There was always an argument about whether the newcomer was a goddess at all. Certainly no one ever got anywhere by worshiping her, and she tended to turn up only where she was least expected, such as now. And people who trusted in her seldom survived. Any temples built to her would surely be struck by lightning. Better to juggle axes on a tightrope than say her name. Just call her the waitress in the Last Chance saloon.
Played with by Yurie in Kamichu!. The middle school deity doesn't mind some of the new attention she's getting as long as it's casual. Once she's put into ceremonial garb or has offerings left on her desk, she gets quite flustered. She may be a god, and she doesn't mind it, but she wants her classmates to be her friends, not her subjects.
The Grim god Crom from the Marvel Comics version of Conan the Barbarian, he only seems to do anything remotely benevolent when it concerns helping Conan, who is destined to be a king, or getting rid of Shuma Gorath, which he does twice.
The creator in the Fallen Angel series wants people to stop worshiping her so she can leave humanity behind, and finally commit suicide. Unfortunately, she's now considering Armageddon to shut up the needy humans.
Lucifer — At one point, Lucifer creates his own universe, and in his version of the Garden of Eden, the one rule he tells his Adam and Eve is that they are not to worship him. Later, when other people are invited to his Creation, this rule is extended to all inhabitants.
In the fantasy comic strip Yamara, Yamara the halfling is temporarily elevated to a demigoddess by a magical artifact, then restored to mortal status. She then has to tell all the worshippers who've started to slavishly follow her around to go home and get on with their lives.
Karkat in Hivefled is displeased by the Sufferist cult's obsession with him, particularly when it crosses the line into not believing him when he says he doesn't have any magical protective powers.
Luna and Celestia in Under The Northern Lights, especially Celestia, who says she outlawed the worship of herself centuries ago in Equestria. They both reluctantly accept foreigners worshipping them, though Luna gets outright livid when she hears reindeer not only worship her and Nightmare Moon as the same entity, but used to practice cervinesacrifice. Despite this, she keeps supporting the Temple of Hrimfaxi through the fic, though that seems to be for their social work in a poor nation and because of their claims that Dark Is Not Evil. And maybe because she in her youth actually encouraged the forming of the cult, and feels responsible for it.
Celestia and Luna again in the Nyxverse — as they explain in Alicornundrum, they originally tried to avoid worship when they were younger, but ponies insisted on it. Eventually they got so fed up with it that they found a deserted spot in the Everfree, sealed themselves in an underground cave, and put themselves in a magical sleep, hoping that when they woke up everyone would have forgotten about them. Instead, they woke to found that their followers had found them, dug them up, and built a castle around them (according to Celestia, Luna invented half of the curses existing today) when they saw this). They use this as justification for making Twilight a Princess against her will; she's going to be worshipped anyway, they might as well make it official.
Yet again in The Infinite Loops, Celestia politely asks Twilight and company to stop swearing by her since they're effectivly equal. They swear by trees instead.
Bruce Almighty — After being given the powers and responsibilities of God, Bruce is notably frustrated with the amount of prayers he receives.
In Conan the Barbarian (1982), Crom, the chief diety in the pantheon of Conan's people, is like this. He doesn't care for those weak enough to need his help, and those strong enough to earn his favor would never lower themselves to asking for divine aid. Conan offers him prayer once in the course of the film, and it's implied that he showed just the right combination of respect and disdain (i.e., "I need help in an unwinnable battle, but if you won't give it, forget you!") to actually get a minor miracle right when he needed it. See the Literature section below as well.
Neo in The Matrix Reloaded finds himself idolized by crowds of new followers in the last human city of Zion. Uncertain himself as to his purpose in his last return there, it's an awkward problem for him as he is (for the most part) empowered only within the realm of the Matrix. Yet he and his lover, Trinity, make time for the followers, often at the expense of their own time alone together.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail — God gets annoyed by people constantly averting their gaze and insisting that they're not worthy when He's trying to tell them what he wants them to do for Him.
Happens briefly in Oh, God!; after Jerry appears on the Dinah Shore Show and talks about his visits with God, his home is mobbed by groupies and visitors who want his time, his blessing, and his divine seed.
"I went to take out the garbage today and two people blessed me! And one of them blessed the garbage!"
In Thirst, Sang-hyun becomes famous as "the bandaged saint" after miraculously surviving EV. A small group of followers camp outside his monastery, to his great annoyance. In the end he pretends to try to rape one of them so that they'll abandon their vigil.
