Zheaniism

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Zheaniism (Vespian: Xiani, Xīânī), is a major polytheistic religion predominately found on the continent of Vesperia, and practiced by the Vespian people. Zheaniism is the third-largest religion in the world, with more than two billion adherents around the globe, or 0.0% of the global population, known as Zheaniists. Zheaniism teaches that life was brought to life by the all-powerful deity known as Zhautan, who created all life with his blood, primarily for his own entertainment, and guides his servants through divinely-inspired scriptures, prophecies, and avatars of his will. The holy scriptures of Zheaniism are known as the Zhantana, viewed by adherents as the word of Zhautan, and its edicts collectively known as the Yon'Zhautak. Zheaniism is the official state religion in Vespia, and the official religion within numerous Vespian communities local around the globe. Based on all available sources, all members of the Vespian population are considered adherents to the religion, and thus adherents are known interchangeably as Vespians or Zheaniists.

Zheaniism teaches that all life originated from the divine blood of Zhautan, and that all life thus owes Zhautan a "blood debt" known as the zakana. Zheaniists believe themselves to be the arbiters of Zhautan's will, and that they alone serve as the reapers of the zakana; capturing individuals for sacrifice to the gods, as well as giving of their own blood as a personal gift to Zhautan. The sole purpose in life for a Zheaniist is to repay the gods in life, be it through entertaining them, dying for them, or whatever their fickle nature desires, and be rewarded for their lifelong service and obedience in the afterlife. Adherents also believe that they must remain unpolluted in life to enter the realm of the gods in the afterlife, as the gods are clean and without corruption, and to sully their realm is to invite divine retribution of the highest order. All of this is done for the sole purpose of strengthening the gods for the day when they must confront the malevolent entity known as Zhanivoyan, or the "White Horror", on the apocalyptic day of Takivakon, when all life will battle for the future of universal creation.

Regarded as the oldest religion in the world still practiced in modern times, Zheaniism's history goes back nearly 17,000 years with its origins along the banks of the Zhona in the northern half of Vesperia. Zheaniists traditionally ascribe the formation of the faith to the first man known as Veskan, the founder of Vespia and the father of the Vespian people. Originating along the banks of the Zhona River, early-Zheaniism grew rapidly with the spread of the proto-Vespian ancestors, and violently overwhelmed all other embryonic faiths in the region to become the sole religious system of the ancient Vespian people. Credited with having introduced writing and philosophy into Vespian civilization, Zheaniism has since become a deeply intertwine aspect of Vespian culture and traditions, and has spread across the globe as the Vespians migrated across Vesperia. Ultimately, the allowed the faith to become the single-most dominant religion on the continent, and the third-largest in the world. Today, hundreds of millions of Zheaniists reside across the planet, and Zheaniism's grip within Vesperia remains unchallenged, even by those who have the most to lose from its existence.

Having weathered attempts at schisms, purges, inquisitions, and crusades, Zheaniism remains a single unified faith and the dominate religion in Vespia proper. Sizable communities of Zheaniists can be found in Kai-Meridia and Ankuria, where the faith remains strong among the Vespian diaspora residing on the two other super-continents. Though the Tazen of Vespia has traditionally been regarded as the head of the faith, the caste of priests and laymen known as the Ionakin have traditionally operated autonomously from the Tazen so as to fulfill their divine obligations, and cater to the needs of the faithful around the globe. Adherents of Zheaniism are found in nearly every part of the globe, though their religion remains highly-resented and reviled for its bloody rites and traditions, and the majority of religious extremists in the world are predominately of Zheaniist origin. While it's growth remains meteoric, the opposition to its expansion throughout history has only become greater and more organized, more so in the modern-day thanks to the coordinated efforts of the international community and its political and financial organs.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word Xīânī is the Vespian word for "faithful ones", with its roots xī- and -ânī, both having two separate meanings. Xī- means "faith" in the Vespian language, and is itself is a diminutive of the Vespian word xâuta, meaning "god" in their language. Likewise, -ânī is a simple plural marker for the diminutive, and is attached to the first half of the word to create the whole. Together, the literal meaning of Xīânī is "children of the faith", or more more simply "faithful one" or "faithful children". In Vespian documentation, Vespians will often refer to their religion in its singular form as Ja-Zhean, or "The Faith". Thus, the word Xīânī is used by the Vespians use to denote the followers of Jâ-Xīân. However, in foreign circles, given the Vespians total adherence to their native religion, and its exclusive nature in terms of who may be recognized as adherents, the faith is referred to as Zheaniism and its followers simply as "Vespians" or "Zheaniists", as both the religion and its followers are considered inseparable units.

