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Jerkass Gods
aka: Jerkass God
Pit: But you would never abuse your power, right?
Palutena: Of course I would! That's part of the goddess job description.

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 Disproportionate Retribution (a very common trait in religions throughout history). Maybe it's the age old adage "power corrupts", or maybe they're just trolls, but whatever the case, the deities are just jerks. They view human life as a source of entertainment, or an inconvenience.

This trope is Older Than Dirt. The Ur Example might be Inanna, Sumerian goddess of getting laid and ultraviolence. As might be expected from someone of that description, she took exception to being spurned by the hero Gilgamesh and summoned a heavenly bull to go on a rampage through his city, and if her father denied her that bull, she would have caused a Zombie Apocalypse. It did not help that as he turned her down, he listed all her exes and how she arranged their terrible deaths.

Compare and contrast Abusive Precursors, and for cases where Jerkass doesn't really cover it, God of Evil, and God Is Evil; or, for a milder version, consider God Is Flawed. Related to God and Satan Are Both Jerks. Anyone playing Religious Russian Roulette with a Jerkass God probably won't like how it ends. In video games, where you are the god, see Cruel Player Character God. For the inversion, see God Is Good.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga  
  • Kami-sama in Ah! My Goddess frequently doles out unnecessarily harsh punishments and will wipe out an entire planet to preserve the integrity of the Yggdrasil with little hesitation.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Chapter 285. Apparently Kami-sama and the heavenly elite don't like half-breeds between gods and mortals, so when Belldandy made her contract with Keiichi, his libido was sealed, which is why he never made a move on Bell in three years (24 years to the readers). To some, Belldandy herself fell into this trope, since she never told him all this time and liked being pampered without any sexual pressure. Some on /a/ may never forgive her.
    • This may be due to Kami-sama's former relationship with Hild which soured after she gave birth to Urd and being separated by the Judgment Gate.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has The Truth, a mysterious godlike entity that exacts an "equal toll" on those who attempt human transmutation. While he is supposed to be a neutral party, he takes sadistic joy in his "fines". The fact that he acts smug and playful about it further this image.
    • In the finale he shows himself to be somewhat benevolent. Roy (who was forced to perform human transmutation) only lost his sight, instead of an actual organ or limb like everyone else and this made restoring what he lost much simpler as seen in the epilogue. While undeniably a Jerkass The Truth is not necessarily evil, but a Trickster Mentor, as seen when he was absolutely elated to hear that Edward had learned the lesson that he was trying to teach everyone else: alchemy isn't everything.
  • The Beast Gods of Fushigi Yugi really do only care about prolonging their existence by absorbing the souls of their priestesses.
  • Many of the various gods in Kurohime are assholes to everyone, including their own allies and worshippers. Except for two and Shirohime, who is Kurohime's love for humanity personified.
    • When we next see the head god, she is eating the sun, which, in this world, is made of Life Energy and spirits. The rest of the High Gods are also jerks and Planet Eaters.
  • An interesting inversion occurs in Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok where Odin is the jerk and Loki is the good guy.
  • One Piece's God Eneru. Granted, their "God" (Kami) is merely the title of the ruler of Skypiea, but his Logia powers and seeming omniscience justifies his status.
  • The photorealistic, afro'd disembodied head that passes for God in Oyasumi Punpun wobbles on the line between this and God Is Evil. He starts out merely not caring about Punpun, refusing to answer his questions and belittling him for even thinking of asking him, but as the series goes on, he begins steadily whittling down Punpun's self-confidence, tells him that the only way to protect oneself from those who want to hurt you is to kill them, and overall savagely beating on the already fragile situation that Punpun and his relatives (and the world as a whole, at that) are getting worked deeper and deeper into.
  • Zeus of Saint Beast who overthrew the old jerkass god and slept with his wife, then proceeded to become increasingly tyrannical: ordering his angels to kill any beings on earth who don't acknowledge him, yearly purging angels for minor offences under the guise of honouring them, and eventually ordering Pandora to unleash a box of evil on earth, imprisoning the Saint Beasts when they try to stop him, raping Judas, brainwashing Goh, Gai, Rey and Shin after they get free to turn on their friends and banishing Judas and his own son (by aforementioned goddess), Luca, to hell, and sealing the other four in stone once they overcome the brainwashing. And then he retires out of annoyance.
  • The gods in Saint Seiya, unsurprising considering they're based on the Greek Pantheon. Poseidon wanted to drown the world to fix it (well, it worked the first time, didn't it?), Hades just plain wanted to kill everyone "Just Because", ditto Abel/Lucifer and Apollo. The big exception is Athena. Lesser non-evil gods are Odin (whose avatar-priestess was corrupted by Poseidon's men) and Artemis, being more a Lawful Neutral type devoid of her peers' narcissistic megalomania. Poseidon also gets an honorable mention as being not so evil that, even though he was Sealed Evil in a Can, helped thwart Hades' plot.
  • Saiyuki: Most of the gods are universally pricks to humans and one another. Even the Merciful Goddess herself comes off as manipulative and self-centered.
    • And the story it's based on which could easily be titled Journey to the West: Or wherein Sun Wukong is a gigantic prick to everyone he meets.
  • In Wild Wind, the gods cause a piece of heaven to fall to earth because they are fighting, and then order that the poor, innocent, confused creatures who fell with it be killed because they are an involuntary danger to humanity.
  • In the Nasuverse, pretty much all the gods were assholes, in accordance with their mythological portrayals. Rider's backstory illustrates this quite clearly; she is actually Medusa, and she and her sisters were born out of the wishes of mankind for deities who weren't complete dicks. The Greek gods became jealous of them and conspired to turn their worshipers against them, which led to Medusa becoming a monster. The gods aren't around anymore though, which is probably for the best.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, the God of Destruction Bills is known for randomly destroying planets, even for reasons as petty as losing a video game.

    Comics 
  • God (and Lucifer) in Crimson are surprisingly moral individuals, the prior spending time doing good deeds and giving the latter a standing invitation to get his old job back. The archangels on the other hand are all over the slippery slope, with a few being downright sadists. Driven home when they put Alex on trial in a diner... after first killing the occupants painfully for their sins. (God resurrects and forgives the victims when the angels aren't looking.)
  • Zeus in Marvel's Incredible Hercules justifies this by claiming that gods need to be jerks so that humans have someone to blame when everything seems to be going wrong.
  • The DCU version of Zeus, on the other hand, is more or less identical to his mythological counterpart, which is to say an abusive rapist and total sociopath who, among other things, tried to rape Wonder Woman. He can occasionally act in a moderately acceptable manner, but he always slides right back into his old ways in due time.
    • In the New 52, the gods haven't had much chance to stretch their legs yet, but Hera is as much of a bitch as ever, actively attempting to kill Zola because she slept with Zeus, as well as having killed numerous other women that did the same, not to mention pulling an And I Must Scream on several of the children that resulted from Zeus' dalliances. She turned Hyppolita into a wood statue when she found out that Zeus was Wonder Woman's father and turned all of the Amazons into snakes for trying to protect her.
  • In Lucifer, God is an aloof and dickish meddler. As is Lucifer, who wants nothing more than to be his own creation.
    • Part of this is caused by the filter we see things through. When God finally shows up he's more out of touch than anything else.
      • He is omnipotent and omniscient, so "out of touch" doesn't really describe his situation accurately - it's just that he created the entire universe simply as a backdrop for a philosophical experiment that only has three main characters in it, and a few important statists. Everything else is just background, and largely irrelevant to Him as individual beings.
    • Subverted with Elaine Belloc, who becomes God and puts other people's lives and welfare above her own happiness and desires.
  • In Preacher, God is a pathetic, needy, abusive, enraged creature. So are his angels.
  • In Spawn, God and Satan are twin omnipotent entities who are depicted as utterly amoral children.
  • O'ne the Creator in The Great Powerof Chninkel. The Almighty Creator is willing to annihilate an entire planet and its life but not willing to just kill the three warring immortals Itself. O'ne actually does kill almost all life (save a few tawals living underground) by raining fire on the planet's surface. The reason? The heretic king N'om called It out on Its dickery and how everything was a conspiracy to make everyone worship It for all eternity. Though at the very least he kept his promise not to destroy Darr.
