Creator/IsaacAsimov once said that most ScienceFiction is written by atheists. There are a [[Creator/CSLewis number]] [[OrsonScottCard of]] [[CliffordSimak notable]] [[Creator/RayBradbury exceptions]], and it might not be literally true, but SciFi probably has more atheist authors than other genres do. A lot of these writers insert this [[AuthorTract personal outlook]] into the story. Sometimes they just portray atheists as good and rationally thinking people. Sometimes they go further.

For instance, say we have a CrystalDragonJesus cult which has something material as the object of worship. Let it be the Church of the Moon Goddess. Then we invent spaceships, fly to the moon and see that it's just a piece of lifeless rock and the goddess is absent. Or we have a Goddess of Harvest living in the mountain and then find out that it's just a [[AncientAstronauts semi-sentient weather control machine]].

That's the trope: Setting up a proof that atheism is right. May lead to OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions, NoSuchThingAsSpaceJesus, etc. Religious characters ''will'' react to it either negatively ("[[CrisisOfFaith My entire faith is a liiie!]]" perhaps, or "IRejectYourReality and substitute my own,") or unnaturally positively ("[[EasyEvangelism Oh, God's not real?]] Welp, that's thirty years of time wasted. Do atheists have cookouts?"), leading us to BeliefMakesYouStupid and even, confusingly, some instances of HollywoodAtheist.

Notice that most examples come up with some kind of masquerade around a fictional religion, rather than talking about a real-world religion. That's because of the complicated, baroque cease fire negotiated between atheists and religious scholars called [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-overlapping_magisteria Non-overlapping magisteria.]] Briefly, this means that modern religions are [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiable non-falsifiable:]] They can't be proven wrong, but, in turn, they can't ''make'' any claims that can be proven wrong.

Compare ScamReligion, UnwantedFalseFaith, and ThePresentsWereNeverFromSanta. Contrast ReligionIsRight. For a musical version, this trope is also a goldmine of ReligionRantSong material. For an emotional, rather than scientifical, denounce, see EvilStoleMyFaith.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* This seems to be the case in the Manga/DeathNote universe. At the beginning of the series, the {{shinigami}} Ryuk tells [[VillainProtagonist Light Yagami]] that anyone who uses the titular notebook can "neither go to heaven or hell", but at the very end, [[spoiler: just as he's about to die from Ryuk writing his name in his own notebook after having been finally defeated]] we see a flashback were Light deduces that this simply means that there is [[CessationOfExistence no afterlife at all]]. Also, WordOfGod has apparently stated at least once that there are no gods in the manga's universe, aside from the shinigami. This is at least the case in the manga; the anime series is much more ambiguous on the question of God and the afterlife.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''HisDarkMaterials'', God exists ([[spoiler:and is killed]]), but [[CrystalDragonJesus Magisterium]] is wrong and [[CorruptChurch corrupt]], they must die, their churches must be destroyed and characters will team up with anything, be it good or evil, to fulfill it. Priests are depicted as being nothing but {{Card Carrying Villain}}s. WordOfGod was that [[spoiler: The Dust]] is god, the Magisterium's god just stole credit for it in an attempt to grab power.
* Creator/HPLovecraft was an atheist, and this made its way into his stories. He imagined a universe where humanity and religion are essentially just annoyances to gigantic monsters from outer space who [[NoSuchThingAsSpaceJesus we foolishly perceive as gods]]. Interestingly, he mixes it with a heavy dose of ScienceIsBad and/or ScienceIsWrong ''at the same time'', so it's more like [[{{Unwinnable}} Any Human Attempt To Understand The Universe Is Wrong]]. And liable to get you eaten.
* BobShaw's ''TheRaggedAstronauts'' features twin planets and the cult claiming that all people reincarnate cycle between these two planets eternally. Then the characters make an expedition to the second planet. You can guess whether they find people there or not. Then the cult is reborn in ''TheWoodenSpaceships'', but with a distant planet of the same solar system. What happens then? You got the idea.
* This [[spoiler:literally]] happens in Clive Barker's play ''TheHistoryOfTheDevil''.
* In ''TheLightOfOtherDays'', the technology is invented to open windows to any point in space and time and watch events as they happened. Amongst other things, Moses never existed, being a composite of various historical figures, and Jesus did exist but never performed any miracles. Although the [[spoiler:darkening of the sun at his crucifixion]] was explained as being the result of [[spoiler:too many people opening windows to see what happened]].