Doctrines[edit | edit source]

Concept of God[edit | edit source]

The Zhautanic Skull

Zheaniists believe in a single, all-powerful deity known as Zhautan, who created all life and through him, all life remains alive and prosperous. Zhautan is eternal and has no beginning or end, and is the source from which all else exists. Unlike the majority of other religions, Zhautan and his works are knowable and capable for one with understanding to comprehend, and he is a father-figure to whom adherents of the religion look up to for guidance. He has a name, meaning "The One Above All Without Limitations", as well as feelings and a personality, and has a personal relationship with both his spiritual and physical creations. Though his thoughts and his motives exist on a plane totally different from those of his creations, he is not so haughty as to make his reasoning for certain actions a complete secret, and wishes his children to know him as much as he knows them. As such, Zhautan is, at least in the eyes of his followers, a loving and devoted father who cares deeply for his own.

In stark contrast with the gods and deities of other religions, Zheaniism expresses the omnipotent nature of Zhautan in the sense that he cannot be limited to mere physical manifestations, such as floods, storms, earthquakes, and tornadoes. Rather, all nature events are but the manifestation of his limitless power and potential to make anything he wishes on the physical plane immediately materialize. Only in the form of his divine spiritual offspring can physical forms be taken, and even then, their bodies are described within Zheaniic mythology as being of "abnormal size and strength", surpassing any human capabilities by entire leagues. Furthermore, with regards to the spiritual plane, Zhautan is not in any one location, nor does he have a location in the physical realm. Praying to a single place on the earth means nothing to him, as he is not found on the earth, but a realm of his own. As such, the Vespians ascribe to their gods a great deal of power and respect that they hold to be above mere paganistic concepts such as nature spirits and ghosts.

Deities and spirits[edit | edit source]

Zheaniism at its core is a polytheistic religion, with a total of twenty-three gods, and dozens of minor deities who exist at various points in the religious texts of Zheaniism. The religion boasts a large pantheon of gods known as the tavina, or "great spirits", who preside over the physical and spiritual realms of the universe. Beneath the Tavina are the savina, or "little (or servant) spirits", who submit to the will of the gods, either as manifestations of good will or divine punishment. Collectively, these entities are known as the vina, the metaphysical beings who govern the laws and behavior of life in the physical universe. At the head the two spiritual pantheons is Zhautan, the god of life, death, and creation, and the paramount entity within the religion as a whole. In spite of the polytheistic nature of Zheaniism, Zhautan stands above all other entities within the religion in terms of worship, given his role in creating the other gods and spirits in the religion.

Zheaniists believe that Zhautan is the ultimate ruler of the universe, and that all life was created from his divine essence, bringing forth the physical realm and all life within it. The blood, flesh, and bone from Zhautan was used to bring about his desire to create life, though only the Vespians themselves were perfect manifestations of his absolute strength, vigor, and wisdom. All other life on the otherhand, was formed from Zhautan's weakness as a result of him using his strength to create the Vespians with his own blood and bone, weakening him as it would with any person who did the same. The child deities who aid Zhautan in governing the universe serve as his eyes and ears throughout all of creation, and are responsible for handling the roles that Zhautan himself once filled at his prime. Likewise, each has the freedom to act on Zhautan's behalf so as to ensure that his authority is well-established in the physical and spiritual realms.

Because of their wide-reaching responsibilities, the greater tavina deities are aided in their tasks by legions of lesser beings known as the savina. These spirits which are subservient to the will of the gods in turn serve as the agents of their will, and the executors of their divine judgement as required. They are represented by fetishes, idols, carvings, tattoos, and piercings, which the Vespians place in areas of importance based on the particular spirit they wish to call upon. These include house spirits, desert spirits, sex spirits, war spirits, and death spirits, just to name but a few. All of the spirits have their own personhood, the ability to act on their own though within their given mandates, and thus have their own unique traits and personalities. As with humans, the savina are but the denizens of their own spirit realm, and many are themselves Vespians raised up to serve there in the afterlife.

