Religion in Fenspace
|“||When I talk about belief, why do you always assume I'm talking about God?||”|
—Shepherd Book, Serenity
Like the Fen themselves, the religions of Fenspace are many and varied. The only religious opinion that most Fen hold in common is that religious extremism is frowned upon.
Christianity in Fenspace is represented primarily by the Church of Fenspace, more commonly known as the Fenchurch.
The Pennsylvania Mennonites, also known as the Amish, can be found in surprising numbers in the greater Solar System. The Amish can be found primarily on Mars, though the Venus Terraforming Project has already made it clear that there will be land available for them on Venus. The Amish in Fenspace are, unsurprisingly, quite liberal compared to their Earthbound kin, but still prefer to use handicrafts and manpower where some Fen would use antigrav and grapples. An Amish hand-woven spacesuit will shock the wearer on their first donning, as it’s lighter, more flexible, and works better than the run-of-the-mill pressure suit. The modern Amish buggy is horse-drawn (unless it’s a spaceworthy shuttle for a Dyson Tree ship), but the horses are significantly smaller, wear their own pressure setups, and the buggy itself is air-tight and uses a variant on the Hephaestian zipper-lock.
The old persecution of the Judaic peoples hasn’t escaped from the gravity well yet, leading some of the more verbally pugilistic of this community to debate upon the specific gravity of hatred…
A split community, part of the Jewish presence in Fenspace believes that the Fenchurch and its sacraments (such as they are) are Kosher, while the other half appears to think that that Fenchurch thing is a fine, fine idea, but far too Christian, so they still need to be holding their own sanctified observances. As of yet, this “conflict” has led to well-reasoned debates and quite a lot of profit for coffee and bagel sales.
The Muslim population in Fenspace is divided between two major groups; American and European expatriates who came up with the rest of the Fen Diapora, and Indonesian Muslims living in the Ganymede and Callisto colonies.
Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, the first Malaysian astronaut and a practicing Muslim, worked aboard the International Space Station in October 2007 (before the advent of handwavium space travel). The Guideline for Performing Islamic Rites at the ISS developed by the Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia before he left Earth have become the generally-accepted rules for following the faith while off-Earth, although other, later fatwas also deal with the issues of practicing Islam in space.
There are Buddhists in Fenspace, but as yet nobody's described any of them in specific or in general, so we don't know how their beliefs have adapted to living in space - assuming they've changed at all, which might be a bad assumption. Clarification will come eventually, we hope. --The Mgt.
Shinto has a large presence in the greater Solar System thanks to the large numbers of Japanese Fen on Venus and the Village Hidden in Asteroids. It is remarkably unchanged from the Japanese practices on Earth ... at least, as it is practiced by actual Japanese Fen.
There are Hindi in Fenspace, but (like the Buddhists) as yet nobody's described any of them in specific or in general, so we don't know how their beliefs have adapted to living in space - assuming they've changed at all, which might be a bad assumption. Clarification will come eventually, we hope. --The Mgt.
Similarly, there are Sikhs in Fenspace, but as yet nobody's described any of them in specific or in general. The disclaimers about Fenspace Buddhism and Fenspace Hinduism also apply to Fenspace Sikhi. --The Mgt.
Followers of Jaina dharma are very comfortable living in the Convention. The Fen "live and let live" mentality and the multiplicity of results reached by various people's use of handwavium can be said to be facets of the concept of Anekāntavāda, and it is much easier to follow the principles of Ahiṃsā when one has removed oneself from an environment where other living things are present.
There are few settlements that are exclusively populated by the followers of jaina; their reputation for non-violence made them targets of slavers before and during the Boskone War, and many of their settlements were taken completely despite the settlers' acts of defense. However, the fact that many of them were victims of the Catgirling Machines means they have a noticeable presence on 125 Liberatrix.
Their best-known scientific research is in the area of life support; they intend to create foods that have never been part of a living being, thus living more in harmony with the principles of Ahiṃsā.
The Church of Sub-Genius moved out into space, searching for new sources of slack and to build the X-ist Invasion Fleet. Subgenii are everywhere, but tend to congregate around the Stark Fist of Removal. See main article: Subgenii
Church of the Sisters
A very few people, mostly Love-faction Senshi, follow this faith, which they say is based loosely upon what has been shown in the manga and anime Ah My Goddess! They are not at all organized and do not share a common set of worship rituals. Most outsiders, and indeed some adherents, would be hard-pressed to say what the tenets of the Church of the Sisters are, but they include a striving for personal excellence and a willingness to help others that matches the average Blue Blazer.
The faith became known after the Interdimensional Incursion Incident; one of the Visitors was a person who answered to the name (and appeared to have the abilities) of one of the major characters from Ah My Goddess!, and the members of the Church of the Sisters have taken her existence as proof that the rest of their beliefs are true - whatever their individual beliefs might be.
Places of Faith
Notable places of worship, faith, or piety in the Convention include:
- St. Liebowitz's Cathedral - the best-known place of worship off-Earth.
- Hades Station - where religion (like everything else) is studied scientifically.
And, of course, any mention of religion in Fenspace would not be complete without mention of the Principia Universalis
- Some other settlements were not - Ahiṃsā does not necessarily apply to self-defense or warfare.
- A "live and let live" faith suits the inhabitants of Fenspace very well.