Global Collaboration: A simple Christic Religion Proposal

Posted by Alessa on 26 October 2016 in English (English)

Hello, everyone.

I have been doing a lot of reading about other people's countries and creations. I love that there are so many clever and unique things on the site. I thought I'd offer a proposal to enhance cooperation among everyone a bit while providing a possible starting point for future endeavors. My proposal is about the structure (not origins) of the Christic faith in this universe. First, I recognize that nothing stirs the pot more than religion, so I wade into this very carefully. I offer this idea as a means of allowing a lot of flexibility into what we currently have and looking forward to what might evolve. I also know that there are strong opinions about this.

Currently, there are two claimants to the "Catholic" Papacy: Peritan City (essentially a Vatican-like state surrounded by Darcodia), and St. Richards, Pretany. Peritan City does not have a history online, but I'd assume that the intent was something akin to our RW situation with the Vatican. The papacy in St. Richards is said to have been founded in 1373 or 1378, depending on the page, and helped the spread of the Christic movement via the Nortian Clearances. (Side note: the Nortian Clearances would have had to happen much earlier, as was acknowledged on the talk page; this might effect the date of the papacy being established there.) The catholic claimants don't address other Christic branches, such the Elekan branch of Egani (seems like RW Eastern Orthodox), Maurit Orthodoxy in Mauretia (RW Coptic/Oriental Orthodox), or other places (RW Protestantism). Of course, another issue to be considered is the breadth of the Christic faith across Uletha and the diverse ways each country was founded--not just the different branches.

In an effort to not pin things down too much, my proposal is summed up as this:

  • We backdate the formation of Christic episcopal structure to somewhere in the late 1st or early 2nd century. I don't suggest we pin the date down exactly. It should be open-ended depending on how the origins of the Christic movement may evolve going forward.

  • We establish a group of patriarchs, akin to the original RW idea of the Pentarchy, from which different branches could evolve and explain the spread of the religion's branches across the entire continent.

  • Protestant branches of the Christic movement can be subsumed into two factions: under a patriarch of their own (like episcopal denominations such as Anglican and Lutheran), or anti-patriarchy (like Baptist and Evangelical churches that mostly use congregational polity).

Therefore, if we were to establish a Pentarchy (or, as it can be easily modified or amended in this universe to be a hexarchy or heptarchy), there are some easy places where there could be a claimant. They are as follows:

  • St. Richards (current papal claimant, possibly akin to RW Avignon?)

  • Peritan City (current papal claimant, possibly akin to RW Rome)

  • Tangia, Mauretia (Oriental patriarchy akin to RW Alexandria)

  • Tillia, Egani ("Elekan" patriarchy: Orthodox patriarchy akin to RW Constantinople)

  • There is room for more claimants of a different patriarchy, so long as the integrity of the Christic faith is left unchallenged. I am trusting that full-out theological debates don't have to be incurred.

In all, very little actually changes. This is more to compose a system that fits the proposed histories and cultures.

I see some following benefits to this type of a system. First, the structure of patriarchs provides a structure that is akin to the RW structure of the church and can bring otherwise schismatic groups together to some degree. Second, while there would be the expectation that the patriarchs would try to keep the faith sound, there would be competing interests. The theological differences between RW Coptic Christianity and Catholic Christianity would invariably exist between Tangia and Peritan City. This could help foster backdrops for future conflicts, cultural alignments, inter-governmental sympathies, etc. Perhaps the patriarch of Tillia might be more amenable to Tangia; maybe the competing factions of St. Richards and Peritan City might divide more "catholic" countries among alignments. I think it could be a good springboard for future dialogue while providing an in-universe explanation for the multiple-claimant and multiple-denomination system. Plus, with a fluid user-base, I don't think it's wise to pin things down too tightly in the event new users come and old users go.

All said, I welcome discussion on this system. I have this proposal in a sandbox page on the wiki, whereupon we can debate further.

