by Max Barry

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What Is Pashaism? (SUBJECT TO REVISION)

Preface

This is a relative simplification of what Pashaism, a religion with a long line of accessions, splits, fractures, cracks, traditions and wars, is. Trying to sum up a religion within a relatively simple factbook is extremely stupid, but to be fair, this is really the best that can be done. This is, by no way, a comprehensive factbook regarding Pashaism and it's beliefs, but it is a beginners guide to get a relative understanding of the religion, it's beliefs and traditions, and how it shapes Azalfia's history, politics, and economy. It is far from comprehensive, I repeat, FAR from comprehensive. Do not take anything here at face value.

Beliefs

Pashaism is a religion that stems from the teachings of a religious teacher named Prophet Pasha. Prophet Pasha entered Earth, born to a simple farming society deep within the plains. He grew up skeptic of the several pagan religious movements that the people followed; most notably, ghost and ancestor worship. He was very skeptical of these ideas, seeing them as outdated to a degree. So when he prayed with the other villagers, he personally admitted to himself he wasn't praying to his ancestors or to ghosts, but to a creator; he didn't know what it was, but he had faith it, or at least more faith then the pagan movements. One night, in his dreams, a loud voice shook him. He was asleep, yes, but his dream was reality like; he could feel for once within the dream world. The voice told him as follows:

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"Be warned child of mine; you have found the truth, and nothing else but the truth, through your thinking!". Pasha woke up immediately afterwards, panicked, thinking he had gone crazy, as anyone really would. But over the next month, he began to get revelations of this creator; who told them to meet with other prophets, who had inherited the knowledge through there own thinking, and were told of a messiah. Pasha, a little over a month after these revelations, went on the move, to meet these prophets, to discuss there joint revelations. There were 3 other prophets. Meeting in the small village of Khabar, as instructed by this voice, they discussed all the revelations they had gained; and were all amazed by there joint knowledge. The 4 prophets at the so called "Meeting of The Creator" were as followed, including Pasha himself:

-Prophet Pasha
-Prophet Amira, the only female prophet
-Prophet Zagros
-Prophet Farza

Through joint discussion of these prophets, all 4 came to a realization; that Pasha was the messiah on Earth. They also began writing a holy book to teach these ideas; the so called "Chronicles of the Creator", a telling of all the major and minor revelations received by this group; the following are the major teachings.

-Red is a holy color; it is the color of life itself, of the blood that makes up humanity (as a result, a Red Square has become the defining symbol of the faith; see on the right).

-There is really only one god; the Creator, who has created all life, and holds the lands created with pure sanctity; it is not a physical form, but out of human comprehension and explanation, only truly imaginable through the pieces given to the world; through the natural world itself.

-The greatest threat to the unity of all peoples, no matter what they follow, is greed and materialism, which must be fought at all cost. What all cost means is objectionable, but many consider defensive violence against these things acceptable, although it is somewhat contested among scholars. General consensus is not reached.

-Compassion and love of all peoples, no matter what there origin, is an upmost requirement of any true follower: "to love the world and all of it's inhabitant's is to be a follower of The Creator", one passage boasts.

-The unity of all peoples is the goal of humanity, and to achieve this, peaceful propagation of the religion is encouraged as it is seen as the unifier of all humans. The end goal is a society where all humans are united against the common threat of greed, no matter where you go; here or there, it is a threat that must be battled. Prosperity of all humans is needed.

-There is no single way to show praise to god, as god gave each prophet a different way to showing praise. However, the 4 approved ways is through a cleansing of the body (washing the face and body), while reciting the phrase "You have found the truth, and nothing else but the truth, through your thinking" in the native language of the speaker, through spinning in a circle through a dance, to show your willingness of the human spirit to support free movement, through at sunrise and sunset to call to god in support against the fight of materialism while on your knees within a group setting or by yourself, or to do a act of charity. The most common way of prayer though is through a group setting a religious leader reads out passages from the Chronicle of the Creator and for the crowd following it to wash there face. This is why prayer is commonly done at wells and at fountains, which litter the nation.

