The world setting is as follows:

The main species is human and beastoid(animals that walk on two legs and have hands capable of dexterity, mostly like dog, wolf, cat, bear, rabbit, goat). Half-blood could exist. There are animosity between them, with beastoid being ex-slaves to human.

There were a much more advanced species of ancient humanoids that uses technology that were capable of colonizing their moon, and built orbital elevators with solar panel (think a more 26th century human, or the ancient Eldorian in Gundam Build Diver: Re-Rise). But for some reason they all left this planet long time ago, but left behind ruins of labs, factories, satellites, the orbital elevator, and monsters that would sometimes awake and destroy a few city. They created these two above, as well as a few other species on the planet, thus the languages spoken are all derived from the ancient one's own (like from Latin to German, French...)

There are magic user in the world, but the numbers are not much, and their powers vary, but none of them will be powerful enough to decide an war after medieval era. The ancient ones DONT use, and have NO idea what is magic.

Because the main species all start from Greek/Roman era technology level, there were a lot of stuffs, including psychological ones, they could not understand and would resort to religion. Now the problem is I want the technology development, and their reverse engineering of ancient technology being un impeded by state religion personnel (if the religion actively encourage scientific development, it is better). But seeing how in the past, saying Earth is not flat and is rotating around the sun could get the people being roasted on a stake. How should my fictional religion be promoting science?

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    $\begingroup$ In what way did religion impede scientific development until the Renaissance? For example, in what way did the Roman state religion impede scientific development? Or, for that matter, in what way did the Christian or the Mohammedan religions impede scientific development between, for example, the 8th and the 13th centuries? I'm afraid the entire question starts from a false premise. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Feb 13, 2021 at 1:23
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    $\begingroup$ Some basic misinformation about historical religion, I see. Do learn some history: our concept of science, the scientific method, the university system, the idea of a rational and understandable universe all come right out of Catholicism. By the way, they're the ones you've said will burn you at the stake for saying the Earth isn't flat. Go figure! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Feb 13, 2021 at 3:57
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas. the scientific method and rationality predates Christianity by quite large margin. As does the idea of an understandable universe, nearly all religions arise as a way to understand the universe. modern science arose surrounded by religion because it basically had to, no other way of knowing was allowed to be openly practiced in those societies. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Feb 13, 2021 at 4:55
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    $\begingroup$ @alex are you really trying to argue the holy roman empire did not impede science? as for both religions they burned libraries for containing heretical material, Library of al-Hakam II 900's, Library of Rayy in 1000's, to name a few, there are quite a few libraries burned for various reasons but these were burned specifically becasue the contained heretical material. consider other impacts they would have on scientific development if they will destroy such places just for not being in line with the religions teachings. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Feb 13, 2021 at 5:28
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP by your logic religion can't be harmful or beneficial becasue it can't do things on its own. Science and religions are systems of ideas and people act on those ideas. a religion only exists inside the heads of humans so it only acts there, and those ideas and acts can be opposed or destructive to other ideas like science. Also creating library that exclude everything that does not support your religious ideals is not a big help to science, many would consider it an impediment. Also those individuals predate the holy roman empire. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Feb 13, 2021 at 6:58

4 Answers 4


The main doctrine of your religion could be: It is noble to understand all of god's creation

We often see in our religions that the head of the religion leads the doctrine for their lifetime. Some may say that perhaps some of the Popes have encouraged people to remain ignorant so that they can continue to tax them and live a wealthy life. If, at the correct periods, the head of this religion is particularly interested in science, that could fuel prosperity for the followers of religion: they could discover steam engines very early on, and build a solid industry, or perhaps some new weapons and conquer neighbouring countries.

It would probably help the narrative of your story to choose one or two inventions that were central to the prosperity of that religion, and integrate them into that religion's symbolism. If the steam engine lead them to a great economical boom, then the church would most likely want to associate themselves as strongly as possible with the steam engine so that people immediately think of the god whenever they see a steam engine.


Dangerous Ground:

First of all, all things have good and bad effects on technological development, so saying religion obstructs technological development is a shaky statement. BUT if you want to have a religion that can be accepted by all and seems to promote technological development amidst the ruins of the ancients, then I would suggest that the ancients are seen as ascended spiritual beings on a higher plane, and scientific beings.

In the same way you might call on the saints, devas, or angels to aid you, the people of your world believe that the scientific and engineering achievements of the ancients are like secrets left by the ancients to teach and aid mortals. To take advantage of these gifts, it is necessary to discover the underlying physical proofs of our reality. Only when all the devices are worked out and all secrets of the physical universe are discovered can physical beings join with the ancients and ascend to a higher plane of being. Perhaps making scientific discoveries is even seen as a special blessing or spiritual goal. Scientists become like ancients and go to heaven: unbelievers (those opposing full knowledge of the physical world) go to hell.

Thus, working out scientific principles both has tangible benefits (using the devices of the ancients) and spiritual ones (becoming ascendant and being blessed). New engineering and manufacturing, plus the wealth thus gained is tangible proof of the blessings of science. The only blasphemies are refusing to acknowledge the scientific process and denying the divinity of the ancients (okay, no religion is perfect). There may also be a tendency to accept negative consequences of scientific achievements (like pollution) as a byproduct of progress. But we had that in our society anyway.


Faith is not a virtue in your religion.

As long as faith is a virtue in a religion there is chance it will impede science, because it can support an absolutist position. I am defining faith as two possible things "belief as evidence" or "certainty of belief without or counter to evidence" both encourage absolutism authoritarianism, and science cannot flourish with those in power, science requires pluralism. I would argue the advance of sconce and the spread of pluralism are tightly linked. There are plenty of things that fall into this definition of faith, like divine revelations, but I would argue they are the same thing for our purposes.

Of course the problem is religions that don't support faith tend not to compete well with other religions that do, at least in the long run. For one thing gods in general usually only have faith to justify them once we can start explaining things in the natural world using naturalist principles. So you will need to create a religion with no divine figures, no sacred anything, and basically no dogma, Which is not impossible but is very hard to pull off in practice. I can't name a religion with no sacred anything (text, places, figures, dogma, ect) maybe someone else can.

Worse it is not enough for a religion to not virtuefy faith it probably has to actively oppose it make faith considered a moral failing. becasue humans are not naturally scientific thinkers, we have a tendency to believe whatever we are told*, so it takes effort to not transmit ideas based on faith. I am not sure how to build a religion around this or even if you would call it an religion but that should at least give you a place to start.

*likely an evolutionary adaptation to make learning faster.

Alternatively, there is no one religion.

Historically the times that have seen the greatest scientific advancements have been the times when societies has been the most pluralistic. Times when many religions coexisted in the society. Ancient Rome and the modern world being two of the bigger examples. If a religion does not have a strangle hold on the societies beliefs it does not matter much if it is counterproductive to science. It is not coincidence that the times science has come to a near standstill have been times of single hyper-dominant religions, it is a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy, for a religion to reach hyper dominance it probably has to be actively suppressing other religions, which means it is running counter to pluralism and thus science as well.


Your religion remembers past innovations happening and spots the trend.

As your religion is formed, first written down, and standardised, the priests remember stories of technical advancement. They remember what life was like before they discovered that new trick in house building and how the quality of life totally changed overnight. They remember laws needing to be updated after that new discovery in food storage. They spot this pattern and assume that the improved pottery making technique they discovered last month isnt going to be the last great advance in civilisation.

So in order to ensure the religion doesn't become obsolete - the religion promotes and encourages research and innovation by its members such that it can always remain relevant as society changes.


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