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We continue with our exploration of Dean's character with my favourite scene from S2, and possibly my second favourite quote from the show of all time.

"There's no higher power, there's no God. There's just chaos and violence, and random unpredictable evil that comes out of nowhere and rips you to shreds."

Man, I love him.

The thing is, he's not wrong - even all these years later. I mean, technically, there's a God in the show, BUT, because the God of Supernatural is actually a "god" and not the "God" of the actual Abrahamic faiths, even with god, there is still JUST chaos and violence, and random unpredictable evil that comes out of nowhere and rips you to shreds. The angels in SPN, from their conception, and with the seeming exception (most of the time) of Cas, have always been just as bad as demons from the perspective of the Winchesters. Certainly, they were rare on earth until S4, but after S4, we've seen them act much like demons do - using their vessels for their own ends, causing pain and destruction "for the greater good."  And God himself has proven to be both fallible and not omniscient, to the extent that, save for Castiel's resurrections and maybe one or two deus ex machina moments, he may as well not exist.

But really, even before we got to the reveal of angels (and by extension heaven and God) in S4, I loved this quote.

Dean is an atheist in a world where he KNOWS that demons and Hell are a thing. He has proof that the afterlife exists, and yet he doesn't even seem to entertain the idea that there might be a balanced "light" to the "dark." No, it is all just dark, it is all just misery... and Dean tells us this WITH A SMILE. Look at his smile as he delivers this line, as he says "...and rips you to shreds." It's... I don't think I'd even describe it as a bitter smile.... it's accepting. Dean has seen a world without salvation, a world that has already ripped him to shreds and he is sure will do so again, and he basically says "well, I might as well smile and do the best I can to make it a little bit better for as many people as I can before it kills me."

And THAT right there is a hero.

I think that's why a lot of "anti-heroes" rub me the wrong way. They're too bitter and miserable. Too reluctant. Dean does get more depressed as the series continues, it's true, but I think this here still remains the core of his character. 

I also maintain that even after the confirmed existence of God, that Dean remains an atheist... because he doesn't BELIEVE in God. He doesn't trust him. He doesn't have FAITH in God.... Dean believes and has faith in himself and those he loves, and Dean does not love God.

I feel like everything I've said so far is woefully inadequate for expressing my love for this scene and quote. But so much of it I haven't figured out how to put into words yet. Mainly though, this scene touches on a major theme of S1-S5, which I'll talk about more when I get to the scene I chose for S4. :)

This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/559177.html.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2018 01:56 am (UTC)
My experience of devouring the first 4 seasons in one month didn't really leave me with specific moments to savor until the following week's episode, rather it is all a blur of 'OMG these guys!' So I appreciate seeing your key moments.

Your explanation of Dean accepting the random evil instead of being bitter making him a hero resonates...and makes looking at this scene--knowing the repeated defeats he is going to suffer--especially painful...

The one thing that caught my attention was his comment that 'there was nothing protecting her'--and my mind completed Dean's sentence with 'but I'm here to protect you, Sam, so you're going to be safe.' Which again made my heart hurt...
Jun. 22nd, 2018 02:06 am (UTC)
It's also an interesting point of the scene to note, because we saw in S1 that young-Dean considered JOHN a protector... but John didn't qualify as being able to protect Mary (hence still leaving her with nothing), because he didn't KNOW that he had to protect her.

It explains Dean's motivations to help a lot... and I think Jensen has echoed the same when asked what he would do if he found out there were actually monsters in the world like in SPN... that because Dean KNOWS, it's his duty to become a protector. That Dean himself becomes... not a "higher power" at all... but a guardian of sorts, if he KNOWS that there's no light in the world, then he must serve as the light - it's his duty.

It all just feeds into what makes his character so compelling, and again, really drives home the fact that it's HUMANS that are the agents of "good", not anyone from Heaven.

But yes, I also agree that it's horrendously painful. I watched the first 3 seasons in 2 months, then had to watch live... but, yeah, you know how I love paying attention to language and psychology, so this quote still rang out like a bell as soon as I saw it. Though, I probably didn't appreciate it fully until I did my first rewatch after S4 started.
Jun. 22nd, 2018 02:11 am (UTC)
...Dean himself becomes... not a "higher power" at all... but a guardian of sorts, if he KNOWS that there's no light in the world, then he must serve as the light - it's his duty.

