Religion in Gylias
Religion in Gylias is characterised by a wide variety of religious beliefs and practices. Gylias is a secular polity, and its laws protect freedom of religion and irreligion within a framework of religious pluralism. Religious beliefs are regarded as a private matter, and censuses and surveys traditionally avoid detailed questions about religion, making it difficult to measure total identification with a particular religion.
A majority of Gylians are not formal members of religious associations, according to the 2020 census. Concordianism, a collection of indigenous animist and shamanic beliefs of the Gylic peoples, constitutes a large part of religious life. The decentralisation, syncretism and orthopractic focus of Concordianism has greatly influenced Gylian perceptions of religion, which are pluralist and non-exclusive.
Monotheistic religions' arrival was met with strong hostility by Gylics due to their universalist and proselytist character, which conflicted with Gylic traditions of multiple religious belonging. Hostility was deepened by the Quliyasi Jihad and Xevden's state religion. In response, Gylic adherence to pluralist and ethnic religious traditions strengthened, and opposition to christianity drove several Concordian reform movements that pushed it towards a more antitheist character.
The formation of a common Gylian identity during the Gylian ascendancy emphasised religious pluralism and opposition to dogma or attempts to artificially spread religions. During the Liberation War, the hostile environment towards universalist religions prompted the majority of their adherents to flee the Free Territories.
The Gylic peoples had a variety of indigenous beliefs and practices, mainly of an animist, shamanist, and polytheist character. These beliefs were combined into Concordianism during the ancient era, generally dated between the 5th-4th centuries BCE.
Concordianism spread through integration during the Liúşai League era, which allowed it to play a utilitarian role by reinforcing alliances and mutual ties between the Gylic populations. It was a part of daily life, based on correct practice of rituals rather than faith or dogma, and thus facilitated interactions and coexistence of the diverse groups that lived in the League states. Syncretism and integration of other peoples' religious heritage into the Concordian framework promoted stability.
The stability of the Liúşai League and its democratic evolution attracted migration, resulting in the settlement of various groups, such as Miranians, Hellenes, Germans, Lusitans, Hayeren, and Nordics. Most of these groups brought their own ethnic religions with them, with the benefit that they were similarly polytheist and orthopractic.
The arrival of monotheist religions in League state caused tension and religious conflict. The Quliyasi Jihad strengthened Gylic hostility to monotheism. The Gylic authorities treated missionaries as a threat to the public order and worked to bar them from League territories.
The League states' loss of the Colonisation War led to their annexation by Xevden. As an alien elite, the Xevdenites used religion as a tool of social control. They adopted a monotheist state religion, with conversion required to gain citizenship or titles of nobility. Xevdenites used religion as a means to shore up control, and cared little for spreading it.
Hostility towards monotheism was a component of the Gylian ascendancy, driving efforts to reform Concordianism to remove any elements suggestive of it. After Alscia's establishment within the Cacertian Empire, governor Donatella Rossetti banned the settlement of monotheists.
The spread of anarchism in Gylias in the early 20th century strengthened anti-clerical sentiments, as many anarchists whose works were published, imported and translated were also freethought activists. Herta Schwamen's 1928 book The Heart of a Heartless World encapsulated and strengthened the pro-polytheist and anti-monotheist mindset, gaining a large audience.
In the Free Territories, the sentiment congealed into a general hostile environment against organised religion, and grew to encompass monotheist and universalist religions. Revolutionary councils passed measures banning proselytism and public preaching, the aspects most offensive to Gylian sensibilities.
Prominent members of the Free Territories' administration criticised non-ethnic and universalist religions as inherently totalitarian. Perhaps the most radical of these voices was Trần Lệ Xuân, who repeatedly exploited religion as a wedge issue in her speeches and encouraged campaigns to pressure monotheists to leave the Territories.
Most monotheistic adherents fled the Free Territories due to the hostile environment. After their departure, their places of worship, scriptures, and sacred objects were systematically destroyed — a campaign that caused shock and protest from countries such as Megelan and Mansuriyyah.
The transition from the Free Territories to Gylias preserved much of the former's anarchist heritage, particularly in law. Gylias was established as a secular polity by its Constitution, and the adoption of Law on Religion of 1959 marked a turning point in religious policy. It banned elements offensive to Gylian sensibilities — proselytism and attempts at conversion foremost — and established the Bureau of Religious Affairs (BRA) to register and regulate religious associations.
The years since independence have seen a reassertion of traditional religious pluralism and a shattering of previous barriers, leading to a mingling of different religious cultures. The anti-universalist provisions of the law have benefited both traditional and new religious movements of a democratic and civic-oriented character. Irreligion has also flourished, as a result of the anarchist influence on Gylian society and the nontheistic character gained by Concordianism after its reforms.
Estimating the number of religious adherents in Gylias is difficult. The census does not feature questions on religion, and scholarly surveys are similarly averse to interrogating the topic due to the perception of violation of privacy.
Gylian views of religion are inclusive and largely a spectrum similar to gender and sexuality — identification with one religion does not entail the automatic rejection or denial of others. Surveys reveal that the majority of Gylians distinguish between membership of a religious association and religious beliefs.
One notable effect of the anti-clerical thrust of the Gylian ascendancy has been the countering of exclusivist approaches to religion with an equally strong espousal of the opposite principle. There is a certain expectation that an individual would belong to several religions that do not conflict with each other on ethical and social issues. Many Gylians perceive a single belief system as insufficient to encompass a whole individual identity.
Similarly, traditional religions such as Concordianism, Kisekidō, and other ethnic religions place greater emphasis on rituals, and most of their adherents do not believe the practices constitute a "religion" but rather part of their ethnocultural heritage.
