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All Hail the Great God Mickey!

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Do these American deities require bananas as an offering?

The Courier: This building is... interesting. What do you know about it?
The King: [in Elvis accent] Near as I can tell, it was some sort of religious institution. Oh, I know it says "school" out front, but everything in here seems to be related to the worship of some guy back in the day. People used to come here to learn about him. To dress like him, move like him. To be him. If that's not worship, I don't know what is.

In the future, long after our current society has crumbled into nothing, mankind survives. They have been reduced to tribal beings, clinging to the last throes of survival. But all is not lost for humanity, for this tribe has discovered the God of the new world. He shall lead their tribe out of the darkness. He shall bring humanity back to what it once was... wait, is that Abraham Lincoln they're worshiping?

Yes, after all records of society were erased, the poor, confused tribal humans of the future stumbled upon The Constant of their predecessors. It may have been a monument, or it may have been a pop culture icon of the past. But in their confused state, the poor tribesmen have mistaken it for an image of the gods, and have begun worshiping it in kind.

It should be noted that this is a separate trope from Cargo Cult, though the two can overlap. A Cargo Cult is when an object is interpreted as a sign of the gods or a god itself. All Hail the Great God Mickey is similar, but occurs After the End, when the remnants of a past society are mistaken for a sign of the gods. Due to cultural drift, this trope may also be found attached to Days of Future Past.


Compare Future Imperfect and And Man Grew Proud. Not to be confused with Disney Owns This Trope. See also Single-Precept Religion.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico, turns out the Jovian Lizards were humans all along. A long abandoned space colony orbiting Jupiter, left to its own devices, where Gekiganger 3 is treated as a sacred text and code of conduct. All jovian men we get to see model themselves after the three main pilots of the anime, and they all treat not!Michiru as a society-wide waifu.

    Comic Books 
  • First Comics, a comic company back in the '80s was fond of this. In both Grim Jack and Nexus there are references to a "St. Elvis".
  • In the Tim Truman comic Scout there was a wandering prophet who used the works of J. R. R. Tolkien as his bible.
  • In Romero's Axa, the middle people consider freeway intersections to be temples, and TV sets to be altars.
  • The strip "The Tower King" in Eagle was set in a post-apocalyptic setting where electricity generation was impossible. The hero encountered a cult based in Battersea Power Station who worshiped electricity and pretended it still existed.
  • De Kiekeboes: In the album De Wereld Volgens Kiekeboe (translation: "The World According To Kiekeboe") Kiekeboe travels to the far future, when mankind has destroyed most of its civilization during a world war. They rebuilt everything afterwards and discovered the entire collection of Kiekeboes albums (except for the one they are currently appearing in). They enjoyed the books so much that they built their entire civilization according to the universe in Kiekeboe's stories. Naturally they do get a lot of things about our century wrong, because the albums are the only artefacts they can base their knowledge on.
  • Transmetropolitan is set an indeterminate amount of time in the future. In fact, no one in the comic actually knows what year it is, at least according to our calendar. Vestiges of "modern" civilization abound, but the people have some...interesting interpretations. For example:
    "Who was Hitler?"
    "Rock star. He was in Led Zeppelin. Fucked goats and wrote the old national anthem. Blew up Auckland in the Blitz."
    "Wasn't all bad, then, was he?"
    "History's a wonderful thing, see? We learn from it."
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe: In the comic-strip "City of the Damned"note , the Doctor is hailed as "The Great Emoter" by a wasteland tribe dedicated to keeping emotions alive in the face of a fascist regime which has banned them. At the conclusion, they elevate him to near-godhood in their bid to experience all emotions. In the last panel, he chuckles to himself, "Well, I'm sure they'll grow out of it!"

