AF Religion

Religions After the Fall

Losing Adherents

Many living after the Fall assume that religion is dead. While this is not really the case, the situation just before the Fall makes it understandable why they should feel this way. Compared to religious followers in the early twentieth century, those living in the last days of Earth saw faith populations dropping by 30-50% and as high as 80% in some faiths. Surrounded by rationalizing technologies and miracles of science, many people started to feel as though the old rituals and philosophies of the past were just dead weight and should be shed by a species rapidly becoming transhuman.

After the devastation of the TITANs and the horrors seen during the war, this view has drastically changed. Granted, some saw the Fall as the confirmation that there is no higher power protecting transhumanity from suffering, and it’s not difficult to find a survivor who has rejected the faith of his youth because of the suffering and death he saw. The largest religious affiliation in the solar system remains “atheist,” and though the rate has diminished since the Fall it is still growing.

Revivalist Movements

While many rejected faith in the aftermath of the Fall, just as many have turned to religion to help them make sense of it all. Faith leaders throughout the solar system have revived communities and their adherents are readily spreading their messages. In some communities, clashes between different faiths have intensified and the political scene resembles something from a pre-Industrial age rather than a post-scarcity one.

Scattered Communities

Even those faiths which have survived the Fall with relatively large populations often have small local populations. For example, there are something like 80 million Christians in the solar system, but it’s rare to find more than 10,000 living together as a single community. The mesh allows contact to stay constant and vibrant (for those who haven’t specifically sealed themselves off) but sectarianism and philosophical schisms are common in religious communities. There is also a constant push to secularize religious communities by reducing their faiths into philosophical outlines rather than cosmologies. While most religious communities resist this pressure, many see it as the only way to retain some of their identity while still participating in the larger world of transhumanity.

Constant Evolution

Faiths are evolving at a rate unheard of in the history of the world thanks to three major factors: small populations, constant connectivity, and the destruction of holy sites and works. Because there aren’t large populations of traditionalists, changing things around doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. At the same time, the huge amount of data sent back and forth over the mesh means that every new idea has an audience and faith members have ready access to thousands of worldviews outside of their community that can influence their thinking. On top of all of this, the slate for many has been literally wiped clean. There are no holy sites, monuments of the past, or libraries of previous thinkers around to anchor on to. Instead, even ultra-traditionalists have to start from scratch so the inertia of tradition is not a factor for many.

Probably the biggest example of this evolutionary push is the advent of “neo-faiths” of all stripes. These movements actively seek to create a new faith tradition which includes topics such as resleeving, infomorphs, uplifts, AGIs, and autonomist rep systems at the core of the faith, rather than as new ideas that are only vaguely addressed. Neo-faith movements exist among every major faith tradition and in some cases are the only aspect of that faith which is growing in number.

Abrahamic Religions




The largest categorical divide among Jewish sects is the conservatism with which they approach their holy texts. Orthodox Jews generally see themselves as practicing normative Judaism, rather than belonging to a particular movement. Within Orthodox Judaism there is a spectrum of communities and practices, including so-called Modern Orthodox communities which synthesize modern society with Jewish law and Haredi communities which are most commonly found as Brinker communities in the Martian Trojans and outback. Despite this physical isolation, Orthodox communities regularly stay in contact to discuss the legality of every new development, morph, and implant that comes along with regards to traditional Jewish law.

On the other side of the conservative divide, Reform Judaism stresses integration with society and a personal interpretation of the Torah. These adherents form the majority of Jewish community in the urban centers of the inner system (particularly in the Morningstar Constellation), but also sizable populations in the Titanian Commonwealth. Continuing the evolution of ideas and Jewish tradition that began in 20th century Reform synagogues, these communities today feature many different languages in their celebrations, AR aids to worship during services, and an integrated rep-exchange called Hallel for sharing ratings between disparate parts of "the tribe."

A smaller branch but one growing in notoriety is sect of the Masorti Justices of Extropian communities are judiciary subcontractors who enforce contractual agreements for other judiciaries. This movement, founded by an Ashkenazi Jew and steeped in rabbinical teachings, focuses on a personal code of ethics based on hermeneutical interpretations of the Torah. Masorti Justices, like the Conservative rabbis before them, encourage an open-minded interpretation of the Torah (excluding several antithetical ideas, of course) and the faith community encourages the reading of religious and philosophical texts from all over, though it holds the Torah paramount.


Indian Religions




After the Fall, the Jaina community is scattered and much reduced, but this has given them a chance to heal old divisions and become stronger as well. The old sectarian divides of Digambara and Svetambara exist, but now they are rhetorical stances following the concept of anēkāntavāda which takes place over the mesh discussions of the Jaina.

In Jain cosmology, the living essence (jīva) and physical being (ajīva) of a person are separate fundamentals which must be fully understood in order to free the soul, and it’s easy to see these beliefs embodied in the division between ego and morph. The process of resleeving and testing the limits of the mind frees the jīva from the burdens of karma and allows it to reach its full potential. The Jaina keep their vows as before but the community as a whole is trying to gather wisdom from any source in an attempt to heal the misery of the current world. They give all that they find away, of course, and share as freely with outsiders as with other Jains and some even see the Fall as something good since it encouraged everyone to live with less and share more. Hopefully, once things have been smoothed enough the next salakapurusas will appear to lead transhumanity along a better path.