Excellently stated!

I LOVE reading your thinky posts because you put concise words on the mushed-together ideas in my head and make things so clear!
Jun. 22nd, 2018 07:13 am (UTC)
The thing that struck me watching this time was when Dean tells Sam about Mary's last words to him being that angels were watching over him. I hadn't really thought about it before but how typical is it of Dean for him to immediately follow that up with 'nothing was protecting HER'. Not nothing was protecting HIM - which was what Mary was talking about.

It's so fundamental to his character, that deep seated belief that he doesn't matter, except in relation to other people, as a protector of those he loves. He never expects anyone to protect him - and it ties with that killer line from Castiel's first appearance "What's the matter? You don't think you deserve to be saved?"

Oh Dean.
Jun. 22nd, 2018 08:04 am (UTC)
Oh man, EXACTLY.

Yet another reason to just LOVE THIS SCENE for it's exploration of Dean's character. This is really the core of who he is - responsible, because no one else is and not thinking he matters too.
Jun. 22nd, 2018 03:22 pm (UTC)
I loved what you wrote about Dean still being an atheist of sorts because he doesn't 'believe' in god/Chuck. And doesn't love him. That's it exactly. He believes in the family he created and loves. That's the core of Dean.
Jun. 22nd, 2018 06:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And yes, exactly - I love him. :)
Jun. 22nd, 2018 03:35 pm (UTC)
Dean's speech here is so heartbreaking 😢It just shows so much pain. As you said about 'heros' too 〜 so true. Love that mindset, which he probably got from dad.

But, even as he says there is no higher power he also says that they are in the position to prove such existance and don't need to go on faith. He tells Sam to prove it to him if he wants Dean to believe it really is an angel. Seems to me more agnostic than athiest maybe.

Ironically, angels were watching over them but not to keep them safe. To fulfill 'destiny.' The unpredictable evil was never random as he thought but for the purpose of fulfilling destiny (by demons or by angels). That is what I love about this show 〜 the mystery in the early seasons, and looking back to see the significance and irony.

I love also though that Dean saw evidence later that made him think there was some higher power intervening. Dean comes out with hope while Sam is disillusioned. I wonder who actually intervened 😊This must have been for some purpose as well.

I think of Chuck/God as the Creator and Author of this Supernatural world so to me, all the good in the universe is attributed to him, just as is all the bad that he 'lets' happen. He gives humans free will which makes it possible for Sam and Dean (and everyone else) to make their own choices. Angels 〜 no matter what he created them for 〜 also have the ability to make their own choices, and have their own opinions. That was his ultimate gift to his creation. To give them free will and not interfere overly.

I don't know whether Dean understood that, but he does pray to God in Season 13. That shows he does have some sort of belief and faith in God at that point. And his prayer is answered, if not directly.

Edited at 2018-06-22 04:14 pm (UTC)
Jun. 22nd, 2018 06:51 pm (UTC)
I disagree. Agnostics are open to belief, or do believe in a higher power, but don't know what it is... Dean clearly says that there's JUST evil and chaos. Telling Sam that he needs proof isn't agnostic, because agnostics will believe in greater forces without proof - needing proof is a VERY atheist thing, because everything is "magic" that you believe, until you understand the science behind it - then it's not something that operates solely belief, it's something that IS.

And that's how Dean treats his prayers to Cas and God, they aren't someone praying because they believe in a higher power watching over them, or a merciful god - they're prayers of someone who is making a phone call... the same as Dean would call Crowley to help them, or any human. And unless God ever does answer a prayer of Dean's directly, I doubt that's ever going to change... and then, even if he does answer Dean directly, and become the good and merciful God, rather than the absent one, is that true belief? Or is that just Dean believing because he gets something out of it if he does?

Though, I will accept the agnostic argument for the end of Houses of the Holy, where Dean is shaken by the unique and "what was the chance of that" death of the rapist... so, he COULD be agnostic at the end of that episode. BUT, I also think that it's just a "vacation" from his atheism. And once the true motives of the angels are revealed 4x22, Dean's right back to atheism.

