So, we have a Crystal Dragon Jesus
cult which has something purely metaphysical as a Crystal Dragon. Let it be the Church of the Moon Goddess. Then we invent spaceships and fly to the moon to meet the Moon Goddess herself: she's very glad to see us and is exactly as beautiful and benevolent as we thought
That's the trope: a correct scientific proof that the religion is right.
Done by a very large number of devout authors in response to Religion Is Wrong
being so popular. However, the use of this trope does not necessarily illustrate the author's own beliefs — the overall story is (usually) being sold as fiction, after all. The in-story religion may range anywhere from a symbolic version of the author's faith, to a nonbeliever's deconstruction
of a real-world religion, to a simple thought experiment for its own sake
without any theological ax to grind.
Note that the proof must be correct in-story, it doesn't have to make any sense in Real Life. Note also that merely having a Physical God
doesn't qualify: You must have a faith-based religion prior to the divine encounter.
Compare Easy Evangelism
and Science Is Wrong
, All Myths Are True
. Contrast Religion Is Wrong
. This trope may not be as positive as the case described above if the religion that's right is a Religion of Evil
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- This trope works in almost every single Cosmic Horror Story: if there is an evil cult worshipping an entity, the entity exists.
Anime and Manga
- In Franken Fran, the Wandering Jew is real, and he confirms everything we know from The Bible about Jesus. Two chapters later we find out that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is also real. Franken Fran is weird.
- Technically, the Flying Spaghetti Monster became real during the course of a chapter.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the religion that was right is the religion of the ancient Egyptians, which was actually fairly spot-on. The only thing that's wrong is the show's portrayal of Ancient Egyptian mythology, which is utterly hopeless.
- Avatar: The Na'vi worship some nebulous Mother Nature-type goddess, and the humans scoff at this — until the scientists figure out that Pandoran life (especially trees) is actually connected into a Hive Mind, and the Na'vi goddess is quite real. They even explicitly say that they've basically found scientific proof that the goddess really exists.
- Religion that deals with The Force in Star Wars is most certainly this: it does involve faith because, for example, Han Solo didn't believe in Force, but it is proven true.
- There are different philosophies, but the only ones that aren't compatible are the ones that emphasize Light or Dark.
- Ray Bradbury's Human short story.
- Constantly used in Chick Tracts. "Big Daddy" is one of the most well-known, as well as among the most frequently remixed.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: The followers of Zarquon the prophet await his Second Coming, and they're gently chided/mocked for their belief. He finally arrives just before the End Of The Universe.
- There was also a famous philosopher in universe who managed to prove the existence of God. However, proving God existed logically proved him wrong, and he promptly ceased to exist. In So Long And Thanks For All The Fish he did leave one final message behind for his creation though: WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.
- The version in the BBC series is that God refused to prove he existed "because proof denies faith and without faith I am nothing". The existence of the Babelfish, which instantly translates any kind of language for it's user and who's evolution was frankly impossible, proved he existed; therefore, by his own argument, he doesn't.
- Following which, "Man" proves that black is white, and is run over at the next zebra crossing.
- "Most theologians consider this argument a load of dingoes' kidneys."
- In Carl Sagan's novel Contact, an image of God's signature is said to be contained in the digits of pi.
- One of the rare examples of an adamant agnostic playing this trope straight.
- C. S. Lewis's work, especially (in the scientific proof bit) the Space Trilogy.
- Or, rather, we can prove scientifically that angels (fallen and not) exist, and are suspiciously like the usual mythic pantheon personality-wise. We still only have their word on the matter that God exists, though.
- Philip K. Dick's A Maze of Death describes a world where God and a Jesus-like manifestation of him are obviously real, and prayers are a commonplace way of solving problems, though they have to be transmitted by radio onto "god planets". There's a Flat Earth Atheist who believes this "God" is just a Sufficiently Advanced Alien.
- His Eye in the Sky contains, among others, a world where God is blatantly real (and quite ornery) and gives regular TV transmissions; meanwhile, bars are stocked with vending machines that materialize items from nothing for free, and medieval alchemy and superstitions work perfectly. (It's actually a Journey to the Center of the Mind of a fundamentalist old man).
