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The Astrianic Church

The Astrianic Church is the faith of the Astrians, who suffer the anathema of technology for the sake of mankind. These are the faceless shadows covered in grease and grime you pass on the streets, the holy heresy who dare mingle flesh with machine, the reviled mystics who commune with computers. These are the ones who eat the sins of humanity so that people need not worry about power, heat, transportation, life support, communication, or any of the other luxuries afforded by technology.   Unlike most religions in the expanse of humanity, Astrianism is followed almost exclusively by Astrians. Once the taint of technology has touched a person, it is all but impossible to wash it clean in the eyes of the common man. For that reason, adherents comprise less than 1% of humanity, yet still they enable the species to not just exist, but thrive among the stars.   One interesting result of Astrianism's voluntary mingling with technology is that the Astrianic Church finds itself in possession of tremendous power. Most people recoil from the thought of learning blasphemous trades like engineering and view most technology with such a degree of superstition that they could not repair or recreate any of it on their own. This is not without significant nudging by the Church. The Church has fostered and used these fears to gain a vice-like grip on technology and leveraged that control to elevate itself to a position of power within the dominion of man. But this position is precarious.   Few governments enjoy having a foreign and virtually uncontrollable power within their boarders, so it is of little surprise that the Astrianic Church rarely finds itself on stable ground when trying to influence others. For that reason, they have taken a supportive role in society and use slow-downs, lapses in service, and delayed shipments to influence the powers that be. This may not seem like much, but it suffices to remind officials the power the Church could bring to bare if forced. For this reason, no polity, corporation, or other entity dares truly challenge the Astrianic Church, and the Astrians continue to toil away at the thankless job of eating the sins of those they serve.

Structure

The Church is divided into four dicasteries, each responsible for a large segment of the Church's congregants, functions, and activities. These include the Dicastery of the See, Dicastery of the Apostle, the Dicastery of the Disciple, and the Dicastery of the Conservator. Each Dicastery is further subdivided into congregations, councils, secretariats, and tribunals that serve more specific purposes. Finally, these may be further divided, still, into orders; although, some orders count members from multiple congregations or even dicasteries.

Organizational Hierarchy

  • The Astrianic Church
    • Dicastery of the See
      • Congregation for the Bishops
      • Congregation for the Clergy
      • Congregation for the Apostolic Societies
      • Secretariat of State
      • Secretariat of Economy
      • Secretariat of Communication
      • Tribunal for the Forgiveness of Sins
      • Tribunal for the Appeal to Higher Power
    • Dicastery of the Apostle
      • Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
      • Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith
    • Dicastery of the Disciple
      • Council for the Unmasking of Divine Truth
      • Congregation for the Technicians of the Sacred
    • Dicastery of the Conservator
      • Congregation for the Armies of Light
        • Order of the Militants Effulgent
        • Order of the Shining Shield
        • ...
      • Congregation for the Clarity of Skies
        • Order of the Firelark
        • ...
      • Congregation for the Inviolability of the Void
        • Order of the Celestial Pyre
        • ...

Geographic Hierarchy

The Church is also divided into astrographic and geographic regions. These are used to assist in the administration of the church and to coordination of logistics throughout the human expanse. They range, at their largest, to encompass the entirety of mankind to, at their smallest, cover a specific community:  
  • Church: The entire Astrianic Church.
  • Archbishopric : A collection of all populated star systems within a stellar region of space.
  • Bishopric: A collection of all archdiocese within a star system.
  • Archdiocese: A subdivision covering a moderate to large planet or a group of smaller planets, moons, asteroids, etc.
  • Diocese: A collection of contiguous archparishes covering a large geographic region or a single small minor planet.
  • Archparish: A collection of contiguous parishes that covers a large population.
  • Parish: A single community or relatively small geographic area.

Public Agenda

The Astrianic Church builds and maintains all high technology in the human expanse, spreads the word of the Faith, and protects knowledge anywhere they find it. Theirs is an existence dedicated to the discovery and preservation of Truth, and their members seek always to root out and vanquish Falsehood wherever it may lurk.