* In Literature/TheSpaceOdysseySeries by ArthurCClarke, the idea of God apparently comes from the Monolith, specifically the version that uplifted hominids into humanity. In ''3001'', humanity has finally discovered this Monolith (dubbed TMA-0), and traditional religion comes to an end. Curiously, though, many people are still either [[UsefulNotes/{{Deism}} Deists]] (believing in not less than one god) or Theists (believing in not more than one).
* Creator/PhilipKDick loved to explore this topic, too. Religion is either mocked, played with or downright condemned in many of his novels.
** In Literature/DoAndroidsDreamOfElectricSheep this is partially subverted. When an expose says that the central miracle of "Mercerism" was staged, the "chickenhead" character suggests that this will not make any real difference. Not to mention the other "appearances" of Mercer to characters, leaving it uncertain just how much of a "fake" he is.
* JamesBranchCabell also played with this, asking whether it makes any difference whether the events in religious stories "really" happened. He also repeatedly opines that "a freethinker is bound to eventually question the central article of his own creed: that because something has satisfied generations of men, it must be untrue"; and raises the question of whether Christian theology is actually more implausible than other things we never question.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' book ''[[HumansAreBastards Night of the Humans]]'' plays out this trope in a truly bizarre fashion. 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 overshadowed by an incredibly unsubtle StrawManPolitical message that turns [[AuthorFilibuster the entire book into one long and extremely dubious]] [[BrokenAesop Aesop]] about how all religion is [[ReligionOfEvil completely eeeeeevil]]. The chosen 'god' of the crashed humans turns out to be [[NightmareFuel a creepy, creepy, clown]] [[{{Squick}} called Gobo]] used as a (very) heavy-handed metaphor for all religion.
** A specific example includes the fact that all followers of Gobo are forbidden from learning to read and write with the exception of one person who is only taught to write by his predecessor. Basically, knowledge is bad, Gobo is good.
* The character Beneditx in ''Literature/{{KnowledgeofAngels}}'' THINKS that 'ReligionIsWrong' is proved, but only because someone had offered counterarguments to Aquinas's 5 Arguments, which he thought proved the ReligionIsRight. To him, this trope is invoked.
* The main character of ''Literature/{{Julian}}'' feels that Christians are stupid quibblers, ignoring the fact that his Hellenistic religion is NotSoDifferent.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'':
** An episode concerned a planet that was filled with corpses. The crew found one person who was not quite dead and revived him. It turned out that on his planet, people who are about to die are sent through a portal to the afterlife, and he was understandably distraught to find that it was actually sending them to another planet where they stayed dead. However, the episode had an ambiguous ending, where it's hinted that their afterlife ''does'' exist in the planet's rings, and the planet filled with corpses is probably just some kind of temporary holding space.
** ''Voyager'' also had an episode about Neelix questioning his faith after dying and being resuscitated, which showed him that [[TheNothingAfterDeath there is nothing after death]], instead of the Talaxian afterlife he expected. This, and the visions he saw of his sister telling him that what he believed was all a lie, [[DrivenToSuicide prompts him into committing suicide]] until Chakotay, the Native American believer in spirits in the afterlife, persuades Neelix that he still has things to live for despite what he saw when he was dead, and that he needs to have a stronger faith.
*** The above was written after Lead writer Byran Fuller had a [[CreatorBreakdown nervous break over his Catholic Faith and the fact he finally realized that he was a gay man.]]
** Inverted in the episode where B'Elanna Torres encounters the Klingon afterlife. From an outsider's perspective it is only a near-death experience, but from B'Elanna's point of view and the nature of events imply she really went to Gre'thor, the Klingon hell .
* Many times in ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'':
** In "Return of the Archons," the people of Beta III are all zombies under the control of the omnipotent Landru. [[spoiler: Landru is a telepathic artificial intelligence that Kirk [[KirkSummation talks]] [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath to death.]]]]
** In "For The World is Hollow and I have Touched The Sky," the people of the spaceship Yonada have forgotten they're in a spaceship and are ruled by an unforgiving Oracle that can deal out instant, painful death should anyone disobey. [[spoiler: The Oracle is also a computer, this time defeated when its head Priestess turns against it after [=McCoy=] convinces her she's wrong through ThePowerOfLove and common sense.]]
