Religion, mythology and symbolism play an important role in the lives of people during the Third Galactic Age (3GA). As mankind spread throughout the galaxy it took its religious ideas with it. The Tolod and the Vi’Vavi both bring their own alien religious beliefs with them.
The religions of 3GA are numerous and some are ancient with roots stretching back to the Old World. On Hycra there are two established religions: the Church of the Divine Singularity (Singularists; Singularism) and the Holy Void (Voidists, Spacists; Voidism, Spacism). Of these the former features prominently in the events of the Divine Singularity. Two other religious ideas also feature in the the story: Transcendental Transhumanism and the Insiders aka the Black Holders.
Church of the Divine Singularity
This religion arose near Sgr A* (relatively speaking) some ten thousand years ago and it is the oldest human religion in the known universe. It is a monotheistic religion that claims to be descended from the monotheistic religions of the Old World. In its 10,000 year history the religion has spread throughout the universe. There have been many schisms, schools and sects and these have not always agreed in matters of doctrine, sometimes leading to holy wars that lasted centuries and spanned solar systems.
There are currently three major schools of Singularism – Divine Singularism, Material Singularism and Mystical Singularism. Generally all schools of Singularism falls under one of these broad categories. The Conclave of the Holy Point is an annual gathering attended by members of all three schools. The Conclave is an important gathering that has done much to avoid the terrible holy wars of the past.
Note: These doctrinal views are those that are held by the Divine Singularists or by all three schools.
The Creation of the Heavens and of Life
In the Space before Space and the Time before Time there is God, one, pure, indivisible. God gave a thought and He conceived of Space and He conceived of Time and held these in His mind. With His finger He created the Divine Singularity, the first, the prime, the Alpha. Thus was made manifest Space and thus was made manifest Time. God looked upon the manifestation of His thought and saw it as Good.
God looked and saw that Space and Time lacked form. Using the Divine Singularity He made manifest matter and energy thus creating the heavens which are a reflection of His divine will. He looked upon the heavens with their planets, stars galaxies and singularities which are the mirror of the Divine and saw it as Good.
God looked upon the heavens and saw that they were empty. He thought on this and saw that to make the heavens full would require a Holy Sacrifice. Thus, in an act of Supreme Love, he entered the Divine Singularity besmirching His divine purity with the strictures of Space and Time, for all things, even God Himself, are bound by God’s law. God used the pain wrought upon His holy body to make the Tears of God. He took the tears and mixed them with matter which he moulded into the form of his own divine body. Two bodies he created thus: the male and the female and he placed them upon the Earth. He kissed each of them on the mouths and gave to them the gift of Life.
God returned to His abode and looked and saw that the heavens were full and He saw this as Good and He was satisfied.
Singularists believe that black holes are the mechanism through which God creates the universe. Singularists are deists who believe that never again will God reenter the Divine Singularity except to collect the souls of those worthy of eternal life when the time comes for God to destroy the Divine Singularity. Singularists do not believe there is anything special about black holes per se, but view them purely as the physical mechanism God uses to create the universe. There is some debate as to whether they are also the mechanism by which God maintains His spiritual connection to Life.
Although all schools of Singularism are deistic religions they all allow for the arising of prophets, who reveal the Will of God, and all have saint figures. Theism is a heresy within all schools of Singularism and any view that God has re-entered, or will re-enter the Divine Singularity are quickly wiped out.
On Hycra Pawl Hunstar founded the Insiders. This religious sect holds several heretical views. The first, and the one for which the cult would eventually be excommunicated is the view that God would speak directly to a living being. Although Singularism allows for the arising of prophets these individuals come to know the mind of God – he does not communicate directly with them, rather they can see His divine will more clearly than can the rest of humanity. God would not speak directly with an individual as this would raise that individual above others. In the doctrine of the church prophets and saints are revered figures but they are seen as ultimately being the same as everyone else.
The second heretical view that the Insiders hold is that God has singled out the sect for special treatment. This view is closely related to the first.
Finally, the view that one can traverse the event horizon and reach the Divine Singularity is also an heretical view. After the events of the story once Pil’s daughter has grown and the Bonded have formed their enclave this heretical view becomes widespread and is responsible for the War of the Voice of God, a hundred years hence.
The Holy Void
This religion, at only 1500 years, is relatively young. It arose on Hycra on the southern continent of Absilia. The Voidists are largely responsible for the democracy movement that has swept Absilia and cast Galactic Enterprises out, plunging the planet into civil war.
The Holy Void is only present on Hycra, Clom and Hope’s End, the habitable planets of the Arrostoreus System. In that system it is as influential as the Singularists.
The void of space is the canvas upon which God painted the universe, thus space-time itself is holy and sacrosanct. As everything is a manifestation of the Void all things are inherently devoid of true existence.