How I differentiate spiritualists and religion, and why I think spiritualists don’t hate each other for being infidels.

stellaris 2 - How I differentiate spiritualists and religion, and why I think spiritualists don't hate each other for being infidels.

I don't feel like spiritualist means religious. I think the difference between spiritualists and materialists is just their different beliefs on the origin of life and consciousness; spiritualists believe in a higher purpose, or at least the existence of a soul beyond the material plane.

While spiritualism is pretty heavily tied to religion, even in-game, I don't think they're one and the same. It makes sense to me that spiritualists create religions about heaven and soul and all that, but materialists could just as easily create religions about the natural universe or a machine god.

I think spiritualists like each other because even though they may not have comparable religions (one god vs many or none or something else entirely), they respect each other for recognizing in the idea of soul and spirit and something greater than just their physical bodies.

Similarly, this is why they hate materialists. It's not that they just straight-up denounce science, spiritualists can also be scientific. I mean, even in-game, psychic theory is a tech you need to research with science. They don't like materialists because materialists don't recognize that there could be more to existence than the material world, and they see it as disgusting to pretend that an artificial being could be considered alive, even though they were crafted entirely within the material world.


I think inter-religious tension would fit more into the xenophobe category. That point is where the tensions in differences between the species comes to, including religious beliefs. If we were to ever get a religion expansion, I think that's where there would be room for more subtlety in the difference between spiritualists liking each other for understanding the idea of extra-materialism but disliking each other for their different institutions and beliefs on the specifics.

In the game, spiritualist's beliefs are reflected as the Shroud. This doesn't mean that they all worship the Shroud or have a religion about it; it's just how Stellaris manifests the idea of higher conciousness.

The only caveat I can think of is how being a Megachurch requires being a spiritualist, but I still have a few responses to that. Firstly, I might say that it's for game balance, and secondly, I'd say that at that point the devs fell into the same sinkhole about spiritualism vs. religion that the community has for a while, especially since they'd been loosening their grip on the difference more and more leading up to that.

But yeah. TLDR Spiritualists believe consciousness and life is more than just biology, and materialists don't; both of these schools can lead to religions. And spiritualists like each other because they respect in each other the recognition of soul even if they don't share the specifics. In-game, I think it would take being a xenophobe to justify seeing each other as infidels.

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