    Fan Works 
  • In Fallout: Nuka Break, Ben the ghoul is asked if he can remember anything from before the bombs fell, and all he can come up with is "By Mennen", though he can't remember what it means. The other main characters assume it to be part of a religious hymn, and start using the phrase similarly to "by God". Mennen is the company that makes, among other things, Speed Stick deodorant, which have "By Mennen" stamped on their packages, and many 80s and 90s ads for Speed Stick and its relatives had the jingle at the end (although since the company was acquired by Colgate-Palmolive back in 1992 the name's been gradually phased out from advertising).
  • Blight from The Victors Project stories hid inside the ruins of a Starbucks restaurant during his Hunger Games, and prays to Starbucks as a God for the rest of his life as a result.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Wizards, the priests worship, among other things, a great symbol of an eye: The CBS logo. And use a mixture of English and Yiddish words, simultaneously.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At one point in Enemy Mine, Davidge quotes Mickey Mouse, and the alien Jeriba Shigan assumes the cartoon character is actually a "great Earthman teacher," which Davidge does not correct. This leads to a hilarious bit during a later argument, when Jerry thinks he's deeply insulting Davidge's beliefs by calling Mickey Mouse "one big, stupid DOPE!" It helped that the line was functionally identical to a famous quote from a great Drac teacher Shigan follows.
  • In Battlefield Earth, the few surviving humans believed that advertising statues left from before the Psychlo's invasion of Earth were gods that had been turned into stone as punishment for falling in love with mortal women. In the book, the bald eagle on the Great Seal of the United States (as seen on coins, belt buckles, etc.) draws the same reverence.
  • In Waterworld, Deacon, the leader of the Smokers, every so often mentions "Old Saint Joe" with the same reverence as some sort of deity: Near the end of the movie it's revealed that the Smokers' base is the remains of the Exxon Valdez and "Old Saint Joe" is a portrait of the ship's disgraced captain, Joseph Hazelwood.
  • Mad Max:
    • The kids in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome are waiting for Captain Walker (à la John Frum) and believe things like records and radios are magical, even if they don't know how to use them. "Captain Walker" is a Shout-Out to Riddley Walker, another classic post-apocalyptic tale. Given the end of the world was just a few years before, there was almost certainly a real Walker and the kids are half-remembering things they were too young to understand.
    • In Mad Max: Fury Road the War Boys revere the spirit of "V8" (the engine, not the drink). Nux is so devoted to the spirit that he has an engine block scarification on his chest.
  • The mutants in Beneath the Planet of the Apes worship a hydrogen bomb left over from before the war that killed most of the humans.
  • Done deliberately in the hilariously bad movie Zardoz, where Frayn chooses the name Zardoz in order to help the main character to eventually realize that he made it up, taken from The Wizard Of Oz.
  • Mortal Engines has a brief gag early on when the London Museum's collection is shown to include a set of "American deities" which are quickly revealed to be a set of large Minions figurines.
  • There's a quick bit in the documentary Kumare where Vikram Gandhi, pretending he's a traditional yoga teacher/guru from India, asks a lady student about her necklace which has a pendant in a familiar outline: "This symbol is your religion symbol?" She laughs and says "No, no, it's just Mickey Mouse."
  • The Postman: Borderline. The Holnists are a survivalist cult founded on the teachings of an author of trashy self-help books, who they worship as a near-deity.

