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Colonial religion

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The Colonial religion is a polytheistic faith with a strong emphasis on the philosophy of eternal return.

Most Colonials worship the Lords of Kobol: Zeus, father of the gods; Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sensuality; Ares, the god of war; and the rest of them. The colonists believe that the Lords ruled ancestral tribes on Kobol and delivered them to the Twelve Colonies over two thousand years ago. They also believe that service to the gods in life is rewarded with eternal salvation.

Faith in the gods touches every part of Colonial life. Nearly everyone prays to the Lords for guidance and support. Children are dedicated to one or two of the Lords at birth. Those gods are said to influence the child's talents, personality, and success. Services call upon the gods to lead the spirits of the dead from darkness and grant them immortality.

Religion is also central to colonial politics. Priests swear officials into office and serve as advisors. Prayers are part of debates and voting. The clergy is a bonafide government body and to some degree influences all the others.

Colonial faith is communal. Temples exist on every ship. Some are specific to certain Lords or beliefs. Others are open to all. Visitors can pray alone but the group is always there. Examples of the community are everywhere. Faith groups shepherd each other through the pain of the colonies' destruction. Before facing their enemies, soldiers break a salt line and pray together. Even the ultimate expression of faith is communal: "So say we all."

Believers are tended by two types of clergy. Priests are the Lords' foot soldiers. They keep temples, perform services, and care for the faithful. Oracles perform all functions of priests, but most believe they're something more. They've given themselves over entirely to the gods and claim to receive many gifts in return. Believers say oracles can see the future.

Oracles sometimes take chamalla, the extract of a bitter-tasting root that provokes hallucinations. Skeptics say the oracles' visions are just random hallucinations, but all too often, the visions come true.

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