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Religion Among the Nacirema by Kristen Martin
Religion Among the Nacirema
researched and written by:
researched and written by:
During my lengthy travels through the Setats Detinu, the very large homeland of the Nacirema, I managed to find myself entrenched in their truly fascinating religion, Koobecaf. The religion of the Nacirema is a complex one, encompassing many different deities such as the humorous, yet wise, Srekcits Repmub, or the god of communication, Llaw. Not only does this religion boast many gods, but it also holds stringent tenets as to how its followers must behave. Despite its strict rules, the religion of Koobecaf is widely praised throughout the Setats Detinu, particularly among the younger population, which sets it apart from many other countries and religions. I found myself on a surprising path as I joined in as a participating observer in Koobecaf, and learned quite a great deal about the Nacirema and their beliefs in this fashion.
Koobecaf’s hierarchy of deities came as a bit of a surprise to me. The Nacirema seemed very tightlipped on the subject until they were actually becoming involved with the religious ceremonies. Take, for instance, Llaw, their god of communication. It is in their communion with Llaw that they make contact with one another. The Nacirema make an offering at a personal shrine of Llaw for each person they which to communicate with. They may leave short notes or lengthy ones, but nearly all communication is carried out in such a lengthy, impersonal way. It may take hours for a single conversation to be carried through, and yet it still seems to be the preferred method the Nacireme will choose when the need to speak with another arises.
Some of the less militant worshippers of Koobecaf choose to pray at the altar of Llaw’s cousin deity, Ekop Repus, for a less in-depth religious experience. This is quite a popular method with Koobecaf, as the Nacirema can be, at times, a very antisocial group. They will go out of their way to make as little contact with another Nacireme as possible. By praying to Ekop Repus and leaving offerings at its shrine, people are able to communicate with one another in a more familiar manner, but with fewer words. Sometimes the communication will be as simple as relaying a message of wanting to kick someone, if you are angry with them, or the message of wishing to share a drink, if you are feeling particularly friendly. In contrast, when communing with Llaw, one must ensure to write out one’s intentions, leading to a fuller religious experience.
Srekcits Repmub is a peculiar deity. This god has a more symbiotic relationship with its followers than Llaw or Ekop Repus. Srekcits will gladly take offerings of witticisms or sage advice, but in return, will share these with all of its dutiful worshippers. All who worship Srekcits Repmub gain insight and humor, simply by choosing it as one of their patron deities. Srekcits is a pictorial subset of Koobecaf, in which the followers communicate and worship primarily in images, though the images almost always have some sort of writing upon them. Again, this is another way in which a Nacireme might communicate with another without having to actually speak to another person, such as the case with Ekop Repus.
This impersonal ‘social network’ that the religion of Koobecaf embodies is not one of the basic tenets of the belief structure, however it is one which most of its followers adhere to. The Nacirema will gladly communicate in images and pre-written messages to get their points across, rather than simply speak to one another. This reason, this lack of instantaneous interpersonal communication, perhaps, is a reason why the older residents of the Setats Detinu tend to avoid this widespread religion. The older Nacirema tend to cling to their older religions and deities, such as the god Enoph, or the relatively new religion of Liame, which quickly lost the interest of the younger generation, but slowly drew in the older members of society. However, with Enoph and the Liame religion, the rules are tenuous at best when it comes to social interaction. With Koobecaf, however, there are extremely strict guidelines that have never been committed to writing, but tend to passed around in small groups and learned by example.
First and foremost, for the younger Nacirema, Koobecaf is the primary religion. Those who do not worship the deity Llaw, or take part in the ritual of Sutats Setadpu, tend to be targets of ridicule and mockery within society. There is a lesser religion by the name of Ecapsym, but it seems to be primarily followed by an even younger crowd than the worshippers of Koobecaf and is seen as a juvenile and unfulfilling religious experience. When one is not a member of Koobecaf, they tend to be excluded and ignored by much of the population who are, as their dedication to their religion is so extreme that they find it impossible to keep in contact with someone who does not communicate via the deities of Ekop Repus and Llaw. They think it is silly and inefficient not to keep others informed of their daily rituals and religious experiences with often practices of Sutats Setadpu.
In short, the younger generation of Nacirema is very dedicated to its religion of Koobecaf. Many pick and choose their own patron deities, but the god Llaw and the ritual of Sutats Setadpu are more or less universal among all worshippers. They are a very particular and discriminating group; they are more likely to accept another person only if they, too, follow the way of Llaw and Koobecaf, and will almost instantaneously denounce another for being a follower of Ecapsym. This complex societal structure gives insight into the interpersonal interactions between individual Nacirema, and sheds light on the generational age gaps between religious practices, while also helping us understand this unique culture.
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