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  #21  
Old January 20th, 2012, 01:07 PM
Morty Vicar Morty Vicar is online now
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Originally Posted by Lycaon pictus View Post
All praise to the Zoas and Emanations!

One day I'm going to do a TL where Robert Owen and Thomas Spence turn early socialism into a religious movement built around Blake's mythology.
It would be also be cool if someone did it with Tolkiens Lord of the Rings
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  #22  
Old January 20th, 2012, 05:46 PM
Antiochus Antiochus is offline
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Umm...Hinduism DID do very well in South East Asia. Islam didn't "counter" its development, it replaced Hinduism.
Interesting, what would the implications be if Hinduism wasn't displaced in these regions?

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More succesful Manichaeism would have been interesting.
Yeah, and its one of the more prominent ones. I'll have to read up on this, and the offshoots of Christianity that people have mentioned above.

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I think it would be interesting to see a globe in which some of the 19th century American religions (I'm thinking the Church of the Latter Day Saints) have risen to global prominence. I don't know what good PoD's there could be to ensure such a thing, however... Nor really do I think I would like to live in a world like that... (no offense intended)
It would be, but I personally think the 19th century is too late for a POD on religions, unless you want a Mormon wank. Will have to do a search on threads on that later.

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Originally Posted by NikoZnate View Post
Atenism
Would be interesting, maybe would result in crusades to Egypt instead, and spread to Rome in the time of Augustus.

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Aristonicus and his Sun Citizens, during the rebellion against Rome taking over the Attalid Kingdom of Pergamum, preached that they should all strive to build a 'Heliopolis' a Sun City where Egalitarian ideals ruled and there were no slaves or slavery...

...It would be interesting to see if this religion had survived and possibly grew a saviour cult around Aristonicus as a champion against Roman dominance or just injustices commited by elites in general.
The idea of a sort of Champion of Light Greek style religion with vague connetations of monotheism is rather appealing to me.
A major Helenistic religion sounds interesting, and extremely possible given the situation at the time. Maybe a Helenistic state would have broken off sooner? Something like the Byzantine Empire but more Greek than Roman in identity.

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Originally Posted by Lycaon pictus View Post
All praise to the Zoas and Emanations!

One day I'm going to do a TL where Robert Owen and Thomas Spence turn early socialism into a religious movement built around Blake's mythology.
Reminds me of the Cult of the Supreme Being, and to a lesser extent cults of personality. I think this would have more chance of success though, as it doesn't seem tied to a regime. And if you do that tl Lycaon, please send me a link.

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Originally Posted by PRFU View Post
It would be also be cool if someone did it with Tolkiens Lord of the Rings
I would be surprised if someone hadn't already. Have you read The Silmarillion? It includes information on the gods (or god and angels if you prefer) and the creation of the world and the First Age, which pretty much covers the bases in terms of mythology.
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  #23  
Old January 20th, 2012, 06:19 PM
Petike Petike is online now
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Bruce made a map scenario with some interesting twists on the development of religions.
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  #24  
Old January 20th, 2012, 06:23 PM
Gimple Gimple is offline
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Be interesting if more Wootanism then Santa Claus was incorporated into Christianity.
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  #25  
Old January 20th, 2012, 07:55 PM
Antiochus Antiochus is offline
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Originally Posted by Petike View Post
Bruce made a map scenario with some interesting twists on the development of religions.
Cool map, very interesting. I suddenly have the urge to look up Assyrian timelines
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  #26  
Old January 20th, 2012, 08:03 PM
Ganesha Ganesha is offline
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Originally Posted by Petike View Post
Bruce made a map scenario with some interesting twists on the development of religions.
That is an interesting map indeed. Nice work, Bruce.

In any case, I think that if Din-i-ilahi had been successful, the ramifications could be huge. Din-i-ilahi was created by Mughal emperor Akbar the Great as a syncretism of Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, and Buddhism. Drawn primarily from the first two, the religion never had much success outside of the royal household, but if it did...

Imagine India united in one religion, proselytizing, spreading the faith to Southeast Asia and Central Asia, backed by the power of the Mughals. It'd be both incredible and terrifying (in a good sort of way).
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  #27  
Old January 20th, 2012, 08:11 PM
Daeres Daeres is offline
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That's an interesting one! In fact there have been a lot of interesting ideas here.

