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I am a Malevolent and deceitful god. My cruelty and treachery is well known throughout the world. These true stories about me are spread by my nemesis, the god of love, kindness and truth. Worship of my nemesis is the main religion around. I desire to make a religion to rivel my nemesis but I have one problem: as a God, I cannot lie. I can deceive, but to tell an outright falsehood is impossible for me. So when followers ask me details about myself, who I am, and my intentions, I have to tell them the truth. How can I convince people to follow a god who delights in their suffering and who cannot be trusted?

Edit: When I say I can not lie I mean that I must answer the truth to any question asked, but that I can deliberately choose to phrase my answer in such a way as to give people the wrong impression. And I can leave out information not asked about, in order to also give the wrong impression. For example "I said I would not kill you but that doesn't mean I wont torture you."

Edit: I need more followers because 1. More followers means more power. 2. I want to stick it to my nemesis. 3. My pride will not accept that there is anything that my nemesis can do that I can't do better.

I want to make it clear I am evil I'm not misunderstand or anything like that.

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marked as duplicate by SRM, Pavel Janicek, Aify, Frostfyre, Separatrix Feb 7 '17 at 13:46

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    $\begingroup$ «As God I can not Lie» so preach standing up! $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Feb 7 '17 at 5:48
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    $\begingroup$ Why does your god want followers? Why not just kill your enemy's followers, terrorize them? Do what you do best! $\endgroup$ – PatJ Feb 7 '17 at 5:55
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    $\begingroup$ @BryanMcClure Just as one example, you now the story of Job? Satan said to God: "Mate, this Job guy doesn't believe in you, he only pretends to gain your protection." God replied "Nah, he's a real bro." Satan asked "You wanna bet?" and God's answer was "K, take everything he has, including family and health. You will see." So Satan did. I don't know by what definition it counts as benevolence to murder family of a guy, just to get at him. Sounds more appropriate for a God-father. Basically, lives of his wife, children, brother and countless servants are utterly worthless, mere tools. $\endgroup$ – M i ech Feb 7 '17 at 6:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Bryan McClure: Humans in general just aren't that foresightful. Prophet #1 will do the job for the immediate benefits, not really considering that you'll betray him sometime down the road. Meanwhile, as a malevolent god you conspire with wannabe prophet #2 to poison #1 and take over. (Again, historical example.) $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Feb 7 '17 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Bryan McClure: This is Propaganda 101. Any particular group describes their god as "just" when he kills off the other folks they don't like. So once the people have been indoctrinated with the idea that their god is a just god, they'll accept just about any atrocity from him. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Feb 8 '17 at 18:49
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(For convenience, I'm going to refer to your religion as the "Church of Evil" and your nemesis' religion as the "Church of Good").

First off, you're a god of evil, right? So why beat around the bush? Tell people they can join the Church of Evil, or die. They agree? You have one more follower. They refuse? Your nemesis has one less follower. You win either way.

I don't know whether the Church of Good defines any groups of people as "sinful" (people with certain jobs, or certain lifestyles), but if it does, those groups will likely be marginalized or even persecuted, since the Church of Good is the majority religion. You can therefore recruit those people without the need for threats. Just tell them that while the so-called "god of love" might not accept them, you will. You might not get all of them, but you'll get a fair number.

Once they've joined your Church, keeping them there isn't really much different than any other religion: tell them that renouncing their faith is heresy, punishable by death. Carrying out those executions in front of your followers will hammer the message home quite nicely. You could even just light some random guy on fire and say "This is what will happen to those who commit heresy" (you never said the guy actually did). Those who don't want to leave have nothing to worry about; those who do will be kept in line quite nicely. Fear is a good motivator.

So you'll likely end up with four types of followers:

  • Those who are genuinely evil, and follow you because of that
  • Those marginalized by the Church of Good, who are following you out of a desire to belong, and to feel wanted
  • Those initially threatened or blackmailed into following you, but who became "indoctrinated" and now genuinely worship you (think Nazi Germany, or Stockholm Syndrome)
  • Those threatened or blackmailed into following you, and who are only doing so because they fear you

The only remaining question is what you want your followers to actually do, to which the answer is probably "anything you tell them, because if they don't that's heresy and you'll light them on fire".

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The simplest answer is perhaps that this evil God gains followers because some people are evil. They are representative for, or creator of, such individuals. Take the dark triad of psychology. Narcissism, Machiavellianism, Psychopathy; whose behaviours are often at odds with kindness and truth.

These individuals will be drawn to this God, who legitimises their beliefs and behaviours. Encouraging the worst out of them because doing the wrong thing is often empowering... it is often thought that power corrupts, but more recent research suggests that wealth breeds an array of negative personality traits. Presumably people with negative traits also tend to gravitate towards power anyway, which makes them worse. This relationship between wealth and nastiness was termed the "asshole effect", and the wealthier the individual is, the more likely they are to cheat, manipulate, and disregard others. Though the evil God may have a small congregation, they're likely to be a very influential and survivable church. Especially if there are specific rules which forbid members from harming each other, forcing them to vent elsewhere. Psychopaths for one are disproportionately represented amongst CEOs, lawyers, surgeons, police officers, the media (and ironically, clergy).

So perhaps there would be two tier membership, so to speak. Those who are from the dark triad, and those sycophants who follow them for gain, safety, or thrill; banality of evil or lawful evil types. That would grant the church the ability to have a leadership core able to influence a much greater number. Seems like your evil God is basically a super cult?

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You have various options:

  • You cannot tell falsehood, but you are not compelled to provide an answer. Or just a vague answer could still do. "Lord, were are thou bringing us?" "Wait and see!" could perfectly work, at the end you are a god, not a waiter at the local pub.
  • you may grant privileges to the more faithful followers. "Obey my words, for I the lord have said: those who follow my path will not endure my wrath".
  • you can target the non believers.
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Think of Faust - making a deal with the devil because he promises rewards here and now, rather than in the afterlife.

Humans (varying from person to person to a greater or lesser extent) suffer from hyperbolic discounting, which makes them value things in the present disproportionately more than things in the future. Promises of sufficiently good rewards in the near future should entice a sufficient number of followers.

Also, your god could get followers by exploiting the problem of evil - if the god of love, kindness and truth is really so great, why is there evil and suffering? This question naturally leads to disillusionment in many people, and could be exploited. Even if there is a good answer to this question, without lying your god could ask it and avoid revealing the answer, misleading people into disillusionment with the 'good' god and following him.

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This religion would give true believers (and those who only pretend to believe) an excuse why they can be evil themselves. No more fasting and giving alms and meekness.

Has your story an afterlife with heaven and hell? If so, can any god provide tickets or is it just one?

In the temporal world, the god would tell his followers that many other humans are evil and deceitful at heart. If your setting is like the real world, perhaps he can even say most others. And he could point out that sociopathic personalities rise to the top. So accepting this truth is only good adjustment in an evil world. "If you can't beat them, join them. Here is the how-to manual."

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First, elaborate on how you can be deceitful but not tell a lie. Do the people know this?

As for why follow you, what do you have to offer? There’s no downside to not, as that is the status quo. Do you have powers? Do you reward followers? What’s your offer?

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