  • Valhalla is rather meticulous in keeping to the original Norse mythology (see below) and tries to throw in as many references to the old stories as possible, which makes several of the gods come across as this from time to time. Odin is a Dirty Old Man who hates to lose (especially at chess) and does really stupid things out of pride (and his brothers are even worse), Thor is impulsive and somewhat oafish and tends to overcompensate in his masculinity, Loki is a lazy, egotistical trickster, Tyr is prideful and slightly anal-retentive and Heimdall is a blustering Small Name, Big Ego. Ultimately, though, they're mostly shown as just "human-but-more": Flawed and very prideful, but ultimately trying to be decent.

     Fan Works 
  • The Dalns gods in With Strings Attached. Although the one time a god actually appears it's entirely benign, and they seem to be the only force that gets Baravadans to do anything useful, the Fans mention that the Dalns gods are responsible for trashing C'hou in the past.
  • In Pokémon: The Great Adventure, the Legendary Council seems to be this toward Silver, with Dialga and Palkia hating him and the others basically treating him as a slave and threatening to genocide his people in case of rebellion. The issue is so bad Lugia states it's the main reason the man is Dented Iron. On the flip side, said Lugia, Darkrai and some others feel sorry for him and try to aleviate his task.
  • Notch in Yognapped murders Herobrine and Rana, his siblings, with very little justification. To make it worse, nobody finds out for several eons, over which he's lovingly worshipped and Herobrine and Rana are turned into urban legends or forgotten, respectively.
  • The Bound Destinies Trilogy: Din is a minor example. She's unmistakably on the side of good, but is largely condescending and disdainful of most mortals and isn't afraid to show it.
  • Maledict and Allysion in Sonic X: Dark Chaos fit this to a tee. One of them is Satan, the other is Crystal Dragon Jesus; both of them are cruel, manipulative, sadistic, genocidal maniacs with a thin veneer of good intentions.

    Film 
  • A borderline case appears in Oh, God!. While God (George Burns) is not particularly malicious, He also doesn't seem to care about the difficulties that His messiah Jerry (or his family) goes through in delivering His message.
    Jerry: "I lost my job, you know."
    God: "Lose a job, save a world. Not a bad deal."
  • Clash of the Titans: In the original, the gods are fairly true to their mythical inspiration although Zeus himself seems to be enacting a plan to wean mankind off the gods and make them self-sufficient. In the remake, they're possibly even more dickish than in the myths.
    • Except Apollo in the remake, who defended the humans.
  • In Erik the Viking, the Nordic gods (particularly Odin and Thor) are depicted as nothing but a group of apathetic kids that almost condemn the heroes into the pity of Hel for them arriving in Valhalla without being killed in battle.
  • In the original Bedazzled (1967), God and Lucifer (called George here) had a wager: if George could get ten billion souls into hell before God could get ten billion souls into heaven, then God promised to allow him to return to heaven. George achieves this, and then some, but God reminded him of another condition he had to fulfil: he had to perform a selfless good deed. George then goes off and allows Stanley (to whom George had given seven wishes in exchange for his soul) and released him, only to be told that, since he only did it to get back into heaven, it wasn't really selfless. George is understandably steaming at this revelation, while God laughs in his face.
  • Calypso of Pirates of the Caribbean, goddess of the sea, fell in love with a mortal man, who was then offered the position of captain of the Flying Dutchman. The conditions of the captaincy are that you do the job for ten years, and if, after that time, your love is waiting for you when you get your one day on land for the decade, you can go free and someone takes your place; otherwise you've gotta keep doing the job until someone kills you. Calypso didn't wait and Davy Jones was stuck being the captain of the Flying Dutchman. She claimed that Davy shouldn't have expected anything else from her because she's the embodiment of the capricious and treacherous sea.
  • Loki in Thor and The Avengers hopes to exact revenge on his brother Thor by first taking over the throne of Asgard and then subjugating the entire population of Earth. Along the way, he causes a lot of chaos and manages to make pretty much everyone really angry on a personal level.
  • Bruce Nolan in Bruce Almighty thinks God is like this, but He really isn't.
    • Bruce himself is one when he gets God's powers. His girlfriend Grace is basically the only person he actually tries to do something nice for (Excluding the prayer answering, which God made him do), in giving her "pleasure", and even that is debatable whether he was doing it for her benefit or his. Really, you don't want to make Bruce mad. You'll regret it.
  • Similarly, John Milton's flamboyant diatribe against God at the climax of The Devil's Advocate. ("He's a tight-ass! He's a sadist! He is an absentee landlord!")note 
  • The film Immortals is a rare subversion of this featuring the Greek Gods. The gods do not interfere with humanity to let it develop on its own. They are so disgusted with Hyperion's actions that they want to kill him and his entire army. Zeus flip flops. He prevents the other gods from intervening until the Titans are freed in the name of free will and faith in humanity, but is force to indirectly interfere to raise a hero to lead humanity against Hyperion. Several times the gods are forced to interfere to save Zeus' hero Theseus. He kills Ares, the God of War for his interference, but spares Athena. His stubborn refusal to interfere allows the Titans to obtain freedom and starting another which he could have easily prevented.

    Literature 
  • Most Discworld gods, who have a habit of going to atheists' houses and throwing rocks into the windows, and consider lightning bolts to be the answer to any theological debate. They also play games with the lives of men, but first they have to get the board out, and look all over the place for the dice.
    • Special mention goes to Nuggan, a small, unimportant bureaucratic god most notable for being Patron God of Borogravia. Even the other Gods wince in horror upon hearing that his worshippers are forbidden from eating mushrooms, garlic and chocolate, and generally think of him as a fussy, odious little oik.
    • By Monstrous Regiment, Nuggan is effectively dead, but new Abominations keep being created out of his "echoes". Even his most sincere worshippers have to ignore some of them, since they include crop rotation, babies ("I take it people still make them here?") and the colour blue ("The sky is blue!" "Devout Nugganites try not to look at it these days.")
    • In Small Gods, Om, who's had his conscience raised, points out to some of the other gods that a lot of people are going to get killed in the battle that's shaping up.
      A Tsortean God of the Sun did not even bother to look round.
      "That's what they're for," he said.
  • Pagan gods in Dora Wilk Series. Loki is willing to start interracial, genocidal war to win a bet with Badb, who, in turn, sends protagonist bad dreams and scares her with visions of her dead friends (not that Badb cares, she just want to win the bet). Cahan (werewolf goddess) shoehorns Dora into almost taking over entire werewolf clan and forces reluctant werewolves to bow to her. Anubis kidnaps and mummifies young women to "keep them with him" forever. List goes on.
  • All of the Gods in The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock. Especially Arioch, the title character's patron, the Lord of Chaos.
  • Amongst the Eldritch Abomination gods created by H.P. Lovecraft, technically just Nyarlathotep counts. The others aren't the least bit concerned about humans, or maybe don't even know of our existence, being mostly mindless, chaotic abstractions. But Nyarlathotep seems to love to dick around with humans, typically demanding human sacrifices when summoned, even though he almost certainly doesn't need them for anything, and occasionally giving humans some extra chances to destroy ourselves, even though he could destroy us effortlessly if he really wanted. It seems that he doesn't care about outcomes — he just likes to dick around.
    • This is a somewhat Flanderized description used by later writers. In Lovecraft's original works Nyarlathotep stands in the way of humans who seek forbidden knowledge more often than not, although he can be persuaded to be a little more lenient with human sacrifices. On the other hand, in his first appearance, before Lovecraft had figured out what to do with him, he was basically the embodiment of scientific progress, and drives humanity mad by overwhelming them with cosmic knowledge.
    • This is the approach used in the Affectionate Parody webcomic The Call Of Whatever, and once humanity starts jerking Nyarlathotep around in turn (thanks to Occultech's helpline boosting cultist survival/success rates), he quits his job. This was more Jerkassish than you would think.
    • The gods of Earth, or the Great Ones from Lovecraft's Dreamland-stories also qualify. They tend to be petty, selfish and short-tempered. Partially this is due to the way humanity threatens their very existence with their insatiable curiosity, but there's little excuse to how they steal Randolph Carter's magnificent city from him in Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath just because they want it for themselves, and justify it as "divine wisdom".
  • The entire Greek pantheon, and most of the other creatures with god powers, in Dark Hunter series.
