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I am an entrepreneurial religious leader on the path to god hood, and have been said to be able to heal individuals of illnesses incurable by science. It has even been claimed that I brought a dying man back from the brink of death, restoring him to full health in a matter of hours. Due to these acts, I have managed to assemble a significant following. I have discovered that the secret to becoming a deity is the belief of the amount of your worshipers, if one is able to harness the energy of that worship onto themselves. I have decided to use this phenomenon to begin a worldwide religion that will eventually result in my ascension to godhood.

The problem is that I am competing against other mainstream religions who have a large claim to earth's population, the three biggest being judaism, christianity, and islam. These monotheistic faiths worship the same god with similar principles. They have the same roots, with judaism being 1.0, christianity being 2.0, and Islam, being the latest, 3.0. They have the benefit of being around for many centuries and have a large headstart.

Religious leaders today who fancy themselves divinely inspired, such as a new prophet or second coming of christ, are largely seen as cult leaders to most of the world. At best, delusional egomaniacs with delusions of grandeur, or at worst, opportunistic con men who swindle people out of money and common sense. Jim Jones, David Kuresh, etc, all gathered a significant following but ended badly and today are remembered as lunatics. Even the most successful "new" religion, scientology, is regarded by most as nonsense founded on the insane rantings of another con man.

Trying to start a faith today, in a world where technology is so advanced and most people are at best, saturday morning believer, and at worst, skeptics, is very difficult. In order to compete with larger faiths, I need to insert myself into a specific point in the timestream, where I can begin spreading my faith to ensure that it grows wide enough to compete with the others and become accepted as legitimate in the modern world. I can bring nothing back with me, save for myself. However, I cannot simply go back to before the others were started. The farther I go back, the less control I have about where and when I land in the timestream. I need to pinpoint a time period closest to the modern world as possible, but far enough that it has time to develop and spread world wide.

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    $\begingroup$ Have you had a look at the origins and history of scientology? It was created ex nihilo by L. Ron Hubbard in 1954. Other religions which began in recent times include raëlism (1973), various neo-paganisms (1960s to present), and neo-buddhism. Jehova's Witnesses date from 1881. Mormonism began in 1830. Bahaism dates from around 1850... $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 25 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ What is your quota? X people? Y percent of the population? Either? Both? What happens to non-people that meet the quota? Is [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maru_(cat)](Maru) well on his way to godhood (or already there? What if I get enough people to openly worship Hylia from the Legend of Zelda games? $\endgroup$ – Xavon_Wrentaile Aug 25 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ What is the nature of divinity? Immortality? Powers? How openly can you use you powers? And if you can openly use them, why don't we see more? And once you ascend, are you divine forever? $\endgroup$ – Xavon_Wrentaile Aug 25 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ Can you be more precise about the error ratio of your time travel, specifically, when does it start? And what can you bring with you? Nothing? Your clothing and a small backpack? 100 of your followers with AK47s and laptops with solar panels and projectors? The above plus a couple of tanks and an F16? $\endgroup$ – Xavon_Wrentaile Aug 25 at 18:28
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It's not possible.

The premise of this question is flawed. If your rule of 'belief creates existence' holds, history would be drastically different to the point where you are attempting to create a religion against other cults who don't want you to exist, and their method of causing you not to exist involves lightning bolts from the skies. History as we know it wouldn't fundamentally exist. And even if it did, you'd have no luck.

Say you jump back to Middle Ages. At this point, there is an ongoing faith war between Christians and Muslims, to the point were a) according to your rules, manifestations of their beliefs would annihilate each other to the point where it'd look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland and b) both religions have this tendency to execute pagans and heretics, i.e. you. To put this in perspective, Protestants wouldn't exist, as Martin Luther would have been obliterated when he first tried nailing a pamphlet to a door. Say you try to take over China. They believe the Emperor is a divine figure, and it's a nation millions strong. Going back further only leads to more problems as the polytheistic beliefs would create multiple entities among the same belief group trying to kill each other.

