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Faith of a Technomancer} ?> Zachariah Mancer has a secret, and it’s a game changer: the electro-powers he wields are not a gift from the gods but a genetic mutation. While that may seem like no big deal; the society he lives in doesn’t believe mutants are actually people, so if the word gets out that he and those like him are mutants, they will lose not only their position but their freedom. And the position of Technomancer is worth protecting. Part shock troop, part interplanetary enforcer, and part hand-of-god, they are feared and revered, given all access and almost never questioned.
So if society finds out that they are the product of mutation rather than divine order than they will become nothing more than tools in the hand of Viktor Seeker, a malevolent commander who attempts to wrest the secret of the technomancers from Zachariah but is ultimately rebuffed. So much of the game is centered around capturing possible data leaks, suppressing information, and quelling questions into the histories of Mars that might shed light on the technomancer origin.
Quests like this leave a bitter taste in my mouth. I know it is supposed to make me want to protect my brothers and band together behind a shared secret. Instead it upsets me that a bunch of young people are growing up with a power they don’t understand but are told it makes them special, until they are brought into the inner circle and discover everything they believe is a lie. Not only is everything a lie, but all the work that has gone into achieving an exulted rank has earned them the task of protecting and perpetuating that lie.
No organization should ever demand this from those who are part of it, yet I feel that throughout my life I have had moments where I was expected to agree to something in silence or even perpetuate something I didn’t actually believe. These moments have come close to ruining my faith in God and leaving me to believe in nothing. Thankfully, through these events I realized that these were typically ideologies or practices that were created by someone in order to achieve some end rather than part of what I believe. These moments have driven me to explore and to deeply question what I believe; I’ll often hold perspectives with an open hand because I’m not sure I can say with certainty if it’s an opinion or a fact.
Beliefs need to be questioned. Assumptions need to be explored. Every time someone comes to me and says “how could you believe this?” I want to be prepared with an answer, even if the answer is because I haven’t found anything that makes more sense. Faith is a thing that is lived out with an absence of empirical proof often enough, yet there should be room to ask questions or explore ideas within it. Every time I question my beliefs, dig deeply into a practice within my tradition or even face a different ideology, it ends up strengthening my faith.
Zachariah Mancer comes to see the amazing work done by the original settlers of Mars in genetics adaptation, and using the unique radiation qualities of the planet in order to improve people and grant tremendous powers. As he asks more questions about why they did the work and what the purpose of it is in his life, the more he comes to love being a technomancer and the more he loves his brothers and sisters. His approach to technomancy goes from a reluctant calling to a better sense of self and an appreciation for all the work that went into helping him become who he is. And it also helps him, or at least offers him, the opportunity to care more about the mutants that are treated so poorly around him.
Because he now knows that these are people just like him, he can fight for them and care about their causes much more sincerely. When I honestly question my beliefs I often discover that some of the things I believe are not essential or easily supported. Knowing this helps me let go of these non-essentials and helps me value people with different beliefs. I don’t have to fight against other ideologies, because I am confident in my faith. I have tested it and tried it. I can face the uncertain things and I don’t lose what is valuable to me because of questions. I can engage in furious debate about faith with someone of a different tradition and come out realizing that we both have valuable beliefs and often care about similar things. Zachariah misses many chances to connect with people intimately or care for people because he is guarding a secret that can’t be questioned. But I believe because I am willing to question and be questioned I don’t miss those opportunities and, instead, live a richer life.
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