  • Lord Khersis, the primary human god in Tales of MU, once smote a confused little girl who was praying to him for guidance just because she was half-demon. And he's one of the nicer deities.
  • Amusingly justified in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The capricious, thoughtless attitudes of gods and demigods are at least partly due to the fact that, by human standards, they're all suffering from ADD.
    • Well, the demigods are; the gods are just kind of made that way.
      • And yet some still manage to be sympathetic, via Freudian Excuse. (Hades, for example, has spent three millennia as the target of all the gods' Jerk-Assness and ostracism for ... drawing the unluckiest straw.)
    • The demigods, who are the protagonists of the series, also sometimes resent their parents for being Jerk Asses and ignoring them; the gods are eventually called out on it and forced to acknowledge all their children. (Whether this had any effect on how many affairs the gods have remains to be seen.)
    • Zeus takes the cake, though. Zeus (and Poseidon, to be fair) pressure Hades into a pact that they will no longer have demigod children due to the destruction their kids caused in World War II... and also 'cause there's a prophecy saying one of them will choose to either save or destroy the world upon turning sixteen. Once the pact is made, Zeus attempts to kill Hades' two remaining children who are under sixteen— Hades protects them, but Zeus does succeed in killing their mother and presumably any other bystanders. Fast forward about sixty years: Zeus is the first to break the pact, and because he's the god of justice and king of the gods, gets none of the comeuppance. His daughter, Thalia, is punished instead: she is under constant monster attack and makes her final stand mere feet away from safety, holding the monsters off so her friends can escape. Zeus turns her into a pine tree as she dies. (Although she is accidentally resurrected later.) Hades, ironically, turns out to be the only one of the three to honor the pact— all of his children seen in the series were born in the 1930s and either placed in a time warp or brought back from the dead.
  • The Egyptian gods in Rick Riordan's next series The Kane Chronicles are petty backstabbers who squabble and fight with the main characters even though they are the only ones in a position to stop all of reality from descending into Chaos, which would destroy them too. But it is mostly due to lacking a strong king. Once the divine power struggle is over the gods quickly come together to fight Apophis. Unfortunately, the magicians themselves are still heavily divided and Apophis has vast armies of demons to aid him.
  • Not only are the gods of the Book of Swords jerkasses, but several of the swords have jerkass qualities themselves. I'm looking at you Coinspinner and Wayfinder.
  • The demon Xanth in the Xanth novels.
    • All of the greater demons (of which Xanth is one) in general; they are involved in a complex game with more similarities to Nomic than the classic Chess, and people are only rarely used as pawns in certain rounds - most of the time, they're not considered at all. Xanth actually undergoes Character Development and becomes less of a Jerkass over the course of the novels, eventually even falling in love.
  • All of the "new" gods in American Gods are vicious, backbiting, and desperate for worship, and a few of the old gods (especially Odin and Loki) are, too.
  • Almost all the Greek gods in Anne Ursu's Cronus Chronicles (with the exception of Persephone). The Big Bad is a demigod who wants to enslave humanity, and most of the other gods either don't care or are actively trying to revenge themselves on the heroes for standing up to them. In the end the heroine blackmails the gods into leaving humanity alone.
  • While Jesus is way cool in Christopher Moore's Lamb his father's reaction to Joshua's pleading for humanity is "Screw 'em".
  • The first chapter of Glen Cook's Surrender to the Will of the Night has one survivor of a scouting party return to report to the god that sent the party out—although the survivor had been driven mad by his experiences. "His god rewarded him as gods do. It devoured him."
  • A number of Tom Holt's novels have jackass deities. In particular, God is portrayed in Grailblazers as being not so much evil as prone to Moral Myopia and Disproportionate Retribution, with two people being cursed to immortality for the incredibly minor sins of giving Jesus a pair of socks instead of frankincense or myrrh and failing to wash up for Him at the Last Supper. Other deities aren't treated a hell of a lot better; for example, the Greek pantheon in Ye Gods play "The Great Game", which seems to resemble Monopoly (with Earth as the board). At one point Demeter avoids paying tax assessments by flooding a major city. Wars, earthquakes, etc. are also just part of the Game.
  • Most of the Everworld gods seem to be this way, or at best they're a bit petty and tend to overreact. This isn't helped at all by the fact that they're pretty much stuck in that mindset with literally no way to change.
  • In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, much like the Greeks, the people of Glome think of their gods as petty brutes and try to do as little to attract their attention as possible. The Fox, a Stoic philosopher from Greece, dismisses these ideas as "lies of poets" and considers the Divine to be above such pettiness. In the end, both views are wrong, in different ways.
  • The Fantasy Pantheon of Shadowmarch is heavily inspired by Classical Mythology (to the point that the three head gods are clear expies of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades) and as such the majority of them are portrayed this way. Or rather, were- Kupilas, the Hephaestus-analogue, eventually got fed up with them and succeeded in tricking them all into hibernation- only a few demigods and Zosim the trickster are still active.
  • In the Iron Druid Chronicles the Norse gods are portrayed like this, especially Thor who is a supernatural Jerk Jock to everyone outside his pantheon. Odin is a bit of a mix. While he is suggested to have manipulated several other pantheons to make sure the Norse remained on top by being remembered, he never actually goes out of his way to be a jerk to Atticus, even allowing Atticus to live after aiding in the collective fucking over that the Thor Revenge Squad dealt to the Norse. When the Morrigan took Atticus to meet with him and Frig he was a little bit of a jerk, but otherwise totally cordial.
    • The Roman gods colluded with Theophilus and the vampire nation to eradicate Druids, and when Bacchus finds out that Atticus is still alive he hightails it over to America to finish the job. The Greeks' involvement in the series has them largely doing their own thing, only opposing Atticus out of solidarity with the Romans.
    • In contrast Jesus and the various versions of the Coyote are quite decent and care about humans (well, Coyote explicitly only cares about his humans, but it's the thought that counts).
    • The gods that Atticus himself follows, the Tuatha de Dannan, have their ups and downs. They range from actively evil (Aenghus Og) to merely petty (Brighid) to actually pretty nice (Mannan mac Lir among others). In Goibhniu's first appearance this trope is lampshaded though Goibhniu himself is actually a subversion.
    Atticus: Gods can screw anything and anybody. For reference, see history.
    • The Morrigan is a bit of a mixed bag. She's got alot of the markings of a Jerkass God (temperamental, tendency to cause pain for various reasons, turned on by being feared) but is actually pretty nice and personable when she wants to be and is Atticus' oldest and most consistent ally.
    • It is later revealed that the gods are pretty much stuck with the personalities that their worshippers attribute to them. The Morrigan becomes aware of this and actually wants to change for the better but cruelty and pain are so strongly associated with her worship that she is unable to see the world through any other metric. It is quite tragic and causes the Morrigan to go out and get herself killed in battle.
    • This makes one wonder why Thor is such a sadist since all the stories about him were him being a hero and protector of the common people severely lacking his jerkish qualities.
  • Chronicles of Chaos explains this trope thusly: in this universe, moral laws and destinies have supernatural weight, and breaking or bending them carries penalties. Olympians, however, have the power to change those moral laws, which mean they aren't bound by them. At all.
  • The gods of the Tortall Universe try to make an impression of being humanity's guardians, but in reality they spend most of their time using them in battle with each other. In this universe, if the kings of a country worship a god over others, that god is the most powerful over all other gods in that region. The exception is The Black God, who rules over the afterlife. He cares deeply about mortal souls, and when Beka is forced to carry on despite wanting desperately to give the bodies a proper burial, he buries them for her and calls her his most faithful priestess. Of course, it might be because he already owns an entire realm and has no reason to be greedy.
  • In Fiona Patton's The Granite Shield, a young Seer witnesses the Gods in a vision playing strategy with their human pawns. The brother of one of those pawns, he gradually realizes they will play until no one is left, and seeks a way to avoid that.
  • In ''The Woman Who Died a Lot'' once God is forced out of hiding He starts randomly smiting towns.
  • All the gods in Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez fall under this trope except for Gorgoz and Quetzalcoatl
  • Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure has multiple instances, including:
    • The gods sink Iceland in order to raise Atlantis just so they can return to the world with some style.
    • Dionysus, purely for kicks, tosses a minotaur into the mix during the running of the bulls in Spain.
