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A technologically advanced (but rather morally stunted) alien species have come across the Earth during the modern age. For whatever reason, they want humanity to worship them. They have no ulterior motives (atleast none that would affect humans), they just want as many people to acknowledge their (self-proclaimed) greatness.

As they don't have any ethical mandates restricting their conduct towards people, intimidation would at first seem like a surefire method to achieve their goal, simply treaten to kill anybody who doesn't bow down to them, right?

Unfortunately this won't work. They don't simply want people to periodically complete some ritual fearing for their lives, they want true belief. In fact they don't care how humans choose to venerate them so long as they genuinely believe them to be god-like and deserving of reverance and obedience.

Another thing to point out, they can't just rig up some holographic emitters and pretend to be Zeus or Jesus or some other human deity. That might make sense if they had some nefarious purpose that needed the compliance of people and assuming the image of some already established god was just a ploy in order to get what they wanted, but since the only thing they want is for humanity to praise them personally, this wouldn't work.


Being technologically advanced they can do rather incredible feats including:

  • Bio-engineering powerful bio-weapons, artificial pathogens.

  • Using their extensive knowledge of physics to achieve FTL travel, wormholes.

  • Easily building fusion reactors and relatively easily building dyson swarms.

  • Curing essentially any human disease.

  • Hacking any website/online service with low to medium level security.

So the question of course is, how, using their advanced technology should this alien species establish and grow as quickly as possible their new cult/religion? What opposition will they face?

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  • $\begingroup$ It looks like you've already built your world and are asking for help figuring out how a scenario in your world will play out. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Sep 22 '17 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings After rereading my question, I'm still unsure what scenario you're refering to. As of now, I'm simply asking how one political entity would achieve a specific political goal. Care to elaborate what you mean by scenario? $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Sep 22 '17 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ "How one political entity would achieve a specific political goal." Questions asking about how someone achieves a goal are about the story not the world. Your world has already been built and you are asking how someone would need to act in the world to achieve a goal. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Sep 22 '17 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings Perhaps we have different takes on what constitutes world-building (moreover, I believe my question is within the topics allowed within the help center), but suffice it to say I've seen many, many (very) well-recieved questions which ask how one group would achieve a goal. In fact I myself posted some of them. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Sep 22 '17 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ Do they have any way to receive and answer prayers, maybe with an advanced mind-reading machine? If people get what they want to some extent by praying to them (this doesn't need ot happen that often, just often enough that people start believing in it, kind of like the lottery), many will start worshipping them. Most people are really only following some religion because of some promises, from answered prayers for personal favors to some kind of afterlife. This is where I would start. And tell the people they have a machine to upload their consciousness after death! Doesn't need to exist ... $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Sep 22 '17 at 21:04
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You are essentially describing the exact situation imposed by the Ori from Stargate SG-1. They are a race of highly advanced beings that have found a way to draw power from the mental energy of lower beings devoting themselves to them.

They accomplish this in the same way any major faith based entity does:

  1. Establish the 'carrot'; the thing that you can offer your followers that nobody else can. Maybe its heaven, maybe its eternal life, maybe its true happiness, maybe its endless riches, etc.
  2. Establish the 'stick'; the thing that people fear if they don't follow your designed path. Maybe it's hell, maybe its physical death, maybe its ridicule and banishment, etc.
  3. Prove your power through demonstrations to show that you can do what you say.

The Ori, for example, offer to bring their followers up to the same higher plane of existence that they live on so that they can live forever and share in their ultimate power. They are completely intolerant of nonbelievers and will execute them publicly (usually by burning). They prove that they can do these things by using their cosmic power to perform 'miracles' like making people invincible, teleportation, weather control, and lighting people on fire in the street.

Related quote, attributed to Arthur C. Clarke:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

The implication of this quote is that a "God" and a "Hyperadvanced Species" are functionally indistinguishable.

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From a human perspective, believable godhood would require:

1) Miracles. For this we refer to Clarke's third law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Problem solved.

2) Rules (aka, scripture). People expect to have some kind of codex that explains the relationship between they and their god. That's usually something derived from an oracle or prophet. That the gods are here directly would suggest this isn't required... but we live in a world where the idea of an intermediary (whether it be the oracle at Delphi, saints, or Jesus intermediating with the Father). We're not actually in the habit of interacting with god directly, but that's solved with an established bureaucracy and a printing press.

3) Inspiration. Here's your first sticky part. People expect to receive direction, at least from time-to-time. They expect to find their keys when they're lost. They expect to know when a neighbor needs help. They expect to have clarification of scripture. They expect to know when they're making a bad decision. In short, they expect an external conscience. Now we're talking something like telepathy on a one-to-one basis with the people.

4) Prayer. Finally, the second sticky part. Believing people expect to be heard. The answer isn't always "yes," but they nevertheless expect to be heard.

5) Finally, Omnicience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence. This has something to do with #1-#4, but all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful is kinda the all-definition of godhood.

However, the trick is keeping the status quo (see Stargate SG-1). IMHO (and when we're talking about gods the "H" in that acronym is awfully funny), without all four of these things belief will eventually come to an end. Why? Because...

Familiarity breeds contempt

And all it takes is our benevolent overlords making a single mistake... like bleeding, or dying, or failing to hear a petitioner... and their purported godhood will end. Food for thought....

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Some people are given to belief in God and others aren't. this has been shown in a number of ways including twin studies.

Twin studies conducted around the world in the U.S., the Netherlands and Australia as well as ours in the U.K. show a 40 to 50 percent genetic component to belief in God.

Perhaps your aliens could engineer the responsible genes and/or kill off those without the gene. In a generation or so they will have a more accepting population.

The converse should also work for the opposite goal.

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This depends on the definiton of "god" (or "God" with a capital letter).

Humans manage to "worship" quite a few people whom they should know are mortal. Music stars. Sport stars. Soap opera actors. Gurus. If pressed, the worshipper might admit that the object of their adoration is not actually divine. But "god-like" is well within possibility. They're so kind. And smart. And kind. And beautiful. Did I mention kind?

Arguably that extends even to things. Consider Windows vs. Linux debates on the web. And how much are people joking when they talk about the Jesus-Phone?

So what the aliens in your story need to do is this:

  • Live long and healthy lives. Use bio-engineering to create a mask that looks beautiful to humans.
  • Devise a philosophy to go with it. Love thy brother, and love thy master even more. Worship those who are further on the path to enlightenment.
  • Use advanced healing on worshippers. With sufficient biotechnology, is it possible to come up with something that requires "deep meditative" mindstates to make it work? Swallow this and balance your chi, and the cancer will be gone. Swallow this and remain cynical, and it might not work.
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I think that the alien species that you describe has little chances to be whorshipped as God, at least not in modern age. While they can do some amazing things, none of them are out of our grasp at least on a theoretical level. (come on: we don't need an alien to hack into a low security website, just a script kiddie ;-) )

While the quote attributed to Arthur C. Clarke, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." can be valid, I think it is relative: while modern technology can be viewed as magic from someone from 1000 years ago, the same thing does not happen now: if someone from 1000 years in the future show us his technology, we probably will not consider it as magic, but only highly advanced. If you talk about 1 million year in the future, then we can talk about it.

No doubt that a part of the world population will consider them as God, but they will not be able to reach their goal, there will always be someone that will consider them for what they are: advanced aliens, not gods. The only chance is to kill everybody with a decent education, so maybe who remain will whorship them.

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