Monday, 1 May 2017

Fictional Religions And Philosophies

Copied from here (and see combox):

In fictional works by Poul Anderson, we read about:

the Cosmic religion
Jerusalem Catholicism
the Ythrian New Faith
Ishtarian religion
Veleda's myth
the Johannine Church

SM Stirling presents the Anglo-Indian religion of the Angrezi Raj, the debased cult of the Peacock Angel (see here and here), a Theosophical "Church Universal and Triumphant" and a Wicca that is more neo- than pagan (see combox here).

Robert Heinlein presents the Angels of the Lord, the Fosterite Church of the New Revelation (for both of these, see here) and a new Martian religion.

In at least two of these cases, Cosmenosis and Wicca, it is possible to get into discussing whether these are viable world-views. Do the Wiccan Gods literally exist in this alternative history of Stirling's? A "Son of God" is a divine agent. "The Sword of the Lady" would be also.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I've already commented about this blog piece of yours elsewhere, in the section called "Religion and Philosophy." But a few more comments seems appropriate.

I have never found Heinlein's attempts at inventing fictional religions meant to be taken seriously in the stories they appeared in at all convincing. The Fosterite Church seems more to be a parody of southern US Protestantism and the religion set up by Michael Valentine Smith in STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND too absurd to be given any serious thought.

The only fictional religion created by Heinlein which I considered actually interesting was the fake religion set up by an underground US resistance movement after the country had been conquered and occupied by an Asiatic Empire in SIXTH COLUMN.

The Cosmenosism invented by Poul Anderson and seen in THE DAY OF THEIR RETURN was, of course, discredited from it being a front and tool used by Merseia in an attempt to trigger a jihad within the Terran Empire that would shatter it. As for its theology, if that word can be used, I simply don't believe in either pantheism or that intelligent races can become "God." I remember Commissioner Desai commenting near the end of TDOTR that Aycharaych insinuated contradictions within Cosmenosism. That is, is God the Creator or the Created? In order to foment splits, secessions, heresies, etc., within it.

Nor do I think Wiccaism can be taken on philosophical terms. Because it seems to be merely a milder form of the Theosophical CUT. After all, the founder of modern neo-paganism, Gerald Gardner, took many of his ideas from the Theosophy of Madame Blavatsky.

As for the question of whether, for the purposes of Stirling's Emberverse books, we should consider the Wiccan gods to be real, I still would say no. Because the Wiccan gods are not truly gods, transcendent and separate from a created world, but merely immanent in it.