Established around the middle of the 21st Century, the Church of Intentionality was founded as an attempt by religious diplomats to unify Earth's many religions under one banner and therefore eliminate a major source of conflict.
While slow to gain followers initially, once the first Intentionalist was elected to the Presidency of the United States of America and the Church was credited with finally brokering a lasting peace in the Middle East, the Church's popularity exploded. Membership increased five hundredfold within a year, and within ten it was the official state religion of every non-secular state - with members in the leaderships of every other.
Core Beliefs and ValuesEdit
In the interests of harmony, the Church was designed to have very few codifiable core beliefs. The founders identified a number of general ideas around which many of the extant religions already revolved, the most important of which was fate. The concept that the universe was designed in some way, and that the design includes an intention, was found to be the single most unifying idea among the world's religions.
This fate, known as the Great Destiny, is believed to govern and guide every action and every reaction in order to achieve its ends, which are a mystery. The Church of Intentionality does not specify the nature of whatever might have created the Great Destiny, or be guiding it; however, due to the generally monotheistic nature of the religions unified within the Church, there is a strong current of belief that there is an intelligent Creator that set everything in motion.
Though its initial popularity was due in the most part to its inclusive nature, several intolerances grew as the Church became older - in particular things deemed to interfere with the natural progression of the Great Destiny such as genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. This, combined with its virtual takeover of world governments, led to several branches of scientific research being almost entirely brought to an end. What few small pockets of opposition were able to continue persuing these lines of inquiry were marginalised and had to cope without significant funding.
Religious independence became a major motivation for scientists and other academics to seek out the promises of a new world once hyperspace travel opened up the galaxy to human colonisation. One of the earliest independent colonies, Albion, was founded for this very purpose.
The hierarchy of the Church was a relatively loose affair at first, though it became more structured as the Church became more popular and therefore powerful. The executive, originally an internally-elected board in charge of the mundane organisational affairs of the Church, eventually became more centralised around a single figure, named the Primus. The Primus acted in much the same role as the Catholic Pope, as a focal point for the attention of the Church's members and as something of a manifestation of the Great Destiny's will in the mortal realm.
Establishment with UnityEdit
In the twenty-third Year of Unity, the Archon and Primus declared the Church of Intentionality to be the official state religion of Unity, and marked the momentous occasion by changing the name to the Church of Unity. While there were no significant changes to the day-to-day business of either the government or the Church itself, many considered it to be a symbolic step away from the old values of inclusion and tolerance on which the Church of Intentionality was founded, and toward the more strict vision propounded by its modern leadership.