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Throughout history, especially amongst primitive civilizations, a certain fear pervades society, the fear of nature itself. In a desperate attempt to gain influence over an otherwise terrifying and uncaring world, they develop gods and religious rituals. As civilizations gain control over their home worlds, often time gaining power surpassing that afforded to their gods in myth, they move away from these systems. With all manner of terrifying things firmly under their control, civilizations lose the need for their gods, what is there for an interstellar civilization to fear besides other civilizations? One religious order is that of the Ibaradists, whose religion was not based on a fear of natural disasters or death, but of far greater concepts and ideas peculiar to Martial Space.

Ibaradism is a decentralized monolatric Ravin religion based on the teachings of Molonov and Titania. This religion is one of the largest religions in the universe with over 18 quintillion practitioners. Its adherents, known as Ibaradists, make up the majority of the population in Florescence. The core belief of this religion is a belief in humility in light of what practitioners call "The Abyss," also known as the "Infinite Cosmos."

Ibaradists believe that personal spiritual knowledge or enlightenment is the only way to be freed from the "mortal coil," what is generally perceived to be a pathetic state of existence suitable for only the lowest of life forms. By achieving enlightenment, Ibaradists hope that some passing, usually uncaring, deity will redeem their souls and free them. Most Ibaradists believe that Ibarados, just one god out of almost infinitely many, was merciful enough to not only take on the role of this "passing deity" but also protect this fragile universe from the uncaring wider cosmos.

Originally conceptualized in light of the nearly incomprehensible beings native to Martial Spcae, Ibaradism is concerned with making the universe as presentable as possible to the various gods in the cosmos. While the methods of "tidying the universe," as the prophetess Titania put, have changed, the general idea has not. Moral behavior as well as certain rituals have, historically, been the primary means by which this is done. An increasing number of Ibaradists have a fatalist view, meaning that they believe that no matter what they do, no god will ever care enough about the insignificant universe enough to intervene. The religion remains diverse in its many variants as well as individual interpretations of cosmology, prophecy, justification, and ritualism. The variants generally hold in common a distinction between the true supreme beings, of which Ibarados is a part, and the illusions of power achieved by civilizations upon reaching a certain technological level.

Classical Ibaradism began in 74,841 BCE on the planet Alphos as Molonov began his ministry. It was originally only practiced among The Ravis until it spread to the Llæns in the early 73,000s BCE. The religion remained remarkably uniform until the death of Molonov in 13,684 CE. The death of what Ibaradists believed to be an immortal Molonov caused wide-scale panic, culminating in the founding of Empyros, a fascist theocracy dedicated to cleansing the universe of infidels. Eventually, Empyros would collapse and the modern Ibaradist religion would form around 20,904 CE under Titania's guidance.

History

Modern Ibaradism traces most of its tenets to Molonov's teachings to the Ravis. Molonov was a spontaneously manifesting being who came to be in about 220,000 BCE. Upon his initial manifestation, Molonov began interacting with the natives on Alphos. Lacking the vocabulary to describe "infinity" and "multiversal entities," Molonov was at a lost to describe his religion. Eventually, civilization would evolve and the immortal Molonov would slowly begin gaining the vocabulary necessary to describe his message. When the advanced Llæns species contacted the Ravis in about 110,000 BCE, Molonov had the chance to explore a truly technological civilization. As the Ravis rapidly advanced thanks to the Llæns, Molonov would begin expressing his ideas. It took until 74,841 BCE for any sort of organization to take place. This is the origin of Classical Ibaradism.

Classical Ibaradism remained fairly stagnant until Molonov's death in 13,684 CE. The clergy of the central church, called the Church of Molonov seized power within the nation of Florenta, turning it into a brutally totalitarian state known as Empyros. As the clergy became increasingly radicalized, they spiraled into beliefs of an impending doomsday and fundamentalism, resulting in Empyros beginning military aggression against its neighbors.

Meanwhile, a being similar to Molonov named Titania, would come to the planet New Alexandria in 13,904 CE. She challenged the Church's teachings and added a large number of addenda to them. In particular, Titania questioned the idea that mortals mattered to the gods. After Molonov's death, a growing number of followers began to join her, prompting the government Molonov left behind, Florenta, to ban the talk of Titania's teachings and exile the prophetess.

