Religion

The Pact

This is not a religion as much as an idea that underlies the many spiritual beliefs of various animals.

The Pact, in its narrowest sense is simply that prey animals, such as mice, should accept their lot in life, and not try too hard to resist the predator animals, and in turn the predator animals will not in turn organize too strongly against the prey animals. “Too hard” is usually interpreted to mean employing technology and social organization.

(Insects have no notion of the pact and have always considered things a total war of all against all. Most do not even believe in free will.)

The idea of being in balance and favoring “natural” things is widespread and implicitly held by many creatures, because at its root it is the most basic reaction to the fact of unavoidable death. From such implicit beliefs in The Pact rose more explicit religions called Pactianism.

Lepusian Pactianism is the most like the oldest of these systems. Its adherents believe that all creatures have a soul, and that after death, the soul is accepted to heaven (eternal contentment, a shining meadow) if it has lived a pure life, but is reincarnated if it has not. Lepusian Pactianism is pacifistic and nonviolent, though self-murder is not considered a sin if it is done ‘naturally’, usually by going out to a wild place and waiting for a predator. It is not much about love, but it is about generosity and acceptance. The early Pactian prophets were all rabbits. Lepusian Pactianism has many more specific rules: it forbids the wearing of clothes, but allows one item of adornment; it forbids the hoarding of money but allows its members to work for wages, etc.

Rattusian Pactianism developed in the ancient Shiny Crown Empire from Lepusian Pactianism. Its early difference was the idea that some creatures were “ready to ascend” and some were not. E.g., a rat could be pure and ascend to heaven; a dragonfly cannnot – so there is no harm in killing a dragonfly. Another idea that grew is that even among ascension-ready species, there were individuals who could certainly be judged to be beyond redemption in this lifetime, and their loss. Another idea was the status of one being Immaculate, and being destined for heaven no matter what one did. At first the Emperor was immaculate but this shifted to the Pope. Another idea arose within it that the state was itself a natural creature made out of component rats and mice, but this bordered on a heretical idea that everything that exists in the world is natural, and so nothing is unnatural, and thus there are no restrictions on technology and high society. This was solved by the Immaculate Papacy; the idea that ONLY the Shiny Crown had the status of a special creature, that ONLY the pope could determine what was natural and what was not.

There are countless other Pactian sects and cults that can be generally described in terms of Lepusian or Rattusian. Murisian Pactianism is the standard of the Freewater. It is just a somewhat cleaned up descendant of the Rattusian chapters but hewing towards the Lepusian individualist virtues.

In addition to kinds of Pactianism, there are nameless, numerous systems of spiritual beliefs that are all real enough. There are in addition more than a few strange cults and societies of other gods that are only semi-Pactian if at all, though the general Pactian social dominance keeps these hidden.