You have an interesting view of Chuck... I mean, I get what you're saying, but I can't help also disagreeing. I think the good in the world is attributed to whomever is doing the good, regardless of who created the world - and the bad in the world is the same. So, the creator of the world, really, can only be judged good or bad by their own actions. Was it good to create the world? Was it good to walk away and not intervene once you had? At the times that the creator did intervene were their actions good or bad? Meanwhile, because everyone in the world has free will (even now the angels) whatever the state of the world is is a reflection only of the people within it. If they were all puppets of Chuck, then yes, the good or bad of the world could be attributed to him - but as they have free will, that's not the case.

So, in your view, Chuck is good because he gave everyone free will. In Dean's view Chuck is crappy because he abandoned them all... and both views are FINE, I'm not arguing about them at all. BUT, if Dean punches a guy in the nuts for no reason, that's Dean being an asshole, not Chuck. Likewise, if Sam sacrifices himself to save the world, that's a reflection of Sam's values and Sam's light, not Chuck's.

But, that all being said - we don't need to get into a theology debate, which is really what this is at this point. You and I are just approaching a fictional deity from different, but equally valid, mindsets. You can't argue belief... I mean, it's not like I can say "2+2=4 and therefore I'm right and God is at best a neutral force in the he created, and there's no reason for Dean to put any faith in him."
Jun. 22nd, 2018 10:57 pm (UTC)
To get extremely technical and hairsplitting, I would call it apistis--absense of faith, rather than belief that God doesn't exist--of a particularly Jewish bent (which makes sense, considering how many of the writers are/have been secular Jews). Late-season Dean is a theist insofar as he knows that God exists and has a personal relationship with him, though it's explicitly not the relationship a Christ-follower has with the Trinity. But Dean's still neither religious nor spiritual, and as you say, he neither loves nor has faith in Chuck... yet he'll fight Chuck 'til the cows come home if that's what it takes to save his family and the world, which is a very secular-Jewish view of the relationship between YHWH and B'nai Yisroel.

As for Chuck himself... Show's gone full Gnostic, which probably means that Chuck is the Demiurge and Dean is both right and wrong. Me, I'm staying holed up in my own AUs until it's safe to come out.
Jun. 22nd, 2018 11:08 pm (UTC)
Brilliant! Thanks for chiming in with the words I needed. Although I've been educated ABOUT many world religions, I was raised primarily in a Christian culture, so my approach to things and the words I have access to are largely informed by that.

You've given me new words to look up and read more about, yay!

But just as you describe these words, that sounds exactly like what I'm trying to say when I say "atheist in a confirmed God universe" - absence of faith in God, not absence of knowledge that God exists, and when I try to change the words "faith" and "belief" to "faith IN" and "belief IN" - I mean, I'm not going to get mad at you for hairsplitting when that's exactly what I'm trying to do to get at the real meaning!

Like, Dean literally finds out that God is real, and is 40 episodes later, is like "Yeah, well, tell him I'm going to kill him too." That is not believer.

AUs are the best. I firmly live in my Harry Potter crossover now, because it circumvents the need for Chuck to return.

Jun. 23rd, 2018 12:16 am (UTC)
You're very welcome! :D I'm solidly Christian myself, but I've been reading some Jewish Tumblr accounts as research for a Jewish character I'm putting in an original fic project, and there's been a fair bit of discussion of secular Jews using half-joking phrases like "There is only one God, and I don't believe in Him" and "I don't believe in God, but I'll fight Him anyway."
Jun. 23rd, 2018 12:30 am (UTC)
Haha, those are some great lines.

I'm a solid atheist. One of my favourite lines when Christians (or other religious people, but it's usually Christians) ask me if I believe in God is to tell them that "I was born without the ability to believe in God, and if God made me this way, who am I to question Him."

It gives me a laugh, anyway.

Anyway, yay for research and learning new things!

Jun. 23rd, 2018 07:34 am (UTC)
I don't mean the characters are not responsible for their own actions. They have free will and can choose what to do. However, he is partly responsible because he is the writer. I mean, you wouldn't take responsibility for your characters' actions in your stories... You wouldn't be considered good or bad for what you make your characters do, but then you are the one writing the story so in a way you are the one creating the destiny for your characters however much you give them free rein in the story. It's complicated.

Agnostics are people who don't believe in anything without sufficient proof - that is the definition I got. Dean told Sam if you want me to believe this is an angel, prove it. This is the good thing about their situation - that they can actually prove what the "thing" is instead of going on faith alone.