Of interest is that fact that while Zheaniists regard Zhautan as the supreme authority in the universe, they do not discount the existence of other deities. These gods come in two forms, those whom Zhautan created to aid him in his mission to maintain a pure and obedient universe, and those who's creation was not intended and whose mere existence is an affront to Zhautan's high standards. The latter entities are known as the Yadavin, or the "false spirits", who Zheaniists acknowledge as very real and very dangerous opponents in their divine mission to cleanse the universe of the spiritual corruption spreading throughout it. Zheaniists actively view these "false gods" as the metaphysical servants of Zhanivoyan, operating in full cooperation with the deity seeking the destruction of all life. As such, adherents of Zheaniism regard it as their responsibility to punish both the false gods and their worshipers, desecrating their temples and shrines, and awaiting the day when Zhautan destroys those gods in the spirit realms.

Codification[edit | edit source]

All of the religious laws and edicts associated with Zheaniism were long ago codified into a single book known as the Zhantana, or "God's Book", covering all of the most important religious aspects of the faith within a single comprehensive text. Considered to be the supreme authority on all issues of spiritual nature, the Zhantana is the source from which all power of the ionakin flows, the supremacy of the Tazen invoked, and the main purpose of Vespian civilization expounded upon. Consisting of TBD chapters and TBD verses, the Zhantana covers all of the major aspects of one's life as a Zheaniist, from personal behavior and hygiene, family life and marriage, upbringing and education, warfare and economics, to regulations regarding food and political behavior. It is unknown who the original author of the text was, with many Vespians swearing that the book itself had been written by the progenitor of their people, Veskan, under divine inspiration by Zhautan and the tavina. However, most academic theologians surmise that the Zhantana is more accurately a collection of religious texts and rituals from over the many thousands of years of Vespian civilization, and amalgamated into a single digestible book for the clergy in Vespia and the adherents of the religion.

Traditionally, reading the Zhantana regularly has been a requirement for all members of the Vespian community, and it has been frequently cited as the main source for the high literacy rates within Vespia and its numerous shadikarin colonies across the globe. It is generally the first book Vespian youth will hear or read themselves, and with routine reading of the book a requirement of the faith, all Vespian were traditionally required to either have basic reading skills regardless of age. Modifying or taking aspects of the Zhantana out of context are considered acts of blasphemy and heresy, and are immediately punishable by death. Zheaniists believe that the Zhantana is an immutable part of their faith and culture, and that any alterations of it represent an attack, not just upon the faith, but upon all followers of the religion itself. Maintenance of the book by religious authorities of supreme rank within the ionakin to update the text of the book's grammar and syntax is the only modification permitted by the religion. Great debate and scrutiny takes place over even the smallest of changes, as all wording within the Zhantana is considered holy by the adherents.

In the modern day, because of the strict stance the religious authorities within Zheaniism have maintained regarding modifications to the Zhantana, scholars have found that when compared to even some of the earliest known copies of the book, the information within the Zhantana has remained unchanged in its meaning and statements. Because of this, most members of the intellectual community agree that Zheaniism has maintained more or less the same stance today as it did ten thousand years ago, which has concerned numerous communities fearful of the religions violent and uncompromising message. Because of the manner in which the Zhantana was written and its original text preserved, Zheaniism has never changed or altered its stance and numerous subjects such as slavery, genocide, and religious crusades. The faith and its members have remained inflexible and openly hostile to any attempts by outsiders to "reform" their beliefs, with the common understanding by Zheaniists being that the Zhantana must be butchered so as to make it more palatable for those who have no part in the religion or believe in their gods. Unsurprisingly, the Zhantana remains untouched by foreign reforms or internal schisms as of the modern day.

