"Life is not a game to be won or a path to a goal; the purpose of life is to live".
Etodism arose as a minor religion during the early interplanetary period, among the tech-elite on Old Earth. The faith gained in relative influence only on Earth's initial colonies, due to a high proportion of Etodists among the spacefarers. Although persecuted on some Human Rim worlds after the collapse of the First Federation, especially during the Tahmetian crusades, Etodism became a powerful religion, first in the Eridanus League (peaking at over 800 million faithful) and again centuries later in the Yoson Confederacy (where the Etodist population reached nearly 3 billion). Even then, Etodism rarely had full government or military support; aside from a few popular uprisings, the religion remains mostly unsullied by fanaticism or atrocity.
Many of the core beliefs of Etodism have been adopted by later faiths (such as Fractalism), and are incorporated into several strains of Universalist theology.
Etodism is based on the "universe-within-a-universe" cosmology; simply put, our world is a mere particle within an infinitely greater universe, while other universes exist within every particle of our own cosmos. Etodists view human life as merely a temporary journey through the known universe; after death, the soul is reborn in some greater or lesser universe, as determined by a law which is essentially based on Karma. Most Etodists equate the larger universes with heavens, the internal universes with hells; for every 'heaven' (universe) the soul reaches, there will be an even more perfect 'heaven' to work towards. Unlike most religions, Etodists do not predict any kind of end point to the soul's journey--no nirvana or paradise. Their view is that "perfection is like infinity--no matter how perfect the soul becomes, it can always strive for greater perfection".
Etodism and Copying
When the technologies of uploading, copying and mind-state backup became widely available, many religions became embroiled in theological debates about the status of the soul during the copying process. After some controversy the Etodist Ecclesial Congress of Epsilon Eridani Two (1955 AT) decided that the soul of a copied sophont was also copied in its entirety; this doctrine, the Multiplication of Identities, was eventually adopted by many other sects and philosophies.
In this doctrine the soul of a copied person is momentarily identical to the original, and has the same level of spiritual development as the original. On the Infinite Path followed by all souls the act of multiplication of identities is one more step towards the infinitely distant goal.
The doctrine of Multiplication of Identities should be considered in contrast to other doctrines concerning the role of the soul in the copying process, such as Soul-Divisionism, the One Soul Movement, and the widespread materialist view that the soul does not exist.