Created By: intersection on March 26, 2013 Last Edited By: intersection on June 22, 2013

Good Fortune From God

Stating that money or property is given by an unseen power, without further explanation.

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You find yourself in hardship: out of work, business is bad, you owe for the rent, you owe for the rusty old car, you owe for utilities, etc.

Then you come across what might be called an unexpected blessing. All of a sudden, or so it seems, you get money, you get a new job, you can now pay your bills, maybe you can even get a new car or a Big Fancy House. But most of all, you are now ecstatic at your sudden good fortune.

You share this incredible story, usually in front of a group of people, perhaps at an event where your testimony is invited. Or you share it on the internet. So you tell the story and ...

you never quite say how you received your drastic change of financial health or material wealth. You Hand Wave this Contrived Coincidence as a gift from an unseen or even divine force. You attribute your new-found happiness to Good Fortune from God. Below is an illustration of it in Real Life, as it is source of many examples of this.

"Thanks for all your prayers. A prayer partner prayed with me concerning my rent. It was behind because Iíve recently been out of work. After the prayer of agreement the Lord blessed me with money to pay my rent and my motherís rent. Then the Lord blessed me with a 1-year lease even though I donít currently have any income. God is so good! Thereís more. The Lord blessed me with another lump sum of money and with that money I was able to get my car back that had been repossessed. Now I can get back out there and look for employment."

The key is that one is given an unexpected blessing, usually a sudden windfall of money or property, of which how it was received is left unexplained. In not revealing the actual source, credit is given to faith in a deity, a divine being, or some other higher power. How the "blessing" was given is never explicitly stated, literally or metaphorically. Essentially, Deus ex Machina is credited for material gain.

The being or power is considered to be the source of unexpected prosperity. In case there is any doubt about God-Given good grace being indeed God-given, proponents may cite scripture to make their point.

Beliefs in Good Fortune from God are ancient in origin and have been featured in fictional works. Because the source of the fortune remains a mystery, the self-described recipient may really be a Mock Millionaire, even if Conspicuous Consumption is part of the testimony. Whether by quoting words or showing off, the idea is to make a show without revealing the source of the new-found wealth.

Good Fortune from God, as seen typically in Real Life, occurs with or without a deity. The higher power can be vague (as in the "name it, claim it" advice given in self-help works) or very specific (God or Jesus in churches that follow the Prosperity Theology movement) . In the latter, it can be a tool for Easy Evangelism, and such a notion has been criticized for treating divinity like a Benevolent Genie.

Therefore, a reader or a listener is not certain if the windfall was literally given by such a divine being or in fact could have been something truly unexpected, say, finding an envelope of cash on the ground. However, giving credit to an unseen power can have much impact emotionally.

While no deaths are reported, this is similar for its non-explanation to Unexplained Recovery.

Compare with Religion Is Magic and You Fail Logic Forever.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Supplementary materials to Shingeki No Kyojin reveal that the Wall Around The World was apparently conveniently there when humanity was fleeing the Titans; people privy to conspiracy secrets jumped on this and called it a gift from god.

Films - Live Action

Literature

  • Moist von Lipwig invokes this in MakingMoney. After Reacher Gilt has the Post Office burned down, Moist fakes a divine message arriving into his head, runs off with a spade, and returns with an enormous pile of money (all of the money he'd stolen and stashed away before being caught). This being Ankh-Morpork, he is soon confronted by just about every priest in the city who claims that their god requires an expensive sacrifice as thanks for the windfall.

Music

  • While not strictly this trope, Gene Simmons very much illustrated how it is expressed:
    God gives you a wallet, and you can have less money or more, what would you pick?
  • In the Genesis song "Jesus He Loves Me," there is illustration of what often gives rise to this trope, and it's not always in the religious sense:
    There'll be no doubt in your mind
    You'll believe everything I'm saying
    If you wanna get closer to him
    Get on your knees and start paying

Non Fiction Literature

  • The Secret is perhaps the best-known non-theistic example, given its Daydream Believer approach toward seeking what is desired.
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad has a twist to this trope. Like it, the source of Bob Kiyosaki's wealth is never revealed explicitly, although he only credited "Rich Dad" for the advice that made his alleged wealth possible. But he went even further, for he has never positively identified the eponymous "Rich Dad."

