Religion

From the Scouts world book:

With the cataclysm, religion changed. Or to be more exact, religion started changing the moment the structures appeared. Christians believed that the second coming of Messiah was just around the corner, the Muslims believed this indicated the appearance of the Mahdi, the Jews believed we were at the stepping stones of the Messianic Era. No matter what your religion was, you believed that we were at the gates of end of time, the restart of time, or whatever myth their religion has about the change of an era.

Sects dedicated to the different structures popped up. People went on pilgrimage to these sometimes horrible, sometimes magnificent structures. And they all saw something different.

The cataclysm changed everything. Many religious people saw it as the rupture happening, without them being allowed a place in heaven. Others felt that it strengthened their beliefs as they were deemed strong enough to endure the new, harsh world in the service of their god. What is certain is that many went to extremes to explain what had happened within their understanding of religion. Others saw the attack as demonic, blaming the forces of darkness for the end of the world.

In the early years, there were a plethora of different explanations. With time, some schools of thought started winning, and we have ended up with a couple of indicators to differentiate and classify the different movements.

The Magic and Mutant Question

The question of magic and mutants is one of the major ones among the religious. And it is one where the different movements are most polar opposites. Most of the major movements are anti magic and mutants, with the Witch Hunters as one of the major groupings. The orientation on this question tend to affect the side taken in many of the other questions.

Diets

Some foods are inherently bad. At least if you ask some. Some religious groups swear by vegetarianism or full blown vegans. Other groups have issues with one or more forms of meat (most often pork or beef), or only eat meat that has been "properly" slaughtered. Others again shun processed foods. While some swear off the consumption of fats, sugar, and/or gluten.

What to do to heathens

The non-believers or wrong-believers have always been an issue in religion, and it stays that way to this day. The different groups tend to consider everyone not believing the same as themselves as heathens. And as with any other question, the solution differs greatly. Some are content to let others believe what they will, while others preach far and wide in an attempt to unite the world behind their specific vision of heaven. Some blame the heathens for the cataclysm, others limit the blame to a specific group (devil worshipers, conservatives, atheists, zionists, liberals).

These are just tastes of the different classifications.

Recognizing a cult

For the travelling scout, it is vital to have some idea of what you are dealing with before approaching a religious group. Your trail rations, your choice of weapon, and your clothing could all mark you for death in the more hardline groups. If possible, consult with scouts who have already been in touch with the group. Your fellows are a wealth of information, and there is no sense in you repeating their mistakes.

Observe the group from a distance. Are they limited in demographic? Some groups limit the activities of one or more genders, other consider those of another ethnicity to be sinners by default. Do they appear to wear some sort of uniform, or a common theme in clothing? Some groups ban the mixing of leather and cloth, others see it as a great shame to wear something made after or before the cataclysm. Some identify themselves by color; white is especially common as the mark of the pure, while a solemn black may represent grief for the world that was lost.

Look especially for the symbol of a hand or a glove or similar. This symbol traces its roots to a Witch Hunter group from around year 6 AC. It's hard to say what the original meaning of the symbol was. Second hand accounts (no pun intended) have suggested everything from the Helping Hand of the divine, to the hand of Pontius Pilate washed clean after passing judgement on the sinners. Today the hand is used by a wide variety of cults across the lands of France. They tend to be anti-mutant and anti-mage, but otherwise willing to be civil with strangers.

Note also how the hand is positioned:

  • The closed fist tend to be militaristic and attackers of their opponents.
  • The open hand, with all fingers up, palm out in a kind of stopping gesture tend to be threatening and missionaries, but not violent.
  • The greeting hand, with the hand horizontal in a greeting gesture tend to be hardworking, attempting to convert you through their actions rather than rhetoric.
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