A god is building a world where war, sieges, violence, destruction and such are routine. However, they also don't want children (everyone aged 0-14, they are fine with a gradual drop off near the end) to be murdered by war.

They intend to go away after and don't want to have to micromanage the policy so they want a fairly simple policy that will prevent children from being involved in wars. Their powers also don't have perfect omniscience of all situations, so a power that accounts for the fog of war is also good.

They also don't want this power to make children into potent weapons of war that every army relies on- for example, if they gave children unbreakable forcefields, people might strap children to battering rams or use them as catapult shells.

An ideal answer will minimize any harm to children from violence and war, won't stop war and murder of adults, won't require perfect knowledge of the battlefield, and won't require angelic servitors to manage some complicated scheme, since any servant can rebel.

  • $\begingroup$ Relevant details, perhaps: what age range counts as "children" for your purposes? Does the protection need to be boolean "on/off" or is it ok for it to gradually decline with age? If so, what ages would be permissible bookends for the decline? $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Oct 17, 2022 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ So you have a character and are asking how this character "should act" seems like this is a question about the decisions a character will make rather than any absolute function of your world. It's also an incredibly broad question, since given that your god is a worldbuilder, and you haven't placed any limitations on their power or capabilities, any answer to the question, "In a world of magic war and death, how could I prevent children from dying due to war?" will be a valid answer. That level of brainstorming is far too broad for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Oct 17, 2022 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Please indicate in what culture where one or more gods were an important part of the daily life of humans, fourteen year old men and women were considered children. It is just jarring to see a reference to divinities which in-universe have real agency and real power (thus roughly corresponding to human cultural development of the antiquity and parts of the middle ages), combined with the ultramodern western infantilization of teenagers. (But no downvote, because at least you didn't draw then line at 18.) (And since the gods are, you know, gods, why don't they just make it so?) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Oct 17, 2022 at 18:22
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You're still asking about the decisions of a character. None of the limits you've stated prevent your god from saying "In this world, no children will die from war" and having that be an immutable fact of the world. Removing the character specific aspect from the question still leaves the question far too broad to be appropriate as I've already mentioned. We're not here to brainstorm for you and there are far too many equally valid answers to this question as written. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Oct 17, 2022 at 18:51
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    $\begingroup$ I've gotta agree with @sphennings on this one. A god can do anything and the limits you've imposed don't restrict the question nearly enough. Nosajimiki's answer is a good example of why the Q is too broad. You're getting answers ranging from silly to a story. Frankly, I'm not a fan of godlike characters. They're too hard to work with. Your god can simply make it true that in His/Her universe the children won't experience war and the adults will act to make that true without thinking anything is wrong. If you can narrow this to a specific process you want help developing I'll retract. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 17, 2022 at 22:05

4 Answers 4


They are too darn cute to kill

We already see this to a degree in humans. The tendency to see children as cute makes us biologically less inclined to violence and more protective towards children.

In most wars throughout history, the killing of children is just not an objective. Orphans of war are almost always left to the survivors of the losing army or they are taken by the victors as slaves. When children are killed in war, it is usually accidental collateral damage.

On the extreme end where soldiers go out of thier way to kill children, it it rarely works out for them. Killing children enrages an enemy far more effectively than it weakens them; so, when it does happen, wars tend to escalate until the offending population is either removed from the gene pool or so utterly weakened as to create a power vacuum for outsiders to come in and take control of them.

If you wish to make your civilization more warlike than humans, you could likewise crank up the cuteness factor where children are concerned to the point that even the most battle hardened veterans cant help but want to coddle and protect any children they may come across.

  • $\begingroup$ That works. It would prevent anyone from trying to weaponize children as well. Basically cranking their natural charisma up to absurd levels. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Oct 17, 2022 at 22:08

Well, if you are a god, you state that the reality is that children do not die in war, and that's it.

If your own creation does not obey your rule, then you can not enforce children safety. The options are still extremely diverse for any god, a few ones could be:

  • Religion forbids such harm. After a few punishments to be forever remembered as examples (you can at least do that as a god hopefully), nobody should really mess with children...
  • Biological neural bombs in adults make them go mad or die when they think of hurting children.
  • Children are raised out of sight of adult. They start their life in paradise and are thrown to hell at 14. Thanks god.
  • Children do not die and are fully pacifists until 14. After that, they are only pacifists with children.
  • There are no children. Adults reproduce by spliting or respawing.

