Religions, Faiths, and Beliefs
Most churches in Midian are moral belief structures and guidelines rather than a system that contains a deific figurehead (or many such) and an afterlife. The belief in an eternal soul is not widely held. It is interesting to note that the Elves have no religion of their own (just 'The Way'), as they do not recognise any deity-hood. It is also interesting to note that the Dwarves had no religion prior to being influenced by other races (particularly Humans), and practiced a form of ancestor-reverence—grandparents and great-grandparents are still highly regarded in Dwarven society.
[Designer's Note: (This is about as close to a disclaimer as the Midian Game will probably ever have) Religion is an especially sticky subject, and nothing listed on this page is meant to represent any real-world religion.]
Bhahi (BĂ-hē): This is undoubtedly the most widespread religion, having followers in nearly every country. This is the least populous of the five main faiths in spite of their geographic dispersal. They believe that all religions have the same source and that all men are equal before God. They believe in peace and an end to prejudice.
Some that follow this faith have a very humanocentric view. In other words, there are a number of Human supremacists within the Bhahi church. They are a small, but often violent, minority. This is one of the oldest Human faiths, dating back to before Humanity arrived in the middle-lands. The tenets of the faith, as written, do not cover whether or not other sentient species should be included in the unity of mankind. This is what the Human supremacists use for their arguments. The teachings of the faith, in spirit rather than by twisting any literal meaning, are opposed to any sort of hate crime. The antisocial nature of many of these Human supremacists, and their hate crimes, banish many of their less than savoury acts to nighttime secrecy.
The Church of Melchom (MĔL-kŏm): This is the merchants' friend. This god of wealth and commerce is believed to be non-sentient, but is instead an unknowable mathematical concept. This is the closest that the Byzant Empire has to an official religion, and is commonly believed to be practiced by the Emperor. The Pope is a common visitor to the Imperial palace.
Church of the Red God: This is a warrior's faith. Practiced primarily in the Heldanic Confederation and the Killian Empire. This is possibly the most dominant true religion, but has little influence. The Red God is rage personified, and is revered as an ideal rather than worshipped. The priesthood is effectively an order of church-militant. Many sages have connected this 'god' to the Dragon Chao Kung Ming, which may be the deity's true identity.
Stryfe (strīf, as in the word 'strife'): Also called Bringer of Chaos and Flame-Spider (due to his symbol: an 8-pointed star). This is a relative newcomer to the faiths of Midian, being less than 80 years old. This would probably be considered a Demon cult if not for the rapid rise of this church's influences. There is no central temple for this religion, but is most commonly found in southern Formour.
The Temple of Light: Followers of the Prophet Mammon, this is the official state religion of the Kingdom of Formour and is the religion practiced by its royal family. The evangelical (and often fanatic) followers of this belief structure have a large following with socially powerful members. This is not a true religion as there is no godhead, but is instead a moral belief system. Having great support, there is a degree of corruption in this church's establishment. The Cardinal of Assisi in particular has great power and is feared by those under his fist. This religion follows 'The Book of the Cannon,' from which many of Formour's laws are taken. The church sponsors multiple knightly orders; most notable are the Knights of the Temple.
It bears noting that many cultists do not consider themselves such. They may consider their belief system just as valid as any who practice one of the more popular faiths. Alternately they may feel that they are not true examples of a religious person, being instead someone who merely feels a particular way about something (such as many Druids), or that they are simply out to get something for themselves. Cultists are occasionally referred to as 'witches'. While this term denotes someone—of either gender—with magical power, it refers just as equally to an atheistic herbalist out in the wilderness as it does to the vilest followers of Demons.
Azat-Wicce (ĂZ-ăt WĒ-tʃā): This is one of the most well-known (& often feared) Demon-cults. With nearly every member being a wizard, witch, or herbalist, this cult has a great deal of power at its disposal. The Demon Azat has corrupted many with promises of mystical power and knowledge.
The Black Church: More of an anti-church than a religion, the followers of this faith believe only in themselves and their own abilities. This faith is often considered to be a Demon cult, but nothing could be further from the truth. Allying themselves with a diabolical force goes against their core beliefs of self-reliance and survival of the fittest.
The Church of Hugh (hū): This is a 'feel good' kind of religion with strong moral values. The church places greater emphasis on learning an ethical lesson from a sinful act than on punishment for that act. One of the basic tenants is that a loving god is incompatible with a vindictive one." Well, Beaver, have you learned your lesson?"
Eco-Druids (Ē-kō DRŪ-ĭds): While not a common church, the followers are quite vocal and often violent in their beliefs. This is more of an informal ecological terrorist organisation with religious overtones than an actual church. They are willing to 'sacrifice to the world-mother' those that they consider to defile the land. This is often considered a splinter druidic faith—mostly from their name—that espouses the destruction of all sentients. Most would simply like to live in a clean and happy world, but the more vocal and violent members overshadow them.
Gates of Ryleth (RĪ-lĕθ): A small, but quite frightening cult. These are those who worship the dread Old Ones and work to conjure them from the heavens.
Revenants: Worships the death-lord Bhaal. These drug-enhanced assassins and terrorists feel that to die for their faith ensures a blissful afterlife.
Wicce-Druids (WĒ-tʃā DRŪ-ĭds): The original druidic faith and one of the oldest known Human religions. This was once one of the more prevalent faiths, but subsequent ideological splintering has reduced the numbers of followers in all branches greatly. This cult was inspired by Humanity's first contacts with the Elves. This is an attempt by Humans to codify and assimilate the Elven 'Way'. Few Elves still consider themselves members of this faith—few ever did—but there are those that still remain to teach the mortals the superior ways of Elvenkind. The incorporation of older Human beliefs—along with the splintering into different factions—discouraged most of the Elven supporters. It is important to note that most Elves do not consider themselves practitioners of this faith, or of any religion; this is simply the 'way' that they do things.