In 2012, Anca Déuréy University conducted a survey which asked respondents which religious practices they participated in. The survey allowed the selection of multiple choices and the inclusion of self-identified worldviews not already listed. The results were as follows:
|Other ethnic religions||50%|
According to BRA records, the total number of Gylians who are members of religious associations was around 5,5 million in 2020.
The Constitution of Gylias implicitly guarantees both freedom of religion and irreligion: Article 12 guarantees, among others, "the right to freedom of thought, conscience, belief, and opinion." The Law on Religion of 1959 creates a framework for state regulation of religious activities, which is carried out by the BRA.
The definition of "religion" in the Law on Religion implicitly favours polytheistic and ethnic religions. Legal recognition of religious associations is dependent on registration with the BRA, which may be denied for reasons of centralisation, authoritarianism, or universalism. Formal affiliations or disaffiliations with a religion are not recognised.
The law obliges religious associations listed in Gylias to adopt a decentralised and non-hierarchical form of organisation. This has notably affected Gylian branches of more organised foreign religions, such as Págánacht. Associations largely handle administrative and organisational matters such as maintenance of places of worship. Proselytism and missionary work are banned as infringements of the right to freely develop one's identity.
The BRA's activities are based on the idea that dominance by a single belief is the main threat to freedom of religion. Accordingly its actions are aimed at preventing domination by a single religion and preserving an environment of religious pluralism.
Concordianism is the collective term for the religious traditions of the Gylic peoples, accumulated via centuries of mutual interaction and syncretism. Concordianism is non-institutional, practice-focused, and diverse, connected by shared concepts, rituals, and worship.
A majority of the population of Gylias participates in Concordian practices and rituals, while formal membership of Concordian associations is substantially lower.
Kisekidō is the indigenous religion of the Miranians. It is an eclectic collection of syncretic beliefs and practices revolving around the central themes of spiritual and interplanar harmony. Kiseki worship centres on kami, commonly understood as "spirits", "essences", or "deities".
Kisekidō arrived in Gylias during the 11th century CE, as a result of the first settlements of Miranian Gylians. The unification of Kirisaki in the 16th century and the development of a special relationship between the two aided the spread of the religion. Close ties developed between Concordianism and Kisekidō, leading to fruitful syncretism.
Kisekidō is one of the largest Gylian religions in terms of participation in practices and rituals, aided by the prominence and reputation of the Miranian Gylian community. Certain aspects of Miranian folklore have been adopted into Gylian folklore through Kisekidō, such as moon rabbits and spirits of household objects and tools.
Sofianism is the traditional religion of the Cacertian people. It is based on the teachings of Sofia the Wise Wolf. Its theology is based on promoting a balanced harmony between the person and their surrounding environment.
The late unification of Cacerta and Xevdenite conquest hampered contact, culminating in the Cacerta-Xevden War (1904-1908). The Cacertian Empire's annexation of Alscia helped bring about more sustained contact and syncretism between Sofianism and Concordianism.
Traditional religions belonging to ethnic groups that settled in Gylias include Hellene religion, Germanic and Nordic religions (including Seiðrism and Vallyar), Arordi, and Celtic polytheisms such as Lusitan and Gallic traditional beliefs.
Most of these religions integrated easily with Concordianism. They largely preserved their polytheistic aspect during the Concordian reform, while accepting Concordians' new distinction between deities and spirits. Notably, a variant of the Hayeren eternity sign is used as one of the main symbols of Concordianism, illustrating the ties between the religions.
During the Xevdenite era, christian proselytism focused on Hellene, German, and Nordic communities. These were seen as more susceptible to conversion, partly due to Alemarri and Nordling migration, as well as existing tensions between traditionalist Hellenes and Syaran Zobethos.
A concerted effort took place during the Free Territories to reverse the attempted proselytism. This effort influenced the Gylian languages reform of 1958–1959, notably by restoring of traditional Hellene-Roman and German names of the days of the week.
Ossorian Págánacht is the traditional religion of the Ossorians. The religion contains a pantheon of deities but consistently focuses worship towards the goddess Osraí, considered the tutelary deity of Ossoria.
Ossorian Págánacht is mainly concentrated among the Ossorian population of Gylias, particularly the Royal Ossorian Navy's JNS Eltykan base.
The Quenminese Gylian community was significantly affected by Free Territories-era hostility towards universalism, as its historically largest religions have been Haimeism and the more monotheistic Binh Giam. During the Liberation War, Trần Lệ Xuân incited hostility against the Bingiamists, condemning them as "christians".
The result was a severe schism among Quenminese Gylians and the intimidation of Bingiamists into leaving, contributing to a significant decline in Gylias' Quenminese population.
New religious movements
Many new religious movements have been established in Gylias since independence. The most common traits include collective organisation, drawing inspiration from other religions such as Tenaiite beliefs or Buddhism, a mystical focus, shamanistic use of drugs for magic or spiritual purposes, and communitarian roles in daily life.
The Hellene community has seen something of a resurgence of ancient mystery religions, which had been suppressed under Xevdenite rule. In general, new religious movements with an occultic character are shunned.
Religion and politics
Gylian politics are predominantly secular, and religious associations are prohibited from involvement in politics. Civil servants are not allowed to publically engage in religious conduct in an official capacity.
The Renewal and Justice Union is conventionally understood to be a spiritual left party, although its members do not openly profess affiliation to any specific worldview. The party was established during the transition from the Free Territories to Gylias, and functioned as a means to allow religious members to channel their convictions into support for left-wing and liberal causes.
Gylian far-right politics has used religion as a recurring wedge issue, following Trần Lệ Xuân's precedent. The Front for Renewal of Order and Society electoral bloc has used sectarianism towards universalist religions as a component of its palingenetic ultranationalism.