Originally posted by Leetsepeak
Hopefully Vance and Minton will be able to do the book on Cults that they've proposed in Ask the Devs. That would help a lot with this sort of thing, I imagine.
It's too far off to make predictions, but we're hoping to fit it into the schedule just before or just after Exigents
There is, ironically, a powerful disincentive in the setting for large populist religious movements about things other than transactional relationships with local gods -- local gods, who don't want local people distracted from their transactional worship.
The idea that faith means belief in the unverifiable or "Believing what you know ain't so" is largely the invention of modern religious thought in the face of scientific knowledge shrinking the space in which the God Of The Gaps can exist. Throughout most of history of Abrahamic religion, the idea of the Abrahamic God's unverifiability would be nonsensical -- theologians went to elaborate lengths to construct logical and philosophical "proofs" of God's existence or various true statements about God's nature, and the idea that such truths are somehow invalid because they're just thought experiments not backed up by empirically verifiable physical experimental evidence is, itself, an anachronism if you assume it's in place before the ascension of the formal scientific method in use today. For a long time, logical proofs were considered more sound than experimental proofs, not less so.
Faith means trust. It is literally a synonym for trust. Hence "Breaking faith" as a synonym for betrayal or reneging on an agreement.
Having faith in a god means having trust they'll hold up whatever end of the bargain you've been taught they've made with you or your culture.
Originally posted by Ghosthead
Not totally wrong, but I would argue you are edging towards simplification to imagine that before modern science, there was not a rich dialogue going on within theologians, about the importance of non-rational, and rationally unprovable, revelation. (Revelation and personal spirituality and faith in ideas that you cannot reason your way towards were not taken to be something that was unnecessary in the face of sufficient reason.)
The idea of faith as belief in revelation and personal experience of spirituality that overrides the rational is not ersatz modern development to cope with science; people in the past well before modern science were well aware that revelation and spirituality was radically at odds with rational experience, and they developed ideas around this which have long are part of religious faith.
(I'm struggling a little to not crudely represent this but it feels like in the raw form your have presented it you may have the risk of getting towards some kind of "Conflict Thesis" in which Christian or Abrahamic religion, after the birth of modern science, is seen as allied to a kind of force against scientific "progress", and the idea of "faith" - belief in living power of revelation and personal spiritual experience over the rational - is close to a kind of willful ignorance.)
Yeah, sorry, that was probably more reductive than is useful in the long term.
Originally posted by Isator Levi
For the time being, my perspective on the worship of malignant spirits is more straightforward, especially demon cultists; that they're less likely to be evil people than they are to be people on the margins, who find little recourse with more open gods (or their followers) and live with some desperate circumstances, and so they can be drawn into systems worshipping these spirits who are also on the margins, and might seem to have something to offer.
The other main reason to worship malignant spirits — and this generally does not
apply to demon cults — is mollification, where instead of seeking the attentions of a god with a positive portfolio, you're seeking to avoid the attentions of a god with a negative portfolio. Sailors on the great Western ocean sacrifice to the storm mothers lest, angered, the storm mothers sink their ships; urban folk pray to disease gods that their families be spared plague and cholera; and so forth.
Also note that "malignant spirit" is a subjective definition. There's a strong argument to be made that Siakal is a malignant spirit, to the point that her worship is banned in parts of the West. But she's worshiped openly elsewhere in the West, not just by pirates and outlaws, but by priests and sailors and warriors and soldiers within the bounds of societal legitimacy.