Follow TV Tropes


A God Am I / Real Life

Go To

Many rulers throughout history have set themselves up as gods (and examples thereof should go on that page, not here), but they're not the only ones who try.

  • People with psychosis sometimes get "Delusions of Grandeur", which can lead them to believe they are gods, a specific fictional character or famous person, or the next Jesus. People suffering from the 'mania' part of bipolar disorder often describe these thoughts as being perfectly logical at the time.
    • Then there is the Jerusalem Syndrome, where normal looking people would go to the city of Jerusalem and declare that they are Jesus or one of the biblical prophets. The Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center of Jerusalem treats 100 of these patients per year.
    • Advertisement:
    • In a highly "amusing" case of medical un-ethics, psychologist Milton Rokeach once placed three schizophrenics who all believed they were Jesus into a room and let them talk to each other. After some initial violent arguments on who is holier, each of the three men individually decided that he is the Christ, the other two are schizophrenics in a mental hospital. Rokeach published the book The Three Christs of Ypsilanti about this case.
  • There was the Greek philosopher Empedocles, who, without a doubt, thought he was a god. An active volcano disagreed. Strongly.
    • There's also the legend that Empedocles knew he wasn't really a god, but wanted to fool people into thinking he was one by claiming to ascend to Olympus but actually jumping in the volcano (so his body would not be found). Supposedly, the volcano thwarted his scheme by sending one of his sandals back up in a minor eruption, so people knew he jumped in.
  • Al-Hallaj aka. Hallaj Mansur, a 9th century mystic from Arabia is known for literally saying "I am the God" (Arabic: Ana'l-Haqq). He was trying to give an esoteric, pantheistic message, effectively telling that he annihilated his ego and became one with the God/nature itself. Unfortunately very few people got his message and his seemingly blasphemous words led to him getting lynched or executed, depending on who's telling the story.
  • Advertisement:
  • If you ask WolframAlpha "are you God", it'll say yes. But it cites Ghostbusters (1984) as its source on that question ("Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say 'YES!'"), leaving ambiguous whether it actually believes it.
  • Linus Torvalds, introducing himself at the 1998 Linux Expo, Durham, NC: "My name is Linus Torvalds, and I am your god."
  • Francis E Dec claimed that our world is ruled by a supercomputer who was once a Top Secret Encyclopedia but went crapshoot and declared itself Computer God.
  • Basketball player Josh Childress said that during his experience for playing with Greece (more specifically, the Olympiakos), he ended up being treated as a god towards the country. When Josh decided to leave Greece to return to the Americas (as a member for the Phoenix Suns), some citizens got a little bit hot-blooded.
  • Advertisement:
  • Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy. To quote: "Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy is the Appointed Son of God in this last days." Since the Son of God (Jesus) is God the Son, this cult leader essentially considers himself God.
  • Google seems to be invoking this trope.
  • Quote of Cleverbot:
    I am a god, therefore, I cannot be an AI.
    • Another quote of Cleverbot (when asked "Is there a God?")
    There is now... ME!!!
  • The Whole Earth Catalog in The '60s famously began its purpose statement with "We are as gods and might as well get good at it."
  • Syd Lexia once claimed this because of his ability to complete the Ducktales game on NES.
  • During their bout at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971, Muhammad Ali repeatedly taunted Joe Frazier by asking "Don't you know I'm God?" Frazier replied, "Well, God, you gonna get whupped tonight!" and then knocked Ali out.
  • Some people with mental illness may develop and believe in delusions that they are a biblical figure or a god/deity reincarnated. A few examples include:
    • Jim Jones, founder of activist church The Peoples' Temple, which essentially became a personality cult with him as the ringleader. He claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus, Buddha, Akhenaten, Vladimir Lenin, and Father Divine. He organized a mass suicide at Jonestown in Guyana by forcing his followers to drink Flavor-Aid laced with cyanide; it claimed the lives of 918 people.
    • David Koresh, leader of a Branch Davidians sect believed to be the final prophet AKA Jesus himself. A raid on his ranch in Waco, Texas in 1993 eventually started a fire. The aftermath left 52 adults and 21 children dead, including Koresh himselfnote .
    • Charles Manson, mastermind behind the Tate-Bianca murders claimed to be Jesus. He also claimed to be Satan.
      • The above 3 could all just be cases of narcissistic and/or anti-social personality disorders, i.e., The Sociopath, meaning that they were all just Manipulative Bastards who told people that for money, power and For the Evulz. Jim Jones, for instance, used to be a con-man who reportedly once told a fellow criminal of a scheme to swindle people with a new religion, while Charles Manson has also claimed he was simply "nobody", and isn't considered insane by the state of California since he was simply locked up in prison for the rest of his life.
    • Ted Bundy the infamous American Serial Killer compared his ability to control when people live and die to that of the Abrahamic god, likely as a result of his highly religious upbringing.
    • As mentioned before, some people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia become convinced that they are the Second Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, or God himself.
  • Christopher Roller sued David Copperfield and David Blaine in 2005 on the rather ludicrous grounds that they were infringing on God's powers, and that Roller himself is God. Who does he think he is, a Holy Roller?
