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PostSubject: Imperial Philosophy and Dogma   Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:53 pm

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The Empire is an autocratic state in which the basic civil rights of the citizenry exist only at the pleasure and behest of the Emperor, its single ruler. The Empire as a whole sanctions the worship of this single individual, merging the roles of sovereign and God within his form, making it clear that not only could there never be a challenge to the political authority of the Emperor, but that in a spiritual sense, the souls, the lives of all its citizens, and the moral integrity of the Empire as a whole rests within the hands of the unconquered, immortal, and invincible Emperor.

Imperial Philosophy in official propaganda heavily supports an idea of communal enlightenment; of shared duty, selfless action, and unrestricted nationalism. It imagines the Empire as a unique political body, which, although destined to encompass the entirety of the world, stands apart from it. It imagines the Empire as a single whole, a united entity working together for the perfection of society as a whole and the individual as a person, beneath the guidance of the Emperor, who himself holds the key to enlightenment. In Imperial propaganda, the Empire was founded on, above all else, freedom - freedom from fear, freedom from pain, freedom from want, freedom from the shackles of one’s own soul. The Emperor promises that, together, the Empire can usher forth first an earthly utopia, and then a spiritual one, in which nobody will want for anything of the physical and fear anything of the spiritual. The Emperor stands at the gateway, and ushers that others follow.

This philosophy is one that permeates life in the Empire on every level, even beyond the sermons in the temples. Whether one believes in the truth of the story or not, to be involved in Imperial affairs on almost any level is to be inundated by these beliefs. In the Empire, there is no separation between church and state, and the two distinctions have begun to rapidly blurr. In one sense, the Empire itself is a militarized Church devoted to the worship of its God, whom is also the sovereign master of this entity. As for the moment, there is a region of life in the Empire which does not call for the citizenry to worship the Emperor alone, or indeed, any faith at all. But to exist in the Empire is to know that, faith or not, the state considers your life the property of the Emperor.

While the more ‘secular’ portions of the Empire itself often exhort the divine nature of the Emperor and his worthiness as a sovereign, the Church itself is a font of more directly religious character. The Church disseminates the more ecchesitological side to Imperial propaganda, telling the tale of the Emperor’s rise from mortality to the pinnacle of existence. According to the story, the Emperor was once a mere mortal, a man named Marcus Olm, whom throughout his life was taken aback by the stark injustice of the world on every level. Daily he saw how men and women labored, suffered, and died from the harshness of the physical, while simultaneously praising false gods for the simple right to be. Before he was divine, this man pledged to fight to cast off the dual shackles of mortalkind - the limits of the flesh, and the slavery of the divine. Throughout many adventures, he eventually rose to a divinity beyond the petty immortality of other spirits by the merit of his own power, and his own wisdom. Now, the mortal Marcus Olm has been seared away, leaving only the divine Emperor in his place; one and the same, but so very different. Now, it is said, the Emperor has engaged upon the Great Work - the formation of the holy Empire which will span the stars, and beneath his guidance, usher forth the divinity of all men.

Under the guidance of the Prefect of the Faith, who has become one of the Emperor’s chief conduit for his edicts and otherwise, the doctrines of the Church acknowledge the formation of other divine beings such as the named Opposers of the world. These beings, as seen by the Emperor, directly oppose the Emperor and his Empire while also representing the decay of the old world. Where they bring death upon the new, the Emperor brings death upon the old - his weapons acting as scalpel to remove the plague. There is, however, a number of spirits recognized as benevolent or are simply tolerated under Imperial Orthodoxy. These include a variety of spirits, including the Aranek Ancestor-Gods T’lexac, Mim’ra, and Lai, as well as the demons of the Immortal Legion, who in Orthodoxy are called the wrath of the Emperor, made manifest. Theoretically, given its fairly multinational quality, the Imperial Orthodoxy could absorb any number of religions or beliefs as it encounters them, save for belief systems which directly contest the authority of the Emperor. There are some sects of Mukhamism, for example, that wouldn’t directly call for the annihilation of Emperor and his legions, but its character as an enemy religion excludes all forms of the Mukhamist faith from use. Until recently, the Goddess Shar was included, but was removed for a transgression against the Empire as a whole.

Even with this acknowledgement of other godly beings, the Church does not support - and often voices out against - putting other gods before the worship of the Emperor. While no action can be publicly taken against the people who put others before the Emperor by the banner of the Church, there have been public riots and outbreaks of violence against these people. The most bloody and more organized riots to be reported is the riots in the Ever’Rain province where several hundreds of Concordic supports were slain over the course of a few weeks before the Empire moved voluntary people to the Empire mainland. Weeks past with the Empire trying to suppress these riots, but they would just launch again. These riots are typically ended with the public executions of the agitators by the Judges or even the direct intervention of the Guard.

There exists a single anomaly within the Empire, where for the most part, only the Imperial sanctioned faith of the Emperor or the ancillary spirits is accepted -- Saffiyah, home to several tens of thousands of staunch worshippers of Illmatyr. There is some mystery as to why the city has yet to be absorbed by the larger faith, given the Empire’s extremely harsh treatment of Concordic faiths elsewhere. As it is, Saffiyah is a potential hotbed of political unrest, and as a result, the Empire as of yet has been slow and careful about the creation of shrines or the introduction of demons into the populace. Saffiyah remains an open question.

While the more ‘secular’ portions of the Empire itself often exhort the divine nature of the Emperor and his worthiness as a sovereign, the Church itself is a font of more directly religious character. The Church disseminates the more ecchesitological side to Imperial propaganda, telling the tale of the Emperor’s rise from mortality to the pinnacle of existence. According to the story, the Emperor was once a mere mortal, a man named Marcus Olm, whom throughout his life was taken aback by the stark injustice of the world on every level. Daily he saw how men and women labored, suffered, and died from the harshness of the physical, while simultaneously praising false gods for the simple right to be. Before he was divine, this man pledged to fight to cast off the dual shackles of mortalkind - the limits of the flesh, and the slavery of the divine. Throughout many adventures, he eventually rose to a divinity beyond the petty immortality of other spirits by the merit of his own power, and his own wisdom. Now, the mortal Marcus Olm has been seared away, leaving only the divine Emperor in his place; one and the same, but so very different. Now, it is said, the Emperor has engaged upon the Great Work - the formation of the holy Empire which will span the stars, and beneath his guidance, usher forth the divinity of all men.

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