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Parsini is the oldest extant religion on the continent Bellica. It apparently evolved from older polytheistic traditions into a monotheistic traditions. While there is not a strict Hierarchy in the traditional religion, it has become a church with all of the attending bureaucracies, and politics.
Not much is know about ancient Parsini, since most adherents were illiterent until the advent of the Thadonian alphabet. However at the dawn of written history it is found throughout the area that is now Orecal, Tresidia, and much of the Tokamak region. In Orecal it conflicted with the now extinct flame worship religion of Zedyism, and in the south there was competition with dualistic religion of Maireyism. It eventually won out, mostly due to political considerations, over both of those religions, although there are still adherents to Maireyism who live a nomadic life in the far Southeastern desert of Tresidia.
What little is known is that during this time the worship of a just, monotheistic god that was involved in the lives of humans became dominant. There is not single moment, nor individual prophet who can be looked to as the founder of Parsini. However, the Book of Weights and Measures is widely accepted scripture.
Parsini theology can be broken down into three areas
Each region also has its own sets of traditions and beliefs, although mostly that is limited to practices. Most Parsini's consider someone a Parsini if they adhere to any two of the three above, therefore there is room for a lot of variance. (This is not true of the Southern "Egathrakoi" Parsini's)
For most Parsinis God is almost utterly unknowable. Only the Mateosians have a mystic tendency, and that is probably due to Thadonian influence. Even the name of God remains unrevealed. To a Parsini, the only way that we can know God is to see the effects of his work, much like we see the effects of the wind, but not the wind itself.
As such there are many creation myths, and each group can tell whatever story they wish. It is not important how God created the world, nor even that he created it, but only that he is in it now.
A very important tenet of Parsini faith is that God is involved in mankinds life, although we may never see him. The most dramatic examples are the Saints that God sends, who act as prophets, warriors, and judges to help the people of the world. No group has a monopoly on the saints, and Saints are not always good people, but they are always led by God to achieve his purpose.
Parsinis avoid the question of Saints sometime being bad people through their belief in the after life. In the world, we are given a set of commandments, which are written in our hearts, and everyone knows them even if they were never taught. As we go through life, we must follow the commandments. Each bad thing we do adds a pebble to our basket in the afterlife, each good thing we do takes one out. When we die we must pour out a the basket on an empty scale and if it weighs more that the empty side we are crushed by it, and therefore cease to exist. If it balances we are admitted into paradise, where no one ever works.
Practices are the most widely varied of the three pillars of Parsini. However, there are some things that are held in common and accept.
- Thursday is the holy day, and a special meal is prepared at sun rise.
- All wrongs must be righted as soon as they are noted. The longer you wait the more you must do to right it.
- Every month each Parsini should do an auditing with the people near him. Originally this meant listing all the rights and wrongs that you have ever done to that person and making sure that they balanced out. Now it usually takes a much less formal tone.
- The holiest day of the year is the one where day and night are the same length at that location (this varies widely). On that day, at the exact point of sunset if you should dip your head in a body of water, (a bucket does in a pinch) in recognition that you are balanced like the day is.
The Commandments of Parsini are simple
- Give only what is deserved, and take only what is offered.
- What is spoken cannot be called back (generally interpreted to mean keep your word)
- Do not hate without just cause
- Lift not thy heart above its station
- Lust not, for it will destroy you
- Seek not God, but seek his presence
These are generally interpreted to men:
- No stealing (adultery is included in that)
- No lying and keep promises
- Just cause is usually some wrong that costs more than a days labor
- Not be humble, but know your place. Pride would be fine for higher ranks.
- Sex of all kinds is to be limited, married or not.
- No speculation about God but keep the commandments.
Regional Differentiations and Saints
Parsini breaks down into three different major groups. The largest and most strictly adherent is the Southern Parsini's. Next largest is the Northern Parsini's. And smallest of the three are the Mateosian Parsini's. It is not known whether these groups are a breakoff of a single unifying religion or if they are independent evolutions. Given several similarities in belief the former is more likely.
Mateosian Parsini's are most likely a breakoff of Southern Parsini's before the Egathrac Exodos.
Doctrinally, there is only one difference between Northern and Southern Parsinism. Both believe that at death every heart is weighed in the scales, and as a result every evil must be righted. In Northern Parsinism, they believe that there must be an exact retribution. The very deed must be undone, the very item stolen must be returned, and so on. In Southern Parsinism, there is a sense of equivalent retribution. It is not necessary that the precise object be returned if stolen, but perhaps one just as good, or better. It is possible that an equivalent value be paid, and in more liberal sects (generally this is true in the cities) a good deed can be done to outweigh the evil done. Therefore, it can break down to no retribution at all
Practically there is another difference as well. Until the Egathrakoi migration and more significantly the unification of the Tresidian peoples, Southern Parsinism was mostly a local organization. Although a hierarchy necessarily evolved over time, especially under the influence of the Saint Egathrac, until the Great Revolution, the clergy was mostly decentralized, and loosely associated. Only with their seizure of power, has there become a more central clerical union.
In the north, there has been a central religious authority centered around Patrist in Southern Orecal. The Archtheon was the highest religious authority and from there Theons, and sub-theon were relatively less important.
There are two theories as to why this difference arose. The first theory is that because the Orecal region was civilized much earlier than the Tresidan area, it is only natural that there would be a more orderly structure. The second theory is that because in doctrine the Northern Parsinis believe in absolute retribution and that is not always possible, a need arose for a divine intercessor, that was not necessary in more permissive Southern Parsinism.