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Tolstoy and 539

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Alkahest Alkahest's picture
Tolstoy and 539
H-hey guys? Has the fighting died down now? Uhm. I just thought I would share another of my dumb homebrew ideas. More religion and nonviolence, I'm afraid. Anyway. This little article is mostly my attempt to create a hab and an organization that are bioconservative, Christian and on the side of the angels, err, the Autonomist Alliance. You don't have to be a transhumanist atheist just because you're an anarchist. At the same time, I wanted to give members of this group something interesting to do. This text is dedicated to everyone's favorite Christian lion (Well, other than Aslan. Bitches love Aslan.), Steel Accord. [IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/07/Christian_Anarchist_B... Tolstoy "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Matthew 4:8-10 Christianity. The Dodo of religions. The giant that fell. A memeplex embraced by Jovians and a handful of brinkers, doomed to end with a whimper far removed from the seven trumpets of Revelation. Replaced by more streamlined, sexy faiths like Technocreationism and Xenodeism and neo-Jainism and super-cyber-Sufism-with-extra-robot-tits. Certainly not something one could hope to find among the freewheeling anarchists of the Autonomist Alliance. So goes the common misconception. But the followers of Jesus have a way of surviving, and thriving, in the most unexpected locales. And when the anarchists of the deep beyond declared the end of the old order, the Kingdom of God took root. Tolstoy is an O'Neill cylinder in the Jupiter L5 Trojans. The roughly seven thousand anarchists that call it home are unusual in many ways. Firstly, they have the highest proportion of flats in the entire Autonomist Alliance. Secondly, the very fact that they live in an O'Neill cylinder makes them a rarity in the metal-poor Trojans. Thirdly, the vast majority of them have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. The inhabitants of Tolstoy are Christian anarchists, believing in no lord but Christ, no master but God, no nation but the Kingdom. The habitat itself was built in the Main Belt by an Earth-based Christian collective - funded by a born-again Korean billionaire - just before the Fall, and was originally meant to house a larger population. The majority of the current inhabitants have no connection to the original group, and are instead converts to either Christianity or anarchism, or both. Most of the usable space is occupied by agricultural land or parks, with the houses being spread out over half a dozen small towns. The local mesh is rudimentary but functional, mostly being used to quickly organize the population in case of an emergency, or to take a vote when it would be too cumbersome to do it in another way. People here generally prefer to meet in person, and are used to a slower pace of life than most anarchists. The Tolstoyans, as they are generally known, tend toward a moderate form of bioconservatism. They accept transhumans, uplifts and even AGIs as fellow creatures of God and turn away no believer, but they also see excessive morphological experimentation and attempts to "improve" the human body as vanity and idolatry. That is not to say that there aren't any transhumanist Christian anarchists, but most of those feel that they fit in well enough in other habs, and see little point in building separate communities. Tolstoyans have different views when it comes to death. Some say that it's the natural rest after a God-given life, while others say that Jesus, "the Great Physician", would surely want us to live as long and healthy lives as possible. While this issue is sometimes debated on the common "town meetings", both sides generally respect the choices of others and encourage new neighbors to make up their own minds. Obviously non-human residents are not discriminated against, and indeed many humans go out of their way to make uplifts and AGIs feel as welcome and included as possible, since the Tolstoyans want to remove the common image of Christians and biocons as being intolerant and ignorant. Tolstoyan memeticists have come up with some pretty ingenious sermons and metaphors to make the human Jesus more accessible to non-humans. And even though many residents prefer to grow and prepare their own food the old-fashioned way, those that do follow Tolstoy's example in not eating meat. This, in addition to their naturally social and hard-working nature, has led to neo-pigs being the largest group of uplifts in the hab. "Tolstoy" was chosen as the name of the habitat by direct vote, shortly after it was moved to the Trojans in 2 AF. (In case you're wondering, other proposals included "New Nazareth", "Swords Into Plowshares" and "God Hates Flags".) Despite this name, not all residents of Tolstoy hold The Kingdom of God is Within You as second only to the Bible. Many are inspired by the English Diggers, the Catholic Worker Movement, the Quakers and such individuals as Dorothy Day, Jacques Ellul and even Francis of Assisi. The ideological debates are as lively here as in any anarchist hab, seasoned with the extra dimension of theology. But the Tolstoyans have much more in common than they have differences. They all share a love of the simple way of life they have built together, and they have all dedicated their hearts and souls to Christ. That is not to say that the Tolstoyans spend all their time doing garden chores and holding prayer meetings. Tolstoy is one of the most aggressive exporters of memetic initiatives in the entire Autonomist Alliance, seeing every soul saved as another brick in the road to the Kingdom of Heaven. The humble hab sits as the spider in the middle of a wide Christian web, a network of anarchist agents and pacifist provocateurs known as "539". 539 "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Matthew 5:39 This passage has given name to 539 (pronouned "five-thirtynine"), a loose organization of missionaries intent on nothing less than the creation of Heaven off Earth. Where possible, their mission takes the form of voluntary work to help the downtrodden of society, distributing free makers and morphs throughout the Solar System. Where necessary, it instead becomes necessary to engage in civil disobedience, noncooperation and protests against unjust powers. It might seem strange for a resistance movement to take its name from a Biblical passage telling people to not resist evil, but the members of 539 believe that the most powerful act of rebellion is to turn the other cheek, to personally stop the never-ending cycle of violence that feeds all governments. The members of 539 tend to be more diverse than the residents of Tolstoy, both morphologically and ideologically. While Tolstoy is the heart of the network, and produces some of its best memeticists, "field agents" tend more toward transhumanism