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Does this idea for my God sound too far-fetched?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by nwillmott8897, May 28, 2013.

  1. nwillmott8897

    nwillmott8897 Scribe

    In my latest WIP i'm having things such as demons ( called the Praenuntiae Malum (Latin for "harbingers of evil")) and angels (called the Dei Bellatórum (Latin for "God's warriors".)) And my all omnipotent being or God.

    The idea i have is that one being (that no one knows the true name of) is actually every god from every religion. It can split itself into as many beings as it likes, for religions with more than one God/Goddess, but can at the same time be only one being for religions with only one God.
    Does this make sense, or should I maybe have more than one of these beings, to make the idea a bit less confusing? Or is it just too confusing all together?

    Thanks in advance for any advice/critiques/feedback,

    P.S. If you want to find out a bit more about my story to get a bit of background information, i have a few other threads that you can find through my profile. Thanks again. :D
  2. The Construct

    The Construct Minstrel

    No, I don't think it's confusing. In fact I quite like it. The god who is one and many. Or maybe even the gods who are many and one. Like a Divine Hive-Mind. Or both, at the same time, like the Christian Holy Trinity only moreso. Though, that's probably even more confusing.
  3. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Oooh! No, I quite like that. Kind of a universal consciousness sort of thing. Works well. Carry on, young man.
  4. Creed

    Creed Sage

    The Construct is right, it sounds very interesting. But I'm curious what would happen if people started worshipping these gods who are one God on different terms. For example, if one culture worships a deity of life, and a tribe somewhere starts worshipping a deity of death. What would this do to the being? Make it weaker? Make it stronger?
    In my WIP there is a god, and a younger version that stemmed from it. After a long time the worshippers of the older god began to worship an antithesis version and effectively killed their own god.
  5. ecdavis

    ecdavis Troubadour

    This is one of my areas of interest and the concept has actually been tried as a religion in the real world, in a modified sense.

    I certainly don't want to criticize your idea, but I wonder if this god is is the key figure in your story or if this is just the background to the story?

    If he is the key figure, then the question I would ask is: Why would this being need to do this? If he is omnipotent, that also brings with it the feeling that he has that he is, in and of himself, perfect or at least all powerful.

    By appearing as various gods and goddesses of different pantheons, he would seem like he was REALLY trying to get people to like him. That sounds extremely needy, and if he needed to be loved so desperately that he goes in a hundred directions to get it, then he would not really be omnipotent as his 'all power' would fail to win followers without him having to be the kind of god they wanted and thought up. They think up an idea for a god and then he adapts to that idea and fills the role. That sounds desperate.

    An all powerful god would have to be self-sustaining and would want to be worshiped, but he wouldn't be humiliating himself by desperately trying to fit into the thoughts and belief systems of differing groups of people.

    One thought would be to have had this god reveal himself at an earlier time to everyone in the same way, and these various groups from differing cultures, each which thinks they are worshiping him in the true way, but are, after a long period of time, growing rather further apart, yet they are all devout to him. He'd have to show each culture their errors to try to get them all back in-line to how he expects to be worshiped.

    Most gods would think it was 'all about him'. A god who is all things to everyone at all times would end up conflicting with himself. What if one culture believed that god tells them that they needed to destroy all other non-believers, whereas another culture believed that their god told them to love and honor those who were different then they were and gently lead them to knowledge of their god? He'd be at war with himself over that one.

    I guess if your differing groups of people and their gods didn't present diametrically opposed and conflicting religious value systems, this could work. I would want a god to have a consistent and strong personality and value system (that was his own system, based on his own desires and wants, as he should have the wisest system, being god), as I would think an all-powerful and probably all-knowing deity would know that his way was the only way and these lesser beings had best get their act together!

    Just my two cents worth, finally putting a large number of theology classes to use.
  6. Nameback

    Nameback Troubadour

    Sounds fine to me--no more confusing than the Catholic Holy Trinity.

    In general, I would say that when it comes to gods or Gods, nothing is too far-fetched. After all, the gods people actually worship are pretty darned far-fetched. It's all fair game.
  7. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    Protestants worship the Trinity too. /2cents

    As for a god with "opposing" facets, there's one like this in Celtic myth, I believe. The Triple Goddess is Maiden, Mother and Crone -- the Maiden and mother being deities of fertility and life, etc., while the Crone is one of death. The Goddess lives Her life in yearly cycles -- in the spring She begins as the Maiden, and marries her consort, the Horned God (if I recall correctly) at Beltane (May Day), the first day of summer. At this point (or possibly at Midsummer?) She becomes the Mother. At the end of the harvest season on Samhain (Halloween), the God is cut down with the harvest, and the Goddess goes into mourning, becoming the Crone with the onset of winter. She gives birth to the God again at Yule, and courts him again when spring comes, beginning the cycle again.
  8. Lycan999

    Lycan999 Minstrel

    I actually have a being similar to this in my world. He is omnipotent (or so they think), but does not have much to do with the world after its creation. Instead, during the worlds beginning, he split his consciousness in to a number of god-like beings known as Iltar. They are all really part of one being, many that is one, but each have their own personalities and consciousness. Some have even tried to destroy each other and have turned to dark or chaotic powers.
  9. Obsidian

    Obsidian Acolyte

    Sounds fine I think that when writing about gods of your own creation you can let your imagination run wild with ideas.
  10. phillipsauthor

    phillipsauthor Minstrel

    One thing to consider, as mentioned above, is whether religions in your world present conflicting views of God. Unless your god is literally schizophrenic, it wouldn't make sense for one religion's god to have completely different priorities than another religion's god if they're actually the same being.

