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Author Topic: Writing: Some Assistance Requested for Worldbuilding  (Read 468 times)

Altacera

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Some Assistance Requested for Worldbuilding
« on: May 07, 2020, 09:34:15 pm »
Hello,

It's been a while since I've dipped my toes into a forum, and a while since I really stepped into the Cauldron.

I am working on a novel, and part of it takes place on a post-magic-apocalypse Earth. While much has changed in the 1500-2000 years that have passed, it doesn't make sense to me to ignore certain aspects of humanity.

Religion has always been a big part of human culture, and while my story definitely has some new religions and movements, I know many of the other major religions of today would still be around, even if in small sects and groups.

My thought process is, I'm not 100% sure how religions and belief systems like Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc would adapt to the apocalypse, sudden visible magic, and other changes, but I know they'll still be there.

Any thoughts and assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a bunch,
Cera

Anon100

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Re: Some Assistance Requested for Worldbuilding
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2020, 03:23:48 am »

My thought process is, I'm not 100% sure how religions and belief systems like Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc would adapt to the apocalypse, sudden visible magic, and other changes, but I know they'll still be there.

Any thoughts and assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a bunch,
Cera

Hi Cera,

Any chance the appearance of magic would mean the appearance of magic beings and divine force? These would affect how reactions occur. If Djinn and Avatars start walking about ( or people use magic to make it appear so ) that would get people's attention.
Otherwise I imagine they would react to it much the same way as they did to science ( early Islam, I seem to recall, embraced it, while Christianity demonised it. I'm not sure about the other religions )

As for the apocalypse, well that would certainly create some heated debate among religions ( Think of the whole 'Was that or wasn't that the Second Coming' debate that started up after the teachings of Christ ), maybe a few holy wars etc..

Altacera

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Re: Some Assistance Requested for Worldbuilding
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2020, 03:32:17 pm »
Hi Cera,

Any chance the appearance of magic would mean the appearance of magic beings and divine force? These would affect how reactions occur. If Djinn and Avatars start walking about ( or people use magic to make it appear so ) that would get people's attention.
Otherwise I imagine they would react to it much the same way as they did to science ( early Islam, I seem to recall, embraced it, while Christianity demonised it. I'm not sure about the other religions )

As for the apocalypse, well that would certainly create some heated debate among religions ( Think of the whole 'Was that or wasn't that the Second Coming' debate that started up after the teachings of Christ ), maybe a few holy wars etc..

In a way I suppose. In the story Earth had long ago been cut off from magic, but some mischief and the like from Another World opened up a rift releasing magic into the world of Earth. They don't see an immediate effect of magical beings appearing though there are signs of magic latching onto people and changing them in different ways overtime. But it does cause rampant chaos and disorder in what is  current Earth and basically since everything into disarray along with some pretty intense fallout because magic suddenly appearing isn't going to be gentle.

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Re: Some Assistance Requested for Worldbuilding
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2020, 03:43:02 pm »
My thought process is, I'm not 100% sure how religions and belief systems like Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc would adapt to the apocalypse, sudden visible magic, and other changes, but I know they'll still be there.

I believe Judaism would be relatively calm about it (at least compared to some other faiths), on account of never having particularly cared about whether you can prove God and magic exists or not. Scholars would be more likely to turn to figuring out how the new magical reality fits into existing halachot than to freak out about how Proof Of Magic/Gods Changes Everything.

Of course there would be changes, but they would stem not from panic and existential dread at the new reality, but from simply adapting to its presence.
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Jenett

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Re: Some Assistance Requested for Worldbuilding
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2020, 04:42:33 pm »
My thought process is, I'm not 100% sure how religions and belief systems like Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc would adapt to the apocalypse, sudden visible magic, and other changes, but I know they'll still be there.

So, on the changes, it'd depend on what the changes are: if, major religious locations no longer exist (for example, there's a Sherri Tepper novel in which Jersusalem just disappears, leaving a large gap in the ground), that's going to change some things, just as the destruction of the Temple changed a lot of Jewish practice and assumptions about practice historically.

One thing to look at here would be ritual calendars that depend either on specific conditions (the flooding of the Nile, positions of the moon in particular locations, etc.) that either might be changed by your apocalypse, or simply by other factors in the world (like the precession of stars).

In terms of magic, many of those religions actually have things in their teachings about non-human beings, magic, or related topics, so in many cases, what you'd likely get is new interpretations of those texts to fit the current things in the world - something that again, has been going on for a very long time, historically.

For example, Judaism has prohibitions against starting a fire on Shabbat, and in a number of interpretations turning on a computer or flicking an electrical switch for a light would be the same thing (but a device that is on the entire time, like a slow cooker or a Shabbat setting on an oven, might be fine.) People had to figure out those interpretations once electricity was invented and became a regular part of daily life.

To figure that out, you'd want to figure out what things are in your world now, and how they might be interpreted based on the original texts of the religion. Looking at how some of this was handled in the Middle Ages and Renaissance Europe can be a starting place, since there were a bunch of places that had things like court magicians (some of whom were very engaged in talking to angels or similar beings), creating magical items (alchemy), etc.

It would also depend a lot on the speed of apocalypse: if you're writing about it as it's happening, people are going to react, but the religion as a whole won't necessarily manage more than the immediate steps needed to manage things (you can get a good look at the range of responses right now, really.) If the apocalypse takes place over a couple of years, or is more than a year or three in the past, then people will have time to come up with more involved theological and philosophical takes on what's going on and how it should be handled.

Either way, there's probably a bunch of schisms or realignments of religious communities involved, both because that's a thing humans tend to do, and because a major dose of new input/data/stuff to react to tends to make that happen a lot more and faster.
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Re: Some Assistance Requested for Worldbuilding
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2020, 11:46:59 am »
inn and Avatars start walking about ( or people use magic to make it appear so ) that would get people's attention.
Otherwise I imagine they would react to it much the same way as they did to science ( early Islam, I seem to recall, embraced it, while Christianity demonised it. I'm not sure about the other religions )



I think that the religions in power at the time would try to own the magic (figure out ways to 'claim' it, to call it theirs to work it into their religion), and anything they couldn't claim they would ostracize (that magic is evil, those beings are the bad beings from our teachings, that kind of thing).  Religions trying to take over dominance might do the same.

But you also have to think about how each religion looks at other religions as a way to see how they might react to magic.  Religions with a practice of tolerance (that is actually practiced not just talk)  would probably be open to it (and open to how it might manifest in their followers).  Religions with a practice of "ONE true way" or "if you aren't us you are wrong and naughty" probably wouldn't be accepting (and might turn on their own members who display magic...they obviously aren't pious enough).

One thing I would say...try to give each religion their own personal twist on how they display these attitudes.  Even if multiple religions are closed off to the idea of magic, they won't all respond the same way.  Some might feel the magic users are somehow cursed and can be redeemed (think conversion camps of any kind), while others might see them as innately flawed and to be destroyed.  If they are open to magic, some might see it as magic users being the chosen ones, who get treated with reverence (as if they were deities on earth perhaps), while others might see them as being gifted their powers by the gods, and others might see them as just ordinary people, who have different gifts and can use them for good or ill just like any other natural talents.
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