Religion in Bridges

The dominant religion in the Merca Federal Union is based on the card deck, and related playing card games. Here are some of the major deities and concepts in the Way of the Cards:

The meaning of human existence: Each player plays the cards given to him or her in their own way, some well, some poorly, but each bears the entire responsibility for his or her actions; there is no one to blame but yourself if you play badly.

This is part of several religious sects’ insistence on getting rid of all psychoactive substances; they impair your ability to play your hand, thus removing personal responsibility for your actions.

The 52 manifestations of human life: each card represents a sort of life, an archetype, if you will. Some argue that there are actually 53.

The Deck (aka The Grand Deck): an impersonal entity which holds all the cards of all those who have died throughout eternity, to be re-released to the living at birth via the Shuffler.

The Shuffler is an impersonal entity that gives you your hand at birth, which you must play while alive. When you die, your cards go back to the Deck. The Shuffler then deals the cards you held out again to another.

The Shuffler helps no one, neither does it hinder anyone; which cards you get at birth is determined by chance (although some believe that you get the cards that your ancestors or close family members had, especially if they died shortly before you were born).

The Dealer is a benevolent female entity, the help-meet of the Shuffler, who hands out the cards as you need them. In official doctrine, the Dealer is not allowed to help you, but most people believe that praying to the Dealer can’t hurt.

The Dealers are a female monastic order of those who wish to withdraw from life in quiet contemplation. They do not marry, and may stay in the order for as short or as long a time as they wish.

Some sects of the Dealers also turn to helping the poor, although others consider this foolish, believing that if someone plays badly they should be allowed to die so their cards can be given to someone who will play properly. This view is controversial, especially when young children are involved.

Physical playing cards are sacred, and are only to be handled by the Dealers.

The Floorman is a benevolent male entity who actively helps you if you pray to him, granting blessings of wealth, food, and drink. The Floorman is most commonly invoked in situations involving physical need.

Lady Luck is a benevolent female entity who actively helps you if you pray to her, also granting blessings of health, safety, and cheer. Lady Luck is most commonly invoked in situations involving chance, such as praying for a rich harvest or good weather.

The Shredder is an impersonal entity, sometimes combined with The Fire, or Hell. The Shredder is the end for those hands too warped or corrupted to be dealt back in. To go to the Shredder means a total end, with your cards (and by association, your life-force) destroyed forever.