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It's common trend for many stories within the Urban Fantasy genre to feature various mythological pantheons co-existing with one another. For example, High School DxD has a universe where Judeo-Christian demons and angels exist alongside vampires, the Norse Æsir and Vanir, Greco-Roman Olympians, Near-Eastern dragons, Hindu-Buddhist Devas and Shinto Kami. One problem I've always had with this concept it's that every single religion and mythology on Earth has multiple conflicting accounts of how the universe and humanity came into being (e.g the Mesopotamian Enuma Elish is different from the Chinese Sanwu Liji).

How would one reconcile the glaring differences that plague these myths?

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    $\begingroup$ Those "multiple conflicting accounts of how the universe and humanity came into being" are not "accounts"; they are myths, created by men. Possibly inspired men, but mortal men nevertheless. The gods themselves know better, but their divine knowledge cannot be comprehended by human minds. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 15 '18 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ Do you want a way for all the mythos to be viewed as equally valid, or is it okay for the deities to simply be building their own rival cults by providing them with explanations as they see fit? $\endgroup$ – abestrange Jun 15 '18 at 1:44
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Gods exist as a manifestation of human ideas and beliefs,either by our ideas and world view shaping a uncaring,non-sentient, divine mass or by the gods being a destilation of the magic energy released by the people believe.

As a consequence gods believe in their own creation myths because their worshipers believe too,but the more time the gods are active the more they are dissociated from the original belief as thei weave true stories.

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Fallability

One common theme in early mythologies is that gods, demons and otherworldly beings are not perfect, infallible exemplars of truth and light. Thor is stupid. Neptune dangerously unpredictable. Zeus gets away with cheating on Hera (for a little while at least) multiple times.

The gods are all fallible.

With that in mind: who’s to say they have the full picture of creation, or even remember it right? Perhaps celestial gatherings all feature a bit of ‘Remember when our Ron stole fire from the temple?’ ‘No, It was that other fellow. What’s his name? Prometheus!’ ‘Oh yes, I remember now. The one with the kidney problems.’

With that in mind multiple pantheons of imperfect gods is perfectly possible, and perhaps even the gods suffer from the same malady we all do: stubbornly sticking to a version of events that suits our way of thinking while excluding all other possibilities.

After all, we were made in their image.

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  • $\begingroup$ Regarding Zeus: Athena is his daughter (and a self-enforced virgin besides), Hera is his wife and queen. $\endgroup$ – No Name Jun 27 '18 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ @NoName: Right you are!! How the heck did I make that mistake?? (I blame Bacchus. Or possibly Dionysus..) $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 27 '18 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ "The one with the kidney problems" brilliant. Although amusing as this is it was his Liver that got eaten every day, not the kidneys $\endgroup$ – ArcWraith Jun 28 '18 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ @ArcWraith: And the gods have memory problems. Eventually the kidney/liver schism will lead to a religious war, hundreds of thousands of deaths and decades of religious persecution, because religion makes so much sense! $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 28 '18 at 5:47
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So basically the deities could actually be extraterrestrials with technology a few centuries ahead of us. They settle down on Earth and start consolidating local power. After showing off their powers they are immediately deified. The deities then provide them with their own mythos to keep the population subservient.

Depending on the level of advancement of your populous, a simple metaphor for creation might be more suitable than factual explanations of complex physics. It is hard enough to teach algebra to students who've already had years of arithmetic, let alone hunter gatherers.

Regional metaphors will be more applicable and will spread faster, facilitating your rise to power. Maybe the humans had creation myths already, and the new deities just latched onto it for simplicity?

The deities can help build up and task their civilization to harvest crops, build monuments, and conquer neighboring domains.

They would avoid direct war against each-other because at that tech level weapons would be capable of sterilizing entire planets.

Perhaps they are enjoying playing around with the civilizations of Earth, much like a game of Risk? Flipping the game board and attacking your opponent directly is frowned upon.

These deities could be genetically engineered to have pretty much whatever physical form they want. They wouldn't even need to conceal their technology, it would still be viewed as magical.

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Creation existed in a state of quantum superposition where all the stories were true until the first oh-so-limited human observer caused the waveform to collapse. (Observation by gods doesn’t cause collapse because they are quantum observers capable of seeing all the possibilities at once.)

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  • $\begingroup$ This answer is very reminiscent of Terry Pratchett’s ‘Pyramids’, where the high priest knows that multiple gods are responsible for the same things in completely different ways, and is right on all counts. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jun 15 '18 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ So the myths are in a state of Schrodinger's cat undergoing wave form collapse? effectively making it so that whichever one YOU believe in is the true one, but so is the opposite for someone who believes something else? Nice, that works surprisingly well $\endgroup$ – ArcWraith Jun 28 '18 at 0:35
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Gods are humans creations

Gods don't exist by themselves, they are just mere humans creations from our collectives believes on the metaphysical plane materialized in our world through the astral rift of mana. When a group of several peoples believes in the same thing during some time, their believes resonance on the metaphysic plane. That resonance provokes a chain mana reaction that emulates and personifies our Gods, allowing them to visit our world and complete their sacred task (believed by us).

Our universe is in complete chaos

The universe born from an energy sphere of pure chaos (big bang?). This energy represents everything that is, was or will be. It's all the past, the present and the future possibilities at the same time. With this energy, everything exists and doesn't exist, it's like a quantum stuff. Because the universe born from this chaotic-quantum-everything-and-nothing-at-the-same-time-energy-matter-void all the different mythological explanations of how the universe was created could (or should be can?) had happened at the same time, like a paradox or a multiverse of different timelines at the same time. I am not sure if I'm explaining this fine, actually, the universe was created by any kind of weird mythological way that you could think, and that is why all the Gods existed (and also doesn't exist, at the same time).

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Interdimensional Refugees.

All of the creation myths are true - in their home universes. Unfortunately an ancient cataclysm ravaged a number of realities.

The United Heavens organised a relief mission, and transplanted as many of their followers as they could to a mostly unaffected Earth - the native species (dinosaurs) and their Gods having died out millenia before.

This Divine Intervention has been kept secret from humans, who have been left to believe that this is their original Earth (even though it may be larger, less flat, or even not riding on the back of an elephant) - even some of the younger Gods, born since the "Incident", are unaware that this happened.

Meanwhile, the Gods keep a watchful eye for any reemergence of the threat that nearly ended them all...

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

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