    • Aphrodite collapses a supermodel's clifftop home in retribution for her trying to sue the goddess over a botched facelift.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Supernatural, pretty much every deity seen is callous at best, plain evil at worst.
    • As a series about two brothers fighting creatures from all myth's and folklore, pagan gods occasionally crop up (so far they've had Odin, Zeus, Osiris, Mercury, Chronos, Baron Samedi and Kali to name a few) and there always portrayed (normally quite accurately according to the myths) as arrogant, greedy and uncaring, regarding humans as little more than food and entertainment, savagely slaughtering them or encouraging others to slaughter them for them. It wasn't untill the Eighth Season that they introduced the first truly benevolent pagan god, Prometheus.
    • The Trickster demi-god from "Tall Tales" and "Mystery Spot" also known as Loki and Gabriel is more of a jerkass demi-god. His victims, especially the Winchesters and definitely Sam, probably wish he was a lazy god rather than an archangel.
    • It's implied that the real God (the actual creator, who does exist in the supernatural universe) has shades of this, as its commonly pointed out, especially by Dean Winchester, that despite being all-powerful and all-knowing, he idly sits by letting so many horrors occur every day to innocent people and it turns out he actually abandoned his children (the angels) shortly after Lucifer's rebellion, leading the majority of them who were still (the equivalent of) children in the ruins of heaven. This probably also explains why his three eldest (Lucifer doesn't count as he was already evil before this) have so many problems, Gabriel ran off and pretends to be a Pagan, Raphael is a completely uncaring jerk who doesn't even care for his own kind, and Michael is a fanatic who is obsessed with pleasing his absent father.
  • In the Farscape episode Prayer, Aeryn mentions an ancient myth about how the ancient Sebaceans used to worship a goddess named Tenka Bru, until she suddenly destroyed the seven main planets they lived on. When her dying worshipers asked why she had done this after they did their best to honor her, she replied, "Because I can." Apparently, this is why the modern-day Peacekeepers refuse to believe in any religion.
  • God messes with Al Bundy a few times in Married... with Children. Al is a bit of a jerkass too though.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess usually don't care about accuracy, going for Rule of Fun every time, and Anachronism Stew doesn't cover the half of it. They do believe, though, in doing the Greek gods' characters correctly by showing them as the jerks they are, well, except for Hades, who is dark but (usually) the only decent one.
    • Sometimes, they make Hades sorta a dick too actually. And not all other Greek Gods were ALWAYS portrayed negatively. Sometimes they're even The Atoner, especially for former Big Bads like Hera or Ares. Others are just kinda out of touch, like Zeus.
  • The Stargate Verse is built on this trope, specifically Stargate SG-1. The Goa'uld take on the identities of all sorts of gods (or perhaps were the origin of the myths; it's never specified) and often rule with an iron fist. They view humans as disposable slaves and potential host bodies. In the episode "Pretense", Zipacna compares humans to cattle.
    • In seasons nine and ten, the Ori come into the picture. They're Ascended beings who want to convert every single mortal into worshiping them. If you refuse, they denounce you as evil and burn you alive for heresy. Unlike the Goa'uld, who rely on technology to make them seem godlike, the Ori actually have supernatural powers to reinforce the belief of their followers, producing incredibly devoted soldiers who are willing to kill every single person who doesn't accept Origin.
    • Similarly, the Ancients themselves might qualify. Sure, they're the "good guy" counterparts of the Ori, but despite their power and Ascended status, they have rules against interfering with the affairs of mortals, up to and including letting a half-Ascended Goa'uld run around slaughtering billions and gaining a foothold into destroying the entire galaxy just to punish one of their own for helping him Ascend on accident.
  • Animus from Power Rangers Wild Force is ultimately good, but is more offended by human pollution than by the evil demon things. This is because the pollution is what gave rise to the evil demon things so he thinks the planet is a lost cause and took his kids note  to find another planet to live on. He later explains that this was a Secret Test of Character.
    • Daizyujin is this to an extent in Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, notably in regard to Burai. But he's not nearly as bad as Daijinryuu in Gosei Sentai Dairanger, who among other things compels several people to jump to their deaths from tall buildings.
    • Daizyujin is pretty much based on the gods of a lot of religions, being better than the ultimate evils that are around but wouldn't know the meaning of the word "fair." In Burai's case, Burai was only needed to awaken Dragon Caesar, and, though they could probably save his life, which is Living on Borrowed Time, they don't because "it is not needed for him to survive." This is far from the only instance of Guardian Beast Jerkassitude in the series - the fact that the Rangers were working for such Bad Bosses is responsible for most of the dark aspects of an otherwise Lighter and Softer series.
  • In Charmed, the Greek gods were mortals who got turned into gods by a magical mist. True to the mythology however, it's stated that the old gods forced people to worship them. In fact, once Piper finally declares herself a goddess and realizes her full powers, she starts acting like it, causing a massive storm in order to vent her own personal problems out on the rest of the world.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Sun Wukong from Journey to the West was such a jerkass god that even the other gods went to Buddha and begged him to put a stop to the monkey business.
  • Classical Mythology: The Greek gods are widely remembered today for being spoiled children with fancy powers at best and at worse total assholes. Part of this is due to flanderizing their jerk side and ignoring their benevolent side combined with Values Dissonance. 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. Even the best of them have one or two stories with few exceptions.
    • The only exceptions tended to be Hades, Hermes, Demeter, Hephaestus, and Hestia. Hades due to hanging out in the underworld all the time (thus not being in a position to get involved in the divine douchebaggery) and being one of the most law abiding, not to mention (reasonably) fair. Unfortunately Everybody Hates Hades and in modern works he is often portrayed as being Satan due to him ruling the Underworld, when in Greek myth Hades was more like a Punch Clock Villain who just happened to be the manager of the garbage dump everybody hates. Hermes, although a bit of a mischievous Trickster, tends to punish only the unjust and the hubristic, and gets by on Rule of Cool. Hestia was the most peaceful and is hardly involved in any myths probably because non-jackass 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 also tends to be one of the nicer ones; despite being the Butt Monkey of the gods, he never took it out on mortals (perhaps he was too busy smithing, or maybe he just always thought "Hey, I married Aphrodite!"). Demeter is also a goodnote  mother and even acted as a nanny at one point to a mortal baby.
      • Not to mention, even Demeter has her bad side too - most of which happened when she was searching for Persephone. Other times, her wrath was incurred more by people provoking or being a jerkass first.
    • One of the worst is 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 dalliances with immortal and mortal women. He has a lecherous Memetic Molester infamy due to forcing himself upon women, doing little to protect them and their "divine rapechildren" from his Clingy Jealous Girl wife Hera. Add to that his other highly questionable actions, like the Pandora's Box incident, and he is perhaps the biggest asshole 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 to a God of Evil. He was portrayed more positively by the Romans however, due to them having a stronger military tradition than the Greeks.
      • It is worth mentioning, however, that Mars was originally a Roman god who later just became equated with Ares. Mars was, to say the least, not such a jerk.
    • This is kind of magnified compared to other pantheons where the gods tended to have human problems (Greek gods do not, being immortal) or at least created most of the world they jerked around in (nope, the Olympians just took over and decided not to destroy humanity, the Titan's creation). To be fair, most of the unprovoked jerkassery is restricted to the Olympians. Deities like Selene, Hypnos, Aether and even the likes of Nyx and Tartarus were for the most part content to mind their own business.
    • While The Titans were generally nicer to humanity than the Olympians, their patriarch still ate his own children (The Olympians), so the Olympians being jerk asses to the titan's creation is not so surprising.
  • The Abrahamic God in the Old Testament can be interpreted as such, and most especially in the Torah and Nevi'im Reshonim. As a random example: the story of Job, in which God, on bragging about Job's piousness and having Job's faith challenged by Satan, allows Satan to deprive Job of his wealth, family and physical health in an attempt to make Job curse God's name, just to prove Job is that faithful...which can easily be seen this way.note  Further discussion is not necessary.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • 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 suck. Interestingly, the Norse seemed to acknowledge this aspect as he is called both "Deceiver", "Swift Tricker" and "Ruler of treachery" in poems.
      • 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. (Even being a god can suck in this mythos.)