Comment from Yuanls on 26 October 2016 at 21:35

I have little to say on this as I have no religious affiliation and little historical knowledge about this stuff. What I can say is that religion is one large and complex topic, which may prove hard to replicate on OGF.

What I can say is that because Glaster and Agarderia is close in proximity to Darcodia, I may have to slightly rethink the religious composition of the country. Currently statistics are around 70% atheist or agnostic and the other 30% mostly protestant Christic. The former statistic would be much lower if I had enough knowledge, more motivation and frankly less religious bias to create a religion or sub-religion for Glaster. It is entirely possible to turn more Glastians Christian or Catholic, but it depends because South Glaster was an Ingerish colony until 1979.

Any other thoughts on this?

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Comment from Demuth on 27 October 2016 at 11:26

Interesting proposition. Like Yuanls, I haven't been super involved in all these religion discussions. I like your Pentatarch (or Hexarch or Septarch, etc.) idea though. As you said, it seems to be pretty flexible but still provides some kind of structure. I'm not sure where the Wiwaxians would land, but they are in fact majority secular humanists with only a small percentage belonging to "the church." A church that I've never described in more detail than that.

Østermark. on the other hand, I imagine as being a fairly religious culture. I haven't figured out what religion yet, but I wanted to somehow combine RW Christianity with some version of a folk religion perhaps similar to the RW pre-Christian Norse religion, with the old gods turned into saints, something along those lines. I haven't quite pinned it down. But it will be interesting to see how this might fit into the pentarch system.

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Comment from Luciano on 29 October 2016 at 00:07

My two main concerns about the proposal are

1) whatever framework is put in place, in needs to preserve conceptual "spots" for future comers to the OGF project. I would hope that we could create something sufficiently open-ended or flexible such that later arrivals would not feel "boxed in" or "limited" by constraints decided upon before they joined the project. I'm not sure how to do this, exactly, but anything that sets up a fixed number of e.g. patriarchs feels limiting to me.

2) some users (i.e. me!) have invested a huge amount of energy in forging alternate-world terminology, such as "Ortholic" (ortólico), etc. If a new framework is adopted that requires changing that terminology, that would be quite annoying. I would be willing to bet I have more than 2000 entities (churches, schools, etc.) bearing those terms in my mapped areas. Thus, if a terminological system is adopted that would require change, I for one would be likely to boycott the project and "go my own route" - which is a regrettable outcome from a global coherency viewpoint, but has already been an ongoing issue with respect to other aspects of the project, e.g. linguistic issues and users refusing to agree on single-origin logical locations for languages, etc., which is why I gave up participating in language pages in OGF for the most part. I would predict that any effort to impose coherency on the religion picture will end up similarly.

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Comment from Luciano on 29 October 2016 at 00:34

I feel like I should clarify my point (1) above a bit more. I understand the point of the original post is precisely the kind of flexibility I'm also advocating. My concern is, rather, with the idea that not all churches even have anything to do with patriarchs of any kind - e.g. the entire post-reformation northwest of Europe and their colonies. There is no "patriarch" in Anglican/Luthern/Baptist/Pentecostal/Methodist/etc/etc traditions, yet these people account for half of the real world's christians. The above framework neglects this aspect. Where is/was the OGF reformation, and how does it fit in?

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Comment from Ūdilugbulgidħū on 29 October 2016 at 11:50

It seems to me that this is a good proposal to develop some basics of a Christian-parallel religion. But my question would be: why do you want to do this? Some ideas have already been outlined, as Luciano says. For example, I've also been using 'Ortholic' - as well as 'Christic' and 'Sacramentalist'. I haven't developed what these terms actually mean, but they seem to be the most developed concepts in previous discussions and it seemed counter-productive to ignore them. But sure, you can have as many patriarchs as you want; not all Christic denominations will adhere to them, and probably more factions, perhaps even more popes, will arise.

