What is Believed

When people from other Concords ask we Believers what we believe, we often say "Transcendence." And we often say this as a short form for all our own diverse, and sometimes contradictory, beliefs. But it's more true than we know: as Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or any other faith, we may hold various beliefs, but as Believers, we hold to two truths: we have faith that there is something beyond all this; and that we must conquer the drawbacks of our condition in order to go there.

Of course, the rhetorical and literal Devil is in the details. I will skip a discussion of all the different groups of Believers I have encountered, both friendly and hostile, over the years, because that would be an immense volume indeed. Even just amongst fellow Christian Believers I have encountered such wide variances in my travels that I am sometimes amazed we all came from the same wellspring of belief.


Reasons for Staying Behind

What must we do to Transcend? To begin to answer that, we have to ask how we came to be here in the first place. I find that it comes down to three general beliefs, and I will try to present them in as neutral a language as possible:

1: This is punishment: For some reason, we have displeased the powers that reign. Many believe this is Purgatory, or some kind of equivalent, while others believe we are in Hell, or stuck between alternatives. We have to redeem ourselves, somehow, in order to leave through the door that Transcendence creates.

2: This is accident: For some reason, we wound up here, and the powers that reign cannot or will not get us out of here. Most of the time this is seen as our fault, somehow, but it's not a punishment, and is instead something we got wrong, or failed to do. We have to either get it right, or overcome the challenges this existence creates, in order to leave, via Transcendence.

3: This is design: For some reason, the powers that reign either put us here, or this is all part of the plan and we fit into this part of it. Some feel that this is a waiting station between incarnations, in which the former life is to be cut loose, while others have more intriguing ideas. We have to discover why we "qualified" for life, here, in the Deadlands, so that we can find the way out of it.

I have also met Believers who feel that our time spent as Wraiths is a reward, or an opportunity. But I tend to relegate these ideas with the same people who think God was incarnated as a certain science-fiction writer, or the like.

{It's not very ecumenical of me, but I have to set some boundaries on what I will or won't accept, and I think I'm at least partially justified in denying the lunatic fringe. And anyone who would think of this state of being as a reward definitely qualifies.}


Things Keeping Us From Leaving

After we have established that division, we also have to ask what it is, other than perhaps the will of the powers that reign, themselves, that holds us back.

The general, overwhelming consensus amongst the Believers I have met is that it is those things that we are tied down to, from our lives, which keep us from our final destination: our "Anchors." The Angels have said this to us, and it fits in with our observations and experience.

Simply cutting these Anchors away, or destroying them, is not enough. A Wraith whose Anchors are no more will herself last no more than a second before falling through the Barrier. And any who fall down that way are taken over by the Adversary, and become Damned. {And there is a great deal of debate as to why that is, but that is cause for yet another treatise, yet another time.}

But a Wraith can Resolve her Anchors, too, and by "Resolve" I mean that they come to terms with them, emotionally and spiritually, so as to lessen the connection one careful step at a time. Wraiths who can perform this difficult, spiritual task can Transcend, God willing, and this is what I have seen.

Resolution can be done through our understanding of Anchors, and many of us use the Anchorage Numina for that purpose. But it is a draining and difficult thing to accomplish, and can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

Resolution can also be done "naturally," over time, which is what most likely accounts for Transcendence amongst Concords who do not share our views. And while it is a lengthy process, it is without direct risk, other than the risks associated with Anchors, in themselves.


Other's Factors

But, as I have said, the Resolution of Anchors is but one road to take. In spite of the Angels tending to be clear on the need to Resolve Anchors, there are competing theories and beliefs. I do not share them, but I must report on them, here, in order to be fair. And for all I know, they may have a kernel of truth to them, for Believers on these other roads have had their brethren Transcend as well.

One theory is that we must come to terms with the darkness inside ourselves, which many call Shadows. They say that only by meeting this tempter in spiritual warfare, inside the heart, soul and mind, and either besting it, or cooperating with it, can we overcome this reality. Those who are able to wrestle the inner demon into submission, or else join with it, are said to be seen as two forms fighting within one, and then ultimately becoming one, and disappearing shortly thereafter.

{Our Flock holds that, as we are still children of God, the Adversary cannot be inside, or personal. It must be considered to be outside and, therefore, ultimately impersonal. However, this belief of ours does not negate others' beliefs, and it cannot explain why it is the Pardoners can do what they do. So I remain open-minded, and counsel others to be as well.}

Another theory is that we must strengthen our own, inner sense of God's "voice," which some call the Holy Spirit, or Inner Spirit, and others the Eidolon. This soft, still voice is what speaks to us in our time of need or emergency, and gives us comfort. It is also the voice of conscience and control, right and justice.

Those who cultivate the Eidolon are said to become amazingly peaceful and beatific. They often act as though Ossified, and may not move nor speak for months at a time, but are yet lively and active when roused. And one day, they simply say their goodbyes, turn a corner, and are seen no more.

{Again, our Flock is open to the voice of God, but we do not feel its "cultivation" is worthy of our efforts. God speaks to us when He will, and remains silent the rest of the time. To try and make that voice grow is to be selfish of His presence, and invite tricks of the Adversary. But, yet again, this does not explain how those who "cultivate" their kernel of the Holy Spirit can defy the Adversary so well. So I remain open-minded on this point, also.}

Past that, there are other combinations. Some believe that we must neglect Anchors in favor of the holy voice, and use that voice to subdue the Devil. Others believe we should seek peace, or victory, over Satan in conjunction with the timely severance from our Anchors, so that we achieve victory just as the very last string is removed.

Still others believe all three things must be pursued, along with other factors that I have decided not to list in much detail, here, such as: obeying the Four Spiritual Laws, the Seven Heavenly Virtues, or other, more mystical {and less Christian} codes of behavior; the advanced study of magic, or certain Numen; making bargains with pagan deities, the Angels or God Himself; pilgrimages into the far depths of the Catacombs, there to find the lost passageways to Paradise, and so on.