      • Small wonder Loki is involved in Ragnarok seeing what Odin did to his family. Fenris, Hel and Jörmungand were imprisoned with Gleipnir, in Niflheim and beneath the sea respectively for basically no reason beyond "we foresaw that they would cause a lot of trouble" (which they did when released, because they were pissed at being imprisoned) and when Loki was bound beneath the earth (which he did deserve) 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.
      • Fenris was actually briefly kept as a guard dog by Odin before being chained by Gleipnir. He took exception to that and it became apparent as he grew that keeping him as a glorified pet might not have been the best idea. This, combined with the previously mentioned prophecies of his role in Odin's death caused them the forge the three chains.
      • Another example: Thor returns from Jotunheim after fighting giants, and needs to cross a river. Odin disguises himself as an old man, and refuses to take him across. While Thor boasts about slaying giants and protecting Midgard, Odin brags about how many women he had sex with in the meantime. Eventually Thor gets tired of it and leaves.
    • Freyr sending his servant to threaten Gerd's family until she marries him. But that ended but biting him in the ass since he lost his magic sword in the process with some schoolars thinking that the sword ended up in the hands of Surtr...
    • "Sorli's Tale" paints a rather unfavorable image of the Aesir, with Freyja as a floozie who sleeps with four dwarfs in exchange for a necklace, Odin as her jealous sugardaddy, and Loki as Odin's conniving lackey. The tale relates how Freyja, on a challenge of Odin, caused the Everlasting Battle between the kings Hedin and Hogni. None of the gods shows any qualms about the suffering and the destroyed lives caused by their actions.
  • 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 having wild game come out of her anus, and finally turning into a rice paddy field and vomiting 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 while from Ameratsu's necklace Susanoo birthed five men 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 drunken 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 of 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 slew the dragon Orochi as penance...and to score a wife. He's still a jerk, he's just a mature jerk now.
      • According to The Other Wiki, after slaying Orochi, Susanoo took a sword from inside it's body and gave to Amaterasu as a conciliatory gift, suggesting that he at least became a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. note 
    • Ookuninushi, while generally seen in a positive light, is actually quite the jerkass. 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 a bad habit of raping sages' wives by disguising himself as their husbands.
    • We ought to note here that according to scholars of comparative linguistics and mythology, Indra is cognate to Thor and Zeus. Explains a lot, don't you think?
      • Unlike Zeus though Indra actually has to pay for it by being humiliated time and again. Either he loses his throne, cursed by a sage, his greatest victory rewritten so Vishnu saves him and does all the real work, or something else. In the end he went from being the Lord of the Universe to a minor weather god and lord of the elements.
  • In the Epic of Gilgamesh:
    • Ishtar (later counterpart to Inanna, who appeared in the Sumerian stories underlying the Epic) is highly untrustworthy, and has the tendency of turning her lovers into moles and beasts when she's tired of them. And when Gilgamesh refused to sleep with her, she sent a huge angry bull to destroy Uruk.
    • Enlil caused The Great Flood because humanity annoyed him with their sounds.
  • Freaking every single one of them in Aztec Mythology (except Quetzalcoatl, and even he had his moments). When your rain and fertility god likes his food young and crying, and one of two rulers is literally the god of Magnificent Bastards, there's little wonder why they thought it was a Crapsack World.
    • Even Quetzalcoatl kinda sucks, 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.
  • From the Maori culture we have Pele. Maybe not that jerkassy per se, but too often her volcanic temperament gets the better of her, and you then better stay away ten miles from her hothead until she has blewn off steam.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The deities in Warhammer & Warhammer 40,000. All of them. Canon does sometimes seem contradictory on this point, though.
    • Khorne wants to see people fight battles, the bloodier and more gruesome the better. In the Warhammer universes, simply being a god of war makes him a possible good guy, while the fact that your viscera would be just as pleasing to him as your enemies makes him one of the bad guys.
    • Slaanesh might want to help you to experience every positive sensation that you can, even turning negative sensations into new kinds of pleasure... but he definitely wants to force you to experience everything, as a kind of torture-orgy.
    • Papa Nurgle either wants you to help you to accept the pain and suffering of existence in the Warhammer universes, even nullifying some of the effects for you... so that you will be grateful enough to help him "spread the love" by infecting healthy people with incurable diseases and unhealing wounds to help them see how bad the universe is, so that they will turn to Grandfather Nurgle and he can help them, too.
    • Tzeentch definitely is a Jerkass God, because he is the god of scheming to such an extent that anything good or bad in the Warhammer universe is his doing. His grand master-plan was responsible for every single happy moment of your life...and every single moment of negativity of any kind.
  • Many gods in Exalted have grown corrupt and complacent without anyone to answer to.
    • The Usurpation came to be because the Golden Age Solars had turned into this, as well.
    • And even before becoming the Yozi and Neverborn, most of the Primordials were selfish Jerkasses who, when they weren't playing the Games of Divinity while the Gods did all the actual work, amused themselves by tormenting the inhabitants of Creation or their ugly brother Autochthon.
  • Sen Zar offers too many examples of this trope to count (including, potentially, evil player characters who ascend to godhood), but the prize for most jerkassness goes to the Eternals, the only type of gods who actually gain (even more) power for being complete jackasses.
  • In the Forgotten Realms, the Time of Troubles led to all of the gods banished to the material plane in avatar form, screwing up the Realms pretty much wherever they went. Many of them used this as an opportunity to expand their power base, using human armies as pawns to take down other gods. The kicker is that the whole thing started because they upset the overgod, Ao, by stealing the Tablets of Fate. To his credit, after the whole fiasco is over Ao does require that deities actually be worshipped to get their power in the future. And hey, we got a new edition out of it.
    • At least according to some sources, Ao was getting tired of the gods goofing off to play power games against each other instead of doing their actual jobs, anyway. The theft of the Tablets was simply the straw that broke the camel's back (and made for conveniently collectable Plot Coupons at the same time).
  • Playing Gods gets this trope right. You play as one of the five major gods from the major religions (Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism) or you can use the sixth stand and insert a sticker or a photo of yourself or use a key ring or action figure or whatever as a god too. You convert other gods' sects, spread believers or massacre every other deity's sects. It's Played for Laughs though, and it's really a satire of fundamentalism and religious warfare and how it's better to be at peace with your fellow religions rather than attack them.
  • Scion makes use of this trope. In general, if the mythology portrays a god/dess as a jerkass, then he/she is the same in Scion. The Values Dissonance between modern culture and mythology is also given a few subtle nods, the most obvious of which is that, by the "God" sourcebook, the official sample Aztec character is depicted as disgusted by and disdainful of his native pantheon.
  • In Iron Kingdoms, Menoth, creator god of the human race, is such a massive jerk that two humans became gods just to overthrow him. It's not hard to see why as he supports All Crimes Are Equal (most punishments having something to do with fire) and the fact that if you're too awesome he will kill you. Why? So you can fight for him in his heavenly army because he's attacking the other gods' cities. Why? Because he's a jerk. The few followers he has left view him more as a Stern Father, like the time when he refused to help the humans out when the Orgoth invaded because of the above overthrowing.
  • Magic: The Gathering: on Theros, Heliod, Phenax, Keranos, and Mogis are gargantuan tools, as is post-ascension Xenagos. As beings heavily inspired by the Ancient Greek pantheon, this was probably unavoidable. Heliod goes so far as to backstab his own closest ally, Elspeth, because he doesn't like her being a planeswalker, and is in many ways the ultimate villain of Theros block.

    Theatre 
  • Athena is one in Ajax, causing the main character to go mad and slaughter sheep, resulting in his utter humiliation and downfall. The play opens with her gloating to Odysseus about it. Odysseus is put off.
  • The Gods in Once On This Island are completely cruel to the humans for no apparent reason, except Asaka. Agwe likes to lash them with storms for the hell of it, Papa Ge is, well, a demon of death who also happens to be a complete Jerkass, and Erzulie manipulates Ti Moune and Daniel solely so that she can prove that she's right. They were even worse in the original book - the musical tries to make them a bit more sympathetic, whereas in the book Agwe delivers a speech about how much humans deserve to die, and Erzulie kills a completely innocent woman.

    Video Games 
  • From Epic Battle Fantasy, we have Godcat.