Let's say you try to pull a Cortes. Hernan Cortes was mistaken for Quetzalcoatl when he first arrived on Aztec soil (which he disproved almost immediately by conquering them). Sounds like it would work, except the problem would be that Quetzalcoatl would exist in some form by your rules and probably murder you, unless you somehow managed to convince everyone that you were the real one and he wasn't, which seems a dicey proposition at best.

Essentially, you are trying to start a monarchy within another monarchy, and said monarch has no patience for you and will try to kill you. With superpowers. And the only solution I can think of is jump back far enough where you can take on a primitive tribe's beliefs with modern technology, take them over, and start spreading, but you clearly said that it doesn't work the farther you go back, so I don't see how this could work.

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    $\begingroup$ If your time machine is spacious enough, you could hire a bunch of minions now and go back in time far enough that they're a major community with more metaphysical "weight". 10,000 believers is a drop in the bucket now, but is a decent-sized city throughout most of history. $\endgroup$ – Cadence Aug 25 at 17:00
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I don't think the problem with your god-hood is what you think it is. The trap David Kuresh and many other cult leaders fall into is wanting the spoils of their God-Hood in their lifetime.

Think about it; Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son at God's request. Jesus was willing to be nailed to a cross to atone for our sins. Even in Islam, the concept of Martyrs is very strong, even today; these are all people who sacrifice everything for their God, and as such gain his favour.

Another way of putting this is that someone seeking to be a god or speak for a god has to be selfless in order to attain that state. They have to be prepared to give all they are for their followers. Why? Because we're selfish, that's why. Even in religion, we're selfish. We worship our God or Gods because we want something from them; their favour, a better afterlife, help with that niggling problem in our lives, like Cancer.

Bottom line is that if a God comes to us and says 'I need something from you so I can live a great life here among you' and you're not offering something in return for them, then we're going to consider you a cultist, pure and simple.

You don't have to go back in time to get the critical mass of worship you need, and your energy is better spent collating a war-chest of favours you can give out to your worshippers now. If they see that they're getting something out of it, and most importantly, you're not, then they're far more likely to see you as a God. If they get something and you do, then you're an entrepreneur. If you're the only one to get something out of it, then you're a con-artist. Or Cult Leader. Whichever.

Of more concern is that you are trying for apotheosis in the first place. Being a God is a tough gig; you have a massive and constant PR overhead, you're lucky to get bathroom breaks let alone holidays, the pay is terrible and you've got all the problems of staff management with none of the perks. You can keep that job; I'm hanging out for something that lets me telecommute more so I don't have to be around as many people all the time which when I think about it is yet another reason not to go for God-hood in my case. But, good luck with it if it's your thing.

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If you are capable of doing miracles and is willing to die for the divine truths you can create your new religion in any time period. If I remember correctly, one of the french revolutionaries said about the Cult of Reason that some of the revolutionares were trying to create something like that: Sure, you can create it, you just have to die and come back three days after that.

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What you're saying is absurd. You say Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have the same root and believe in the same god, while Judaism worships the one and only God like Christianity they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God which is the basis of Christian belief. Islam is in a whole different ballpark, there are mentions of Jesus in the Koran but they believe in a completely different god. Now that I have corrected that error let me explain why you can not achieve godhood. It is simple godhood is not something that can be achieved it is more of a video game reference when a twelve year old is on an amazing kill streak. Religion is based upon the belief of a god that has always been not someone who became so immortal they achieved godhood. If you do have supernatural healing powers (which I highly doubt you do) then they were given to you by God and you are a great disappointment for not serving he who gave it to you.

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    $\begingroup$ The three faiths do have the same roots and fo worship the same god. That's why they are called abrahamic religions. Also: islam.stackexchange.com/a/1933 $\endgroup$ – Renan Aug 26 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ I'm curious as to the basis for your statement that "godhood is not something that can be achieved", history transformed by time and belief seems to offer a different load of textual opinion. Notwithstanding, your answer doesn't address the concerns of the question, but doesn't really offer a convincing frame-challenge either. It would have better been posted as a comment. (From review) $\endgroup$ – We are Monica. Aug 27 at 1:55

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