- "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."
- "Richard Dawkins"
God (also sometimes referred to as Yahweh) is the central object of worship in most monotheistic belief systems, including the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But in the controversial philosophy known as Maltheism (also known as Misotheism), God is depicted as either a completely unsympathetic monster and an evil entity akin to Satan or a being that whilst not entirely malevolent is also capable of great evil as well as good, thus going against the usual belief of God as being an all-loving, pure-hearted deity. This version of God has the character of a malevolent, misanthropic, murderous, homophobic, misogynistic, racist, abusive bully.
The concept is as old as time itself and is regarded by many followers of mainstream religions as being ignorant at best and heresy at worst, but also has supporters in various sects such as some Agnostics, Satanists and so forth. The belief of God as a malicious entity is also known commonly as "God as the Devil" and appears often in fiction. The Maltheistic view of God is most commonly related to Yahweh God, also known as Jehovah or the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who is one of the main characters in the Bible.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed below do not represent this wiki's stance on religion, we aim to be as neutral as possible in discussing such matters and on this page both arguments for and against this way of thinking will be presented. If you are offended by the subject matter below do not take it as a personal attack on your faith or culture. Also please refrain from adding false information or exploitative material designed to cause unnecessary offense to either side of this debate.
Old TestamentMuch of the arguments found in Maltheism stem from accounts in the Old Testament of God releasing great suffering upon humans, sometimes in ways that seem in conflict with what modern society would associate with a kind, forgiving, and benevolent spirit.
The Plagues of Egypt, the Biblical Flood and various other accounts of Divine Wrath (not to mention God also ordering the committing of genocide on several occasions) are often cited as proof that God (at least in the Old Testament) was capable of great destruction and even, some argue, malice - however, many supporters of monotheism argue that such actions were not indiscriminate acts, always had a warning and were ultimately designed to enforce God's law upon the mortal world and ensure that evil deeds and individuals would not go unpunished. However, many of the punishments were directed towards both innocent and guilty citizens as opposed to only the guilty involved, so that counterpoint could be easily seen as flawed. Not to mention that from a modern standpoint, many of these "wicked" individuals did nothing wrong.
It is also worth noting that, in the Old Testament, Yahweh does not depict himself as entirely good, admitting to having flaws and also being the creator of catastrophes. Therefore he could be seen as being somewhere in-between Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil.
Some criticize the fundamentalist God as portrayed in the New Testament as being too exclusive and prejudiced, as opposed to the all-loving and benevolent image that the Christian God supposedly exudes. For instance, (if one sees it from a certain viewpoint) it will literately say that only Christians can go to heaven and one must know the name Jesus and accept him as their one and only savior.
This phenomenon would disqualify the mentally handicapped, babies, animals, the Muslim countries, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, Tribal Animists, Jews, Shintoists, and others who are not affiliated with Christianity. A more recent notion is that people who do not speak English may also be disqualified, but this idea is from a claim put forth by people who are politically far-right Americans, the "British" or English, and Canadian fundamentalists, rendering that point biased in regards to actual standards.
The God of the Bible reappears in the Qu'ran, this time under the name Allah, which is Arabic for God. In the Quran, Allah is said to have destroyed multiple tribes that disobeyed his prophets including the Ad tribe and Iram of the Pillars using "furious wind". Allah is also often regarded as Yahweh from the Old Testament, meaning that the actions of the Old Testament God pertains to Allah as well.
This version of God is often criticized for supporting murder of "infidels" (albeit in a historical context) and other forms of cruelty, as well as his supposed support of Jihad, a policy often used by Muslim fundamentalists to justify terrorism, though supporters of Islam would counter this by arguing that Islamic terrorists are misguided fanatics.