  • The Occuria of Final Fantasy XII fit the bill perfectly. Most of the plot of the game turns out to be an attempt to overthrow them and return control over Ivalice to humanity. To put it in perspective: Venat, one third of the game's Big Bad Triad is the fallen angel figure among them, who they try to convince you to kill at one point, and he acts completely in line (ie, getting others to help him as he himself cannot act in the human realm directly)... and he still is the primary Anti-Villain of the game, because you can tell he had very good reasons for wanting to rebel. Beyond his motivations, he's made more sympathetic by default by Gerun (the Occuria's leader/spokesperson) being an utter bastard.
  • The fal'Cie of Final Fantasy XIII also fall under this trope, being basically giant elementals who subjugate humans into fighting their civil war for them. And that's just scratching the surface. It turns out that Every Fal'Cie from Cocoon wants their creator The Maker to return, and believe that this demands no less than the sacrifice of Cocoon's entire human population. They don't even mind that The Maker's return would likely lead to their destruction as well. Since the Cocoon Fal'Cie are bound to their duties to Cocoon and cannot directly destroy it, they turn humans into L'Cie in the hopes that they can do it for them. The Cocoon Fal'Cie see humans as nothing more than cattle to be sacrificed to their god.
    • Oh and to elaborate on the subjugation business, they do it by branding people with a Power Tattoo that gives awesome magic powers - at the expense of having to complete a mission within a time limit, or become a crystalline zombie called a Cie'th. And if you complete the task, you get to live forever as a crystal statue. Unless the fal'Cie decide they need you again, in which case you get to go through the cycle again, with the same attendant risk of Cie'thdom. Also they don't actually spell out what you are supposed to do, they just give you a vision and you have to figure it out on your own. Yeah, It Sucks to Be the Chosen One.
  • Mentioned above, Myrkul from Neverwinter Nights 2:Mask of the Betrayer, the former god of the dead. People don't worship you or any other god? Sew their souls onto a wall that utterly destroys them when they die, including one of the player's former companions, and for extra evulz make the process slow. One of your old priests tries to take his beloved off that wall? Stick him on it, then remove him right before he's Deader than Dead so you can turn him into an Eldritch Abomination and inflict him on the world. The Player Character wants to know how to end the curse and thus put the man out of his misery? Lie to them and nearly let their soul be destroyed. Delivering a Karmic Death to the guy is, needless to say, very satisfying.
    • The kicker? In the fluff Myrkul's much nicer successor did away with the bloody wall but was forced to reinstate it by the rest of the Pantheon. Apparently rewarding people for the virtue they displayed in their lives regardless of what god they worshipped was starving them of followers implying that many people wouldn't worship them unless they had no choice.
  • The entire human race is created by "God" to be replacement organic components for a malevolent interstellar weapon in Xenogears.
  • Subverted by Tales of Symphonia. You do become relatively well-acquainted with some minor and major deities of the world religion, like Remiel and Kratos, and in the first arc of the game they do turn out to be utter jerks, using and abusing their power over the protagonists. It's only later on that you find out that they're not really angels - they're more of an Ancient Conspiracy club run by a few 4000-year-old guys, and both their immortality and their power come from Exspheres. They're not really gods, but they're still basically jerks running the world.
  • In the game Black & White, you play a god who can be benevolent and giving, or this.
  • Zeus in God of War, particularly the second game. In fact, every other Olympian is a Jerkass of some sorts save for Athena until the end of the third game, Hephaestus and perhaps Hades (who by the third game has plenty of reasons to hate Kratos).
    • Kratos himself when he's the god of war, who goes to do all the things Ares had been before he killed him.
      • Then Ghost of Sparta reveals the reason of said acquired jerkassery: The gods imprisoned his brother in the Realm of Death till adulthood, out of fear he was the Marked One destined to kill the Gods (Actually Kratos). Then Thanatos kill his brother, all under the order of the Gods, particularly Zeus. In fact, if Gods just never messed with Kratos, he probably wouldn't even be so destructive, but when you combine Badass Spartan attitude with being a Cosmic Plaything and a Demigod, shit tends to hit the fan.
      • Explained in the third game by the gods being infected with evils from Pandora's Box. Zeus was infected with fear increasing his paranoia. The other gods tended to leave mortals alone or had not wronged Kratos, but were infected with evils along with trying to stop a madman (Kratos) from destroying the world.
  • Like his Norse counterpart, Odin in Valkyrie Profile is kinda a dick too.
  • Wisitarnea, both versions, definitely mean(s) well. Unfortunately, this tends to involve killing lots of people, binding souls into eternity for the hell of it, causing natural disasters by fighting and manipulating everyone into wars.
  • Daedric Princes are close to gods in the The Elder Scrolls and most of them view humanity as nothing more than amusement. This contributes to Hircine fighting the Nerevarine in Bloodmoon (Although he does give plenty of warnings, prophecies, signs and such, and the fight is set up to be a fair fight when he could crush you in a second). Molag Bal is the embodiment of this trope, though Mehrunes Dagon is more active. Azura note , Meridia note , and Sheogorath note  are probably the most benign of the Princes (and yes, we mean "most". As in, relative. Check the notes). See God Is Evil.
    • Hence why the Daedra are typically stated to be The Elder Scrolls version of demons. Most inhabitants of Tamriel worship the Aedra, who are "usually" much less jerkassish.
    • The Dragons technically qualify, due to possessing Aedric souls unbound by time, rendering them immortal and able to resurrect even after death (unless their soul is consumed by a Dragonborn). Furthermore, their ability to use the Thu'um allows them to bend reality to their very will. During the Merethic Era they caused untold destruction across all of Tamriel before they were driven to extinction and their leader, Alduin is prophesied to be the one to ultimately destroy the world.
  • In Touhou: Kanako not only waged a war to usurp another god and was introduced attempting to have all of Gensokyo worship her, her machinations were the initiator for two subsequent games. Her aim was to gather faith at the expense of possibly destroying Gensokyo, since she was trying to take it from the Hakurei Shrine, who maintain the boundary that protects the last sanctuary of magic from the real world where magic is dead... (admittedly, Kanako being a goddess from said outside world, she might not have realized the importance of the Hakurei Border)
  • The Sinistrals in the Lufia series of games fit this trope to a T. Arek (the true leader of the Sinistrals who is Intrigued by Humanity) and Erim who becomes so attached to humanity (mostly due to Maxim) that she repeatedly reincarnates herself as a human girl who falls in love with a hero of Maxim's bloodline are the only exceptions. The rest are total jerks.
  • The AI Director of Left 4 Dead conjures up health kits and ammunition whenever you really need it, and a million zombies whenever he's bored. Which is all the time.
  • Xom in Dungeon Crawl. To a lesser extent, Xom's fellow chaos god Makhleb also qualifies. He not only awards power and favor to his worshipers for killing everything under the sun (thus making life more miserable for non-worshipers), but he also grants the ability to summon demons (up to and including the most powerful non-unique demons in the game)... which have a chance of spawning hostile to the summoner!
  • The Elder Gods of Lusternia each follow their own agenda. Some, like Elostian, are relatively benign; others, like Eventru, less so; still others, like Fain, veer into God of Evil territory. And that's not even getting into the Soulless Gods...
  • Unsurprisingly (if you're versed in Classical Mythology) Zeus is the Big Bad of Will Rock: He resurrected all the monsters and undeads of Greece in order to take over the world and want to marry (or have as a sacrifice) Will's girlfriend.
  • Mother of mercy, Zanza from Xenoblade. Basically, he acts like a Generic Doomsday Villain since he constantly destroys and rebuilds the universe. Why? Well, he claims it's because he's a god, why the hell not, but in reality it's because he needs the energy of dead people to feed on, and if they decided to explore off to the stars, he would whither away and die. And he's not having that. Needless to say, he gets called out on this a lot; and not even his own disciples try to justify his actions, they just ignore the topic.
  • Used as a gameplay mechanic in Bastion: there are ten Gods; choosing to pray to one will make enemies tougher to defeat, but increase the experience and money you get from beating them. Although in this case it's justified; before the cataclysm that kicked off the plot, your culture had lost most of its reverence for the gods, and turned them into toys and architectural decorations, so they're a little hacked off at you right now. On the other hand, if you should decide to reject them, they won't begrudge you that, because they think you're just pussing out.
