Bad things tend to happen, but some are so bad that some characters can't refrain from concluding that there can't be a God in this universe, or if there is then he's insane
Please note that this trope is about questioning a benevolent God's existence because of a single bad event or series of them. If God is confirmed not to exist in this particular universe, it's Religion Is Wrong
. When God is
confirmed to exist and also confirmed to be good
but lets the bad event happen anyways, you have the Omniscient Morality License
To counter this idea, the faithful may choose to believe that God works In Mysterious Ways
, so He may allow bad things for a higher purpose. One common argument is that evil results from God allowing people to have their own free will
. Alternately, perhaps God Is Flawed
Sometimes this is the result of a game of Religious Russian Roulette
. See also Crisis of Faith
. The direct opposite is, of course, There Is a God!
Compare God Is Dead
. Also compare A God I Am Not
, where a godlike being refuses to be called "God". May be related to Good Running Evil
Compare Faith Heel Turn
, which is when this trope leads to the character actually becoming
Anime and Manga
- Colin Macleod wears this on his sleve in Highlander: The Search for Vengeance after antagonist Marcus kills his wife.
- Setsuna F. Seiei from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 believes that there is no God after his traumatic childhood. To summarize, he (and a number of other children from his hometown) were convinced to become Child Soldiers by an Axe Crazy mercenary in what he described as a "holy war."
- In One Piece, the Minister of the Right refuses to believe that there is a god or a Buddha after Queen Otohime is shot during the most successful time of her and possibly the kingdom's life.
- One of the story beats in Warren Ellis's run on Stormwatch, which carried over into The Authority a few years later, was that God does not exist. The Doctor mentions it offhandedly in Ellis's final arc, and earlier, a "villain" called the Eidolon had come back from beyond the grave to try to convince people to make the most of their lives.
- Garth Ennis, an outspoken atheist, really, really likes this one.
- A favorite Author Tract in The Boys.
- Jesse Custer in Preacher truly came to believe in God due to his abusive childhood and hitting the Despair Event Horizon. After a few years of dealing with the petty evils of his congregation as a priest he slid back into hollow faith and Drowning My Sorrows, believing God wasn't really there after all. And then along comes Genesis...
- Just a Pilgrim: the titular pilgrim, an ex-Special Forces type who found the Lord in prison, survived the end of the world when the sun moved closer, drying up the oceans, and found the last remnants of humanity hiding in the Marianas Trench. Throughout the entire book his faith in God wouldn't be out of place in Warhammer 40K, but he finally snaps when a mutant race of jellyfish takes over a little girl. His last act before his heroicSacrifice is to toss out the Bible he wanted the surivors to take.
- In Caddyshack, one of the club members (who happens to be a bishop) has his perfect game of golf (in the middle of a raging storm) ruined by a single bad putt, turns to curse the heavens, and is struck by lightning immediately. The next day, he's shown as a drunken mess proclaiming that there is no God.
- In one film version of The Count of Monte Cristo, the despairing title character gives up all hope in God, having been incarcerated in a harsh French prison for several years.
- Brassed Off: Mr Chuckles, after memorably screwing up a children's party:
Angry Middle-Class Mum: May god forgive you.
: God? Oh right, there now, there's the fella. I mean what's he doin', eh? He can take John Lennon
, he can take those three young lads down at Ainsley Pit, he's even thinkin' of taking my old man, and Margaret bloody Thatcher lives?
I mean, what's he soddin' playin' at
, eh? ... You've been great. My name's Coco the Scab.
- Illusive Tracks: One of the nuns, after Gunnar wreaks havoc and hurts several people, including her.
- In the film version of Born on the Fourth of July, Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) rants at his mother:
"It's a lie! It's a fucking lie! There's no God. God is as dead as my legs! There's no God, there's no country! Nothing. Just me and this fucking wheelchair for the rest of my life."
- In Pitch Black, Imam believes this to be the case with Riddick. Turns out that, after all the harshness that has been his life, it's actually a couple of different tropes that Riddick believes.
Riddick: I absolutely believe in God. And I absolutely hate the fucker.
- In Cube Zero, at the end of the titular Death Trap filled labyrinth any survivors are asked if they believe in God. If they say "no", the Cube's operators press a button marked "No" which causes the survivor to be incinerated. When the new operator asks what the button marked "Yes" does, the other much older operator says he doesn't know: no one has ever said "Yes".
- There was a throwaway gag in one episode of Frasier where he learnt that a radio show he hated had received national syndication. Frasier's response was something along the lines of "Well, that's great news for her - and also for the many atheists who will welcome this new proof of their theory."
- Firefly's Backstory is that Mal lost his faith at the Battle of Serenity.
- On Carnivāle Brother Justin's faith is shaken when the church he built is burnt down. As he tells reporter Tommy Dolan at a hobo fire, "I lost my God." When he regains his faith it will be as a full-on Dark Messiah.
- A horrific series of famines drove an entire nation to this in The Reynard Cycle.
- This is invoked through a bet in The Book Of Job. In it, Satan asks God if Job would lose his faith in him if he would lose everything. God offers Satan to do some dirty work to find out. It gets subverted though, as Job retains his faith in God and he is rewarded with more of what he had before.
- This happens to a black preacher in Rod Serling's "Color Line". Then again, if your youngest child died screaming in a fire set by jumped-up Southern whites in a lynching mood, and your revenge on the white rabble-rouser who stirred up the mob turns into a creepy case of Not So Different by switching race with the guy and using his own words to get a mob to kill him, you might feel that way too.
- In The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape's nephew, the lesser devil Wormwood, must have proposed trying this tactic to wrench humans away from God with the looming horrors of the Second World War, but Screwtape counters that while the horrors may affect some humans so, others wind up coming through the trial with renewed faith and many more are made to confront death - which forces them to confront those questions, thus enabling them to perceive and accept God's grace.
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni uses an extremely dark take on this in the backstory of Miyo Takano, making this trope the root cause of both her megalomania and as a result the Endless June.
- In the Simpsons episode "Last Exit to Springfield," when the school photographer gets Lisa to smile for her school photo and sees the horrible 19th century style braces she's wearing (because there's no dental plan at the Power Plant where Homer works) he gasps out "There is no god!"
- The infamous Family Guy episode "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven" has Brian using Meg's unattractiveness as evidence of God's nonexistence.
- South Park:
- One episode sees Cartman inheriting a million dollars and buying his own private theme park. Kyle is dumbfounded at the idea that God would reward such a rotten person, and ends up getting a hemorrhoid. As things get better for Cartman, Kyle's condition worsens and he renounces his faith. At the point where Kyle is on the verge of death (yes, from a hemorrhoid), Stan brings him to the theme park in time to see Cartman's dream destroyed by his own greed, at which point Kyle makes a miraculous recovery.
- The episode also has Kyle lampshade the story of Job by asking how the God who would punish a decent man just to prove a point to Satan could possibly be considered benevolent. It doesn't help that his parents don't read the last part, where God rewards Job,and gives him more than what Job had before he lost everything.
- Cracked loves this trope. Especially in lists of Top X Things That Are Somehow Unpleasant To Even Read About.
- One article in The Onion had a Straw Loser whose very existence was an affront to both the theory of evolution (what purpose can this guy possibly serve?!) and the existence of a kind and loving god (if we're made in God's image, well...), with each side parading him around as the ultimate argument against the other.
- The Music Video Show does this in episode 39.
- A character or person facing this problem is confronting The Problem of Evil, as discussed on The Other Wiki. Proposing a solution to the problem of evil is called Theodicy.