Whether or not one believes in a god or gods, there is no denying that religion can be one hell of a powerful motivator.
Sometimes a character or group of characters are (or come to believe that they are) chosen for a specific mission by their god. Sometimes they are called upon to help people in need (or maybe just bring members of a band back together
), or to unite a divided country. But sometimes their mission takes on a more violent form, with the characters kicking ass or even killing for their god.
Whether or not the mission is justified depends largely on the fruits of their work, but it's worth knowing that it takes a special kind of person in order to avoid becoming so caught up in one's religious fervor
that they lose sight of what they are actually doing to the world and take things too far, becoming Well Intentioned Extremists
, or at worst, Knights Templar
This is both a case of Truth in Television
, as people from all over the world have gone on Missions From God, both in real life and in fiction, changing the world both for the better and for the worse. Who was right and who was wrong concerning such missions is a subject of much controversy, and while good examples of such missions definitely exist, we are more familiar with misguided missions that take things too far, such as witch-hunts and past and present-day holy wars.
See also Church Militants
, who are always
on a mission from God.
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- Michel from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch has been convinced that killing humans and turning the world into Mordor is a Mission From God. His actual purpose, planted by a Man Behind the Man, is far different.
- Kaitou Saint Tail was a Kaitou that righted wrongs against the devout by stealing back their stolen goods. It's heavily implied that she got her Magical Girl powers from God.
- Hellsing even has the phrase painted in the organization weaponry. ("We Are On A Mission From God!")
- Their Catholic counterpart Iscariot believes this as well.
- Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne is all about this. Too bad that the angel who was sent to help her has been brainwashed by the devil, so she will bring the caught demons to HIM instead of God! Turns out the suspicious black angel was actually her stand-in, rather than a bad guy.
- In Tokyo Godfathers Miss Hana does say something like this about the baby. With Blues Brothers-like Deus ex Machina in the movie it does seem likely.
- Everthing made by everyone in Saint Seiya is in the name of some God.
- In Amakusa 1637, it looks like the six Time Travellers were Trapped in the Past via God's will so they can prevent a massacre. Seika, one of the girls, says this openly, but the others aren't fully convinced.
- All of the mandates to eliminate ghosts in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt literally come directly from God himself. Of course, the Anarchy sisters, being the bitches that they are, are always less than reluctant to carry them out, even though there was never really any retribution for not doing so.
- The titular Big O was "cast in the name of God."
- Jei in Usagi Yojimbo thinks he's been chosen by the gods to free the world from evil; unfortunately, he also thinks that just about everyone is evil.
- The 1980s comic Evangeline, about a secret agent/commando nun in the 23rd Century, had the tagline, "She really is on a mission from God."
- Wonder Woman is one a mission from her gods to bring amazonian peace to the Patriarch's world.
- Happens often in stories set in RPG worlds such as Dungeons & Dragons with active patron deities.
- In The Tabula Avatar Universe quests by Shar and Talona to characters like Viconia and Chantry set up a lot of the action, sometimes being rewards in and of themselves. Shar and her friends occasionally also take active roles, rather than just being the quest givers.
- The enemy Elf Ragnar from Power Rangers GPX believes his genocidal campaign is this. He's opposed by an atheist as Red Ranger, which makes him mad.
- Neil Patrick Harris believes he's on one in Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle. Harold and Kumar aren't convinced.
- The Spaniards in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
- The Blues Brothers go on a mission to reunite their old band for a gig to raise the money to save the old Catholic home where they grew up. For obvious reasons, the brothers consider this to be a mission from God, as seen in the quote above. (Or as Akroyd keeps pronouncing it, "Mission from Gaaahd.") And a number of miraculous (or nearly-so) events work in the Brothers' favor, strongly suggesting that someone upstairs really is helping them. For example, their Cool Car performs stunts that should be outright impossible, and survives every possible pratfall and mishap right up until they don't need it anymore, at which point it immediately falls to pieces. Then, at the exact moment the Brothers complete their mission and receive a receipt for the tax payment, their divine Plot Armor disappears, and they face the consequences for all the laws they broke in the course of the mission.
- The protagonist of The Book of Eli. ("And you did all this because a voice told you to?" "I know what I hear, I know what I heard, I know I'm not crazy, I didn't imagine it").
- The Boondock Saints is about two Irish Catholic brothers who believe they are on a mission from God to kill evil men and become vigilantes.
- This belief appears to extend to the neighborhood by the second movie.
- The kung-fu priest from Peter Jackson's zombie comedy Braindead certainly qualifies: "I kick arse for the Lord!"