  • Ashera from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. While she isn't exactly an immature jerk like most examples, she proves to have an extreme view of how the world should be and ends up turning almost everyone to stone when she awakens and sees the world doesn't match her vision. Ironically, she was considered a benevolent goddess before that event, while her other half, Yune was considered evil, but ends up being much nicer and less extreme, though also a lot more emotional and childish.
  • Most of the Eastern Gods from the Izuna duology (especially their leader, Takushiki) are none too happy with Izuna and her clan trespassing on the sacred Kamiari Shrine, and take their frustrations out on the villagers by placing them under various curses.
  • The gods in RuneScape, for the most part, see their followers as little more than tools they can use to gain an advantage over the other gods. Even Saradomin, who is worshipped by most of the characters in-game, doesn't really seem to care much about his worshippers, and was actively participating in the God Wars without a second thought. The closest thing there is to a 'good' god is Guthix, the god of nature and balance, who created Gielinor and was powerful enough to stop the God Wars.
  • Dark Sun Gwyndolin from Dark Souls is the only god in the setting who managed to avoid suffering a horrible fate, and is in the best position to help fix the Crapsack World. Instead, he selfishly manipulates everyone else in a bid to increase his own power.
    • Subverted in that Gwyndolin is the leader of the Darkmoon Blades, assassins who specifically target sinners in Lordran. Doubly subverted in that a sinner can be a player who kills friendly NPC's, a player who invades and kills other players, or anyone who has discovered the illusion of Anor Londo. To be fair, though, Gwyndolin only seeks to punish you for even having the audacity to attack the illusion of his long gone sister, Gwynevere. The rest of his godly family has either abandoned him, died, or gone insane.
  • Every single god and goddess in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Even the Big Good God of Good Palutena isn't immune, though she at least admits her sometimes jerkish tendencies. Dark Pit eventually calls them all out on their selfish nature when they comment about how bad the humans are. Justified as all of the Gods are based on Greek Mythology listed above.
  • Played around with quite interestingly throughout Asura's Wrath. The Demi-gods treat humans as a lower class, but most of them didn't act like jerks towards humans (with the possible exception of Wyzen post becoming a guardian general). This changes after Asura is betrayed by his fellow guardian generals, who act like this to a degree even by Jerkass God standards. They turn humanity into a Martyrdom Culture by having them pray to them before they get killed and have their souls taken any to be converted into mantra, specifically used to power the Brahmastra. Only Yasha and Deus have regrets for what they do. Chakravartin, who is this from start, goes beyond even them by proxy of being the reason why the Guardian generals turned into Jerkass Gods in the first place, and is even more arrogant then them.
  • The Gods of Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War take this to an extreme, to the point that they're nearly evil through indifference. It's stated at one point that the gods would gladly exterminate most or all of humanity to defeat one rebellious demon. At one point they defeated a large army of demons, and 90% of humanity that happened to be in the way.
    • Although, it turns out the gods didn't do squat. The "gods" that wiped out most of the world were also demons, just demons that were a little higher up on the ladder than the ones they killed.
  • Aquaticus, dragon god of water in Rune Factory 3, though you only find this out in after the final boss battle: He is the one who stripped Micah of his memory and plunked him into the middle of Sharance Village, as part of a Gambit Roulette to reunite the the village with the non-human Sol Terrano settlement - setting a bunch of dangerous monsters loose in the process. When he reveals this to Micah, he gives him an opportunity to regain his full memory, but at the cost of having to leave his new life behind - including the fiancee he'd just fought Aquaticus to rescue - and returning to his old one. And this is after Aquaticus had revealed that you had fulfilled every one of requirements for his plans. So Micah's rewards are a happy life in Sharance, but with most of his past lost, probably forever, or regain that past at the cost of his present, also probably forever. Dragon Gods are Jerks.
  • Nyarlathotep and, depending on one's point of view, Philemon from the Persona series. They are the Anthropomorphic Personifications of humanity's creative and positive urges (Philemon) and humanity's self-destructive urges (Nyarlathotep). They treat the fight between them as a game, using people as agents and pawns to act out their eternal war. Nyarlathotep wants nothing more than to kick over the table and ruin everything, but Philemon holds him back. But then, for all Philemon empowers the heroes, all he really cares about is saving humanity in the aggregate, and lets his agents go through hell without so much as a note of sympathy. There's a reason a lot of players like to have Tatsuya punch Philemon in the face rather than thank him at the end of Innocent Sin.
  • The Elder Gods from Mortal Kombat, particularly Mortal Kombat 9, where, when begged by Raiden for help against the invasion of Earthrealm by Outworld , their response is "so sad, too bad, but we don't care about the genocide of an entire realm".
    • They weren't much different in the previous games/timeline. When they were not being indifferent to all but their own survival they tended to make things worse. They cursed Shang Tsung to consume souls to survive making him stronger which bit them on their collective asses when Shinnok attacked them note . They promised to return to life Scorpion's clan in exchange for service and resurrected them as the undead. They tend to screw characters (both good and evil) over in several endings throughout the games. And comments in the games and outside of them has stated the Elder Gods appointed Shao Kahn as the protector of Outworld. A position he used to gain control of the realm. The Elder Gods then are responsible for most of the major villains throughout the games.
  • Sheep Happens starts off when Perseus buys some magic sandals from the Greek god Hermes to win a race. However, the sandals turn out to be cursed and Perseus can't stop running; explaining why the game is an endless runner. Hermes also taunts Perseus occasionally while he's chasing him.
    • In the Christmas event, Hermes and his flying black sheep attack Santa's sleigh and steal all the presents. It's up to Perseus to collect the presents and save Christmas.
  • Sacrifice almost all of the gods are jerks. Charnel enjoys bringing pain and death to anyone, and demotes his Necromancers for someone better. Pyro is a power hungry warmonger. Stratos set the whole apocalypse in motion, hoping that he would be the only god left. Persephone is self-righteous, Holier Than Thou, and just as blood-thirsty as her fellows. Only James, the God of Earth, is an all around decent, honest fellow.
  • Played for Laughs in Half-Minute Hero, where the Time Goddess is loved and praised by everyone, but is actually a narcissistic anarcho-capitalist who gives her Chosen One as little help or guidance as she can get away with and makes him pay huge amounts of cash for anything he gets, even aid needed to save his soul from a demon. She seems to be concerned with the planet, but likely only because destroying it would also destroy all of the money.
    • She's outdone by far by the villains of the sequel's Ragnarok 30 scenario, the God Nine. While they actually had helped Hero save the world long ago, they turned when they checked up on the world and discovered demons living there... even though after their overlord was destroyed they were able to in harmony with humans. Their solution to this "problem"? Descend to earth and simply massacre human and demon alike. Of particular note is Varach of the Wars, who brags about how he keeps the world in cycles of war and peace so that the gods can harvest the energy of the Timestream from those who die, then give them time to reproduce before starting again. Of course, even they are beaten in jerkassery by Fate...
  • Your current God in Nethack (as defined by your class and starting alignment) expects you to delve into the Dungeons of Doom where Everything Is Trying to Kill You, overcome quests and puzzles, descend into Hell, steal an amulet that causes bad stuff to you from the servant of Moloch, then bring it out of Hell, out of the dungeons, through the elemental Planes, and across the Astral Plane (where literally everything, including three of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, is trying to stop you) to give it to your God. With such a tall order, your God would probably help you as much as possible to ensure success, right? Wrong. Sure, they can help you if you pray to them... as long as you don't do it too often. Pray without respecting a certain time limit since your last prayer, and your God will get angry. Get your God too angry, and they'll start punishing you, all the way up to trying to kill you. Sacrifices can mollify the God and reduce the time limit, though. (Evidently placating God's childish ego is more important than obtaining an artifact of cosmic powers.)
  • Implied in the first two Disciples games but really shown in the third. At least, in the first two games, they are dicks to one another. In the third game, though, they have decided to destroy the world and start over, not caring about all the mortals there.

    Web Comics  
  • The Order of the Stick: the Gods created the world it seems for their own amusement as much as anything. Their squabbles the first time created the Snarl and ended up killing 1/4 of them and unmaking reality before they locked it up in the current world. When they remade it they made Clerics and a lot of cool monsters for them to help fight, but needed Cannon Fodder for them to kill for experience. All goblin races were created to be nothing more than easy experience points and defined as "Usually Chaotic Evil" for the purposes of alignment and spells, no matter their actions. (Well, according to Redcloak anyway.) As a result, killing a Goblin child unable to comprehend good and evil is not an evil act (again, according to Redcloak). The motivation of the aforementioned Redcloak stems from him trying to give his people an equal footing.
