THE ANPAGAN ATHEISM

PREVALENCE - BELIEF OUTLINES - ORIGINS

The Anpagan atheistic beliefs are mainly promoted by their Mage Guild. Also the Anpagan cultural elite is strongly supporting this worldview, and lately these kinds of beliefs started to be more and more popular in the larger layers of their society as well. The Anpagan Atheism originated from the writings of the famous magician Armand DaRan, who reinterpreted the Aseyan beliefs to reform the magic system in use at that time. The success of these reforms eventually caused the wide spreading of these atheistic views. For the Anpagan atheists the world is a mechanism based on five essential elements (or essences), a mechanism that was never created and that does not need any superior beings to oversee its functioning. The Anpagan mages are even denying the possibility that such beings as Gods could have ever existed or exist.

Prevalence. This form of atheism is generally encountered only at the Nybelmarian nation of Anis-Anpagan. But because their Mage Guild supports it, it is possible to be encountered in other places as well. The Anpagan mages are well reputed in southern Nybelmar (especially in the southwest) and their success could be viewed as a means for promoting such beliefs. 
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Belief Outlines. The Anpagan mages believe that the world is similar to a huge mechanism, but while a mechanism needs a creator, an "architect", the world does not need one, as it is eternal. According to the Anpagan mages the world has no beginning and will have no end, but that does not mean that it is frozen in time. The world is ever changing, a process following the same laws every time, yet still, a dynamic process. There are no Gods overseeing this process, the Anpagan mages are convinced, as no beings can exist beyond the fundamental laws of the world. These laws are also called "essences" (or "forces" and sometimes "elements") and represent the most basic parts of the eternal mechanism. It is through their interactions that this mechanism works - it is because of their interactions that the world gets a certain shape at a certain time.

The word "essence" is used by the
Anpagan mages to designate a way in which something is, and not what that something actually represents. It designates a process and not a substance (hence the endless scholarly disputes upon the legitimacy of using the term "elements" regarding these fundamental parts of the mechanism). There are five such essences in the Anpagans' view: reason, will, becoming, form and content. Everything in the world exists in the virtue of these essences and their interaction within a thing determines the way in which that particular thing is at a certain time.

Yet the Anpagan mages believe that one of these essences has a special status. It may not always have been like this, but it does not really matter since such knowledge is long passed into oblivion - if it ever existed in the first place. This essence is reason. At some point in the eternal existence of the world the essences arranged themselves into this type of configuration. The mages believe that this particular event was a pure chance, something inherent to the dynamic nature of the eternal mechanism. Each one of the five essences is participating in the current shape of the world, but one of these essences, the reason, now stays behind each of the others influencing their interactions. There is a reason behind will, claim the
Anpagan mages, as there is a reason behind becoming, behind form and behind content. Only the reason is the one that brings together the other essences, driving the mechanism into this certain state of existence in which it functions now. Perhaps the future will bring another arrangement of these essences, or perhaps the eternal mechanism has always functioned this way - this is an issue without an answer for the Anpagans.

As we are beings dominated mainly by reason, they say, we cannot imagine a world in which reason does not have its special place anymore. To do that would mean to leave the grounds on which we are essentially founded and the result of such a "leap" would be no different than any other fairytale without any references to our reality. The fact that reason is that which dominates us makes us able to realize the "current" arrangement of the essences, but the fact that we exist in this arrangement prevents us from realizing what would be beyond it. Also the belief in Gods stumbles upon the same judgment. To state that certain beings exist beyond this mechanism to oversee it or not, is a similar illegitimate "leap" beyond reason. Within this arrangement of essences (within reality, to use other words) such beings were never observed, not to mention that their stated nature defies the laws that drive the mechanism. Sometimes it may be easier to understand the world through such stories about godly beings, but that does not mean that the understanding is also true. As beings dominated by reason and existing in such an arrangement of essences, so claim the Anpagan scholars, we should be consequent with ourselves and understand that even if such beings as Gods would exist, they are of no relevance to us or to our world. Therefore, the Gods should be left aside to be regarded as nothing more than popular stories trying to deal with the complicated matters of understanding how and why the world, in which we are living, works.

Trying to explain the way in which the world works, the
Anpagans have thus reserved a special place in their view for the essence called "reason". They are also founding their ethics on the same system. As beings dominated by reason, humans must always strive to concord with the eternal mechanism, trying to preserve within themselves the order of essences. Just as reason is a privileged essence, so any sentient being has a privileged place in the world. And they should always try to act towards their sentient kin as they would act upon themselves.

