I’m a Six on the Dawkins Spectrum of Theistic Probability:
De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. “I don’t know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”
I suppose I could stop there, but I want a religion that provides a sense of community, understanding, and support. I want my religion to be tied to something I hold dear. I want cool rituals that range from the simple to the complex. And I want all the benefits of running a religion: tax exempt property, non-taxable income, and followers of course! I can see how these organizations are doomed to corruption (but let’s ignore that facet for now).
RPGs & Religion
Anyone who has read this far must be thinking, “What the hell does this have to do with roleplaying games? This is an RPG blog, right?” Well, of course I am going to tie this baby into roleplaying games! What better ritual to extrapolate my religion from than that of playing an RPG? I have some other ideas about cars, music, and steampunk zombies, but that is a discussion for another blog (except maybe the idea surrounding zombies).
Religion and roleplaying can be at odds with each other, particularly when approached from a fundamentalist perspective. I was an avid player of Dungeon & Dragons since late grade school (app. 4th grade) and most of the hostility or intolerance I have experienced started there. Then early in high school, when I became involved with the World of Darkness lines, there was a revival anti-roleplayer sentiment. Eventually, I could back up my wit with force, so the hazing diminished and finally disappeared.
Most gamers are aware of the stigma and social taboo that Dungeons & Dragons garnered in the early 80s through the early 90s. If you are not privy to the unfair treatment given the game, I suggest you grab a copy of Mazes & Monsters (featuring Tom Hanks) or do some research on Patricia Pulling or any of the other controversies surrounding D&D.
It is time roleplaying games were embraced by religion. The best way to bring this about is to found a new religion that is fully integrated with the concept of roleplaying. Thus I officially lay the groundwork for the Church of the Radiant Polyhedron.
Libris Mechanica Sanctus
Every major religion has a holy script; a tome that records the origin of the religion, a creation myth, laws to abide, and parables that teach the faithful moral lessons. Christianity has the Bible (though there are many supplements), Islam has the Qur’an, Hinduism has several (Vedas, Upanishads, etc.), and Judaism has the Torah…
The Church of the Radiant Polyhedron shall have the Libris Mechanica Sanctus, or the Sacred Tome of Mechanics. This holy writ shall record the doctrines and covenants of the faith including, but not limited to behavior (both at and away from the table), rituals (for atonement, blessings, etc.), and a creation myth.
The Church of the Radiant Polyhedron will need one or more deities of course. The Supreme Arbitrator, the force that determines the possibility of all encounters is the creator and judge of the universe. The Supreme Arbitrator is known to us as Apeirohedron, an entity of infinite faces. Since the concept of an infinitely faced polyhedron cannot be easily depicted, the Supreme Arbitrator is instead depicted as a golden icosahedron.
Also sharing the universe with Apeirohedron are countless lesser deities that personify one or more facets of Apeirohedron. These lesser deities are avatars of their facets and constantly work to further the influence of their facet. Many other religions of the past and present have sprung up though the endeavors of one of these avatars.
All these avatars are a microcosm of the Supreme Arbitrator, and the Supreme Arbitrator is the avatars. However, these avatars are not bound by the moral and ethical requirements of mortals, and may further the influence of a facet that the Libris Mechanica Sanctus considers wrong.
The Church of the Radiant Polyhedron also recognizes various mortals (living and deceased) as saints. Once sainthood is declared, a person joins the ranks of the Legion of Saints. The criterion for sainthood is detailed in the Libris Mechanica Sanctus, but generally requires strong adherence to the mechanics of acceptable behavior and a history of creation (writing, design, or art). E. Gary Gygax is an often invoked saint of the church.
A person may merely accept the Libris Mechanica Sanctus as their guide to become a member of the Church of the Radiant Polyhedron. While gathering with fellow members and participating in the Sacrament of Story and other rites and rituals are encouraged, there are no required duties or pilgrimages (other than not breaking Holy Mechanics).
While a ritual exists to anoint a polyhedrite, the term for a member of the congregation of the Church of the Radiant Polyhedron, the Church does not recognize any form of original sin. Therefore, one need not be baptized in order to be inducted. Nobody is born stained with sin, but people may acquire sin during their lives. Baptism and geas of atonement can help a polyhedrite overcome their sin, but only Apeirohedron can truly judge whether a soul’s earthly deeds merit ascension.