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I want to write a religion similar to Christianity but with God represented as feminine. It is meant to highlight the differences between the sexes and emphasise traits associated with women over men. This goes beyond changing pronouns, as there are many parts to a religion, including rituals, sacraments, etc. These are often based on logic, even though the original reason may have been lost. How can I make a religion like this fit smoothly and naturally into the background of the setting without it sounding forced? How should I approach writing my story to bring out this background smoothly?

This is the premise. The universe exists in a cosmic egg known as the womb of creation. Our plane was create when God spilled her essence into reality, birthing the world and all its inhabitants (people, plants, animals, etc). Women were made in God's image, as the bearers of life and creators of the next generation. The pain of labor is meant to reflect the pain of God when she created our world, which gives them a unique understanding and close connection with God. 

  • This seems dangerously close to the "what to write" -type of question and/or an opening to discussion and debate, which is not on-topic on this site. - That being said, you pretty obviously state that women have more in common with God. You refer to God with 'she' and so on. If this was written directly in your work, the reader is simply being told that "Mother God" is your God in this case. – storbror Nov 25 '17 at 15:21
  • This is off-topic, you are either asking what to write, or asking for a critique of what you have written. As for the writing: I would reveal such things in conversation of characters, or teaching religion to children, or not at all: If the people believe in a Mother God, then that will just be reflected in their speech, respect for women, a matriarchy, the healing of cuts in the male clergy due to their blood sacrifice, the lower status of males (and perhaps resentment for it, as many women resent their lower status), and so on. Don't tell us, show us the consequences of their beliefs. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Nov 25 '17 at 19:07
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is either asking for a critique of the author's writing, or asking what to write. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Nov 25 '17 at 19:08
  • I think the question is unclear. The asks HOW to do it, something I find perfectly ok, but the body explains everything and simply asks the yes or no question "is this good?", which is opinion based. I strongly recommend editing, OP – FFN Nov 25 '17 at 21:27
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    @Shardmartin, first of all, decide what you want to ask ("how to do this" or "is this thing I did cool"). The latter one will certainly be closed as opinion based, while the first may survive. I suggest something in the lines of "what would a religion based on a female God work?", but maybe that's a better question for worldbuilding SE and should be migrated. – FFN Nov 25 '17 at 21:34
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Well, you are going to have to start asking yourself questions and provide answers.

Why do men exist? In your premise there is absolutely zero role for a male, and if God created women in her own image, why do women need men to conceive a child?

In Christianity, God takes a rib from Adam to give him a mate and helper. Why did your God deny women the ability to just have another daughter? Or did she take that away from them for some reason? Why did your God create man?

How did that happen? Did the first woman just give birth to both genders, and they grew up to mate with their siblings?

A religion similar to Christianity needs female heroes throughout. Cain kills his brother Abel, Does Christine kill her sister Abby? Noah hears God and builds an Ark, does Nora hear God and build an Ark?

But once again: Why does God make ALL animals in both male and female form, why do we need TWO of everything?

You will need a female savior: Christine, I guess. Is she going to recruit her apostles to be fishers of women? Is the Queen going to have her nailed to the cross?

Will the Biblical society be changed so that women are in charge and men the property of women, bought and sold as slaves, performing sexual acts on demand?

How do you deal with Harems of many wives? In biblical times patriarchs could have hundreds of children they then controlled, but no queen can have more than about a dozen children in her lifetime.

These are questions you have to ask, and flesh out your Christinean religion with some details, that will lead into your current society, almost undoubtedly matriarchal.

And then, how does it clash with existing patriarchal societies, like China?

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I find myself giving versions of the same advice over and over, but it's applicable to so many situations. I call it the Sturgeon/Delany rule.

Work out every last detail and implication of your new religion, for yourself. But then, only include in the actual story whatever details are immediately relevant to the characters at any given moment. That will make your world and its religion feel three-dimensional and real, yet avoid info-dumps that fail to serve the plot and characters.

There is a lot of world-building that adds significant value to stories, particularly speculative fiction, but you never want to put it all on the page --that's just self-indulgent.

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A short addition to these answers, because I thought your original ideas in another question were already very nicely developed. But today I was considering the mythology and religion on my world, and began to wonder if you are asking, here, ... because you would like even more ideas, more grist.

So, here is my answer to the question "How can I write God with a more feminine aspect?"

Research religious traditions - of all sorts. Study religions, and find every commonality between them. What do they all have? What is the purpose of each item? What are examples of each?

Research these, perhaps go to Wikipedia and look up the main monotheistic religions, some new age religions, some pantheistic religions, or other variants. Some farcical religions, like the flying spaghetti monster.

Start making lists of what they all share (Examples: Supreme beings, rituals, structure, scriptures, etc) and what are unique features of each (Examples: Some have hell, some don't; some claim that divinity is attainable in our human form, others claim that idea is heresy; some prioritize faith, others prioritize acts; etc).

You now have two lists. The first is of the commonalities you have found from your research. The second is of the distinctive features of religions.

Now, check these lists against your created religion. Have you hit every important aspect, ... and have you feminized it?

From the first list: Make sure you have examples of all the commonalities, or a reason why you don't, in your religion. Feminize each one.

The second list is to give you ideas, of ways to make your religion intriguing, distinctive, and memorable. You can use ideas straight from this list, but perhaps better to brainstorm creatively from it instead.

^^^ That's my answer. I have a few more thoughts below.

FWIW, as food for thought: I thought the device used in Mistborn, when Kelsior recognized that some religions start best with a martyr, especially one that rises from the dead, was very effective.

(And upon reflection, I highly recommend you read Mistborn. Another character whose name escapes me at the moment was providing Kelsior brief synopses of any number of religious traditions throughout the book. Sanderson was very creative in coming up with a variety of plausible and crazy religious traditions among these examples.)

  • And you can also add in all sorts of crazy nonsense, depending on your style. As one example, the maternity wards are not in the hospitals, but in the churches. – DPT Nov 27 '17 at 20:42

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