Death and afterlife[edit | edit source]

For the religion of Zheaniism, death is not something to be feared in the eyes of its adherents, as the concept of death is merely viewed as a transitioning period, from the realm of entropy to the realm of immortality. A greater reward awaits those who perform their services to the gods faithfully throughout their life in the physical realm, and are prepared for the glories that await them after their time on the earth as passed. According to the teachings of Zheaniism, all Vespians spend their lives serving as sources of power and sustenance for the tavina, providing them with the strength required to maintain the physical realm and all life in it. When he created life, Zhautan greatly weakened himself, as he took his own power to do so, preventing him from performing his duties as a god in the fullest capacity. Recuperating, Zhautan is effectively being nursed back to health by his worshipers, who spend their lives providing him with that which he needs to return to his full glory.

Life itself is just a passing phase all Vespians must go through, predominately to aid Zhautan for the great day of war, known as Tazovakur. Vespians are meant to die, so as join Zhautan in preparation for this day of heavenly conflict, during which time, the adherents of the religion who died faithfully will be resurrected into Takiyavin as beings of divine energy and power. They will serve as the warriors of Zhautan's great war against the great sentient darkness and manifestation of absolute evil and chaos lying in wait beyond the edge of physical and spiritual reality. Until that day, the dead Vespians are rewarded for their good deeds with power over the sinners and heathens, and all sensual pleasures of the mind and heart that Zhautan promises to give onto all those who faithfully obeyed his will. All this takes place in the heavenly realm known as Takiyavin, a place of both eternal life and pleasure of the the greatest kind, and unending for all those who maintain their loyalty to the gods of Zheaniism.

As a consequence, the soul is regarded in the eyes of Zheaniism as immortal and enduring, and the uniqueness of the individual tied to that soul, unchanging and unaltered in death. Because death is considered a period of transition from one physical realm to another immaterial realm, the concept of bringing items with one into death has gained some hold in the traditions of funeral preparations and mourning. Since the soul and the person remain unchanged, ancestor worship also features somewhat prominently in the religion as well, as death does not severe one's tie between family in life and family in death. In essence, Zheaniism's teachings of the afterlife can be best described as somewhat fatalistic, with life serving as a mere blip to the greater life awaiting one in death. The pleasures and battle that lay in wait for faithful adherents of Zheaniism are great incentives for maintaining one's loyalty to the religion, and sparking many Vespians to actively seek death at times through acts of faith on behalf of their gods, claiming both their lives and the lives of the unfaithful.

Predestination[edit | edit source]

Zheaniism does not teach the concept of predestination as many other religions would recognize it, in that one's entire life course has been plotted out by the deities of that religion, and that their fate is set and impossible to alter. Rather, the religion teaches that all life has free will, but that the goals of that life have been set in place, much in the same manner that an item may be utilized for any purpose, but that its original intended use remains unchanged and unchangeable. Likewise, the Vespians believe that their lives are in the hands of their gods, and they are the hands by which the will of the gods are accomplished in the mortal realm. Though spirits may guide and assist them, it is down to the physical creations of the universe to act in harmony with their gods, and that that is but the life they were created to have. The Vespians such view themselves as having been assigned a role as executor of the gods' will, and providers of their power and energy, and though entirely capable of defying this position of divine servant, seek not to defy the will of the gods, who only wish to save all creation from the formless evil awaiting them beyond all conceivable reality.

The Vespians believe that Zhautan created life as a source of power as he sensed the approach of the evil entity known as Zhanivoyan, or the "White Horror", which was a body of pure and absolute evil and corruption the human mind could not and cannot fully comprehend. In creating life, he sought to bolster his own power for the day in which he would confront and slay the malevolent entity, and save all creation from a fate that could only be described as incomprehensible in its horror. The Vespians would effectively serve as batteries for the gods, giving him blood to revive his energy, the flesh of humans to feed him, and their acts as entertainment so as to bolster his resolve and morale, as he too possesses a personality and has his own concepts and realities. Their worship would energize both Zhautan and his children, the gods who would serve as his generals in the day of war. As such, all life was predestined in the original intention of Zhautan creating it, and thus the Vespians view themselves as vehicles of his purpose in the mortal realm.

