In a story I've been developing, God has been a sort of father to the human race. He's created them, helped them to grow, and now that they've gotten smart enough to take care of themselves (this is set in the future), He's decided to leave them to their own devices.

This question is similar to How would society react if the existence of a god was scientifically proven?, but with the added event of God up and leaving us behind. There is no apocalypse, no Rapture, no , just people living the same lives as before.

For the purposes of this question, assume this god is any god; that is, any religion with a god that didn't turn out to be science was actually referring to this god, and any polytheistic pantheon is just a bunch of different aspects of this god's personality. Also assume that this fact is part of the proof event, so that anyone who is religious recognizes this god as their own. Also, the proof is pretty rock-solid, to the point that only people who doubt the validity of their own perception could ever doubt such proof.

As for the afterlife, there is no word as to whether it exists or not, and whether or not it's sticking around. Same goes for angels/demons/ghosts/vampires/other spiritual things. God just pretty much said "I exist, and I'm leaving, good luck, and we apologize for the inconvenience."

What I'm asking is how people would respond. The religious, the non-religious, young and old, et cetera. What are the short term effects, long term effects, and would things eventually return to normal?

EDIT: By 'leaves', I mean he exits the observable universe, forever.

EDIT 2 (to answer Ayelis's questions) - This event occurs in the present or near future. It is essentially two events occurring at pretty near the same time: one, scientists discover a parallel plane of existence and the existence of a being in this plane who appears to have a lot of power over our universe. They are able to measure that this power has been used on and around Earth throughout human history, and it is theorized that it helped us get to where we are today. Then that being makes contact with us, specifically with every human at once, by manipulating brain waves, and says something along the lines of "yes, that is what you think it is. Goodbye". Then the being detected in the parallel plane disappears, along with all its power. These events are all measured and recorded for future reference. No one is impregnated (except in the usual way).

The god's powers are difficult to comprehend, but it appears as though he exists outside of time and space, but with the ability to manipulate both. Essentially limitless power, or at least as limitless as humans can understand. Jury's still out on whether he could make a rock too heavy to lift.


marked as duplicate by Philipp, Vincent, Jim2B, Rob Watts, michaelpri Jul 22 '15 at 18:36

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it would be different form the real world. How will the people believe that he left for real? Heck, in RL we can't even agree whether God exist or not. Your scenario will not be much different IMO. All sort of people will believe different things. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Jul 21 '15 at 14:59
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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "return to normal"? $\endgroup$ – Ayelis Jul 21 '15 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ Did your God just passed on? I like to offer my condolences to his/her/it's family and I hope they can be reunited asap and I really prayed that I can help. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jul 21 '15 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Philipp The question you linked is included in the OP, and I don't feel it's a duplicate. That question deals with the introduction of a scientifically-provable deity, while this question deals with the disappearance of a scientifically-provable deity. These issues aren't the same. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Jul 21 '15 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ Wait, we'd then be responsible for our own fortunes in life and accountable to ourselves for our actions! This sounds terrible! How would we decide morality? Logic?! Ha! $\endgroup$ – Samuel Jul 21 '15 at 16:31


Some will have a crisis of belief in that they were unknowingly wrong for a really long time but now they're absolutely right. Some of the more mean spirited will make fun of the pious who still believe in any kind of God, though that's no different than what it is right now.


"Good riddance." We didn't want you anyway.

Super Pious

After having their beliefs completely confirmed, they'll go about blaming themselves for not being righteous enough or some other imagined offence that would preclude God from living with them or ever coming back. Those with inferiority or attachment issues will go nuts.

Others will attempt all manner of rituals in an attempt to please God-Departed and get him to return and rule over them.

Crisis of faith for many when God-Departed doesn't do the things their beliefs dictate he perform when he shows up. They'll probably get over this.

The violent pious will probably continue to kill each other for whatever reason(s) they do now.

Paranoid Pious

There will be nutjobs who say that he didn't ever really leave, that he's just "invisible" as he was for all of human history up to the point where he pops out from behind the curtain. They will continue to believe as they always did.


They will have a field day with the new data! Many books will be written on the subject of does God really exist if there is no God in this universe anymore?


They will go looking for a way to get themselves or a robot probe into that parallel realm. The discovery of a parallel dimension/universe capable of supporting intelligent life would be the biggest scientific breakthrough, ever.