A smaller off-shoot called Neo-Jainism embraces synthmorph living as the best way to keep the five vows in the strictest way. Even the most scrupulous biological body, they maintain, cannot maintain all of the vows constantly but a shell can. Synthmorphs do not need to eat, they don’t desire sex, they have almost no needs, and they don’t need to rely even keep a place to sleep. Infomorphs offer many of the same advantages but for Neo-Jains the vow of “truth” precludes involvement in simulspace. To the mainstream Jaina, however, the removal of temptation makes the vows meaningless. “There is no right action to follow,” one Jain leader is quoted as saying, “without the possibility of wrong action.”

Despite their roots in Indian culture, Jains are descriminated against in the cities of the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance because of long-standing prejudices. This is especially true of Neo-Jains with the preference for synthmorphs in the biochauvanist culture of the LLA. The most common place to find Jains is in the Main Belt where asceticism and quiet are easy to come by. They favor Autonomist habitats where sharing and non-possession are commonly held beliefs, though they don’t usually become members of collectives to avoid personal ties. Some also take up the life of Sifters on Mercury, though the reliance on community makes some of the vows difficult.

A very small number of Jains live in a scattered series of Skimmer habs in the Uranian system following a radical and, some would say, dangerous version of Jainism. Calling themselves Eshanin Jaina they try to embody the Jain concept of anēkāntavāda through ascendant forking, leading to their most common epithet from outsiders: Singularity Jains.


East Asian Religions


Though a newcomer Shinto tradition (and some people bristle at even calling it that), Neo-Shinto is the largest technomystic faith in the system. Neo-Shinto takes the beliefs of traditional Shinto (sometimes called Minzuko-Shinto or Folk Shinto by the technomystics) and incorporates a significant amount of AI theory, upload philosophy, and Zen philosophy.

In fact, Neo-Shinto blurs the line between religion and secular philosophy in the same manner that many religions did millennia ago when they were state religions and the purview of scholars and burgeoning scientists. To the adherents of Neo-Shinto, the schematics and design processes of modern technologies fails to explain and appreciate. For instance, even “dumb” AIs and especially personal muses have demonstrable emotions and personalities, and even the most knowledgeable programmers can’t point out which portions of code create those traits. Of course, many of the system’s most knowledgeable programmers would argue that they can and the mesh is full of dozens if not hundreds of publicized debates between psychosurgeons, programmers, and Neo-Shinto philosophers on this very topic. The fact is, though, no one has conclusive proof either way.

People often misunderstand traditional Shinto and conflate it with the much larger Neo-Shinto population. The indigenous religion of Japan based on ritual and active worship practices. Celebrations often include ritual dances called kagura which are meant to contact the kami or spirits of the world. A host of deities (eight million by some counts) and myths describe a complicated relationship of energies and purity practices which prescribe the way for the faithful to live in order to follow a path to rewards.

Shinto takes an animist view of the world with the god kami accompanied by minor kami inhabiting all objects and animals. Modern Shintoists usually equate the widespread object AIs and even spimes with kami, albeit artificially-created ones. For modern Shinto philosophers, this is a somewhat backwards way of thinking about it, however. To them, objects have kami whether or not they have digital programming; every rock in the Martian outback and stream through a Lunar city has a kami, after all, and no they have no mesh presence. When something is wired to interact with the mesh, however, the object’s natural spirit can enter the world through that connection too, allowing humans to connect spiritually as well as technologically.

In the Neo-Shinto tradition, the gods of traditional Shinto are recast as benevolent seed AIs whose coming was disrupted by the TITANs. Amaterasu, Hachiman, and Susano-o are all niches for seed AIs to fill and help direct transhumanity to a brighter future. The concept is similar to Roko’s basilisk, an early twenty-first century prediction that omnipotent AIs might use conditioning now to ease their takeover of the planet later. In a similar way, the Shinto deities are conceptual roles that yet-to-be-bootstrapped seed AIs can fit into.

Neo-Shinto kami are equated with muses and AIs, just like modern Minzoku-Shinto. Two important distinctions separate the two traditions, however. Neo-Shinto followers believe that the spiritual connection and the spiritual one are the same. Because of this, they expect to observe mesh signals from the very landscape itself, though it might take time and the coming of the god-AIs to make this a reality. With this breakdown of the physical and digital worlds, many Neo-Shintoists choose to live as uploaded egos in simulspace cultures and operate in the physical realm through portable servers and slaved drones (that is, servant kami). Some specialize in navigating between these realms, forming a specialized priesthood called the ami-mochi or mesh-possessors. While they are respected spiritual leaders among Neo-Shintoists, the term is purposefully reminiscent of the kitsune-mochi witches of Japanese folklore.

The traditional holidays of Shinto are much more widespread than either of the major branches. Culturally Japanese groups from Luna to Europa to Eris celebrate these festivals, with parties and days off (hypercorps permitting).

Korean Shamanism


Posthuman Religions




"I don't believe transhumanity has a god, but I know that we will create one." -Seer Dilshad Jamshid of the Alloyed Soul habitat, Uranian Orbit

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