I think we've debunked the idea that monotheism is 'dominant', but do people think that the creation of evangelical, egalitarian and aggressive monotheistic religions is inevitable?
Is Henotheism doomed to die?
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  #28  
Old January 20th, 2012, 09:43 PM
Antiochus Antiochus is offline
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Originally Posted by Ganesha View Post
That is an interesting map indeed. Nice work, Bruce.

In any case, I think that if Din-i-ilahi had been successful, the ramifications could be huge. Din-i-ilahi was created by Mughal emperor Akbar the Great as a syncretism of Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, and Buddhism. Drawn primarily from the first two, the religion never had much success outside of the royal household, but if it did...

Imagine India united in one religion, proselytizing, spreading the faith to Southeast Asia and Central Asia, backed by the power of the Mughals. It'd be both incredible and terrifying (in a good sort of way).
Sounds like an interesting religion. Maybe if it had continued and the Mughal Empire had survived longer, it could have been the new religious identity of Mughal India? It could have saved a lot of bloodshed - or created more.

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Originally Posted by Daeres View Post
That's an interesting one! In fact there have been a lot of interesting ideas here.

I think we've debunked the idea that monotheism is 'dominant', but do people think that the creation of evangelical, egalitarian and aggressive monotheistic religions is inevitable?
Is Henotheism doomed to die?
Lol, I never like the idea of monotheism as dominant or inevitable. Nothing is inevitable, and as an exercise in alternate history we should keep that in mind and be open to exploring other possibilities. Even if monotheistic religions do dominate much of the landscape of history for the last few thousand years. Also, thankfully religion justifies this. Religion in South Asia and East Asia has far more in common with the polytheistic religions that Christianity and Islam displaced than any of the Abrahamic religions.

Maybe Hinduism would be the best guide to how a polytheistic West and Middle East might develop? How evangelical has Hinduism been throughout history?

The Empire of Japan would probably be another excellent example, Shintoism was important to nation building Japan during the Meiji era, with the emperor as a god. Imagine if this sort of religious model was in use in the West still. So instead of the Pope, each country had a monarch who was a living god? Then there is the expansionism of the Empire of Japan, how is this as a model for a non-monotheistic evangelical power?

I'm not an expert on either of these, but I think they can be useful examples for imagining how a polytheistic or more national religion could continue up the the present day.
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  #29  
Old January 20th, 2012, 09:49 PM
Ganesha Ganesha is offline
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Originally Posted by Antiochus View Post
Sounds like an interesting religion. Maybe if it had continued and the Mughal Empire had survived longer, it could have been the new religious identity of Mughal India? It could have saved a lot of bloodshed - or created more.
Agreed. That would be a fascinating timeline.

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Originally Posted by Antiochus View Post
Maybe Hinduism would be the best guide to how a polytheistic West and Middle East might develop? How evangelical has Hinduism been throughout history?
Hinduism isn't evangelical at all, theologically. Hindus believe that all paths to God are correct and that all people are already Hindu; it's just that some don't know it yet. Historically, some Hindu rulers (the Cholas, most notably), have broken that rule, but it hasn't happened often.

One of the big things that was different from Hinduism about Din-i-ilahi was that it was evangelical. As I said, an evangelical India, united in faith, would be a powerful force; and would probably cause a lot of bloodshed that didn't exist IOTL.

I didn't respond to the rest of your post because I didn't have anything intelligent to add.

Cheers,
Ganesha
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  #30  
Old January 20th, 2012, 09:52 PM
Daeres Daeres is offline
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The West was late to the game of 'God-kings', but it's only recently that it left behind. The Divine Right of kings comes as close to deifying monarchs as Christianity allows, as it posits that monarchs are the viceroys of God on earth. That's only a small sliver away from a monarch being divine themselves.

The earliest God-King I'm aware of in Europe is with the Averni, who for those without knowledge of Celtic cultures was a group in the South of Gaul who seem to have acquired a God-King sometime around 300 BC or later. This does not chime with the rest of Celtic religion that's known, so it seems to have been a specific development of theirs.

In fact I'm rather tempted to devote some attention to them in my own alt-timeline, including their religious practices.