  • The Dark Tower: Roland's world has "moved on", and in some places remnants of the old technology are used as icons of worship, such as an Amoco (since absorbed into BP) gas pump. Roland's home city also based itself on the legends of King Arthur.
  • Earth Abides: One character knows that the ruins of the cities and bridges were built by people called "the Americans". He then wonders if the land and skies were built by the older Americans depicted on coins.
  • Gathering Blue: A group of survivors worships a cross recovered from a Christian church. They don't know what Christianity actually was composed of before the apocalypse, but they do know that the cross had some importance.
  • Mick Farren:
  • Mortal Engines:
  • Motel of the Mysteries is an illustrated gag "archeological report" on relics found in a long-ago hotel room, as written up by future archeologists with a very Future Imperfect understanding of our era. One of their ongoing debates is about which "ancient altar" was the more revered: the television or the toilet.
  • "By the Waters of Babylon": The protagonist visits the sacred and forbidden ruins of New York City (which his tribe believes to be the former home of the gods) and prays to a statue of George Washington.
  • Brave New World has its future dystopian society view Henry T. Ford as a God-like figure, to the point where Ford's name is used in phrases where "God" would have been used originally. It's because he invented the system of production lines that they use to produce everything (including children). In issues of psychology, however, they refer to "Freud". However, they're apparently believed to have been the same person. It's also implied that this religion was designed to allow for easy conversion of Christian symbols: cut off the top part of a cross, and you've got a perfectly servicable T (as in the Model T), which is used similarly in the Ford religion. It doesn't even seem to be a secret in-universe that this religion was fabricated out of whole cloth as a tool of social control, but most people go along with it anyway because it's the path of least resistance... and the whole plot of the book is a thoroughly unsubtle moral lesson about why taking the path of least resistance instead of applying any critical thinking to what you've been brought up to believe is a bad thing.
  • "Return", a H. Beam Piper short story, takes place after a nuclear war and follows a pair of explorers who discover a tribe whose religion is based on the Sherlock Holmes stories.
  • From 1939 to 1941, Nelson S. Bond wrote a series of science fiction shorts about Meg, a priestess of a Lady Land who rebels against her tribe, partly by taking a man as an equal partner. A typical story, "Magic City", describes the journey from the land of Jinnia (in the country of Tizathy: at one point Meg actually recites an ancient magical incantation that begins with the line, "My country, Tizathy") to the far-off city of Noork, to slay Death who dwells in a temple called Slukes. When Meg's companion points out that the temple is clearly marked STLUKES, she reminds him that the ancients often wrote carelessly and misspelled things. Later on, Meg stops a band of marauders by standing in their way, raising an arm and yelling "HOLD!"; she's got a big book in her other hand, and is mistaken for a familiar New York landmark which she hasn't seen yet but which the locals have naturally assumed to be the image of a goddess. In another story in the same series, Meg discovers "the Place of the Gods", giant carvings of gods known as Jarg, Ibrim, Taamuz and Tedhi (George, Abraham, Thomas, Teddy) — Mount Rushmore.
  • The Moon Men: After Earth is conquered by the eponymous moon aliens, the American flag becomes an object of worship to the rebellious underground.
  • Mallworld, a series of short sci-fi stories by S. P. Somtow, shows the humans that live in space (the titular Mallworld) worshiping such things as Saint Betty Crocker and Elvis.
  • "The Great God Awto", a Clark Ashton Smith short story, shows an archaeologist in the distant future lecturing his audience on the religious fanaticism and mass human sacrifices of the ancient and barbaric cult of "the Great God Awto".
  • Emberverse: The Dúnedain Rangers have a quasi-religious reverence for the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Just how serious they take this reverence varies from individual to individual. The older members, with the extreme exception of Astrid, tend to take it less seriously while the younger members consider them actual histories and swear by the Valar. Given that they pal around with a bunch of Wiccans who consider any god or god figure from classical religion or mythology to be aspects of the same multifaceted divinity or divinities and have a fairly laissez-faire attitude toward worship, it's reasonably justified.
  • Phule's Company: The company chaplain is a follower of "the King". Guess who that is?
  • The House Of Lions: The the title building is thought to be a temple containing magical treasures. It's actually the New York Public Library.
  • The Pelbar Cycle: In The Ends of the Circle, the Children of Ozar worship an eponymous creator god. This is actually the airplane that crash-landed a thousand years before, bringing their ancestors to the area.
  • The History of the Runestaff: The pantheon of the Granbretan Empire includes such gods as Jhone, Jhorg, Phowl, Rhunga and Chirshil.
