I am answering random questions today about world building, over on Reddit and decided to take my answers from there and expand upon them even further over here. So that's what this page is. Me rambling on about various aspects of world building techniques I use when writing the Quaraun series. The questions I am answering are embedded here. Clicking the link in the embedded question will take you to the original Reddit page where you can see the original answer along with other people's answers. If you wish to comment, you can do so on the Reddit page where a place to do so is provided.
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Way back, decades ago, when I was a teenager (about 12 or 14ish), and writing one of the very early novels for the series I still write today, I had reached a point in my story, where one character (a half-Demon) gave another character (a Human) a Book of Mormon. I thought nothing of this scene as I wrote it (my family were Mormons, so in my mind at the time, I simply wrote my characters as though they were Mormons.) (That it was the 1400s and the Book of Mormon would no exist until 1840s was a inconsistency I did not notice at the time I was writing it.)
Well, that particular scene, I set aside. I don't know why. Probably to go eat dinner or something. Anyways, one of my cousins (about 12 as well) saw it laying there and read it and came to me and gave me hell up one side and down the other, because according to her the none Humans were all going to Hell regardless, because Jesus died only for Humans.
This really bothered me a lot, because, in my child of a mind, if God was God, then he was God for EVERY ONE every where in the galaxy, after all, the Book of Abraham, said God is an alien living on Planet Kolob and is going to ride to Earth on a comet in the last days, right? (Mormon doctrine if you are not a Mormon and don't know what I'm talking about.)
So... I told my mother this... the whole, God on Kolob, why is God only for Humans, etc. She never having read the Mormon scriptures had never heard of Kolob before and gave me hell for being "a stupid retard" for thinking there was life outside of Earth.
Well, then I go ask the bishop at church the following week, and he is clueless because he had read the references to God on Planet Kolob but had never given any thought to the possibility of life on other planet...
And then I say to him...
"If Jesus died for EVERY ONE's sins, then he died for the sins of aliens and demons too, right?"
The poor Bishop... LOL!
The Bishop said: "Each planet has it's own saviour. Jesus is for us Humans. God sent someone else for the aliens."
This did not feel like the right answer to me. It felt like the Bishop was making it up just to get me to stop asking questions.
As a result of that, I had to do some serious rethinking of how I wrote my books. I spent 6 or 7 months obsessing over this issue. I couldn't write my books anymore because I became obsessed with figuring out, what exactly IS God? If God was God, then he created everything, and that included any non-humans that might exist elsewhere, and I'm now supposed to believe that after creating the massive universe, he would just abandon all life elsewhere and focus only on Earth?
The result of this was a dramatic change in the series after that point, specifically in the religious views of the characters.
Prior to that point all character were Mormons and God and Jesus was the only God option.
Now however, my eyes had been opened to the fact that the concept of every race having it's own god (Jesus for Humans... well, who do the aliens have? Who do the Demons have? Who do the Elves have? Etc.) This who thing just completely threw a monkey wrench into my world and I couldn't write about it any more until I had found a solution.
The solution was to take my main character who was a super fanatical wizard-priest, have him be raised by Demons, have him be raised in a religion that is so alien to Jesus that when he's presented with it, he's horrified by it.
Then I found Cthulhu. I was like:
Squids and JellyFish are the REAL gods! Boom, I was off writing again, completely reworking my world and it's religious make up.
Now, today, as a result of that, the religions evolved into every tribe having their own religion, the world having thousands of religions, with only a few ever mentioned in detail, and the view of gods, now comes, now comes from the point of view of this:
The main character is a wizard-priest, an Elf who was raised by Demons, and has now lost his faith. He lost his faith, when he rose to power and was hailed as "the world's most powerful wizard" (a title he hates and does not himself use). Three separate religions were made in his honour, 1 that worships him as a god on cult like levels, one that sees him as an evil beast which rivales one of the gods, and one, which started out worshiping him but has since broken into 8 sects that each now worship one of 8 flavours of slushie and can't remember who the god was they were supposed to be worshiping.
Because he knows he is not a god, but sees how the "simple minded majority" (as he puts it) is too stupid to know he's not a god, he now questions the existence of EVERY god, believing that all gods are nothing but stupid men worshiping things they can not understand.
Well, because he is the primary point of view character, and he no longer believes the gods are real, then entire series now treats it as though the gods are not real.
In the end, the series is treated as though there are no gods at all PERIOD and all people who believe in any type of god, are simply believers in a lie that was created by fanatics who took an ordinary man who did things that science could not explain and worshiped him as a god.
In other words, real gods of Earth (Jesus, Hercules, Zeus, etc) are all treated as though they were real live men who really did exist, but where just men, who were mistaken as gods, and then after they died, rumors took over making them more fabulous than they really were. They end up being wizards or priests or magic users who did things that seemed "god like" but they were just ordinary men. They became "gods" after they died and scam artists realized they could make money off people by glamorizing the stories about them to make them be remembered as gods even though they were not. (As my world takes place on Earth, it has all the same Gods Earth has, but it treats all of them as though they were just very powerful wizards.)
I never in any story say that there is no gods at all, but, every story that features a god, it ends up the god was just a man whom people told stories about and the stories got out of hand after the guy died, because of charleton priests looking to leech off the poor.
I guess that means there are not actual gods in my world building.