Now we get to dig deeply into some concepts of theology. Sazed came to the Homeland expecting deus ex religion. (Hee hee.) Instead, he discovers that his lost Terris religion is quite a lot like other religions.
There are no easy answers to this question. Why do we believe? Why have faith? The Bible teaches to follow the Bible—the logic is circular, and faith is required.
I’m a believer, but I’m also a man of logic. I see these inconsistencies and have to admit that there are holes, things we haven’t been told yet.
Religion can be a force for great good, if we let it. The problem—the clash—between religion and science comes down to fundamentals. The basic tenet of a lot of religions, including my own faith, is that some things require belief before signs or proofs are given. Science teaches that you get proof and then believe.
I believe in rendering to science the things that belong to science. I have no problem with evolution or discussions of the age of the Earth, for I don’t believe that we come anywhere near comprehending the mind of God or the workings of the universe. Science can explain a lot, but it cannot give us faith, and I think we need both.
Sazed, however, has some soul-searching to do. He’s looking for an easy answer, and there isn’t one. If he’s going to believe in religion, then he’ll have to accept that his true religion shares a lot in common with other religions. He’ll have to accept faith. If he doesn’t, then that’s all right too. No man is an idiot for questioning these things.
The First Generation mention the Ministry convoys that carried the hidden atium to Luthadel from the Pits, or carried atium to the pits and other locations, where the Ministry had purchased beads of it back from the nobility. If you’ll recall book one, Vin and Camon right at the beginning were planning to rob a convoy just like this. Instead, Camon decides to double-cross his associate and take a payoff.
However, assuming they’d ever managed to pull that off, they’d have broken the system and discovered the atium. And, in doing so, would have exposed the Lord Ruler’s ruse to Ruin, probably leading to the end of the world.
Good thing they didn’t pull it off, eh?
Atium is, indeed, different from the other metals. When you burn most Allomantic metals, it opens a conduit through which you can draw upon Preservation’s power and use it in very specific ways.
Atium doesn’t do that. Atium is, itself, a fuel. When you burn it, the metal itself provides the power. A subtle distinction, I know, but it has to do with where the power is coming from. Most Allomancy is fueled by Preservation, but atium and malatium are fueled by Ruin.
This metal doesn’t quite belong on the table where it has been placed.