As all all religions but Classical Ibaradism were not only illegal but heavily persecuted, large numbers of those adhering to more orthodox beliefs or Titania's new beliefs fled. Large surge of emigrants leaving the nation to its more progressive neighbors. These "heretics" were able to thrive in these new nations, forming an organized church called the Church of the Fae Queen (CFQ) to rival the state church of Empyros. The fall and defascization of Empyros after the Great Empyreal Crusade resulted in the execution of the vast majority of their priest class. Classical Ibaradism soon became replaced by modern Ibaradism afterwards as the CFQ rushed to fill in the vacuum left behind by the state church. The CFQ became a democratic institution in 23,612 CE.

The large number of Ibaradists that fled to places such as the Confederacy of Borealis would eventually form a branch known as Kokoism, mostly among Un'oit and Humans in the Confederacy. They formed as the Un'oit pantheon was mixed into Ibaradism, resulting in a plethora of gods with Un'oit names. Heavily influenced by both Martial and Un'oit religious systems, the Kokoists came to develop a diametrically opposed view to Titania and her followers. The Kokoist viewpoint depicts a far more caring cosmos with Ibarados as a supreme god and ruler of the pantheon and not one out of many gods.

Cosmology

In an infinite Cosmos, stretching not only infinitely in an endless number of spatial dimensions, but infinitely forward and backward in endless dimensions of time, rested one goddess. This goddess, who viewed universes as marbles and multiverses as the size of continents, would at one point stumble across a fairly empty universe. On a whim, the goddess grabbed the universe and began studying it carefully, only to find quintillions of suffering beings lying within. Her heart, moved by their suffering, compelled her to place the universe on a pendant on her head. While a common universe by all means, the goddess decided that exerting a small amount of power to aid its denizens would be the moral thing to do.

Reality above Cosmoria

"How marvelous that a being to whom morality meant something was the first to spot our universe! Of all the uncaring beings within the Cosmos, it was Ibarados, our goddess, who was the one to intercede on our part." -Titania, 14,555 CE.

Ibaradists believe that Cosmoria is but one small particle out of decillions. In numerous metaphors, both Molonov and Titania attempted to describe the breadth of the entirety of existence. While the former described only the comprehensible, Titania described a new idea, the idea of the "Local Psychosphere." This "region" extends across all of the comprehensible, that is, the level of reality at which Ibarados dwells. The most powerful beings within the Local Psychosphere are said to wear "multiverses of multiverses as jewelry" and "exist well beyond the scope of mere matter and energy." These beings, however, still behave by rules, laws, and are made out of smaller particles, just as any mortal species is.

This is where the concept of "Extra-psychospheric Entities" comes in. That is, beings that exist outside of the ideas of "laws," "order," "chaos," "morality," "dimensionality," "ideology," "reality," and "all other mortal philosophy." To discuss these entities is to go beyond what can be conceptualized or modeled by even the most advanced of computers. These entities only exist as themselves, with no other concepts adequate to describe them. The Ambrosian Remnants describe a similar force, Imagindarium, whose properties closely align with those of these beings. Many have canonized the Ambrosian Remnants because of this.

Beyond the ability to exist within the minds of sapient beings, even abstractly, lies the next tier of reality. Unlike the Extra-psychospheric Entities, the higher tier is simply incapable of being described as meaningfully higher than the previous tier. Additionally, all subsequent tiers of reality become impossible to distinguish. Most of reality lies within this tier and beyond, being beyond what is beyond conception to the point of being impossible to distinguish from other tiers. While infinity can be loosely conceptualized within the mind of a mortal, a concept that is "as infinite compared to infinity as infinity is compared to one," is unable to exist in the mind as anything but "infinity but larger."

At the top of reality, the highest point after an infinite series of infinities, is a concept called Kyuos. Kyuos is the functional end of reality as all higher existences, already infinitely high up, exist outside of existence, a paradox that cannot be resolved by a mortal mind, nor the mind of Ibarados, nor the mind of any Extra-psychospheric entity. Only Kyuos, which can be thought of as "the concept of being itself rather than an actually extant being," is capable of resolving this paradox and gazing beyond reality. At this point, the layers of abstraction are so obtuse as to be repetitive and meaningless, necessitating a change in focus from the very "large" to the very small, Cosmoria.

