Last month, I listed popular Radian scripture passages. Now I’ll go into their unusual customs, which are captured by Radianism’s three pillars:
1. Read Reality Two every day. Families are to exhort each other by quoting passages that relate to the day’s activities. See the previous newsletter for more details on this one.
2. Make Scientific Advancements and measure them with a merit sum. This number drives Mikklesian society more than money does.
Radians aren’t impressed by wealth (unless it’s donated to their lab or research project). They don’t care about who has a bigger house or a fancier car. But they do care about their education level, job title, number and ranking of research papers, and especially their scientific accomplishments, all of which form a public resume. Everyone over the age of four is evaluated by the merit judge for their region, who tallies up their merit sum for the year. Because low scorers are ridiculed and high scorers are hero-worshipped, everyone hustles to hike up that number as high as possible–to the point where they avoid “empty” activities that don’t add to that score. You see that in a funeral scene in Scribes’ Descent:
“They were so devoutly Radian that they appeared to resent having to leave their labs for a duty that wouldn’t add to their merit sums.”
Punishments for low scores can be severe:
-driver’s licensed revoked
-disqualified for civil service, public office, and voting
-demotion or termination from job
-disability and pension payments reduced or stopped
-disbarred from certain professions like patent law, research, and education
-kids disqualified for academic clubs at school (they don’t play sports)
-denied admission to technical colleges
-more likely to be found guilty in court
-lost customers and business licenses
-higher taxes, interest rates, and insurance premiums
Parents will even forbid their kids to marry someone whose lifetime merit sum is too low.
On the flipside, a high merit sum advances Radians to the highest job titles, public offices, and highest pay. They get their research team more grant money and can win them a visit to the capitol building to receive a televised award from King Ryecross. The merit sum even follows them into death: high scorers get the best cryotoriums (Radians are not buried, but put into cryo.)
3. Attend Exhortation each weekend. Their congregations, called pace units, are made up of groups of five, called pace crews. These pace crews update their progress charts, asking each other about their results for that week.
Their priest is called an exhorter. He displays the total progress of all the pace crews over the last week compared to prior weeks. When progress flags, he diagnoses it. When it rises, he rewards it. Upon suspicion of cheating (falsely reporting progress), he may initiate an inquest. Cheaters are given severe and public punishment, which can include flogging (in radical Radianism) and placement in a repair crew. These meet daily and involve intense remediation until the repair term is complete and the exhorter is satisfied. And as mentioned in Scribes’ Descent chapter three, Exhorters wear a red sash, even in public.
Radians must attend the pace unit designated for their school or workplace. This helps pace members keep an eye on each other’s progress first-hand. For this reason, families seldom attend together, unless they all work at the same place.
Isn’t Radianism freaky? I still haven’t given you the point system for their merit sums, and I’ve only briefly mentioned their funeral rites. Would you like me to talk about those in next month’s newsletter? Reply and let me know. If you want Mallory to deliver findleberry cakes and gorizen sodas to your home, let me know that, too. Wait, was that a test to see who’s still reading? Probably
We haven’t talked about Ipraunism yet. That’s the other half of Evetelism. I’ll write about that in a future newsletter if you enjoy the cultural side of world building.
Writing update: I finished adding new chapters to Scribes Aflame to account for some much-needed plot changes. I should have the beta copies out here shortly! Yes, I’m behind schedule, but I think the final product will be far better for it.