- Text for the below article was taken in part from the Encyclopedia HotRodia, 18th Edition, which was published by the HotRodia Publishing Corporation. These articles contain information that was current at the time of writing. For information on the past events in HotRodia, see the History of HotRodia.
Combustians believe in a deity they call Supercarious, a entity generally considered to be the source of all life in this reality and an omnipotent, mostly benevolent, but terribly capricious spirit. The Combustians believe in an afterlife of paradise in The Geat Car Show in The Sky, where all Combustians will drink tequila and drive astoundingly beautiful cars at impossible speeds. Unlike some religions, Combustianism has no belief in a hell-like afterlife for those unfaithful to Supercarious. Most of the Combustian beliefs are derived by literal reading or interpretation of the Combustian holy text, The Manual. They believe that The Manual is a holy book that teaches everything we need to know about this reality and how to conduct ourselves in it. Most Combustians also believe that every person deserves to have a car of their own, though there is much disagreement on how to go about acheiving this.
Customs and Practices
Combustians worship Supercarious, a deity often referred to as The Engine That Drives the Universe in early creation accounts. The other common moniker for Supercarious is The Great Internally Combusting One. Combustians traditionally offer constant prayer to their god by driving their cars at high speeds, thereby producing exhaust fumes as proscribed by Supercarious in a legendary speech the deity gave to the early HotRodians that he addressed as the "People of the Car." Combustians have a weekly ritual of washing their vehicles every week on Drivday, though there are some more pious adherents that wash their vehicles every day. It is fairly common for worshippers to gather in small groups to drive their automobiles in honor of Supercarious, and on such occasions the individual who presides over the event is a priestess clad only in a bikini who generally leads the ceremonies from the rear seat of a large convertible. Combustians also generally refuse to ride bicycles and other vehicles not driven by an engine, as that would constitute a violation of the third of five commandments (The Pentalogue) found in the holy scriptures of Combustianism, called The Manual.
The Manual is comprised of four sets of trilogies totaling 12 different books(Automobilica 1, 2, and 3, HotRodia 1, 2, and 3, Chromera 1, 2, and 3, Supercarious 1, 2, and 3), each containing accounts of the origins of Combustianism and of HotRodians in general. The following is an excerpt from the first book of The Manual:
...the HotRod League was cresting a large hill, when Supercarious appeared in the sky in front of the weary band and began speaking in a voice as loud as the rumble of a V12 engine.
Oh privileged People of the Car, you have reached the edge of The Promised Land that I have given to you! Since we are already appropriately located on a hilltop (it's no mountain, but it'll do) I will give you 5 Commandments.
1.) Thou shalt worship Supercarious, the God that hath brought you forth from the land of the treehuggers.
2.) Thou shalt offer a constant prayer to Supercarious, in the form of exhaust fumes.
3.) Thou shalt not ride a vehicle that is not powered by an engine, for this is blaspemy before your God.
4.) Thou shalt multiply upon this land, pave it, and drive at incredibly fast speeds upon it.
5.) Thou shalt drink tequila, for it is good.
Now go forth and get busy, I have to get back to The Great Car Show in The Sky. Junior tends to make a mess of things when I'm gone.
As is the case with many such texts, there is disagreement over the proper interpretation of The Manual. Some prefer an absolutely literal translation of the text while others prefer to place it in its cultural and literary context before examining it. Yet another group enjoys taking hallucinogenic drugs prior to reading the text in the belief that it will lead them to the truth.
Unlike some other religions, Combustians, for the most part, do not make any significant effort at winning converts, but the religion's easygoing nature and rather lenient requirements have caused it to mesh well with many of the groups it has encountered. The bikini-clad priestesses probably help with that as well. There are approximately 1 billion Combustians in HotRodia, 800 million in HotRodia II, and 600 million in HotRodia III. Texan Hotrodders contains 200 million adherents and Gearhead Cowboys contains 100 million adherents, while the entire population of Supercaria is Combustian. The nation of TurboDiesel has 50 million Combustians while Chromera contains the lowest proportion of Combustians with only 5 million adherents. The number of Combustians in other nations is largely unknown. The Combustian population is holding steady in most nations, but is growing rapidly in both Automobilistan and Supercaria. The table to the right lists each nation along with the number of adherents it contains and the dominant sect. It may be noted that the two main sects are mainline Combustianism and the fundamentalist group called Automobilicans. Of particular interest is the nation Automobilistan, a budding theocratic nation entirely ruled by Automobilican precepts.
Currently, mainline Combustianism is growing rapidly in Supercaria and is dominated by the Order of Supercarious, an organization of Combustian Priestesses dedicated to improving Combustianism and expanding its influence by sending missionaries to other nations in an effort to win converts. This is the first group to actively seek converts rather than letting the religion's appeal speak for itself. It remains to be seen how many converts these missionary programs will produce.