    • The Dark One (the previously-mortal god of the goblins) averts this in his dealings with his followers, but he's still willing to threaten the stability of the entire universe in order to force the other gods to make Goblins a PC race.
  • The Gods Of Arr Kelaan can sometimes slide into this, but there's a general consensus that as bad as the Traveler Gods could be they are still better than the old gods. The old Gods being Jerkasses is what kicks off the "God War".
  • The Penguin God in Jack Of All Blades: He tricks Jack and Tsai into accompanying the Penguins to their new home world, telling them the trip would take a couple of days at the most. (which it did, to them). After reevaling this, he revealed that Jack's new bride will have found someone she loves even more than him when he gets back (also true: that person was their daughter, Jacqi)
  • Oglaf: Sithrak the Blind Gibberer would seem to be this, or at least if it's to believe his missionaries. They claim that the reason life is cruel is because Sithrak is angry and insane.
    Missionary 1: When you die, Sithrak tortures you forever — whether you were good or not.
    Missionary 2: I find that lack of responsibility really liberating.
    • The Alt Text reveals that Sithrak does have his standards, though... he doesn't torture you before you're born because that would be creepy.
    • And when a missionary of Sithrak finally meets the god, Sithrak is confused by how terrified the cultist is, before explaining that his promises of eternal torment were just poetry wrote while he was an angry teenager. Even though he resurrects his follower to try to correct their view of him, the Sithrak cultists assume this was just the god toying with their emotions in an act of sadism.
  • Quizmalia, the Lady of Fate and Fortune from Our Little Adventure. She created the Magicant, an ultimate wish granting artifact and then plunked it into Manjulias simply to watch various people abuse its power for her own amusement.

    Web Original 
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, all the gods that humanity has ever worshipped (yes, even the God of Christianity/Judaism/Islam, before you ask) are actually the products of humanity's collective unconscious via the same psionic effect that caused several of the Anthropomorphic Personifications (such as Uncle Sam, the incarnation of American liberty, and the Blood Red King, the incarnation of suffering) to come into existence. As such, their behavior and attitudes reflect human behavior and attitudes. The reason that so many of the gods are complete ass-hats is because humanity expects them to be.
  • Zod from Open Blue is a drunken bastard who would rather fart up hurricanes, go on beer parties, and armwrestle with an expy of Cthulhu rather than answer the hundreds of millions of prayers directed at him.
  • The Whateley Universe has these in spades. There are, of course, all the various Lovecraftian "gods". There's the Tao with its shamelessly invoked Omniscient Morality License. The Christian Heaven and Hell (or good facsimiles thereof) apparently exist and are locked in a carefully balanced stalemate with neither side actually trying to win too much, which works okay for the entity claiming to be Satan but casts a dim light on his counterpart. (Let's not even go into their respective treatment of Merry, later Petra, who by this point is a fully appointed knight of the Catholic church... even if she does also carry Sara's demon mark.) And the New Olympians school clique? Are some of the old Greek gods in new human host bodies, with at least some of them already up to their old tricks and none too happy that nobody worships them anymore.
  • Parodied by this College Humor video.
  • Although Zero Punctuation does not contain examples of the trope, it does have a rather appropriate summary of it:
    "The root problem with Christianity is that their god is supposed to be all-powerful and benevolent. It sounds like an easy sell but when life turns completely to shit you have to come up with all kinds of whacked-out reasons for why kindly old Jehovah saw fit to run over little Timmy with a combine harvester and leave him in a state of vegetative limbless agony for eighteen years. Ancient cultures didn't have that problem; they knew their gods were a bunch of drunken lunatics who ran around boning their close relatives and turning their goolies into fruit-bearing trees. Consequently they tend to make for much more interesting stories."
  • An episode of Red Letter Media's Best of the Worst includes a discussion of Gary Coleman For Safety's Sake in which they describe Gary Coleman's character as "an all-powerful deity" whose safety tips come at the expense of two children whom he remotely almost chokes to death, causes to slip and sustain cranial injury, and antagonizes with invading pedophiles - all for the sake of amusing himself and trying to impress a hot nurse.
  • From various profile in The Monster Girl Encyclopedia, we can conclude that while the Chief God really loves humans, she hates monsters. It's possible that she created them with the intent of having an enemy for mankind to fight. On the other end, we have the Fallen God who believes in pleasure above all other things, and forcefully converts both human women and angels into its followers the same way as a succubus, causing them to desire the ultimate "reward" of being locked in eternal coitus with their mate in Pandemonium. Finally, the cyclopes were once deities, but fellow deities cursed them into monsters simply because they have only one eye.
    • Translations of the official background material have also shown that Poseidon (who is a goddess in this setting) turned against the other gods and sided with the demon lord in part at least because the other gods were forcing her to make storms to reduce human populations and make them fear the sea.
    • Also from the settings material, it turns out that the monsters are living creatures the Chief God created so that the population of humans could be easily controlled. The previous Demon Lords were control devices so that the gods could control the monsters. Whenever the population of humans got too high, the monsters would become incredibly vicious and begin killing large numbers of humans. Then when humans started to die out and the monsters became too numerous, the Chief God would grant humans incredible power, creating “heroes”, and send them to slay the Demon Lord. With the Demon Lord slain, the monsters would kill each other to decide the next Demon Lord, causing a rapid decrease in the monster population. This would go on until humans again became too prosperous, at which point a new Demon Lord would be born and take control of the Monsters. This process ran for several cycles until a Succubus fought her way to becoming the current Demon Lord, and started messing with the system.
  • A rather tragic example with the Storyteller from Off The Page And Into Life. Watching all her creations die one by one, and failing to reincarnate them to be her friends has taken its toll on her attitude and empathy.
  • In The Gamers Alliance, the gods are quite often amoral and manipulate mortals for their own ends. Gods like Artemicia the Goddess of Healing, Hephaestus the God of Smithing, Nergal the God of War and Shakkan the God of Beasts have all done things which have affected the world and the people living in it in a negative way do to their personal rivalries and opposing ideologies.

    Western Animation 
  • God is pretty much of a jerk in Family Guy too, pressuring women for sexual favors, neglecting his son, starting fires, and what not.
  • The telling of the Pandora's Box story in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy fits the trope and the original story rather well. Basically, the gods trick Pandora into opening the box purely for shits and giggles.
    • And, of course, there are plenty of gods that make guest appearances, such as Eris, the goddess of discord and strife.
  • Neptune of Sponge Bob Square Pants acts this way.
    • His son Triton in "Spongebob and The Clash of Triton" on the other hand actually did care about mortals and their affairs before his father locked him in a cage because he felt that trying to improve the lives of mortals was not befitting of a god. The thousands of years he spent locked away eventually turned Triton into a jerkass god as well.
  • The (freakish) version of God on South Park could qualify too. Not only does He look like a spectacularly ugly cross between an orangutan and a hippopotamus, but He is cold-hearted and hypocritical in allowing Satan to take all human beings except for Mormons to Hell, despite Himself being a Buddhist - a religion that ultimately dispenses with the idea of God.
  • Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. He's an all-powerful Reality Warper who can do pretty much anything he pleases. And just what does he use this power to do? Turn Equestria into a chaos-stricken version of its former self and drive everypony insane for his own amusement. His initial appearance paints him more as a God of Evil than just a jerkass, but his characterization in "Keep Calm and Flutter On" falls squarely in line with this trope (unless you consider "spirit of chaos and disharmony" not close enough to explicitly-stated godhood, but there's no denying the "jerkass" part).


Hot GodGod TropesKill the God
It's Been DoneOlder Than DirtJumped at the Call
The Hecate SistersReligion TropesKing of All Cosmos
It's Popular, Now It SucksDouble StandardNo True Scotsman
Jerkass BallVillainsJerkass Has a Point
Jerkass FaçadeThe Jerk IndexJerkass Has a Point

alternative title(s): Jerkass God; Our Gods Are Jerks; Jackass Gods
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