They will go nuts with joy at their discovery.


Some people just won't believe something, even if their eyes, ears and nose tell them it happened. Even if the entire world also saw the same thing, they still won't believe it. These people will continue as they did.

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    $\begingroup$ You're forgetting those that deny that it was god, but rather that it was a trick of some alien species. There would be plenty that would simply treat it as a paranormal and unexplainable event. The evidence could be enormous and undeniable, and yet there would be those that deny it just the same. $\endgroup$ – Neil Jul 21 '15 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ Although I am not an atheist, I don't think (correct me if am wrong) that an atheist would be "good riddens." That would be more of a misotheist. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jul 21 '15 at 17:48
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    $\begingroup$ @PyRulez, good point. Corrected. :) $\endgroup$ – Green Jul 21 '15 at 18:00
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    $\begingroup$ I think most people would stop playing the lottery. No more crossing your fingers, hoping you are lucky or outright praying to win, it is now down to math, and the odds are insurmountably against you. $\endgroup$ – IchabodE Jul 21 '15 at 18:25
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    $\begingroup$ I think people would stop praying to win as they buy their lottery tickets. A belief in luck wouldn't go away, but a belief in luck backed by a supernatural power, might go away. Maybe. $\endgroup$ – Green Jul 21 '15 at 18:35

For somewhat Meta answer, Skeptics.SE would get a question next day asking if God really existed. It would get on Hot Questions list, gather 4242 upvotes, be closed as "Current and developing events are off topic"; later re-opened; and have every single upvoted answer deleted because there are no papers confirming the proof of what happened and no way to do a randomized double blind study.

  • $\begingroup$ Is this really an answer? $\endgroup$ – bilbo_pingouin Jul 21 '15 at 20:21
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    $\begingroup$ It's definitely a reaction. I see a short term effect (question closed) and a long term effect (question reopened). Stack is enough for me. +1. $\endgroup$ – Ayelis Jul 21 '15 at 20:56

If this happened on our planet, there are several scenarios.

God doesn't tell anyone which religion was correct
The arguing continues.

God declares that Relgion A was right all along
Relgions B and C would go mental. Some would convert, some would deny, some would have breakdowns. There would be a lot of arguing.

God declares that no religion was correct and encourages Science
Everyone would convert to exisentialists. There would be less wars between countries and more civil wars, class wars. There would also probably be a boom in scientific research.

God lays out a new religion before he goes
World peace? At least for a bit? You'd hope he'd go for this one, unless we're some sort of sadistic experiment and he's just checking up on us before returning to the lab.


While there would be lots of "reaction", ultimately I think there'd be very little change. There'd be very few atheists or agnostics (sane ones, at least) afterwards, but they'd just become "God-indifferent", and continue to act in pretty much the same way. Those who were already religious would, by-and-large, continue to be, probably interpreting the "see ya" part of God's revelation as a loyalty test of some kind.

(I guess God would really say "farewell" instead of "see ya", since he won't be seeing them. I was going to have him say "goodbye forever", but since "goodbye" literally means "God be with ye", that doesn't work either.)

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    $\begingroup$ Correction: There'd be very few atheists or agnostics immediately afterwards. A few generations later, however, there will still be people who question the authenticity of any documents that claim a mystical beardy sky wizard created everything. $\endgroup$ – Ayelis Jul 21 '15 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ I was going to mention that, but since the question states that the proof is so irrefutable, I figured that might mean it was still effective in future generations. Like, a math theorem or something. $\endgroup$ – Doug Warren Jul 21 '15 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ @DougWarren We already have a math theorem, but it hasn't worked yet. What makes you think another will? $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jul 21 '15 at 17:51

If a higher (not necessarily supreme) being involved itself in the development of the species and culture, there would not be a myriad of polytheistic religions: they would know about the zookeeper/mentor/gardener and all the societies would know him and accurately reflect the involvment of this dieity.

The creator/mentor would be like a parent, not walking out one day but preparing them to live on their own. "That'n nice... now see if you can double your crop yeild on your own. Here's a puzzle to solve. Ok, you're on your own without a sitter for the next 50 years, be good, I'll see you later." The population would know that they are being prepared to be self-sufficient and gradually getting less oversight and more autonomy and responsibilities.

In any case, the people would have ongoing feedback and clear communication. That is completely unlike the case of "faith" and superstition and human power structures under the guise of devine right.


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