Don’t worry, we’re not about to go all religious on you… Well, we are, sort of, but not the normal ones, more the invented kind.
There are many masters of the art of inventing religions that form the centre of their imagined world.
Between us we can think of three examples of fiction that do so:
‘Discworld’ is one, written by Terry Pratchett, who has woven consistent religions through a vast volume of work, however it is our other examples that has our most solid admiration. First, is ‘The Belgariad and Mallorean, by David and Leigh Eddings, that create a thirteen book saga (the thirteenth- the Rivan Codex is an almost biblical prophecy that backs up the other twelve) which is based entirely around seven Gods, six religions and the disputes and lifestyles that rose because of this.
The other example that springs to mind – and probably because one of us has read it recently and the TV series is showing right now – is George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, better known as ‘Game of Thrones’. Religion plays a big part in the series, with many examples of different Gods for each region; ‘The Old Gods of the Forest’ for the North, ‘The Seven’ for the South for example; however, it’s the later mentions of the ‘Red God’ or ‘R’hllor’ (The Lord of Light), whose followers believe that theirs is the ‘one true god’ and all others are false or demons that becomes integral to the story. Which, of course, leads to all manner of tension and conflict between various characters.
Creating religions and gods that make even a little logical sense (as much as real world ones do) is damn hard work, (which is probably why we haven’t been brave enough to take it right the way through yet) but can form a solid and believable backbone to a good story.