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This is a follow up question to this link:

Why would a deity not be made weaker as more souls are being born?

When human beings die, their spirits go to the soul forge. This forge is at the center of the planet, housed in its core deep below ground. In this forge, the souls remain in a dream like state where time is meaningless. At some point in the future, this core will be filled to its capacity and no more humans will be born. This will trigger the rapture, in which God will call all humans both living and dead back to him. We will transcend our mortal bodies and once again join with the creator, becoming one with the human consciousness and making god stronger than he was when he first split into mortal form.

A cult has formed around this god that is separate from mainstream religions and which is focused on hastening this event. To do this, they must "free" as many souls from their mortal shells as they can. It's their religious, god-given duty to resurrect god as soon as they can in order to save humanity. The cult regularly murders people and has used weapons of mass destruction to further their goals, with more powerful ones currently in development.

Why would killing large numbers of people not hasten the apocalypse as they believe?

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closed as off-topic by RonJohn, Blade Wraith, Daniel B, Mołot, Ash Oct 10 '18 at 9:50

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  • $\begingroup$ How is not Primarily Opinion Based? $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 10 '18 at 6:01
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn: The first two answers posted would seem to indicate that this question is primarily mathematically based. $\endgroup$ – A. I. Breveleri Oct 10 '18 at 6:05
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    $\begingroup$ @A.I.Breveleri "it's my opinion that the soul of a 30 year old man is 1/2 the size of a 60 year old man." $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 10 '18 at 6:18
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    $\begingroup$ Based on this follow-up it seems you have decided which answer of the first question fits your story best. You could help us understand your setting if you accepted an answer to your first question. Have a look at the tour to see how it's done. $\endgroup$ – Elmy Oct 10 '18 at 7:04
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  1. Everybody dies
  2. The growth rate of human population is exponential

If you are in the generation that would have the apocalypse anyway, then large scale genocide could bring the apocalypse forward by up to around 30 years. Depending on how close you were to it in the first place.

If you are not in the generation that would have the apocalypse anyway, then genocide (of children and adults who had not yet had as many children as they were going to) would set the apocalypse back. Possibly significantly based on the scale of your genocide, as you've severely knocked back the population growth and hence the future natural death rate.

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The soul forge has a capacity that one day will be exeeded by dead souls. That means a soul must have some volume in order to fill the soul forge.

As this answer to your first question states, a newborn baby has a small soul that grows throughout it's life. Contrary to the physical body, the soul never stops growing because we never stop experiencing life and feeling emotions.

If the cult murderes a man at 30 years of age, his soul is only half as big as if he died at 60 years of age. The cult only increases the number of souls in the soul forge, but the volume of souls increases much less because the soul of the murdered man wasn't matured to its full potential.

Killing children and young adults actually delays the rapture because it takes longer for a new baby to be born with a tiny soul than it takes a young soul to grow bigger.

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Equilibrium, Scalability

The cult believes there are already enough souls existing in the world in order for genocide to trigger the event. There may be always enough people existing, it's just a matter of how many can be killed in a relatively short time frame. Never in the history of humanity could that point be achieved due the lack of technology and the inability of radical ideologies and beliefs to spread as needed. Throughout history the cult may have always tried its best, but it was never enough (the goal is never obvious - after all it's a belief).

How their belief of souls could work? Their god split up a significant portion of his power (soul) in order to create humanity. Well, that caused something like a gaping wound to him - or rather an eternal balance mechanism which slowly seeks equilibrium between the total soul power of that god and humanity. You could say god kept 50%, humanity has 50%. Whenever humans die, he regains some power. But that is only temporary - and the only way to regain sufficient power is a relatively short time frame of sufficient mass extinction. He just has to reach, let's say, 80% once. The 20th century as a whole was a great attempt - fascism and communism - tasty mass murders, world wars, genocides left and right, but it was just not enough.

The reason why that god is "powerless" in that state of equilibrium is because his power is tested against that of the plane of existence. Well, he imbued humanity with half his power which translates to souls for humans, and humanity is bound to Earth in the plane of existence... so all his influence and powers to affect anything in the entire universe are blocked by humanity existing and wielding his powers (having souls).

With the mechanism of equilibrium the absolute power/souls can increase and decrease at will. Humans can generate more souls through reproduction, and that god can have increases and decreases as well. But that does not matter - however it allows for scalability and renders it timeless.

As long as the equilibrium exists, he can basically do little at best. No fancy god powers, just whispering some people some things, maybe a bit more. He may traverse through time and space, but the creation of humanity bound him and his powers to Earth eternally... unless the cult can restore him.

The mentality of the cult:

Not knowing what magnitude of human extinction is necessary to restore their god and to receive the salvation they seek for millennia, throughout their existence they sought to establish world wide events of wars and destruction. Due to their low numbers - it's not easy to gain followers after all - they could never exert sufficient influence and were forced to act in the shadows.

They are aware of the power of technology and the potential for destruction it bears. They were highly impressed by the deeds of the 20th century and learned a lot from history - in their own perspective. They align with every ideology which has adherence to high state power, control, tyranny, totalitarianism, dictatorship, collectivism and consider them ideal vehicles to pursue their goals of rapid human mass extinction. The core concept of state power and ideology was long known to them, but with the 20th century they saw their goal to be in close reach like never before. But at the same time, some of the cult members consider it to be a time of urgency, as capitalism, individualism and freedom have lifted tremendous suffering from those benefiting from it, lifting living conditions within mere 1-2 centuries like never before in human history. That has to stop!

Their set of morality does not comprise of being truthful, valuing life, valuing individualism, or freedom. They despise life and existence itself - human existence in itself is a sin, a betrayal of their god - yet they are willing to make the sacrifice of living and acquiring wealth and/or power in order to pursue their goal. Every tool which serves their goal is justified - the goals justify the means is not just a justification for amorality to them - it's the paradigm to live and act by. Thus "sacrifice" is a core element of their religion - to them their existence is a sacrifice, a necessity, but also a torture of their god, who in turn himself has to bear the sacrifice of enduring the pain even from his followers. Another sacrifice for cult members is having to lie to everybody and to hide one's true self forever, and to hide the pain which is existence. It has a ritualistic meaning to them, especially among their kin, thus also blood and shedding blood, which is also a metaphor to death.

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Whether the cult's strategy of mass murder makes sense depends on whether there are enough people currently living to fill up the soul forge. If there are not, then killing large numbers of people could reduce the population enough to affect the birth rate, and thus in the long run actually delay the apocalypse.

The best way to hasten the Holy Resurrection is to increase the rate at which people are born, until the living population matches the remaining capacity of the soul forge, and then murder everyone.

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There might be a little-known caveat that people who died before their time (as defined by the god) will not go to the soul forge but have to be reborn to fulfil their purpose. As such, killing people will only raise the rate of "recycled" souls in the mortal realm.

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