  • The Martian Generals Daughter: There/s an orgiastic cult dedicated to the goddess Marilyn.
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz: The first chapter is set in the 26th century, long after a disastrous nuclear war. A seventeen-year-old novice named Brother Francis Gerard is on a vigil in the desert. While searching for a rock to complete a shelter, he encounters a pilgrim who inscribes Hebrew on a rock that appears the perfect fit for the shelter. When Brother Francis removes the rock he discovers the entrance to an ancient fallout shelter containing "relics", such as handwritten notes on crumbling memo pads bearing cryptic texts resembling a 20th-century shopping list. He soon realizes that these notes appear to have been written by Leibowitz, the founder of his order. The discovery of the ancient documents causes an uproar at the monastery, as the other monks speculate that the relics once belonged to Leibowitz. The items are then used as evidence in Leibowitz's canonization process, thus making them actual holy relics under the Church's definition.
  • Amtrack Wars: The Mutes worship the Great Sky Mother Mo-Town. While the Federation seems to be technically atheistic, they have a quasi-religious reverence for the First Founder George Washington Jefferson. It's strongly implied that this was deliberately engineered by the Federation's leadership to keep the rank-and-file in line.
  • "History Lesson", a short story by Arthur C. Clarke, opens with a tribe of primate people migrating south to avoid the glaciers of an oncoming ice age. They carry with them sacred relics of the past, the most treasured of which is sealed in a flat round metal container. At the end of the story, it's revealed to be a Walt Disney cartoon.
  • The Android's Dream: A cult called the Nugentians is mentioned to practice bow-hunting as a sacred ritual and keep the preserved corpse of their founder as a holy relic, dressed in a loincloth.
  • Snow Crash has, as a key element, a franchise church called "the Reverend Wayne's Pearly Gates". The church's decor and religion orbits what it defines as its own Holy Trinity: Jesus, Elvis, and the Reverend Wayne Bedford. (Jesus does get top billing in the artwork, but Elvis appears more frequently and, apparently, gets at least as much reverence.)
  • Riddley Walker, set some two thousand years after a nuclear war, has widespread worship of the god St Eusa (the Catholic Saint Eustace, buried in Canterbury Cathedral). The story of St Eusa also involves computer technology, the atom bomb, and puppet shows. The ruins of Canterbury, now known as Cambry, have the shrine to "Eusa" that forms the base of the St Eusa story.
  • Count to the Eschaton: The far-future civilization of the Witches has a greatly confused notion of the world's history. In particular, they believe that figures such as Hermione, Sabrina or Samantha are actual powerful witches from history, and so invoke their names in their rituals. When Menelaus (who comes from a much earlier era) tries to correct a Witch on this, the Witch replies haughtily that surely the ancients wouldn't have devoted so much loving attention to these figures if they weren't real.
  • "Tabloid Reporter to the Stars": The first interstellar expedition encounters an alien race that already knows about humans because of an apparently divine messenger that the narrator finds out is Elvis Presley.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Revolution: A Downplayed example (the apocalypse was less then twenty years ago, after all), but at one point Miles meets a young sheriff who was inspired by stories his father used to tell him about a badass Texas ranger who fought for justice.
    Miles: So what was this badass's name?
    Sheriff: Walker.
    Miles: Wait. Your dad told you stories about Walker, Texas Ranger?
    Sheriff: Yeah. You've heard of him?
    Miles: ...His legend is known far and wide.
  • Quark. Our hero introduces himself via Captain's Log.
    Quark: My ancestors were from a tribe called "the Americans". Archeological digs in California indicate they worshiped, and were ruled by, a fully clothed, giant mouse.
  • The Star Trek episode "The Omega Glory" on a world where nuclear war destroyed civilization and the survivors descendants are divided into Yangs (Yanks) and Coms (Communists), the Yangs worship the Constitution without understanding its real meaning.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Waiting for God", a cat society has lived in the recesses of the ship for 3 million years. They discovered Lister's plans to open a fast food franchise, and mistook it for a Church of the One True Religion. They now have holy wars over what color to make the fast food hats, because Lister neglected to write down that detail. And both sides got it wrong.
  • Babylon 5:
    • G'Kar wonders if Daffy Duck is some sort of household god in Earth religions upon seeing a poster in Garibaldi's quarters.
      Zack Allen: [answering G'Kar] You might say it's the Egyptian god of frustration.
    • An actual Church of Elvis exists on Earth in the B5 universe, and representatives were invited to participate in an interfaith conference on the station.
  • There are elements of this in the Grounder religion on The 100. Murphy at one point tells Titus, "you pray to garbage."

