Good Gods

Except they usually aren’t.

If you need to write a religious system in your fantasy novel, it’s best to look into the history and comparative theology of the various religious systems, past and present, on Planet Earth. (Yes, America, there are more than one.)

Doing so today, in a desultory way, it occurred to me to re-realize that the gods have always just been ourselves, writ somewhat larger. Though many religions insist their gods are all about peace and love, the record usually indicates otherwise. The Greek and Roman gods were fornicating, drinking, adulterous, battling madcaps whose idea of a good time was to turn some poor sod into various flora and fauna for an insignificant offense. The Norse gods were absolutely no better. The amazing series of stories told about Indonesian deities defies description. As for the Christian god, either there are two, one Old Testament and one New Testament, or like any human male he mellowed out considerably when he had a son.

I’m not going to get any more controversial than that in this post. My point is, from an anthropological point of view, the gods are much closer to us than we like to think. And by our own moral standards, they usually don’t measure up, any better than we do. Bear it in mind when writing systems of belief into your new worlds.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. damyantig
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 09:36:52

    Good to see you creating Gods. When do I get to read more?

  2. asherose
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 11:08:46

    Ummmm well, who knows, as soon as possible anyway… I’m a terrible correspondent as you’ve no doubt found. 🙂

  3. xiamcorl
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 19:51:48

    So few Gods are wholly good and the ones that claim to be their fan clubs screws it up.

    Croaker

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