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These gods aren't lazy, but you really wish they were.
Perhaps they view all of life as a cosmic game, with humans as mere pawns and tools. Perhaps they're hungry for worship, either literally or figuratively, and are willing to resort to manipulation to get it. Maybe they're just keen on Retribution (a very common trait in religions throughout history). Maybe it's the age old adage "power corrupts", or maybe they're doing this for kicks, but whatever the case, the deities are just jerks. They view human life as a source of entertainment, or an inconvenience.
They do unnecessarily harsh punishments and will wipe out an entire planet to preserve the integrity of their throne with little hesitation.
They are manipulative, self-centered, and takes sadistic joy in being this way.Music for the Second Half of the article
They're are actually several mythological examples:
GREEK/ROMAN MYTHOLOGY is the biggest example The Greek gods are widely remembered today for being spoiled children with fancy powers at best and at worse total jerks. Part of this is due their jerk side and lacking benevolent side in the fact they claim to be this but in reality are just a hypocrite. They were held to different standards than humans and were the center of the universe instead of humans. The other reason is they often were just massive jerks because they could be.
The only exceptions tended to be Hades, Hermes, Demeter, Hephaestus, and Hestia.
Contrary to popular belife Hades IS NOT THE DEVIL OR EVIL.
Hades is actually the most law abiding deity in the entire paethon, not to mention reasonably fair to the people he works with and the human souls. Hades punishes the wiciked and spares the good, treats his subordinates with respect at all times, and only wants to bring proper order to the world. Unfortunately NOBODY LIKES HIM except the people who work for him and his wife, is completly disrespected by humans, and when his wife the goddess of spring has to revive the planet he is utterly miserable without her.
Hermes, although a bit of a mischievous Trickster, tends to punish only the unjust and the sinful.
Hestia was the most peaceful and is hardly involved in any myths probably because nice gods are less interesting (on the flip side, she probably was the most trusted and prayed-to of all the Olympians—the hearth and family are kind of a big deal).
Hephaestus the God of Fire also tends to be one of the nicer ones; despite being constantly abused by the gods, Treated as the butt of a joke, looked down upon by everyone, is constantly unappericated by his own mother and father, and was physically mutilated by HIS OWN MOTHER LEAVING HIM DISABLED FOR THE REST OF HIS EXSISTANCE, he never took it out on mortals and spends his time making various clockwork inventions, jewerly, and devices which he gives as presents to his wife the lovely Aphrodite and his son Cupid.
Demeter the goddess of plant life is also a good mother and even acted as a nanny at one point to a mortal baby.
One of the worst is actually Zeus, who ironically is the god of law and upholder of morals. While there are some stories of Zeus punishing evil doers and rewarding the just, many of his stories are about his relationships with immortal and mortal women. He has a lecherous infamy due to having women, abonding them, and doing little to protect them and their "divine children" from his Clingy, Jealous and HOMICIDAL wife Hera, among many other highly questionable actions like the Pandora's Box incident which infected humanity with sin make him perhaps the biggest jerk of all.
Also worth a mention is Ares. Even back then, Greek scholars wrote about how men run in terror from this bloodthirsty god of war, and he is probably the closest thing the Greeks had a to a God of Evil because he is a Violent, Agressive, Sadistic, Bloodthirsty, Sociopathic, and Insane Monster who lives only for the purpose of fighting and loves causing destruction and death.
The Norse Gods. All of them tend to have their moments depending on the version of a story. Often this is justified by the other party being a huge jerk first, the action being somehow necessary for the good of the world, or just plain the other party can fight back unlike defenseless mortals. They also tend to get held accountable for their actions more than the Greeks.
Thor, strongest of the Norse gods, as the old myths are full of him being a complete jerk. He went on a fishing trip with Hymir, Tyr's father, after he cut the head off Hymir's finest ox to use as a fishing lure, he almost dragged the Midgard Serpent into their boat, which would've sunk them had Hymir not cut the line. Later he threw a cup at his head — it just keeps going like that. And this was a guy Thor needed a favor from.
On the other hand, Thor was one of the most benevolent gods toward humanity and respected as an honest, hard working god who represented the common people.
Loki, the trickster-god, is certainly not the most admirable god in the pantheon. But many consider him a Magnificent Chessmaster on account of his antics and tricks generally causing more trouble and indignity for the other gods than for humans.
Loki also used his skills at trickery and deceit for the benefit of his fellow gods on some occasions, and tended to not be praised for it. The lack of praise may have more to do with the other gods valuing courage, strength, and fighting prowess over intelligence and cunning.
