We humans, as long as we can remember, have always held a belief system of some scope - whether it's the story of creation that our distant ancestors painted onto the walls of the caves where they sought shelter or carved into marble for cathedrals. Where we come from and who has guided us there varies between cultures and religion, whether you're a believer or not, plays an important role within our society across the globe. As William Scott Downey so eloquently puts it;
Religion is the clearest telescope through which we can behold the beauties of creation.
I wanted to emulate this with the humans in my novels; it gave a sense of realism to the human culture, but also enabled me to include a contrast between them and the native orkaria. So, here's the religious breakdown of the two cultures:
The Order is an ancient order of monks who reside in the sanctuary in Seurri. Only monks are given the right to walk the halls. Those who die in the town, are laid to rest in the cellars beneath the halls where their body is cleansed before the pyre. Grieving family members are given access to this area and the fire grounds (where the pyre is set alight) and offered the garden to spread the ashes. We see a glimpse of this as Rey goes to visit her father before his pyre.
Burials are not allowed as all of Erde ground is considered sacred. The humans accept this, though some wonder where this concept has come from.
There are four gods who represent the four elements (earth is Diva Ad Nu, Fire is Arc Don, Aer is Ex Nogy and water is Dyer Ghon).
The fifth element plasma is considered, but not known about.
The monks are usually orphans and brought to the monastery because they have no one else to care for them.
Monks can be male or female.
Whilst humans held onto their original beliefs, before they crashlanded on the planet, over time, this knowledge was eroded and reshaped into their current belief system.
Taught the humans about the Order.
Their belief is based on their ability to manipulate atoms and therefore create or destroy things using these.
Their Order uses the term 'elemental' rather than 'monk'.
As a species, the orkaria are millions of years older.
They value science and technology and focus on nature and being part of the solution to any problems on their planet.
No animals have gone extinct on the planet since the orkaria became able to harness the four elements.
Whilst space travel was something they aspire to do when they discovered that there were plants and animals dying, they changed their focus.
They know their sun will die one day and are working on a plan for that, but that is billions of years in the future.
As Einstein put it so perfectly to describe the way the orkaria live with their religion;
Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.