    In our world, for instance, the Christian Trinity (yes, both Protestant & Catholic) declares in the 10 commandments that he is the only god who exists, and the only god to be worshiped - worship of any other deities is idolatry. He also commands people to love each other, as He has loved them - self-sacrificially. Contrast with the Hindu pantheon, where gods have no problems with people worshiping other deities, or Islam, where Allah is all-powerful but does not behave in a self-sacrificial loving manner toward his worshipers. Ancient religions on Earth incorporated ritual prostitution to please the gods, while other religions condemned sexual activity outside of marriage. Etc.

    If you're going to have one being who is the source of all religions, then, all of the religions will need to have the same basic morality, or your god is going to be literally crazy. (There's a reason that the Greek gods were always fighting with each other - they valued very different things. You aren't going to have Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera advocating for people to make the same choices. And if you have two aspects of God who are telling people to do different things, God is very messed up.) Hope that helps!
  11. Mara Edgerton

    Mara Edgerton Troubadour

    Ah, in Hinduism all the gods are generally considered just aspects of the one ultimate Being. There are different philosophical schools about that one Being which range from absolute monism (Advaita or non-dualism--everything is one) to a sort of pan-en-theism (everything is at least related through this one ultimate Being) to a more dualistic conception, where G-d and creation are separate from each other.

    At any event, this general Hindu idea of the one G-d with innumerable forms or aspects seems similar to what the OP has in mind.

    P.S. Way off topic, but I'd like to clarify that the ten commandments only have something to do with the Christian Trinity from a Christian viewpoint. And that's fine--I'm not looking for a Christianity v. Judaism argument, because it's all good in my opinion--but I think there's a slight Christian-chauvinism that forgets the ten commandments originated in Judaism, a different religion with no Trinity and an arguably more strictly monotheistic notion of G-d. (Though I will give Islam a nod for being the most hard-core monotheistic religion among the 'big 3' Abrahamic faiths.)
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
    Ireth likes this.
  12. phillipsauthor

    phillipsauthor Minstrel

    Thanks for the clarification. I'm not as up on the nuances of Hinduism as some of the other world faiths. Even so, the point about having non-contradictory religions if the same God is behind all of them still stands. At least, if God has a personality and isn't schizophrenic.

    Not looking to argue either. Being ethnically Jewish myself, I'd never forget that the 10 Commandments originated in the Torah. However, it's also worth noting that Jesus, founder of Christianity, and all His initial followers were faithful Jews who didn't consider Judaism to be a "different religion with no Trinity." Just a thought. :)
    Trick likes this.
  13. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Troubadour

    I think that there is a huge difference between religion and god. Religion is only humankind's way of interpreting a god. It's based on the views of the people, not necessarily the views of the god. So I think it could be not only possible, but totally believable to have a single god that every religion is based on, different though those religions will inevitably become from one another. An all-encompassing deity would be simultaneously (for example) a life and a death god. It is the people who choose to worship one aspect or another based on what is important to their way of life.
    Mara Edgerton likes this.
  14. Mara Edgerton

    Mara Edgerton Troubadour

    I think Pythagoras's point above is well taken here. You can have different understandings of G-d within a single religion. Look at the difference between an ultra-Orthodox synagogue and a progressive synagogue, and, as I'm sure you know, there's no consensus among the Ultra Orthodox themselves or the progressives ourselves. Meanwhile, there are so many varieties and denominations of Christianity that hardly anyone can keep track of them. Quakers have a different idea about G-d and revelation than Fundamentalist Baptists. And there are different understandings of G-d among different religions that explicitly worship the same G-d: Judaism, Christianity (well, G-d the Father is the same) and Islam. It seems to me that our understandings and concepts of G-d are necessarily finite, since we're finite. So none of us have the full picture of the Infinite.

    Therefore, I think the OP's idea will work out just fine.

    Then I'm sure we met at Sinai. Nice to see you again. ;)

    Hey, if Christians want to worship a nice Jewish boy, it's okay with me. On a more serious note, I'm a pretty committed to the idea of religious pluralism: we none of us, I bet, have the whole picture.
  15. Mathias

    Mathias Acolyte

    The idea does sound interesting but also might get confusing when writing scenes with this god/gods. This might come up in your earlier feeds but one thing I would establish before deciding how your god is portrayed is if they are a physical being that can walk among it's followers or more of an idea that has no physical form. If it is a physical being or beings then one suggestion I have is to let this god have the ability to change form but still have a specific characteristic or characteristics that define it. For example if the god takes on the form of buddha while being worshipped in one place but then as a completly other being somewhere else you could have a way of speech or color of eyes that stays the same throughout showing that while this god changes form for each religion in the end it is always the same being. To explain this in your story, why the god would need to change appearance in the first place, you could suggest that people are more likely to worship those that look like them or are familiar in their myths/history.

    If you want to 'split' the god into multiple beings for religions that worship multiple gods you could have the god divide itself into the different aspects of it's personality. For example some Native Americans believed that while there was one overpowering 'god' every element and aspect of nature(forest,water,ect..) was a sort of individual 'god' that came together in one being.

    I don't know if this makes sense or is any help but basically you could have one god like being that can change form or divide into multiple beings based on each aspect of it's personality that in the end is one god. In the end you will want to have at least one characteristic of this being that will stay with them no matter how much they change so the reader will find a similarity and not get too confused as they change.
  16. Lucifer

    Lucifer Acolyte

    It is not farfetched, especially given that s/he is omnipotent.

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