Eschatology[edit | edit source]

The end point for all creation as proclaimed by Zheaniism is the eventual final war against the beast Zhanivoyan, the "White Terror", during the event known as Tazovakur, or the "Final Battle", in which Zhautan shall lead the heavenly and fleshly armies of Zheaniism against Zhanivoyan and liberate all of existence from its unknowable desire to destroy the very concept of life. Vespians believe that according to the teachings of their religion, Zhanivoyan's goal is the destruction of creation via corruption of existence, i.e., influencing all life to engage in acts counter to those assigned by Zhautan, which allows it to manifest directly within the universe and erase entire sections of it. According to further Zheaniic teachings, every single Vespian was created and born for this purpose, with the creation of human life emanating from this single goal of halting the corruption of the physical universal and ultimately aiding in the destruction of Zhanivoyan. Until that time comes, all Vespians are engaged in a universal war physical realm known as the Vanajanik, or the "Eternal Guardianship", waged from one end of physical creation to the other. The adherents of the faith are aided in this battle against the creature by both the Ta'Vina and their spiritual armies, who wage the Takivakor in the spirit realms that are likewise fending off Zhanivoyan's unending encroachment.

Practice and worship[edit | edit source]

The practice of Zheaniism revolves around the seven pillars of the faith collectively known as the "the Acts of Faith" (Vespian: So-Savedin No-Xian Šo-Sâvedīn No-Xīân), or Sho-Saved ("the Service"), which encompass all of the identifying markers of a servant of Zhautan. All seven are clearly outlined within the Zhantana, which include: faith (xīân), prayer (râvan), meditation (tâkīnova), offerings (zakâna), purification (xâutâk), celebration (tajâīvâšo), and unity (uvoka). No Zheaniist is complete without fulfilling all the aspects of Sho-Saved, and to be found lacking in any of these areas is deemed a violation of the most basic aspects of their worship, for which there is no excuse. As such, the Vespians are adamant that such aspects of their faith are carried out regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in. No force may be permitted to prevent them from executing what are deemed righteous acts by the faith, and any opposition they encounter may be put down with force if necessary.

Faith[edit | edit source]

Faith (Vespian: Xian xīân) is regarded as the most important aspect of Zheaniism, as it is the bedrock upon which the religion is established, and it is the single concept upon which the entire purpose of Vespian civilization hinges. Zheaniism differs from most other religions in that its teachings explicitly make it clear that service without faith means nothing to Zhautan and the gods. This tenet of Zheaniism, known as xīân, or "faith", indicates the need of Vespian adherents to believe the rightness of their religion and its need to be followed by their people. Faith more than anything is the core of the religion and the service of the Zheaniists to their gods, as it reinforces Zheaniism and bolsters it against external and internal threats. The concept of xīân requires that the adherents actively express of their convictions in public, but more so in private, where the gods take particular interest in the behavior of their servants. Putting on a show of faith in public, while remaining steadfastly disloyal to the gods, is the height of hypocrisy and one of the great yöjâkīn, or sins of Zhanivoyan.

Xīân is what motivates a Vespian to prayer, to repay their blood-debt, to give their life for their gods, and to remain committed to the great mission to purify all of fleshly creation. Consequently, Vespians have taken criticism of their faith as a serious insult to themselves, as questioning the faith of an individual and their relationship with the gods verges on the very serious accusation of hypocrisy, of which there can be no tolerance. The Zhantana urges Vespians to remember the reasons for their faith, the divine mission they were given by Zhautan, and the overall purpose for their worship and how it benefits them and all of creation. Prayers without faith are empty of meaning, repayment of the blood-debt is as valuable as worm-written cloth to a tailor, and purification of the corrupt through execution no better than laws without principals. Impiety is a grave sin in the eyes of the gods, and the Vespians have made a point to consistently remind themselves of the importance of their beliefs in private settings, and take offense when questioned otherwise.

Within the complementary nature of the five pillars, xīân sits at the bottom of the "great" pillar, serving at its foundation and the embodiment of the ultimate purpose in life for a Vespian. They must first have faith in Zhautan and the tavina, and the purpose for which they were created; a physical manifestation of Zhautan's will on the world and the means by which he shall provide divine liberation from corruption and decay for all of those non-Vespians, whose only means of salvation in through release from life or service to the gods through the Vespians. Without faith, none of the other pillars can stand, and only a repulsive facade of the pillar mocking Zhautan can be attained, for which there can be no tolerance. Lack of faith is considered one of the worst actions a Vespian can undertake, for it would be turning their back on the very reason for their existence, and the sacred goal for which they are pledged to carry out. Faithlessness is likewise not tolerated by Zhautan, not just within the Vespian population, but the yojakin as well, who are held to the same standards by the deity, and to be punished for lacking faith in their own gods as well.

