The Faith

From GothaWiki

Jump to: navigation, search

The Faith is a monotheistic religion practiced primarily in Aedeland and Amberia.

Contents

Etymology

The Faith is known in Aedeland as Salvede Trú, meaning the true faith in Aedelish, and Sátmáleveihs or the Holy Covenant in Amberia. Before the domination of Orkanan over Stoldavia, the Aedelmen had no name for their native religion. As Orkananism gained influence over Stoldavia, the Aedelmen referred to their native religion as the true faith or the old faith.

Its believers are called the Faithful. The religion is often referred to as the Faith of Aedeland, Faith of Aedelmen.

History

The Faith enters the historical record as Orkanan heresy with origins in the proto-monotheistic beliefs developed on the Davaian steppes before the divergence of the Anarian migrations. This is evidenced in the certain commonalities, such as an omnipotent creator god and the nature of the afterlife, found between the pre-Orkanan Anario-Jorven religion and Anario-Tharnian monotheism that became Orkanan. The Orkanan Realm nearly eradicated the western Stoldavic Aldsay and their heretical Faith from Stoldavia.

Beliefs

Deity

The Faithful worship a single transcendent creator God, or Æðel in Aedelish and Æthel in Cheltic, most commonly referred to as the Alfaðr in Aedelish. The Alfaðr is the all good, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent father of all people. He is actively interested in human affairs in the same way that a good father has a relationship with his dependent children and cares for their best interests. Because the Alfaðr is perfectly just, no man may witness his full glory and escape judgement. As all men fall short of righteousness, the Alfaðr is only revealed to men indirectly in his creation and through his intermediaries. Some believe that the Alfaðr has on occasion manifest himself in the guise of human flesh. However, his presence and true identity in such instances is not revealed directly.

Creation

All things were created by the Alfaðr. The Alfaðr gave life to all creatures and created a group of angelic beings who serve as guardians of his creation. Svart Freyr, called Villedende, the Deceiver, and greatest of guardians, long sought in vain to steal knowledge of the life giving secret fire. Frustrated, the deceiver rebelled against the Alfaðr and his loyal Guardians. The guardians work to bring order to the universe and the followers of Svart Freyr work to bring chaos. Together these beings form the world's pantheon of false gods.

Scripture

The Faithful's scriptures, known as the Book of Truth (Aedl. Ritningar Trúr, Chel. Bok äv Sannjet), is a collection of books relating the nature of Æðel, his laws, poetic and philosophical works, and prophesy. Content and order of the books varies among different communities of the Faithful.

Clergy

The Faithful recognize a priesthood of all believers with the Alfaðr as chief priest. Their is no mediator between the Alfaðr and the Faithful. This is related to the Faith's transcendental tradition and the corrupting force of institutions.

The republican political structure of modern Aedeland has been heavily influenced by this doctrine. Aedelmenn believe strongly that just as man should rule his own faith, he should rule himself.

Worship

Worship involves community gatherings where religious teachings are shared. Feast days are celebrated to commemorate seasonal and historical events.

In Aedeland, ceremonies are characteristically somber and accompanied by choral music and a pipe organ. Long impassioned lectures about morality and theology are common.

Morality

Morality is the central doctrine of the Faith. Physical and moral purity, particularly female virginity and chastity, are of paramount importance to the Faithful. Religious law forbids false oaths, murder, adultery, theft, false witness, conspiracy, and idolatry. These laws are the basis of Aedeland's legal code. The Faithful are encouraged to pursue virtues: forgiveness, chastity, temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. Charity and service to others is an important precept of the Faith. Many public services are performed by charitable acts of the Faithful, most importantly education.

Although Scriptures command to "forgive your brothers" and forgiveness is foremost among the Faithful virtues, the faithful hold an absolute understanding of morality and literal interpretations of the Scriptures allow harsh attitudes to children, the mentally handicapped, animals, the environment, the divorced, unbelievers, people with various sexual habits, and elderly women.

Sin

While the scriptures of the Faith espouse a strict morality, the Faithful do not hold immorality in and of itself to be sinful. Instead, immorality is the fruit of sin. Moral rules are believed to be for the well being of mankind and reflect the Alfaðr's desire for the best interest of his children. Failure to follow Alfaðr's commandments result in pain, suffering, disease, and death. These evils are not of the Alfaðr's doing. They are mere consequence. As such, the Faith's moral laws are for the benefit of mankind rather than for their condemnation. Sin, on the contrary, is not the failure to obey moral laws, but the failure to trust in the Alfaðr. When man takes matters into his own hands, due to a lack of faith in the Alfaðr, he sins against the Alfaðr and denies his divine providence. The Faithful believe these sins devour the soul. Eventually a life of sin will lead to spiritual death. A person who, through sin, has become dead inside dies with their body and ends their own existence.

Afterlife

According to Scripture, the afterlife exists but is beyond mortal understanding. Most serious theologians will not presume to know the nature of the afterlife. However, popular religious literature has offered several imaginative visions of the afterlife. Most claim Aedeliske (O. Adl. conjugate lit. "God-like" meaning Godly paradise) awaits the Faithful following death. One particularly popular tradition is that the mortal life is only the beginning of a journey of spiritual growth that continues beyond death.