** In "The Apple," Kirk once again [[spoiler: destroys a civilization's computer god]].
%%* The most egregious example in the whole of ''Trek'' has to be the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "Who Watches the Watchers". In it, the ''Enterprise'' crew accidentally injure a member of a primitive society and take him back to the ship for treatment. When he recovers consciousness and sees Picard, he decides the captain is God and manages to convince the rest of his people to worship him. Cue Picard and co sitting in the observation lounge going "[[WesternAnimation/SouthPark Religion is bad. Don't follow a religion. 'Cos religion is bad.]]" GeneRoddenberry expected the episode to be controversial but it had so little relevance to real world religion that no one cared.
* ''Series/RedDwarf'':
** A news report reveals that archaeologists have discovered the long lost first page of Literature/TheBible - "For my darling Candy. The characters and events depicted in this novel are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental." Apparently the page "has been universally condemned by church leaders."
** Not only did the Cat people worship Lister (or "Lord Cloister"), they turned his dream of moving to Fuji and opening a donut and sausage stand into an afterlife, fought a holy war over what color the employee hats would be (both sides got it wrong), and interpreted his laundry list as directions to "Fuchsia".
*** Cat is so self-centered that if he even considers the idea of God worth bothering with, he's convinced that ''he'' is God. Lister both dislikes the idea that he was deified, is perfectly aware of the fact he is not even remotely divine, and has personal habits that would make any faithful religious person disown the very thought he could actually be their god.
* Subverted in ''Series/StargateSG1''. Our heroes constantly prove to societies that they are serving false gods and that their religious artifacts are actually advanced technology, but various members of the SGC retain a belief in God that no one ever tries to dispute.
** In fact, Daniel Jackson half accepts that The Ori are God-esque, but he measures them as unworthy. Believing that any 'God' that would request genocide SHOULD NOT be worshipped. This actually seems to reflect the way he judged himself and The Others when he was ascended. As far as he is concerned The Ori are, higher plane or not, evil. Therefore the moral concept put forth seems to be, whether they are real or not doesn't matter, don't let 'Gods' force you away from healthy human morals.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' has often gone here. One notable example is "The Face of Evil", where the Doctor knows first hand that the religion the people of the planet he's visiting is wrong because he's the one who's inadvertantly responsible for it; a spaceship AI he thought he'd fixed has gone a bit mad and set itself up as a God and presented the Doctor as 'the Evil One' in response.
** Zigzagged other times in both the tv series and expanded universe. The Eternals [[CompleteImmortality completely immortal,]], [[RealityWarper warp reality]], travel through space and time at will, and have masqueraded as gods on different worlds. A few are said to represent cosmic principles such as Time or Pain. The Olympian gods have been portrayed as real and godlike in the Expanded Universe. The episode "The Satan Pit" featured a creature who claimed to have existed before the universe and been the inspiration for many of the demonic figures in religions across the universe including Satan. The Doctor at one point referred to it as "The Devil."
* ''Series/BabylonFive'' provides an interesting subversion, especially since its creator, J. Michael Straczynski is an outspoken atheist himself. Religions and religious persons of various faiths, both human and alien, real life and fictitious, play important and positive roles. While no actual answer is provided as to whether religions are themselves right or wrong, religious faiths of various characters are certainly very real and sincere and provide important plot elements.
** A few episodes imply certain religious are correct or at least not all superstitions. The episode "Day of the Dead" had an alien religious festival where the dead could communicate with the living. Many of the characters received visitations from the departed and the station personal were unable to cross into zones designated for the festival. Attempts were made to rationalize it at the end, but none made much sense or were dismissed. A direct dvd release episode featured a being claiming to be the demon Asmodeus claiming God had trapped his kind on Earth. In the end, the only known was to remove him was a spiritual exorcism while on Earth to trap him again. The priest sent to study the case commented on how the lack of finding God among the stars and scientific advancements had made religion almost irrelevant.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Religion]]
* This is a common -- if by no means universal -- position for even religious people to hold with regard to religions ''other'' than their own.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The central aspect of the ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'' metaplot concerns advanced technology that was used to perform the miracles in various religions. The ending of the [[VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII sequel]] reveals that [[spoiler:all world religions are based on misinterpreted accounts of a technologically advanced race of {{Precursors}} who created humans in their image]]. If you're willing believe AncientConspiracy - which is ''[[ParanoiaFuel exactly what they want you to think]]''.
