Social Effects on Mythic Europe if Divine is Different?

Religion is, as with everything else in Ars Magica, considered fantastical and is totally alterable, and making changes to achieve different types of stories is normal and reasonable, though perhaps a bit more care needs to be taken than in other things to make sure nobody in the troupe would get offended by the changes. However, as the standard Mythic European setting is defined extremely heavily by its religion and the effects of the Divine Realm upon the mortal realm throughout the world's history, making changes to either the religious policies themselves or the nature of the Divine Realm could have profound effects on the current social development in Mythic Europe.

A change that I'm considering is, as far as I can see, fairly innocuous when viewed from the perspective of mundanes in ME, but might have exponentially larger effects on anyone more affiliated with the Realms at large. To put it simply, I was thinking of integrating some things that might be perceived as failures on the part of religious organizations into the actual Divinity in the form of God being the sort of fellow who supports things like the Crusades and over-the-top punishment in his name, and raises an eyebrow and chuckles at people who consider themselves superior to Him or use His influence to take advantage of others but still gives them powers, with an overall feel of the Divine Realm having the potential to commit acts as bad as those the Infernal commits.

My line of thinking is... The Church of Mythic Europe is responsible for a number of atrocities and could predictably cause others in the future that would somewhat parallel post-1220 IRL acts by the medieval Church. Most notable of these acts was engaging in the Crusades, so-called Holy Wars of fighting against equally devout worshipers of the same God simply with different practices involving horrors like genocides and, in ME's case, probably quite a few large-scale Cursings. These are normally seen as things the Divine would disapprove of, but what if they weren't?

Now, the core rules and RoP:D mention that there's a limit to how corrupt the Church can be and give brief descriptions of the gamut of characters present in the Church, from full-on sinners to the nice guys, and while this will be a significant change in the mechanics, that range of people will still all be there, but I'm removing those limits on corruption. The Scripture itself will probably remain quite similar if not entirely identical in the conversion, and I don't intend to focus on the technicalities much anyway. There will still be people performing acts of awesome goodness in the Church, and all that good jazz. On the other hand, since the power here will be derived mostly just from loyalty to God or maybe even just going through the motions of the religion with particular conviction (haven't decided how much to tamper with that bit yet), there very well may be Proud Priests and gluttonous Saints, complete with intact Faith Scores.

Again, looking at this from a comparison between peasantry in history with how peasantry is depicted in Ars Magica, things really won't be all that different for them. They're still paying the Church some reasonable amount of money (even the evil guys don't want rebellions, after all) and any acts of vengeance inflicted on the town by Divine creatures won't feel much different than the things they go through with Faeries and Infernals fairly regularly anyway. Sure, most of them will say things like "Love God... Or else!" and thus 90% of the population will be like, "We're already Christian anyway..." so there might be some weirdness, but at the end of the day it won't be a large enough difference to them to be noticeable.

I'm wondering what the effects would be at higher levels, though. How might this change in how God and the Divine Realm in general affect how the higher-ranking Church officials conduct their business, Church politics, and relations between the Order of Hermes and the Church, given the levels of power accessible to sufficiently dedicated but definitely non-good people? How might the interactions between the Order and creatures of the Divine be different, now that the Will of God they act upon is probably quite different? Heck... What do you think is the best way for Divine creatures to reflect these changes?

Can't wait to hear what kinds of interesting answers you guys come up with, and thanks in advance for any inspiration you guys give me.

Over the top punishments have always been standard fare for the Divine. Disobedience to God is the #1 crime - costs Adam and Eve (and by extension, all of humanity) immortality, it costs Saul this family and his throne, and the Israelis in general suffer numerous plagues and invasions because of it. God ordered multiple genocides when the Israelis returned to the promised land to stamp out the idolatrous practices of the people there (which failed because the Israelites didn't follow through). Lot's wife is turned to a pillar of salt because she disobeyed God by looking back at the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah.

Even in an egalitarian Divine setting (Ars Magica assumes Christianity, Judaism and Islam are all fundamentally correct), the Crusades could very well be seen as a Divine punishment on their targets (including Constantinople) for some disobedience. Are the local lords ruling in an impious manner? Punishment via Crusade. It's got nothing to do with God favoring Christians over Muslims, it's God using the Christians to punish improper Muslims for their failures. This doesn't absolve the Knights of any atrocities they commit in the process - that's them being bad Christians.

That's actually a pretty good point; on the over-the-top punishments part at least, especially in Old Testament depictions of God, that stuff was already true anyway. Generally, by the time Christianity rolls around as depicted in RoP:D a lot of that fire and hatestorm goes out the window and he does everything out of patient tolerance... But the older stuff could give me quite the insight towards his true nature in my rendition of the setting. That does still leave the other parts I mentioned, though, so...

Any other fabulous flashes of insight, forumgoers?

Well, part of the Old Testament was God covenanting with the Israelits to be their King. And in the style chosen, a King calls down divine curses upon rebellious subjects. Except this King has somewhat more spiritual mojo than average when calling down curses . . .


Welcome to the Catharist movement, heretic. :laughing:

Remember that after Christ that Divine Grace (that patience you mention) was more freely poured out - Jesus seems to have absorbed the bulk of God's wrath on humanity in general (and Christians in particular). Most of Europe is already Christianized (at least nominally, if not in a truly religiously educated sense) and free of idolatry (appeasing the faeries, in Ars Magica at least, isn't idolatry, more like paying protection money). Infernalists exist but they're individuals, not nations. The need for large-scale Divine smacking is therefore minimized - Mythic Europe simply isn't EVIL enough to warrant it.

A more wrathful God probably demands a Mythic Europe that deserves it. Paganism in every corner and outright Infernalism under every other rock. Give God a good reason to be leaning heavy on the SMITE button.