and a more proactive attitude than the Tolstoyans. The one hard rule, the meme that all 539:ers must accept, is nonviolence. Those that would seek to convert by the sword are not welcome, and generally find their temperaments more fitting for CRAM or Lingg's Words. (Although those networks frown on religious fanaticism.) Close to home, in anarchist habs such as Locus, 539 has a reputation as a slightly annoying bunch of street corner preachers and door knockers. Most missionaries try to not be too in-your-face, but some take their enthusiasm a bit too far and end up seeing their rep plummeting. Christianity is a hard sell in a community where "no gods, no masters" remains a powerful meme, but some anarchists do stop and listen. They have been especially effective among newly immigrated infugees, who welcome the religious familiarity, and others who have ended up in Autonomist space more out of necessity than ideological conviction. In transitional economies like the Consortium and the LLA, 539 helps the clanking masses sleeve into more dignified morphs and get access to more advanced and open blueprints by freely distributing both, which of course puts them at odds with the hypercapitalist providers of those products. They also champion indenture, synthmorph, AGI and uplift rights and frequently organize peaceful protests against hypercorps and governments they consider abusive and exploitative. This makes them unwelcome in the LLA and most parts of the Consortium. The Morningstar Constellation, the most liberal of the Inner System polities, has less of a problem with the group. That's not to say that 539 protests are unknown - Venus has its fair share of practices Christian anarchists consider shameful - but those are generally tolerated as a natural part of a healthy democracy. But 539's major memetic focus, and its main claim to fame outside the Autonomist Alliance, is its campaign to win hearts and minds in the Jovian Republic. The JAC, Blue Rose, CRAM, Lingg's Words and similar anarchist insurrectionist networks are easily vilified as violent, godless terrorists, but it's harder for the Jovian spin machine to demonize the Tolstoy missionaries. Speaking a language few anarchists know, that of faith, they directly quote the Sermon on the Mount and other Biblical passages in their attempts to make the Jovians see the evil of their government. The Christian anarchists don't encourage armed revolution or any other kind of violence, but rather teach a message of nonviolent resistance, unconditional compassion and, if it comes to that, martyrdom. This strategy has had devastating effects on the morale of the units tasked with rooting out the 539 "terrorists". It's one thing to shoot a bomb-throwing insurgent calling you a fascist piece of shit in the face, quite another to do the same to a fellow Christian whose last words are "Jesus loves you". Some officers have even smuggled home pamphlets from the 539 dens they've raided, reading and thinking away from the prying eyes of their superiors and the dreaded Security Council Intelligence agents. SCI is aware of this growing threat, and has encouraged stringent "loyalty reviews" in all services that have any kind of contact with 539 propaganda. The Roman Catholic Church has, unsurprisingly, rebuked Tolstoyan Christianity in fiery sermons across Jovian space. The vile anarchists of 539 are not only a physical threat to the noble people of the Jovian Republic, the Pope preaches, but part of a Satanic plot intent on nothing less than the corruption of Christian souls. But neither the laity nor the priesthood of Catholicism unanimously line up to support the party line. Moderates openly question how much of a menace a group of pacifist Christians can really be, and more than a few radicals quietly harbor 539 sympathies. Rumors suggest that these sympathies reach as far up as the College of Cardinals, and many conservatives fear what would happen if a secret anarchist-lover would ever sit on the chair of Saint Peter. Leaked internal reports from the Security Council have revealed that the Space Force has drawn up plans to stop the problem at what it considers the source, by invading Tolstoy itself. Or, if it comes to that, destroy the station. If these plans are the idle work of some strategist with more free time than common sense or a serious suggestion to actually start a war against the Autonomist Alliance is unknown. What is known is that the Tolstoyans are more dedicated than ever to their mission. No force of man can prevent the Kingdom of God, if His children are but ready when the time comes.
President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.
Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Very interesting
You've really done your homework on this. I could see myself visiting this place often.
Your passion is power. Focus it. Your body is a tool. Hone it. Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!
uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
This pretty legit. As a
This pretty legit. As a Transhuman Christian, its hard to show off the setting to my biocon kith and kin, this makes it easier. Thanks for the cool ideas!
Exhuman, and Humanitarian.
DrewDavis DrewDavis's picture
Nicely done. These are so
Nicely done. These are so getting stolen for my games.
rfmcdonald rfmcdonald's picture
Good job!
Good job!
Undocking Undocking's picture
I like the progressive
I like the progressive metropolitan Christian vibe (a bit of apologist in there too) from Tolstoy being both complimented and contrasted by the militant pacifist evangelism of the 539.
Alkahest Alkahest's picture
Thanks, guys! My goal was to give Christians a place in the Autonomist Alliance where they could feel welcome and useful. I hope no-one thinks I have misrepresented their religion.
President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.
thesensei thesensei's picture
Great work just in time!
Just when I was racking my head for a nice next setting for my "christmas carol" - there I go. Brilliant. Thanks a ton.
GenUGenics GenUGenics's picture
I too have generally thought transhumanism and virtual immortality would deliver a more staggering, revolutionary blow to Christian grace than other major religions. Buddhism, Judaism, even Islam tend to be more ethical systems—instruction manuals for moral living—while Christianity comparatively focuses more on the afterlife, themes of Resurrection, personal relationship with the Hidden, etc. Stripped of the potency of celestial rewards or punishments in death, Christianity would have to refocus on good works and methods, reconsider the relationship of "man as god." One issue for Catholicism in particular is the idea of an immortal pope, and I wonder if the Church mightn't take to heart the proscription of Genesis that a man's span will not exceed 120 years as the amount of time one person could remain on the throne of St. Peter. Anyway, as I said, provocative.