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A demigod is a mortal being infused with divine energy. This essence comes from a divine spark in their soul that activates due to some external traumatic event. The demigods ascend to the higher plane to join the true gods in their fight against demons, and occasionally return to the mortal realm for some dire reason, like an invasion.

The religous organization of the world has "chirches" in all corners of the world and operates out of a small city-state, where bodies of great heroes are interred in the maseoleum as a final honor. They are responsible for maintaining the faith and supporting the demigods on earth. On the rare occasion that a demi-god dies on the mortal world, their soul departs to the afterlife. However, their bodies remain, incapable of rotting and staying in prime condition. People would be come together around these locations, sacralizing it. These groups would be similar to the ancient cults of greece. Each dead god would have its own cult of caretakers. They would build a monument to protect the body and guard it day and night.

However, these cults are not affiliated with the main organization in any way, having originally just been from random people who volunteer to come together on this common cause. Rather than collecting the body, the organization allows them to continue. I could see a fee issues with this. The org. Is potentially encouraging a future rival, threatening their power and influence with the people. Branch organizations could sprout from these cults, breaking the faith into sects.

How could the organization allow these cults stay in possession of these bodies instead of maintaining them all themselves?

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    $\begingroup$ One easy way: The internal politics of any organization can steer it any way you need it to be steered. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Nov 29 '19 at 5:03
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    $\begingroup$ I bet the cults are scientists in disguise trying to do an autopsy on the specimen, they mostly work for powerful corporations and this business is extremely competitive.... amen $\endgroup$ – user6760 Nov 29 '19 at 5:26
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Actually, the Catholic church does something like this. Each of the various religious orders — e.g., the Jesuits, the Franciscans, the Carmelites, the Benedictines — is to an extent a law and community unto itself, approved of and authorized by the pope. The Vatican bureaucracy is actually a hotbed of political infighting between various orders, and many orders have (over time) maintained their own relics (body parts of various saints) which are presumed to have certain religious powers.

In a universe with actual demigods, I imagine that various orders would spring up around each demigod, and that each order would maintain the physical body of its namesake (and any associated quasi-divinities) for both symbolic and practical purposes (practical meaning any working powers that the remains could provide, such as healings, blessings, visions...). These orders would then be incorporated into the doctrine and hierarchy for an established and overarching religion: the overarching religion would gain/maintain followers and avoid creating schisms; the new order would gain legitimacy and while sacrificing certain elements of autonomy. win win...

Think of it in feudal terms, where a ruler must cede some authority to subordinate aristocracies in order to maintain the cohesiveness of the group at large.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes also the Aztecs similarly in some ways. $\endgroup$ – Slarty Nov 29 '19 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ But catholic orders are definitely affiliated to the Church. Whereas the op says that his cults do not depend on the central organization. $\endgroup$ – b.Lorenz Nov 29 '19 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ Well, if you prefer, you can look at the Hindu model (or even Christianity pre-Constantine Christianity), where widely diverse cults and teachers all recognize a common set of core texts, without any real central organization at all. I strikes me as a mere matter of degree. $\endgroup$ – Ted Wrigley Nov 29 '19 at 20:13
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Your fictional world has direct proof that an afterlife exists

A religious organisation in a reality that has an actual demonstratably real afterlife has no burden to compete for power with other religious organisations. All these sects taking care of the bodies of these demigods pose no threat to them. They are, afterall, glorifying the main religion's position on how things work. Allowing them to venerate thier heros has no negative effect on them. In fact, encouraging this behavior just makes themselves and thier position on the afterlife stronger.

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It seems to me that the easiest way to force a culture or organization to come together is to give them a common enemy. If these offshoots were officially seen as evil or somehow demonized, the leaders might unofficially allow the offshoots to crop up to give the main populace something to abhor and promote more zealous followers of the mainstream.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding! This is a good answer to the question. It could be improved if you could give examples from history where a common enemy allowed this sort of "religious exemption". I don't know an exact example. I know the Roman Catholic Church allowing the continued reverence of Mayan god Maximón and similar in Ireland by renaming the local deities as saints, but that was more a way of adopting them in, not a concession to a needed ally against a common enemy. The more real-life or known story examples you can provide, the better an answer becomes. Thanks for contributing! $\endgroup$ – SRM Nov 29 '19 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ I did edit your answer a bit to clarify your sentences. As much as possible, try to remove extraneous commentary and try to use proper grammar. Your answers will get upvoted more that way! :-) $\endgroup$ – SRM Nov 29 '19 at 18:54

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