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This is a question across all pantheons and mythologies. Overall what is the easiest way to become a god? It should be an one-time act. But perhaps for simplicity sake we can use immortality as the main attribute of godhood.

So we do not count being born a god; neither being made a god by the other gods, given how fickle they are; nor the continued use of Idun's apples.

EDIT: Alright, so some more information for better understanding. The standard way to become a god is through apotheosis (or currently divinization). This is however only after death. Remember Hercules, Roman Emperors, the Chinese Emperors, various Saints...

What I am looking for is quite similar to Gilgamesh's quest for immortality. He did find a plant that at least restored youth. Or sometimes Ambrosia is described as granting not only immortality, but making a god out of a mortal.

Also in Taoism humans are able to gain immortality and god-like powers.

So I ask again, across the plethora of mythologies that exist in the world, what is the easiest way a mortal can become a god?

I truly have to draw a parallel with Gilgamesh and his search for immortality here. First he visits Utnapishtim, whose type of immortality is ideal, but was a gift from a god, so not easily obtainable. I am unsure if successfully passing Utnapishtim's test would have led to something, but this appears to me as the most easiest way. Then there is the Ur-shanabi, which is probably the same thing as ambrosia, Idun's apples, but we cannot be sure, so it could be an solution. Finally we have the solution of cultural immortality, which is for me not a solution at all, given that he feared to become a forgotten rotting corpse, and become a remembered rotting corpse.

So what if Gilgamesh was more open minded and cunning. Why settle for immortality when you can become a god? Why limit the search in Mesopotamia, when there is the whole world. Within all the world religions what is the easiest way to become a god?

  • What exactly do you mean? – bleh Apr 4 '16 at 18:37
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    If it's immortality you're after: 1) Create a magnificent piece of art (see McCartney, Paul; DaVinci, Leonardo; Shelley, Mary). 2) Hire a really good agent. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Apr 4 '16 at 19:39
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    For the Greeks, the quickest way to become a god is to drink ambrosia. – C. M. Weimer Apr 6 '16 at 22:19
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Immortality and divinity aren't synonymous. Aside from those you've ruled out, the easiest and quickest war to become a god would be to possess some great magical ability and use it for an epic act. This still would be no guarantee of reverence however. The gods of the great polytheistic religions are not only powerful immortal beings, what makes them gods is that they are also worshipped, often after conferring some favour on the mortals who worship them.

In general becoming deified and being worshipped as a god is a much more difficult path, and usually is conferred after death. In the case of most major beliefs it is a combination of charisma, great works, original teachings, and transcendence to a higher plane. Think Jesus or Buddha (in some schools of Buddhism). Most recently Elvis upon death (or alleged death) has received a sort of god-like status, although some consider this to be more of a sainthood. Ghandi also pledged subservience to multiple religions so has achieved more of a saintly status.

The major case of a living god I can think of is Haile Selassie being worshipped in Rastafari as a reincarnation of Jesus, though this is also due to how he lived his life to that point, so again not what you would call easy.

The Dalai Llama is conferred quite early in life, although I wouldn't necessarily say he is considered a god.

The other way is by starting a cult. This generally only makes you a god, or reincarnation of one, to a few people. It's small scale, but still divinity of sorts, and comes with plenty of perks.

Another way is to embody an archetype, as it is with many polytheistic gods. A modern example might be Hendrix as a guitar god.

A final way is to create a species or even a whole world. Frankenstein was the god of Adam. The founders in Star Trek are the gods of the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar

"What's the easiest way to become immortal?" Would be a whole different question. My answer to that would be to kill someone famous.

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  • I see where you are coming from. But I do not think that belief or worship is a critical requirement, it only serves the ego. Roughly speaking in all creation myths the creation of humans was one of the last steps (please do not quote me on this; it is just that none that would say otherwise come to my mind right now). Any immortality or godhood based on external forces, be it fame or belief is not only undesirable, but dangerous. – Martin Handrlica Apr 5 '16 at 14:59
  • Being viewed as a god, I would say, is a necessary requirement for most definitions of the word god outside of the god as creator definition. Perhaps you need to rethink the question, or provide a more complete idea of your definition of godhood, and how it differs from the ideas of either immortality or power, both of which can just as easily describe a sorcerer or any number of mythological beings. – Ben Cannon Apr 5 '16 at 15:36
  • Think what worship is all about. It is an arrangement, you will worship me and sacrifice to me, while I will protect you, increase your luck. Or, you better worship me or I shall kill all your livestock. This means that if I derive my godhood from my sheeple, I have to keep my divine sense on them constantly - so not an easy way. – Martin Handrlica Apr 5 '16 at 18:40
  • I presented most of the ways I could think of, outside the ones you covered in the question, I didn't say they were all easy. One I didn't cover was the case of Psyche, which I believe you may have referenced with ambrosia, but this was still conferred by existing gods admitting Psyche into the club (or by the mortals who wrote down the myth). In this sense becoming a god is attained by embodying an archetype, such as Hendrix for guitarists. Also this still doesn't answer my critique of your premise, you need to provide a better definition of godhood as you see it. – Ben Cannon Apr 5 '16 at 18:52
  • Also worship is more broad than that I think. To worship something can also mean to appreciate it, or to seek to emulate it. – Ben Cannon Apr 5 '16 at 18:53
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You could drink from the holy grail. It is extremely hard to find in King Arthur legend and you needed to have a quest for it. Most of the nights that quested to find it died. It's not that easy but relatively simple.

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    Could you point us to an actual story from the Arthurian legend that supports your claim that drinking from the holy grail grants immortality? – yannis Apr 5 '16 at 8:43
  • The last guy to drink from it is still sleeping it off. ;) Also given the number of knights destroyed by the Quest for the Grail, I would surly not consider it an easy way. – Martin Handrlica Apr 5 '16 at 11:28

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