In addition, it is worth noting that though the Old and New Testaments and the Quran all do indeed show God acting in very cruel and unusual manners, the evidence is not completely irrefutable. For those who are of a non-Fundamentalist faith and/or view the Abrahamic religions through a non-Fundamentalist lens much of this "evidence" loses validity, instead being written off as things imagined by people of a more ignorant time. Non-Fundamentalist followers of Abrahamic religions would simply say that God never did any of these things because they do not take their holy scriptures literally. Conversely, those who view the Abrahamic God as an entirely fictional entity insist that all of his "appearances" show him repeatedly acting in a malevolent manner and therefore he is indeed a malevolent entity, or at the very least, a morally ambiguous one.
The Problem of Evil
- "I wouldn't run behind him and mollycuddle him if that's what you mean"
- "Lieutenant Chartrand"
- "And if he fell and skinned his knee?"
- "Carmelengo Ventresca"
- "Then he'd learn to be more careful"
- "Lieutenant Chartrand"
- "So although you have the power to prevent your child's suffering, you choose to let it happen?"
- "Camerlengo Ventresca"
- "Of course. Pain is part of growing up"
- "Lieutenant Chartrand"
In turn those who support monotheism tend to belief that "evil" is designed as a test of faith and can be overcome with sufficient strength of will - in this way God is seen as the only salvation from the supernatural force commonly known as "Satan" (who can vary, depending on philosophy, from God's direct opposite (in power and morality) to an agent of God whose task is to "test" humanity via trickery, deceit and sin). The counterargument is that God is omniscient, therefore he knows the outcome of the test without committing it.
Yet another common counterargument to the "Problem of Evil" is that God's purpose is not to make the world a perfect place without conflict, and that the only way for mankind to grow is if we are given full control of our own actions and their consequences, good and evil. Essentially the idea being that God is an advocate of "tough love" rather than a cosmic moderator. (Though one wonders if that is the case, why would there be supposed interventions from said god through "miracles", be it ones that help people (like supernatural healing) or hurt them due to being "sinful" (what some fundamentalists attribute plagues and natural disasters to). )
The Existence of HellSome more liberal Christians (and a great many critics of monotheistic beliefs that include a version of Hell) claim that the medieval concept of Hell and the Biblical Lake of Fire is fundamentally wrong and does not fit well with a deity that is said to be capable of loving all and forgiving all sin as well as being incapable of cruelty. This becomes even more dubious when things that most would hardly consider crimes (such as a lack of faith in the religion the version of Hell comes from) are considered by preachers of Hell to be grounds for being sent there for eternity.
However there are those in support of monotheism that point out that Hell, if it does indeed exist, was intended solely for Satan, Lucifer, and other fallen angels as a sort of prison and that it was never meant to be a place of torment for humanity, who God holds dear as His creations.
Nevertheless the idea of Hell's existence has caused controversies - to the point that some more modern and liberal Christian sects do not believe Hell to be a real place at all but rather believe that all humans (no matter how wicked in life) will be saved by God: this is known as Universalism and stands in opposition to the Fundamentalist belief often known as "Hellfire and Brimstone" by critics due to its focus on an angry, wrathful God and different means by which humans can be sent to Hell.
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The Demiurge, found in the system of beliefs known as Gnosticism, is a theory related to the idea of an evil or neglectful God but differs from outright Maltheism in the belief that the God of this world is actually an imposter (or lesser deity) and that a more benevolent Deity exists on a higher plane, giving a more Dualist theme to the theology as the Demiurge represents the "evil" side of reality and the unseen Creator the "good" side of reality.
God in People's MindsPeople in general (especially far-right fundamentals) seem to be the ones that bring fuel to Maltheism. In which, they will look at people who have never done anything wrong but have been raised in other religions as automatic heathens. Certain books in the Old Testament, especially Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, are used to show the Hebrew laws. While most believe that these were simply laws that the people of the land created, some fundamentalists attempt to show it as a justified action done by God.
Others also criticize the belief that "all leaders are chosen by God" by arguing that God is responsible for millions of deaths by allowing these rulers to obtain power. What most deists and Christians, however, believe is that God tries to influence what you think but that Satan also tries to control your mind. Others think that anything that happens that is bad (such as tornadoes and plagues) are God's choosing. While most people believe that God tries to back off to prevent disasters, some believe that God simply looks on without action.
