Happy, Merry, Blessed, …to All.
At a time in our culture, when people seem to be arguing more over what to say or how to celebrate via one religion or another rather than using this common month of celebration to come together in love and honest joy, I find myself reflecting on a little mentioned fact about my fictional world, Jorthus.
In its original conception, I wanted to make Jorthus a world without any specific religion. I wanted the conflicts and intrigue to be based in the political or social arenas, without bias or the convenient cover-ups for wars, prejudices, or strife. Looking back over the history of our own world as a mirror, I tried to imagine what it would be like to not use a deity or the fear of damnation as motivation for the masses and thus allow a more honest rivalry between the cultures on the fictional world. Imagine the leaders of one kingdom saying, quite plainly, that they are declaring war on this other nation because of land rights, resources, or money; instead of their religion is a threat to life as they know it?
Well, as the characters, plots, and city-cultures developed and emerged, a certain morality did begin to form; and with it the prejudices, intrigues, and devices did begin to fall into place–rather organically, actually. The faith and spirituality of the characters–reflected from the culture around them–seemed inherent to their personalities and could not be ignored, but neither do they let their faiths define them. I did not want the theology to be a way of manipulating. Because, after all, religion is indeed a magnificent tool to control the masses by playing upon individual’s belief systems and, therefore, their faith and fears(as our world leaders are well aware).
I found that it was somewhat necessary to put into place a form of spirituality, guidelines as it were, so that the reactions or motivations of the characters would not be left arbitrary or unexplained. But, still, I was reluctant to carve out rigid religious dogmas for my new world, as it would be necessary in later stories to see Jorthus’ lack of religious prejudice in contrast to the overly zealous, one faith world of Gerrellus.
So, looking at it as it develops within the lines of the plot, Jorthus turned out to be not the “religion-free” world that I had originally intended, but rather a somewhat spiritual “free-zone” where several faiths can coexist without undue oppression or strife. The conflicts between ideologies remain on the level of individuals, not nations or cultural pride.
Can there be a perfect world? I don’t know, but I still hope and like to imagine that one can be created–whether “out there” or within ourselves.
This was just a thought that struck me this morning, and I thought that I would share it.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL, and to all a good night! 🙂