Odin, while generally a good guy, sometimes comes off as a massive jerk. Sure, he generally likes people and helps them, but he's not trustworthy, prone to have his devoted or especially competent followers killed in messy ways so they join him in Valhalla. Sure, it's for the best, but losing the favor of the God you faithfully serve and fight for mid-battle would surely stink
Even his reasons for having his favored warriors join him in Valhalla are suspect. He doesn't get them killed in battle so that they can have a great afterlife. He gets them killed in battle because the rules say that's the only way you get to come to his hall in the afterlife, and he needs all the help he can get for the upcoming battle at the end of the world. That he already knows he's fated to lose and nothing he can do can possibly change that.
Small wonder Loki is involved in Ragnarok seeing what Odin did to his family. Fenris, Hel and Jormungand were imprisoned with Gleipnir, in Niflheim and beneath the sea respectively for basically no reason beyond "we foresaw that they would cause alot of trouble" and when Loki was bound beneath the earth (which he deserved) the chains binding him were made from the intestines of his youngest son, whose twin brother Odin forced to kill for their father's crimes.
The Shinto pantheon wasn't free from its share of jerks. Given that there's around 8 million gods in the Shinto pantheon, that's not exactly surprising....
When the goddess Izanami died, her husband, Izanagi, traveled to Yomi to save her against her wishes. When he saw that his wife had turned into a rotted corpse, Izanagi ran away in fear with an enraged Izanami pursuing him, and pushed a boulder into the mouth of the cave which led into Yomi, trapping Izanami inside. Out of anger, Izanami declared that she would kill 1,000 of his people every day.
Tsukuyomi was invited to a feast by Uke Mochi, the goddess of food, who made the food by turning into the ocean and spitting out fish, then facing the forest and wild game came out of her anus, finally she turned into a rice paddy field and vomited up a bowl of rice. Tsukuyomi, disgusted by the repulsive way the delicious meal came to be, killed Uke Moshi.
Amaterasu and her brother Susanoo had an antagonistic relationship. After being ordered to leave the heavens by Izanagi, Susanoo bid his sister farewell before challenging her to prove his sincerity. They each took an item from another to birth gods and goddesses from them. From Susanoo's sword, Amaterasu birthed three women and Susanoo birthed five men for her necklace and declared himself the winner since he had produced men. Susanoo, being the Storm God, became restless after a brief period of peace and went on a rampage destroying his sister's rice paddies, defecating in her irrigation ditches, throwing fecal matter at her temple, and last but not least... he threw a flayed horse at her loom, which splintered into hundreds pieces, killing all her hand-maidens. Coincidentally, this is also the story of how Winter came about-because it was at that point that Amaterasu proceeded to hide herself-and thus, the sun-in a cave to get away from him.
Unlike most deities, Susanoo actually faced repercussions for this-after the other gods managed to pry Amaterasu out of her cave, they then proceeded to happily kick him out of heaven until he proved he wasn't completely worthless. This managed to get through to him, and he later slayed the dragon Orochi as penance...and to score a wife. He's still a jerk, he's just a mature jerk now.
Ookuninushi, while generally seen in positive light, is actually quite the jerk. When Amaterasu requested that he hand over the country to her descendants, he seemed alright with it and agreed to do it. Then, several generations later, he caused a plague during emperor Suujin's reign, demanding a new temple to end it. Doing so stopped the plague, but the god was apparently still angry, because he then made the next emperor's son dumb, requiring the emperor to build another temple to him.
Indra from Hindu Mythology fits this trope. Whenever someone — be it human, God or demon — gained too much power, Indra would send the beautiful Dancing Girls from his court to upset their prayers. He also has bad habit of attacking a sage's wife by disguising as her husband. He would also smite anyone who would get in his way
However, Unlike Zeus though Indra actually had to pay for it by being humiliated time and again. He loses his throne to Vishnu who is a all around Nice Guy, cursed by a sage to have a disease, his greatest victory disproven when the other gods realized that Vishnu saved him and does all the real work, is completly stripped of power when they realize that Vishnu is superior in everyway, and when he tries to reclaim his throne Vishnu beats him in 10 seconds and lost all his abilities that made him great and powerful while trying to destroy Vishnu. In the end he went from being the Lord of the Universe who can destroy entire galaxies to a completly minor weather god and lord of the elements who is so weak that even a fly can kill him.
Ishtar the goddes of love in anchient Iran, according to Gilgamesh, is highly untrustworthy, and has the tendency of turning her lovers in moles and beasts when she's tired of them. And when Gilgamesh refused to marry her, she sent a huge, angry bull to destroy Ur.
Enlil the water god in anchient Iran caused The Great Flood because humanity annoyed him with their constant talking.
Freaking every single one of them in Aztec Mythology (except Quetzalcoatl). When your rain and fertility god likes his human scarifices to be children who are young and crying, and one of two rulers is literally the god of Magnificent Chessmasters you're in a world that is in constant peril.
Even Quetzalcoatl kinda stinks, since he would be much nicer to humanity than the current top god in the pantheon if he was to retake that place...but retaking that place would also completely destroy the world and kill every living thing, forcing him to start from scratch.