Basically, I agree that region/culture/city specific religion has always been viable. But the development of philosophy and the domination of our history by pan-cultural Empires meant that I think this model was always going to give way to self-aware faiths seeking to provide universalist understanding of the world. Not necessarily monotheistic religions, but certainly evangelical ones.
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  #31  
Old January 20th, 2012, 10:32 PM
Morty Vicar Morty Vicar is online now
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It would be interesting to see Vodou practised more widely in the Carribean and in Brazil. And also to somehow extend the Dogon religion. In this latter case the only way would be through some hippy cult or something..
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  #32  
Old January 20th, 2012, 10:39 PM
Antiochus Antiochus is offline
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Originally Posted by Ganesha View Post
Hinduism isn't evangelical at all, theologically. Hindus believe that all paths to God are correct and that all people are already Hindu; it's just that some don't know it yet. Historically, some Hindu rulers (the Cholas, most notably), have broken that rule, but it hasn't happened often.
Yeah I don't know much about Hinduism, and its difficult to imagine modern South Asian history where its not in constant competition or war with Islam. What are your thoughts on how a modern non-secular Hindu dominated state might look?

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Originally Posted by Daeres View Post
The West was late to the game of 'God-kings', but it's only recently that it left behind. The Divine Right of kings comes as close to deifying monarchs as Christianity allows, as it posits that monarchs are the viceroys of God on earth. That's only a small sliver away from a monarch being divine themselves.

The earliest God-King I'm aware of in Europe is with the Averni, who for those without knowledge of Celtic cultures was a group in the South of Gaul who seem to have acquired a God-King sometime around 300 BC or later. This does not chime with the rest of Celtic religion that's known, so it seems to have been a specific development of theirs.

In fact I'm rather tempted to devote some attention to them in my own alt-timeline, including their religious practices.

Basically, I agree that region/culture/city specific religion has always been viable. But the development of philosophy and the domination of our history by pan-cultural Empires meant that I think this model was always going to give way to self-aware faiths seeking to provide universalist understanding of the world. Not necessarily monotheistic religions, but certainly evangelical ones.
But the thing with the Divine Right of Kings is that there was the Pope, who kings were theoretically answerable to, which would make European politics different than if they all assumed that role like in the Church of England throughout the entire period. Then even monarchies that became protestant still were posited in a world dominated by Catholic powers, who were still in theory allied and aligned against them, so the differences are greater still.

Well I'd definitely be interested to see that timeline if you do it.

I think these religions can co-exist. They have, just look at the number of gods imported into the Roman Empire whilst the Imperial Cult held the position of a national religion. Similarly, if you look at Japan again, Buddhism and Shintoism represent both kinds of religion, one universalist, one national. It could plausibly be that these models could be the norm in a TL without Christianity or Islam.
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  #33  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 04:45 AM
The Ubbergeek The Ubbergeek is offline
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It'd be very cool to see a TL where Hinduism does better. Also would be awesome if Taoism did much better.
I wondered always about Taoism, a neglected religion here. HOW, and it is even possible, to make it go farther - than China, evengelical? I heard cryptical comments that there IS/was taoism or influences of it in Korea and Japan, but...

What if Buddhism never existed? maybe taoism would have seeped around, a similar niche...

Syncretism of Taoism and Shinto or the related Korean Shamanism?
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  #34  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 06:40 AM
Iori Iori is offline
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Zoroastrianism could I think certainly do well, perhaps even taking the geographic place of Islam and Eastern Christianity today.

Another one, which admitedly likely would be confined to the the area of the modern Shia world and Central Asia at most, would be Khorrāmism.
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  #35  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 10:24 PM
The Ubbergeek The Ubbergeek is offline
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Maybe it is better as another thread, but.. there is a related topic that is neglegated in such threads, I discovered - the holy languages, or traditional languages of use in religions.

Alternate religions, alternate 'holy language'... would a form of persian take the position of latin by example, if europe choose zoroastrism? taoism over south asia, classical chinese a common scholar language?
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  #36  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 10:45 PM
EternalCynic EternalCynic is offline
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I wondered always about Taoism, a neglected religion here. HOW, and it is even possible, to make it go farther - than China, evengelical? I heard cryptical comments that there IS/was taoism or influences of it in Korea and Japan, but...

