->''"Christianity will doubtless still survive in the earth ten centuries hence -- stuffed and in a museum."''
-->-- '''Creator/MarkTwain''', ''Notebook''

One way to show how "advanced" a society is in {{science fiction}} or certain kinds of {{fantasy}} works is to show that it's given up religion. A society may consider religion backward and primitive, consider it a [[CorruptChurch dangerous tool for controlling the populace]], or have discovered it was a ScamReligion. Such societies are often contrasted in the same work with more "primitive" societies which are still religious to some degree; these are usually portrayed as harmless fanatics, often of a FantasyCounterpartReligion.

This is a difficult trope to write about well, and many who use it fall into {{Author Tract}}s. Part of this is because of the demographics of science fiction writers; especially in the "Golden Age" of sci-fi, empiricists and secular humanists were particularly attracted to the genre. A common variation of this trope sees the "advanced" society [[WindmillPolitical show the "primitive" society the error of its ways]] and prove that ThePresentsWereNeverFromSanta. Since then, sci-fi has become more mainstream (and the militant atheist a more annoying character), so this trope's usage has become more nuanced. Nowadays, you might find a society that discovered it was worshipping [[CargoCult advanced technology]] or SufficientlyAdvancedAliens. You might even see the [[InvertedTrope inverse]], where an atheistic society discovers for whatever reason that it kind of ''needed'' silly superstition to function, or even the God or gods they worshiped being [[ReligionIsRight proven true]].

It's very often paired with an AlternativeCalendar, since the one we use today is strongly influenced by Christianity. Societies will then choose a new "year zero", which will often coincide with a major scientific breakthrough -- the moon landing is among the most popular.

Compare WhatWeNowKnowToBeTrue and NoSuchThingAsSpaceJesus. Contrast GravityIsOnlyATheory, MaybeMagicMaybeMundane, and ScienceIsWrong. See also ReligionRantSong. The individual-scale version of this trope is the HollywoodAtheist.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'', religious beliefs are close to non-existent, which is explained as a result of people becoming disillusioned over religion after a nuclear holocaust mentioned in the backstory. The only organised religion present in the series, the Terraist Church, turns out to be a PathOfInspiration which aims to revive [[InsignificantLittleBluePlanet Earth]]'s past glory through subversive actions such as assassinating key figures of the galaxy.
* Religion is rarely mentioned in the classic Universal Century timeline of ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}''. In fact, the UC calendar was originally established in order to invoke this trope and usher in an [[{{Irony}} utopian age]] [[CrapsackWorld for mankind]]. There is still room from any number of fringe cults, but these mostly have political ulterior motives, such as the Zanscare Empire in ''Anime/MobileSuitVictoryGundam'' or the myriad manifestations of Zeon ideology.
** Defied in 0096 Unicorn: The reason why spacenoids had such a fervent worship of Christianity, which transitioned to a blind obedience to Zeon philosophy, was because they had nothing else to live for or hope with in the cold, resource-scare void of space. As Marida explains, the Universal Century was anything but atheist for the poverty-stricken colonists.
* In ''Anime/CodeGeass'', [[MadScientist Lloyd]] lightly teases [[AlmightyJanitor Suzaku]] about how the Japanese still believes in such superstitions.
* A modern-day variant in ''Anime/YourName''; according to ''Another Side: Earthbound'', one of the key reasons for Toshiki running for mayor was to try and invoke this in Itomori and break the hold that the Miyamizu and their Shinto beliefs have traditionally held over the town after Futaba's death [[FaithHeelTurn shattered his faith in the gods]]. He realises almost too late that there is indeed truth in the legends he sneered at.
* Averted and even inverted in the manga ''Manga/AliceInBorderland''. At one point, some of the characters wonder how they ended up in a strange world that requires them to play deadly games to keep living. One character, a forensic scientist, muses about different supernatural and spiritual reasons they might be there. Another character asks how a scientist could still believe such things, and she replies that science has only been able to take humanity so far, and at some point there are big things that even science hasn't yet been able to tell them.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In Creator/WarrenEllis' ''ComicBook/{{Supergod}}'', faith is stated to be a biological flaw in human neurology that enables group behavior without the enlightened self-interest that should preclude it -- a "narcotic response" to the concept of a higher power. This means most people will follow leaders based on their ability to evoke that response rather than their ability to encourage survival. It also means that most people would be quite willing to surrender their free will to [[BlueAndOrangeMorality powerful forces that don't even see them as bacteria]]. You can guess how that turns out.
* [[ZigZaggedTrope Zig-zagged]] in ComicBook/JannahStation, where Earthlings are the only large group of remaining atheists. Almost everyone off-planet is religious to some extent or other.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* ''Fanfic/{{Eugenesis}}'': The people of Cybertron have taken on this attitude after the first time [[PlanetEater Unicron]] showed up to eat everyone, with "theo-scientists" pouring out of the woodwork to calmly disseminate every aspect of Cybertron's religious texts. Of course, even they haven't figured out how the Matrix functions. And they become oddly quiet when the subject of the built-in kill-switch every Cybertronian has comes up.
* ''Fanfic/BaitAndSwitchSTO'':
** {{Downplayed}} with the primary protagonist of TheVerse. Kanril Eleya is Bajoran and is a member of their religion from ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', but mentions she's been compared by one of her senior staff to a "Christmas-and-Easter Christian" (she thinks he's exaggerating).
** In ''Fanfic/SolaereSsiunHnaifvdaenn'', this is turned on its head from ''Franchise/StarTrek'' norms, with an irreligious Romulan pulling this on the human protagonist, a practicing Muslim who cites religious law as a reason for not taking a vaccine orally (the fic is said to be taking place during Ramadan, when an oral vaccine would break Khoroushi's fast). The author has mentioned in forum posts that the trope annoys him.
* Hogwarts and Magical Britain's magic in ''Fanfic/ScionOfSorcery'' is seen as primitive and regressive in comparison to the Masters of the Mystic Arts' teachings. Harry is especially critical of the housing system, making a point that it serves little purpose than to drum up arbitrary tribalism among the students and staff.
* {{Deconstructed}} in the Lighting the Darkness Arc ''Fanfic/EquestriaAcrossTheMultiverse'': the civilization of the visited world has long since forgotten their goddess Queen Equinox and became a modern humanity era civilization. Except in this case, Queen Equinox actually existed and sacrificed herself to save the planet from a asteroid, so when the powerful demon Lord Yomi escapes his prison, the world is powerless against him because he's now an OutsideContextProblem because no one remembers his weaknesses or how to invoke HolyBurnsEvil anymore. Yomi effortlessly takes over the world and no one can do anything about it until the Mane Six arrive and bring back magic. Turns out that 'outgrowing' religion isn't such a good idea when it was actually ''real''.
* ''Fanfic/TheWarOfTheMasters'':
** Earthborn humans tend to be atheist and at least one character remarks that "we don't believe in God on Earth in the 25th century". To which a Denali responds, [[RussianReversal "That's okay, He believes in you."]] In this vein, humans from worlds other than Earth tend to be more commonly religiously inclined, and it's noted that the Bajorans, who are members of the Federation but tend to dislike Earth specifically, feel some kinship to them for this: in "Fanfic/SoundTheAlarm", Kanril Eleya is particularly infuriated to see Orion slave raiders have murdered an Episcopal priestess and burned her church. Moab III in particular has a large Orthodox Jewish population, having been settled originally by (among other things) Israelis who were displaced by the destruction of Israel in WorldWarIII, and Elizabeth Tran at one point criticizes what she sees as the conversion of the Holy Land to something resembling a theme park of "what we ''used'' to believe".
** During one of the {{Courtroom Episode}}s on Bajor in ''Fanfic/CreateYourOwnFate'', Eleya mentions watching the face of the Federation's lawyer to see what he thinks of the court session opening with a public prayer, narrating that "separation of church and state is a hazy thing for us". (This is something that would never happen in a real-life US court, never mind a Federation court.)

* In ''Franchise/StarWars: Film/ANewHope'', the Force is considered mythology in many circles. Of course, the Force is very real in-universe, making this a case of widespread [[FlatEarthAtheist Flat Earth Atheism.]] Han outright states that he doesn't believe in it (before he sees it for himself), and even an Imperial officer challenges Darth Vader directly on the Force's existence. It ends badly for him:
-->'''Darth Vader''': Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.\\
'''[[SmugSnake Admiral Motti]]''': Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the rebels' hidden fort--\\
'''Darth Vader''': ''([[DoNotTauntCthulhu Force-chokes Motti]])'' [[PreAsskickingOneLiner I find your lack of faith disturbing.]]
** Aside from this however it seems to be mostly played straight for the movies, which don't mention religion (aside from the Ewoks thinking Threepio's a god, but that also fits the trope). ExpandedUniverse materials are another story though.
** Then ''again,'' considering the overwhelming amount of [[RomanticismVsEnlightenment old school romanticism]] that permeates the franchise, it seems less likely that this trope is in play, rather than simply that popular entertainment in decades past was usually shy about talking about religion in general. And make whatever you like of Threepio's declarations of "Thank the Maker!"
** The old EU treated the Force as being more or less irrelevant to anyone who wasn't a Jedi or Sith, and most denizens of the galaxy were only vaguely aware that the two were different beyond being a petty religious schism. The new EU has introduced it as a more wide-spread religion which the Empire suppressed and which made a comeback after it fell.
