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Basic Information

A religion is a set of beliefs and practices often revolving around morality or supernatural elements. Some authorities would suggest that a religion requires the veneration of deities to elevate it above mere philosophy, but given that there are real world instances of the "religion" slot being filled by something without gods in it, such things are included here for administrative purposes. There are also different ideas of what constitutes a god, from the personified, omnipotent deities of most monotheisms to things that are little more than high ranking spirits - including some very inchoate or disinterested things that attract speculative or aspirant worship nonetheless. Some religions place strict barriers between the divine and the mortal, in others powerful mortals may undergo promotion to divinity or at least be granted quasi-divine powers as an agent or intermediary.

This article is mostly about religious beliefs and practices. See the separate entries for religious organizations and religious texts. Thematically, see also religion tropes for the use of religion in plot.

For aspects of non-real world religions see fantasy religions.

Categories of Religion

(Indicative list, by approximate number of entities venerated)

  • Atheism - "There are no gods, nothing supernatural."
  • Agnosticism - "I am unsure as to whether there are any gods or not"
    • Strong agnosticism - "Whether there are any gods or not is not only unknown, but unknowable"
  • Apatheism - "Whether or not there are gods is not important"
    • Faitheism - "It's important to worship the gods, even if they don't exist"
  • Ignosticism - "'God' is a vague and not useful term"
    • Strong ignosticism - "'God' is not a meaningfully definable term"
  • Monism - "The divine is everywhere and in everything - the idea of separation from the divine is an illusion"
    • Teotl - The Aztec interpretation of this concept
  • Antitheism - "The gods exist, but that doesn't mean I'm going to worship them"
  • Maltheism - "There are gods, and they are evil. I may, or may not, still need to worship them."
  • Deism - "There are gods, but they do not currently influence the world. It may, or may not, be important to worship them."
  • Monotheism - "There is only one God - all others are imposters at most"
  • Dualism - "There are two gods, one good, the other evil"
  • Monolatry - "There are multiple gods, only one should be worshipped"
  • Henotheism - "There are many gods, I choose this one to worship"
  • Polytheism - "There are many gods, I worship some or all of them" (possibly a Pantheon of closely associated gods)
  • Animism - "There are divine, or at least supernatural, beings everywhere that can be worshipped or otherwise related to as required - some may, or may not, be more significant than others" (Most forms of Shamanism cleave to this)

(It's worth noting that a religion can fit more than one category. A person might, for example, be a strongly agnostic deist - "I can't know whether there are gods or not, because none are active" - or a maltheistic monist - "The divine is in everything, which is why everything is evil")

Specific Religions

Specific Religious Practices

Specific Religious Beliefs

Types of Religious Person (or other character)

See Also



Game and Story Use

  • Religion is a seemingly intrinsic part of human existence, and has shaped even avowedly non-religious societies and cultures. Thus, world-builders should pay serious attention to religious beliefs in their settings.
    • This is not the same as answering religious questions in-setting, mind you. Much like in the real world, you're allowed to give characters religion without making any of them definitively right or wrong.
      • In fact, it might be worth exploring what "religion" would look like when the answers are objective and demonstrable. What does "faith" or "heresy" look like when you talked to God last Tuesday and asked Him how many angels could dance on the head of a pin?
        • And what are the implications if the answer is "as many as I order to do so"?
  • Furthermore, role-playing can be greatly enhanced if a player character follows a codified set of beliefs.
    • A religion will probably require the character to adhere to a set of moral teachings.
    • And observe certain rituals associated with the religion
    • And perhaps have certain views about people outside his religion.
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