There are two aspects about religion that I think need consideration in ArM:
- Just what is/are the religious/metaphysical facts in mythic europe.
- What is reasonable for magi to believe regarding the former.
I was reading the intro to RoP: divine and I was taken aback. If I understand it correctly it asserts the following.
P1. No one religion is literally true within mythic europe.
P2. there is infact a god in mythic euorpe
P3. each of the abrahamic faiths has its own respective dominions. (I am not sure if magi that found themselves in India would encounter an hindu dominion.. but I think they would considering how I read RoP divine.)
Given P1-P3 it is unclear if "god" is anthropomorphic, a magic man in the sky that has a will and an intellect, that wants us to do things and has goals, etc. etc. Or, if the divine is Aristotles unmoved mover that merely is the final cause of all things and sits in a perpetual state of self awareness (a kind of deism). Or, if the divine is non-anthropomorhic and is something like Spinoza's nature ( a kind of pantheism).
If "god" (in mythic europe of course) was anthropomorphic (had a will and an intellect) then it is unclear how you could have mutliple dominions for the various religions. The problem I am getting at, and which I am having a bit of trouble articulating is as follows.
Each of the abrahamic faiths not only disagree about what are the facts (e.g., was jesus god made flesh? are the sacraments necessary to attain salvation?), but they also disagree about important normative content regarding how you ought to live, what constitutes the good, the just etc.
Being a holy person, what is required to be holy, differs according to religion. Should we really believe that there is a perfect being that has different standards of good conduct. "If your a muslim then this is what sin is and if you are jew then this is what sin is, etc.?" Doesnt that amount to a fickle and/or inconsistent god, soemthing theologians would find apalling?
Another point that I dont want to unpack too much here is that the notion of an anthropomorphic god has a lot of philosophical problems that theologians have never gotten around to resolving. Which is why many philosophers and theologians often producing a non-personal deistic account of the divine.
What I have said needs fleshing out but I will leave that for any responses from others to draw me into.
But what about magi, what should they believe?
Several things are clear:
Q1. Magi would be familar with atheistic, deistic and pantheistic philosophies from the greco-roman period.
Q2. Magi would be familiar witht he fact that there are Jewish, Christian, and muslim divine auras.
Q3. Magi would be familiar with the fact that non-christian persons have true faith (in the game mechanic sense).
From Q2-Q3 it seems that most magi would conclude that if there is a "god" then such a being does not favor any religion. that is, that no religion is literally true. And if they reached that conclusion then I dont see how most would be christians. This would be further stregthened by the fact that from Q1 magi would have a good way of accounting for Q2-Q3 by an explantion of them via deism pantheis or possibly atheism.
It just seems silly to me to think that the majority of Magi would be christian (which is what RoP divine says, if I read it correctly). Most religious magi would not be theists. They would be deists or pantheists. They would not go to mass and literally believe in church doctrine.
Other reasons why most magi would not be religious. Take the case of homosexuals. Church doctrine considers them sinners. I do know homosexuals that believe in a god. However, it seems to me that there is a tiny minority that actually believes in church doctrine. Its not a stretch to figure out why. It seems to me that magi are in a similar position. It seems unlikely that most magi would want to be a part of an organization that if it knew who they really were would have them killed and considers them tools of the devil at worst and sinners at best.
Further reasons would be that most would find it uncomfortable to expose themselves to divine auras regularly. Also, I would think there would be trouble with daily worship weakening magical auras.
Finally, from what I have read in the various HoH books, there seems to be a good amount of paganism within the order.
Now, before closing: I am NOT saying that there would be no christians or theists in the OoH. Rather I am saying that most would not be. It seems to me most would be deists or pantheists and then there would be a minority that are theists and atheists.
If I recall correctly the opening of the ArM 4th rulebook had nice little account of an apprentice. he starts off very devote but over time he drops most of his religious beliefs and practices. That seemed to me intuitively correct in how things would normally proceed.
Ok, looking forward to comments and dissenting opinions.
P.S. I am working on my second ma in philosophy. however, my area of study is not in medieval philosophy/theology. So I dont want to claim any serious authority here: I have only had a few survey courses on the topic. Infact, I just got back from doing a 2 year ma in india so I actually know more about indian philosophy and theology than christian phi/theo, but again my main area is analytic phi so I am no expert on these matters.