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Let's imagine that some powerful evil eldritch abomination decided to hijack Roman Republic 45 BC, saving Caesar in the last moment and fashion itself as Mercurius (Hermes), who was sent by Olympus as Gods' ambassador to guide Rome to new Golden Age. This entity has godlike powers, but incapable of mind control. While it is sure in its eventual success, this 'god' is still holds views that "better safe than sorry", so it decides to destroy Abrhamic religions in their very "cradle" - Ancient Judea, which recently conveniently became part of Roman possessions. This entity has vague semblance of conscience, so it would prefer convert Jews in its religion with minimum violence and suffering if it possible, but will not regret it ultimately. What steps must this 'god' take? It has omniscience and can create, destroy, alter or move anything from one physically possible state to another. My vision of its plan is the following:

  • Making itself known among Hebrews by appearing in many different places with different power demonstrations.
  • Public theological debate with Jewish priesthood with consequent public subversion of Elijah's Jahweh vs Baal challenge.
  • Destruction of the Temple and all copies of religious texts.
  • Elimination of Jewish priesthood (which essentially is a clan)
  • Destruction of Jerusalem
  • Subversive recreation of the Ten Punishments of Egypt.
  • Using Roman administration to create Roman temples and spread the ideology.
  • Enslave and neuter the most rebellious.
  • Performance positive miracles for those that converted: healing, rejuvenation, resurrections, etc.

But is this enough? Is there more humane way to achieve this objective? Is there more effective way to achieve it within the same level of violence? Entity's objective is to eliminate the Judaism within three generations at most.

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closed as too broad by elemtilas, 011358 smell, Renan, EDL, Arkenstein XII Jul 24 at 23:48

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Many have tried, many have failed. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jul 24 at 8:59
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch Judaism at this point did not diverge into distinct enough religious movements, so "Abrahamism" at this stage is superfluous vacuously true term. It is like calling Latin a Romance language. $\endgroup$ – Мікалас Кaрыбутоў Jul 24 at 9:33
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    $\begingroup$ Which of the various question you ask is your question? And, an evil eldritch abomination, with omniscience, wants to usher in a "Golden Age" for Rome, but is reluctant to use methods the Romans themselves used? Carthago delenda est. $\endgroup$ – puppetsock Jul 24 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ The way I read this question, there are two central objectives: strengthening Rome, and "destroying" Judaism (as a precaution? Or as a goal in its own right?) - which would you like answers to focus on? They're not necessarily related. $\endgroup$ – Ruther Rendommeleigh Jul 24 at 15:25
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    $\begingroup$ You're asking too many questions. I know you've gotten answers already, but you're still pretty new to Stack Exchange and how it works. Please take a look at the help center and tour so you can learn how to write good focused queries. We operate on a single focused query receives a single focused response model. You're asking what needs to be done; can it be done; how can it be done better; what else can be done. That's way too broad. Lastly, please do NOT mark an answer as "accepted" within the first few days after you ask a question. This tends to turn other people away. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jul 24 at 19:58
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It's not stated in the original question, but the implicit assumption that seems to be at work is that there are no other "godlike entities" around to interfere. If that's the case, then we're looking at our world with the one change being this thing arrives and starts being all godlike, yes?

Well, in that case, it doesn't have to worry about the Abrahamic religions. At all.

The modern theological justifications for God not interfering in daily affairs and performing unexplained, material, miracles on a regular basis are statements about testing faith, that the soul is more important than the material world, and so on, but at the end of the day these are just justifications to provide an excuse why God doesn't do anything. When these positions were being crafted, people could look around and realize that the things they were told in the old stories simply weren't happening. Oh, sure, maybe so and so's cousin's blacksmith said that his uncle had once been to Libya, and the things he'd seen... but they weren't things people could see or experience for themselves. So the deity became a God of philosophy, distant and unknowable, not one that would show up for mead, smash in the head of a few trolls, party, and then take off across a rainbow bridge to have other adventures. Absence was justified in order to be explained.