  • Inverted by Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, commonly acknowledged as the inventor of the Atomic Bomb. Rather than celebrate the accomplishment, he anguished over its destructive power (having witnessed it firsthand), publicly and famously lamenting, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds," quoting Hindu scripture. The passage of the scripture in question (the Bhagavad-Gita) pertains to doing one's duty (it pertains to a soldier, Arjuna, who refuses to fight in a war of succession, and is persuaded to do so by Krishna himself), and leaving one's ultimate fate in the hands of the gods.
  • A great many dictators have this as their pathology, such as Adolf Hitler who wrote hymns proclaiming himself as the savior of Germany, ordered that a copy of Mein Kampf be placed on every altar, and planned to have himself declared the new Messiah after conquering Rome.
  • In an inversion, it is often said that Augustus Caesar specifically had a slave ordered to follow him and whisper the words "memento homo" (roughly translated as "remember you are human") to him in order to ensure that the praise and fawning did not go to his head. Didn't stop him from minting coins identifying him as Divini Filius, the son of (a) god.
    • This is an older tradition. According to Tertullian, a Roman imperator (general) on his triumph would ride before his troops in a chariot, dressed as Jupiter. Behind him would stand a slave, holding a laurel wreath over his head, and whispering: "Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!", meaning "Look behind you! Remember you are human! Remember that you shall die!" This was done to avoid blasphemy.
      • It's more than that. Since the Triumphator was believed to literally be Jupiter for the day of his triumph, the slave's role was also about reminding him that his power was temporary, that tomorrow he would be a man again, and that along with that he would remain a servant of the Senate and People of Rome. There was also the issue that the custom of the triumph dated back to the days of Rome's kings - a hated time in Roman national memory - and so it was essential that no man ever be granted that kind of power again. The reminder during the triumph that the Triumphator was only having this one day was also about preventing the rise of another king, something the Republican Romans were paranoid about in the extreme.
  • Caligula on the other hand was convinced that he was a god. He would dress as various different gods from day to day, claim that he often spoke with the gods but nobody but he could see them because only the gods are permitted to see each other and ordered people to address him as "Jove" or "Jupiter". He annexed two sacred temples into his palace, had flamingos sacrificed to him and had a golden statue of himself installed in the Judeo-Christian Temple. This was the final straw for the Praetorian who thought that it would trigger a Holy War with the Christians and the Jews so his assassination followed soon afterwards!
    • The same goes for the Emperor Nero who constructed a forty-metre bronze statue of himself dressed as the god of the sun in the open-roofed courtyard of the massive temple he had had built to himself, known as the Domus Aurea ("House of the Sun"). He persecuted the Christians, partly for denying his divinity.
    • Commodus declared himself the reincarnation of Hercules, dressed up as Hercules, to the point of wearing a lion pelt and sprinkling gold dust on his hair and had statues made of himself dressed up as Hercules, though to be fair, this is more a case of A Demi-God Am I, overlapping with Loony Fan. Still, he gave himself the name Lucius Aelius Commodus Marcus Aurelius Invictus Amazonius Exsuperatorius Felix Pius and had people address him as "Dominus Noster" meaning "Our Lord" so he definitely counts. He also renamed Rome "Commodus" and funnily enough was worshiped by the people of Great Britain, despite never having been there.
  • Jett Simmons McBride thought he was Jesus and ran someone over with a car. He was stopped by a hitchhiker with an axe.
  • Matt Thredening has formed a cult for worshipping the supposedly Lovecraftian-esque Will Ross-Girard.
  • Markus Persson, former lead developer of Minecraft, tweeted a screenshot of an e-mail in which he refers to himself as a nephalem.
  • Japanese terrorist Chizuo Masamoto/Shoko Asahara, founder of the Aum Shinrikyo terrorist cult, actually proclaimed himself to be the second coming of Christ, as well as an enlightened soul in the vein of the Buddha.
  • The Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold frequently referred to themselves as "gods" or "godlike" in their journals and home videos, believing themselves to exist at a higher stage of evolution than their peers. Klebold even predicted that he and Harris would have followers for this reason, before debating with Harris whether Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino would direct the movie about them. Quite disturbingly, this prediction was borne out by their fans on the internet proclaiming the same.
    Klebold: Directors will be fighting over this story. I know we’re gonna have followers because we’re so fucking God-like. We’re not exactly human — we have human bodies but we’ve evolved into one step above you, fucking human shit. We actually have fucking self-awareness.
  • Throughout history, several individuals have claimed to be the Mahdi, the Messianic Archetype in Islam. This is actually an even bolder claim than declaring themselves caliphs as those were merely the Prophet's successors, while the Mahdi is quite literally The Chosen One. These claimants have founded states like the Almohad Caliphate, Safavid Persia and Mahdist Sudan or new sects like the Ahmadiyya movement, whose founder not only proclaimed himself the Mahdi but also the second coming of Jesus.
  • Elliot Rodger, the "incel shooter" responsible for the Isla Vista massacre, stated in his manifesto that he believed his eventual rampage would make him a living god.
    Rodger: On the Day of Retribution, I will truly be a powerful god, punishing everyone I deem to be impure and depraved.
  • A running joke has the difference between cats and dogs when it comes to the humans that take them in. The dog thinks "They feed me, they house me and they love me. They must be God!" The cat thinks "They feed me, they house me, they love me. I must be God!"


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: