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 Religion in Rasvidi

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PostSubject: Religion in Rasvidi   Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:42 am

Religion in Rasvidi, though currently outlawed, still exists in isolated communities and underground organizations operating within the cities. However, despite it being punishable with severe fines and light prison sentences, most people who practice a religion are seldom persecuted by local authorities unless they openly discuss or state their religious beliefs or attempt to solicit their beliefs onto others. Thus, while it is rare to come across someone who does not call themselves an atheist in Rasvidi society, there is an unspoken undercurrent of religiosity throughout the nation.

Two religions are native to the region, both with historic prominence in the local populations. These religions are Hyvänism, a paganistic religion with a large pantheon of deities, and Vähemmänism, which is largely pantheistic but features many monotheistic features as well. Hyvänism is seen as the most ancient religion of the region, with archaeological evidence suggesting that at least basic forms of the religion existed even before writing systems became established or widespread. As society developed and evolved, a subset of the population began exchanging the idea of a pantheon of deities with the idea that one universal deity exhibiting all the features of the old gods existed, and that humanity lived either on or within this deity. This subset developed into Vähemmänism, which rapidly spread and has competed heavily with Hyvänism ever since.

Notoriously, successive kingdoms centered around Vähemmänism culminated in the Commonwealth of Rasvidi, an intensely oppressive oligarchy whose leaders claimed to channel the desires of the pantheistic god Hangatýr. This was frequently used as evidence of their total dominion over man, as ruling monarchs were considered as synonymous with Hangatýr (and, therefore, Nature and the Universe) by the ruling nobility. Eventually, the Commonwealth dissolved as an increasing number of rebel groups and revolutionaries waged open war on the royals. The establishment of the United People's Republic and it's subsequent attitudes towards religious freedom reflect the bitterness that the population has towards it's former oppressors.

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PostSubject: Re: Religion in Rasvidi   Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:03 am

Hyvänism

The name Hyvänism comes from the Saamic word Hyvänn, which means both good and deity. This term is applied to Hyvänists since at least the 5th century BC. The religion itself could best be described as pagan, with most aspects of daily life personified as a deity. The mythology behind the religion is incredibly involved, with thousands of years of sometimes contradictory literature adding to it's theistic development. Currently, the gods are considered allied into two warring factions; the Ōssir and the Navir. This conflict has been used to explain everything from earthquakes to the revolutionary war.

Major Ōssir
Hárbardhr; associated with wisdom, war, battle, and death, and also magic, poetry, prophecy, victory, and the hunt. Considered the "all father" of the gods.
Frijjō; described as having the power of prophecy yet she does not reveal what she knows. Wife of Hárbardhr.
Thunor; associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, destruction, fertility, healing, and the protection of mankind.
Bældæg; associated with light, beauty, love and happiness.
Tîwaz; associated with single combat, victory and heroic glory. Portrayed as one-handed.
Bragar; associated with poetry.
Forbodh; associated with justice and reconciliation.

Major Navir
Árvardhr; associated with mischief, trickery, earthquakes, shape-shifting, snakes, poison, wolves, ravens, betrayal, prophecy and wisdom. He is the blood-brother of Hárbardhr.
Yngvi; associated with farming, weather and, as a phallic fertility god, Yngvi "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals".
Sýr; associated with love, beauty, fertility, gold, war, and death. Owner of the necklace Brísingamen, rides a chariot driven by two cats, owns the boar Hildisvíni, possesses a cloak of falcon feathers.
Njærdhavi; associated with sea, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth, and crop fertility.
Hvítastr; described as being able to hear grass growing and single leaves falling, able to see to the end of the world, and so alert that he requires no sleep at all.
Ullr; associated with glory. Poorly documented historically. Possibly precursor of Hárbardhr.

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PostSubject: Re: Religion in Rasvidi   Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am

Vähemmänism

The term Vähemmänism comes from the famous prophet Vähemmän Forsōth, who is widely regarded as founding the religion and seen by followers of Vähemmänism as an embodiment of Hangatýr. The religion itself is pantheistic, with followers believing that nature and the universe exist as a deity. It emerged from Hyvänism, and Vähemmänists believe the multitude of gods described by the ancient religion are simply extensions of Hangatýr.

Rather then being purely monotheistic, Hangatýr can simply be interpreted as existence. However, Vähemmänists believe that existence is sentient and actively interacts with it's inhabitants, whether through natural disaster, supernatural occurrences, or even politicians. This gave rise to an alarming trend in past Rasvidi politics, wherein the heads of state claimed to be an extension of Hangatýr. This gave them tremendous authority over their peers, as this made them supposedly indistinguishable from Hangatýr, and this power was seldom used for anything but personal gain and abuse. Despite these self-serving motives, however, the most successful empire in Rasvidi's history continues to be the Commonwealth of Rasvidi.

Today, very few people openly admit to practicing Vähemmänism, not only because such statements and actions are illegal, but also because of the intensely negative stigma that Vähemmänists suffer from as a result of the lengthy oppression exerted by Vähemmänist rulers. They are stereotyped as being untrustworthy, loathsome, arrogant, demanding, self-serving, and callous.

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