It would be great if a framework could be put in place, but how can this happen? The concept of OGF is that users have freedom to interpret 'verisimilitude' however they want to. There is no obligation to fit in with what other users do. Users can and do use real world names for places, people and religions. Sure, you can get some countries to collaborate on some things (and some of these developments have been great) but it doesn't fit into a coherent whole. See for example this previous diary entry. Personally, if you want to develop Christicism, I think you need to start with the basics: work out who the Christ figure was, where and when the events leading to the religion happened. Where and when did schisms and 'reformations' happen? That way you would have something people could either get on board with - or ignore, as some will anyway. And when a good proportion of people aren't going to interact anyway, why try and get consensus? But perhaps you are more looking to summarise the things people have already done?

The problem with a structure that allows total freedom to develop countries is that there is no obligation whatsoever to fit into what other users have already developed or proposed. It can be, and often is, ignored. In fact, OGF is not a collaborative project to build a coherent world, and it never will be unless some major changes are introduced - which looks unlikely.

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Comment from Alessa on 29 October 2016 at 13:16

Thank you all for the input! I'm going to try and respond to a few of the points just to clarify and reinforce some things.

First about naming conventions: I think it is perfectly reasonable to have apprehension about any possible naming that conflicts with what a user has already put into place. (I've intentionally left it out of my mapping for this reason thus far.) That said, this proposal is not about putting forth exact names; the point was to outline a possible system that reconciled different claimants to be a head of the Christic movement (St. Richards and Peritan City) while providing for a way of different nations to express how their version of the religion falls. I've seen the other name proposals and think they are perfectly fine. They simply did not fall within the purview of my explanation, because they are not the terms used on the pages of the three branches I focused on. "Catholic" and "Elekan" are used on the pages of the three heads listed above, so that's why they're the only ones mentioned apart from what Mauretia does. Perhaps I should have been clearer about my deflection away from naming conventions. That's for the community to decide--not me--and there's already good proposals out there. If the community decides to pursue this idea, then the naming issue of each branch needs to be discussed more clearly. It's a worthy conversation, and I'm open to being apart of it.

Of course, as Udi points out, this is not a collaborative world-creation project. And, I don't think it should be! Personally, that's one of the things I love about this project. It's flexible. I, or anyone, can be as involved in collaboration as desired. That's one of the reasons I have not delved into the origins of the religion. Why would we force someone to adhere to the details of how a religion formed if it is not something they created uniquely for their own country? Not only that, since religion is often times a touchy subject, I thought it best not to cause problems by stating from who and where the religion was founded. Who would respect it if country X, country Y, and country Z all claimed to have had the true Christ? Again, my avoidance of the origins is very intentional. The point was to try and reconcile some differences that presently exist while providing a framework for those that wish to be a part of it.

This leads me to a point I should have explained better in my original post: Just as RW Protestant and Evangelical groups do not adhere to such an episcopal structure, branches of the Christic movement in this world can outright reject or ignore the patriarchy as the author so pleases. I'm sorry that I did not make this clearer. So, if a user doesn't happen to find something that fits his work, he can simply reject it. I firmly believe we as a collective should not define a series of Reformation-like events. If someone wants to have their branch of Christicism be like RW Baptists, they can simply pick a point in history as they so choose and say that their branch of the religion is independent of the patriarchy. Again, that's the flexibility I'm trying to purport. This has three benefits: (1) Users can choose to fit into the system as much or as little as they would want; (2) the patriarchy could expand and contract as the collective sees fit; (3) since not all patriarchs are going to be cooperative with each other at all times, and some groups will reject the patriarchy, it breeds possible religious conflict that some users have been wanting as a backdrop for wars and other issues.

All that said, I'm not wedded to the idea of doing this. If people feel it's a good idea, that's fine. If not, that's fine too. I just thought it would be an interesting way to explain the current state of things, while not pigeon-holing us into a rigid system to which new users have to adhere. I should state that my biggest fear was that this would evolve into something too complicated and becomes inflexible. So, it makes me happy that the response is affirming the type of flexibility that I hope would come out of any system--accepted or not.

I appreciate the feedback, and look forward to hearing more about what everyone thinks! Have a great day!

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