- transitioning to an ever expanding settlement -


Religion is going to be one of several motivators for off-Earth settlement. Most of the off-Earth religious diversity will simply be people carrying their religion with them. People old enough to have saved up enough money to leave Earth will still want to go to their church, mosque, synagogue, or temple. There will be some clergy among the settlers but then also clergy on Earth would be able to remotely serve their members off Earth.

It is conceivable that some religions would establish funds which their faithful could contribute which would be used to pay for younger people in their faith to move off Earth specifically in order to represent their faith. Off Earth evangelism would result naturally because most settlements will allow freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

Certain large settlements may be religious-based. Sunni and Shia Muslim colonies might be expected. A Mormon colony would be able to live under their own laws and so may practice their faith somewhat different that is done on Earth. Buddhists and Jewish colonies may be locations where adherents would be able to distinctively practice their way of life.

Small cults could seek to have their own colonies either for the purpose of isolating themselves from outside influences (like the rationale for the Puritans at Plymouth Colony) but also if the laws of Earth-based countries prevented elements of their practice (e.g. polygamy). But these small religious colonies would be a minority exception and the other settlements would probably not allow any cult to independently conduct practices that were considered beyond the pale (e.g. child sacrifices). There just isn't much religious persecution anymore that would cause religions to flee to a new world like was the motivation of some in the past. A persecuted religious minority (e.g. Falun Gong) don't need to leave Earth to practice their faith so long as they can get to another country (at far less cost than leaving Earth).

One could imagine new religions emerging off Earth which may be more philosophically-based rather than historically-based and certainly, with time, there would be branches of religions developing (e.g. Lunar Baptists who establish related but somewhat different beliefs).

Religions will be one more dimension of human experience which will be played out with off-Earth settlement.

Next: Moving Off Earth