-Marriage is an act between 2 individuals and the consent of there parents. It's purpose is to show, if both people agree to it, true affection. Sex outside of marriage is generally seen as immoral, and heavily condemned, although forgivable.

-Humans, after death, either re-incarnate if they have done bad on this world, to relive a life where they are given a chance to work hard and prove themselves, or if they have done good, are offered a spot in the so called "Kingdom of the Creator", a spot of infinite value and purpose, of where people live in bliss. The end goal of Pashaism is that, after the unity of humanity and the teamwork within it, eventually, all peoples will end up in this Kingdom. However, scholars debate if this Kingdom is more symbolic then not.

-Religious power should be granted to so called Pashaite Orders, who should be responsible for acting in community affairs, leading prayer, and mobilizing people against greed and materialism if the circumstances call upon this. To become a leader of one, you must be sufficiently faithful in the faith.

Major Branches

After this faithful meeting, the prophets began to go all over the lands to spread this religion individually, picking up several hundreds of followers, blending culture and religion. For example, Pasha and Amira both fell deeply in love with eachother after the meeting; same with Zagros and Farza, leading to both of these 2 groups getting married. Love is seen, after all, a consensual act between 2 people, something not willed by god, but by the human spirit. As a result, after the death of these prophets, the first major branch was Pashaism, but the first breakaway branch was related to Amira. So called "Pink Pashaism" (or, in reality, called Pasha-Amira Thought) is a theological branch, arguing that due to Pasha marrying Amira, both of them were messiahs in there own right, as if Pasha picked Amira, and Amira was already a prophet, it is not a stretch to say she is a second messiah to him.

After that, the second major breakaway is "Green Pashaism" (commonly referred to as Farzaism), a belief heavily stemming from nature and the specific teachings of Prophet Farza, who wrote much about the world at large. Farza's writings specifically mention the sanctity of the land, and Green Pashaism argues that all power should be given to the Pashaite Orders, in order to create a society that is friendly with the ecology. It also rejects the idea that Pasha was "the chosen Messiah", instead opting that Farza was the chosen Messiah, and that while Pasha was a major law-bearing prophet, Farza was the true chosen one. Discrimination against them is systemic.

But in the end, it comes down to the following branches: "Red Pashaism", the most predominant, saying that Pasha is the messiah, "Pink Pashaism", that argues that Amira and Pasha are both messiahs, and "Green Pashaism", which is a mix of a political and theological line, arguing that Farza's teachings mean we must uphold the planet at all cost and how Farza was the true messiah.

Influence on Politics and History

After the death of the prophets, and the emergence of the 3 major religious branches, several holy wars within territories where Pashaism was a majority religion was fought; both against other branches, and against other religions. While the religion encouraged a peaceful propagation, violence to a degree was tolerated, although discouraged and heavily frowned upon, but the fact of the matter is that the religion spread both through the barrel of the musket and the sound of preaching. Pashaism's beliefs, of all lines of thought, have a overlying effect on the nation; the fountains that splatter the nation is due to the prayers of it, and water is held with the most sanctity.

As for politics, scholars consistently debate. Many Pashaite's (followers of Pashaism) believe in economically very left-wing ideas; many see greed and materialism naturally arising out of the state, and this has influenced several lines of anarchist and socialist thought, that remain prevalent throughout society. The more accepted moderate version is different however; many say that humanity as a whole, striving for unity, should be able to respect the sanctity of the planet, but also the market forces that influence it. Many say the market could truly be used for good against this, at least in a limited form; hence the popular program of "Partners, Not Employees".

The main beliefs of though of most modern Pashaites are as follows;

-Market's as a whole are reasonable when limited in mass; Pashaism calls for the prosperity of all humans, and markets, when done through a reasonable program and setting, can provide that. A welfare state is definitely supported however, seeing it as another way to provide humanity with prosperity and health, in the permanent fight.

-The question of the state is contested; a minority of modern Pashaite's believe in the state inherently breeds greed and materialism, and power should be passed down to Pashaite Orders to maintain society through a framework of non-greed, but most accept that the state should and can be used for protecting Pashaism and it's followers from harm and materialism.

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