Created By: Pyroninja42 on December 7, 2011 Last Edited By: Fighteer on January 11, 2013
Troped

Apocalypse Cult

A cult that actively seeks to usher in the Apocalypse

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Page Type:
Trope
Needs a Better Description, Needs More Examples, Seen It a Million Times, How Did We Miss This One?

A dark take on the cult, an Apocalypse Cult tends to crop up in fiction wherever Cosmic Horror Story elements are present, with the members actively seeking to bring about the end of the world. There are several flavors of Apocalypse Cult, but most seek to awaken or make possible the return of some god of destruction to destroy the world and "make it anew".

They will often be seen conducting arcane rituals of untold horrors and believe they will be rewarded with the equivalent of paradise for their service. As they are often a form of Religion of Evil, they tend to be practitioners of The Dark Arts. Human sacrifices, necromancers, zombies and other forms of undead are optional but often seen among their ranks.

No Real Life Examples, Please!.

Examples:

[[folder:Comicbooks]]
  • In the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. 'verse, there are a large number of cults and secret societies--Project Ragna Rok, the Oannes Society, and the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra, to name a few--hoping the trigger the apocalypse. Most of them are operating under the logic that the world is going to end anyway, but if they're the ones who pull the trigger, they'll at least have some measure of control over the destruction.
  • In Tom Robbins's Skinny Legs And All, Reverend Buddy Winkler is working with terrorists who plan to bomb The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, so that the Third Temple can be built.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
  • Friendship is Witchcraft has an ongoing subplot involving Fluttershy leading a cult that worships The Smooze, and intends to summon him to destroy Equestria.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • In Cold Copper Tears, the cult of the Devastator aims to release a world-destroying dark god from its prison. Lampshaded and deconstructed by the Dead Man, who points out that, subconsciously, the cultists don't really want to end the world, they're just morbid and petty enough to get a charge out of thinking they can.
  • Humanx Commonwealth series: A cult called the Order of Null appears in Flinx's Folly and later novels. They have learned of the approach of the galaxy-devouring Great Evil, and see it as their role to remove any obstacles to its coming. This includes Flinx himself, who is the Chosen One fated to destroy it. It is later revealed that they are abetted by none other than Flinx's archnemesis, Mahnahmi, a powerful telepath and an embittered nihilist.
  • In Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus! trilogy, the Illuminati Prime (the five most powerful people in the world) are actively seeking to Immanetize the Eschaton - ie, bring about the apocalypse - to make themselves immortal and provide a massive blood sacrifice to their Elder Brothers and Sisters, the Lloigr of Cthulu.
  • China Mieville's novel Kraken has some Lovecraftian doomsday cultists as among the good guys.
  • In The Laundry Series, a number of cults try to bring their Eldritch Abomination deities to Earth which would result in the deaths of millions and End of the World as We Know It. The Cult of the Black Pharaoh is the oldest and most dangerous one of these.
  • Neil Gaiman's story Shoggoths Old Peculiar has an (initially) Unfazed Everyman American tourist who visits the picturesque English town of Innsmouth and converses in a pub with the friendly Cthulhu-worshipers who live there. He ends up with a bad hangover and a "feeling of nameless dread" (TM).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • Played for Laughs in Parks and Recreation with the "Reasonablists", who don't make any effort in ushering in their Destroyer God, Zorp. They just often make rather incorrect predictions on when the world will end and hold "End Of The World" gatherings.
  • In Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, the retirement-home satanists who are trying to capture the Book of Pure Evil want to make Todd into the Pure Evil One who will destroy the world.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Mythic Dawn in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion are attempting to destroy the safeguards between Nirn and Oblivion so that they may summon Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of destruction.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has the Dragon Cult from eons past (they may or may not have known that Alduin was destined to devour the world, of course).
  • The geth heretics in Mass Effect worship the Reapers and actively aid them in their latest purge of the galaxy's spacefaring races.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Toward the end of Persona 3 a doomsday cult heralding the appearance of Nyx to bring death to the world appears. Though it only exists behind the scenes, it is led by Takaya.
    • Persona 4 also has a downplayed version near the end as the fog covering Inuaba makes the people more an more apathetic it's implied that cults have started popping up.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
  • Call of Cthulhu had Cthulhu Mythos cults trying to do this in several campaign adventures.
    • Shadows of Yog-Sothoth. The Lords of the Silver Twilight try to raise the island of R'lyeh to the surface and free Cthulhu so he can take over (and destroy) the world.
    • Masks of Nyarlathotep. Cult groups controlled by Nyarlathotep himself try to perform a ritual that will let hordes of Mythos monsters into the world to destroy mankind.
    • The Fungi from Yuggoth. The Brotherhood of the Beast tries to cause a worldwide catastrophe by arranging for terrorist attacks, the summoning of gigantic dholes and the activation of a giant monster in Egypt, all on the Day of the Beast.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons 4E "Points of Light" setting prominently features the Cult of Orcus, which is bent upon summoning the Prince of Undeath and thereby ending civilization as we know it. This is especially true of certain low-level pre-made campaigns such as "Keep On The Shadowfell."
  • In Warhammer Forty Thousand we have the Genestealer cults, who prepare the planet for the Tyranid invasion. Their apocaplypse involves the Tyranids devouring anything that offers resistance, then turning everything alive on the planet (including the Tyranid forces and surviving Genestealers) into soup so it can be absorbed by the hive fleet.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • South Park: the leader of the Anti-Semetic Jews captures Moses in order to ready the world for the return of Haman.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 40
  • December 7, 2011
    Duncan
  • December 7, 2011
    Pyroninja42
    Stay classy.
  • December 7, 2011
    Bisected8
    • Also from The Elder Scrolls series; Skyrim has the Dragon Cult from eons past (they may or may not have known that Aludin was destined to devour the world, of course).
  • December 7, 2011
    TechUnadept
    christians don't seek to "usher in" anything. They patiently await it. rant rant rant. whiiiiiiiiiiine.
  • December 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    South Park: the leader of the Anti-Semetic Jews captures Moses in order to ready the world for the return of Haman.
  • December 7, 2011
    MorganWick
    ^^Some so-called "Christians", though, seem obsessed with creating the perfect conditions for the apocalypse to happen... (I'm thinking specifically of their reasons for supporting Israel)
  • December 8, 2011
    nielas
    In The Laundry Series a number of cults try to bring their Eldritch Abomination deities to Earth which would result in the deaths of millions and End Of The World As We Know It. The Cult of the Black Pharaoh is the oldest and most dangerous one of these.
  • December 8, 2011
    VioletOrange
  • December 8, 2011
    Nullspace
    In Tabletop Games: The DungeonsAndDragons 4E "Points of Light" setting prominently features the Cult of Orcus, which is bent upon summoning the Prince of Undeath and thereby ending civilization as we know it. This is especially true of certain low-level pre-made campaigns such as "Keep On The Shadowfell."
  • December 8, 2011
    Chabal2
    Also from Warhammer 40 K are Genestealer cults, who prepare the planet for Tyranid invasion. Their apocaplypse involves the Tyranids devouring anything that offers resistance, then turning everything alive on the planet (including the Tyranid forces and surviving Genestealers) into soup so it can be absorbed by the hive fleet.
  • December 9, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Ghost Busters. In the Back Story, Ivo Shandor's Gozer worshippers conducted rituals intended to bring about the end of the world.
  • December 9, 2011
    cityofmist
    I'm pretty sure the Church of God Kraken fall under this, as would the angels in Supernatural.
  • December 9, 2011
    Duncan
    In Tom Robbins' Skinny Legs and All, Reverend Buddy Winkler is working with terrorists who plan to bomb The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, so that the Third Temple can be built.
  • January 3, 2013
    Arutema
    Can we get a No Real Life Examples Please? Calling any real-life religion or sect a cult tends to be Flame Bait.
  • January 3, 2013
    PaulieRomanov
    I believe we should have real life examples, but they should be monitored.

