Worship This

Shooting Star © Nicc Balce (Used with permission)

Much of worldbuilding in epic speculative fiction involves constructing new cosmologies. It’s fun, it can flavor the text memorably, and deities can provide easy justifications for a lot of character motives (just like in real life).

That said, I have some questions:

-With an obvious, active pantheon, how is monotheism possible?
-Are holy wars more or less likely when you know your enemy’s deities are as real as your own?
-With deities directly influencing events in the world, who needs prophets or messiahs?
-What of missionaries? Would conversion practices work where people could expect very real retribution from scorned deities?
-For that matter, what’s the point of priesthood? If gods and goddesses can intervene in anybody’s affairs, why would anybody deal with an intermediary when they wish to intervene in deific affairs?
-After all, in these worlds, isn’t prayer just another form of magic use?
-Moreover, is faith even possible in worlds where religious cosmology is fact? Or would stubborn atheism there be the parallel of religious fundamentalism here on Earth?

Sure, magic is fun, but this is a science blog. Let’s do science to the deific.

-Cultures evolve and species evolve, but can immortal individuals evolve? Or is that an ‘All Power’ reserved for deities associated with rebirth and transformation?
-As technology advances and societies progress, how do adaptable deities keep themselves relevant?
-What do star-faring people worship? Does sun-worship get revived as ‘stellar-worship’?
-Would real, hard sci-fi gods and goddesses even be interested in worship? Or would they be keener on invention and novelty than on rote tradition?
-For that matter, how could followers of progressive, science-loving deities reconcile themselves with the paradox of embracing the directives of entities of unquantifiable existence?

Your thoughts?

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