The "God's chosen people" conspiracy is also something that seems to build paths for maltheism. Some say that he has a certain group of people that he uses to cast out all "Infidels". Some also have a theory (and the worst maltheism act by far) is that he ultimately will damn millions of descendants of a certain civilization from the instant they are born. However, (thankfully) most consider God to try to turn everybody to his way of thinking and some consider that he tries to work with everybody during their lives and works even harder with ones that have "less chance". Also, most gladly believe in Jesus's teachings and that your actions determine who you are more than what culture you are from. However, if he was to do a such thing like damning descendants or making it easier for a certain group would be totally against the idea of the All-Mighty Prince of Peace.
Another complaint is that some say that God already destroyed Satan. Most, though, say that he defeats him in the book of Revelation.
Another source is God's actions in the Holy Scripture which are sometimes believed to be acts of malice. Most believers, however, reject this belief in favor of the one that God uses the tools people of certain times can understand, such as his sword during ages of ignorance and love after Jesus' birth.
One of the most obvious sources is The Roman Catholic Church and its satellites and departments, such as the Inquisition. Their actions, which are considered amoral, were said to be done in the name of God, which included burning people and torturing them. This inevitably led some people to believe the God of the Church to be a malevolent deity. Counterarguments of this would be that those who do terrible things in God's name are not in fact in his good graces but rather are "misguided". Of course what then is truly acting in God's name and will and what is not is a point of fierce debate.
The fact that Europeans enslaved and caused genocide to Native American and African tribes while converting them to Christianity in a malicious way also leads people to believe in Maltheism. Some people believing that gypsies and any non-Christian religion (including Jews and Muslims after biblical times) are "wrong in the eyes of God" and that "God condemns those people" also leads to other people into believing in Maltheism.
God Being Even Worse Than Satan
Some have put forth the idea that God is in fact even worse than Satan. An even more controversial and new view in this field is the belief that the real reason that Satan rebelled was that he was trying to protect humanity from the wrath of God. This argument loses much of it's weight when it is remembered that in official holy scriptures Satan is never shown to be anything but malevolent and is generally said to be incapable of kindness and altruism. Furthermore, in the Old Testament he and God were depicted as being on the same side (though this could also be seen as a pro-Maltheistic argument).
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In Greek mythology, Chaos is the first Primordial God of Greek ythology who predates the other Primordials, the Titans and the Olympians and Chaos can be seen as the first of all the gods and the creator of reality - Chaos is also considered the god that will destroy existence and return everything to the chaos from whence it came.
Examples in FictionMaltheism can be found in many works of fiction, though they tend towards the Demiurge Theory or a form of Maltheism that shows God as neither good nor evil - though some will try and show an outright Maltheist scenario with tyrannical versions of God (or similar Deity).
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Greg tells God in one of his mind-fantasies that he helped a squirrel. God instead said that he "must of missed that one".
- In The Oblongs; a light from the sky shines on the Albinos after they said "God; give me a sign".
- This view of God is featured as the main plot device in His Dark Materials as the God of the Old Testament, and the one the Church worships, is happy to have numerous children and millions of adults sacrificed to him, and people pray to him all the time yet he never does anything to spare their suffering. Only later it is revealed Metatron is behind the corruption of Heaven and that Metatron is the one making God evil through Metatron's own corrupt view of the Multiverse.
- A comedic example occurred in The Simpsons (at least three) - such as when Homer and Barney team up to plow snow and Homer, in his success, declares "When two best friends work together, not even God Himself can stop them" God then replies, "Oh no?" and cause the Sun to suddenly appear, which melts away all the snow, and puts the both of them out of business or a now famous parody of Joan of Arc in which God was shown as manipulating both sides (albeit this was played for laughs, given the Simpsons satirical nature).
- And there was another episode went a twister come to Springfield, Marge thinking god create twisters just for fun and even put Dino bones so confused with extinction and devil for scientists and lot of people for his amusement.