Reality of Cosmoria

The Cosmoria, while still pathetically small compared to anything of note, is itself a grand object compared to the mere mortals that came to be within it. Like a neutrino it bounces around reality, unnoticed by all save for one being, Ibarados. This is why Ibarados is worshiped by the Ibaradists. No other being cared to intervene in the totality of reality but just this one.

As Ibarados "gazed upon" Cosmoria within the bed of universes on which it rested, her immense power was enough to irreversibly alter and warp Cosmoria. While she was unable to notice, its inhabitants' lives were forever altered. This is said to be the origin of the Anomalous; objects, phenomena, and people that bend or even break the otherwise orderly rules of Cosmoria. While Ibarados has not caused harm to Cosmoria again, a large number of Ibaradists believe that this could happen again, resulting in the end of Cosmoria as it is known. Ibarados could polish it to make it prettier as it sat upon her head, drop it, or otherwise greatly alter it to destroy all existing life within it. Even though this is unlikely, given Ibarados' purported character, it represents an outstanding threat to the Ibaradist that cannot be avoided.

The Church of the Fae Queen, Titania's church, believes that the universe is populated by numerous beings falsely called "gods." The Fae, as they are known, are beings such as Aeternaborne or Mars whose hubris is offensive to most Ibaradists. Titania is believed to be the most important of the Fae (technically making her an "Engel") as well as the most beautiful part of Cosmoria as seen from Ibarados' perspective. Above the Fae are beings called Engels. While still not gods, they themselves are already incomprehensible in power, scope, and shape. Engels, like Fae, are confirmed beings to exist. Their immense power and influence throughout history is thought to have a huge influence on the religion of Ibaradism.

Morality

Ibaradists generally hold that the physical universe is, by its very nature, evil. It is therefore immoral to place too much care into the physical universe. The solution is thought to be in meditation, often for hours at a time. This meditation serves to contextualize one's thoughts as well as to distance oneself from them, allowing for individuals to become detached from the physical universe. The ultimate goal is to enter a state of "Idphov" meaning holiness or detachment.

Ibaradists believe that self-sacrifice is the result of this detachment. If one has reached a state of Idphov, they will practice asceticism with no extra effort on their part. Moral behavior is almost universally an internal and individual search. Rituals are rare, but not unheard of.

Salvation

One attains Salvation when they remove all illusions from themselves and attain true knowledge of reality, the state of Idphov. Evil is believed to come from placing too much attachment onto the physical world. For example, it is believed a murderer only murders another being when they care far too much about their own material gain. The illusions of the physical world are its riches, pleasures, and worries. Once removed, a clear view of the universe allows for one to spiritually transcend their materiality.

Most Ibaradists hold that those who have achieved salvation escape the inevitable destruction of the universe. While neither Titania or Molonov gave much thought to the afterlife, it is believed that those detached from the universe will be able to find a more perfect place to live upon death. Many believe that Ibarados or one of her servants will help shepherd the souls.

Beliefs in Common

In order for one to be an Ibaradist, a series of beliefs are necessary. These beliefs, called Creeds, are fundamental to Ibaradist doctrine. The central belief of Ibaradism is that Ibarados, in her mercy, sent Molonov, and later Titania, to the material world to free its inhabitants from their imperfect existences. They believe that the material universe is evil whereas the spiritual is not. Molonov is said to be a near-perfect being whose eventual demise was the result of divine providence rather than a personal failing. His various works, despite being written over a very long period of time, also can reasonably be claimed to contain little to no contradictions although most Ibaradists only accept one group of works or another anyway.

Variants

Classical Ibaradism

Monist Ibaradism

Monists stand out among the sects as they believe that Ibarados is the only being that exists, with all things deriving from her. They believe that practicing the religion is the natural state of being for all individuals. Defying one's natural state, they believe, is the source of all suffering.

Dualist Ibaradism

Molonovism

Kokoism

Kamism

Deist Ibaradism (Kyoism)

Influence on Culture

Syncretism

Criticisms

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