In your quote, he says there is no God, no higher power, but right afterwards he tells Sam to prove it to him and he will believe. At the end, he is also willing to entertain the notion because of the evidence he saw. That shows me that he has left the possibility open - that there just might be a higher power or angels, but he hasn't seen any proof of that so until he does, he cannot believe.

When he actually met Cas, after all evidence pointed that way, he finally believed that Cas really was an angel. He didn't continue to deny that there was such a thing.

Most confusing to me was your definition of "belief" "believer." What is it exactly?

To me, there are several meanings to the word and you seem to use them all mixed up so it is a bit confusing reading your post and reply.

One definition of "belief in" something is a strong conviction. I believe in God, would mean I have strong conviction that God exists. Not that he is good or evil or cares or doesn't care. Atheists believe in no god. They have a strong conviction that there is no god or God. In so far as Dean knows God (and gods) exists, then to me that is belief in God(and gods). Someone who believes God exists is to me a "believer."

But there is another meaning isn't there. More like believing that someone will come through for you or do what you predict. I believe in God could also mean that I believe God will do what I think he should do. Maybe that is your definition? This kind of "belief in" someone is not a foundation for a faith. If someone is a Christian because they believe God will do what they want him to, that unfortunately is not what Christianity is about (or Judaism is about as far as I know) and they are sure to be disappointed.

A person that prays to God to ask him for a favor, whether he believes without any proof, or with definitive proof that God exists, is the same in my mind. If you have a strong conviction that God exists, it doesn't really matter what kind of proof there is.

Did Dean believe that God would act the way he asked him to? I think he definitely hoped for it and knew it might be a possibility. Why else would he even try to call God? Why would he be so disappointed when his prayer wasn't answered if he didn't have a bit of hope to begin with? Whether he thought it was stupid to hope or not, he still did.

I personally believe that God did answer his prayer through Jack and Cas, because he is the writer and he works through his characters.
I have to go back and rewatch more to see whether Dean believes this or not.
Jun. 23rd, 2018 07:49 am (UTC)
Yeah, so the problem is definitely that we're speaking to different definitions, and understanding things differently.

To me, Chuck isn't a writer. When I write, I dictate where the story goes - my characters don't actually have free will, because I'm manipulating them the whole time. I come up with the scenario they are in - I make the dog catch up with them and bite them in the leg. I make the river current strong enough to pull away the dead body. My character might never act outside of their own "free will" but they are always reacting to obstacles that I'm deliberately putting in there way. That's writing.

Chuck created the world, but it's the watch maker - he made the watch, and then he walked away and let it tick on without him - but, the world is far more complicated than a watch... God gave everyone free will, and so it's a chaotic mess. He's not dictating exactly what obstacles each person is facing in his world. When Chuck "writes" he's recording history... the only time he does this PREDICATIVELY is when the demons and angels are manipulating Sam and Dean (like writers) and Chuck, being Chuck, KNOWS it... but HE'S not interfering, he's not dictating the story.

So, the story isn't God's doing at all. It's like... I could write a book about Ireland in the summer of 1916, but I wouldn't be the cause of any of those events. The only difference with Chuck is that he can see the future... so, he can also write a book about Ireland in the summer of 2049, but he still wouldn't have caused those events.

Like, if you have a baby, and then give your baby up for adoption - you've created life that has free will. Does then every action your baby take reflect on you? No. That's how I see Chuck. He had a bunch of babies and then put them up for adoption... and now his babies are off doing stuff in the world, and really, the only credit he gets is that he gave birth to them. Everything else is their own doing.
Jun. 23rd, 2018 07:59 am (UTC)
I'm using the definition of "agnostic" as "belief in SOMETHING, but unsure what" - so that's the miscommunication there. To me, atheists are people who don't believe in anything unless given hard proof - and therefore don't believe in God. (FYI: This isn't the definition I used for Dean, this is my definition I give for OUR world.)

I'm using "believe in" not as "believe that people will do what you want them to do" - that's DEFINITELY RIDICULOUS. I don't even use that definition for my friends when I say that I believe in them.

