So, religion. That thing that has existed pretty much since the beginning of mankind. There are thousands of different recorded religions in history, and they have shaped our world. Our society, our life, our families, our culture. Everything in our life has somehow been influenced by some form of religion. So, of course, it’s important to consider it as an aspect in books.
But how does one go about creating a whole new religion? Well, a good place to start is, of course, research. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism, and so on. You don’t have to become a master of each religion, but having a good base for what each one is, what their similarities are, and what their differences are, is a big thing to look at.
Some important stuff to jot down when doing the research:
- Basic laws of the religion
- How the religion affects daily life
- How are leadership roles chosen in the religion
- What kinds of food can be eaten
- What is the place of worship
- What does prayer look like? Does it have prayer?
- Who/what are/is the deities? (how many, names, affiliations, etc)
- How the religion got started
There’s more you can focus on, but for a start those are some good things. Then, you can move on to customs, holidays, etc. From here, you can start to develop your own religion. Just ask yourself the same questions as above, but keep in mind your own world, your characters, and what you need out of the religion.
So, as an example, from my story Call of the Elder, first book in my Eri’r Konhea series, I started out with my religion asking the question of the deities. Who are they? How many are there? I answered with the five dragon gods, Semira, Ashanti, Faasu, Narkesha, and Nixie. From there, I developed them a little more, going into what their powers are, what they look like, and what they represent on the human planet. Then, I worked on more. I developed the leadership, creating two sects: the priesthood, and the warriors. Each have their own representative and their own duties to their kind. From there I worked on the holidays and the practices, developing each one and how they relate to the seasons.
It’s been slow going, and I’ve learned more as the books have gotten written, but it’s been a fun journey.
Religion is important. It dictates so much in our life, and it can play either a huge role in your story, or it can be a small part that does have some influence on everything else. If that makes sense. So like, it has nothing to with the plot, but a lot to do with the character themselves.
Try it out! Creating a religion is a lot of fun.
Any questions? Any thoughts? Any suggestions?
Let me know!