World of Warcraft
The “Light” or “Holy Light” is a nontheistic religious philosophy more than it is a practicing school of magic, according to those who follow it. It follows the belief that there is a connection between the self and the rest of the universe. That connection manifests as what we feel through senses and emotions — when a person is moved in one way or another, that feeling or emotion connects him to the universe. Because he feels that emotion, he is reassured he exists, and because he exists, the universe that made him feel that emotion must exist as well. Once that connection is recognized, the person can then act upon the universe, causing changes to create feelings in others — and others are reassured of that connection between universe and self.
From there, a follower of the Light seeks to develop that goodness within and without — if you want to be happy and feel closer to the universe, the best way to achieve that is to make others happy right along with you. The more “happy” everyone is, the more that connection between the universe and the self comes into play. The Holy Light is “the glory of the universe reflected upon the soul and mirrored back onto itself.” The main practitioners of the Light are humans, dwarves, and to a small degree gnomes. Dranei worship the Light as well but have not encountered the other races or the Church of the Holy Light yet
The main Light organization of the Alliance is the Church of the Holy Light. They are based out of Stormwind City where the Church leaders gather in the Cathedral of Light. The Church sends its people all over the world, spreading the wisdom and comfort of the Holy Light. They also do what they can to help people with more practical matters, from building homes to settling family disputes to scaring off enemies. It is all very noble, of course, but that fits with the Holy Light’s teachings of making the world a better place and making oneself better by helping other people. The Church has everyone’s best interests at heart, and they really do their best to help everyone. It is a religion that is all about making people happy, not to mention a religion whose practitioners show clear evidence of divine blessing.
Nobody really knows how the Church got its start. For that matter, no one knows when people first discovered the Holy Light — or were discovered by it — either. People started preaching about it at some point, explaining how this great and benevolent force existed and sought out mortal spirits interested in helping others and protecting life in general. The Holy Light is a strange philosophy (it’s really more a philosophy than a religion) because it doesn’t involve reverence for a person or even a being — the Light is more of a force, really, and honesty and good deeds are more important than money or wine or any other form of sacrifice. There’s also a lot of study and contemplation involved, particularly on how to make oneself a better person in order to commune with the Light more completely. They had libraries before they had churches, and the one simply grew out of the other. Eventually all those churches started working together, and then wound up with the Church of the Holy Light
The church practices three basic teachings, also called “The Three Virtues” : respect, tenacity and compassion.
- Respect is the practice of respecting those around you. While a follower of the Light must recognize the connection between the universe and themselves, he must also recognize and respect the connection between others and the universe. Destroying the happiness of someone else is severing his or her connection to the universe, which isn’t serving the well-being of the world, which in turn isn’t serving the well being of the follower’s connection. It’s a chain reaction.
- Tenacity is the dedication it takes to adhere to this philosophy — to spread the word of the Light and the connection that inherently links us all to the universe is by no means an immediate thing. It takes a lifetime of dedication to improving yourself and others. Tenacity is required along with extreme amounts of dedication — even at the darkest of hours, there is always, after all, the Light.
- Compassion is the third and final virtue, and the most difficult to master. If someone is too compassionate, he can go around giving help where help isn’t needed or wanted. Not only can this be annoying (which isn’t “happy” and thus should be avoided), it can actually stunt the growth of the person you’re trying to help. If you’re constantly carrying someone in your arms, how are they ever supposed to learn to walk? Compassion is the ability to recognize those situations where help is absolutely needed, not just the ability to run around offering help to anyone who may or may not require it.
All of these virtues are practiced in order to bring the follower of the Light closer to his connection with the universe and to help foster that connection in those around him. If a follower of the Light does not adhere to these tenets, he will soon find himself falling “away” from the Light, which means in essence that he is losing sight of that which connects him to the universe as a whole. To apply it to the context of lore: Arthas used to be a paladin and followed the virtues listed above. When he began his crusade against the Scourge, he began to lose sight of the Compassion that was needed to be able to determine whether or not others needed help.
Instead of trying to help those in need, he decided killing them all was the best solution. In other words, instead of looking at the problem with Compassion and Respect and trying to find a solution that would further the Light, he wanted to take the easiest solution out, which is also a failing in Tenacity. Unfortunately, the further he fell, the less able he was to see the inherent connection between himself and the rest of the universe. The more lives he destroyed, the more he was destroying his own, in a way.