* In ''Film/HaloNightfall'', ONI agent Horrigan cites the fact that the Sedrans still believe in [[Myth/NorseMythology Valhalla]] as a reason to look down on them. Granted, he's a {{Jerkass}}, there's an InterserviceRivalry going on, and his CO Jameson Locke doesn't seem to share Horrigan's disdain.
* In ''Film/AlienCovenant'', Oram believes this is why he was passed over for the position of captain. When he assumes the position following the captain's death, he worries about not being taken seriously because of it. It doesn't actually come up outside this conversation, however, suggesting it's more a confidence issue.

* Creator/StanislawLem was known to address this trope; he played with it impressively considering that he was writing in and for Communist countries. In ''Literature/{{Fiasco}}'', the expedition's crew includes a priest, who's portrayed positively. ''Literature/{{Solaris}}'' was his weirdest usage; the protagonist broods about how humanity hasn't improved in any way, but at the same time he broods about how great it is that humanity has outgrown foolish notions of {{God}}. He spent much of that book exploring how such a person might view a ''very'' unfamiliar alien being.
* Creator/ArthurCClarke has done this several times:
** In ''[[Literature/TheSpaceOdysseySeries 3001: The Final Odyssey]]'', the Earth of the titular year has long since abandoned religion. It's said that everyone is either a theist or a [[UsefulNotes/{{Deism}} deist]], as defined: the theists say there's at least one god, and the deists say there's at most one god.
** ''The Light of Other Days'', co-written with Creator/StephenBaxter, had a device that could see into the past. It proves, among other things, that Moses didn't exist, but was rather a merger of several different historical personages. Jesus did, but he was just a good person who inspired people, rather than a miracle-maker.
** ''Literature/ChildhoodsEnd'' has a similar device, which winds up discrediting every religion save Buddhism. The visitors' resemblance to stereotypical devils is because [[spoiler:they are heralds of [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt a change so monumental]] it echoes back through human history, causing the "devil" image in the first place.]]
** ''The Fountains of Paradise'', about the building of a SpaceElevator and humanity's FirstContact with an alien AI, had the AI disprove the works of Thomas Aquinas, and possibly Christianity itself. And that was all in the exposition. There is one religion left practicing (a Buddhist-type), but it leaves its monastery when the yellow butterflies reach the top of the hill it's on, simply because [[SelfFulfillingProphecy they were prophesied to do it.]] It is mentioned that Vatican still exists as a center of Catholicism, but it suffers from severe financial troubles, implying that the number of practicing Catholics is minuscule.
** The closing stories in the ''[[Literature/RendezvousWithRama Rama]]'' books, on which Clarke either collaborated or wrote himself, subvert this. The setting has humanity already in religious decline by default, but the very end of the series presents not only possible evidence for the existence of a divine being such as God, but an explanation for his laissez-faire attitude to dealing with his creation.
* From the works of Creator/IsaacAsimov:
** In the advanced cultures of the ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' trilogy, most of the main characters are supposedly atheists, and the leaders of Terminus certainly are. However, outside Terminus religion itself survives, even if it's used as a tool of control at times. Over time, though, Hari Seldon assumed an almost religious significance to the people of Foundation, to the point where many of them had a decidedly irrational belief in the infallibility of his predictions.
** The ''Second Foundation'' trilogy (written by modern authors) portray the different aspects of Robot philosophy (Asimov linked his ''Robots'' and ''Foundation'' series in later books) as being akin to religions, including "Calvinists" and several other sects who have their own interpretations of the body of doctrine that is the [[ThreeLawsCompliant Laws of Robotics]].
** ''Nightfall'' is even more interesting. The scientists had worked out the cause of the periodic devastation and the things called "stars", and the religious fanatics were deeply offended -- and also had a much better idea than the scientists how serious the matter was.
** Asimov also played with religion in some of his robot stories, including one where a robot that was activated on a space station believed the station's machinery was a god, called it "the Master," and believed ''Earth'' was a religious fiction designed for the small-minded humans.
--> [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything "There is no Master but the Master, and QT-1 is His prophet."]]
* [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]]:
** In the ''[[Literature/TheCulture Culture]]'' novels, the Culture looks at religion as a delusion which is deserving of sympathy. This viewpoint runs into trouble in ''Look to Windward'', where the "enlightened" races are irritated and nonplussed that whether or not the Chelgrian heaven existed before, it demonstrably exists ''now''. ''Literature/SurfaceDetail'' features sophisticated virtual reality environments, many of which are based on each religion's hell, which proves to be a contentious issue in galactic politics.
** ''The Algebraist'' features a future religion that actually fits in a science fiction setting. The dogma is that the universe is a simulation, and the goal is to end the simulation by getting enough of the participants in the simulation to realize that they are in one. The main character of ''The Algebraist'' seems skeptical of this religion, though. The simulation hypothesis is also brought up in the ''Culture'' novel ''Matter'', without a religion surrounding it. See [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis Simulation hypothesis]] for the real-life example.
* Creator/AlfredBester's ''Literature/TheStarsMyDestination'' didn't explicitly say that all religion was outmoded in its society, but Christianity was illegal, and pictures of nuns praying was considered equivalent to pornography.
* ''Literature/ACaseOfConscience'' toys with this. It features a totally agnostic -- if not atheistic -- alien race that also live in a perfect world and society, facing a bombed-out, nuclear-fried, and heavily Catholic human race. The priest included in the first contact mission considered that society a danger to humanity precisely because it was a rationalistic atheistic utopia; unfortunately, he'd already befriended one of those people before he made the decision. The humans wind up [[spoiler:blowing up the alien world thanks to what may have been an exorcism]].
* ''Literature/GiantsSeries'': ''Giants Star'' has a particularly fierce instance: [[spoiler:the protagonists deduce the existence of an alien AncientConspiracy to suppress human progress as a reasonably parsimonious explanation for the continued existence of religion in modern times]]. The truth, as revealed in ''Entoverse'', turns out to be that human religion, along with pretty much all mysticism and spirituality, is a result of [[spoiler:{{Body Surf}}ing StarfishAliens from a StableTimeLoop-establishing planet-sized supercomputer humans built.]]
* Creator/AnneMcCaffrey's [[Literature/DragonridersOfPern Pern]] is a world without religion. The expressions "Jays" and "by all that's holy" are still in use, but only as swears.
* Caffrey's ''[[Literature/TowerAndTheHive Talents]]'' series plays this mostly straight. Those few protagonists who espouse a belief in a higher power are, at most, vaguely Deist. Those who are openly devout are almost always portrayed as mentally unstable troublemakers. Organized religious populations are shunted to backwater worlds where "the harm they can do is minimized."
* The elves of the ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'' have outgrown religion; however, Eragon is slightly distrustful of the elves' atheism.
* In Peter F. Hamilton's ''Literature/NightsDawn'' trilogy, the rival powers in the Confederation are the staunchly atheist Edenists and the staunchly Christian Kulu Kingdom. The Edenists' philosophy and way of life lead to the closest thing to paradise as one can get, and they're also the only humans who can fully resist the possessed.
%% * In Hamilton's ''Literature/CommonwealthSaga'', religion is for the most part "weddings and funerals" only. However, in the distant sequels of the void trilogy, a massive religious pilgrimage is the source of the main conflict of the stories.
* Creator/NealStephenson's ''Literature/{{Anathem}}'' features a world in which a group of secular monks wall themselves away from society and study pure logic, science, philosophy and art. Although they are not officially atheistic, few members hold onto any religious beliefs. In the outside world, religions rise and fall unnoticed. While venturing in the outside world, monks can quickly reduce any religion they encounter into one of a number of basic categories so that they can avoid causing offense. Religious non-monks are mostly presented as morons, while the brightest are good enough that they aren't completely humiliated when they try to debate with a monk.
* The ''Literature/HumanxCommonwealth'' novels uses a variation; although humans and several other species seek guidance from the United Church, which has a Unitarian-style philosophy where people only look for ethical guidance and don't buy into the ritualistic aspects of religion that fall under this trope's "superstition" label.
* In the ''Literature/{{Uglies}}'' series, the people of the future sarcastically refer to gods as "invisible superheroes in the sky". There are some groups trying to bring religion back, but it isn't catching on.
* Creator/RogerZelazny enjoyed making far-far-far-future societies where humans had become {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s and taken on the roles and power of ancient gods. In ''Literature/CreaturesOfLightAndDarkness'', they had taken on the personae of Ancient Egyptian gods, including managing afterlives. But one of the most prominent characters was Madrak the Mighty, a warrior-priest "of the non-theistic, non-sectarian sort", whose personal religion was based on an agnostic's deity -- another character referred to him as a "holy ambulance-chaser". When Set the Destroyer pointed out to him that Madrak had just aided in the destruction of the Nameless, an EldritchAbomination from beyond the universe, ''which perfectly fit the definition of Madrak's agnostic God,'' the idea that his god existed -- and that he profited by its death -- made him suffer [[HeroicBSOD a crisis of faith]].
* Creator/JohnCWright's ''Literature/TheGoldenOecumene'' never says anything one way or the other about religion, but it's somewhat odd that in a setting where characters are defined heavily by their philosophical beliefs, the only person who engages in any form of worship or mysticism is a bit character whose philosophy is never explained.
* The ''Franchise/{{Doctor Who|ExpandedUniverse}}'' book ''[[HumansAreBastards Night of the Humans]]'' is essentially [[AuthorFilibuster one long rant about how awful and evil every single religion is]]. The Doctor responds to a crash-landed alien race on a massive pile of space-junk that is threatening a nearby planet. This interesting premise is quickly and completely overshadowed by the book's message. The chosen "god" of the crashed humans turns out to be [[spoiler: [[MonsterClown a creepy, creepy, clown called Gobo]]]].
