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Help with an active pantheon of gods, but multiple religions?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Bman10119, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Bman10119

    Bman10119 Dreamer

    So, in the story I'm working on building, there's an active pantheon of gods. originally sixteen, but now nine. a huge part of the plot being driven by the seven who rebelled and unleashed demons and plague upon the world and are now imprisoned across the world where they can't do any more harm (or so their siblings believe). The remaining nine gods are semi active among the societies, having children and interfering with the lives of mortals when they feel motivated. I'm having problems with how other religions in other cultures can exist when the core pantheon is active in the world. below is a brief explanation of the religions and cultures to provide extra insight.

    Humans have fallen from their golden age after their hero/demigod united all the kingdoms against the fallen gods' demons. a few generations after his death humanity fell apart into small city-states that all worship the nine remaining gods, and persecute the cults that worship the fallen seven.

    Elves have two cultures. the desert dwelling lighter skinned elves worship one god who isn't in the pantheon and are reaching their apex, working on spreading their religion. The darker skinned elven culture that lives in the ashy wastelands near their cousins are anarchistic and tribal, worshiping (depending on tribe) one of three of the fallen gods.

    Dwarves worship a single god, who is in the pantheon but they use a different name.

    and then the gnomes believe that religion is ridiculous waste of time.

    I'm not sure how to make the elven religion make sense when there's obvious interactions in the world from multiple gods. Any ideas/tips are greatly appreciated!
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    There's always the option of henotheism: worshiping one particular god while still acknowledging the existence of others.
  3. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    I have a mythopoeia that's eerily similar to yours and this is more-or-less what I do.
    Mythopoet likes this.
  4. Hainted

    Hainted Sage

    Look at Christianity. Even when Yahweh and later Jesus was actively changing the world in favor of their followers differing religions existed. It could be a difference of culture(Think Skyrim where worship of Talos was outlawed by Elves, because he was human while the other 8 gods were elvish). It could be one of the gods masquerading as the elf god to get more followers. It could be the elves have just been praying to an empty spot in the aether, and don't have a god. To me the elf religion isn't a problem, it's the agnostic/atheistic gnomes that are a problem. Active gods, and an entire race that doesn't follow them, and they are allowed to ecist, ad sow doubt by their continued existence among the faithful?
  5. Bman10119

    Bman10119 Dreamer

    I was intending for the elven god to be nonexistent. but the idea of him being one of the fallen gods trying to gain power again would be interesting, since one is buried in their desert. As for the gnomes, that is a good point. They're culture is all about the pursuit of knowledge, both through inventions and arcane, so im thinking the god of magic (Who is the chief of the gods) and the goddess of wisdom are protecting them hoping they'll see the light now that the gnomes are interacting with the continent the others inhabit. either that or the gods are too weak to eradicate a whole race after the war with the other gods and trying to keep the armies of demons that are still wandering around from completely destroying the rest of the world.
  6. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Just have to say, huzzah for using the word mythopoeia! :)
  7. Sam Evren

    Sam Evren Troubadour

    The Romans believed their gods interacted with the world. Christianity would eventually supplant the Roman pantheon as State religion, but becoming the official religion of the Empire was not synonymous with becoming the pervasive faith of the people.

    Through all of that, gods of other cultures mingled with the Roman Pantheon and Christianity. Their reach extending far and wide. As I recall, there was a Temple of Isis in London.

    Historically, people of different beliefs can get along, they just prefer the gods that work best for them. I said they "can" get along, not that they always do. People of the same deity, but differing views, often seem to enjoy killing each other the most.

    If you're asking how, metaphysically, the gods "get along," ie, how the sole deity of your elven culture interacts on a planar or spiritual level with your other deities, that's pretty much up to you. Perhaps they are all lesser children of a greater universe or as yet unknown deity. Perhaps they're just the way they are and that divine mystery is what drives your world's theologians.

    It's possible that as you follow the thread of your own narrative, you will have an epiphany yourself, discovering a thought as an archaeologist might uncover a long hidden tomb. Follow your story, see where it leads you.

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