But, a century before Christianity started taking off, you've got a deity doing stuff. Not something told in stories, but things that people can see and experience in a real, physical, sense. True miracles. Things that are tangible, that can be touched, seen. Things that don't require any faith to believe they're true, because you can see it with your own eyes.

So why would people particularly care about the ravings of some backwater preacher who couldn't actually do anything? It would be the equivalent of someone these days talking about how the Lizard People Aliens are secretly pretending to be humans and are controlling the world. Sure, the lunatic would get some followers, but in the grand scheme of things they're just going to be crackpot nutcases on the fringe.

So all your eldritch abomination has to do is make sure it has a regular circuit around the empire to make sure that the vast majority of people have personally experienced its power, seen its miracles, and even after it's moved on to the next area, can visit the things its left behind that are concrete examples of its power. The odds of any other religion getting any significant following are somewhat minimal.

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  • $\begingroup$ Minus your argument against the validity of the Christian religion, this is actually a really solid answer. I'm interested to know why it got downvoted. $\endgroup$ – boxcartenant Jul 24 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ Why it got downvoted? Because Christians don't like it when you point out their god does nothing. They'll downvote anything that doesn't say their religion is awesome. $\endgroup$ – Thorne Jul 25 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ The thing is that you'll be hard pressed to find a point in the old testament where it says that other gods don't exist, just that "I am the lord thy god and you shall have no other gods before me". Judaism is actually compatible with other gods being real, but you're not to worship them. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jul 25 at 8:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix, true, but there's no reason why Judaism would spread any more than it did in real life, and in real life it's still a minor religion in terms of numbers. Christianity was able to spread in large part by co-opting local religions (a number of saints are demonstrably renamed former deities) and by claiming there really was no other deity, and there was nothing to dispute that argument. When there's a "deity" around to explicitly claim otherwise, however... $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Jul 25 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Not too hard pressed. It says it like 20 times between Isaiah chapters 44 and 50 alone, (eg Isaiah 44:6, 44:8, 45:5, 45:18, 45:22, 46:9, etc). But the OT does allow for lesser beings which are called "gods" with reference to their role relative to other lesser beings, (eg Exodus 7:1, Psalm 82). The Bible isn't all that unclear on this topic. $\endgroup$ – boxcartenant Jul 26 at 5:53
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Easiest way to convert all of Judea at that time: Send a prophet who passes their "tests for a prophet", outlined in their religious text. Most notably, the test of a prophet is in Deuteronomy 13:1-3 and Deuteronomy 18:18-22.

Now then, the rule here is that a true prophet can predict the future accurately, confirms his message with signs and wonders, and doesn't lead them after other gods. That last part is a problem for your demigod, because he wants them to worship himself instead. How does he do it, then?

He dilutes their view of their God by slowly making very small changes here and there, so that they follow along with him for a long time, not knowing that in the end they will be worshiping something totally different.

For an example of this, take the modern LDS missionary's approach to a mainstream Christian. The LDS missionary says "We follow Jesus, too! We believe everything that the Bible says he did." But they don't mention the differences: Mainstream Christians believe that Jesus is the eternal God; LDS say he came into existence as a spirit baby, and then progressed to godhood by living a perfect human life. LDS will say "eternal", meaning, "will live eternally in the future", but MC mean also in the past. MC believe Jesus was the creator of everything; LDS say that, too, but they actually just mean "everything we see", where MC mean "literally everything except for God". MC say "there is only one God"; LDS add "there is only one god that we have anything to do with", because Joseph Smith taught that there were possibly infinite gods who ascended to godhood the way Jesus did.

That's the mode: same name, similar story, different god. Enough of those changes, and before long people are so invested in the religion that when confronted with the original, they'd rather say "oh, well, the Torah was corrupted over time" than admit that their new religion is actually different from the original. Once he gets to that point, your demigod can change things however he wants, and just say, "well, the most recent prophets are the ones you should listen to. The previous ones were men, and they made mistakes".

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Before Christianity came along, the Pharisees, the most dominant sect of Jewish leaders, were already cooperating with the Roman government allowing Roman culture to subvert the bulk of Judaism. The Gnostic Jews were scattered to the wilderness where they cut themselves off from society making them harmless, and the Zealots who actively opposed Roman dominion were dying out faster than they could replenish their numbers. So, without Jesus, Judaism was already a doomed religion.

