What do you believe in?
I believe I am here for a reason, and that I have a goal to accomplish. Many goals, in fact! I believe that life is precious and that not a single moment should be wasted. I believe in myself, and my strengths, and my own capabilities. I believe that I am loved, and love in return. I believe that the world can be cruel, but that it can also be the most beautiful place, if only I give myself the right perspective to view it through. I believe that my puppy will always be with me, even when he is not. That the books I read will always lend a helping hand when I need comfort on a grey day. That cocoa beans will always grow in the wild rainforests of wherever, so that chocolate in all of its delicious forms will never disappear. That someday I will go to Camden Market, and buy the perfect leather jacket. That tomorrow I will finally stop picking at the skin around my fingers, and allow them the chance to heal. That I will stop looking in the mirror and questioning why I have brown eyes instead of green. That I will finally sit down and write and write and write and go off into that special place and lose myself there until I am found.
I believe in all of that.
In my eyes, beliefs can be made up of any number of things. But the question of the day is not simply about beliefs; it is about a little bit more.
What religion do you practice?
Do I practice a religion? Do I go to Church? What kind of Church is it? Is it a Chapel instead? How long are the ceremonies? Is there singing? Will there be gossip? Did I go to Sunday school? Was I baptized? Christened? Which faith will I follow if I get married? Do I believe in Heaven? Do I believe in Hell?
I cherish the history, customs, folklore, and rituals of my people, of which religion plays a part. Thus, it is a part of me, as it is a part of the fabric of the culture that I belong to.
There is a shred of this within Temple, as there is within any society.
When looking directly at the religion that is found within Temple, it is immediately evident that it is based on goodwill and faith. It is a religion that is also based loosely on an already established one – Christianity, and has roots in the early medieval practices of European Christians (after the great schism of 1054, when the Catholic and Orthodox Churches split apart). What is interesting about this revitalized ancient version of Christianity is that it commonly melded pagan rituals and traditions within established practices. It also focused intensely on spreading itself and its message to the world – and fighting for its place within it.
The “Templars” refer to themselves as such in part because of the name of their settlement, “Temple”, but also in part because of the Knights Templar themselves, who fought for the Christian Empire in early medieval Europe.
Shiloh created the idea of this new world with goodwill and faith in mind, eager for it to grow. He borrowed ancient practices and religions of days long past – which he believed more “pure” – in order to build a sort of semi-utopian society. One of the reasons why he chose this version of ancient Christianity is because it focused predominately on the community’s wellbeing as a whole, as opposed to the individual, which he perceived to be better suited to his needs as well as those of the overarching society. A society based on the individual is one that he was put off by, as he saw the unstable and immoral conditions of the old world around him. His dream of the new world was a much simpler one, with wholesome but strict ideals.
A “Temple” is, as the OED defines, “an open or consecrated space” (OED). It is a sacred place, one that is holy and untouchable, even unto itself. Those within its walls are protected by their beliefs and their guides, and they ascend to a better place if they pursue the pure paths set out before them. This was the crux of Shiloh’s beliefs – and thus the beliefs of the settlement itself. He saw himself as Shepard, and wished to guide his own flock of sheep.
Thus, the settlement was born!
Unlike ancient traditions however, Shiloh was a scientist first and foremost. Yet he also saw the value of a strong belief system. He chose to meld the two. When changing the genome of the honeybee honey in Temple, he created a scientific source of faith. The honey became a symbol of replenishment and healing. It was akin to holy water – and it was created through science – as in fact, much of the tools and systems the society leaned on in order to survive were.
Thus, faith and science go hand-in-hand in Temple, and continue to work with one another to attain the same end.
Shiloh wished for better for his people, and so he gave them a chapel through which rites and rituals took place. These included the growth rites, which bonded two individuals for life, and strengthened the overall community. These included naming ceremonies, which introduced new members of the community every month. The chapel inspired a coming together of all.
He wished for his people to practice good morality, so he put his Creed on the Tower.
There it hangs, reminding each citizen of their duty to the settlement and their duty to one another.
Faith is thus reinforced constantly, and it is woven throughout each and every aspect of the lives of Shiloh’s flock. It is the crux of their existence upon the new world itself.
It is his belief that they will all believe in him as a guide, as well as in themselves to be better, to do better, and to achieve better.
But, beliefs, as we all know, belong to the individual.
What will be, will be.
Veritas Vos Liberabit – the truth shall set you free.
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