I'm using it as "believe that they will do what is right, to the best of their ability, regardless of whether it is what I want" - like, my bestfriend decided to marry an American and move to Washington DC - that is DEFINITELY not what I wanted him to do, or what I thought he SHOULD do... but I believe in him. I believe that he is making the best decisions for himself and I have faith that he knows what he is doing. I trust in him.

That's the definition I'm using - people who believe in and have faith in God, believe that God knows what he is doing, that God has a plan, that God is doing what He feels is best - even if it doesn't make sense to us. Like, we may pray to God to heal someone's cancer, we may ask him to take it away - but if he doesn't, that doesn't stop us from believing in him - in having faith that for some reason God DIDN'T heal that person, and we have to have TRUST in God that there was a reason for that, and we just don't know it, etc.

That's the definition I'm using. Dean doesn't trust that God will do the right thing. He doesn't believe that God will make the right decisions. And he's not exactly wrong when it comes to Chuck, since Chuck is VERY MUCH not the Abrahamic God.
Jun. 23rd, 2018 08:50 am (UTC)
Have you seen that definition of agnostic anywhere else? I have not come across anything similar.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:
Agnosticism, (from Greek agnōstos, “unknowable”), strictly speaking, the doctrine that humans cannot know of the existence of anything beyond the phenomena of their experience.

In other words, if they can't experience it, they cannot believe in it.

I'm using it as "believe that they will do what is right, to the best of their ability, regardless of whether it is what I want"

That is interesting. Yes, I understand that definition but... what is "right" to you if you don't believe in the existence of God? To me that is a very religious set of words. Do you have your own definition of right and wrong? If so, wouldn't that be the same as saying that they are doing what you want them to do?

And how do you know for sure that Chuck is not doing the right thing and he is wrong to give them free will or not interfere? How can we or his characters ever understand what is in his mind? He can appear human and seems to have human likes and dislikes, but he is not. He created the humans and everything else on earth. Was there actual indication that he was not omnipresent or omniscient? Again I have to rewatch those seasons.

Edited at 2018-06-23 09:37 am (UTC)
Jun. 23rd, 2018 08:28 pm (UTC)
Ah, well then, perhaps I'm not using the word agnostic correctly. It wouldn't be the first time that I have been using a word with an incorrect meaning associated with it. The place I have heard MY definition before is in discussions with another person - so this could be a case where the wrong definition was taught to me.

Hence, our confusion in this conversation!

But urban dictionaries description of agnostics sort of touches on what I meant about it (in the "apistis" page - because "apistis" is actually what I meant - "without faith"):

"Agnostics are claimed to give up on ever knowing whether unknowable things exist (which is a silly claim but that's sort of what the word infers) and atheists are claimed to completely rule out the possibility of a god without any proof against it (which is exactly what the word means so the claim is justified)."

Or a better source than urban dictionary, philosopher William Rowe: "agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist"

As in - agnostics are like "there may be God, but we can never know for sure," and atheists are like "I'm going to need some goddamn proof before I even ENTERTAIN the thought of believing in God." Basically, in agnosticism, God is Shroedinger's God - he both exists and doesn't exist. Agnostics believe that he COULD exist, whereas atheists will only believe he exists if it is proven to them, until then, he doesn't exist.

Do you have your own definition of right and wrong? If so, wouldn't that be the same as saying that they are doing what you want them to do?

The short answer to these two questions is 1)yes, and 2)no. The long answers are:

1)My morality tells me what is write or wrong, and my morality is not something that's dictated to me by a Church or a God, but rather an understanding of right and wrong that I have arrived at through a combination of philosophical thought, empathy, and lived experience. If you put two rats in a cage and try to starve one of them, the other rat will give the starving rat his food - I don't think the rat does that because the rat follows a rat-religion. I mean, I could be wrong, I don't know a rat's mind, and if I die, and I get to heaven and God is like "Surprise, I exist! Also I implanted an innate sense of right and wrong into all living things and you don't actually have an independent morality" I'll be like "ah, well, I was wrong about where that came from then" - but, until that happens, I believe that we're capable of understanding right from wrong perfectly fine without God or religion.

2)No, because I'm open to the idea that they might know better than I do. When they go against what I think is right or wrong in a situation, I don't lose faith in them - I think "well, they must know better than I do - there must be something about this situation that I don't understand." Or, if what they're doing seems really wrong, I'll be like "I think they're making a mistake, but I believe they will learn from this mistake and make it right again." When someone does something REALLY REALLY REALLY WRONG - like, if my friend were to kidnap torture and murder someone or something, that would cause me to loose all faith in him. I would no longer trust him to make the right decisions.