The Gospels of Jesus introduced a new approach to resisting oppression by making Judaism about one's own choices rather than the outcome of such choices. An early Christian did not concern himself with success or failure, or how bad things are for now. He cares about if his soul is kept clean, and he believes that God's will includes great challenges that God will overcome when the time is right.

This change in ideology means that none of your demon's plans will be particularly effective. Early Christianity is full of accounts of both secular and demonic conflicts. Many of these conflicts were lost by Christians (Nero's Persecution of Christians, Seven sons of sceva), but that was not any deterrent due to the nature of this shift in their faith. Christians often attributed the existence of other gods to be the subversion of demons; so, the addition of one more Demon claiming to be a god would not change the narrative for Christian believers. What the demon thinks he is doing to prove that God is not real, only feeds into their faith that God would allow an anti-christ to come. In our own history, they explained away Nero as an agent of the Devil allowed by God; so, this being would be no different in their eyes.

That said, while the Gospels of Jesus taught the Jews how to endure Romanism, Acts of the Apostles are in many ways the real threat. Before the reported Vision of Peter was introduced to Judaism, it was a very racist theology that would have never allowed the indoctrination of a gentile; so, there was no real risk of the religion spreading. However, the story of Peter's vision prompted a massive wave of missionary work to the whole empire. As a result, hundreds of Jewish missionaries spread to every corner of the known world with the idea to make clean what had been unclean. With a clearly supernatural being in control of Rome, their job of convincing people that your eldritch being is a demon, if not the devil incarnate, would only be that much easier.

In Short: His only path to victory is to kill Jesus and the Apostles before they can begin their ministry. Or, if your world does not consider them to be historical figures, he needs to find and kill whoever was responsible for introducing these stories to the Jewish people. Without that, any show of power he makes will only increase resistance.

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    $\begingroup$ If I recall correctly, Jesus made frequent use of miracles in teaching his followers. Without knowing much about the opposing ideology, what did Jesus do that the "demon" couldn't have done? As a thought experiment, how do we know that Jesus wasn't, in fact, the evil entity who preempted the "true" religion it foresaw? How would anyone tell the difference? $\endgroup$ – Ruther Rendommeleigh Jul 24 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ I cannot even begin to explain how offensive I find this answer (not to mention factually in debate & the fact that logically Jesus could be the monster the OP describes) $\endgroup$ – LinkBerest Jul 24 at 16:05
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    $\begingroup$ @RutherRendommeleigh: "How do we know that Jesus wasn't, in fact, the evil entity etc.": Welcome to Gnosticism. Now find a few years of free time to read and comprehend Plotinus's Enneads. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jul 24 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ @JGreenwell I understand why you upset about this proposition, but if you look at it objectively it's a valid idea. If you imagine it as another religion, how would your opinion change? What if the question was How do we know that Buddha wasn't, in fact, the evil entity who preempted the "true" religion it foresaw? or Mohammed, or really any other major religious figure? $\endgroup$ – TitaniumTurtle Jul 24 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ @TitaniumTurtle yes, if it was as factually inaccurate about the growth (or potential evolution) of a religion and characterized it as the lesser of a second religion (or just compares it in such an inaccurate, slanderous light as this answer does). In point of fact, I deal with this every single day whenever myself or any of my non-Christian colleagues has even a mention of religion so yes, yes it does. As to the 2nd: yeah, that's the logical problem with this reasoning no matter which religion we put in place (assuming a single leadership event) $\endgroup$ – LinkBerest Jul 24 at 17:05
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Just keep Rome healthy

(The question is rather broad, so I'm going to generalize a bit. Okay, a lot. Bear with me.)

The distinction between religion, culture and politics is a relatively modern invention. To the people you're interacting with, it is simply their way of life, and coming into contact with a different one is something that the Romans were, collectively, pretty much used to, often incorporating deities and customs from those they conquered, without - at least for a while, at the height of their power - losing their ideological and political unity.