- Dogma. Not the angels but pretty much everyone trying to stop them. Interesting in that this particular Mission from God doesn't actually come from God, who is missing at the time, although it does come from the voice of God, Metatron. More of a Mission For God.
- In Frailty, Matthew McConaughey's family is commanded by God to destroy demons. One of the kids sees "destroy demons" to mean "kill people," hence the drama. And then it gets weird when the kid and father, who think they are destroying demons, turn out to be right.
- In From Dusk Till Dawn, during the height of the protagonists' siege by vampires, bank robber Seth Gecko turns to Jacob Fuller, minister with a crisis-of-faith, and asks him if he's a "faithless preacher or a mean motherfucking servant of God?" He responds that he's a "mean mother...hmmm hmm servant of God".
- An extreme example would be the So Bad, It's Good Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter. Jesus' second coming happens in part because God wants him to fight sunlight-immune vampires that prey on lesbians.
- Deconstructed in Kingdom of Heaven by the Hospitaller. He says that throughout his life he's seen various madmen and killers proclaim their actions as the will of God, and he also observes a short way into the movie that even though a number of Templars are dying for what the Pope would command them to do, Jesus probably wouldn't want them to do it.
- The Messenger is one of many movies concerning the life of Saint Joan of Arc.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a comedic telling of one of the best-known Arthurian legends, in which the protagonists are on a mission from God (literally) to find the Holy Grail.
- Done literally in the first two Oh, God! films, with John Denver and Louanne Sirota selected to be God's messengers.
- Ruth's father in Paul, believing the eponymous hero to be a demon, declares that he is on a mission from God to rescue his daughter.
- This is what drives the plot of Season of the Witch.
- In Miss Nobody, Sarah Jane believes that St. George is guiding her exploits. Considering that she's a Serial Killer who murders her co-workers to create job openings for her to fill, she might just be insane. Her commentary over the final scene implies that, at the very least, she certainly didn't have St. George's favor.
- Somewhat disillusioned by the Catholic Church, Harvey Keitel's Charlie seeks his own redemption for his sins by looking after his friend Johnny Boy in Mean Streets.
- Eli Stone is about a lawyer who gets messages from God through a brain aneurysm. In the form of musicals that involve whoever's around him at the moment.
- Joan of Arcadia is given a Mission from God (for real) in every episode.
- Dean Winchester appears to be one after his resurrection, or at least so the Angels say. It eventually turns out to be a subversion of the trope, because the angels are openly described (by both the show's creators and characters in canon) as dicks and none of them are answering to God throughout S4.
- The villain in "Bad Day At Bad Rock" started thinking he was on one after he managed to track down Sam Winchester through a series of remarkable coincidences and believed them to be signs from God. It was actually just a Necro Non Sequitur caused by Sam's possession and subsequent loss of a Bad Luck Charm.
- Orphan Black: The conspiracy trying to kill the clones is made up on religious fanatics who think clones are unnatural, including one of the clones, who believes herself to be the original.
- Sort of used in the pilot of Firefly. During the battle in Serenity Valley:
Bendis: We're going to die. You know that.
Sgt Reynolds: We're not going to die, Bendis. You know why? Because we are so. Very. Pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die.
- Apparently, Bendis wasn't as pretty as Mal. He dies.
- Long Arm and Butchie from My Brother's Blood Machine are told by their deluded mother that they have a mission from God: To become Death. The thing is, they're not certain how to collect souls. So, they build a giant corpse-mangling apparatus called the Blood Machine.
- On Dream Evil's Dragonslayer album, the opening track of "Chasing the Dragon" mentions in the first verse that the hero has "a mission sent from God."
- Daizee Haze's feud with the Seven Star Sisters in Shimmer was apparently started by an order from Mother Earth to destroy all inferior wrestlers and prove she was the best.
- Certain games, most notably Dungeons & Dragons, may use this as the basis for any number of plots. Whether it's a player-character paladin or cleric literally receiving a mission from his or her god, or the PCs undertaking a mission on the church's behalf in return for being healed or even resurrected, the Mission From God is a ready explanation as to why the players have to track down a specific MacGuffin or destroy The Dragon.
- Eberron, which mostly has non-interventionist deities, still has examples of this, although usually it's missions from the priesthood or from a being or beings who are merely revered as a deity such as the Undying Court or Vol. Most destructively, Thalin of Thrane came to the conclusion that it was the will of the Silver Flame that he be King of Galifar and the appointment of his sister to the throne was an affront to his religion, which of course was the only true one because...well, fundamentally because it was his...and so open war against the other nations was the only righteous course. The Succession Crisis resulting from this and two other rulers deciding to rebel for their own reasons lasted for nearly a century and got a lot of people killed.