* ''VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar'' makes this one of its major themes in a glaring change from its predecessor, ''VideoGame/DeusEx.'' In ''VideoGame/DeusEx'', religion and spirituality were themes that ran parallel to the setting and plot, but never outright stated to be either "right" or "wrong." In ''Invisible War'', however, all religion is subsumed into The Order, and The Order is [[spoiler: merely a system of control for the Illuminati]]. The player is given the chance to break the news to an Order member, with predictable results.\\
\\
This change can be seen easiest with TheKnightsTemplar in both games. In ''VideoGame/DeusEx'', they were the surviving descendants of the original Knights, who had remained as religious bankers[[note]]The Knights Templar also had ties to the Illuminati, but the Illuminati of ''Deus Ex'' had intrinsic spiritual themes as a contrast to Bob Page's secular Majestic Twelve. Spirituality and religion (in fact, most of them were simply bog standard Catholics) were part of what they were, not a method of controlling people.[[/note]]. In ''Invisible War'', they're one of the only truly "black" factions who will plunge the world into an [[TheFundamentalist extremist]], [[BeliefMakesYouStupid theocratic dark age]] if they win.
** As an example on how religion is treated in the first game, Morpheus (an A.I. [[spoiler: prototype of a global surveillance system]] developed by a surviving Knights Templar) claims that God is not only man-made but made out of a desire to be observed. Morpheus believes humans feel pleasure when they're watched, so he concludes religion was invented to give this pleasure. [[PlayerCharacter JC Denton]], however, disagrees and argues with Morpheus on the matter ("Electronic surveillance hardly inspires reverence. Perhaps fear and obedience, but not reverence").\\
\\
While Morpheus is never proven "right" or "wrong" about religion, he ''does'' foreshadow plot details with the conversation. Later on, JC Denton is given the option to reject [[spoiler: Helios']] desire to play God.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' is either an aversion or a subversion. Chantry says that [[TheGodsMustBeLazy the Maker is just lazy]], prayers are not answered, religion is ''not'' magic (ReligionIsMagic in all other BioWare games which have magic), [[KnightTemplar templars]] are dumb, killers and drug-users, and clergy even refuses to bless an army at some point, making you think that trope is played completery straight... and then the game starts [[ShoutOut quoting]] ''TheLordOfTheRings'' without {{Deconstruction}}. In case you didn't know, ''TheLordOfTheRings'' is about [[{{God}} Ilúvatar's]] guidance. The religious outlook of the game is probably something like "GodIsGood" but religious ''organisations'' can do some pretty stupid things.
** Religion in ''Franchise/DragonAge'' is a lot more complicated than that. Supposedly, prayers aren't answered because of mankind's hubris. The priest refused to bless the knights because what they were asking for wasn't a simple blessing, but a guarantee of divine protection, something she couldn't provide. The Templars are a lot more morally grey than their name implies, and overall, the game leaves the existence or nonexistence of [[{{God}} The Maker]] ambiguous. [[IncrediblyLamePun Word]] [[WordOfGod Of God]] is that they intend for it to stay that way.
* Invoked in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'':
** The cult formed around Harold, a ghoul who has turned into a large tree. The cult in the Oasis worship him as a god and blithely ignore and over-interpret his protests to the contrary. If the player character finishes the relevant quest by killing Harold (which is what he ''wants'') the cult more-or-less thank you for freeing them from their religion, and are suddenly able to see that Harold wasn't a god after all.
** However if you choose to spare Harold the cult keeps their religion and Harold finds reason to want to live again.
** This trope is also in play with the church of Atom in the town of Megaton, who worship an atomic bomb as a potential creator of billions of universes. Confessor Cromwell, who is effectively a preacher for the religion, stands all day in a pool of irradiated water and it's implied that this has driven him mad, or at least less sane.
*** Which is based on an idea that scientists have thought about in that in every atom is a universe. So there is some theoretical credit to it.
**** They also made sure that a less moral (or simply more nosy) character can find out he's a hypocrite. Despite his insistence that Children of the Atom be sober pacifists, in his desk are a bottle of whiskey and a gun. This is never directly stated in dialogue or holotapes, but the physical evidence is telling.
*** Averted with the other VideoGame/{{Fallout}} games, namely the Followers of the Apocalypse and the Mormons, now called New Caananites.
* In ''TheLastResurrection'' Jesus is the final boss, and is portrayed as a genocidal lunatic personally responsible for Nazism.
* In ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'', activating the Halo Array will not [[AscendedToAHigherPlaneOfExistence ascend the Covenant to godhood]] but wipe out [[ApocalypseHow all life in the Galaxy]].
** By the time of ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'', the [[BigBad Prophet of Truth]] seems to be fully aware of this, and [[DoubleThink yet still believes that the rings will grant apotheosis.]]
* The ''TalesSeries'' tends to play around with this one.
