifications, will fit within as cults or subsects of the major religions.

      Much of what I include or will be including is based on "what if one thing changed" in a historical event, and then I take that as far as I can go. For example, a future post will include a brief introduction on the Remusian Empire, obviously based on a history where Remus and not Romulus was responsible for ancient Rome. However, in my case, the Empire is very well educated and less military expansionist. Their education lay in the technical fields of engineering, and geology, so they are fantastic besiegers and fortress constructors, their military is a bit behind the times.

      Also, look for some much lesser known nations that actually existed in our own history, but which time has forgotten almost entirely.

      I appreciate the support and look forward to future suggestions.


  2. Remember that Religion, regardless of specific form, is a way of explaining how reality works. It ties into the Weltanschuung (World View) of its believers and not only accounts for the unaccountable and natural phenomenon but also explains to them "the one, the Good, The True, The Beautiful." That is, it explains not only mysteries (why do good people suffer?, why do the torrential rains come? What must I do to be a good person? but aspirations and the idea of perfection. As such they can form very antithetical and antagonistic things when people get below these sublime issues. Very, very rarely have religions, even pagan ones envisioned the "faith" as a quid-pro-quo. I render sacrifice to the God and he does me favors. Even in the polytheistic world offerings and sacrifice were to atone for moral sins against the coda, not to bribe the God, still less to sustain him by some form of democratic "manna." That would presuppose that Gods needed men. If so why do the Gods not make sacrifice to men rather than the other way around. If this is the case then the relationship of man to God is constantly on both sides a "turning away" from each other and gradual indifference toward each other. This is clearly the case with the Olympian Gods of Greece. As more and more of the natural phenomenon is explained and expressed men no longer need Gods and begin to realize they are better without them.


    When you have a God who a-priori loves his people, and is solicitous and caring of their welfare, as that strange God of the Hebrews does, then this situation is entirely reversed. God becomes less capricious and more caring, and his interest is not for himself at all, but mindful of his creatures. Thus you have in Isiah "I desire not your bloody sacrifices, but heart felt mercy." God says to man, you can do nothing for me, but what pleases me is what you do for each other.

    1. In my arena of ideas, Yarwegianism has a tradition of a watchful diety, who blesses them when they are obedient and curses them when they are not, at least to their own understanding. The other two religions thus far introduced are both corruptions of this idea, that they will achieve a better relationship or understanding with their diety by performing certain actions, again their belief systems are corruptions of an "inherited truth."

      In both of the latter cases, they are going through the motions that they perceive that their religion requires of them, in order to gain some benefit or gift from their particularly conception of a god.

      Yarwegianism has a lot more structure, "scripture" and history than I have mentioned here, primarily because it is closely related to Judaism and Christianity in combination, or more accurately some variations of belief in both.

      Yahooism and Googlianism, are intended to be versions of Yarwegianism where specifics religious beliefs become the central focus of worship, a narrowing in on a ritual or act, instead of seeing the larger picture. These are loosely based on actual historical examples of variants on Christianity.

      In every instance where religion plays a part in my ImagiNations, they are used in the rationalization of behavior, much like they have been in our own history. In numerous instances that I intend to play out in this fantasy, the interactions between religions will play a major role in how the nations act and react towards each other.

  3. Dear Justin

    I understand. I once trod the same path you are doing now and just be careful you don't work yourself into a corner. Once you launch yourself on this path you will eventually come to the nature of good and the nature of evil, and more particularly the existence of both in this world. I have worked on these philosophical points most of my life and they are NOT mirror images, nor is one the surfeit or scarcity of one or the other. By the way the existence of evil in the world is childs play to the existence of good.

    The relevance of this is in that dichotomy. Using religion to "rationalize behavior" or as an excuse for behavior works quite well when it is a fig-leaf for doing evil. However it fails completely when one is doing good. Doing good deeds to curry favor with God doesn't work. The God will see through that you are not doing them sui-generis to do good, but doing it simply to suck up to him, at which point the question is are you really doing good? Or are you just acting correctly. If you are acting correctly you are not doing anything virtues but just obeying the law. You're already supposed to do that. While doing evil is sui-generis evil, that is whatever you do you do because you want to do evil, doing good becomes another thing entirely Just because you WANT to do good does not mean that you DO do good. When for example Christ admonished his desciples that when they lusted after a woman even if only in their heart, they had done as much evil as if they had actually lain with her, or if you thought to kill you neighbor the thought was equal to the deed, he did not say that when you thought good things about your neighbor you did good to him. In James it says that just wishing him well was not enough. So you see a bit of the problem.

    A man conspires to steal from another. The evil is plain. He does so. The act is obvious. A man sees a dog drowning in an icy bitter cold stream. He plunges himself into the stream to try and rescue the animal and it's not even his dog. He may rationalize it later but at the moment he makes the decision he is motivated by something else. A man will rationalize an evil deed before he does it. A man does a good deed first and rationalizes it later. It is very hard to parse this out in a persons mind and even harder to encode it in a game.

    This is why I have great difficulty in accepting evil in the game. I mean accepting it as normative behavior.

    1. Otto,

      I do appreciate the warning. I plan on avoiding any origin elements within the religious aspect of the campaign, or at least to the extent I find possible. My primary goal is to identify, in a humorous way, religious motivations and events that have actually occurred and play with them a bit, as the string pullers or button pushers of my diverse personalities within my world. I will explore their primary interests and what ramifications may result from their pursuit. Further, I will use the religious entities to drive elements of the story in various directions, as they work towards their own long term and short term goals.

      I do not care to address anything on the order of which is the "right and true" religion as that lays outside the scope of what I want to accomplish and create for my own entertainment and hopefully that of others as well.