- In Exalted, more or less all the PCs are on a Mission From either a God, Omnicidal Maniac ghosts, Eldritch Abominations, or a giant robot who is also an Eldritch Abomination. Of course, they don't have to do what their patrons tell them (if they talk to them at all). They could just kill them.
- The hunters of Hunter The Reckoning start their missions when the Messengers send them a direct message about the true state of the world and reveal the monsters lurking behind human guises.
- The protagonists of Scion are the children of the gods, who first truly receive their powers when their absent parents appear to them and draft them into the war against the Titans.
- The Lancea Sanctum from Vampire: The Requiem believes that vampires are damned by God for a reason — to scare mortals from the path of sin and harrow them back to righteousness.
- Many of the antagonists in the Silent Hill series go on the violent, rampaging sorts of missions.
- Particularly Claudia from Silent Hill 3, who just can't seem to shut up about that wonderful God of hers.
- Age of Mythology loosely follows this trope. The hero, Arkantos, is on a mission for Poseidon at the beginning, then gets around to helping Osiris and Thor, before finally settling with Zeus. The twist here is that the Big Bad is also on a mission from a god — Poseidon and technically, Kronos. He also gets help from Set and Loki.
- Likewise, Kratos was originally on a mission from the gods of Olympus. It...didn't go so well.
- This is more or less the premise of Darkstone, in which the player characters are on a mission to save their goddess (and world) from complete annihilation.
- Depending on which installment of the series is being examined, some of the Zelda games may qualify for this. The actual importance of the three Hyrulean goddesses on the plot varies from one game to another. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, however, consistently refers to Link as being "the hero chosen by the goddesses," suggesting that in that installment at least, he is on a Mission From Goddesses.
- Though not exactly gods, the Foci that the fal'Cie assign to humans-turned-l'Cie in Final Fantasy XIII are this trope in essence. That said, the l'Cie don't have much in terms of motivation for completing their Focus or not.
- In the ENGLISH trailer for the Sequel, Lightning apparently give herself one, saying (paraphrased): "I'll forever hold up the memory of you, Lindzei."
- Recruitable character Leliana of Dragon Age: Origins believes she's on one.
- A couple different recruitable cohorts in Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir (Umoja, druid of Ubtao, and Soraevora Aeravand, favored soul of Angarradh) were ordered to help fight the Big Bad by their gods.
- Oracle Of Tao, Ambrosia gets a mission from God. Reconstructed, as one of the key conflicts of her quest is whether or not what she is seeing (and in fact her quest itself), is caused by madness. Even the author doesn't know.
- In Star Control II, you, the player, can pretend to be an alien race's god and send them on one of these, which gets them out of your way and allows you to get a Plot Coupon without any trouble.
- NetHack's Excuse Plot is this. The god you get it from depends on the role you play.
- In The Elder Scrolls series you often end up doing missions from the daedric princes.
- Lady Gray, in The Graystone Saga, is on a quest at the behest of the five gods. It's said of her that she answers to them alone; the fact that she's regarded as being above the laws of mortal men is just part of the reason she's a Hero with Bad Publicity.
- Optimus Primal in Transformers: Beast Machines believes he is on a mission from Primus to restore organic life to Cybertron. Tankor tampers with the Oracle to subvert this.
- Parodied in an episode of The Simpsons that tells the story of Joan of Arc. Joan (Lisa) is captured and put on trial by the English. She calls on God as a witness, who states that he did, in fact, tell her to lead the French to victory. An English/Scottish solider (Groundskeeper Willie) stands up and claims that God told him to lead the English to victory over the French. God embarrassingly admits he never expected them to be in the same room together and quickly leaves.
- In The Legend of Korra, Equalist leader Amon claims to be on a divine mission to supplant the Avatar and bring balance to the world by completely eliminating Bending. He seemingly proves this by demonstrating the ability to remove bending, which he claims was given to him by the spirits themselves. He's lying. Amon himself is a bender, and the removal of bending he displays is an extension of his bloodbending capabilities.
- A remarkable case is that of the Quaker Mary Fisher, much persecuted in her native England and then in America for her beliefs, who walked 900 miles from Venice to Edirne to meet the Ottoman sultan Mehmet IV, believing that God wished her to carry a message to him. She was graciously received by the sultan, who listened to her respectfully and offered to take her back to Istanbul with him.
- The crusades, of course. The Pope declared war on the non-believers and expected everyone to go fighting them. Suddenly nearly all of Europe preparred to invade the Middle East. Seven times.