Have You Ever Created a Religion?

L. Ron Hubbard created a religion. He made a fortune off of it. He was a science fiction author. Like any new religions, it’s highly controversial. But what about in fiction?

It’s quite common for fantasy authors to create religions for their worlds. Since they are totally original worlds that usually have no link to our world, their religions are extremely likely to also be original. The author has complete creative control over the religions, and can make them as conventional, bizarre, or extreme as they like. And they’ll often form the basis of the world’s culture, magic system, and even interfere with what happens in the world.

In science fiction, real religions are already available, but over time, religions tend to change or branch off into cults or new denominations. It’s happened in the past, and it’ll happen in the future. Many of the science fiction novels I’ve read deal with religion of the future extensively (Hyperion with Christianity, Reality Dysfunction with multiple religions, and Dune with its far future mix of Buddhism and Islam).

What I’m doing with Ariadne is no different. There are three religions I have already created: a form of militant fundamentalist Christianity, a kind of mix of Christianity and Neo-Paganism, and something entirely new that develops out of an obsession with Earth.

Have you ever created a religion?

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4 thoughts on “Have You Ever Created a Religion?”

  1. A created religion is actually one of the major building blocks of my Mendaihu universe! 😉
    It was a lot of fun coming up with the details and the rules, but there were a few tough parts — making the rules logical and consistent, and when they’re partially based on real religions (there’s equal parts Shinto, Buddhist, New Age and others here), to make sure I’m using them reverently and not just appropriating.
    Which reminds me, I really should talk more about my created religion on my book blog. Thanks for the reminder! :p

  2. I have a pantheon for my main project-world, with a lot of little sects and variations between (and sometimes within) the individual gods’ followings. I also have a weird setup with my second project-world, wherein there are tons of entities that the regional natives called gods, and which have some god-like powers, but which in the current age have themselves been touched by a higher power and have been converting each other to the following of the Unknowable God. Some by reason and some by force. Whether or not their human worshipers follow them as they join this tiered system of divinity is somewhat up in the air.

    1. Very interesting. One project I have for the future is a world in which there are several gods, but three of them go through a birth and rebirth cycle to continuously evaluate the people who live in the world. They grow up normally, but when they reach adulthood, their memories return to them gradually and they have to make their way to the main temple to communicate their findings with the main god.

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