** ''VideoGame/TalesOfEternia'' features the Seyfert religion suppressing information about the appearance of Dark Matter leading to TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, claiming it to be a sign of their god's second coming instead. While they're not given the most sympathetic representation in the game, this is somewhat true FromACertainPointOfView because [[spoiler:Seyfert himself is real and, because of the threat the Dark Matter heralds the arrival of, he has his messengers provide TheHero Reid with the divine Fibrill powers that he needs to save the word. Seyfert himself never actually physically manifests but the game ends on the message that he's watching over the two worlds of Inferia and Celestia.]]
** ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' appears to play this straight, given the CorruptChurch [=/=] PathOfInspiration that is the Church of Martel... [[spoiler:but then Martel's spirit actually manifests as a powerful entity within the world, becoming something akin to an actual goddess after pulling a FusionDance with countless other souls.]]
** ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' is probably the most science-fiction-y game in the series and zigzags on this one. The BigBad and his FiveBadBand are a {{Church Militant}}s working to subvert the order they're meant to protect because the church is being manipulated by an ObviouslyEvil douchebag who doesn't realise that blindly following the path laid out for him by the world's deity, Lorelei, will lead humanity extinction... Oh, and the higher-up members of the church partially knew this but kept it secret to avoid a mass panic. [[spoiler:However, this turns out to be only half-correct. Lorelei did indeed foresee the world's destruction, as part of its ComboPlatterPowers relating to the future and destiny, but it actually left the Fonstones (that record the future) behind so that humanity could ''overthrow'' this terrible future and create their own destinies. Sadly, the church didn't quite realise this as they were all blinded by the promise of a prosperous future at the end of ''one'' of the seven Fonstones. Thus, the game's ultimate stance on religion is something like, "Deities are good but religions are ultimately made up of people and, sometimes, people can get it ''horribly'' wrong.]]
** ''VideoGame/TalesOfXillia'' doesn't have much in the way of religion but the people who worship Milla Maxwell are eventually revealed to be [[spoiler:lying to her, telling her that she's a goddess when she's actually just a normal person. As it happens, this was all done on the orders of the ''actual'' god Maxwell, a WellIntentionedExtremist who wanted Milla to be his agent within the world of Liese Maxia to investigate the [[PoweredByAForsakenChild sinister technology]] that's corrupting the world.]]
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' the players find themselves at the temple of the Asari goddess, Athame. Although most Asari are atheists anyway, most probably think it was [[OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions simple superstition.]] However if the player brings the teammember of the [[{{Precursors}} Prothean race]] along with them, he deconstructs all their myths: it was them every time. Goddess protected you when "the heavens grew angry?" Prothean-deflected meteor strike. Drove away "jealous gods?" Invasive species. Abundance from on-high? Averted famine, and so on.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Generally speaking, ''WesternAnimation/{{TheSimpsons}}'' tends to parody the concept of organised religion. For example, in one episode, Homer proves that God does not exist mathematically. Flanders destroys the evidence. However, it's much vaguer in most cases as Homer actually gets to meet the Big Man Upstairs on a few occasions, though it's usually in a DreamSequence.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' parodies this trope when Leela finally finds out the truth about the origins of the universe and the meaning of life (which we the audience do not get to hear), the only thing she says is, "so every religion is wrong!" [[WishfulThinking However, this could alternatively mean that every EXISTING religion is wrong, not the actual concept of religion]].
** Contrast the example on ReligionIsRight where Bender meets God. Or what could be part of God after being hit by a satellite. [[MindScrew Or a satellite that collided with God]]. Said God also makes a point of noting that if a God's doing the job properly, no one will even be aware it's being done at all.
* The ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' two-part episode "Go God Go" appears to invert this at the end. At first, we are shown a hyper-advanced society 500 years from now that has long ago abandoned religion in favor of atheism and science (they replace "God" with "science" in their swears; e.g. "Science, damn it!"). Then it's revealed that there are three atheist factions in the world (one of them are super-intelligent otters) who are engaged in a MeleeATrois over [[spoiler:what to name the atheist society]]. It turns out that this started when RichardDawkins began a sexual relationship with Mr(s). Garrison and convinced him/her of the fallacy of religion. Garrison immediately went into overdrive and convinced Dawkins to browbeat the rest of humanity into atheism. Apparently, it worked. Cartman ends up accidentally changing the past by letting Dawkins know that Garrison is a man. The future immediately turns into a religious utopia with only nationalism still a big issue (the otter mentions a war with the French-Chinese over Hawaii).
[[/folder]]
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