Idunn guards the apples that the Aesir need to stay young forever; without them, the Norse gods would age and die.

Last Tuesday’s article got me thinking about the way different people define “god.” Not WHO g/God is (Odin, Jehovah, The Great Spirit, Allah, etc), but WHAT g/God is. If “god” was a species (or a character type in an RPG, complete with stats!*) how would you describe it? It seems like we spend so much time arguing over g/God’s brand name, we never get to discussing the ingredients. I suspect if you ask two people who worship the same god to describe what it is they worship, they’d come up with completely different answers.

So I thought it would be interesting to conduct a survey of The Realm to see what The Court (that would be YOU, our illustrious readers) mean when you say the word “g/God.” Everyone can play! Atheists typically know what it is they DON’T believe in just as well as theists know what they DO believe in. (i.e. I can describe a unicorn even though I don’t believe they exist.) I have provided a list of “guiding questions” to help steer the conversation, but feel free to add to the list as you see fit or drop questions that don’t make sense with your concept of g/God.

Remember! This is not about WHO you believe in (I challenge you to respond without mentioning a name) nor is it about what the dictionary says “god” means nor what you think the general population means by the word. What I’m looking for is WHAT YOU PERSONALLY are referring to when you say I believe (or don’t believe) in “g/God(s).” For the sake of my fingers retyping g/G every time, I’m going to stick with lowercase “g”, but feel free to capitalize or not as you see fit in your answer. In keeping with the idea of “god” as a species, I will use the plural in the questions, just like I would were I referring to honey badgers or whatever. Again, feel free to use plural or singular in your responses.

  1. Were gods here at the beginning of time (whatever that means to you) or were they born/created?
  2. Are they anthropomorphic (i.e. do they have a form they can appear in, human, animal, or other)? Do gods have a gender?
  3. Are gods omniscient (know everything) and/or omnipotent (can do anything)?
  4. Are gods personal (i.e. can you relate to them as you relate to a human)? Do they have personalities?
  5. Do gods have emotions and logic, or are they beyond that sort of humanity? Are they self-aware (i.e. does a god recognize its existence as an individual or collective entity; is it sentient)?
  6. Are gods immanent (within everything), transcendent (within everything and at the same time beyond everything), or their own separate entities? If gods are transcendent or separate, how many are there?
  7. Are gods necessarily good? Evil? Neutral? Do gods ever make mistakes?
  8. Can gods die?
  9. Do gods interact with humanity or do they wait for us to interact with them? Or are they inaccessible to us? Do gods listen to/answer prayers?
  10. Anything else I didn’t cover that’s important to your definition?
  11. For the sake of context, what is your religion? (Pagan, Christian, atheist, etc.)

It should go without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) – this is NOT a forum for trying to convince other people your definition is the “right” one, and it is most definitely not the right forum to belittle somebody else’s ideas or beliefs! Questions for other commenters are cool, but any comments (or questions) that are evangelizing or demeaning will be deleted by moi personally. Let’s keep it fun and educational!

I look forward to reading your answers!

* Yes, I play table-top RPGs; have since I was in college, and plan on continuing to play for the rest of my life. It’s an awesome way to get together with good friends, good food, and write stories! But that’s a different article…

+ Featured Image: Weighting of the Heart from The Book of the Dead of Ani