As you probably know, the rise of Christianity coincided with civil war, military defeats at multiple fronts and a devastating plague. Without delving too far into controversial territory, it stands to reason that an unfalteringly healthy, united Roman empire would have either absorbed any dissidents or defeated them entirely.

If your entity were to accept requests from the Romans (it worked well for the emperors) and grant them military strength, health and prosperity (as a benevolent god would), the Roman way of life would, through a mix of assimilation and conquest, most likely prevail. The greater the boons granted to its followers (consider e.g. extreme longevity if you want a stable culture), the more pronounced the effect. Bonus points for essentially no cruelty other than tipping the scales in the Romans' favour.

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(1) In 45 BCE Judaea was not part of the Roman empire. It became a Roman province half a century later, in 6 CE. (2) By the middle of the 1st century BCE the Roman official state religion was already on life support.

  • Public theological debate with Jewish priesthood with consequent public subversion of Elijah's Jahweh vs Baal challenge.

    Why on Earth would the Hebrew priests hold public theological debates with a non-Hebrew?

    And for the specific contest of power mentioned, the middle of the 1st century BCE is quite a few centuries too late...

  • Destruction of the Temple and all copies of religious texts.

    The temple was actually destroyed (by Titus Flavius Vespasianus, the future emperor Titus) in 70 CE. This did indeed destroy the then-current variant of the Hebrew religion, but all this actually obtained was the birth of the medieval (and modern) Rabbinic Judaism.

  • Elimination of Jewish priesthood (which essentially is a clan).

    Not needed. Without the Temple, the classical Hebrew religion was dead, and the priestly function cannot exist. Modern Jews do not have priests (because they do not have a Temple), although the biological lineage of the former priests still endures.

  • Destruction of Jerusalem.

    Actually done in real history. Didn't help.

  • Using Roman administration to create Roman temples and spread the ideology.

    Not likely. Palestine if very firmly in the Greek part of the empire. You probably mean Greek temples. (And the Romans just didn't ever even attempt to spread their own religion.)

  • Enslave and neuter the most rebellious.

    Enslaving, yes, it was done. Didn't help. Neutering, not at all likely -- it was very much against the Hellenistic religion, ideology and general world-view. (That's why Apostle Paul had to give up circumcision as a requirement -- the Hellenistic general view was that mutilating the body was barbarian done by barbarians.)

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I don't particularly think such a creature will need to go these lengths for that purpose. If it has godlike powers, all it has to do is show it off within any forming religious groups, scare them off of their own gods, and be on its merry way.

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    $\begingroup$ God is testing/punishing us, we must repent our wicked ways. Your move. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jul 24 at 16:25
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    $\begingroup$ "If your God is so powerful, he should strike me down before I cause this bread to multiply and feed all these hungry people, proving that I care about them more than he does, and I'm actually doing something about it. Hmmm. How odd. Nothing happened. Sandwich?" $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Jul 24 at 18:46
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Religion is a social construct. Have your god give people what they want, and they will follow.

For regular people, give them "miracles" of healing and food. Not free food either, just modern agriculture: varieties of crops that are resistant to weather and pests, plus blessed dust from the priest (actually a fertilizer). Also, accurate weather forecasts (e.g. to save fishermen from storms).

For rulers, give them tools to rule more effectively. Communication with provinces, advance warnings of approaching armies, a protocol to solve disputes through talking rather than war ("reach an agreement, or God will smite you both").

And ofc incorporate the message of Christianity: your god loves you all, will take you to heaven after death, but only if you behave yourself. And it just so happens that behaving oneself means making society sufficiently safe and law-abiding to support economic progress.

Finally, do declare religion as false, and demand its destruction.

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Start it's own competing religion

All it needs to do is gather it's own followers and grant actual powers to them. Look how big all the Abrahamic religions have got with nothing but threats and violence.

Just imagine if a faith healer actually had the ability to heal? The big three religions all fail when an atheists says "Yeah? prove it". The new religion will have the ability to say "Yeah ok. Watch this"

The Abrahamic religions will die faster than flares and platform shoes.

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