Prayer[edit | edit source]

Prayer (Vespian: ravan râvan) is the second pillar upon which the Zheaniic faith is built, serving as manifestation of faith made real through action. Ravan is the first and most simple of the acts of faith a Vespian can engage in, as from the moment they are able to form speech in youth, they are able to voice their faith through prayer to the tavina. As with the Vespians, the deities of Zheaniism are individuals with thoughts, hopes, dreams, and feelings, and as with any social beings, require communication with others to be whole. Prayer to the gods not only serves as a means of proving one has faith and wishes to maintain an open line of communication with them, but that one likewise loves them and wishes to know and comfort them, as they too must fight against the corruption of Zhanivoyan in the immaterial half of all creation. It is through the use of prayer that the physical and immaterial halves of the universe are connected and held firmly together, and that a single voice can be magnified on Zhautan's behalf.

The act of praying holds an important place within the lives of all Vespians, with individuals encouraged to prayer between three to five times a day, both to reinforce their faith, express gratitude and appreciation for their blessings, and bolster their gods' resolve through regular communication. Zheaniists make their prayers at home, at work, or predominately at a takon, a place of worship within the Zheaniic religion. Takonin are open to the public all day and night, allowing individuals to visit the rahava, or prayer hall, of the complex. Each ravan is called out through the tok, the takon prayer horn, for each of the three mandatory prayers of the day; one at sunrise, another in the afternoon, and the final one at sunset. Vespians may pray freely outside of these times, but these three prayers, known as the Vya'Ravin, or "Three Supplications", are specifically held at certain points of the day. These make prayer easy to plan around during the day, and for Vespians to expect when to begin is in an isolated location.

As with all of the pillars, ravan sits within a hierarchy in which it is the second base upon which Zheaniism is built. Prayer is the manifestation of faith, and the encouragement for one to meditate upon their blessings and why they serve their gods. Without prayer, meditation becomes a routine within which one simply moves with the flow and ebb of life without appreciating the deeper things, and without faith, prayer is nothing more than a farce, in which one speaking to the tavina could be best likened to speaking to an empty room because you do not wish to face the audience. Ravan is thus more than just saying "thank you" to Zhautan and his heavenly offspring, but an exercise of one's fundamental beliefs in one of the most simplistic yet all-important aspects of their life, which is their ability to communicate regularly with god.

Meditation[edit | edit source]

Meditation (Vespian: Takinova, tâkīnova) is the third pillar of Sho-Saved and the one upon a worshiper's supplications to Zhautan rests. Vespoids by their very nature are hostile, violent, instinctively-driven individuals who without discipline and guidance would be nothing more than savages residing in the desert. The ability to focus one's own thoughts and basic instincts is regarded as a quality without which Vespian civilization could not exist, and as such, takinova is deemed as crucial aspect of Zheaniic worship.

Offerings[edit | edit source]

Purity[edit | edit source]

Festivals[edit | edit source]

Unity[edit | edit source]

Unity (uvoka uvoka) is the seventh and last pillar of Zheaniism, and arguably, the one of the most important of them all. Unity defines everything the Vespians do and believe, with the faith having a single teaching, a single clergy, and a single overarching god. Schisms and infighting are absolutely prohibited, and scholastic proclamations of teachings not found with the Zhantana or the two other accepted holy texts of the religion, is grounds for excommunication which effectively means death. Zheaniism teaches that the Vespians are an army of holy warriors who are charged with the divine commission to cleanse all of physical creation of corruption by Zhanivoyan. To succeed in their goal, they much have a single command and a single voice, with unity of voice and unity of purpose. Priests operate as "field officers", providing instruction from their "supreme commander" in the earthly sense, the Tazen, who in turn in subordinate to Zhautan, the overall "commander-in-chief". Insubordination of any kind in not tolerated, as it places the entire body of Vespian civilization at risk in a war that is one day to span all of the known universe.