As a side note, this setup makes me wonder about the sanity of a god that creates such terrific setup for adults but protects children (until 14) on the other hand. Let's assume a Blue and Orange morality.

  • $\begingroup$ They're going away, so they can't rely on a religion remaining static, and if children are invulnerable you face the issue that children become the ultimate soldiers in war, which they want to avoid- they don't want children to face the horrors of war. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Oct 17, 2022 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ You could make children invulnerable but not make children pacifists until 14 ? $\endgroup$
    – Uriel
    Oct 17, 2022 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ If you have an answer that fits my criteria, then sure. But yeah, they don't want to hang around for a few centuries smiting people and setting up a culture. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Oct 17, 2022 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Gods have busy schedules. But then you can stop time everywhere else while you do the job. Or duplicate yourself to do it. Or just create the memory of a few centuries in a few seconds. I provided a few other options in the answer, but the possibilities are numerous. $\endgroup$
    – Uriel
    Oct 17, 2022 at 20:28

One day, a voice talks in the head of every human...

Cue in the Pandem novel. There, humanity makes contact with eponymous god-like creature (while it is implied that it evolved alongside humans or is something unknowingly created by them, its origins are unclear). At first, Pandem tries to help humanity as much as it can, preventing natural disasters, cancelling death, providing means of communication and entertainment. But after some time (spoiler!) it realises that it does not do humanity a favour. Humanity is now relying too much on Pandem and is not progressing. Thus, Pandem slowly pulls back to leave humanity to its own devices.

At some point in the novel, Pandem is still canceling accidents involving children, but not anymore accidents with adults. The prevention of accidents happens with slight, very minor changes to reality, e.g., a tire does not slip, while it rather should have. As Pandem is something god-like, it can pull it off. Basically, any accident, a car crash would still happen, if the passengers are all adult, but it just would not happen in exactly the same circumstances, if a child is on board.

Right in the novel, there is an exploitation of this behaviour. Some people willing to drive recklessly, but not willing to die, just take some kid of a spin, for an assurance that no accident will happen. As Pandem (spoiler!) is still pulling back slowly, at some point the exploitation will stop working, as kids would die, too, in car crashes.

Now, to your question. A god-like creature with power to alter reality / play with probabilities / etc. can just pick such variants of reality where kids do not die.

At least in the above case it does not prevent exploitation (even a much milder as you described). Basically, tying a kid to a battering ram can mean direct harm to the kid – and hence god's wrath is on those guys with the ram. People driving recklessly with a kid in their car might be exploiting a loophole, but do not mean to harm the kid (at least not more than themselves if Pandem looses it).

I would recon that "immutability" / canceling disasters can be done on some kind of an "autopilot". But solving ethical dilemmas rather cannot. Also, there would definitely be some rather unsolvable ethical problems.

Basically, I see the applicability of physical immutability (duh) a rather easier problem as compared with the ethics of such immutability. I would guess that your deity would not simultaneously speak in the heads of all people of the planet (just the thing Pandem did!) to say "for the next five years the kids up to 14 years get no harm, but everyone else does as it always have been". Even communicating the general rules might be a problem. Indicating that the deity would be displeased if the rules are circumvented, played around or exploited still falls under communication.

  • $\begingroup$ One of their goals is to be able to leave, and not need to monitor the situation, and their predictions aren't perfect as mentioned in the question. Wouldn't this need them to stay around to solve ethical dilemmas and optimize the world to ensure everything worked out? $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Oct 17, 2022 at 22:13

Ghost Mode

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Rather than having impenetrable force fields, your children have the ability to phase through solid matter. This makes them immune to physical harm. They cannot be hurt. They cannot be trapped.

The children don't want to be soldiers. No one wants to be a soldier. But the children cannot be forced.

They also don't get hungry while in ghost mode.

Ghost mode activates instinctively. So even if you sneak up on a child and clobber them over the head, their nervous system will activate ghost mode the moment it feels the collision.

  • $\begingroup$ That works pretty well to stop them being harmed. Wouldn't this make them ideal soldiers though, since they could then be turned into untrappable, pass through walls spies, and make warfare focus on who weaponized children best? $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Oct 17, 2022 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ @NepeneNep The children don't want to do that. And no one can make them cause ghost mode nananananana. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Oct 17, 2022 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ Why don't the children want to do that? That isn't in your answer. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Oct 17, 2022 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ @NepeneNep Because no one really wants to go to war if they can get away with it. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Oct 17, 2022 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ They're making a very pro war world, so this seems unlikely. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Oct 17, 2022 at 23:20

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