In The Acts of Caine, the titular Caine eventually inspires the creation of a Chaotic Neutral philosophy, who tell him that its not about him, just his ideals. Eventually, he performs so many badass acts that the philosophy evolves into a full-blown religion worshipping him (which, considering the way divinity works in this universe, might actually elevate him to godhood at some point). Caine tells the founder to shut it down, and she calmly tells him to his face that she doesn't care what he thinks.
The Rifter: John, the incarnation of the Rifter, is shy and humble by personality, and very much dislikes being called "my most holy lord". He doesn’t think worshipping him is a good idea, and is even a bit of a skeptic about the value of religion. He knows he has a lot of responsibility and doesn’t think he’s worthy of it.
The Bible, of all things, plays with this trope, in that it's the angels who invoke the trope a few times, partly because they are only messengers for the real thing, partly because one of their brothers already got in trouble for averting the trope, and partly because God himself averts the trope and REALLY DOES want to be worshiped, and gets REALLY ANGRYwhen he isn't, or even worse, isn't worshipped properly.note see Isaiah quote on the quotes tab.
In the Branion series, sovereigns double as avatars of a fire god, the Living Flame. In one book, the royal family has converted to a different faith that regards the Flame as a demon, and is supremely uncomfortable with the fact that half their citizens still consider them divine.
"What of your own gods? I have never heard you call on them." "Their chief is Crom. He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?"
In the Elenium, the god of the Atan is not worshiped and doesn't desire it. The Atan tend to handle anything that happens on their own pretty well and don't really see much need for gods. Their relationship with their god is intimate, yet formal: it will lend its power to them in the form of magic, but they only call on it on very special occasions as they do not believe they should bother their god with things they can do themselves.
In the Belgariad, the god Aldur has no worshipers, although he does have disciples. In Belgarath the Sorcerer, it's shown that when Belzedar, the second disciple of Aldur, first came to the Vale of Aldur, he attempted to worship Aldur with a burnt sacrifice. Belgarath made it very clear this would only manage to offend Aldur.
Because there were seven peoples created for seven gods, and Aldur chose to live alone, one of the peoples went godless and separated into several factions. The leader of one of these factions went to the top of a mountain to speak to UL, the father of the seven gods, and ask for a god to lead his people. UL refused, having no interest in followers, but the man won UL's admiration and acceptance through sheer charisma and patience.
The Lady, the personification of luck, abandons all people who call on her by name. The only known temple built for her was destroyed by a lightning strike... several times. The Lady is an especially interesting example, because she may be the only example of this type of god in a world where Gods Need Prayer Badly. Presumably, she survives because everyone believes in luck, despite no one actively worshiping it.
Monstrous Regiment — The Duchess isn't actually a deity, but due to the nature of belief on the Disc, the fact that people pray to her has sort of turned her into one. Even though she should have died from a painful disease long ago, and is being kept alive by their worship. She's not very happy about this.
Bilious Oh God of Hangovers, who is worshiped by default whenever some miserably hungover wretch whimpers "oh god", is strongly in favor of temperance. This is because while the God of Wine symbolically drinks every alcoholic beverage consumed on the Disc, Bilious symbolically feels the side effects of drinking every alcoholic beverage consumed on the Disc.
The problem Om has in Small Gods is that people have built up such a theocratic government around him that instead of worshiping him, people just do what priests say because they're priests. He has to say Change How You Worship Me.
According to GURPS Discworld, the Disc's nature gods aren't particularly in favour of the various nature cults, like the druids and shamans. They get plenty of belief from rural superstitions, whereas worshippers tend to want something in return. They don't feel strongly enough about it to do anything about it.
What Paul Atreides eventually starts feeling towards his fanatic Fremen followers in Dune Messiah.
At the end of Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East, Ardneh's last command is that humanity must not worship him or any other finite being ever again. Of course, humanity disobeys.
This is how Raamo D'ok acts in the Green-Sky Trilogy. He's had a couple of foretelling visions and some equivocal experiences which the people accept as mystical revelations. Through it all, he is firm in his belief that he is an ordinary Kindar and begs people not to hail him as a prophet, seer, or anything else.
The deliberately subversive Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert Heinlein reveals, near its end, that the occupants of all other universes are not encouraged to worship their Creators.
Judas — Karimov tries to tell this to A-46's disciples.
Lord of Light — Sam is not really passionate about this trope, though it applies:
"His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god, but then he never claimed not to be a god."
In one of the Magic: The Gathering novels, a planeswalker (immortal and powerful but not really god) sets himself up as a god just for the laughs. When he returns to the area centuries later for some rest, he's hounded by worshipers who want him to be god again and fix all their problems. He actually tells them to stop worshipping him or he will kill them. He kills a few but it doesn't stop the worship.
John Taylor from the Nightside series really doesn't want to be worshipped, even before he finds out who his mother is. His friends usually perform scorched-earth practice for him, whenever they find a cult or church acting in his name. This being the Nightside, such acts being performed are generally icky and distressing. John is increasingly depressed that all of his potential worshippers tend to be nasty.
In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, a newly sprung-up religion starts worshipping Vin as "The Heir of the Survivor." This makes her extremely uncomfortable for a number of reasons (not the least of which is her social awkwardness), and she avoids them as much as possible, even when it means sneaking out the back of a store and Roof Hopping away.
Gets very weird when, in the middle of the second book, her husband joins the aforementioned religion for various complex reasons.
Not to mention Sazed, as Harmony, from the sequel The Alloy OF Law, who discourages the people of Scadrial from worshipping him as a deity in the classical sense.
Though it's made clear that he does so only because he wants people to worship him by improving the world, and feels that conventional worship is principally a waste of time.
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson has the character Lightsong. It's unclear whether he is a god or not, but since he returned from the dead, he's certainly no ordinary human being. He thinks the whole business of worshiping the Returned is idiotic. Interestingly enough, it turns out that Lightsong treats his followers with more respect than most of the other Returned; he feels that since people insist on putting their trust in him, he has to try to help them.
The song "Divine Disappointment" by Alias is from the viewpoint of "God" angrily telling the world that not only does he not want people to worship him, but that he didn't even intend for us to exist in the first place. The lyrics imply in places that the universe is the result of some kind of experiment and God is just the guy who started it.
So carry on if you wish, unknowing, thinking breath is wind blowing
Magnified light bulb is the sun, and tears are rivers flowing
Think that every bad thing that happens to you is at my will?
Like bankruptcy, adultery, and the reason why others kill?
Go on and be misled, as you have your entire life
To think that I'll somehow reward you for all your pain and strife
Caparezza's song "Messa in moto", which is about God getting bored of His worshippers and all the people using His name to justify everything, only wanting to go around as a biker.
Religion, Folklore, and Myth
In the book of Acts, when Cornelius meets Simon-Peter, he bows and worships him due to a vision he had earlier. The disciple quickly tells him to stop and explains he is only God's messenger.
In the Planescape setting. The Lady of Pain's response to worship is either to banish the offender to a nearly inescapable maze, or simply kill him. It's mainly because her city, Sigil, is a god-free Truce Zone, and due to the setting's laws she will actually become a goddess if enough people believe she is one.
It wouldn't be enough normally, but according to Pages of Pain, she's a daughter of gods and thus is ready to become one herself. However, should this happen, she couldn't have her absolute blockade against deities in place and hide in Sigil at once. Which is likely to end as "half of the Multiverse's gods vs. the Lady and each other" war would begin the next minute or so.
It should be noted that this explanation is as canon as any other explanation about the Lady, i.e. not at all. The official stance of TSR (and subsequently Wizards of the Coast) is that nobodyknows exactly who or what she is. But either way, she is not fond of worship.
Boccob, god of magic, has as his official title "The Uncaring". Apparently he passed from the "Stop bothering me with your prayers" stage to the "Fine, worship me if you like, but I'm not listening" stage centuries ago.
"Oh, Great Boccob, who is up there, rightly not giving a crap..."
In the Forgotten Realms setting the god above the other gods and probable creator of the universe is Ao. Who literally did nothing whatsoever until some lesser gods tried to nick his power. His response caused him to become known to mortals at large for the first time and his power caused a fair few to worship him. No magical powers reached his clerics, he made no further appearances and those paying attention noticed that many of those worshipping him had a tendency to suffer misfortunes until they knocked it off.
The classic adventure "Against the Giants" introduced an Eldritch Abomination known as the Elder Elemental God. Ignoring the usual divinity/mortal relationship, this entity would reward the occasional human sacrifice by granting wishes, but had a grumpy tendency to strike mortals who pestered it too regularly with blindness, insanity, or death.