- In South Park, all beings are said to go to Hell save for Mormons and although God is not evil in that reality Satan is seen as being a nice guy and thus the usual "God is good, Satan is evil" belief system doesn't hold true in South Park. This idea god is evil person was tire and explain in show is against for few times in couple episodes.
- And even worse, despite being a Buddhist himself, he sent other Buddhists to hell for no reason.
- In "The Elementals" by Nathan Gemmell, there an evil Magician by the the name Yahweh who starts off as a benevolent messiah but later has the delusion that he should be a cruel dictator to those who praise him, and hurt those who do not. The fact that the name Yahweh is a reference to the fact that he considers himself an idol.
- In Supernatural God is shown to be Maltheistic. He is compared to a large spider because Heaven is shown like a giant web, with each strand being a human Heaven, with the angelic Heaven, "Mission Control" at the center, implying God is in the middle of Heaven like a hungry spider. Lucifer himself says "God wanted the Devil" and Dean shows a belief in a Maltheistic God. For the first seasons Dean didn't believe in God but when he was forced to believe in Him he showed contempt for Him for letting so much evil happen intentionally. Angels also show the Maltheistic view, Raphael says God is dead, and Uriel says there is no God, and Zachariah says "God has left the building" meaning God doesn't care any more, and even Joshua the angel says that God told the Winchesters to "back off" or essentially "fuck off."
- God and his angels are antagonists in The Fallen as Aaron redeems fallen angels agents the Creator, and the Powers (God's angels) were sent to destroy him because he is a Nephilim, a hybrid of both humans and angels.
- In the Lost Chapter of Berserk, which was removed for revealing too much of the plot too quickly, God was revealed to be behind everything that happens in Berserk's World Half Empty, as it was created due to humanity's desire for there to be an ultimate reason to blame for human suffering; which resulted in the creation of the Idea of Evil, a grimdark version of Plato's Theory of Forms, whose purpose in life was to literally be responsible for everybody suffering so much. It's very good at it, having conspired to drive Griffith into his ascension as the God Hand Femto, which leads to the series theme of Fighting Destiny.
- In Silent Hill, God is an evil entity with its forms being demonic and the faith of the ghost town of Silent Hill as well as the devotion of its local religious cult known as The Order, also bears a striking resemblance to demonic and Satanic worship.
- In Transformers Prime, Unicron is the creator of Humanity and all life on planet Earth, technically making him Earth's god. He agrees with Optimus on this, and then Unicron declares all life he created as parasites unworthy of living.
- In the Nostalgia Critic Old vs New episode, where he compares the Ten Commandments to the Prince Of Egypt, he said he preferred the God from the Prince of Egypt as it seemed more soothing while the God from The Ten Commandments was wrathful and vengeful (though ironically the God in The Prince of Egypt is also vengeful and wrathful, but not in the burning bush scene). In response, God himself reveals himself to the Critic, tells him that he is a vengeful God, and zaps him with a bolt of lightning.
- In Angel Sanctuary, YHWH is a being with no real physical form, but resides in Etamenanki in the form of a giant computer-robot. The entire universe was created just to test an equation that he had fashioned, and he cares nothing for the suffering and injustice endured by humans and angels alike. He created Adam Kadmon in order for Adam Kadmon to "step-in" whenever he (God) was "sleeping".
- In "Tripping the Rift", God is depicted as wagering on the main character's soul with the Devil because he's bored and unleashing a plague of locusts on a planet because they refused to worship him (thinking he's a con artist like the ones they had dealt with earlier in the episode). and there is the episode where Chode and Gus travel back to the beginning of time. Their ship accidentally collides with God and kills Him. But when they return to their own time, they discover that they've actually made things BETTER. Without God, there's no concept of good and evil, and everyone is basically decent towards each other; there's no crime or war or sexual repression. Everything is going pretty well...until Chode and Gus let the cat out of the bag and introduce the concept of sin to the universe, sending it into chaos. They travel back in time to set things right and get killed themselves, and God walks away laughing at their deaths.
