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 Religious Math

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Alex J G

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PostSubject: Re: Religious Math   Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:37 pm

Unless this topic is dead is it alright if I make a few suggestions?

Firstly, one of the things that is overlooked is whether or not the religion in question is actively proselytising or not. Different religions have different attitudes to conversion and I think this is something that tends to get overlooked in countries with strong Christian or Muslim traditions. On the one hand there are some religions, namely Christianity and Islam, that are universalising and actively seek to convert as many people as possible. Then there are some religion, such as Hinduism or pre-Christian Paganism that accept conversion, but don't seem to be in a hurry to convert people (although they may well enforce orthodoxy on those who already follow their faith and attack those seen to undermine it as poor Socrates found out the hard way). Then there are some religions, usually linked to a tight-knit ethnic identity, such as Judaism that actively discourage conversion but may permit it under certain circumstances. Finally, there are some religions that actively forbid conversion, such as the Yazidis, Druze, Samaritans and Iranian Zoroastrians (I think the Indian ones are more open to it but don't actively pursue it).

Secondly, whether or not a religion is highly organised would have some effect on the extent to which it was spread. The Catholic Church in Medieval Europe actively sought to strengthen its power and position. For example the Pope backed William the Conqueror's claims to the English throne in exchange for entrenching its control over spiritual matters in the Kingdom (and all the land and taxes that came with it), called for a crusade against Pagan Lithuania which lead to the establishment of the Teutonic Knights and established institutions like the Jesuits to actively spread Catholicism. Likewise the Islamic Caliphate and post-Christian Roman Empire both sought to spread their faiths across their territory and beyond. A modern day example might be the Mormon Church which mobilises various human and financial resources at its command to spread its doctrine.

Thirdly, depending on what role religion plays in the government of a particular region can have a massive effect on whether or not certain sections of society are sympathetic to new religions. One of the main reasons why Protestantism was so successful during the reformation was that it enabled local aristocrats significant power over religious matters (and all the money and land that came with it). So for example, if a feudal kingdom has strong ties with a particular religion, then local barons trying to increase their power may be more likely to convert to the new faith, provided that the new faith's tenets are beneficial to them (one of the reasons that a particular Russian Kingdom converted to Christianity rather than Islam was because the ruler liked to get drunk and wouldn't truck with that whole no alcohol thing).

Fourthly, communication technology can have a huge impact on how quickly a religion can spread. Going back to the Reformation, pretty much everything that Martin Luther said had already been said 100 years before by Jan Huss, however, because the lack of the printing press to facilitate the spread of his ideas the Church was able to alienate him and his followers and ultimately burnt him at the stake.

Fifthly, financial support from sections of a society can certainly help grease the wheels of conversion. If sections of a country's wealthier classes begin to convert to a new religion then they are likely to attempt to fund local missions, faith.

Sixthly, how similar a new religion is to the old one can have an effect on how quickly people take up by people. After the Roman Empire adopted Christianity various Pagan elements were assimilated into its teachings and practices, such as Christmas being celebrated on the same day as a major Pagan celebration. Likewise in India, one of the main reasons that Buddhism was so effectively marginised wasn't because it was repressed (although I'm sure that probably happened in some areas) but because many of its teachings and precepts were re-assimilated into Hindu theology.

Seventhly, whilst religions originally spread contiguously, as global communication and transportation technologies become a thing then it may be the case that religions might start showing up in pockets around the glob in major population centres. After all major cities often have numerous religious communities from all around the world, the Saudi government actively funds missionaries for its particular branch of Islam (the Wahhabi movement). I would also point out that uneven spreading of religion isn't as unusual provided that the conditions are right. For example, despite being on the edge of the Ottoman Empire, Albania and Bosnia were far more heavily Islamified than Bulgaria and Greece, although I am not entirely sure of the reasons behind this.

I hope this helps.
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PostSubject: Re: Religious Math   Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:39 pm

First, you don't need to worry about dead topics if you have something new to contribute to it. And all that sounds really complex to try to implement.
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PostSubject: Re: Religious Math   Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:11 pm

I agree with what you said on religion, and the important principles of it are in the current concept, but we won't be going into the level of complexity you might be imagining.

Religions will always have a spreading factor, but traits assigned to the religion when it is randomly generated can make it more powerful in its spreading effect than others (representing more active/organized conversion methods). The traits of a religion will also affect the cities it has followers in, and nations will also be able to adopt state religions, which can create conflict with different states with different religions or foreign religions spreading to their own cities.

Also, trade routes, transportation access (be it by road, plane, ship, etc.) and increased communication technology all increase the rate at which religions spread. Religions will also be able to spread in the manner presented in your seventh point.

Look at how far we've come when people thought we'd get nowhere. Imagine how far we can go if we try to get somewhere.
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