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To extrapolate, these gods/deities can be seen and are in some kind of physical form or another (perhaps they possess living creatures or just create bodies of their own). They are essentially immortal and have been on the surface of the earth manipulating natural phenomenon (life, death, seasons, love, events, etc.) since the planet's creation.

How would you all suggest I go about implementing them?

Keep in mind I want them to remain relatively discreet. Also I've already considered the idea of making it so religious texts and stories are really the actions of the gods/deities or the result of factual events caused by the gods/deities that have been 'lost in translation', but that leads to the whole mess of sorting through over 4000 religions' literature and beliefs to create plausible explanations for a good amount of them. So any other ideas about how the 'real' gods/deities might go about interacting with the world and influencing it accordingly, but still remain anonymous?

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closed as off-topic by Renan, Cyn, Mołot, Frostfyre, Gryphon Feb 25 at 17:50

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not really sure what your question is. Chances? It's fiction. A one in a million chance may sometimes happen. How to implement? That's your task. We can help you with it if you have a specific question. But that's just too broad. And ideas about how they interact with the world is again on you. Far too broad to work as a question here. Please pick a specific issue and ask for help with that. At minimum, you need to explain how your magic (god-like abilities) works. Are they omnipotent? Limited? By what? $\endgroup$ – Brythan Feb 24 at 1:19
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    $\begingroup$ Thee chances of it happening very small, in this world without real gods behind natural phenomenon there are multiple thunder gods, volcano gods etc. If we could actually perceive real deities they would almost certainly have names. $\endgroup$ – Sarriesfan Feb 24 at 1:29
  • $\begingroup$ Forget the specifics of the gods/deities. Their powers are irrelevant. I'm not asking for statistics, I'm asking for ideas regarding how the relationship between a god/deity and the world might exist so that they remain anonymous; meanwhile, people worship their own widely accepted religions unbeknownst to the secret workings going on behind their backs. My question is broad yes, but I'm trying to crowd source ideas so I can finalize the concept in my mind. I'm not looking for summaries or paragraphs of text. Just anecdotes or helpful tips. Thanks. Try not to overthink it. $\endgroup$ – SJS Feb 24 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ If it helps think of it like a secret coalition of individuals with god-like superpowers that are mainly 'invisible' to society. People see them do unbelievable things or use their powers, then they tell it to others. This can lead to a lot of different opinions regarding what 'really' happened which then gets obscured as people change it to fit their own beliefs or ideals. This could lead to an explanation or source of many religious stories and text. $\endgroup$ – SJS Feb 24 at 2:06
  • $\begingroup$ I'm trying to limit the amount of digging on over 4000 religions I'll have to do. If nothing comes of this I'll gladly grab a shovel and start compiling. Just looking for alternatives or advice before I do. $\endgroup$ – SJS Feb 24 at 2:06
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The worship of regional gods, which was common throughout the world for most of history until recently, lends itself to this particular mode of operation. The gods are each responsible for a geographical area, or a single natural force across a wider area. Thus you have "the gods of the mountains of India" and the "gods of the Greeks".

While many of the regional gods obviously have a taste for worshippers, many did not. For example the Kami of Japan tended to view humans as nuisance interlopers.

It also implies a hierarchy of gods, because someone had to assign responsibility to the local god.

Conflicts between individuals and factions are interpreted in the light of the people who remember the stories, and different cultural groups remember them differently.

For example, there is a serious theory that the early Hellenistic mythos and the Biblical Garden of Eden account are two different tellings of the same story. Oranous = Yhwh, Zeus = Adam, Hera = Eve, serpent = serpent, etc. In the Greek version, Zeus rebels, runs away to where it's safe, and gets off free. In the Hebrew version, Adam rebels, gets booted from the Garden, and is kept out against his will.

The Hindu story of Kali is comparable as a point-of-view expansion of the Hebrew account of the Devil being cast out of heaven. The Hebrew account says "there was a battle in heaven and the devil was tossed out" (pojoguy paraphrase). The Hindu account elaborates on the relationships of the entities, the gathering of weapons, and the battle itself.

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  • $\begingroup$ "The worship of regional gods, which was common throughout the world for most of history until recently, lends itself to this particular mode of operation. The gods are each responsible for a geographical area, or a single natural force across a wider area." Citation very strongly needed. And any speculation linking Yahweh and Uranus, and, most fantastically, Jupiter / Zeus / Dyaus Pita (from Proto-frakking-Indo-European *dieus patēr, "sky father") with Adam (from Proto-double-frakking-Semitic *ʔadam-, "man") cannot possibly be serious. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 24 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ That was what I thought too, and after reading the entire book showing their reasoning (several years ago, I no longer have the book) I think it's at best a serious stretch, but for the purposes of worldbuilding one doesn't need to be a comparative theologian. One only needs to have plausible suspension of disbelief. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Feb 24 at 14:56
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I find what you describe is basically the premise of Hancock. Gods do really exist but they have a pretty human psychology. So they spend some time nurturing civilizations in the Nile Valley, then they get bored or depressed or expelled and move on to something else for some centuries, get bored or depressed again so move on to something else, which might or not involve direct interaction with pesky humans, and might or not imply revealing themselves, and so on and so forth.

So they might be discreet and anonymous today (they got sick of us? an external influence forcing them to?), but not in the past, when they built their own Cities but got tired of the effort/nuked by others (Olympus, Valhalla), ruled Kingdoms (Egypt), lived lives in close contact to the nature they created excluding us (any animistic deity).

Also, you do not need to account for thousands of Gods as separate entities, might be just a handful of them bouncing around through the ages and leaving a separate mark in different civilizations, so Horus, Ahura Mazda, Thor and others are actually the same guy jumping around from an amusing activity to another one.

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Just assume that a side benefit of having an intellect capable of controlling divine powers, your gods are smart enough to consistently avoid human observation.

Perhaps they also have extraordinary hearing and can differentiate heartbeats at a mile's distance. Or they might somehow detect the electrical charges inside our skulls. In any case, it is impossible to be near enough to see what they are doing without their knowing that you are there. And given that knowledge, they only use their powers discretely.

Alternatively, you could just give them a divine equivalent of the Men In Black memory flashy thing so that they can clean up after themselves whenever divine action must be performed in public.

There is some interesting meat on this bone. If you set your story in the modern age, in a time when human surveillance technology is finally surpassing their divine defenses, you would have a situation where they are being discovered by mortals, not from our ancient texts and legends, but rather from our security feeds, surveillance satellites, drones and webcams. What would a government agency do with absolute proof that a god exists? How might that knowledge change their allegiances to the governments they work for. Dean Koontz does an excellent job of exploring a similar situation in the book, Soul Survivor. It would be nice if there were more books out there exploring such ideas.

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If they are beings of higher dimension, they could easily make changes throughout our world yet remain beyond detection. Only one extra dimension would do fine.

For example, imagine that future humans come across a Star Trek-style spherical spatial anomaly inscribed with a 2D universe. Perhaps a few ensign science technicians discover lifeforms, but start enacting their petty wills on them as an extension of their 3D squabbling. You know Captain Janeway's pithy yet scathing reprimand is gonna be so satisfyingly prime and directivey, until the Q cameos and makes that patronizing "tsk tsk" sound.

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