Video Games

  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the followers of Lyria tend to share this view. Particularly notable in the town of Tirin's Rest, which turns away starving refugees because they obviously deserve their fate.

Webcomics

  • The Viper Clan in Goblins consists of goblin supremacists who believe that they are divinely ordained to rule over all goblins, and eventually all other races, and take the fact that they are one of the most powerful clans as proof that they are the chosen ones of Maglubiyet, the goblin deity. Dies Horribly turns this logic against them by arguing that if they're only successful because Maglubiyet favors them, they can't take credit for, or pride in anything they do.

Western Animation

Carl: Look, your baby wants a car, make him yank out a freakin' Lamborghini out of midair!
Meatwad: I'm afraid that would be a vulgar display of his power.
  • The Simpsons: Homer gets a (one-episode) boost on his faith when he discovers that every time he prays, his luck changes for the better. This makes him win bets, find lost pennies, get discounts and late in the episode get Springfield Church as settlement for accidentally falling on a hole in its terrain that he was convinced by an Ambulance Chaser to sue for.

Real Life

  • The terms "Charism" and "Charisma" are essentially this.
  • This was a very common belief in Protestant Europe in past centuries: that the wealthy were chosen by God to be wealthy, and the poor were made poor by God (as opposed to society/economy). The belief that wealth was the sign of God's favor led to the "Protestant work ethic" and the Western value placed on money solely for money's sake (as opposed to what it can buy). This was a core building block founding modern capitalist ideology.
  • This is still a common belief. See things like Prosperity Theology. In the United States, the Trope Codifiers can be seen preaching inside megachurches or on some Sunday morning religious programs.
  • In Thailand, there is an emerging Buddhist movement known as [[www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/may-24-2013/decline-of-buddhism-in-thailand/16592/ Dhammakaya,]] which is similar to the Prosperity Gospel in using meditation to increase material gain.
  • An infamous remark by Ramzan Kadyrov, president of the Russian autonomous republic of Chechnya. He claimed that "Allah gives us money to develop the republic", while it's common knowledge that the money comes from the Russian budget to ensure Chechnya's loyalty to the federal center.
Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • March 26, 2013
    Astaroth
    • The Viper Clan in Goblins consists of goblin supremacists who believe that they are divinely ordained to rule over all goblins, and eventually all other races, and take the fact that they are one of the most powerful clans as proof that they are the chosen ones of Maglubiyet, the goblin deity. Dies Horribly turns this logic against them by arguing that if they're only successful because Maglubiyet favors them, they can't take credit for, or pride in anything they do.
  • March 26, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    This was a very common belief in Protestant Europe in past centuries: that the wealthy were chosen by God to be wealthy, and the poor were made poor by God (as opposed to society/economy). The belief that wealth was the sign of God's favor led to the "Protestant work ethic" and the Western value placed on money solely for money's sake (as opposed to what it can buy). This was a core building block founding modern capitalist ideology.
  • March 26, 2013
    surgoshan
    This is still a common belief. See things like Prosperity Theology.
  • March 27, 2013
    aurora369
    Real Life: an infamous remark by Ramzan Kadyrov, president of the Russian autonomous republic of Chechnya. He claimed that "Allah gives us money to develop the republic", while it's common knowledge that the money comes from the Russian budget to ensure Chechnya's loyalty to the federal center.
  • March 27, 2013
    Chabal2
    Moist von Lipwig invokes this in Making Money. After Reacher Gilt has the Post Office burned down, Moist fakes a divine message arriving into his head, runs off with a spade, and returns with an enormous pile of money (all of the money he'd stolen and stashed away before being caught). This being Ankh-Morpork, he is soon confronted by just about every priest in the city who claims that their god requires an expensive sacrifice as thanks for the windfall.

  • March 27, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Example from The Simpsons: Homer gets a (one-episode) boost on his faith when he discovers that every time he prays, his luck changes for the better.

