Religion and Magic

Strange Religious Issues

Most political conflicts involving religion that exist in the developed countries on our world are less charged in the Base Raiders world. Nativity scenes are less of an issue in a world in which mere belief can be deadly. While nations can pass laws against super weapons or scavenging alien technology, legislating against magic is much harder. After all, magic is rooted in an individual’s beliefs as they relates to spiritual forces and the great powers that control the universe.

Western countries that value freedom of worship find that outlawing magic is nearly impossible, especially when such knowledge is easily posted online. Governments can prohibit the destructive use of magic, but learning how to use such forces or buying or possessing arcane tomes or artifacts is another story. Of course, many countries have rulers who can and do discriminate based on religion, and many refugees from those countries that have legitimate reasons to fear persecution seek sanctuary in freer nations.

And what of mighty beings that claim to be actual gods? Should someone who says that they are the Norse god of thunder be committed to a mental institution? What if it can be proved that they were born in a particular country on a specific date, and that their strength and weather control powers only manifested during adulthood? What if evidence suggests that they may in fact have been alive for centuries, or far longer? Does it represent a violation of the separation of church and state when someone arrests and attempts to prosecute the Coyote god for whatever mischief he might have committed? Can alleged gods be taxed in countries where churches are tax-exempt? Supernatural beings create strange, interesting controversies.

In addition to magic, countries with a tradition of freedom of worship have to contend with religious groups that worship unsavory deities. The fact that a church’s membership would like to see some dark, hundred-tentacled antediluvian horror that has slept for untold eons walk the earth does necessarily make their religion illegal. Once, it was hard to swing a cat without hitting some group of effete dilettantes, crusty archeologists, hardened Great War veterans, and plucky girl reporters hell-bent on finding and purging such congregations with Tommy Guns and dynamite. Today, such spontaneous public-spiritedness is more likely to lead to the arrest of the vigilantes. Still, there is more than a little sympathy towards those that are willing to undertake such efforts. Now, both the existence of such religions raises a rats-nest of problems.

Religion and Magic

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