Assets

The Astrianic Church owns and rules several systems, plus numerous research and manufacturing facilities throughout the Dominion of Man. These are generally dedicated to the research, development, manufacturing, and maintenance of the technological equipment so critical to mankind's continued survival. In addition to this, the Dicastery of the Conservator maintains a small military - including starships, naval vessels, aircraft, ground vehicles, and all appropriate support equipment - for the defense of these facilities and congregants throughout the Dominion.

Tenets of Faith

Astrianism has three core tenets:

  • Objective Truth Exists
  • Inaction Is Action
  • Ignorance Breeds Chaos
These have several implications that touch most parts of religious life. The first implication is that reality exists independent of one’s perceptions. The ancient riddle, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" has a very definite answer: Yes. The tree exists independent of anyone's perceptions, so if that tree exists and if falls, and trees make noise when they call, that tree obviously makes a sound.   This focus on Truth, called asha in Astrianism, is central to most aspects of the faith. This makes a short examination of asha worth while. A statement is only considered asha if it unequivocally and eternally represents a fact accurately. That is to say, "Paul ate a meal, yesterday" is not asha because it is not always true. Paul might fast at some point in the future, and if nothing else, Paul will eventually die and stop eating meals. A statement that could be asha is, "Paul at a meal on his three thousand four hundred and sixty-first day of life." That specific day, Paul may or may not have eaten a meal. If he did, that statement represents asha. Similarly, a statement like "Robert might eat a meal on his ten thousandth day of life" is not asha because it equivocates. It hedges its bets by saying he "might" do it. That doesn't state a fact, so it is not asha.   Truth is to be sought for itself, but it is immersed in uncertainties and is not immune from error. For a fact to be known it must be both true and properly justified by one’s beliefs. Poorly justified assertions do not result in knowledge, even when they are congruent with fact. That is to say, believing a true thing for the wrong reasons is not knowing a thing. Neither is believing a fallacy.Thus, belief in a fact is a necessary but not sufficient condition for knowledge.

Priesthood

The Church is governed by the Ecclesiastic Council, a body of 33 Ecclesiarchs. Answering to them are the four primates, each of whom runs one of the dicasteries. Below the primates are the prelates, who run entire congregations, secretariats, or tribunals. Below this level, the distribution of power and rank tends to become muddied, so a general list of titles in order of relative average power is provided below:  

  • Ecclesiarch : One of 33 members of the Ecclesiastic Council.
  • Primate: Leader of a dicastery.
  • Prelate: Leads a congregation, secretariat or tribunal.
  • Archbishop: Leads a large order, is responsible for an interstellar region, etc.
  • Bishop : Leads a small order, is responsible for an individual star system.
  • Priest: Tends to the spiritual needs of the faithful.
    • Archpriest/Archpriestess: Tends a geographic region called a diocese.
    • Priest/Priestess: Tends a small geographic area called a parish.
    • Archmandrate: Oversees multiple monasteries in a region.
    • Heiromonk/Heironun: A monk who is also trained as a priest.
    • Friar: A priest who does not have a parish, but rather travels around tending to people he meets along the way.
    • Novice: Someone in training to become a priest.
  • Deacon
    • Archdecon: A senior deacon who oversees the work of other deacons.
    • Deacon: A member of the deaconate whose clerical training makes him indispensable in tending to daily operations.
    • Heirodeacon: A monk who is also trained as a deacon.
    • Novice: Someone in training to become a deacon.
  • Monk/Nun
    • Abbot/Abbess: Runs a monastery and is responsible for the monks and nuns therein.
    • Monk/Nun: An ascetic who attempts to discover truth through quiet meditation and contemplation.
    • Novice: Someone in training to become a monk or nun.
A variety of other titles and honorifics also exist, but of these do not relate any sense of relative power. Rather they often pertain to knowledge attained, training, etc.

Knowledge is a gift bestowed upon the pure.

Table of Contents

General Information

Type
Religious, Organised Religion
Alternative Names
Cult of the God-Machine
Demonym
Astrian, Sin Eater (derogatory)
Leader Title
Ecclesiarch
Location
Orion Spur
Related Ranks & Titles
Related Ethnicities
Related Myths

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Cover image: by H. R. Giger

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