    Many excellent real-life examples are cults that everyone agrees were pretty insane, such as the Branch Davidians at Waco, Jonestown, Heaven's Gate Cult, Manson Family, etc.
  • January 3, 2013
    TrueShadow1

    Also support No Real Life Examples Please
  • January 4, 2013
    Arivne
    ^^^ While all of the groups you mention may have been crazy, in order for them to qualify for this trope they would have to have been actively trying to cause an apocalypse. As far as I know none of them were. In fact I can't think of any Real Life cult which has (or had) this objective.

    Thirding No Real Life Examples Please.

    Film

    Tabletop Games
    • Call Of Cthulhu had Cthulhu Mythos cults trying to do this in several campaign adventures.
      • Shadows of Yog-Sothoth. The Lords of the Silver Twilight try to raise the island of R'lyeh to the surface and free Cthulhu so he can take over (and destroy) the world.
      • Masks of Nyarlathotep. Cult groups controlled by Nyarlathotep himself try to perform a ritual that will let hordes of Mythos monsters into the world to destroy mankind.
      • The Fungi from Yuggoth. The Brotherhood of the Beast tries to cause a worldwide catastrophe by arranging for terrorist attacks, the summoning of gigantic dholes and the activation of a giant monster in Egypt, all on the Day of the Beast.
  • January 4, 2013
    Bisected8
    • Persona 4 also has a downplayed version near the end as the fog covering Inuaba makes the people more an more apathetic it's implied that cults have started popping up.
  • January 4, 2013
    AgProv
    In Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus! trilogy, the Illuminati Prime (the five most powerful people in the world) are actively seeking to Immanetize the Eschaton - ie, bring about the apocalypse - to make themselves immortal and provide a massive blood sacrifice to their Elder Brothers and Sisters, the Lloigr of Cthulu.
  • January 4, 2013
    StarSword
    Literature:
    • In the Animorphs finale The Beginning, two years after the Yeerk defeat various anti-alien terrorist groups have cropped up and started attacking Andalite tourists and the like. According to Jake, some of the worst are cults that think the presence of aliens on Earth is staving off a long-awaited apocalypse. (Which raises the question of where they were a few books ago when the Yeerks were blasting the living daylights out of California...)
  • January 4, 2013
    SHRINKWRAPPED
    Ok, I'm new to this:

    The requirement for an "evil god" is perhaps unnecessary, as an Apocalypse might generally be seen as a bad thing...

