Woism (WHOA-ism) is a religion, founded in 32BC in Wo. In Wo itself it still plays a large part in the running of the country, being both the official state religion and having its own legal system running parallel to the secular one. It also has considerable influence in Nellapaland, being the largest religion in that country, and Empthrinia, where it is second largest after Islam. In Aspar however, the religion has been banned, citing security and Chairman Rapachov seeing it as a danger to the state.
Woism was founded in 32BC on the island today known as Woland, however at the time it was known as Falascus, and was ruled by The Eronam Empire. In middle age, The Holy Guide of Woism, Wo Sha was a labourer in rice fields owned by a wealthy retired Centurion, when, as the holy book of Woism, Gei San, states, "[he] did behold a fire in the sky, which plunged with the force of a thousand demons and cleansed the land before us". Modern interpretations believe this to be a reference to the Sya Kin meteorite, which was discovered in the central Woish highlands in 1926, near the town of Sya Kin. According to the book, the meteorite destroyed the Centurion's villa, leaving Sha and his fellow labourers free, as written in the laws of the time that should a master die, his slaves would go free. This event is believed to have inspired Sha to write the first Element of the Gei San, his thoughts and reflections upon life. This first Element included basic lifestyle instructions on how to lead a virtuous life, and was quickly adopted by the local villagers, who spread it around. It is estimated that in Sha's lifetime of 87 years however, the religion only spread perhaps as far as 20km away from Sya Kin, mainly due to the mountainous natural barriers in the region.
Post Sha to Eronam RetreatEdit
By fifty years after Sha's death however, the way of life had spread as far as the capital, Falantine. In Falantine it became fashionable for the wealthy elite to study Sha's works, with many advancing upon his political and lifestyle theories, and contributing several more Elements to the Gei San. The wealthy could not contain the texts for long however, which soon filtered down to the lower classes and slaves. The ideal found in the Gei San of freedom and self-determination for all was particularly relevant to the slaves, who, in AD 267 staged a revolt, helped by the Falascian people, and overthrew the Eronam Viceroy in charge of Falascus. Although the Eronams sent armies to deal with the uprising, they were not trained in mountain warfare, and the Falascians easily fought off armies several times their number through superior tactics. In 279 the Eronams conceded defeat and left Falascus as effectively a state without a leader. However, the power vacuum was soon filled by the Falascians, who, united in a common cause, elected their first leader, whose name is however lost to the ages, not having been written down in the Gei San. Falascus was renamed Wo, after their common beliefs, and Falantine renamed Wollantine.
The Age of Woish EnlightenmentEdit
Thus followed a time of prosperity for the Woish people, and an age of learning and culture, lasting until roughly the turn of the 16th century. Many more Elements were published, and due to the sheer number, a council was held in Sya Kin, now a large philosophical centre, to determine which would be canonised in the Gei San. It was at this Council of 782 that the current version of the Gei San was created, the book has not been updated or tampered with since. This time also marked the spread of Woism abroad. The religion had spread East into the Golden Empire, and West to the Outlandish Peoples of Exilia (then comprising modern Exilia, Democratia and Autocratia). It was in this period also that the religion became that, rather than a way of life, and much of the current customs were adopted. Wo was ruled by the unquestionable might of the Church, there was no elected assembly, and this remained the case until the 17th century. Patriarchs of the Church were appointed, who functioned both as spiritual leaders and interpreters, and as political leader of the country. Patriarchs were and are named after the Virtues laid out by Sha. The Holy Group ruled the country, with a bishop appointed by the Patriarch to represent each designated area. Towards the end of this period, the Church started to become more authoritarian, disregarding the original peaceful ideals prescribed by Sha. It was in the early 15th century however, that they made their biggest mistake.
Invasion of the Golden EmpireEdit
This was a decision which shaped the modern form of Woism. The Patriarch of the time, Chastity IX, decided to make an incursion into the Western end of the Golden Empire, due to its large seams of coal and oil, at a time which such things were becoming desirable. Despite most Woists being opposed to the decision, Chastity proceeded anyway, committing several battalions of soldiers to take part of the continent. They succeeded in advancing relatively far, before being pushed back by the Empire's troops. Thus followed a long and drawn out war, which was an economic drain on both nations, however as the smaller nation, Wo collapsed first. Due to the strong Woist presence in the Sultanate of the Empire, and among the population, it was decided instead to allow Wo to retreat and to permit Woish citizens to move to the area and set up mining operations. Despite this relative success, both the war and defeat were viewed as wrong by the Woish population, who rose up against the authoritarian regime and overthrew Chastity, who died while trying to escape his flaming palace. His successor, Charity III implemented many reforms in the religion, and effectively created modern Woism.
Modern Woism can be traced back to Patriarch Charity III, as little has changed since then, aside the democratisation of the country in the late 18th century. Modern Woism emphasises tolerance and acceptance, and does not impose itself upon other cultures or people, in line with more traditional thinking such as that of Sha himself.
Woists generally believe in the 7 central ideals set out in the first Element of the Gei San:
These are the ideals by which all Woists lead their lives, actions are considered good if they satisfy the conditions. Patriarchs are named after one of their choice, or which they believe they most epitomise, the current leader, Diligence XXIII was elected by the Cardinals in 1987, and appointed the Archbishop of Wollantine. Although patriarchs do not also have to fulfil the job of Archbishop of Wollatine, the jobs have been linked for over 500 years.
Woists do not believe in life after death, as they do not truly believe in death, seeing it as simply a transition between Phases of Life. Our plane of reality is but one of many, higher than many and lower than many, and when we die we ascend further, to a better place, forever ascending to reach the ultimate aim of Qai Poa, that than which nothing greater exists. This is to all extents and purposes the God of Woism, as it is the aim to which all strive, as leading a good life will hasten the process through higher planes.
Woism and PoliticsEdit
In Wo itself the Church occupies a parallel system to the democratic system in place. Freedom in Wo is generally considered to be high, despite the presence of an unelected body which has its own legal system, although many claim that it is because of this, as there is no interference of it in the secular system. However, those standing for the office of Prime Minister must be a member of Woism, even ceremonially. The Church and State are broadly considered separate, despite officially being together.
Aspar and WoismEdit
Chairman Rapachov of Aspar has outlawed Woism, along with all other religion, mandating atheism as the state belief, in line with his communist ideals. This has drawn much criticism from around the world. The Asparian regime is particularly opposed to Woism, due to its emphasis on freedom, which they believe is detrimental to the good of the people. Because of this Wo has been one of the most vocal critics of Rapachov's regime, most notably in the 2007 Pollabay Incident.