1. Zieki
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    Zieki Member

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    Creating a believable religion

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Zieki, May 28, 2009.

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this (feel free to move it if need be). In the story I'm working on (fantasy) I want to make a religious institution that is both believable and somewhat realistic without having to use already established religions. I would like for faith and religion to have a semi-big role in my story but I'm not sure how to begin going about creating a new religion. Any advice? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    Study some real world religions- both those presently active and ancient. If possible, speak with someone in your area that's knowledgeable on different faiths- I've found for instance that many priests love to discuss their religion. The more you research religions, get a feel for how holy texts are written, how they are perceived culturally and how the members of different religions perceive their role in society, the better able you'll be to create and insert a believable religion into your story.
     
  3. wiggons
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    wiggons Member

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    I agree with Agreen, but also think of a religion in context of the story. The history of your story is very important but the thing is that not every REAL religion is believeable and realistic.
    Just look at how many religions are out there- not everyone belives them so a religion in itself cant be universally realistic.

    Wow what a load of rubbish. Hope that helps,
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    The other things to do is, while you're researching religions, take qualities from a variety of religions that might fit together, but are not necessarily a part of the same well-known faith so that it does look like your own, and not just a rehashing of one that does exist and is well-known. I think it would be interesting to see someone make use of faiths from American First Nations.
     
  5. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    any thing could be a religon, even Jedi is classed as a religon now just think:

    do they worship someone/thing E.G Gog
    do they stick to rules of some kind E.G 10 commandments
    do they have a book/scroll they follow E.G bible
     
  6. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Make it as internally consistent as possible. The major purpose of religion is to provide a stable moral code and perspective, so even if it doesn't have any basis in reality it needs to work smoothly with itself at the practical level, unless you want to include things like schisms in the story. A good way to tell if it is consistent enough is if you are able to use the basic rules of the religion to answer moral questions that aren't directly dealt with by the doctrine. "If X is wrong because of Rule Y and M is right because of Rule O then you should take action Z in situation A because of Rules Y and O." Of course, as long as I'm comparing complex belief systems to math, it's mostly akin to statistics, there's room for fudge factor and you can make it say whatever you want under the right circumstances.
     
  7. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're talking about the England and Wales census (we have our own), then it isn't. The people who answered Jedi were counted as people who did not specify their faith.

    But when inventing a religion, I take elements from reconstructed religions (Gaelic paganism and Norse paganism) and mix them. For instance, triple goddesses and elves, from Gaelic and Norse religion, respectively. No-one will actually know, so don't worry about being called unoriginal.
     
  8. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    It's not that difficult... is it monotheistic or polytheistic? Is Dualism a doctrine of your faith? If it is, who are the bad god(s) and the good god(s)? Those who preach about this religion, how are they called? What do they need to become preachers? Where do they celebrate their religious ceremonies? How important is this religion to the world? Is it official or is it forbidden? Is there an afterlife? Are there some kind of moral codes? If so, what do they dictate? Who leads this religion? Are there specific rules for those who practice it?

    These are some question I hope will help. Good luck! :D
     
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  9. Anir
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    Anir Senior Member

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    Just try to figure out how you want it to work: Is there more than one god? If so, do the multiple gods oppose each other? Is there mythology about the god/gods? Is there a holy text? Are there temples dedicated to the god/gods? What sort of religion is it, a religion of peace, a religion of war, or a religion of sacrifice?

    I found that answering these questions helped me create my own religion in one of my stories. Another thing you can do is look at existing religions and see what they have in their beliefs that you could integrate into your religion.
     
  10. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is a difference between officially recognized religion and the existence of it. Jedi philosophies are inspired by existing faiths.
     
  11. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    all i know is if a certain persentage of the population (not quite sure how much) put a certain thing such ad jedi on the census it is then classed as a religon.
     
  12. OrdinaryJoe
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    OrdinaryJoe Member

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    Well if all these suggestions do not help, you can always channel the ghost of L. Ron Hubbard. I mean look at him, he made up his own religion.;)
     
  13. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    He only claimed it was a religion so he wouldn't have to pay taxes. Eventually, the IRS caught on that he was interested in profit, which disqualified him from that.
     
  14. Diviance
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    Diviance Member

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    Don't overcomplicate it, i tried the same thing and quickly i had pretty much written my own bible.

    A religion generally is there to explain several things;

    The creation of the universe.
    The creation of man.
    It guides a person's moral compass.
    It explains the afterlife.
    It judges by the standards of the religion itself.

    Hope it helps.
     

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