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God Is Neutral

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"Believe me, I was hands-on — real hands-on for, wow, ages. I was so sure if I kept stepping in, teaching, punishing, that these beautiful creatures that I created... would grow up. But it only stayed the same. And I saw that I needed to step away, and let my baby find its way."

God is usually thought of being good. Sometimes He's evil, flawed or just a jerk. Sometimes, however, the setting's representation of God is generally hands off, equally unconcerned with raining fire on blasphemers or blessing the faithful, preferring to not show favoritism and just let the world do its thing. Not necessarily absent, but people probably think so, given how little God does... that they know of.

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Maybe God's duties are more important than overseeing the petty minutiae of humans being humans, such as preventing the destruction of the earth by outside forces beyond human comprehension. Perhaps He's above good and evil, and doesn't find morality that important, or has to be neutral in order to maintain the balance. Perhaps He has a sense of morality so alien to us mortals that He can't be considered truly benevolent or malevolent by any reasonable stretch. Perhaps He has decided to just sit back and watch for entertainment and finds interfering to be "cheating". On the other side, perhaps He would like to help but decided that Helping Would Be Kill Stealing.

Compare All-Powerful Bystander, where a being with god-like powers (but not necessarily God or a god) doesn't bother using their powers to interfere, though they may have more pressing cosmic concerns than interfering in humanity. Compare The Gods Must Be Lazy, where the Gods don't oppose their evil counterpart actively; and God's Hands Are Tied, where the god(s) are actually unable to do anything. Contrast both God Is Good and God Is Evil, where God has a clear morality and intention for humanity.

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Examples

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     Anime and Manga 
  • Dragonball Super
    • Angels are required to be True Neutral and never interfere in events, only serve as attendants to their Destroyer Deity. The only times Whis is seen interfering is to be a martial arts teacher to Goku and Vegeta, help with their problems once in a blue moon, or pre-emptively stop a god's plan to kill and usurp another god.
    • Zen'o is the child-like Top God of the multiverse, and who the other gods report to. Outside of occasionally interfering in what the other gods are doing, his only real job is to serve as the Top God. This, combined with nobody being able to relate to him out of fear of his power is why he feels Lonely at the Top and why he likes Goku since Goku treats him informally. The one time he did anything for the multiverse he's watching over was clean house when Zamasu had become a reality-consuming Eldritch Abomination and started spreading to other universes and timelines.

     Comic Book 
  • Marvel Comics: The Living Tribunal is the most powerful Cosmic Entity short of The One Above All, but he refuses to meddle with the constant cosmic wars and Crisis Crossover Earth's heroes have to deal with, only regarding threats to the entirety of The Multiverse worth his attention. When the cosmic entities requested his help against Thanos in The Infinity Gauntlet, the Living Tribunal stated he isn't concerned with helping due to it only being one universe, and it simply meant a change of their hierarchy to him.

    Film 
  • Gods of Egypt: Specifically, Ra, who leaves his children to handle the day to day management of humanity. He himself spends his days dragging the sun around to create "day" while his nights are spent fighting Apophis, the World Eater.

  • Noah sees the antagonist Tubal-Cain desperately search for a response from God, with no response in sight. He also seems quite content to allow innocents to die in the flood. Noah sees this as confirmation that the man's evil has become so ubiquitous that God wishes for mankind to go extinct. The climax comes when Noah realizes that God was leaving humanity to choose his own fate, and once Noah decides to allow his grandson to live, God sets the flood aside and blesses the remaining humans with a beautiful rainbow.
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    Literature 
  • Cthulhu Mythos: Taken to the extreme with Azathoth, the Blind Idiot God. The most powerful Outer God of them all, Azathoth is not only completely uninterested with reality but completely oblivious that it, or anything at all exists. He mainly exists in the center of infinity, created reality without noticing it and will inevitably destroy it with the same lack of care.
  • Good Omens is on the face of it about the Final Showdown between Good and Evil as foretold in The Bible, but as re-envisioned by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Heaven and Hell are the major players. But behind both is a mysterious higher entity referred to as The Ineffable, who neither the demon nor the angel have seen, but are absolutely certain is the one who kick-started it all at the moment of Creation.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: The three Gods who sustain the universe act according to their divine affinities rather than human morality. Nahadoth, god of Chaos and Darkness, is a creature of passion, both positive and negative. Itempas, god of Order and Light, values stability, whether it's The Good King or a brutal totalitarian theocracy. Enefa, goddess of Life and Death, loves her creations like a mother, but kills them when they've served their purpose all the same. "Good" and "Evil" don't factor into it, which is what makes them neutral.
  • Richard Adams' book Watership Down details lapine theology: that Frith the sun made the world and all the creatures in it. Only when rabbits developed explosive breeding did Frith "adjust" things so that predators came into being to decimate the rabbits. This is enforced when Hazel beseeches Frith's help in saving his warren, offering his life as payment, and Frith responds: "There can be no bargain, for what is is what must be." In effect, Frith tells Hazel to Earn Your Happy Ending.
  • In Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series book "And Eternity," the Incarnation of God is neutral to the rest of Creation, not because he doesn't care, but because he is so enamored by the perfection of his image that he can't stop looking at himself. This becomes so bad, that when the other Incarnations select another (actually three individuals)(Fridge Brilliance), to become the Incarnation of Good, he doesn't even notice he's lost the title.

    Myth and Religion 
  • The general belief of Deism: God created the universe, but is merely a passive observer and isn't interested in being in charge of it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Forgotten Realms has a lot of neutral-aligned deities, but two in particular are standouts.
    • Ao the Overgod, the Top God of the setting, exists only to be the (generally hands-off) boss of the other gods. He actively discourages mortal worship and, unlike the rest of the pantheon, doesn't require it in order to live.
    • Jergal, the Realms' original god of the dead, is canonically Lawful Neutral and voluntarily gave up most of his portfolio to the epic-level evil adventurers Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul, choosing to simply be the archivist of death. He's more tolerant of The Undead than his current boss Kelemvor, on the grounds that his more devout followers sometimes embrace lichdom in order to have more time to chronicle death.

    Video Games 
  • In the ending of Mortal Kombat 11 where Kotal Kahn wins and becomes the new Lord of Time after gaining Kronika's power over time, he becomes this. While in their endings most characters attempt to use the power over time to create what they see as a better timeline, (whether just for themselves and/or their loved ones, or their race, or their world, etc.) Kotal believes that attempting to change the past, even for what seems to be a better history, is wrong, and refuses to do so. Furthermore he says that many come to him pleading for him to act, but he turns them all down and sends them away.
    Kotal Kahn: Our lives are cloth, woven by choice and circumstance. Pull even one thread, and the cloth is torn asunder and made worthless. Now that I am tasked with keeping time, others beg me to have their histories rewritten. But as long as the Hourglass is mine, I will not shape destiny in any one being's favor. History will play out as determined by its players. Let the sands fall where they may.

    Web Comic 
  • Pickle Inspector of Problem Sleuth uses his imagination in the Dream World to ascend as Godhead Pickle Inspector. He obtains limitless power, but it comes at the cost of only being able to "Fondly regard creation," a few minor Just for Pun actions related to the latter and once taking action to ensure his creation is intact enough to regard it.
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