In Pendragon, each character has personality traits that measures the character's attitude and actions. Each religion in the game has a set of personality traits measure how close you are to your god(s). For the Wotanic faith of the Saxons, one of the traits is Worldly, which measures how little you care about being religious. This is less Insane Troll Logic than it sounds like, it merely means that Wotan and his kin want to be emulated, not worshipped. Who needs prayer and sacrifice when you have mortals splitting skulls and giving their followers golden rings in your name?
Warhammer 40,000 — The God Emperor of Mankind explicitly denied his supposed divinity throughout his life and preached atheism, despite knowing that Gods do, in fact, exist. It was only after the Horus Heresy, and being put on life support, that he could no longer prevent the various cults based around him gaining acceptance.
Khorne is a variation — he gains his strength from bloodshed, either his followers' or their enemies. Stopping to build grand temples and religious rituals in his honor is actually insulting to him, as that is time not spent killing and slaughtering.
Asura of Asura's Wrath comes across as this upon entering a human village and finding its people bowing before him, in stark contrast to his fellow demigods who have, over 12,000 years, brainwashed the mortal populace of the earth into being willing sacrifices to power their mantra.
The God Roark Libertas of Lusternia adopts this attitude, due to his extreme belief in objectivism, social Darwinism and individuality. He views mortals that feel compelled to worship Gods as weak, trapped in a servant mentality. Instead, he encourages those that would be his 'followers' to pretend to worship whichever God will serve their needs best, and abandon them when prudent. The book of Roark states, "were I to have an order, there would be no followers. There would be only leaders".
In Mass Effect, this is the Reapers' general reaction to the (heretic) geth who view them as Gods. They tolerate the worship since they have need for geth assistance for now, but don't do much to hide their contempt for it. Their disgust is partly due to the superstitious nature of such worship and the fact these geth also believe they can become more like them. Considering the massive ego of the Reapers, the latter is perhaps the most insulting aspect of all.
Saren: But the reaction of their deity is most telling — it is insulted. Sovereign does not desire the pitiful devotions the geth hurl at it. They are just tools, and no amount of belief on their part will change that.
In Planescape: Torment, the Lady of Pain is widely considered to be the undisputed protector of Sigil, the City of Doors. If you cause too much trouble in her city, she will banish you to another dimension, or kill you outright. If you WORSHIP her, she does the same thing. It's never fully explained why she detests being worshipped, when most beings of her power would glady accept it. (more info in the Tabletop Games folder)
RuneScape — Guthix. Guthix was a... its complicated actually. Think Nay-Theist who acknowledges the existence of gods. He wound up ascending to godhood after slaying a god with an Elder God Artifact (The Elder Sword) as revenge for the gods basically wrecking his world, and then left his world to walk the cosmos. Found Gielinor, the game's core setting, and decided to turn it into a world with no gods, or at least no worshiping of anything as a god. Unfortunately, due to his sticking around to help mortals adjust to Gielinor, not to mention welcoming all of the original humans (and elves, and gnomes, and fairies) to come to Gielinor in person, lead them to worshiping HIM. He was not amused, and decided to go take a nap for a few thousand years so everyone could forget him. Then the God Wars happened, and everything got screwed up.
That isn't even considering his allowing Seren to stick around with her elves. Then again, Seren is one of TWO Gods that still whole-heartedly care about their worshipers (Armadyl is the other).
In The Settlers III, the godly pantheons of Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, and China are all subservient to an overgod, referred to only as "Him". "He" is annoyed by the prospect of mortals developing monotheistic religions aimed directly at him, partly because it means Jupiter, Horus and Chi Yu are neglecting the duties he gave them, and because there aren't enough hours in the day for him to answer all their prayers and keep the universe running smoothly.
In thisDresden Codak strip, God is shown to accept only those who don't believe in him into heaven.
Mr Deity is generally needy and self-absorbed, and loves worship. However, there are a few jokes made (particularly in the first season) about his annoyance at the level of attention and responsibility he is given. In one short, he only listens to about 3 prayers before deleting his whole inbox (it doesn't help that about half the messages are just people shouting "Oh god!" during sex). In another short, he gets a call from a bigoted fundamentalist preacher, and is clearly only putting up with listening to him, and ends by trying to punk him.