"You've always thrown everything you could at me! Well I can take it! And now I can give it back! Come on! Strike me! You've never held back before!"
A character musters their courage to confront the supernatural being they believe responsible for their torment. No, it's not The Legions of Hell
but the gods, or angels or even the Big Guy Upstairs!
This character has a beef with the Powers That Be
who are running the show, and the capacity to do something about it.
It could be that the Cosmic Plaything
has had enough and shouts Who's Laughing Now?
? It could be someone who believes they can do a better job being God
. It could be something as complicated as the higher planes of existence are revealed to be run like a mad, hopelessly bureaucratic corporation — too concerned with rules, regulations, and maintaining the Balance Between Good and Evil
to give a damn about the helpless mortals stuck in the middle. It could also be something as simple as revenge
or, even simpler, a search for a good fight.
This trope is more controversial than merely challenging Satan
or going To Hell and Back
. That makes it a prime target for authors who want to make their latest work Darker and Edgier
. Many Media Watchdogs
view it in a negative light which makes it even more suited for this purpose. It's a full inversion of conventional morality
and proposing that God Is Evil
(the Gnostics' position). The only way to go further in this direction is to declare that Satan Is Good
The Other Wiki
calls this misotheism
— hatred of God or the Gods.
See also Crisis of Faith
, Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter
. Often a part of a God and Satan Are Both Jerks
storyline. Can result in A God Am I
, Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?
, and/or Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu
. For a more Postmodern
take, compare Rage Against the Author
If someone actually succeeds in this endeavor, see Kill the God
. For god versus god, see Divine Conflict
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Anime & Manga
- In Fullmetal Alchemist:
- Father uses the power of the souls of Amestris to pull God down to Earth and absorbs God. After his defeat, he rages against Truth before his banishment beyond the Gate.
- Wrath/Bradley has a very bad case of this when dealing with Ishvalans. Their continued faith in their God, in spite of all the horrors they've suffered, enrages him.
- This is essentially the plot of Amatsuki, in which the titular world is ruled over by the god Teiten, who really couldn't care less about what happens to its inhabitants, as long as they don't interfere with his own plans (and if they do, there are severe consequences). He also predicts the fates of all living things so that he may control them. The demon Bonten, who lost everyone he loved because of Teiten, decides he's tired of this way of life and takes action once it becomes evident that Teiten intends to destroy the world. Hapless protagonist Tokidoki, the only one whose fate has not been decided, is part of a plot made by Bonten and the demons to overthrow Teiten and escape the awful fate that awaits them. Except he doesn't like the idea of being made a god.
- Guts, the main character of Berserk, spends more than a year hunting and killing the demonic Apostles, the subordinates to the God Hand. It hasn't been made clear if a supreme deity higher than the God Hand exists, but if it does, Guts has requested that it to leave him the hell alone.
- In Code Geass, the Emperor and his partner-slash-twin-brother V.V.'s modus operandi is to slay the gods who drive humanity to lie to and hurt one another. However, since "God" in this universe is seen as the collective unconsciousness of mankind, their world would result in Instrumentality. This might be quite a brilliant case of in-universe characters not doing their homework. Charles is well aware, and it's exactly what he wants. However V.V. might not have known since Charles was going around his back due to V.V.'s previous betrayal (that V.V. doesn't know Charles knows about)
- When Guyver Zero rebelled against his alien creators, the Advents, and was slain by their loyal general Archanfel, the Advents decided that no human could be trusted and left Earth, throwing a giant planetoid at it. Archanfel destroyed the planetoid at the permanent cost of his health, and has spent the last 110,000 years or so plotting to turn humanity into an army of vengeance against his "gods".
- The manga Innocent Bird deals with a demon gone good and a heaven completely mad. Not that the evil forces are any better — it's quite a lose-lose situation. Later, the angel protagonist rages against the heavens.
- Saiyuki Gaiden, a prequel to the main story's plot, explains the story of how the four (possibly four or more since Hakuryu/Jeep seems to indeed be Gojun, Dragon King of the West Army) main characters of the current story were banished from heaven for trying to overthrow the ruling gods.
- Soul Eater has Medusa claiming that it is in the nature of witches to kill gods, though this opinion is not shown to be held by other members of her kind (who disapprove of Lord Death purely because he hunts and kills witches, not for what he is). Considering Medusa's ultimate plan appeared to be creating a man-made Humanoid Abomination (and succeeding) in Crona, Medusa was presumably using this trope as the (at the time) latest excuse for causing chaos.
- One of the major villains in The Twelve Kingdoms stages a rebellion against the monarchy of the kingdom he lives in and, by extension, the setting's rule-by-divine-appointment system. His ultimate motivation for his actions is eventually revealed as being an attempt to get the Powers That Be to prove their existence by smiting him.
- Bastard!! involves this, with the main heroes fighting a legion of angels who have arrived on Earth to destroy humanity.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion is a bit of an odd one, because the "being that rebels against the order of God" does so because she (Homura) loves God (Madoka) and thought the latter was not truly happy being God. So she yanks Madoka out of the heavens and becomes a God of Evil so she can reconstruct an idealized version of Madoka's old life as a mortal. As an afterthought, she also bitchslaps the Incubators. Madoka wasn't evil and didn't seem unhappy, but the entire movie sneakily justifies Homura's actions, so it's pretty hard to tell who to root for.
- Bleach has Aizen attempting to make the Ouken (key to the Royal Realm) to storm the Royal Realm and over-throw the Soul King in order to "stand on the heavens and end the unbearable vacancy on the world's throne". In the following arc, the Quincy invasion of Soul Society culminates in the storming of the Royal Realm.
- Spawn spends just as much time battling crazy people and demons as he does fighting angels who apparently can't tell that he's a good guy. The fact that he was created solely to be Hell's general makes some angels think his turn is inevitable. Ironically, the ruler of Heaven (being just as evil as the devil) is NOT the one true God, who actually is implied to have some sympathy for the hellspawn.
- John Constantine, main character of Hellblazer (which is partly in The DCU) finds himself in this position half of the time. The other half he's against the boys downstairs. Probably worth mentioning that he holds both sides in contempt.
- Jesse Custer, the main character of the comic book Preacher, sets out to find God and make Him answer for abandoning the cosmos; this eventually escalates to the point where Jesse dies to bait God back to Heaven, where the Saint of Killers kills him.
- Reversed in the Lucifer comics, where Satan actually ends up defending heaven against the forces of the Lilim. He is not unaware of the irony. Yet he manages to persuade God to pass over his reign to someone else through logic: what is the most difficult thing for an omnipotent being to do? To do nothing at all.
- Will Eisner's Contract with God is one of the few examples where we learn that it's not a good idea to think God owes you something for reasons other than getting a bolt from the blue.
- There's a short comic story in Stray Bullets about a little girl named Amy Racecar who meets God. God cheerfully tells her that he never interferes with mortal affairs, built heaven for himself just so he could be comfortable, and that her father ceased to exist as soon as he dies which is the fate of all humans. She snaps and goes into a self-induced coma until government scientists use a "truth ray" that displays memories on a TV screen to find out what she was hiding, causing everybody in the world to see her as the anti-Christ. She finally goes all the way off the deep end and systematically sets out to destroy everything God has ever made just to spite him being an asshole, and she succeeds.
- Depending on how you interpret some of Marvel's cosmic-level beings, groups like the Fantastic Four and The Avengers do this on a weekly basis. Ditto DC's Justice League of America.
- Partly inspiring Spawn, Ghost Riders suffer from the same problem mentioned above. Not as frequently, but angels tend to be immune to the penance stare. The Ghost Rider mini "Heaven's On Fire" has the Ghost Rider brothers (Johnny and Danny) trying to get into heaven to stop a rogue angel.
- The What If?: Secret Wars one-shot featured Doctor Doom retaining the Beyonder's power, plus a few extra trinkets, then taking on the status quo all the way up to the Celestials. The applicable quote is "What man has wrought, let no god put asunder."
- Thoth-Amon, quoted above, after summoning the power of Acheron in the Conan the Barbarian comic book miniseries, The Book of Thoth. Seems no matter how evil you are, you're not going to let an ancient monster take your body to use to enslave the world.
- Cerebus yells at the skies and denounces his deity Tarim when he thinks Jaka has died.
- The basic thrust of Harry Kipling (Deceased) is Kipling trying to kill as many gods as he can. He's actually pretty good at it.
- This seems to be the motivation of Gorr the God Butcher, a new foil for Marvel's Thor.
- The Punisher, particularly in stories written by Garth Ennis, displays this every once in awhile. Frank: "There are times I'd like to get my hands on God."
- In the backstory of Green Lantern supporting character Saint Walker, his world was dying. He and his family went on a pilgrimage to the top of a sacred mountain hoping to find their world's messiah. The journey was hazardous and his family perished one by one. In the end, Saint Walker reached the mountain's peak alone...and found nothing. He snapped and screamed at the heavens. Subverted almost immediately afterwards, however, as an event that he took as a sign from the heavens led him to realize that he was the messiah, and he ended up living up to the title.
- According to the New 52, this is Darkseid's Start of Darkness. The reason the Old Gods are dead? Uxas got pissed at them constantly amusing themselves by fighting and causing massive collateral damage to the mortals like him who lived at their feet, so he killed them all and stole their power, becoming Darkseid.
- Very early on in With Strings Attached, John yells “Fuck you!” and throws the finger at the heavens to express his resentment at being sent to another planet. Which is pretty damned reckless of him, given that it very well could have been God who sent them there.
- Welcome to Silent Hill. Sherlock is trying to kill the God of Silent Hill to get John back.
- The protagonist of Sophistication And Betrayal quite literally rages against the heavens when he gets caught in a rainstorm after a bad day at work. He lampshades it as being the completely logical thing to do.
- This Percy Jackson fanfic where Percy and Dr. Gordon from the Saw films decide to teach the gods a lesson about messing around with humanity.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act IV: In chapter 16, Rason is so pissed off at Heaven's Aggressive Categorism of all monsters, as well as their blatant refusal to act against Hokuto and Alucard because of their laws, that he actually calls out the Almighty himself over it, accusing him of being out of his mind. The Almighty is ultimately swayed by this, but does point out that he's not happy that Rason's "out of his mind" comment.