Jun. 23rd, 2018 08:28 pm (UTC)
And how do you know for sure that Chuck is not doing the right thing and he is wrong to give them free will or not interfere?

I don't. But in my opinion, Dean feels that he can make that judgement call on Chuck's actions.

How can we or his characters ever understand what is in his mind?

They can talk with him, as they have. They can judge him by his actions or inactions, which they do. The same way that we feel we can come to know each other's minds, when that's actually an impossibility as well. I believe in my friend because I have talked with him, because I have seen the kind of person that he is through his actions - but I don't know his thoughts at all, nor do I know yours, or anyone's.

Was there actual indication that he was not omnipresent or omniscient?

In my opinion there was. I believed I talked about it when I did my rewatches of his episodes, but I don't remember specifically at the moment without going back and rereading. BUT you have to remember that this is all MY INTERPRETATION of the text. I'm not arguing that I'm right or wrong here, I'm saying "this is how I see and understand it" and you might be different, and that's FINE. I have different interpretations of things all the time, it doesn't make me right or wrong, it just makes me me.

Me answering your questions here isn't me trying to change your mind - it's me explaining why I've got a different take then you - it's me explaining HOW I'm different and why I disagree with your interpretation, it's not because I think you should agree with me. Just so we're clear. :)
Jun. 24th, 2018 12:00 am (UTC)
Of course hon. I'm not trying to change your opinion either. Just explain mine more, and understand yours better and maybe we both get wiser for the conversation. I also have to go do a rewatch 😆Thank you! It's been a while since I had such a nice talk.
Jun. 24th, 2018 12:45 am (UTC)
Awesome! Likewise! I love discussing this stuff. :)

My day job is moderating internet forums that often end up REALLY antagonistic for no reason (well, mostly for the reason of politics and public discourse these days), I sometimes I get a little paranoid that people think I'm trying to persuade, when really I'm just trying to explain my point of view.
Jun. 23rd, 2018 08:10 am (UTC)
Anyway, I disagree about Jack being a vessel in which God answered Dean's prayer - again, because Jack is just a grandkid of God's, God didn't tell him to bring back Cas - that was Jack's decision.

But again, we might just be too theologically different to interpret the show in the same way - I'm VERY MUCH a humanist, if I'm anything other than an atheist - to me, if you're going to have free will, it's FREE will... I think that's what probably my big hang-up with the idea of God answering Dean's prayer THROUGH Jack. To me, that sounds like God is USING Jack, as in Jack doesn't have free will.

And I know that that's a line that Christians use in our world - that like... God healed the cancer THROUGH the doctors. And I'm of two minds about that to be honest (in our world, we're ignoring SPN, since Chuck is a VERY HANDS OFF GOD, so I just disagree that God is influencing ANYTHING, on like, a CHARACTER LEVEL)

On the one hand "God acts through other people" is a good message, because it stops people from waiting for divine miracles and instead asks them to look for people who are trying to help - and accept those people as God's answer to their prayers. This is really good, because you do get the people who refuse to take their kids to the hospital because "God will heal them" and it's like, uh, no he won't - God needs someone to give that kid some medical aid in order to heal them.

And from that respect, I approve of that idea.

Where I start disapproving of it, is when people are like "God healed my kid!" and they completely ignore the 20 medical care professionals who worked around the clock to save their kid... and they don't pay attention or appreciate the HUMANITY in other people. I think you can really close yourself off to empathy and appreciating others if you get too far into the "God answered my prayers through this person." No, that person CHOSE to help you. They could have NOT helped you, but they DID. So, fine, thank God, but also thank Charlie and Bertha over there for being decent people.

But again, that's a super long rant that's not about SPN at all. Like I said, SPN's God is entirely different than our God, and so my normal definitions of things get really screwy, because we don't have words for things when we KNOW there is a God, but he's NOT omniscient, omnipotent, or (arguably) omnipresent. SPN's God is very much a pagan God in Judeo-Christian trappings. So, like, Dean knows that the Greek, Hindu, and Norse gods exist too - but he doesn't believe in them either.
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