* In ''Literature/{{Divergent}}'', it is implied that the Abnegation faction, which lives much like the Amish, is the only section of society that still believes in God. However, ''Insurgent'' shows that the Amity Faction practices some sort of naturalistic religion.
* {{Downplayed|Trope}} in the ''Literature/StarCarrier'' series. Due to Islamic terrorism having been largely responsible for WorldWarIII in the backstory, all faiths have to abide by a pledge called the White Covenant that makes many religious practices (chiefly proselytizing and conversion by threat or force) violations of basic human rights. It's mentioned in book four that being religious and having it listed in your military jacket can seriously hamper your career. Most nations have signed the White Covenant, except for the [[MiddleEasternCoalition Islamic Theocracy]], which has been barred from the [[TheFederation Confederation]] because of this.
* In Creator/MikhailAkhmanov and Christopher Nicholas Gilmore's ''Literature/CaptainFrenchOrTheQuestForParadise'', which takes place about 20,000 years in the future, humanity has settled thousands of worlds. Some of the worlds view religion in this manner, especially on the planet Tranai, which is ruled by "humane communism". Some other worlds are ruled by theocracies, such as the Holy Archonate on Murphy, which is recovering from a [[ColonyDrop comet strike]]. The eponymous captain believes theocracy is part of an ever-changing cycle of "democratic" governments; only an enlightened monarchy can avoid it.
* Jean Delumeau narrates in his ''Sin and Fear: The Emergence of the Western Guilt Culture, 13th-18th Centuries'' that this trope was one of the objectives of [[ChurchMilitant the Inquisition.]] There were several regulations against practices that were considered superstitious, like usage of amulets and anything magic-related, so much that, in trope terms, they were [[KnightTemplar enforcing]] that [[ReligionIsMagic Religion Is]] [[DefiedTrope NOT Magic]].
* In ''Literature/{{Theta}}'', religions still exist, but "theist" is used in contexts that imply it's as uncommon then as atheism is now. Knowing that most sapient peoples in the galaxy were created by the perfectly mortal and probably extinct [[{{Precursors}} "Ancients"]] likely helped.
* In Creator/GeorgeRRMartin's short story "The Way of Cross and Dragon", a thousand years in the future humanity has spread to countless planets. However, at least a sixth of them are still Christian, the biggest church has brought back the Inquisition (although more as a PR mechanism than a torture campaign), and the protagonist Inquisitor discovers a group that has figured out that there's no God, but still sets up sham religions because most people can't handle the truth.
* The [[WitchSpecies Sartan and Patryns]] from ''Literature/TheDeathGateCycle'' are races so powerful that most people consider them demigods, including themselves. Both will vigorously deny that any being or force more powerful than themselves could exist or have an impact on the world (the first book's appendix indicates that the Sartan are essentially Deist, believing a creator god exists but has no impact on the present world; the Patryns have no gods whatsoever, though they revere their leader Lord Xar as a sort of messiah) and consider active belief in such to be a "silly superstition" at best and heresy at worst. However, as the series progresses it becomes apparent that actual divine powers do exist, culminating in the appearance of the Serpents, a timeless race of semi-divine and ''deeply'' malevolent beings, as well as their benevolent counterparts. The last book essentially confirms that some sort of "higher power" is very real; exactly what the higher power ''is'', though, is left ambiguous.
* An interesting [[SubvertedTrope subversion]] in the ''[[PolishMedia Yggdrasil trilogy]]'', where the political thinkers behind the colonies made all religion [[IllegalReligion contraband]], so religious people had to stay on Earth. Fast forward several hundreds of years, and the colonists have several religions of their own (one deifying Helen Bjorg, who may or may not have been a MadScientist), while those who stayed behind remain Christians or Muslims (possibly others, but we don't see them). The Earth-colony trade is largely handled by the Christian Anhelos (CultureChopSuey of sarmatian Poland and colonial [[TorosYFlamenco Spain and/or Portugal]] who [[MustHaveCaffeine like coffee a lot]]). So no, despite what they thought, humanity has not outgrown silly superstitions.
* ''Literature/CodexAlera'' has an interesting example. The Alerans treat several of the practices of their Roman ancestors with scorn, to the point that some people think the Romans couldn't have done them to begin with because they are just so self-evidently ludicrous. These customs include worshipping gods, attempting to predict the future by studying animal entrails, shaping stone and metal without magic, and building complex machines. Of course, the setting also has a number of GeniusLoci who are easily as powerful as the Olympian gods (and a lot more visible in everyday life), so it's not that surprising that religion fell out of fashion.
* Played with in ''Literature/TheDinosaurLords''. The recent trend in Nuevaropa is to be agnostic, with young nobility openly proclaiming that they highly doubt the existence of the Creators. On the other hand, their parents, who are still the ones with power, are often devout, and the prologue shows that there's some truth to their faith.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': [[spoiler:A large faction of the Maesters have actually been trying to enforce this trope by attempting to discredit magic wherever they can. Unfortunately for them, [[TheMagicComesBack magic is no mere superstition]]: dragons are coming back, prophecies are coming true, wargs and seers do exist, sorceresses can assassinate at long distances, and that fabled ZombieApocalypse and TheFairFolk who kicked it off are in fact very real ''and'' aiming for a repeat performance. And all because of their efforts, the Maesters have just left the entire continent woefully unprepared for their invasion by making everybody believe that the undead snow fairies are just a myth. NiceJobBreakingItHero.]]
* ''Literature/GoMutants'' is set in an AlternateHistory where religion has gotten a lot less popular after people found out that aliens exist.
* {{Subverted}} with the Neanderthals in ''Literature/TheNeanderthalParallax'' books, who never had a concept of an afterlife or gods to begin with due to different brain structures [[spoiler: (though played straight with the finale of the trilogy, when a magnetic pole reversal affects humans' minds by first stimulating then later eliminating paranormal, mystical or religious beliefs. With them gone, peace breaks out in the Middle East, among other improvements)]].
* ''Literature/AlienInASmallTown'' claims that many humans had naturally assumed that FirstContact with aliens would settle the matter, with the aliens being so much more advanced that they would have a final answer for us. On the contrary, it turns out that the aliens themselves have a wide variety of religious and philosophical schools, including agnostics and atheists.
--> "So nobody on Earth got their philosophy of life particularly validated or invalidated by the visitors from the stars. Many humans felt cheated by this."
* Creator/RobertJSawyer inverts this with the aliens in ''Calculating God'', who are more technologically advanced than humanity but firmly believe in a creator on the basis of scientific evidence. It's the atheist human protagonist who slowly has to adjust and accept it.
* DiscussedTrope in C.S. Lewis' book ''Mere Christianity''; being someone who was raised as a Christian, became an atheist in college, and then regained faith, he believes the attitude to be a form of "chronological snobbery", and the idea that the ancients discovered some profound truths and we would be wise to learn from them is a recurring theme in many of his other works.
* In military science fiction ''Literature/{{Victoria}}'', the technologically advanced LadyLand Azania is an example, supporting secularism and considering Christianity a regressive cult that oppresses women. Their main enemy, the Northern Confederation, soundly averts this, being a reactionary and borderline theocratic state.
* In Creator/CTPhipps' SpaceOpera series ''Literature/LucifersStar'', the opposite is true and humanity has become ''more'' religious over time. This is stated due to the fact science has proven many bizarre and strange things about physics as well as the existence of SufficientlyAdvanced races. Religions may still be wrong (and are often used as a form of social control by the setting's many dictatorships) but show no sign of going away any time soon.
* Averted in the ''Literature/ImperialRadch'' series, where the Radchaai empire is tremendously advanced and openly devout. Its (massive) military names all its spaceships after deities and has daily religious observances, and the Radch religion adopts the local gods of conquered peoples into its pantheon to smooth their assimilation.
* {{Downplayed}} in ''Literature/TheFourHorsemenUniverse''. In the ShortStory "Angels and Aliens" by Jon R. Osborne, religion is far from dead, but ''organized'' religion is doing poorly: the protagonist is a Catholic priest who joins the Berzerkers mercenary company as a chaplain to find that much of the membership are neo-pagans (everything from Asatrus to Wiccans).
* Zigzagged in the ''Literature/ArrivalsFromTheDark'' series and its spin-off series ''Trevelyan's Mission''. The main series starts in the late 21st century, and this trope is decidedly averted there, with radical Islam and the related terrorism being rampant and the main reason for the creation of a unified SpaceNavy by the dominant global powers. Following the AlienInvasion, cults spring up, believing that the aliens were humanity's intended saviors and even those believing they were descended from those same aliens. The spin-off series takes place in the 29th century, and it's stated that, while a good number of humans still believe in various faiths, organized religion is pretty much gone due to the predominant view that a person's faith is a deeply personal thing that doesn't require a priest or a minister. Also averted with some alien races, such as the Kni'lina, who are at the same technological level of development as humanity, but one of their two main factions deeply believes in a prophet-like figure and treats him as divine. The other faction is highly pragmatic, but still views that figure with respect.