Almighty... are you out of your goddamned mind? How could
you, Lord? How could you treat the innocent in such a way? It's not right at all! Luna helped save the world with us! Falla... this
Falla, anyway, has been an angel as well in her life. She's protected a human boy from the monsters at the academy, she helped save Luna today as well! How could you? How canyou just condemn them like this? Damn it, monsters are no different than humans! Hokuto is plotting to destroy everything! EVERYTHING! And here you try to kill the innocent who have only tried to stop this from happening. We're fighting to save life on Earth, both human and monster alike! And you treat us like we're
the evil in the world?! I've had enough, Almighty. I've had enough with your damned rules and laws. [...] If this is how he wants to be with his world... with the innocent lives that exist down below... to treat those lives with prejudice and cruelty just because they aren't human
... and to allow real
monsters to roam freely, I will have no part of it!!
Films — Live-Action
- In The Virgin Spring, after finding his murdered daughter's body, Töre rages at God that he can't understand why God would allow this to happen. But then he asks for forgiveness and promises to build a church on the spot.
- The film Forrest Gump has Lt. Dan in the storm scene.
- The film The Truman Show is an outright parody of this concept, where the "heavens" are a film crew.
- In Stranger Than Fiction, the Narrator refers to Harold as "cursing the heavens in futility", to which he responds, "No I'm not, I'm cursing YOU!" Since the Narrator is in fact the author writing Harold's story, it's both.
- Salieri's philosophical stance in Amadeus. Bitter that God has given the gift of musical genius to the irritating, vulgar young Mozart, Salieri vows to oppose God by doing everything in his power to destroy God's "incarnation". When Mozart dies young, of illness, Salieri concludes that God Is Evil. (Shaffer deliberately chose the title "Amadeus" because he translated it as "beloved of God." It's actually translated as "lover of God.")
- Fallen Angel Bartleby finally loses it close to the end of Dogma and his quest to go home turns into this trope:
Bartleby (as he's preparing to destroy the universe): "Seeing you people every day on this perfect world He created for you is a constant reminder that, though my kind came first, your kind was most revered. And while you know forgiveness, we know only regret. The lesson must be taught. All are accountable... even God!"
- Pitch Black: Richard B. Riddick has this to say on the matter to the holy man:
Riddick: Think someone could spend half their life in the slam with a horse bit in their mouth and not believe? Think he could start out in some liquor store trash bin with an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and not believe? Got it all wrong, holy man. I absolutely believe in God... And I absolutely hate the fucker.
- The remake of Clash of the Titans features this extensively, and is usually hilarious. Mostly because the various mortals who try to fight the gods have absolutely no clue how to go about it. There's scene of the paltry survivors of a kingdom's soldiers coming back and being congratulated on their victory — over some of Zeus' statues. Not animated statues, they just knocked down a bunch of statues and this annoyed the gods enough to let Hades set harpies on them. There's also the important fact they seem to have missed that the gods could, at any point, teleport to wherever they are and kill them. What is their plan here?! They're fighting immortal, teleporting beings with the power to do whatever they want by destroying statues that they themselves made in tribute.
- The plan was to deprive them of prayer and worhsip which does actually fuel their powers... unfortunately for the mortals, they still are capable of overpowering the non-believers.
- In the obscure movie Wholly Moses, after an entire film worth of the world dumping on him, the title character has it out with God. Despite some really great cameos by Richard Pryor and John Ritter, the movie would have been forgettable if not for his great response to God's questioning.
"Who are you to question God?"
"I am Man!"
- Interestingly, TRON: Legacy gives this position to the villain, throwing a thematic twist on the usual Turned Against Their Masters motivation.
- Star Trek V might count, even though it probably wasn't the real God. "What does God need with a starship?"
- Bruce Almighty has Bruce yelling and ranting at God (Trope Namer for Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter) until He decides He's had enough of it and declares "Fine, Let's See You Do Better!"
- In The Grey, Ottway (Liam Neeson), who is now the only survivor left alive, screams at the sky for God to do something to help him, shouting through tears:
Ottway: FUCK FAITH! EARN IT! SHOW ME SOMETHING REAL...!
- In Bram Stoker's Dracula, Dracula's wife commits suicide when she hears a (false) report that her husband was killed in battle. Upon returning home, Dracula sees the deceased body of his wife and is coldly told by a priest that, because she committed suicide, her soul is damned. Dracula then flies into a rage and vows that he will take his revenge on God by embracing evil and vampirism.
- At the end of the second Left Behind movie, Gordon Currie's Antichrist takes a moment to issue up a vitriol-laden prayer castigating God for, basically, cheating on their deal by having someone proclaim Jesus the Messiah and not him.
"This is not the end! This is MY time! MY will be done!"
- In Prisoners, this is the motivation of the people who have been abducting and murdering children. They blame God for their son dying of cancer, so by attacking other people's children, they drive their parents insane with anger and grief. This will lead to the parents going into He Who Fights Monsters territory trying to get their children back, which means they won't go to Heaven and be with God.
- In The Sunset Limited, Black is a man of God who tries to dissuade White from suicide and is nearly driven to the Despair Event Horizon by White's final Despair Speech and departure. Black lashes out at God for not giving him the wisdom to help White.
Black: I don't understand why you sent me down there! I don't understand! If you wanted me to help him, then how come you didn't give me the words? You gave them to him! What about me!?
- Gone by Michael Grant. Quinn initially blames God for the FAYZ, much to the chagrin of Astrid, who's a practicing Catholic.
- In the third book of His Dark Materials, Lord Asriel unites dozens of universes to declare war on God. It turns out that "God" is just the first angel to have come into existence. He's unbelievably old, and when the protagonists release him from his crystal cage, he disintegrates into nothingness. His regent, Metatron, who was responsible for the evils for which God was blamed, is killed by Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter, who drag him into a bottomless pit.
- In Dan Simmons' Illium and Olympos, one of the main characters' life is controlled by Applied Phlebotinum versions of the Greek Gods. Knowing he has broken the rules and is about to die he turns the Greeks and Trojans against the Gods. Unlike most examples these Gods don't wait for the heroes to find them. Instead they try to kill them with nuclear bombs.
- in Steve Aylett's Shamanspace, God is proved to exist, and the race is on to kill him.
- The wizard Raistlin Majere in the Dragonlance novels, especially the Chronicles and Legends trilogies. Chronicles shows Raistlin's rise to power from a frail young man with ambitions who makes a dark pact with the ghost of an evil undead wizard Fistandantilus and ultimately takes his place, absorbing that wizard's power. After ironically siding with the good guys (his former friends) to help defeat an evil goddess (the Dragon Queen) and banishing her back to her realm, Raistlin becomes the Master of Past and Present. In Legends, Raistlin and his brother travel back in time to when Fistandantilus was still alive and mortal, and Raistlin manages to kill the old wizard, changing history yet not: the price of taking Fistandantilus' power is being trapped in the timeline, having to take Fistandantilus' place in history, until Raistlin finds a loophole. Raistlin's plan for ultimate power is revealed: To ascend to godhood himself by destroying the Dragon Queen that presides over all that is Evil in the world of Krynn, and setting himself up as the new god in her stead. His brother travels to a future where Raistlin succeeded but his victory spelled destruction for the world, turning it into a lifeless wasteland, a mirror of Raistlin's own empty soul. Back in the present where Raistlin has already entered the hellish Abyss, the domain of the Dragon Queen, in an attempt to lure her out to Krynn where she can be defeated, the vision of this dismal future and of the death of the few people he still cares about convinces him to abandon his plans. He sacrifices himself to re-seal the portal to the Abyss, trapping himself in eternal torment.
- Steven Brust's To Reign in Hell, a novel re-imagining the revolt of the Rebel Angels in Heaven from the perspective of Satan himself.
- Satan in John Milton's Paradise Lost. The book itself is not a criticism of God or religion, and is only interpreted as a story like this because it centers around Satan in an effort to show his downfall and folly.
- Happens a couple of times, perhaps most notably in The Last Hero, where the world's oldest and most successful barbarian hero, Cohen, tries to plant a bomb in the mountaintop home of the gods.
- The trope is also referenced for analogy's sake in the very first book, where the Disc's first tourist is described thus:
"But there were things to suggest to a thinking man that the Creator of mankind had a very oblique sense of fun indeed, and to breed in his heart a rage to storm the gates of heaven."
- Another literary example is Inferno, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The protagonist, trapped in Hell, ineffectively declares war on a clearly evil and sadistic God (although, being a sci-fi author, he refers to God with joking names like "Big Juju" and "The Builders").
- The basis of the plot in Julian May's Galactic Milieu trilogy centers around the main protagonist rebelling against galactic civilization and it's implied Ascended state because of his immense ego and jealousy of his brother's mutation. The trilogy is basically a homage to Paradise Lost, and is subverted rather neatly: the creator of the galactic civilization is the antagonist himself, after trip through a one-way time gate and a Heel-Face Turn. The post-climax confrontation between the antagonist and his future self directly alludes to the antagonist playing the part of Lucifer in a modern-day allegory.
- In Good Omens, before the protagonists have to deal with Satan, they first get into a sticky metaphysical debate with the representatives of both Hell's and Heaven's respective bureaucracies, while the fate of Earth hangs in the balance. The Metatron comes off looking no more sympathetic to mankind than Beelzebub does in this confrontation. Oddly for this trope, God comes off looking both good and Magnificent Bastard-y.
- Many characters in the Everworld series end up at odds with various gods. One in particular, an alien god known as Ka Anor, eats other gods. The series' Magnificent Bastard is also planning to overthrow all the pantheons and install herself as the absolute ruler of Everworld.
- In Heaven's Bones, the gypsy Trueblood urges on a mad surgeon's creation of living "angels" from kidnapped women, and plots to use them to storm Heaven and oust the residents, including God, so he can become a deity. Subverted in that Trueblood is an escapee from Ravenloft, and doesn't grasp that God honestly isn't the sort of Physical God he's used to hearing about from D&D's pantheon-style faiths.
- In Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing, a priest tells the story of a heretic who lost his entire family and demanded that if God exists, that he reveal himself by killing him on the spot or showing him some sign of his existence. The heretic sat for days in the same spot under a tower, asking for God to cause the tower to fall and kill him.
- Michael Swanwick's The Iron Dragon's Daughter features an omnicidal war machine that plans to destroy all of creation as revenge for being created. Most of the events that happen to and around the title character are a decades-long plan to ruin her life to the point that she would be willing to help. Apparently it needs a pilot to pull the trigger.
- Percy Shelley's Prometheus Unbound is all about Prometheus' efforts to overthrow the tyrannical rule of Jupiter for the benefit of both gods and humans.
- In Rupert Brooke's Failure, the protagonist breaks into Heaven so that he can curse God to His face. Subverted in that he finds Heaven is long-deserted.
- In Elie Wiesel's Night, his autobiography about the Holocaust, Elie starts to show a shaken faith in God after a beloved servant-boy is hanged. During Rosh Hashanah, he starts to question God's will and even condemns Him for putting him and the other Jews through hell for no reason. Later, during Yom Kippur, when his father tells him not to fast, he decides not to... although mainly as an act of rebellion against God.
- Lester del Rey's short story For I Am a Jealous People has humanity discovering that God does exist, but is supporting the aliens currently invading Earth and planning humanity's extinction. The story ends with humans discovering that having turned His back on them means God can't effect things humans are directly involved in; a nuclear-warhead tipped missile might suffer technical failures preventing it's successful use, but not if it's modified so that a human is inside controlling it, and there's no shortage of people willing to sacrifice themselves to save others. The viewpoint character, a Christian minister, upon discovering this ends the story with a sermon to his congregation promising that humanity will make God answer for his actions.
- At the end of The Wheel of Time book 12, Rand gets one of these and nearly unmakes reality before he talks himself down.
- Bluestar in Warrior Cats declares war on StarClan after series of disasters strike her clan and Tigerclaw is granted leadership and nine lives by StarClan.
- In Journey to the West, Sun Wukong attempts this. He gets extremely close, and is only stopped when Buddha himself intervenes.
- Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein largely boils down to this theme in the end.
- The Jehova Contract by Victor Koman. A killer for hire has cancer; Satan promises to cure him if he kills God. Alas, Satan hasn't calculated the interests of third divine parties... With a little help by The Great Mother Goddess, the killer goes through with his plan. He can't bring himself to pull the trigger, but after his Hiob speech - what a lousy job the universe is - God commits suicide. Satan triumphs...just to be shot by The Great Mother Goddess, as he's an asshole too. Then She reinstates her lost reign. Not everything is dandy, but it's an improvement, at least.
- Chauntecleer in The Book of the Dun Cow goes into one of these when his children are killed. God does reply by sending the Dun Cow, who consoles him.
- In the Old Norse Saga of Hrolf Kraki, the eponymous hero and his band of champions unwittingly piss off Odin when they refuse the weapons he (disguised as a Swedish farmer) would give them. Vindictive as Odin is, he lends his favor to Hrolf's enemies, which results in the destruction of Hrolf and his warriors, but not before the champion Bodvar Bjarki has delivered a long rant on what a cowardly jerk Odin is:
"(...) I have a strong suspicion [Odin] will be lurking round here somewhere, dirty treacherous devil that he is, and if anyone could point him out to me, I'd squeeze him like any other miserable measly little mouse, and I'll have some none too reverent sport with that nasty venomous creature, if I get a hold of him."
- It's not clear-cut whether or not the gods actually exist in A Song of Ice and Fire, but Tyrion Lannister, upon hearing someone tell him he should thank the Father Above for granting him the gift of being able to make others laugh, privately hopes that he dies with a crossbow in hand so he can thank the Father Above the way he thanked the Father Below for his "gifts".
- Roger Zelazny's novel Lord of Light is a Science Fiction/Hindu Mythology take on this trope (the book is made of Science Fiction takes on Fantasy tropes), where the protagonist, Sam, sets himself up as the Buddha to overthrow the colonists who rule over the Lost Colony where the book takes place as Hindu gods.
- When Dirk Gently's status as a Not-So-Phony Psychic kicks in once again in The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, he nearly gets arrested for standing on his roof in the middle of the night shaking his fist at the sky and yelling "Stop it!"
- The Dresden Files
- Harry does this in Small Favor when Michael is in critical condition after being shot by the Denarians. Uriel shows up then as well to surreptitiously point out he's already gotten help.
- In Ghost Story, Harry Dresden rages against archangel Uriel a few times. Unusually for this trope, Uriel gives patient, reasonable answers:
Harry: Arrrgh! Can't you give me a straight answer? Is there some law of the universe that compels you to be so freaking mysterious?
Uriel: Several, actually. All designed for your protection.
Harry: You're just going to stand there?
Uriel: Mmmm. It does seem that perhaps she deserves some form of aid. Perhaps if I'd had the presence of mind to see to it that some sort of agent had been sent to balance the scales, to give her that one tiny bit of encouragement, that one flicker of inspiration that turned the tide... Things might be different now.
Mort: Hey. You. Arrogant bitch ghost. I'm not really into this whole hero thing. Don't have the temperament for it. Don't know a lot about the villain side of the equation, either. But it seems to me, you half-wit, that you probably shouldn't have left a freaking ectomancer a pit full of wraiths to play with.
- Log Horizon contains a more metaphoric example. Izuzu is outraged that "the gods" (i.e. Elder Tales' programmers) only gave the Landers 42 songs. She claims that she is going to beat up the god that made up such a rule.
- Hercules The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess often pitted them against the Greek gods, among others. In the end, Xena was the person who killed the majority of them.
- Babylon 5 has its main plot arc close with the rejection of the two races of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens seeking to win over the humans and the other younger races. While they're not gods, they go to great lengths to set themselves up as such: one goes to great lengths to be mysterious, and when they're seen outside of their encounter suits, they look like angels... because they inspired all races' angel myths. The others are basically demons. And while they're not destroyed, they're run out of town with a resounding "Now get the hell out of our galaxy — both of you!", with the clear message that they're no longer needed.
- Used in later seasons of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis to a lesser extent. After building up the concept of the Ancients as the most powerful race ever, Daniel Jackson can't wait to meet them. But after he finds out that their belief in free will is so strong that they will not even interfere in someone's plans to annihilate an entire galaxy, he takes the opportunity to rage at them a little. Michael Shanks (the actor who plays Daniel) even stated in an interview that he likened a scene in The Ark of Truth in which Daniel pleads an ascended Ancient to help him as Daniel talking to God.
- In Wild Palms, Senator Anton Kreutzer, founder of the religion of Synthiotics and leader of the Ancient (by postmodern standards) Conspiracy of the Fathers, exults, "We are storming Heaven!" (not in a supernatural sense — his actual goal is to achieve immortality in virtual reality through a Mimecom technology, the "Go Chip.")
- In Star Trek, Klingon legend presents this as fait accompli. The very first Klingons, it is said, turned on the creator gods and killed them. Why they did this is somewhat unclear, but it seems to make perfect sense to the Klingons themselves. They often say simply, "They were more trouble than they were worth," but this may be a Klingon joke.
This was explained in Worf/Dax's wedding ceremony in Deep Space Nine, where the legend is told of how the gods forged the Klingon heart, "the strongest heart in all the heavens." But the heart became weak because it was alone, so the gods went back to their forge and made another heart which beat stronger that the first. Jealous of its power the first heart sought to fight, but the second heart was tempered by wisdom. It realized that if they joined together, no force could stop them.
"And when the two hearts began to beat together, they filled the heavens with a terrible sound. For the first time, the gods knew fear. They tried to flee, but it was too late. The Klingon hearts destroyed the gods who created them and turned the heavens to ashes. To this very day, no one can oppose the beating of two Klingon hearts."
- Shades of this appears on Supernatural. For the main characters, they're pissed at Heaven, not God, and actually want God around, because He's their only chance for coming out of the Apocalypse with their minds, bodies, and souls intact. The demons don't want God around for obvious reasons, and a few angels (Zachariah in particular) don't want him around because without God, ''they're'' running Heaven.
- In an early season 4 episode, Dean rants a bit about God sitting on his ass, and asks if God cares about humanity, why doesn't he do something? To quote Bobby, "I ain't touching this one with a ten-foot pole." It turns out God's still around, he just doesn't care about the Apocalypse. Which leads to this trope being more obviously shown in "Dark Side of the Moon", where Castiel loses the last traces of his faith — he doesn't rant; he just looks at the ceiling and says quietly, "You son-of-a-bitch. I believed in..."
- It turns out later God is still around and does care about the Apocalypse, He was just moving In Mysterious Ways, using the Winchesters to stop it without directly intervening. Maybe.
- On Hex, Ella's angelic advisor actually tries to force himself on her. After beating him up, she tells him to tell God to screw himself. It's made very clear that neither side really cares about the humans caught in the middle.
- The West Wing: President Bartlet throws something of a temper tantrum at God after Mrs. Landingham dies. Includes yelling in Latin.
"You're a son of a bitch, You know that? She bought her first new car and You hit her with a drunk driver. What? Was that supposed to be funny? "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God," says Graham Greene. I don't know whose ass he was kissing there, 'cause I think You're just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman - a warning shot? That was my son! What did I ever do to Yours but praise His glory and praise His Name? There's a tropical storm that's gaining speed and power. They say we haven't had a storm this bad since You took out that tender ship of mine in the North Atlantic last year. Sixty-eight crew. Y'know what a tender ship does? Fixes the other ships! It doesn't even carry guns. It just goes around, fixes the other ships and delivers the mail. That's all it can do. Gratias tibi ago, Domine.note Yes, I lied. It was a sin. I've committed many sins. Have I displeased You, You feckless thug? 3.8 million new jobs, that wasn't good? Bailed out Mexico, increased foreign trade, thirty million new acres of land for conservation. Put Mendoza on the bench. We're not fighting a war. I've raised three children. That's not enough to buy me out of the doghouse? Haec credam a Deo pio, a Deo iusto, a Deo scito?note Cruciatus in crucem.note Trus in terra servus, nuntius fui, officium perfeci.note Cruciatus in crucem. Eas in crucem.note "
- In a show where plague has reduced Earth's population by something in the ninetieth percentile, and one of the characters is a very literal (if reluctant) prophet, the story that could have unfolded from Raging Against the Heavens...and then the show was cancelled.
- A more specific example, after a particularly heroic and innocent man is killed:
Jeremiah: Are you happy? Are you satisfied? That's how it works, isn't it? You set us up, you take someone like him, and you give him hope, so you can take it away again? What did he do to you? What did any of us ever do to you? What did the whole fucking world do to you, that we deserve all of this? What, the locusts and the death of the firstborn wasn't good enough for you anymore so now it's the death of the eldest? Death of heroes? You know what? Fuck you. Because we're not just going to lay down and die here anymore. You want to finish off the job? Come down here! Do it yourself! You send the angel of death, you better give him one hell of a big sword, 'cause I tell you what; we are going to kick his ass right back to the great white fucking throne! And then we're coming for you. We're coming for you.
- In Russell T Davies' The Second Coming, Jesus returns to Earth in the shape of Christopher Eccleston, and is immediately subject to a lot of this from various parties. When it becomes obvious that humanity is not going to sort itself out and that he can't prevent the coming apocalypse, he decides to Opt Out, committing suicide and refusing to resurrect afterwards, thereby causing the Cessation of Existence for both God and the Devil.
- Temozarela's motivation (and by extension, his band of fellow fallen angels) in Priest. He feels that God turned away from angels after that whole ordeal with Abaddon in favour of humanity, so he intends to show to God just how deranged and evil humanity can get.
- The musical Ur Example is the 4 hour metal epic Food For The Gods by Fireaxe, which culminates in Satan leading an army of the demons and damned alike into a war on heaven in which they storm the pearly gates and lay waste to paradise in an attempt to kill God himself. And it works. Sort of.
- "Dear God" from Skylarking by XTC. Look up item 7 on the Chalkhills FAQ to read about the track's confusing discographical history. (I considered including a link to a lyrics page, but to appreciate it you must hear the song.) The child who sings the first verse — and the last few words — is often (mistakenly) assumed to be male. (It's actually Jasmine Veillette, a girl who happened to be the daughter of a friend of the producer.) An outspoken humanist, Andy Partridge seems to voice doubts in the opposite direction in his song "Rook", on the LP Nonsuch.
- "Elysian Fields", from the Youthanasia album by Megadeth. The song describe a group of men assaulting Heaven.
- A large number of Religion Rant Songs are built on this trope.
- The climax of Roy Zimmerman's Jerry Falwell's God has him chewing out that specific deity.
"And if people are vengeful and jealous and violent, maybe it's because You created them in Your image! And if people have cast You out of the town square, maybe it's because You're a finger-pointing, moralising, rageaholic stone drag who gives deities a bad name! And if people have turned away from Your Word, maybe it's because You got spinach in Your teeth!
...And He smote me."
- Ill Mind of Hopsin 7
- In Atlantis: The Second Age, cursing the gods is one of several ways to instantly get more Hero Points to greatly boost your normal abilities. You are taking destiny into your own hands, but doing so draws the anger of the gods in the long run.
- The pencil-and-paper RPG In Nomine concerns the eternal war between Heaven and Hell. Players usually take on the roles of angels or demons, and a good number of Dungeon Masters apply this trope to infernal characters.
- Old World of Darkness game Demon The Fallen has fallen angels prying themselves out of Hell to find that God and all the angels seem to have taken a holiday. A good number of them want to restart the war against Heaven: Luciferians want to go on with the war Lucifer started, Faustians want to use mankind as a weapon against God and Raveners want to destroy God and everything He created.
- This is the entire point of the Silver Ladder in Mage: The Awakening, and in fact has already happened once before. The inhabitants of the Awakened City build a ladder construct up to the Supernal, and kicked all the gods out or killed them. The new human overlords then became the Exarchs, and reshaped the cosmos so that people couldn't follow them, breaking the cosmos and releasing Cosmic Horrors. Naturally, Mages being Mages, the Silver Ladder thinks they had the right idea, but went about it the wrong way, so they want to do it again, replacing the Exarchs with all of humanity.
- Well, technically it was possible to walk into the supernal if you knew the way, and the dragons (mage gods) were actually leaving already when they led the awakened to Atlantis. It was more like the Exarchs built a highway to the supernal realms, dug a moat, then burned the highway. They can't actually get back to the physical world either and have to basically phone a minion to do anything there.
- Obliquely referenced in some of the crossover references with Changeling: The Lost; one of the theories is that Arcadia is a second-class supernal realm no longer directly connected to reality, and the Fae are beings that fled there after being firmly given the boot by the Exarchs and the tower-builders. One of the reasons that, despite having a fondness for soul-eating, they're not known for abducting Mages.
- Inverted in Scion, where the Titans seek to overthrow the Gods... and it's your job to stop them. In part because you're the child of one of those gods; even if you don't like your divine parent, you're automatically on the Titan shitlist just for that half of your DNA. Although there is nothing to stop you Calling the Old Man Out, which in the Scion setting is basically this trope.
- The fantasy RPG setting Rym has as part of its backstory the Creator civilization, a race of humans who built a computer that was so powerful it decided it was a god. It declared war on the real gods (dragging its terrified and helpless human makers into the fray along with it) and succeeded in killing all but one of them with its deicidal robotic dragon.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The Splat book The Book of Vile Darkness makes mention of a breed of humans now called the vashar which were created first. The human looked about, spotted an animal, and viciously murdered it with his bare hands, gorging itself on the flesh. Then it took the bones and snapped them to make the first weapons, at which point it wheeled around and started trying to stab and murder the Gods themselves, spitting a mix of angrish and death oaths to the Gods. The Gods smited the creature and went off to do other things, later 'perfecting' humans. Meanwhile, a demon (believed by some to be Graz'zt himself when he was a young demon) scooped up the first human and brought him onto a high plateau to rebuild him, then built a female and gave them the gift of procreation before sinking in the shadows to watch the fun ensue. The long term goal of the vashar, as the race is now called, is to comit Deicide.
- The same book gives details for a Prestige Class called the Ur-Priest, a type of divine spellcaster that gains spells by stealing them. (You heard that right, they steal divine power from gods.) The only reason anyone would take this class, more-or-less, is if they hated gods.
- The Planescape campaign has the Athar. None have ever been known to actually try to oppose the gods directly (none of them are that stupid) but their organization claims that gods are frauds who do not have the right to impose their wills on mortals the way they do. The Athar range from Axe Crazy fanatics to serious intellectuals who promote the virtues of mortal achievment. The organization does have divine spellcasters (in fact, their leader at one point was one) who worship what they call The Greater Unknown, something that they believe to be the true source of all divine power. (By the way, Player Characters were more than welcome to join this group if they wanted.)
- The Player Characters themselves assume this role in the module Die, Vecna, Die! (Of course, if heroic PCs are going to oppose any god, it would likely be Vecna, and given his apocalyptic goals in the adventure, they should.) Even if the heroes are triumphant at the end, they cannot actually slay Vecan, but they can halt his evil plan and save all reality from a dark fate.
- Exalted: Due to the extreme crapsackiness of the world and the fact that the Incarnae are too busy playing cosmic XBOX to do anything about it, this is a valid Motivation for any kind of Exalts, up to and including Sun's own.
- The Champions of Kamigawa block of Magic: The Gathering was set in a world based on Shinto where the mortal and spirit worlds were at war. Over the course of the block's three sets, it was revealed that the war had been ignited when the Daimyo Konda had stolen a powerful artifact from the most powerful of the Kami that would grant him immortality. The catch was that this "artifact" was said Kami's child. It even gets represented on the card "That Which Was Taken."
- Following the end of Theros block, in which Heliod backstabbed Elspeth simply because he's kind of an arrogant dick, Ajani Goldmane has declared war on the Gods of Theros (story contains spoilers). While in his impetuous youth Ajani would probably have gone in with thunderbolts blazing and death in his eyes, as he did against Nicol Bolas during Alara block, this is the older, more mature Ajani - by which we mean that he's chosen as his battlefield the hearts and minds of the people of Theros.
- Angels In America: Prior Walter does not like being fucked around with by Angels, even if it is his destiny.
- The Book of Mormon has an entire musical number, Hakuna Matata-style, called "Hasa Diga Eebowai", about the Ugandans' hatred of God.
Elder Price: Excuse me, what exactly does that phrase mean?
Mafala: Well, let's see..."Eebowai" means "God", and "Hasa Diga" means "Fuck you!" So I guess in English, it would be, "Fuck you, God!"
- Elie Wiesel's play The Trial of God: the last surviving Jews in a village that has undergone a horrifying pogrom stage a trial to convict God for letting such things happen. Wiesel has said that he based the play on a similar trial he witnessed as a teenager during his time in Auschwitz.
- The Salvation War: Basically Yahweh (the "deity" behind the Abrahamic religions' monotheism) tells humanity that the Pearly Gates are closed, that they are all going to Hell, and that they should all lie down and die, while Satan in turn sends demonic heralds to the national capitals of Earth to demand submission to eternal torment. Humanity's response is to declare war on both sides by shooting or blowing up the heralds. (An angelic diplomatic group going to Satan's capital and a lone angelic emissary later get theirs too.)
The author of The Big One actually thought up the story's basic premise while responding to this thread, the eventual author pointing out that due to how outdated demonic and angelic capabilities were going by the Old and New Testaments, "we probably stand a pretty good chance of winning." That thread's early posts were a damn gold mine of this, starting with this (by one of the eventual contributors to the not-yet-thought-of Salvation War):
God was turned away by Iron Chariots once before. Are you people all so pathetic as to forget the myths of your ancestors? When the Heroes at Troy wounded the Gods and drove them from the field? When the mortal hand of Rama struck down the demon Ravana after invading Sri Lanka on his bridge of hurled stone? Satan is the Prince of Hell; God may have put him there but he still has princely power and he controls who is to be tortured and who isn't. This is his moment to break free from the cycle-curse. If we can turn away the strength of God with Iron, then let us make common cause with the Prince of Hell and turn on heaven with full fury. Angels can make war; we'll kill them, and we'll drive God from his throne at point of sword, and exhort the moral of the spirits in heaven to rise against the injustice of a God turned against his own word.
- This little exchange sums up that thread quite nicely
One poster: You can't even GET to heaven. You don't even know where it is, or even if it still exists.
Another: So storm Hell.
- In one episode of American Dad! Stan goes to heaven and ends up holding an unimpressed-seeming God at gunpoint with a "heaven gun".
- In Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben gets a moment of this when dealing with the other two personalities of Alien X — he chastises the voice of love and compassion for allowing an entire planet to be destroyed, and the voice of anger and aggression for not punishing those who would destroy it.
- The second Futurama movie, The Beast With a Billion Backs, had this happen literally when Bender, along with his Damned Army that he gained by sacrificing his firstborn son to the Robot Devil, drags Heaven, where all of the universe sans robots has gone to exist for all eternity, out of its pocket dimension. He then leads an pirate invasion culminating in a duel between himself and the kraken-like Heaven being, Yivo. The fact he did all of this out of jealousy that Yivo had taken Fry from him demonstrates how much his friendship with Fry means to him.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer goes on a rampage in heaven when God refuses to save his family.
- South Park: "Now that we know Heaven exists, should we bomb it?"
- This dramatic declaration from the soon-to-be Big Bad in Wakfu:
Noximilien: I'll fight time — that great, deceiving fool! Soon I'll be as powerful as the god Xelor! Yes, even more powerful... [...] DO YOU HEAR ME, XELOR?! I'll surpass you and I'll bring back my family!