Created By: Jordan on April 27, 2007
Nuked

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
I was thinking of a trope I might call inadvertant paganism or polytheism. My example was how in the Brendan Frasier version of the Mummy, Imhotep essentially has god-like powers, and the movie seems to suggest the reality of the Egyptian pantheon. If the audience gave this some thought, they would realize that this conflicts with their likely Judeo-Christian beliefs, but no one ever seems to bring this up. The trope basically refers to scenarios where within a seemingly real-world setting, the gods of mythology exist. Examples?
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • April 28, 2007
    Ununnilium
    Well, you're assuming the audience has Judeo-Christian beliefs. (Edit: Oh, wait, were you talking about the characters' Judeo-Christian beliefs? D'oh.)

    I think this is actually part of a larger trope. Basically, a work of fiction can have two mutually-exclusive cosmologies going on within it. For instance, in The DCU, Captain Marvel gets his powers from both Greek gods and Biblical heroes.
  • April 28, 2007
    SevenSeals
    Ehh, not quite, unless you consider Solomon a "Biblical hero" (he's more general than that). Black Adam, on the other hand, gets his power from the Egyptian gods, so that's two pantheons (Greek and Egyptian) mixed together. What's very popular nowadays is to simply have all religions true at the same time, while either - deftly avoiding the question of what this means for religions who claim to be the One True Religion (that is, most of them); and/or - implying that the gods are just really powerful beings, but nothing compared to the God. The God is implied to be the god of Christianity, but the western variant of the Jesus Taboo is in place, so you can be vague about it.

  • April 28, 2007
    Jordan
    Good, so I'm not the only person to notice this. I thought the Mummy was the strongest example because Imhotep actually recreates the ten plagues and it is stessed in the Exodus story that these are precisely things that the Egyptian gods can't do.
  • April 28, 2007
    Ununnilium
    Hmmmmm, yes.

    Pantheist World? I'd call it All Myths Are True, except that's already taken.
  • April 28, 2007
    Earnest
    Vertigo Comics takes this to an interesting place actually. Not quite a subeversion but more of a logical progression. There's the Endless, Anthropomorphic Personification of concepts that underlie reality, Lucifer, the Host of Heaven, and plethora of gods from EVERY pantheon, and they all coexist with little regard from the contradictions their cosmologies imply.

    A possibly funny example: In Marvel Comics the other Avengers rarely raise an eyebrow to having breakfast with Thor, god of thunder, while presumably remaining true to whatever probably Christian denomination they belong too. It's especially funny if you consider just how many cosmic entitities they run into, including a/the devil, without having religious nervous breakdowns.

    A funny subversion is Dr. Orpheus, a necromancer, in the Venture Brothers. He considers christmas and qwanza made up holidays like the wookie "Lifeday".
  • April 28, 2007
    SevenSeals
    That reminds me of a scene where Mr. Terrific, who's atheist, is called out on this: how can you be an atheist in a world that features such beings as the Spectre (the agent of God's vengeance) and Zauriel (an angel)?

    Also, the Planescape Dungeons And Dragons campaign setting pretty much has this as the central premise: belief shapes the planes, and everything is true somewhere, including all the gods. Being a fantasy setting, though, it mostly avoids the question of what this means for capital-G God.
  • April 28, 2007
    Jordan
    I think that this trope is subverted/inverted in the Discworld universe. There are obviously multiple gods, and it seems like only the Omnians didn't get the memo and are the resident monotheists.
  • April 28, 2007
    Paul A
    I recall Vertigo has established that there is One Big God at the top, to whom all the other gods are just as much squabbling ants as the other gods consider humans to be; he's pretty much the Christian God, although of course they haven't said so explicitly.

    In Marvel Comics: how many people actually believe that Thor is the actual God of Thunder, rather than yet another superhero who's just pretending/deluded? (I know this was explicitly raised in the Ultimate version, but I don't know how often it comes up in the mainstream Universe.)
  • April 28, 2007
    FastEddie
    Pretty interesting discussion here which will be lost if no entry arises from it.
  • April 29, 2007
    SevenSeals
    I know, but I can't think of a good title! (sobs) Anyone else? Unun suggested Pantheist World, but since pantheism is really something else entirely I'm uncomfortable with that.
  • April 29, 2007
    Earnest
    I'll throw a few out: No Such Thing As Monotheism, My God Is Better Than Your God (There's a quote from the first Conan movie to that effect, though I think I'm paraphrasing), The God Next Door, or Everyone Is Nondenominational.
  • April 29, 2007
    Jordan
    I'd like to create an entry- how about my original suggestion of Inadvertant polytheism?
  • April 29, 2007
    SevenSeals
    Except that it's often not inadvertent. Black Adam getting his power from the Egyptian gods whereas Captain Marvel gets them from the Greek gods wasn't a slip-up, neither was making Hercules or Thor superheroes. Writers have no problem doing this to "pagan" gods, and outside mainstream they don't have much trouble doing it to God either (though I've yet to see the first comic that has God as a superhero -- Almighty Man wouldn't make for many interesting stories).

    How does Crossover Pantheon sound?
  • April 29, 2007
    Jordan
    I agree, that works better.
  • April 29, 2007
    Tabby
    The belief that there are many gods/pantheons but the one that (general)you worship is the best/the best one for you is called "henotheism," bytheby. Not near mnemonic enough to make a trope name out of, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
  • April 29, 2007
    Jordan
    Thanks for bringing that up, I remembering hearing that in a religious class. I think this trope only counts in modern times, because in the past, many people would have been henotheist to some extent.
  • April 29, 2007
    SevenSeals
    Darn, if only Hey No Theism made sense.
  • April 30, 2007
    Ununnilium
    They played with the "Thor-as-deluded-superhero" in The Ultimates, where, for a while, it seemed like that was really the case.

    Crossover Cosmology would work better than Pantheon, I think, since it's more than just gods - look, for example, at the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl, whose Back Story is intimately linked to reincarnation, whereas at one point, the Justice League went to Heaven and asked Jim Corrigan's soul to come back and be the Spectre again.
  • April 30, 2007
    SevenSeals
    Well, if you're going to pull in reincarnation and the afterlife... Can't we just have All Myths Are True Part Two? :-D
  • April 30, 2007
    Unknown Troper
  • April 30, 2007
    Unknown Troper
    Earnest: I'm partial to Crossover Cosmology myself, mostly because it alliterates. ^_^
  • April 30, 2007
    Jordan
    Can we stick to that name and launch a page on it?
  • April 30, 2007
    YYZ
    I'd go with Crossover Cosmology myself.
  • May 1, 2007
    Earnest
    Let the wiki work its magic. Crossover Cosmology is up.

    P.S. Should it be solely under the Tropes category? Or should it be in another index?
  • May 1, 2007
    Jordan
    I think given a lot of the examples, it is something of a comic book trope as well.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=rifp6riw&trope=CrossoverCosmology