The core principle of Ketrianism is belief in the Ellimist, as described by Katherine Applegate, who Ketrians revere as a prophet. Her Ellimist Chronicles, generally regarded as a novel, is Ketrianism scripture.
In their theology, the Ellimist, originally a Ketran named Toomin, or Azure Level, Seven Spar, Extension Two, Down-Messenger, Forty One, took on the minds of multitudes as he strove to do good in the galaxy and defeat his archrival Crayak. Devout Ketrians believe that after death, they too will merge with this being.
Since the Ellimist, in the Chronicles, mentions evolution and praises the diversity of species, Ketrianism has no opposition to scientific theory. Therefore, Ketrians are able to integrate successfully into the secular Zwangzug society.
Ketrians strive to live by the Five Laws, the first "Lift for all" and the second "Take no sentient life". Much research is done in figuring out the other three.
All worship is done virtually, on Internet servers. There are no set times for them, so they are organized by "Wise Ones", who moderate discussion and lead prayer. Messages typed during worship are referred to as memms. Music is an integral part of the worship service: the Ellimist is believed to have used music to generate creativity that led him to defeat one of his enemies, Father. The Azure Cycle is widely considered the most epic piece of music in Ketrian culture.
Like most religions, Ketrianism has had its share of religious strife. The one schism occurred between what its proponents regard as the traditional interpretation, and what its proponents consider a complete narrative.
Beyond the Chronicles, Applegate wrote other works in which the Ellimist was referenced: the Animorphs books are regarded as apocryphal by the more conservative group. Liberals, believing them to be equally valid, debated their worth. Their strongest argument was the mention of the Animorphs (the term used for the protagonists of the series) in the prologue of the Chronicles, but the conservatives (who the liberals derogatorily refer to as "Happy Accidents") refused to budge. Eventually, the jaded liberals split.
A more "modern" dilemma is more active within the liberals, that of time travel. The Animorphs books mention the Time Matrix, a weapon said to be created by the Ellimist that is not referenced in the Chronicles. Some, who call themselves hypermoderns, believe it is their duty to find it and use it. The majority believe it is not their place to interfere with the space-time continuum. As the liberals take on conservative roles, and former conservatives defect to hypermodernism, the long-term effects are still up in the air.
Through painstaking astronomy, Ketrians have calculated when Earth and Ket (the planet they believe Ketrans to originate from) are at their minimum distance from each other. These days are celebrated as Dance Bys.
Some liberals observe the death of one of the Animorphs (the event mentioned in the prologue and epilogue of the Chronicles) as a holiday half-seriously, claiming it proves that the Animorphs books should be included in Ketrian canon.
Classification and controversy
Liberal Wise One Elena Schuster has recently provoked controversy with her expression of solidarity for the "organized atheist" structures popular in the nation. "Belief," she said, "is no prerequisite for religion. The sense of camaraderie and cultural inspiration that it provides is a crucial part of human existence. The supernatural is not necessary for providing such force."
Unsurprisingly, this has not improved Schuster's image among her siblings in faith. Leaders of the conservative wing have been quick to distance themselves from her. Nevertheless, her point is relevant: ignoring the relative length and size of Ketrianism (around 13% of the population), it is more similar to "faiths" such as Pastafarianism, Frisbeetarianism, and the Order of Violet than major world religions. It is probable that the government will simply classify Ketrianism and the aforementioned under the category of "Religious: Other" in the next census.