The Church of Maan claims that Maan is the Creator of Man, but also of Mer-men, Bird-men, Jaguar-men, Insect-men, basically everything humanoid. All these creatures were just hanging out being normal animals until Maan made them like him by gifting them the biped shape (or at least as close as they could get to it, sorry Mer-men), the forward-facing face, the big domes skull and the opposable thumbs.
|Anything close to this is fine|
The fact that so many intelligent species have exactly the same general layout, despite the fact that they have entirely different physical backgrounds and environments, is one of the most persuasive arguments for the existence and power of Maan.
The Church says that Mankind are simply Ape-men, created in the image of Maan in the same way as any other animal-like humanoid species.
The reason Maan created Men is that they might better know that religion, in general, is true.
The details of any particular faith might be wrong but there is definitely something going on up there. Maan is a powerful but very general-purpose deity, essentially he is an anti-materialist god, an almost-pure mystical god. Technically the worship of Maan can be incorporated with any other religion and , in fact, Maan does play a part in the majority of Pantheons worldwide. In multi-god pantheons he is represented as a minor godling, in single-deity religions he is interpreted as an angel or super-powered saint, even the extremely fierce and jealous monotheistic religions often still include a story of an ancient philosopher named 'Maan' who tried to warn mankind away from its godless ways in the bad old days before the correct prophet/deity combination turned up and whose message has been regrettably misinterpreted by more recent adherents.
Because of this, Priests of Maan are, if not welcomed, then at least tolerated almost everywhere (except athiest enclaves).
Things believed by the church of Maan;
- You have a soul.
- There is an afterlife.
- And possibly also reincarnation.
- There is good and evil, or possibly Chaos and Law or maybe Matter and Spirit, it doesn't really matter exactly what sides there are but there are *sides* and you can be on the right side or the wrong side. it matters what side you are on.
- There is/are intelligent, self-aware beings/a being, massively more potent than you and perhaps fundamentally incomprehensible and this being/beings played a part in your creation and actively cares what you do and what side you are on.
- There are rituals and things which might seem a bit crazy or contextually nuts, but this being/beings really does pay attention to them and its opinion of you can be affected by how you do them.
- Bad people are gonna get fucked somehow so don't be bad. (This might take place outside space and time but its still going to happen.)
- There is a fundamental moral context to the existence of the material world. Everything is, or might be, important somehow _this is not all there is_.
- Being a humanoid shape matters (somehow) and is good.
Because Maan is a rather generalist god, his/her church is both powerful and very weak.
It's powerful because its very widely spread, it goes across race, species and culture barriers. it exists in every environment that humanoids exist in. It has a lot of very general worshippers. He/she is the one god that pretty much anyone can say they believe in without sounding like a tit. It's the religion diffident people admit to on dates, its what people write on their application form;
"Religion - Maan."
And no-one can complain if they read it.
Its the Church you can always get a funeral at, even if you died in some supremely fucked-up way, the church you can always get married at, even if you are into you ninth trans-gender polyamorous marriage (so long as they are humanoid).
The sign of Maan is just a little biped with two arms, two legs (indulgences allowed for mer-men) and a round head. Anyone can hold one, anyone can make one.
Conversely, Maans church is weak because you just kind of assume that any humanoid being believes in Maan. I mean it just makes obvious sense. Humans, elves, dwarves, Thri-Kreen, fucking shark men? You'd kind of have to be crazy not to believe in Maan. I mean you think there's just nothing? YOu think all these creatures ended up the same shape by chance? You don't even belive in Maan? Are you fucking nuts?
Maybe you are fucking nuts. Maybe you are an atheist. Or possibly some kind of intelligent slime. In which case you are about a real fucking bad encounter with the church of Maan, because while their doctrine is expansive and their interpretation is loose, the basics are not.
As far as they are concerned Maan is very fucking real (although once you agree to believe in him/her/it you can assume they are pretty much anything you like) and if thou deniest Maan thou denyest the truth. Plus if you are a far-right Mannian hardass, how do you show it?
If you are a non-humanoid intelligence then you are kind of denying the truth just by existing, I mean, that shit ain't right.
For these creatures the church of Maan is a deadly scourge. Sine belief is assumed by most intelligent things the only way the organisation can show its identity is where it meets individuals outside it. Those who refuse to accept even the very-general gospel of Maan, and those who are just some kind of sucked-up shape, are hunted, persecuted and burnt alive.