Pilgrimage

As a transcendental religion, no shrines or holy sites are associated with the Faith. According to Scriptures, the faithful are manifestations of the Alfaðr in themselves and should glorify Him by acts of body and spirit. Pilgrimages of service to God and others have been long encouraged. Service monasteries welcome religious pilgrims who devote themselves to the service of the less fortunate. Although criticized by relationist theologists as mild idolatry, sacred groves are also sites of religious pilgrimage as the Scriptures charge the faithful to be stewards of the Alfaðr's creation.

Some adherents of radical relationist theology hold that holy war is a form of pilgrimage. This extremist form of the Faith is most popular in Achilleio.

Doctrine

Transcendental School

The Faithful believe that their God and faith transcends the manifest world. As a result, there is nothing of spiritual value in the material world. Rather, they believe the material world, to include society and its institutions, are corrupting forces working against the spiritual purity of the individual. As such, the Faithful are in this world but not of this world. This worldview has had profound consequences to Aedelish society creating at best a disinterest and at worst a distrust in all things worldly. This includes material possessions, physical pleasures, social organization, and undue concern for physical surroundings.

An ascetic tradition, known as Gangandi has long been embraced as a severe expression of this worldview. The Gangandar live a nomadic life of constant travel. Many walk in excess of fifty miles a day in the wilderness. Some are completely hermetic while others serve as itinerant preachers. Within Aedeland, the Alfaðr is believed to use these holy men to communicate and assist his children. From among these travelers come prophets and philosophers. Furthermore, it is believed that angelic messengers and even the Alfaðr himself manifest themselves in this form. As such, great respect and adoration is given when such men are encountered. Devout adherents to the Faith provide small tokens of support, often in the form of food or hospitality, whenever possible.

Transcendentalism and the corrupting force of institutions was an important force in the development of Aedeland's constitutional structure of checks and balances. As devout followers of the Faith, Aedeland's founding father's belief in the corrupting influence of institutional power fueled the urge to limit state power. As a result of this, the independence of the Faith and the state has long been maintained. The Book of Truth sets up no political or legal system. Though the Faith is the official religion of Aedeland, the faith have no authority over secular affairs nor does government have authority over religious matters.

The transcendental school is the most popular in Aedeland and is advocated in several monastic halls at Aulë. In accordance with their beliefs, the transcendentalist do not attach themselves to any particular institution and the influence of the Gangandi is undoubtably strongest.

Relational School

Relational theology is the dominant doctrine of the Faith. Relational theologist teach that the personal relationship between God and the believer is paramount. Theologians of the Faith recognize that the importation of pagan religious ideas and rituals has occurred in the past. According to relational theology, the Faithful should attempt to distill their beliefs and do away with idolatrous diversions. Relational Theology is most popular in Aedeland's Ælsàssregionen where it was developed.

In many ways, strict adherents to relational theology are at odds with henotheistic traditions within the Faith. Some strict adherents believe that the followers of false gods are in service to angelic powers at war with the Alfaðr and must be destroyed. This world view in its extreme form extends the war in heaven to the material world casting the Faithful as foot soldiers in a religious war. The moderates claim these relationalist are xenophobes who misuse their religion as a cultural propaganda.

Henotheistic School

Though the Faithful distinguish their own God as the true God and in this respect consider themselves a monotheistic religion, the Faith can be interpreted as henotheistic. Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities. Most Faithful do not deny the existence of foriegn deities, who according to their theology are subordinate creations of the Alfaðr.

According to the Faith, the Alfaðr is the creator of all things and he gave the fire of life, similar to Anuric Creative Fire, to all creatures. He created a group of angelic beings who serve as guardians of his creation and these angelic beings have been misinterpreted by other faiths as deities. Henotheistic theologians of the Faith carefully categorize foriegn deities into a complex hierarchy of angelic beings, or lesser powers, that are in the service of or in opposition to the Alfaðr.

Many adherents of this tradition are willing to recognize other religions as another revelation of the Alfaðr's will. In some cases, foreign forms of worship and even foreign theology is embraced. While all believers are generally accepting of the place of lesser powers in the Faith's cosmology, most Faithful denounce the syncretism of the henotheists.

The epicenter of the henotheistic school in Aedeland is the Anuric Hall at Aulë.

Materialist School

The materialist deny the transcendentalist claim that there is nothing of spiritual value in the material world. Instead, the believe that the material world is the purest expression of its creator, the Alfaðr. Most materialist believe that so-called complete mathematics is the key to understanding the divine message in creation. They hold that if we can understand the logic of the designer, then we can unravel his design. At its core followers of the materialist school desire to bring philosophy, religion and science together in a coherent, integrated whole.

Many consider the materialists to be outside of the mainline of the Faith. Within Aedeland, its adherents are a minority primarily concentrated at Luštra.

Relations with Mainline Orkanan

The Faithful consider Orkanan to be a corruption of the true faith and Vind to be a misrepresentation of the Alfaðr. The communal nature of Orkanan has been most severely criticized by the Faithful of Aedeland as a corrupting force. The Faith is the antithesis of Orkanan in nearly every regard. The Faith encourages independence while Orkanan encourages cooperation. The Faithful believe in the transcendence of Aedel, while Orkananist believe in Vind's (empirical) manifestations through nature. The Faithful are distrustful of institutions, while Orkanan religious institutions have a firm grip in worldly affairs. The Faithful believe that the material world is corrupting and transitory, while Orkananist believe nature is conscious and nourishing.

However, similarities do exist. Both are monotheistic. The Faithful and the Orkanist Mellanhand congregations share a belief in predestination. Orkanist Sno and Ra are similar to the Faithful's angelic beings.

Personal tools