    This makes him win bets, find lost pennies, get discounts and late in the episode get Springfield Church as settlement for accidentally falling on a hole in its terrain that he was convinced by an Ambulance Chaser to sue for.
  • March 27, 2013
    helterskelter
    The description should be altered to draw it away from real life religion. You could also possibly expand this to any good fortune. Gods Good Fortune is perhaps a better name? Describe it more in fictional terms, where a character credits divine will as the reason for the good things in their life. You should also usually provide examples.

    It also is written in a confusing, unproductive way that references cases of people believing this, rather than describing the actual idea.
  • March 27, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    ^ This is a good suggestion, though the description should at least mention that it was a common belief in ancient times, as part of its genesis as a fictional trope.
  • March 30, 2013
    intersection
    Thanks, everybody, these are all helping. And thanks especially for the name change. It does capture the idea more broadly.
  • March 30, 2013
    Nocturna
    I think the name should maybe be Good Fortune From God, or similar. God's Good Fortune made me think that it was God having good fortune rather than God distributing good fortune.
  • March 30, 2013
    intersection
    Aha, good point: because the idea here is, as you pointed out, the unseen as the source of the blessing!
  • April 2, 2013
    Arivne
  • April 3, 2013
    Chabal2
    Or God-Given Good Fortune.
  • April 3, 2013
    helterskelter
    God-Given Good Grace? Added Alliterative Appeal, after all.
  • April 3, 2013
    intersection
    Hey, I'd like to work that in, somehow!
  • April 19, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^Like.
  • April 19, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    I like the consonant balance of Good Fortune From God and vote for that. God Given Good Grace is a little too much of a tongue-twister for me despite the alliteration.
  • April 20, 2013
    Nocturna
    One thing which could use work is the description. It should be re-worked so that it doesn't start with an Example As Thesis (i.e., start with an explanation of what the trope is, rather than an example of the trope).
  • April 20, 2013
    intersection
    Thanks, great idea!
  • April 26, 2013
    TheHandle
    Replaced "Allah" with "God" in the quote, to avoid Gratuitous Foreign Language.
  • April 26, 2013
    intersection
    The terms "Charism" and "Charisma" are essentially this.
  • April 26, 2013
    Nocturna
    ^^ "Allah" is the Islamic deity. "God" is the Christian deity. They are not really interchangeable when talking about religion. I changed it back.
  • April 26, 2013
    KingZeal
    "Allah" is the word for God, and it includes the Judeo-Christian God, and any other understanding of a perfect, infallible monotheistic deity.

    From The Other Wiki: "Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word "Allah" to mean "God".[7] The Christian Arabs of today have no other word for "God" than "Allah""
  • April 26, 2013
    Nocturna
    Okay, I stand corrected.
  • May 19, 2013
    MattStriker
    Video Games
    • In Kingdoms Of Amalur Reckoning, the followers of Lyria tend to share this view. Particularly notable in the town of Tirin's Rest, which turns away starving refugees because they obviously deserve their fate.
  • May 23, 2013
    littlemissmuffet
    • In The Messenger, Jeanne (AKA Joan of Arc) claims the sword she found in a field was a gift from God. Later, when she's in prison, her conscience reminds her that there are many mundane ways a sword could've gotten in that field.
  • May 31, 2013
    Larkmarn
    How about All Thanks To God because the current title doesn't really convey that it's about attributing one's good fortune to god.
  • June 1, 2013
    Antigone3
    I don't have the exact quote, and we'd want it before launch, but at one point in the Malloreon a random bit character infodrops the exact piece of information Belgarath needed. Belgarath comments that the gods have always been fond of him, Beldin immediately calls him out with "you think of good fortune as a god?"
  • June 8, 2013
    intersection
    If we could find it, it would be great! Any ideas where to look?
  • June 11, 2013
    Synchronicity
    • Supplementary materials to Shingeki No Kyojin reveal that the Wall Around The World was apparently conveniently there when humanity was fleeing the Titans; people privy to conspiracy secrets jumped on this and called it a gift from god.
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