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Human souls are energy sources that gods feed upon in the aether realm. This pushes them to interfere with the mortal realm and gain followers through worship. Messiahs, prophets, and all manner of holy men are used to establish religions and various belief systems in order to garner human beings to their deities. When that human dies, the god that has "dibs" on that soul claims it in the afterlife to feed off of it. For this reason, they compete amongst each other, trying to gain as many followers as possible.

Their is a realm that sits between the material and aethereal world called limbo. This realm is divided into two parts, the first of which is called "The limbo of the Patriarchs". Agnostics who did not worship any particular god, or atheists who rejected the idea of god altogether reside here. As they are unclaimed by any deity, Their souls are up for grabs and can be taken by either side, leading to many conflicts between gods over the rights to them. The other half of this realm "The realm of Infants", contains the souls of children who were unable to be born. Infants that were miscarried or aborted, or children who were born dead, reside here. The gods generally leave this part of limbo alone.

Approximately 113 billion people have been born and died throughout history, not counting human subspecies. This would mean that the number of children who, for whatever reason, were not born when they should have been would be much higher, making their side of limbo more highly populated. Although they don't serve as a suitable meal for a god as individuals, the quantity of souls altogether in that realm would make for a great feast. Yet, the gods do not bother with claiming the souls here as their own, cursing them to wander aimlessly in this cold, grey realm for an eternity.

Why would competing gods ignore such an obvious source of power when it could aid them in the war against each other?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Renan, Measure of despare., Mołot, JBH, L.Dutch Apr 25 at 13:59

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Just to clarify - at what moment does a soul attach to the fetus in your setting? At the moment of birth, at the moment of conception, at any other arbitrary moment during the pregnancy? $\endgroup$ – Cumehtar Apr 25 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ Because they don't feed on souls, but on the nutritional value of faith? $\endgroup$ – kikirex Apr 25 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Cumehtar While an interesting clarification, I'm not sure that has much bearing upon the question. It affects the extent of the advantage gained (and the relative approval by anti-abortion activists), but the untapped advantage is there regardless. $\endgroup$ – Ynneadwraith Apr 25 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Ynneadwraith - if the soul connects to the body on the moment of birth, there would not even be such a thing as soul of an unborn child ) $\endgroup$ – Cumehtar Apr 25 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Cumehtar Ah I see. Would certainly solve the problem, but it doesn't sound like that's how it works in the question (could either be 'moment of conception' or 'arbitrary time during pregnancy' by the looks of things). $\endgroup$ – Ynneadwraith Apr 25 at 13:50
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I have two possible answers:

1) These souls didn't go through some very specific transformation at the moment of birth that makes them either unfit for consumption by a god, or even toxic.

2) There is a very specific god, who lays a claim on unborn souls - an Unborn God. It is a paradoxical deity, weird and different from other gods, since it doesn't actually exist, but at the same time it does. Nobody wants to mess with it and get into its domain.

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    $\begingroup$ I like the Idea of an Unborn God, because it has potetially the maximum of power, but as it is unborn itself, it has no power now. $\endgroup$ – Julian Egner Apr 25 at 13:39
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Because doing so would be suicidal for any individual God

All of the gods know how much of an advantage this would be, but as they're all competing, they don't want anyone else to get it. If a god attempts to tap this section of limbo, it will risk provoking the wrath of all other gods combined (or, at least, a significant proportion of them), which would annihilate them before they could hoover up the souls there (which conveniently would take more time given they're individually so small).

I also expect there would be some form of neutral guardian God that would be forbidden from entering into the conflicts of the others, intended to dissuade a quick 'smash and grab' by tying an aggressor up long enough for the others to work out what's happening (perhaps they take a tithe from this part of limbo to keep up with the others' growing power).

Much like mutually assured destruction, this is a precarious situation. If any one God became so powerful that it could withstand the onslaught of the others for long enough to feast, or could distract the other Gods for long enough, or a pact of Gods agreed to split it, or a limbo-guardian breaks its vows, the whole system would break down catastrophically.

Seems like a good 'War in Heaven' plot hook to me...

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    $\begingroup$ I like the political reasoning. Kind of like mutually assured destruction with WMDs. $\endgroup$ – fredsbend Apr 27 at 2:47
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For the sake of this reasoning I'm assuming that souls are needed as fuel and as soldiers in wars against other gods

The souls need to be refined. Honed in the vessel of human. Soul need to know what love is. What is taste, touch, sounds. Soul is shaped with all the things it's "carrier" experienced.
The soul of an unborn human is a goo. A shapeless thing that IS but nothing more. Apart from the fact it exist it don't have any value on itself. It's nutrients are very small. And because it's so edgeless it create more harm to consumer.
Also shaped soul, when claimed, can be consumed, used in the war effort OR can be "reused" so a soul of a teenager can be reborn to get more experience (with a chance that reborn human will follow different god)

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