    1954 science-fiction short story by Arthur C Clarke "The Nine Billion Names of God".

    A group of Tibetan monks are engaged in a project to list the names of God. They believe that this is the essential purpose of creation. Once this purpose has been achieved, everything will end.

    They've already been doing this by hand for 300 years and anticipate a further 15,000 years to complete the job. Sensibly, their Abbot decides to bring in a computer to speed things up a bit.

    Two Western experts come to set up the computer, and the project is greatly accelerated. They decide to leave before things are completed, as they anticipate that the monks will be upset if nothing happens...

    As they reach the airstrip for their flight home they notice "overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out."
  • January 4, 2013
    SharleeD
    • In Cold Copper Tears, the cult of the Devastator aims to release a world-destroying dark god from its prison. Lampshaded and deconstructed by the Dead Man, who points out that, subconsciously, the cultists don't really want to end the world, they're just morbid and petty enough to get a charge out of thinking they can.
  • January 5, 2013
    TrustBen
    End of Days on the third Season Finale of Fringe were a pro-world ending terrorist group with religious overtones.
  • January 5, 2013
    StarSword
    Video Games
    • The geth heretics in Mass Effect worship the Reapers and actively aid them in their latest purge of the galaxy's spacefaring races.
  • January 5, 2013
    randomsurfer
    On Angel there was apparently a cult which worshipped Illyria, an Old One who, after being resurrected, sought the destruction of humankind. But the only member we see is her high priest Knox.
  • January 6, 2013
    Xtifr
    • In Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil, the retirement-home satanists who are trying to capture the Book of Pure Evil want to make Todd into the Pure Evil One who will destroy the world.
  • January 6, 2013
    wotnoplot
    I think that Christianity and the mainstream religions, with the exception of Buddhism, passively seek to usher in the apocalypse, though Christianity may have started out more active in this regard.
  • January 6, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Dunno about the other major religions, but see Artistic License Religion and Artistic License Traditional Christianity. Certainly, there are some Christians who are trying to bring in the apocalypse, but they haven't read the Bible very well: Matthew 24:36 states that we will not know when the Second Coming is to happen. It'll happen on God's time, not ours.
  • January 6, 2013
    Madrugada
    None of the mainstream religions actively seek to bring about the end of the world. Splinter sects and cults may, but given the fact that of the first six response, 2 were digs at Christianity and 2 were responses to those digs, the indications are strong that Real Life examples will quickly become a nest of religion-bashing. Invoking the Rule Of Cautious Editing Judgement and making this a No Real Life Examples Please page from the start will save a lot of grief and arguing later on. I can think of only one cult that actively tried to jumpstart the Apocalypse: Aum Shinrikyo, the ones who planted the Sarin in Japan's subways in 1995

    I also agree with @/SHRINKWRAPPED that the god doesn't necessarily have to be evil itself.
  • January 6, 2013
    Fighteer
    Literature example:

    • Humanx Commonwealth series: A cult called the Order of Null appears in Flinx's Folly and later novels. They have learned of the approach of the galaxy-devouring Great Evil, and see it as their role to remove any obstacles to its coming. This includes Flinx himself, who is the Chosen One fated to destroy it. It is later revealed that they are abetted by none other than Flinx's archnemesis, Mahnahmi, a powerful telepath and an embittered nihilist.
  • January 6, 2013
    StarSword
  • January 6, 2013
    lu127
    There won't be any.
  • January 6, 2013
    Megaptera
    Is this confined to cults where the followers know they're bringing about the end of the world, or does it include cults where the followers think they're going to get something else (power, immortality, whatever) but the leader is fooling them? Or even where nobody in the cult realizes that reaching their goal will end the world?
  • January 6, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    The description and examples seem confined to apocalypse being the stated goal.
  • January 8, 2013
    StarSword
    ^^Yeah, the others would fall under something like Path Of Inspiration or Scam Religion.
  • January 8, 2013
    lu127
    Does this need further tweaking? I basically rewrote the original description when I first picked it up.
  • January 8, 2013
    Tomodachi
    Kefka Cult

    And in South Park, those christmas animals that wished to awake Satan.

    ^^^^^Oh, you guys always take the fun out of the Real life examples :(
  • January 9, 2013
    Nithael
    ^What fun? The very first comment here was a dig at Christianity. Can't you really see why real life examples might be a bad idea? Also, you need to elaborate more on these examples. Two words linking to a work isn't enough.
  • January 9, 2013
    Hodor
    • Neil Gaiman's story "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar" has an (initially) Unfazed Everyman American tourist who visits the picturesque English town of Innsmouth and converses in a pub with the friendly Cthulhu-worshipers who live there. He ends up with a bad hangover and a "feeling of nameless dread" (TM).
    • China Mieville's novel Kraken has some Lovecraftian doomsday cultists as among the good guys.
  • January 10, 2013
    lu127
    Hats or sugestions for tweaks, please? I think this has run its course.
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