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Bob is an average person in your country. One day, Bob wakes up and is omnipotent. He wants to form a cult that worships him and is the same size as one of the pre-Bob major religions. However Bob has a strong code of ethics. He will not use his powers for mind control.

What steps should Bob take to form a religion around himself while sticking to his principles (no mind control) in the least time?

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    $\begingroup$ Can he use his powers to transform himself into the commonly accepted image of a well-known figure of one of the world religions and thus assimilate it? He should be able to use his powers to easily back up his claim of "I. AM. $ENTITY!" without resorting to mind control. $\endgroup$ – Michael Schumacher Jan 4 '17 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, and whatever he does: he should never, ever ask for a spaceship. $\endgroup$ – Michael Schumacher Jan 4 '17 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ He already did. Shouldn't that prove that he is truly Divine? $\endgroup$ – SJuan76 Jan 4 '17 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ There's no one omnipotent here. *waves hand* $\endgroup$ – Bob Jan 4 '17 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ Who needs to be omnipotent? All you need is to be a fairly good hack SF writer, like L. Ron Hubbard. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jan 4 '17 at 19:09
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A religion needs structure and ritual, it takes a few miracles to make his presence felt, but then he needs priests and missionaries, all of whom should receive good health and extended youth and life as a matter of course.

It's important to keep the channel for blessings only through the religion and through its priests. A bit of liberal smiting will keep the church hierarchy in line as some level of corruption is inevitable. Support the hierarchy though, high priests should be chosen on seniority as living to a grand old age is one of the gifts of Bob, so the older the person the more blessed they are. If the eldest wasn't chosen by Bob, they wouldn't have lived long enough to achieve the position.

Blessing and healing should not be given out for free outside the confines of the religion and its environs. This is important to prevent people demanding their right to a blessing and moaning when it's not given, rather than going through the ritual required to gain forgiveness and achieve purity first.

Healing springs, springs of youth, etc. should only be within the confines of temples placed in awkward locations. Pilgrimage is important, the gift of Bob should not be easy to obtain. Offerings, donations, and prayer are also important. People seeking the gifts of Bob need to jump through hoops, it needs to be an event, a palaver. They need to spend a week in repentance and prayer, bathing in holy waters and fasting, and only then will the grace of Bob be given.

Arbitrary rules should be put into place as a badge of membership of the religion. It's important that people have a badge that's visible to others to say who they are. Consider the various rules that some of the big religions have regarding clothes, headgear and haircuts as examples of this.

Destroying the temples of a few major religions with fire from the skies in the middle of major festival services never goes amiss. Killing their priests but not the people in the event also wouldn't do any harm.

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No need for mind control when you can use reality control. Bob can simply decide that things are this way: he is a god and people worship him.

Omnipotence is a really strong thing.

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    $\begingroup$ If you are doubtful about this explanation, you can simplify it by considering for example that Bob can make appear out of nowhere a bunch of people who really believe in him and make disappear the ones who already exist and don't believe in him. $\endgroup$ – Anne Aunyme Jan 4 '17 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ Not just that - Bob can decide that he was always a god and people always worshiped him. Retroactively into the beginning of the universe. Everyone who is alive today was already born into a world where Bob was god, and has no reason not to worship him. $\endgroup$ – SPavel Jan 4 '17 at 17:17
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"Hello, I'm Bob. I just created second mount Rushmore in one night with all faces resembling mine. I also showed on all your devices (tv, phones, newspaper, burning bushes, wells etc.) to give you this message that I'm Bob and I'm omnipotent as you can see sooooo worship me. And if you say just one word that I'm a guy send be other god I will burn you, and then I will revive you, and burn you again, and revive you, and drown in the middle of the desserts"

He can also transform every Buddha statue, Jesus on a cross, Spaghetti Monster to BTL sandwich. And stop few wars that are fought over religion.

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  • $\begingroup$ "...drown in the middle of the desserts." LOL. Death by hot fudge sundae. Could be worse. (If it helps, when you can't remember whether the word with one S or two matches with the hot sandy place, just think of the Sweet Stuff that leaves you wanting more- more S's, please!) $\endgroup$ – cobaltduck Jan 4 '17 at 20:58
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Bob can just do really positive things on a huge scale he will be a God in no time.

If Bob goes for a walk in a developing nation and every field he passes erupts with healthy crops, the sick are healed and limbs grow back, he is going to get a lot of followers in a hurry. Time to scale up. Create angels who do the same thing in Bob's name.

With literal angels around, its time to start making some wonders. Enormous structures that defy our understanding of physics. Giant endlessly overflowing chalices of healing water.

Things are going to start changing fast, so get figure out how you want to run things and plan properly because people are going to be analyzing everything you say or do for a long time.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I think after that stuff I would get with Bob. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jan 4 '17 at 18:53
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Instantly rewrite the text of every holy book in the world with "Come unto Bob, and Bob shall heal thine ills". Give every individual in the world a small wooden box, from which they can pull food that is at once delicious, exactly suited to their body's needs, and heals them of any sickness, but which is only appetising to themselves. Turn every act of violence back upon the person who committed it. Appear simultaneously in every legislature in the world and dictate a code of ethics that will lead to perfect peace.

Do all the things that existing world religions claim their god can do.

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The easiest path is to have Bob take on the names and persona of all of the established god-figures. Then he publicly "reveals" himself to all of his followers loudly demanding coexistence (or else!!). Then everyone worships him by default. He can also appear as an alien to appease the Scientology types. As a bonus, if he appears as any of them, the atheists would "see the light" and convert to whatever religion they're most comfortable with.

But does an omnipotent being really need the saccharin praise of lesser beings? I imagine that an omnipotent being would automatically be not-vain or make himself/herself not-vain upon recognizing the weakness.

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  • $\begingroup$ remember, bob was human before this. He is thus vain, and does things for the simple reason that "it seemed like a good idea a the time". $\endgroup$ – Mark Gardner Jan 4 '17 at 19:05
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You are essentially asking how would a god establish their own cult. Simple: the god says "Fiat cultus" and lo, behold the new religious fervor growing in the hearts of mortals, behold the temples rising faster than bamboo, behold the sacrifices and the festivities and the tithes. And the god saw this and it was pleasant to their heart. Omnipotence makes anything simple.

In practice omnipotence is not needed: among many historical examples, see the edifying story of L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology.

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Five options, but in the end, there's only one answer.

  1. You don't need mind control if you just create new people who all worship you -- you didn't destroy any existing minds, you just made some new ones in your image. But perhaps that is too close in Bob's opinion to a moral edge? So...
  2. Redefine morality. You're omnipotent. We've never had a clear definition anyway. Change your own moral stance -- it'll answer the question of whether God can abrogate his own commandments. Even better if you can insert some sort of contradiction into yourself... that would answer the question of whether logic exists a priori of God, which would be appreciated by theologians and mathematicians alike. But maybe Bob doesn't morally support chaotic universes where "A not equal A". So...
  3. Threaten people. Kill everyone who doesn't begin worshipping you immediately. You didn't change their minds... well, not mentally. But perhaps Bob considers physically changing their brains to be too close to changing their minds for his morality to accept? So...
  4. Bribe them. Cheap and easy. But maybe that's cheating since you can give everyone exactly what will make them love you, so, in a way, that's just another form of directly altering their minds... you're just pulling a bank shot. So...
  5. DO NOTHING. Since you're omniscient (if you're not, use your omnipotence to fix that), you know what actions you take and what impact those actions will have, so any action you take is equivalent to just directly changing their minds. So the only way to not directly change them is to do absolutely nothing with your powers and hope that a cult forms. That would be the only moral way to do this!
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