I is for Inquisition

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I really didn’t want to do this one. My faith is something beautiful to me, but there have been some distinctly dark periods and applications of that faith that I see uniting people and bringing hope to the world, but has caused incredible suffering that was far from its original intent. I can’t ignore that aspect and heritage of the church. All I can really speak to is my sorrow over the hurt that has been inflicted by others in the name of Jesus Christ, something incredibly far from the heart of God and of His desire for the world.

It’s kind of amazing how people fixate on particular things, as if there was only one piece that keeps the world from the perfection of God’s design. The moral imperative to remove the blemish of sin has lead to crusaders of justice (like abolitionists), but in the hands of the over zealous and misguided it has also lead to the Salem Witch Trials or the Spanish Inquisition. The idea of an order so focused on what they know to be right that they lose perspective on everything else and can only see success as the elimination of all other perspectives.

Many campaigns are built around the idea of a so-called “good” organization or individual fixating on a particular foible or difference and fighting to eliminate that difference from the world. The Children of Light in the Wheel of Time are a great example of this in a fantasy setting. Dedicated to purifying the world from the stain of magic, they have become blind to the infiltrating darkness that masks itself within their hatred and zeal to pursue what they perceive as purity. There are many ways you can play this, either as the actors trying to remove a perceived blot in the world, those being persecuted by an unjust order, or those working at cross purposes to an organization or individual that you will need to fight against to save those being tormented. There can even be some great opportunities for the protagonists to find themselves working for an organization like this and slowly discover and change their mind and start fighting against those they were sure were in the right to start with. No bad guy thinks they are the bad guy and in the case of persecution by religious figures, they often have immense motivation to do incredible evil in the name of what they think is right. It’s a powerful motivation and makes for a satisfying foil for players to rise up and stand against.

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