What if Buddhism never existed? maybe taoism would have seeped around, a similar niche...

Syncretism of Taoism and Shinto or the related Korean Shamanism?
Taoism was exported to Korea/Japan/Vietnam as a component of the Chinese cultural package, which included Mahayana Buddhism, Confucius, the scholar examination system, architecture, writing, and the rice-based diet. It was never spread through evangelism (which goes against its very basic principles), and more as part of the whole-scale Sinification of entire nations. In that general cultural sphere, the default belief system is a syncretism of Taoism/Buddhism/Confucianism, with local folk beliefs on the side.
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  #37  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 11:18 PM
Morty Vicar Morty Vicar is online now
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Originally Posted by Daeres View Post
I think we've debunked the idea that monotheism is 'dominant', but do people think that the creation of evangelical, egalitarian and aggressive monotheistic religions is inevitable?
Is Henotheism doomed to die?
Monotheism has the advantage of being more easily centralised. Of course all religions are subject to ideological splits or power struggles but with Polytheistic religions its that much easier because you just create a new God or a cult to an already existing God. Monotheism is predisposed to a hierarchy and organised institution, Polytheism is more susceptible to syncretism or even assimilation. If the Gods themselves are at odds chances are their religious followers will be too.

Monotheism is inevitable in the sense that religion is inevitable, stories of heroes quickly become legend, legends are embellished with myth, and over time these myths are accepted as truth. Once you have your Pantheon, unless there's a greater theme of harmony (as often found in creation myths) then yes, the Gods have feuds and wars and one or other will rise to prominence. Sometimes this is even dictated by the social standing of that God's following here on earth, ie between babylonian city-states for example. Henotheism is not necessarily doomed, but it doesn't allow for religious fanaticism in the same way.
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  #38  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 11:29 PM
Alexpira Alexpira is offline
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Spiritism was growing fast in Europe during the 19th. Century but faded after WWI (except in Brazil, where is the 3rd. largest religion or the largest "semi-religion" as many spiritists do not see Spiritism as an independent religion but as a "complement" to other religions like Catholicism).....maybe Spiritism could have developed in Europe like it developed in Brazil, becoming a third or even second religious force in the continent behind Christianism and Judaism.
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  #39  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 11:31 PM
CandyDragon CandyDragon is offline
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Monotheism has the advantage of being more easily centralised. Of course all religions are subject to ideological splits or power struggles but with Polytheistic religions its that much easier because you just create a new God or a cult to an already existing God. Monotheism is predisposed to a hierarchy and organised institution, Polytheism is more susceptible to syncretism or even assimilation. If the Gods themselves are at odds chances are their religious followers will be too.

Monotheism is inevitable in the sense that religion is inevitable, stories of heroes quickly become legend, legends are embellished with myth, and over time these myths are accepted as truth. Once you have your Pantheon, unless there's a greater theme of harmony (as often found in creation myths) then yes, the Gods have feuds and wars and one or other will rise to prominence. Sometimes this is even dictated by the social standing of that God's following here on earth, ie between babylonian city-states for example. Henotheism is not necessarily doomed, but it doesn't allow for religious fanaticism in the same way.
But with Christianity, you even have, especially in the early church, saints being worshipped akin to gods. I see little difference here.
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  #40  
Old January 22nd, 2012, 11:54 PM
Morty Vicar Morty Vicar is online now
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But with Christianity, you even have, especially in the early church, saints being worshipped akin to gods. I see little difference here.
I suppose the difference is in the origins, Greek Mythology from the start is based on a plethora of Gods, demi Gods and some semi-legendary humans. Christianity boils down to God and Jesus, who are often described as one within the trinity. So if you get one Prophet or Messiah (or indeed Pope) who can speak with God, the rest of us just have to take his word for it and do as he says. Praying to a Saint or Jesus is basically the same thing as praying to God, as He is all knowing etc. Contrary to my above statement though I think one of the advantages in Christianity was its contrariness, and frankly the enigmatic nature of the Bible. It allowed for the religion to appeal to a diverse range of people, and to be used to justify many things as well. Particularly in the days when the Bible could only be copied in latin. And above all it allowed Christianity to absorb elements of other religions (eg the Black Madonna)
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