So the first phase of the story I'm writing is the year-long leadup to the utter collapse of society and infrastructure brought about by humanity's sudden ability to use supernatural powers. And one of the ideas I've been tossing around about what would likely happen in this sort of situation is the sheer havoc this would wreak upon the religious world and the new religion(s) that would spring up in the wake of it.
A quick summary of how powers work in my story:
Ever since a Saturday in early September, 2017, everyone 13 or older has a brand on their arm that contains four circles on it. Every week, on Saturday, at 12:00 PM EST, one of those circles fills up with a magic rune that grants them a new supernatural power.
Everyone gets the same rune per week, and once all four circles are filled, the rune in the fourth slot is overwritten with the next week's power when it arrives, and if you want to keep it you have to switch it with a rune in another slot (you can do this with your mind, and there's no way for anybody else to affect the slot order of your powers).
In addition, everyone who was old enough to have a brand when this first started had two free, impossible-to-delete powers granted to them permanently: one that roughly doubles their strength, and one that lets them heal any injury and regrow any lost body part, in a time range going from an hour to a week depending on severity.
In addition, and here's where the main issue comes in, 24 people across the planet were randomly given their own, powerful, completely one-of-a-kind powers. And one of these people was given the power to know, several months in advance, what powers humanity will be given, when, and how to use them. He uses this ability of his to style himself as a prophet of a new religion.
Posing as a prophet and avatar of the gods, he preaches that the source of these powers is a pantheon of old-world, hedonistic, incestuous psychopaths like the ones found in Greek and Norse mythology. He preaches that the gods put us on Earth not because they wanted to be worshiped and obeyed, but because they wanted to be entertained. He says that the highest virtues have nothing to do with compassion or human decency, but in living as fascinating and exciting a life as humanly possible, with morals being a trivial afterthought or, at best, a means to an end. And most importantly, he preaches that this mass-empowerment is a sign that the gods are incredibly frustrated with the current state of most of humanity and that this is their last effort to please the gods before they decide to destroy the world and create a new one they'll like better.
Now the important thing is that none of the other people with unique powers speak up to contradict this story. One of these people stepped up and took initiative to set up a "masquerade" of sorts to keep these powers secret from humanity by threatening their lives and the lives of those close to them, but he found the concept of what the false prophet was planning to be so fascinating as a philosophical and sociological experiment that by the time he found him, he let him keep going with his plan as long as he didn't tell anybody he wasn't the only one with powers like that. So while obviously the existence of magic elsewhere means there could be another explanation for why this prophet can do what he does, as far as the world knows there's no proof he isn't the only one who can do what he can do.
The ultimate plan I have with this religion is to have it eventually result in communities scattered throughout the post-collapse world that are consumed by bloodlust and hedonism, base much of their survival and livelihood on raiding heretic settlements, and have little to no compassion or empathy for the unfaithful that their gods hold in such frustrated contempt. But right now I'm trying to get a grasp on how much longer than a year that would take, and how quickly a religion like this could radicalize if its prophet, for all anyone knew, really could perform miracles and really did have the gift of prophecy.
If a prophet with the demonstrable gift of prophecy appeared in the wake of magic entering the world as described above, how big of a following could I reasonably depict him having, and how radicalized and detached from the morality of conventional western society could I believably depict them as being, by the end of year one?