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice there really is a Heaven, and God, and all that stuff. It's not the same as it is described in The Bible but it's there.
- Arguably the Aesop of the Left Behind series. If you do not accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will be left behind to suffer the Tribulation on Earth, followed by an eternity of damnation if you die during the Tribulation without accepting Christ then.
- As with the Left Behind series, Evangelical Christianity is the only way to avoid an eternity in Hell in another Tim LaHaye series, Babylon Rising.
- Hilariously Played With in the Dresden Files:
- First of all, magic has a large element of Clap Your Hands If You Believe, so this trope is tautologically true. But it gets good with how various characters run with it;
- Harry Dresden himself - knows of many deities - he's fought some, worked for some, even killed a couple of their peers, but isn't himself religious. He can't even summon enough Faith to earn himself an angelically-fueled rescue, courtesy of his friend Michael Carpenter. He's fought Fallen Angels, and Uriel has become one of his patrons;
- Michael himself is a Knight of the Cross, and his schtick is the literal power of Faith, so he plays this trope quite straight;
- Sanya, an agnostic (he refers to himself as a fallen atheist) who is also a Knight of the Cross, refuses to acknowledge religion as being correct despite having an angel as a boss.
- In Discworld, gods and anthropomorphic personifications exist explicitly because people believe in them, and often interact openly and directly with humanity. As well, anybody who claims to be an atheist often ends up promptly struck down by lightning from a clear sky, providing a statistical proof if nothing else (though Dorfl, an atheist free-willed golem who is immune to lightning strikes, does not consider it much of an argument).
- The character Beneditx in Knowledge Of Angels THINKS that Thomas Aquinas's Five Arguments are definitive proof that God exists, and views them as proper scientific evidence. The atheist Palinor is quick to disagree.
- R Scott Bakker's Second Apocalypse: the central conflict is based on the fact that the villains (star-trotting sex-monsters), have discovered that the damnation of their souls is a literal and objective fact. They're goal is exercising a loophole to escape this fate. Unfortunately, this involves almost completely wiping out humanity.
Live Action TV
- On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Bajoran religion is based on the godlike "Prophets" who reside in the "Celestial Temple." At the beginning of the series a wormhole is opened very close to the planet, and Sufficiently Advanced Aliens living within it admit that they are, in fact, the Prophets and have a continued interest in Bajor's future. The Federation prefers to call these beings "Wormhole Aliens," but as you can imagine, the Bajoran religious movement gets a nice boost after the Cardassian Occupation had caused many to doubt the Prophets' existence.
- The Tau of Warhammer 40K are a relatively young race and are near-impervious to Warp influence, meaning they consider the whole sacrificing-people-to-Chaos as frankly insane and pointless. That is, until they see a Greater Daemon explode onto the battlefield.
- Played straight in Tales of Eternia. The Seyfert religion is based around faith and science, but there's still no actual evidence for Seyfert's existence. Turns out that he is very real and a really cool guy to boot. Heck, he even congratulates you for saving the world in the ending.
- Deconstructed in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura with the Pantheon of Old Gods. They're all real, and their divine influence is easily demonstrated, but in a setting where the supernatural is so commonplace it's sometimes a nuisance, the average citizens don't care, and the measure of a religion's success isn't evidence but instead current trends.
- Unitology in Dead Space offers, among other vague promises, to "transform the flesh" of its members after death as part of a higher purpose. This is in fact completely accurate, just horrifying in context. It helps that Unitology was founded after the discovery of a real alien artifact, so much of its tenants are based on accounts of the effects of the original.
- Jack: Anna, after seeing a literal angel:
- Well, I guess that's it for my athiest
- Subverted in Misfile. While God, angels, and Lucifer exist, no religion on Earth has it right. Since God's on vacation, Deism is the closest real world religious view that's correct.
Letter: What are your religious beliefs, if any?
Ash: I used to be an atheist, but, well...
- Hilariously parodied in the Futurama episode "Godfellas." Bender meets God (or a satellite that crashed into God), who is indeed benevolent in mysterious ways, and who tells him, "If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."