The
Anpagan alchemy and magic systems were both developed starting from these theories - the same ethical principles pushed them into an open conflict with the Daedhirian mages and made them disapprove the Murmillion mind influencing methods. Later on, these theories started to spread throughout their whole society becoming a true unmistakable mark of the Anis-Anpagan dominion.
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Origin. It may seem strange at a first glance, but the Anpagan Atheism is originated in the Korweynite Aseya. These two beliefs now seem to stand on irreconcilable positions, yet despite the appearances they are intimately connected. Anis-Anpagan was born as an independent nation under the leadership of a Korweynite Lord - an exiled member of the Korweynite imperial family, that later became the first king of the new Anpagan kingdom, being now known as Narve the Wise. A former province of the First Empire of Korweyn, Anis-Anpagan retained much of the Korweynite ways and they considered for a long time Aseya as being their official religion. During the Dark Age of Nybelmar they even claimed that they were the only ones still following the holy Aseyan principles, therefore, being the rightful heirs of the enlightened culture that fell under Ehebion's Shadow Realm. But the passing of time has slowly eroded these strong beliefs, so that towards the end of the Dark Age of Nybelmar the Korweynite legacy seemed to be more and more far away. In fact even if the early Anpagan Mage Guild looked more like an association of Aseyan clerics, its very existence stands as a proof for this erosion (as the concept of a Mage Guild is meaningless in a Korweynite context). And perhaps is not by chance that the first atheistic views appeared inside the Mage Guild, through Armand DaRan's voice.

Armand DaRan was an ambitious Anpagan mage that set out to reform their magic system sometime before the Year of Darkness. He was not very well seen by his contemporaries but, eventually, his teachings and writings became some of the most treasured things in the Anpagan culture and that is probably due to his legendary battle with the Great Sea Wyrm of the Zyloth Sea. The fact that he managed to subdue the fearsome beast using nothing else but his own magic, was enough of a proof for most of the Anpagan mages that their system indeed needed a reform, and that Armand's reform was indeed a successful one. And it is in this reforming process that we can find the seeds of the nowadays Anpagan Atheism.

Armand DaRan actually never wanted to build a new system of beliefs and his aims were specifically targeted to the magic system in use. Actually there are many voices today claiming that only Armand managed to become the first true Anpagan mage ever. He never cared about magical or religious theories and instead he was always preoccupied with the practical ends of any clerical or magical methods. And perhaps this was also the secret behind the success of his reforms (which were nevertheless theoretical). Actually one of the main changes that he operated was that the schools of magic should not follow the elements as they were stated in the Korweynite Doctrine of Essences, but they should be constructed in respect to the effects that are to be pursued through a particular magic method. Developing further this line of thought, he eventually reached the conclusion that even a more radical change should be operated: the presence of Gods should be removed from any approaches. Even if the elements of the Doctrine of Essences are not overlapping the Aseyan Gods, the strong Korweynite influences in this kind of approach demanded that Gods were to be seen behind anything in this world. And the Aseyan system of Gods, supposed Armand, was actually negatively influencing the way in which the essences were perceived. The Korweynites named the essences "soul", "energy", "breath", "blood" and "earth". They believed that the soul was the essence coming from Inthadín, the great God of the sky, himself, while the earth (or "dead matter" in a closer translation) was coming from the evil God of the earth, Bothú. The energy, the breath and the blood were essences created by Inthadín and offered to the Creator Gods to shape the world, to build a true reflection of the heavens on Caelereth. Because the Korweynites believed that Inthadín and Bothú represent two opposite sides in an everlasting astral war, so they believed that the soul and the earth were two opposing essences. Armand DaRan criticized this approach claiming that there are absolutely no reasons behind it and that the Aseyan arrangement of the essences was purely arbitrary. Furthermore he tried to rename the essences, attempting to explain them in the process. He analyzed each and everyone and concluded that they are designating rather processes than irreducible substances and thus their original Korweynite names were not only inappropriate but also misleading.

Armand's proposed terminology survived to this day and is still considered at the core of Anpagan Atheism: the soul was turned into reason, the energy into will, the breath into becoming, the blood into form and the earth into content. By removing the Gods and all their additional significations, from the Doctrine of Essences, Armand was also able to elaborate a new theory on the arrangement of the essences, conferring a special role to the essence called reason. The vast explanations that he wrote in his last years on the Ansaran Island, combined with his heroic deed against the Sea Wyrm and with the sudden emergence of Daedhirians (all of them being former members of the Anpagan Mage Guild, and all of them claiming that their new strange and controversial magic methods were actually inspired by Armand's writings), have slowly but surely led to the complete acceptance of these reforms in the Mage Guild. In time, from this reformed magic system, a new worldview was born: what is known today in Nybelmar as Anpagan Atheism.
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