- In Spawn, God takes a similar stance to the Demiurge and is also not the "true" Supreme Being of His reality. The true supreme being of the Spawn comics is The Mother of Existence, who directly contridicts the stereotypical male depiction of God by being a female.
- In The Devil's Advocate, John Milton a.k.a. Satan tells the protagonist Kevin Lomax that God is a sadist who gave humanity religion as a way of tormenting themselves for his own amusement. He also states that he loves humanity more than God as he doesn't judge them for doing what's in their nature. However, given how blatantly sociopathic John Milton/Satan is, his claims could be total lies.
- A non-fictional example: Comedian Tim Minchin wrote a song entitled Thankyou God (For Fixing the Cataracts of Sam's Mum) . One of the song's lines is So as a bit of a change from his usual stunt/Of being a sexist, racist, murderous c*nt. The song also points out how apparently God will fix the minor problems of privileged white Christians whilst ignoring entire poverty-stricken nations.
- The song God is Dead, from heavy metal band Black Sabbath's 2013 album 13, depicts God as an evil being that is causing chaos in the world, much to the dismay of the individual in the song, who was expecting a good God.
- In Horns, Ig concludes that the reason why God allowed Merrin to be raped and killed is because he is actually not very fond of humans, and detests women in particular, because they, like him, can create life and also because they can redefine love as they see fit. He also compares him to a gangster, only offering his protection in exchange for blind faith and worship.
- The book known as The Jehovah Contract is similar to the mythos of Spawn in that it portrays both God and Satan as bratty, spoiled sibling rivals, while the Mother Goddess is portrayed as the real Creator who now has to win Her own creation back.
- In Pokemon, Arceus the Normal-type legendary Pokemon also known as the Alpha Pokemon is the creator god of all Pokemon. In some franchises of Pokemon such as Arceus & the Jewel of Life & Pokemon Adventures, Arceus has been portrayed as a tyrannical god who wants to exterminate humanity.
- Fortinbras from the Onimusha series has a similar concept to God as the Devil as he is both the supreme being of the universe and the king of demons.
- Oyashiro-sama from Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni is depicted as a wrathful deity who would put a curse on anyone who even thought about leaving Hinamizawa. However, this is only for the male version of Oyashiro-sama, considering that the female version of him isn't malevolent, and was rather horrified to find out that her name was connected to a very wrathful version of her.
- Bhunivelze, Pulse and Lindzei from the Final Fantasy XIII series play aspects of both the God of Maltheism and the Demiurge.
- Stuart Slade's novel The Salvation War is a deconstruction of both the apocalyptic horror genre, as well the maltheistic concept of God in the form of a military science fiction novel where a tyrannical God is actually defeated. In the novel, God, angels, demons, and presumably deities from other cultures are extra-dimensional aliens with the superhuman strength, and the natural ability to generate electrical attacks and create portals between worlds. While they seemed godlike to ancient peoples, when they tried to attack Earth, both the demonic and angelic forces are easily crushed by modern weapons such as tanks and aircraft. God himself would have been destroyed by humanity had he not been killed in a coup by the pro-human archangel Michael shortly before human military forces arrived in the "eternal city."
- In DarkMatter2525's animated series, he portrays God as being slightly self-absorbed and unfit with running the universe. While this version of God isn't exactly evil per say, he is extremely callous to people's suffering and refuses to do anything to help his creations, because, according to him, it would require taking away their free will. The main gist of the series is that his chief angel, Jeffrey, would always bring a complaint to him, and he would then try to find a way to not solve the problem.
- Metallica's 1991 song called "The God that Failed" from the Black Album, sort of portrayed God within Maltheism as well.
- The Motorhead song "God Was Never On Your Side" also protrays God withim Maltheism.
- Supreme Being (Date A Live)
- Chaos (mythology)
- Odin (mythology)
- Kali (mythology)
- Jesus Christ (Gnostic Gospels)