The Vespians are encouraged to take seriously this pillar of unity, given that all they know and believe in hinges upon their accepting all other pillars in a unified manner, the leadership of the Tazen, the Tazanotak, and ionakin in their civilization, and the authority of the tavina over the universe. In much the same way as xīân, without uvoka, Vespia and Vespian civilization could not exist as it currently does, as the base impulses of the Vespians – already hyperviolent by foreign standards – could not maintain a civilization as long as they have into the modern day. Indeed, uvoka and Zheaniism as a whole have helped to keep the Vespians unified as a people and nation against all odds for the last 15,000 years, and gives credence to the role of the pillar of faith as having a pivotal role in the outworking of Zhautan's will in the physical universe. Any Vespians seeking to spread discord within the Vespian race is deemed a jodökīn, or heretic, operating on behalf of Zhanivoyan and thus proving to be a serious threat to the survival of Vespian civilization.

Indeed, due to the role of unity within Vespia and the tenets of Zheaniism, the culture and ideologies of the Vespians themselves have been shaped in such a way that divergent thoughts and beliefs are viewed as impossibilities within their society, helping to reinforce the idea that the Vespians are of one voice and one mind, and making foreign concepts near-impossibilities for Vespians to comprehend. In this sense, Zheaniism has successfully transformed the non-Vespian world into a landscape as alien to the Vespians as Vespian culture and religion is to foreign cultures and civilizations. Uvoka promotes division between the Vespian and non-Vespian worlds, and even within communities where both parties are present, interaction with non-Vespians is encouraged and the development of enclaves as self-sufficient as possible to further limit any interaction the two parties have with one another. In pursuing this pillar of their religion, the Vespians must remain united and isolated from the heathen populations that surround them.

Law and etiquette[edit | edit source]

Governance[edit | edit source]

Dress and grooming[edit | edit source]

Diet and exercise[edit | edit source]

Economics[edit | edit source]

Science and technology[edit | edit source]

Priesthood[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Origins[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Culture[edit | edit source]

Art[edit | edit source]

Architecture[edit | edit source]

Calendar[edit | edit source]

Criticism[edit | edit source]

Zheaniism has been described as a death cult by many of its detractors the world around, for its permissiveness of rape, slavery, and murder, as well as numerous other issues, such as the justification of war and genocide, aggressive behavior of its adherents, and terrorism as a means of advancing the will of the religion's deities. Morality within the religion is vastly dissimilar to anything found in other religions in terms of its justification of concepts that are widely disturbing or unacceptable outside the faith. Some examples include rape being regarded as a supreme act of love, human sacrifices a method of providing food to the gods, death as a gift from the gods that brings them closer together rather than rob moral beings of loved ones, and bloodletting serving as a means of re-energizing the gods and bringing about good luck and favorable conditions. The issue of human rights within the tenets of the religion also raise numerous concerns, as the nations adhering to Zheaniism are home to the largest slave populations in the world. As many adherents have moved abroad, the effect of Zheaniism on the efforts of hosting nations to assimilate Vespians into the culture has been greatly criticized and denounced as counterproductive.

There have been many claims within the more liberals corners of the theologian community that Zheaniism is too deeply ingrained into the fabric of Vespian civilization, with all aspects of Vespian life centered upon and defined by the religion. Due to the interwoven nature of Zheaniism into Vespian culture and society, it is claimed that the dissolution of Zheaniism as it currently exists in the present is an impossibility, but that reforming the religion may in-fact be more realistic. No Vespian would permit their faith to come under attack, especially by foreigners who they roundly regard as heathens. However, there is some understanding within the non-Vespian religious community and non-theistic scholars, that not all Vespians hold the same view of their religion as supposedly touted by the ruling priests of the ionakin. However, those individuals who have actually visited Vespia and studied the culture and its people, have dismissed the possibility of a reformation of the Zheaniic faith as unrealistic. The Vespians are, as the foreign scholars put it, "too convinced of their own purity to accept fault with their teachings". Ultimately, if any change to the religion to take place, it will have to involve force, and even then, that would come at great cost to the enforcer as well as the Vespians.