There is no “religion” on Kerren (or Earth of their era) as most of us 21C natives would think of it; there are only “Schools of Moral Thought” (akin to Confucianism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucianism ). It is “The School of Thought” on Kerren, and the one that motivated the Colonist to colonize, is Preservationism or Preserver Thought. Its practitioners are simply called Preservers.
The Preservers Movement was experiencing an upswing in active popularity on Earth in the Century before the Landing. A series of technological disasters, lack of system flexibility, and societal disruptions, created a need in people to create something more. Preservers do not see themselves acting in opposition to older religions or technology or existing social orders. They see themselves as the next step, to ensure the survival of Society (en mass) and Community (en local). Community is something they see as lacking on Earth and one of the things they wished to rebuild.
The Preserver Movement had its roots in the ancient Ecological Movements. Feeling Humanity has failed on Earth, they are now trying to preserve and extend the ecologies of new colonial worlds. It would be simplistic to just “blame technology”. Preservers are not anti-technology by any means. They do, however, want it harnessed for social good and kept to an appropriately MAINTAINABLE level. Their Goal is to preserve society (en large) and community (en local) in a sustainable model, one in ecological harmony.
Note: At the time of Launch, they have been quite successful on over 38 worlds in which they were the Primary Charters. They have had no “failed” colonies.
Preservers had a dispersed structure, much like a network. There is no hierarchy or chain of command, though it has a number of Charismatic Leaders involved with it. People were just part of it or not. Decisions were by general consensus, with a project leaders designated by popular accord. One was to think ecologically (in terms of fluid ordered systems), but you act locally, with the higher ideals in mind. This kept the group fairly harmonious.
This dispersed structure has been maintained on Kerren. It is up to the Elders to teach the Younger about the way of things. While the Colony originally had some “Charismatic Scholars”, they and the actual Teachers were lost in the first Kerren Flus. Thus everyone tries to teach the Children the way of things, with the bulk of it being done by Healers (who were running the formal classes for each Warren/ Cluster/ Village at this point anyways).
Preserver beliefs are simple and logical (if you accept their premises). It is a rational belief system tempered with a bit of optimism. As with Confucianism, there are some vague and quite minimal metaphysical aspects.
*A simpler life is better for humanity/ society, and is much more sustainable. They try to keep social structures as streamlined and as local focused as possible. (This shows in the Two Tiered advisory council model they use for government. )
*Community is a group of people living and working together with a balancing of their own good and the group good. Helping one and another is a key ideal. In the dangerous world of Kerren, it is a very practical ideal as well.
* People have to live in harmony in nature. Nature must be respected and learned from. The Colonist had this idea before they colonized here. They learned greater respect for nature when they found out “nature” would casually walk through their walls and rip people apart.
Note: The first Guliver Quote in the Sagas: “See, I told you so.”
The Kerrenese do not build dams or change the environment on any scale. They don’t build in flood planes or places where they would be in danger. After all, the world is dangerous enough… why add more danger to it?
* Technology is not bad, but it needs to be responsive and appropriate to the world. Thus the world is an mix of sustainable technologies, the very low tech and some high tech. No fossil fuels, but alcohol based fuels, advanced chemistry is used to avoid much in the way of toxins, the wind mill is a strong generator of power here.
The Kerrenese were prepared to have a much higher technology level for their colony, akin to the late 19C/ early 20C. However, the electrosensativities of the Sauraians and Dragons, the lack of industrial metals, and the other ecological concerns, modified the plan greatly. Thus the technological level is generally much lower than expected, but has some odd spikes. However, it all is a perfect fit for the ecology.
* As for the metaphysical, there is a generalized belief in a balance and flow in the universe. The ecology is a tangible map for the more cosmic flows and balances. If you are in harmony with the universe, the universe will be in harmony with you. The universe has a plan that you can’t see in the chaos of the details, yet each piece of the plan is important to the whole plan.
Author’s note: Okay, this is sounding like the Force from Star Wars. Maybe they rereleased or redid the first trilogy in 2190?
There is a Karmic ideal inherent in this belief system: actions have consequences both in this life and the next few. After death there is a time between: returning to the spiritual whole. There you heal and learn from your experiences, some day to come back. Since people can’t “know” this time, it is something that is downplayed.
Note: Recycling is more than a good idea, it seems to be a cosmic pattern.
The Kerrenese cremate their dead. Originally they wanted to bury them to return them to the soil, but the local scavengers would dig them up to eat them. The Dragons will burn their dead, so the Humans took to the custom.
Now, The Ryder Honor Code is part of the moral system. You can see how it is an extension of this Moral System.
Also remember that these people still learn of Earth History and The Mistakes made on the Homeworld. They know about some of The Colonies, and that there are other Preservers out there. Because this knowledge is still taught, it makes people more accepting of this ecologically minded moral code which holds back some of their “progress”.