In this guide I’ll discuss when to pick each of the tenets for religions. I’ll first give an overview of the religion and then we’ll look at each tenet for each tier.
Starting with an overview, a religion can help with stability in empires enabling you to build more districts than you would be able to without it. At each tier you unlock the ability to build another holy site which boosts faith and the spread of the religion. Depending on the number of followers of the religion, more and more tenets can be added to the religion, one for each tier with the fourth tier being the highest. Each tenet has unique benefits that can help with things like science, food, stability, industry and so on.
Now let’s discuss each tenet for each tier. Starting with tier 0, the main decision here is picking based on the number of attached territories and population. If you have picked an agricultural culture in the early game, pick Shamanism for the faith per population. Otherwise, pick Polytheism for faith per number of attached territories.
Once you reach the required number of followers, which is achieved by spreading the religion using faith, you reach tier 1. All of the early tenets are quite strong, so pick it based on boosting a strength you already have or mitigating a weakness. For example, the Be Virtuous as Water tenet grants stability which lets you build many more quarters before running into stability issues. For an economic early play, the best choices are the Be Virtuous as Water tenet, the Respect the Seas’ Bounties tenet is good if you have coast or lakes in a city and can be exploited using the harbor and the Abstain from Intoxicants tenet is a good industry boost. Hunt the Infidels provides boosts to war support which enables you to declare more formal wars rather than surprise wars and provides more favourable war resolutions once you are able to force peace onto your enemy. Smite Unbelievers helps with granting experience which boosts the combat strength of units. The other tenets are quite weak compared to these tenets unless they help you with your particular situation.
For the second tier, if you are planning to build many research quarters, the Bear Not False Witness is quite good boosting the science on every research quarter. Similarly, if you are planning on many market quarters, Give Alms is quite strong as well. Yield to None can again help with war support which helps deter enemies as well as being good offensively. The other tenets are weak or situational.
On the third tier, Mandate Patronage can be good if you are doing a lot of trading, Show Not Mercy and Eshew Gluttony are good for games with a lot of war and the remaining tiers are pretty weak.
For the last tier, the strongest tenet is Meditate Often which ives your units extra combat strength. This helps both offensively and defensively. The other tenets are pretty weak at the stage of the game you are likely to unlock this tier.
So, in summary, at the lower tiers you can get some nice economic bonuses, there are many war bonuses available throughout the tiers and the tenets generally get worse as you go up the tiers.