* Downplayed in ''Literature/TheLostFleet'', where most religious beliefs have been supplanted by ancestor worship. In fact, every warship has a chapel located deep inside it, in the most protected part of the ship. Geary ends his every message with "To the honor of our ancestors. Geary out." The prequel series ''Literature/TheGenesisFleet'' shows the beginnings of this belief as a cult that springs up in the recently-settled frontier colonies, as the settlers start looking back at Old Earth with a measure of nostalgia.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Franchise/StarTrek: While this appears to some extent in [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration the sequel series]], due to series creator Creator/GeneRoddenberry being a proponent of the idea, [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries the Original Series]] directly [[AvertedTrope averted this trope]] at its inception, due to a strong focus on multiculturalism. In fact, Kirk's ''Enterprise'' canonically has an interfaith chapel: It appears in the wedding ceremony (which Kirk, like a 20th Century naval captain, gets to officiate) in "Balance of Terror." It is also mentioned on the list of sets in the Original Series's 1960's [[UniverseBible writer's guide]], and is shown in [[http://www.cygnus-x1.net/links/lcars/star-trek-blueprints.php the official Blueprints of the U.S.S. Enterprise]].[[note]][[http://www.cygnus-x1.net/links/lcars/blueprints/star-trek-blueprints-sheet-8.jpg See Here: the room marked CP for "chapel"]][[/note]] The wedding ceremony includes the phrase, "in accordance with our laws and many beliefs."
** In one episode, Kirk tells Apollo (or at least a being who claims to be Apollo) the following: "Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate."[[note]]He said that because NBC's Standards and Practices department required it, but onward.[[/note]] Kirk also reveals a more spiritual side at the end of the episode when he tells Bones, "They gave us so much... would it have hurt us to gather just a ''few'' laurel leaves?"
** One of the many PlanetOfHats that Kirk et. al. visited was a rather Roman Empire-based one, where [[spoiler:a former Starfleet captain]] acts as the [[JustTheFirstCitizen First Citizen]]. They also met a small group of people that were a mix of LaResistance and worshipers of "the Sun". After the fact, Uhura reveals she'd monitored their radio broadcasts and discovered they were talking not of the Sun in the sky, but the [[UsefulNotes/{{Christianity}} Son of God]].
** In "The Ultimate Computer," the fact that Federation computer expert Dr. Daystrom -- and, [[ReligiousRobot consequently, the sentient computer he has built]] -- believe in God[[note]]The machine says "Murder is contrary to the laws of man and God."[[/note]] becomes a plot point. Kirk makes the computer realize that [[spoiler: in committing murder, it has committed a terrible sin. Out of remorse, it self-destructs.]]
** In "Day of the Dove", Kirk tells Kang, "Go to the Devil!" Kang replies, "We [Klingons] have no Devil... but we are very familiar with the habits of yours." Cue use of torture. (Years later, the [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Next Generation]] [[{{Retcon}} contradicted that by introducing a Klingon Satan, named Fekh'lar.]])
*** One episode of ''[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration The Next Generation]]'' deals with Kahless, a divine, Christ-like ancestor figure in Klingon history. There is a shrine of Klingon priests who await the return of Kahless -- and who create a [[CloneJesus clone of him]] to "stabilize" the empire (to their advantage); however, once the clone learns his real nature, he turns out to be an honest sort who tries to fulfill his position as sort-of-but-not-really Kahless honorably (think less "second coming" and more "heir to his legacy"). Generally, the different Trek series treat the Klingons' faith in Kahless in a positive light.
** Of all the Trek series, ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' was by far the most overt about it, with Picard explicitly invoking this trope in speeches in "Encounter At Farpoint" and "Who Watches the Watchers?"
*** The most {{Anvilicious}}ly atheistic ''Star Trek'' ever got was in the third season ''TNG'' episode "Who Watches the Watchers". A group of Federation scientists are using holographic technology to watch a primitive Vulcanoid culture that has apparently abandoned religion. The Federation equipment breaks down, revealing their existence and "magical powers" to the locals, one of whom declares they must be gods and tries to restart the Old Time Religions. Picard takes the leader up and explains to her that the Federation are merely {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s, not gods. The episode then goes into AuthorFilibuster mode, referring to humanity's religious era as "the dark ages of superstition and ignorance and fear." Afterwards, an away team goes down to the planet to explain how irrational it is to believe in gods, saying that they never show up or tell believers what they want, and that believers are left putting their faith in what other mortals tell them.
*** Then again, in "Where Silence Has Lease", Data asks Picard about death. Picard gives a philosophical answer which hints that although he's not personally religious, he seems to have equal problems with a purely atheistic view.
*** In "Déjà Q", Q has been turned into a human and sarcastically contemplates becoming a missionary. [[LiteralMinded Data]] states that such a line of work would be admirable, implying that there are still humans who view religion positively.
** ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'' is a seven-year mix of affirmations and denials of this trope. The station's commander was declared an alien Jesus in the first episode, later found alien gods to confirm it, then started having visions and became a god himself. Overall the series takes a balanced view: while several episodes (mostly dealing with recurring character [[TheFundamentalist Winn Adami]]) decry the ''abuse'' of religion as a political tool or an excuse to discriminate against others, the show as a whole doesn't condemn the practice of religion itself. Part of what makes it confusing is that the Prophets can back up everything their believers say about them; the first season finale had a dispute on whether they were technically gods or not fizzle out when everybody realized they were arguing over semantics and all agreed on the key points.\\
Then there's the Klingons, whose mythology in this series says that the ancient Klingons ''killed'' their gods. The details vary: Worf says "They were more trouble than they were worth" when queried, while Lady Sirella relates a story of how the gods were killed by the heartbeats of the first Klingon couple when they met.
** In "Dagger of the Mind", and in ''Film/StarTrekGenerations'', it is shown that they still celebrate Christmas and actually call it that, instead of the current contemporary habit of [[YouMeanXMas "Holiday Season"]]. They don't, however, celebrate it with our modern commercial strain. It seems to consist instead of parties among friends.
** In one episode of ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'', Phlox mentions that while on Earth, he sampled a number of Earth religions, visiting a Buddhist monastery and attending mass in St. Peter's Square. When asked about his own beliefs, Archer states that he prefers to keep an open mind.
*** A later episode, "The Chosen Realm" deals with an alien race who worship the creators of the Delphic Expanse. Having examined the inside of one of the anomaly-creating spheres and discovering nothing more than extremely advanced technology, the crew of the ''Enterprise'' are understandably skeptical about this religion, but the episode is more about religious extremism than religion itself (the episode ends with the ''Enterprise'' finding the alien homeworld in ruins). However, the reveal that the two religious groups differ only in how many days it took to create the Delphic Expanse makes others see the conflict as ridiculous.
* Some could see ''Series/StargateSG1'' as one big TakeThat against organized religion. The eponymous team spends at least half of the plot convincing primitive groups that their [[NoSuchThingAsSpaceJesus gods are fake and should forget about them]], even the ones with the characteristics of actual gods: they ''are'', after all, merely {{sufficiently advanced alien}}s posing as gods, either [[PuppeteerParasite snaky parasites]] out to exploit humans or well-meaning [[TheGreys Little Gray Guys]] trying to help.
** With the Ori, things are more blurry: they actually qualify as gods according to one RealLife religion and would do so in most fantasy series, but writer intent evidently considers them false gods as well. After a few episodes of dealing with ridiculously headstrong groups, the team basically settles on "Just because they're powerful enough to claim godhood, doesn't mean you should ''actually'' worship them!"
** Many other episodes reference religion directly in subtle or [[{{Anvilicious}} not so subtle]] ways, like "The Sentinel", where the Latonans refuse to evacuate in the face of an alien invasion, constantly referencing their "highest law".
** Things were handled a little differently in "Red Sky". A planet is doomed and the people refuse to leave as they think their death is the will of the gods (specifically the Asgard, although they don't know who they are specifically). While Jack is more than willing to destabilize their belief system, Daniel tells him that while the possible existence of their gods is not important, the belief ''is''. At the end of the episode, the resolution is deliberately left unclear. It may be that the Asgard fixed the problem, but Daniel wonders if it's possible that a higher power did intervene.
** "Icon" featured an incident similar to the aforementioned ''TNG'' "Who Watches the Watchers". The arrival of SG-1 on the planet Tegalus causes a Goa'uld-worshiping extremist faction to gain in popularity, eventually starting a civil war that aggravates a [[SpaceColdWar cold war]]. Difference is, the SGC views it as a purely military/political problem that's keeping them from rescuing Daniel, who was trapped on Tegalus by the war.
** Slightly different from the norm, the episode "Demons" features a planet of Christian-ish people where the Goa'uld in question is pretending to be Satan rather than God, with Unas as his demons, but despite Teal'c mentioning that he does not believe any Goa'uld is capable of the "kindness expressed in your Bible", the plot goes largely as standard. The villagers are firmly in TheDungAges and still practice trepanning, the priest is a pompous jackass who exploits their fear to keep his power, and they refuse to accept SG-1's help, imprisoning them and putting Teal'c through deadly "witch trials" (though they went for the [[RealityIsUnrealistic more historically accurate Drown The Witch]] instead of BurnTheWitch). A villager in the end even stands up to the Unas with only his faith to protect him, declaring that "My God is with me, always." In the end, the one villager who believed SG-1 killed the Unas, and they no longer believe it's a demon.
** Interestingly, one episode linked Buddhism to an alien philosophy about seeking [[AscendedToAHigherPlane Ascension]]. As Ascension was later confirmed to be a very real thing, this actually gave Buddhism some credence.
** ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' has plenty of TakeThat moments against religion:
*** In "Poisoning the Well", the scientific search for a Wraith immunity drug has become a religion, with libraries of knowledge as a church analogue and a famous scientist's lab notes are a sort of holy text. The real clincher is the population's eagerness to take the unsafe product, even when they know exactly how unsafe it is.
*** In "Sanctuary", they find an incredibly primitive world untouched by the Wraith, whose inhabitants lead idyllic lives, all of which they attribute to their goddess, Athar. Said goddess, it turns out, is actually an [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence ascended being]] that takes mortal form to serve as Athar's high priestess. [=McKay=] is a definite {{Jerkass}} over it, and gets some flak over it. Chaya however isn't bothered by it at all. When Sheppard apologizes for [=McKay's=] behaviour, she points out that [=McKay=] is simply acting according to his beliefs, making him no different from her people who act according to theirs.
*** Subverted in "The Tower". A local is hesitant to take [=McKay=] to some caverns saying it isn't safe. [=McKay=] states that he doesn't care about their "primitive taboos" and says the caves are safe, only for the local to say it's the very real danger of ''earthquakes'' that make the caves unsafe.
** ''Series/StargateUniverse'' features a religious character whose faith was a plot point and treated positively. Many fans on the official forum cried TheyChangedItNowItSucks.
** The morality of the god or gods in question and the situation seems to be the most important thing. The various teams don't really go out of their way to dissuade the belief of a given population [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien Sufficently Advanced Aliens]] are gods if they are benevolent such as with the Asgard and the belief is harmless. However, if like with the Ori and Goa'uld the [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien Sufficiently Advanced Aliens]] are posing as gods in order to exploit the populace and/or the belief causes the people to do harmful things like in Icon and Red Sky above they try to shake them out of it. Whether "gods" deserve reverence and worship is a strong theme of the franchise.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' TOS episode "The Obsolete Man" was set in a future society where religion had been outlawed. Only one man still believed in God, and he was sentenced to death for being obsolete. He was allowed to [[ChoosingDeath choose how he died]]; he chose to be bombed on live television. The high official who sentenced him to death came to his cell to speak with him, only for [[LockedInAFreezer the door to lock behind him.]] He [[spoiler:panicked and shouted, "In the name of God, let me out!" The condemned man did -- in the name of God. In the final scene, the official is sentenced to death for being obsolete.]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' has a big case of DependingOnTheWriter in regards to this trope. The setting as a whole is inconsistent; sometimes religion is prominent even in "advanced" societies, other times it's absent, obsolete, or discredited. The Doctor himself, one of the oldest, most intelligent, and best-traveled beings in the universe, has never been portrayed as religious himself; he's just as inconsistent, sometimes being respectful of religions and their leaders and other times dismissing them. Many plots from the original series involved the Doctor saving people from worshipping a dangerous "god" who turns out to be [[CargoCult advanced technology]], a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien, or an EldritchAbomination.
** The Doctor shows particular respect to Buddhism in "The Abominable Snowman"; he bows to the wisdom of a Buddhist priest, returns to them a sacred item, and uses Buddhist prayer to help Victoria resist the Great Intelligence. The ExpandedUniverse book ''Eye of Heaven'' has the Fourth Doctor recount the unshown adventure leading up to "The Abominable Snowman", claiming that his life had been saved by Buddhist faith healing performed on him by the priest, and using "Buddhist wisdom" to put himself into a "healing coma" that allowed him to recover from being shot through the heart.
** In "Planet of the Spiders", the eponymous villains worship the Great One as a sort of {{God Emp|eror}}ress and use their religion to exploit and brutalize the enslaved humans on their planet. By contrast, the Third Doctor engages in Buddhist philosophy again, and a fellow Time Lord is a Buddhist priest.
** The Fourth Doctor period is the most visible user of the trope; he frequently mocked mysticism and magic of all sorts, and his tenure featured the highest proportion of "the Doctor fights religion" plots. His companion Leela was even designed to contrast her savagery and superstition against the Doctor's pacifism and scientific knowledge, with their first scene in "The Robots of Death" having the Doctor explicitly tell Leela that magic doesn't exist. Leela had already begun to question her original faith in "The Face of Evil"; in her first scene in the series she's taunting her own high priest, shouting ''"Liar! There is no Xoannon!!"''
*** On the other hand, the story arcs featuring the White and Black Guardians -- who, at least metaphorically, clearly represented God and the Devil and weren't at all subtle about it -- began during the 4th Doctor years and continued into the 5th Doctor's era.
** Implied in "The Ark in Space", where Vira, a far future human with quite an alien mindset, immediately explains to the Doctor and his companions that the Ark leader's nickname Noah was taken from "mythology", as if expecting them not to know.
** This was {{enforced|Trope}} in first four seasons of the reboot series, which had little to no mention of magic or religion. Showrunner Creator/RussellTDavies was a staunch atheist, found it utterly implausible for the Doctor or any of his advanced alien cohorts to be religious, and declared, [[AuthorTract That's what I believe, so that's what you're going to get.]] Tough, really. To get rid of those so-called agendas, you've got to get rid of me."
** Davies was followed by Creator/StevenMoffat, who threw both sides of religion back into the mix. The {{Big Bad}}s of series 5 and 6 were an intergalactic religious order who manipulate people through post-hypnotic commands, and religion and the military became [[ChurchMilitant practically the same thing]] in the future. Series 7 reveals that the previous {{Big Bad}}s, though, were a splinter faction from what's essentially Space Catholicism; the Doctor gets along quite well with the "chief Priestess of the Galactic Papal Mainframe".
** The Tenth Doctor more or less says in "The Satan Pit" that he doesn't believe in God or any sort of higher power, or at least he's never run across anything to convince him that such a power exists. Given that he's run into various super-powerful "god"-like beings, such as Sutekh, Fenric, and the White and Black Guardians, that's quite a statement.
** One of the Doctor's nicknames in the reboot era is "the lonely god". There's nobody on his level anymore, not even the other Time Lords, much less anything higher that he recognizes. The responsibility of it wears him down.
** The Twelfth Doctor is actually open to the idea of an afterlife (and mentions he always meant to take a look), but he finds the version presented in "Dark Water" to be absolutely ludicrous. [[spoiler:He's right; it's a ploy by Missy to freak out the world's rich and powerful for the purposes of creating an army of the dead. She did end up creating a virtual afterlife in the process, though]].
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' takes an interesting perspective on religion for a sci-fi show. Although it doesn't discuss religion extraordinarily often, several crew members practice various alien religions, and some of them are quite devout. The show also demonstrates that gods and magic really do exist in their universe, some more than others. The Peacekeepers, on the other hand, play this trope straight, with an entire episode, "Prayer", devoted to Aeryn recounting the ancient legend of a Sebacean goddess (implying that they no longer believe in gods in the present day) and praying to her for rescue; for added desperation points, Aeryn notes that the reason this particular goddess doesn't have any followers anymore is because she [[GodIsEvil killed them all on a whim]].
* A sketch on ''Series/TheKidsInTheHall'' featured a futuristic society that celebrated [[YouMeanXmas Bellini Day]], in which the characters referred to a time period where mankind was so stupid they actually believed in someone named God.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'' creator J. Michael Straczynski, an atheist himself, deliberately avoided this trope in the series (in contrast with ''Franchise/StarTrek''), with all the major species having beliefs of various kinds and strengths, and a mix of believers and non-believers. The straightest example is probably [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien Lorien]], who says his people have lived so long they simply had no more use for such things. In "[[Recap/BabylonFiveTheLostTales01 The Lost Tales]]", mention is made of how religion has been declining since humanity went to space and made contact with other races, but it still has a considerable presence in Earth-influenced space and among the alien races. The Catholic Church is alive and well; over the course of the series Babylon 5 becomes home to a small but thriving Dominican community who mostly concern themselves with comparative religious studies. Babylon 5 is also chosen to host an ecumenical conference at one point (involving Catholics, a Baptist church complete with gospel choir and a delegation from the Church of Elvis). [[spoiler: In a BadFuture orders of monks also preserve humans' knowledge after nuclear war wipes out civilization, much like monasteries did during the Dark Ages.]] Humanity's main distinction is just ''how many'' extant religions there are; in an event where all the ambassadors were displaying their cultures' dominant faiths, the Human exhibition was just a long line of people who all had different beliefs.
** Among the human main characters: Sinclair is a Catholic, and was instructed by Jesuits as an adolescent. Ivanova is originally a lapsed Jew, but reconnects with her faith in the first season. Franklin is a Foundationist, a syncretic future religion which holds that all the galaxy's existing faiths reflect some part of a greater truth. Garibaldi is agnostic but was raised Catholic. Zack Allen's religion is unknown, but he believes in Heaven. Sheridan doesn't follow an organised religion, describing his beliefs as "eclectic".
*** Among the aliens: G'Kar is a follower of G'Quan, and apparently has some prominence among them. He is shown reading religious texts, leading ceremonies and, at one point, writing a religious text of his own. Londo makes several references to various Centauri deities, including some dead Emperors. He owns several statuettes of various deities, and while he doesn't seem to be overly religious he pays at least lip service to his people's gods. Delenn and Lennier are prominent members of the Minbari Religious caste, though Minbari religion makes little outright reference to gods and seems more focused on personal enlightenment. There is also a random pak'ma'ra who makes reference to a religious text to explain why pak'ma'ra eat carrion but refuse seafood.
*** The portrayals aren't always positive; the deeply religious Markab race die out in their entirety because they cling to their beliefs rather than embracing science, and a young alien boy is killed by his parents in season 1, because they believe a simple surgical procedure has turned their child into a soulless monster.
* In ''Series/RedDwarf'' the only one of the main characters who shows the slightest religious belief is the robot hard-wired to believe in [[RobotReligion Silicon Heaven]]. Though Rimmer mentions that his parents were "Seventh Day Hoppists" (their Bible had a typo) and implies that their religious lunacy is responsible for his JerkAss HollywoodAtheist tendencies.
** The Cat's species developed a religion worshiping Lister, who wasn't particularly happy about the wars they had in his name. Though the Cat himself proclaims that he doesn't believe any of that stuff.
** In one episode a newscast announces that the Bible's dedication page and "work of fiction" disclaimer was discovered.
** Christianity is disproved again in the episode, ''Lemons''. Rimmer says his mother belonged to a religious sect that believed Jesus and Judas were identical twin brothers, with Judas pretending to be a resurrected Jesus after Jesus died. Time travel confirms this to be true.
** ''Lemons'' also implies that people in the future see Christianity as a bad thing due to all the wars it started. The only reason the dwarfers don't use time travel to stop it is that there would be no ''Franchise/WallaceAndGromit'' Christmas specials if there was no Christianity. A time travelling Jesus also comes to the same conclusion about Christianity starting wars after leading through a future encyclopedia.
* ''Series/TheOrville'': Cerator/SethMacFarlane has never made it a secret about how he views religion (see ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' below). Add the show's Franchise/StarTrek flavor of humanism, and it's no shock that this trope is heavily in play.
** {{Discussed}} in regards to the Krill, as unlike most advanced civilizations, they have ''increased'' in religiosity rather than decreasing. Their religion teaches that they are a {{superior species}} with the [[TheRightOfASuperiorSpecies right to take what they want]] from anyone else, and they [[HumanSacrifice sacrifice captive humans]]. The episode shows that this view gives the Krill a MoralMyopia. They view the destruction of a Krill battlecruiser by the ''Orville'' in self-defense as a cruel act that proves that humans have no souls. Said battlecruiser was in the process of [[OrbitalBombardment bombarding a defenseless colony]], when the ''Orville'' arrived. They also see nothing wrong with wiping out a peaceful agrarian colony with a population of a hundred thousand, because other races are little more than animals to them. When a Krill boy starts to question this belief, his teacher quickly corrects him and references a passage from the ''Anhkana'' (the Krill religious text).
** {{Implied}} in "Pria." The titular character [[spoiler: a time traveling thief from the 29th century, four centuries past the show's setting]] is unable to understand what "Go to Hell" means, since the concept has been forgotten.
** Treated without much subtlety in "Mad Idolatry." Kelly treating a wounded native ends up with a religion being started in her name. [[spoiler: Which is little more than a ReligionOfEvil where the preferred method of punishment for wrongdoers is to inflict a lethal wound and invoke her to heal it. The crew tries, without success, to remedy it.]] Worse, the planet is out of phase with "normal" time, so for every 11 days in orbit, 700 years pass there. In the end [[spoiler: the people ended up becoming an advanced, spacefaring civilization. They are understanding about the whole matter, and state that even if it hadn't been centered around an accidental deification of Kelly, someone or something else would have become the center of religious worship, and implying that there's nothing you can do about religion but wait for people to "get over it" like one would a bad cold.]]
* Used to portray the future dystopia of ''Series/BlakesSeven''. In "Pressure Point", Blake has to explain to Gan what a church is as "The Federation had them all destroyed at the [[YearZero beginning of the New Calendar]]." While the Clonemasters have pseudo-religous trappings, they are a creation of the Federation used to keep control of their forbidden knowledge. In "Cygnus Alpha", the cult leaders use a phony religion to keep their society united on a penal planet with limited resources. Other than these examples however the trope is played straight, as we don't see anyone turning to religious belief to cope with their existence in a CrapsackWorld. Neither does the Federation use a state religion as a tool of power, which they'd certainly do if religious beliefs had any currency among the population.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/CthulhuTech'', Christianity and Islam are gone; it's not really expounded upon, they're just gone. Presumably, the very real and somewhat provable existence of the old ones made everyone less interested in religions that have a very specific world view that excludes them.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' mostly averts this, with {{Church Militant}}s and [[ReligionOfEvil Religions Of Evil]] popping up everywhere, but it still has a few examples:
** The Tau seem to exhibit divine worship of their Ethereals, but that is more obeisance to their leaders than religion; they otherwise have no belief in anything "magical" or "supernatural", including the very real daemons and other things that inhabit [[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace the warp]]. As a race with no psychers and whose souls barely touch the warp, in practical terms thinking of daemons as just another hostile alien race is true enough for practical purposes. They are by far the most socially and technologically progressive faction in the setting, which admittedly isn't saying much.
** The Eldar believe in the existence of their gods and invoke the power of one (Khaine) on a semi-regular basis, but [[NayTheist they don't worship them]]; they mostly just use them for OhMyGods. This is because all but three of their gods were ''eaten'' by a Chaos god, and there is no real point to much of their religion anymore (except for Cegorach the Laughing God, but only the Harlequins worship him).
** The Immortal GodEmperor of Mankind ''tried'' to invoke this, creating a society of {{Flat Earth Atheist}}s because he thought it would [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly starve the Chaos gods]] (which was not only unlikely to work, [[TheHeartless as the Chaos Gods don't need worship]], but [[NiceJobBreakingItHero backfired]] because while people were channeling their emotions to those religions, they were denying them to the Chaos Gods). [[CrapsackWorld Being 40K]], it failed miserably and made everything worse. Ironically, he himself ended up being worshiped by the humans of the Imperium.
*** Amusingly enough, when he destroyed the last vaguely-Abrahamic church on Terra (in the short story ''The Last Church'') the priest explained exactly why this would happen.
* In ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'', many religions didn't survive the Fall and the exodus via BrainUploading from earth, but new faiths arose to fill in the gaps. The most common is Neo-Buddhism, Buddhism combined with Transhumanism, where uploading is seen as a form of reincarnation and the emphasis is on lessening suffering rather than escaping it. Oddly, Islam was able to adapt to uploading, but the other Abrahamic faiths largely couldn't. The Catholic church is also still influential in the Jovian Junta, with its large population that managed to escape Earth in their original bodies.
* [[ZigZaggedTrope Zig-zagged]] in ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'', where becoming one of the supernatural races may or may not result in a weakening of old religious beliefs.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''[[VideoGame/BatenKaitos Baten Kaitos Origins]]'' twists this trope. It starts off with a fairly simple ScienceIsBad message, but then it turns out that in the distant past people became practically addicted to the supernatural, and so a bunch of siblings in the past decided to try and stop them from being turned into pure magical essence by [[spoiler:making a DealWithTheDevil to gain even ''more'' supernatural powers, but then they all get sealed into the End Magnus from the first game]]. Then it turns out that the process that [[spoiler:gave Sagi the supernatural power of one of the siblings]] was a scientific one, but [[SpannerInTheWorks he then uses that power to save the world]]. While [[spoiler:getting a boost from the spirits of the dead siblings, no less]]. In short, rejecting the supernatural and focusing on science -- or vice versa -- is a Very Bad Thing, and the best way to live is with both in tandem with each other.
* ''VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar'' is a subversion. According to its backstory, the aftermath of ''Deus Ex'' led to The Collapse, in which most people had their faith shaken to the point this trope almost did abandon religion. Then The Order popped up, uniting all of the old faiths into one syncretic philosophy. Later, however, it's revealed that [[spoiler:The Order is just a front for TheIlluminati, and it's part of their method of controlling polar opposites of society]].
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime 3: Corruption'', Samus visits the planet Bryyo, which is covered in the ruins of a golden age, the history of which wavers between AndManGrewProud and this trope. The Reptilicus people there originally had magical powers, then some of them learned how to use technology, and they decided that this was cooler than "primitive" magic. The [[SufficientlyAdvancedAliens Chozo]] warned the Reptilicus ''not'' to abandon their religious traditions, instead suggesting that they should embrace them along with their technological progress, as the Chozo themselves had done. Instead, the Lords of Science honked off the magic-using mystics, and there was a big magic-vs-technology war that tore the planet apart. [[ShatteredWorld Literally.]] The Lords of Science won (at first) because by salvaging the planet (more or less), they could prove that their side was better, but this led to the mystics finding their secret location and wiping them out. Without the Lords of Science, the remaining Reptilicus devolved into magical barbarism.
* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'':
** The Lord's Believers faction averts this trope [[ChurchMilitant very, very strongly.]]
** The University of Planet faction is the ideological antithesis of the Lord's Believers game mechanic-wise, but the faction leader Prokhor Zakharov is especially into this trope, as a number of quotes from him for technological advances reveal. According to the prequel short stories, he and Miriam Godwinson (the Lord's Believers faction leader) do ''not'' get along well, even back on the UNS ''Unity''.
*** It is important to note that as you get further into the game, Sister Miriam's quotes get less and less focused on religion and more on the human condition in a world rapidly approaching TheSingularity, and Zakharov's become less and less focused on science and gain a spritual dimension with more than a hint of DeusEstMachina.
** The Human Hive faction explicitly seeks to invoke this trope. Its faction leader Shen-ji Yang's social experiment, among other things, as he seeks to eradicate belief in higher powers and replace it with an atheistic police state. This is his explicit agenda in-game. However, his writings draw heavily on East Asian religious tradition, and his end goals have a frightening number of parallels to both the attainment of Nirvana and the Ascent to Transcendence.
** The Peacekeepers and Data Angels see religion as a relic of the brutal old days of Earth, and they encourage people to put it aside in the name of freedom and social progress. That said, both can take up the "Fundamentalist" social value if they choose, which implies some ''interesting'' religious concepts for them.
** Aside from the Lord's Believers, Gaia's Stepdaughters are noted to be a religious society focused on coexisting with nature, the Cult of Planet is obvious, and both of the Progenitor factions smack of taking their dogma to the point of religion.
* Largely {{averted|trope}} in ''Alpha Centauri'''s SpiritualSuccessor, ''VideoGame/CivilizationBeyondEarth'':
** The {{UsefulNotes/India}}n-flavoured Kavithan Protectorate was formed when Raj Thakur managed to keep the various ethnic and religious minorities of the Subcontinent together through the Great Mistake, and his daughter Kavitha has kept them together for [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld 200 years after]], [[UnreliableNarrator or so they claim]].
** Russian Orthodox priests are seen blessing the Slavic Federation colony ship in the intro movie. Also, apparently, there's a New Vatican, and UsefulNotes/NikolaTesla has been sainted.
** Islam is also apparently alive and well, if the new [[MiddleEasternCoalition Al Falah]] faction in ''Rising Tide'' is any indication. Probably reinforced by their faction arriving on a [[GenerationShips Generation Ship]].
** Discovery quotes show that many religions, mythologies and folk tales got updated for a colony on an alien world. The ''Uncle Nevercloned'' myths are colonial {{Oral Tradition}}s in a similar manner to the American stories of Myth/PaulBunyan and [[ManVersusMachine John Henry]].
** Many of the Affinities adopt a religious flavour. [[{{Cyberpunk}} Supremacy]] colonies develop a [[MachineWorship religious reverence for machines and cybernetics]], with a strong Catholic flavour. [[BioPunk Harmony]] colonies develop a sort of alien-centred animism in a similar fashion to Shintoism or traditional African and Native American beliefs. One [[GoodOldWays Purity]]-focused wonder has your culture creating a New Terran Myth.
* ''VideoGame/PandoraFirstContact'', the other SpiritualSuccessor to ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'':
** The Divine Ascension is a social media-based religion, founded by Lady Lilith Vermillion (formerly a hooker named Lily Maroon) as a scam to collect blackmail material on her followers. She is eventually shot in the head but survives, although it's implied there's been some brain damage, resulting in her [[BecomingTheMask buying into her own religion]]. Naturally, by the time the [[MegaCorp Noxium Corporation]] starts openly selling AlcubierreDrive-powered colony ships, Divine Ascension is one of the few powers who can afford one.
** To a lesser extent, Terra Salvum, a faction arising from an AnimalWrongsGroup. Unlike all other factions, they steal ship plans and build their own, foregoing [[HumanPopsicle cryogenics]] in favor of a [[GenerationShips Generation Ship]]. By the time they arrive to Pandora, the kids who have grown up aboard have been firmly indoctrinated into the belief that the other factions mean the planet harm. They also rely on OralTradition to tell their stories.
* ''VideoGame/StarOcean1'' has Ronixis, who claims that humanity has moved beyond religion. However, finding himself in the backwards world of Roak, and confronted with the existence of magic, which he'd hitherto never believed existed, he finds himself re-examining his views. The sequels make clear that magic is nothing more than [[MagicFromTechnology advanced science]], however. The [[VideoGame/StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime third game]] even simultaneously proves that God exists ''and'' provides a scientific explanation for the [[GodIsEvil big jerk]].
* In ''VideoGame/StarCraft'', background material mentions that upon taking control of Earth, the United Powers League (later the United Earth Directorate) promoted state atheism, banning or co-opting all religions and exiling or killing those who didn't adhere (alongside political prisoners, cyber-deviants and other undesirables) in an effort to stamp out the things that have divided the human society. As a result, the territories of the UPL/UED are non-religious, while the Koprulu Sector is teeming with religious groups, ranging from mainstream Christianity to CrystalDragonJesus and to even stranger {{Cult}}s and movements.
* In ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'', Andrew Ryan considers religion an obsolete and harmful superstition "people of tomorrow" should have no need for. He strives to eradicate religion in his Objectivist utopia and declares that smuggling religious texts to Rapture is a crime punishable by death. The experiment [[GoneHorriblyWrong goes terribly awry]].
* The ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]]'''s religious leanings are [[AllThereInTheManual described in the X-Encyclopedia]]. About half the [[TheFederation Argon]] consider themselves "spiritual" but don't believe in any particular deity, while most of the rest are atheists. But since they believe in tolerance, the Argon place no stigma on being religious. The Boron have no organized religion and no omnipotent or creator deities, but some believe that after death they will [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence live on in the presence cloud of the]] [[{{Precursors}} Ancients]]. Averted with the [[TheTheocracy theocratic]] [[TheEmpire Paranids]], whose religion permeates every aspect of their lives. The [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Split]] are the straightest example, viewing their old religions as primitive superstition. No word on the [[ProudMerchantRace Teladi]] or [[PlanetTerra Terrans]].
* In [[AllThereInTheManual backstory]] of ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'', the Kharakians near-entirely abandoned religion after generations of religious wars devastated their already small population, part of a unification of the planet's disparate tribes that placed reason and scientific understanding above all else. Religions still existed to some extent, but their few serious adherents were considered delusional at best and dangerous fanatics at worst. That is, until [[FirstEpisodeSpoiler Kharak was]] [[DoomedHometown bombed into oblivion]]; afterwards the survivors experienced a slight resurgence of religious belief, such as the members of Kiith Somtaaw (formerly a minor religious faction before they turned to mining full-time) in ''Cataclysm''.
** The prequel ''VideoGame/HomeworldDesertsOfKharak'' reveals why they have this reputation; the descendants of one of the two main religious factions secretly built their forces for centuries and made a nearly successful attempt to conquer the world and destroy what little temperate land still existed on the planet. Then the descendants of the other side snapped during the war and tried to form a third faction. It turns out that the main elements are actually true, although mistakenly ascribed to a god rather than a rival star empire.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'' has LoadsAndLoadsOfRaces, which naturally all have different opinions on the subject:
** Humans as a whole still follow lots of religions, but space-faring humans to a lesser degree. Ashley implies that she's seen as eccentric for having a religious belief.
** The hanar worship the very real (though long-extinct) [[{{Precursors}} Protheans]].
** The Drell are deeply religious. Thane Krios mentions several Drell gods, including Amonkira, Lord of Hunters, and Arashu, Goddess of Motherhood and Protection. If his son is saved in the second game, he undergoes a HeelFaithTurn in the third game to become a priest.
** The most popular [[spoiler:asari]] religion is revealed to be entirely based upon contact with Protheans by their primitive ancestors, heavily implying that ancient religions may be the direct result of alien contact, misconstrued or misremembered by the populations they affected.
** The turians believe in a form of pantheistic animism, but they're open to experimentation; some turians have been shown adopting Earth religions that mesh well with their worldview, including Zen Buddhism and Confucianism.
** The quarians are generally atheist, but they hold their ancestors in a reverence which sometimes enters into ancestor worship (or was implied to have happened in the past). They in turn are held in near-religious reverence by the robotic Geth race they created, which is made fairly awkward by the way their mutual history includes multiple attempts to wipe each other out (originally triggered by a Geth asking "Does this unit have a soul?") A splinter Geth faction worship the Reapers instead, as a pinnacle of machine existence; the Reapers (who suffer species-wide denial that they ''are'' machines) find this insulting.
** Like the quarians, the krogan also have a form of ancestor worship. They also believe in a place they call the void where the souls of dead krogan go.
** The salarian religion is said to be similar to Hinduism. It has a "wheel of life" perspective, where the dead are [[{{Reincarnation}} reincarnated]] to fix the flaws of their previous lives and become better people.
** Javik implies that the Protheans themselves practiced this trope, though he also mentions that this view was reconsidered after encountering the Reapers. It must be noted that he's an UnreliableNarrator; he grew up in the Prothean Empire after the Reapers had invaded, and he's also, well, [[{{Troll}} Javik]].
** [[PlayerCharacter Shepard]] him/herself can either confirm or deny any religious leanings, or [[MathematiciansAnswer simply note]]:
-->'''Shepard:''' Everyone has the right to believe what they want. Says so on the Alliance charter... only in fancier words.
* Inverted in the ''VideoGame/FreeSpace'' game mod ''VideoGame/BluePlanet''. A major part of the story is that mysticism and spirituality are creeping back into society, and there exists at least one SufficientlyAdvancedAlien race that is heavily spiritual (or at least, expresses themselves in a spiritual manner). The title of the campaign's first release, "Age of Aquarius", references this: it refers to an age in which, realizing that neither religion alone or science alone has all the answers, people turn to a fusion of the two to reach true understanding.
* Used but mostly averted in ''VideoGame/{{Startopia}}''. An entire race, the Zedem monks, have converted to the same religion, and only two of the game's nine races don't pop into a temple occasionally. The only exceptions are the hedonistic sirens and the scientific Turakken.
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', this is what [[WellIntentionedExtremist Walhart]] wants the world to be like; he advocates the idea of a militaristic and atheistic new world order under his rule to bring an end to war and strife. During [[spoiler:their Support conversations]], the PlayerCharacter admits that while Walhart might be onto something, his world would be no better than a tyranny populated by forcibly-indoctrinated servants who've all been bulled into submission. In response, Walhart [[spoiler:''agrees'' -- reasoning that, [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority because he lost to the Avatar]], [[MightMakesRight he must clearly be in the right]].]] TheHero Chrom also acknowledges Walhart's vision but rejects it on similar grounds, resolving to unite all peoples of all faiths (or lack thereof) by touching their hearts rather than forcing them to bend the knee.
* This is how ''VideoGame/{{Actraiser}}'' ends. By defeating the local GodOfEvil, the Master has ensured that humanity can stand on its own without his help. The last scene depicts a statue of the Master crumbling to dust.
* Played with in ''VideoGame/TheWitcher3WildHunt'':
** The Nilfgaardian Empire believes gods aren't real. They use this as a license to rape, pillage, and loot temples. Given the supernatural weirdness that goes on in ''The Witcher'' world, it probably makes them {{Hollywood Atheist}}s. They're also {{hypocrite}}s, because they have their own religion based around GodEmperor worship; suggesting that the Northern pantheon is primitive and backwards is more CulturalPosturing.
** One sidequest has you running around the swamps of Velen, fixing wayshrines to an ancient crone goddess which have been toppled over. The culprits? A bunch of students from the local university, led by a rather unhinged philosopher who decries religion as a tool of fear and control, even giving Karl Marx's infamous "opium for the masses" line as he explains his actions. [[VillainHasAPoint Given the witch-hunting craze currently sweeping Novigrad with the help of the Church of the Eternal Fire, he may be right]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Stellaris}}'' it generally depends on an empire's chosen ethos on the Materialist-Spiritualist axis. How exactly the Materialsts view [[EldritchLocation the Shroud]], the [[EldritchAbomination various Extradimensional Beings]], the [[DealWithTheDevil Covenants]] and the [[PsychicPowers Psionic techs]] is uncertain. As of Apocalypse, there's also [[GalacticConqueror the Great Khan]], who, when asked why they don't speak of their people's former religious beliefs, pretty much replies with this.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Inverted by Caligula of ''Webcomic/TheLawOfPurple''; instead of an advanced culture that once had religion but derides it as worthless now, there was almost never any organized religion to speak of and parts of the population are only now discovering it. However, most Caligulians view religious groups as nothing more than cults and consider them highly abnormal.
* In an editor's note for ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' (which averts the trope) in his [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2000-11-17 first appearance]], comic author Howard Tayler stated that it's not religion that's "foolishly optimistic" -- it's this trope.
* In ''Webcomic/QuantumVibe'', all the characters we see [[OhMyGods swear by famous scientists and blaspheme by bureaucracy]]; at first, religion seems not even to have survived as an eccentricity or a memory. It turns out there's a reason for that, and also that the Jews, Christians, and Muslims [[spoiler:at least the ones who have survived]] banded together to form a new order known as [[spoiler:The Children of Armageddon.]]
* {{Inverted}} in ''Webcomic/QuentynQuinnSpaceRanger''. Christian churches make the occasional background appearances, and then in the "Probability Bomb" arc, it's revealed (with the author's [[{{Anvilicious}} characteristic subtlety]]) that atheism is the silly superstition that's been all but universally outgrown.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Subverted in ''Literature/BabeRuthManTankGladiator''. The priest writing the story mentions regards old religions (from what we'd call ThePresentDay) as outdated superstitions, but he believes his religion is absolute truth.
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', the [[TheMagocracy Magicracy of Alent]] believes only in the power of man, having forsaken the gods who they see as cruel, enslaving beings.
--> '''Berandas''': Don't you understand? We are the gods' unwanted children. We are the castoffs, the forgotten. And instead of following some doomsday cult, believing ourselves lost and hopeless like the Grey Cult, or clinging to some decayed bloodline like the Crimson Coalition, we will stand and fight for humanity! The gods don't like our choice of allies, our rising technology? They can burn for all I care, they have never helped us.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* [[DeconstructiveParody Parodied]] [[TakeThat rather savagely]] in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' two-part episode "Go, God, Go" and "Go, God, Go Part XII". Cartman awakens in a HollywoodAtheist future where atheism has replaced religion. Religious factionalism and conflict have been replaced with various equally fanatical atheist factionalism and conflict. People shout things like "Hail science!", "science dammit", and "Science H. Logic!" instead of their religious equivalents. Ultimately, the episode is about how atheists are just as susceptible to stupidity as the followers of any religion. Especially since the whole reason the atheists split off into several factions and started fighting each other in the first place was because ''they couldn't agree on what name to call themselves''.
* Shows by Creator/SethMacFarlane have used this trope as a TakeThat toward religion [[note]]Some have noted that only Christianity seems to be his target[[/note]].
** In the ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode, ''Road to The Multiverse'', Brian and Stewie visit a parallel universe where a lack of Christianity allows the U.S. to progress technologically by a thousand years, though the arts had stagnated for a similar amount of time.
** Similarly, one episode of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' is set in 2045, with the present referred to as "when people still believed in Literature/TheBible."
** Seth has zig-zagged on this. In the ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode "I Dream of Jesus", Jesus has come to Earth and spends time with the Griffin family. There's also ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'', where Stan Smith is a devout Christian and there's the episode "Rapture's Delight", where the Rapture occurs.
* In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', Hawkgirl comes from an advanced alien civilization which gave up religion eons ago (because their god was an EldritchAbomination who demanded their souls in sacrifice), but after a certain episode she comes to believe that there is… something good… out there.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* It was first attempted in [[UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution revolutionary France]].
** Since the Catholic Church was widely corrupt before the Revolution and the largest landowner in France, a clash between them and Revolutionary forces was inevitable, beginning with the Civic Constitution of Clergy[[note]]A highly unpopular attempt to nationalize the French Church by requesting that French priests swear to the State, become public servants and abjure the Pope.[[/note]] and persisting with Dechristianization, which sought to replace and convert Catholic iconography with non-religious ideas which ultimately resulted in vandalism of churches, monasteries and graveyards. Cemeteries were defaced with "Death is an Eternal Sleep", priests and nuns were targeted and censured and often guillotined, and popular Republican movements such as the Cult of Reason, preaching the perfection of humanity through reason, and replaced busts of Jesus with busts of revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat, while the statue of the Roman goddess Liberty was installed in the Notre Dame.[[note]]This was not intended literally, but as a symbol of Liberty itself.[[/note]] UsefulNotes/MaximilienRobespierre opposed Dechristianization, but since the Catholic Church was involved in the counter-revolution, he compromised by replacing the Cult of Reason with the Cult of the Supreme Being hoping to win over religious sentiments by transmuting it to Deist Republicanism. His Festival of the Supreme Being was a huge popular success but a political suicide and with his downfall it ended, and several years later Napoleon Bonaparte brought back the Church to its prior position via his concordat.
** You can see some of the influence of the anticlerical forces in ''Film/TheSongOfBernadette''. This took place in 1858, and the French Emperor is shown declaring that an atheist is "the most stupid thing a sovereign could be", but the church is still plenty worried about anti-Catholic officials and journalists who try to use Bernadette's visions to stir up public antagonism toward the Church.
* Karl Marx himself disagreed with this trope. He castigated atheist activists of Germany, such as the Young Hegelians, for focusing exclusively on religion as the main problem of contemporary society and the key stumbling block of progress. Marx regarded income inequality as the key reason why religion had appeal, and he noted that it continued in many capitalist and developed nations such as the United States. The famous quote of his usually neglects the sentence which follows: ''The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.'' i.e. as poverty and income inequality reduces, religious belief will likewise decline and religion is just one part of the general ideology of state capitalism. A fine print that communist nations neglected. The idea may have ''some'' merit, since wealthier countries have grown less religious over time, although that may not be the cause (or just one among many).
** Though, it could be argued that the income inequality-religion dynamic is due to an ¨Whistling past the graveyard¨ effect that wealth produces. In short: the more wealthy you are, the more said wealth provides a kind of buffer between yourself and the vast existential questions/dread that plague the human condition. Those who on the other hand do not have the buffering effect of wealth turn to religion instead. Tellingly, in developed countries, many people are not necessarily irreligious in terms of not believing in God/other, but in the sense that they do not even think about religion at all or at least only a little bit (putting them closer to agnostics or apatheists instead).
* Of course communist nations tried to invoke this in a very repressive manner. In practice, Communist nations often found themselves having to appeal to some form of traditional symbolism and usually compromised by creating a CultOfPersonality revolving around leaders made into something akin to saints and prophets.
** The Soviet Union tried multiple times to invoke this trope through anti-religious campaigns which included propaganda, secular education, and mass executions. By 1982 only 20% of Russians actively practiced religion, with a third declaring themselves atheist or non-religious. A few decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, a 2012 survey found that only 13% of Russians identify as atheists or non-religious. A well-known example of how they did this was when they [[BeamMeUpScotty falsely quoted Yuri Gagarin]], the first man in space (and devout Russian Orthodox Christian), as saying, "The Earth was blue, but there was no God."
** UsefulNotes/VladimirLenin for his part promoted atheism in education and private but he struck a balance by mostly targeting the Orthodox Church which was seen, not without cause, as oppressive to minority religions in the Russian Empire and highly reactionary. Lenin enacted laws helping or respecting Jews, Muslims and Old Believers while he proscribed the Orthodox Church. This reversed under Stalin who initially targeted all religions, including minority beliefs, and during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII he halted the persecution of the Orthodox Church and allowed it to revive in a big way after the war, until Khruschev mounted a fresh anti-religious campaign. After him it was mostly relaxed once more.
* The current status of this trope varies around the world. In many Western countries, the religiosity of younger generations is declining ([[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement the reasons why are multi-layered and contentious]]) irreligion of some kind is now the second largest "religious" affiliation in the United States. But that's not happening in poorer countries; given population growth in these countries, the [[http://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/ Pew Research Center]] predicts that atheism will actually decline worldwide by the year 2050, but since many developing nations either don't count irreligiosity in their censuses or dismiss anyone of a minority faith or no faith as a heretic, this prediction is suspect.