  • Lampshaded by RiffTrax, as Kevin notes that while the Egyptians left the pyramids, the Incans left behind Machu Picchu, America left behind the giant fiberglass bunny on the 6th green of the local Putt-Putt.

  • In the Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music episode "Fans", Mitch suggests the Church of Elvis already exists.
    Oh, Elvis, our King, in heaven above,
    How gentle your mercy, how tender your love,
    You died for our sins, of this we are sure,
    So keep us, we pray. Amen. Uh-huh-huh.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Transhuman Space there's a religion that worships Elvis. It's only 100 years in the future and there hasn't been any great catastrophe, so they know who he was, but someone in Memphis was supposedly healed by a vision of Elvis, which lead to an evangelical Christan movement called the Sons and Daughters of the King (also known as the Presleyan Heresy). It's even schismed; one leader (derisively known as "the Colonel") declared that all images of Elvis should be from his early years, leading to a split between the Sons and Daughters of the King (the Younger) and the Sons and Daughters of the King (the Elder).
  • One older BattleTech sourcebook had a throwaway line about a group that ran a half restaurant/half church dedicated to an ancient Terran named Jerry Garcia.
  • Gamma World had Badders (Mutant Badgers) worshipping the Wisconsin Badger Mascot.

  • The Bohemians of We Will Rock You are made of this trope. They worship Queen as gods, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" is their sacred text. They are also devotees of late-20th century music in general, but understand very little of the cultural context or significance of it; one gag written into the script is that the male leader of the Bohemians takes on the name of a female pop star as his rebel name (in the original production, the name used was Britney Spears).
  • Mr Burns: A Post-Electric Play is an exploration of this trope, discussing how a piece of pop culture becomes a focus of myth and worship over time as history and fiction become muddled. The play starts out shortly after the nuclear apocalypse, with a group of survivors talking about an old episode of The Simpsons to pass the time. Eventually, they form a small theater troupe and begin performing a slightly altered version of the episode for the entertainment of tribal audiences, who further spread the story around. The play is gradually expanded and altered with each retelling until it barely resembles the original episode, having been twisted into a religious opera performance about an evil god of radiation named Mr. Burns destroying Springfield as an allegory for the Creation Myth of the world.

    Video Games 
  • In Caravaneer 2, the Man of Zinc and Chunk Nariz, an expy of Chuck Norris, both have a large religious following in the wasteland. There's also the Kivi religion, in which they worship a scientist named Spencer Rice who showed them how to do agriculture effectively.
  • That's not the first time the Fallout universe has misconstrued pre-war information as some kind of religion.
    • In the Fallout 3 DLC "The Pitt", your reward for finding all 100 ingots in the steelyard is a suit of power armor. While it resembles Ashur's own suit, Everett mentions that some of the local tribals fashioned this power armor to resemble their "gods". Although the colors are faded, the armor is clearly decked out in the black and yellow colors of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ashur's own armor has an identical color scheme, so it's possible he's simply exploiting local superstitions to appear as a "god".
      • Then there's also the fact that Abraham Lincoln (via the remnants of the Lincoln Memorial, where the Gettysburg Address is still legible) is seen as something of a deity to freed slaves.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Kings became a gang of Elvis Impersonators. After finding a school filled with memorabilia, instructions on how to act like him, and a metric ton of hair gel, they figured it must be a place of worship, and that they'd keep his memory alive. They're not wrong, per se...
      • Without even knowing his name - in all that memorabilia, nothing readable or functional explicitly said what the name of the person being emulated was, just that he was 'The King' (thus "The King's School of Impersonation").
      • Could actually be because the estate of Elvis Presley owns a copyright on the name; his general appearance and the name "the King" fall under fair use. This was also the reason why none of Presley's songs appeared on the radio.
      • Downplayed in that the Kings — at least, the leaders — figure that the King wasn't a god — just someone who obviously must be worthy of emulating since the ancients had an entire school that felt more like a place of worship dedicated to teaching people how to act like him.
  • Hard to bring up Fallout without mention of its predecessor Wasteland, which had its own Cult of the Bomb and their resounding chant of "NRC! NRC! NRC!"
    • The Rail Nomads are a group of tribal Native Americans who live in train cars and worship John Henry as well as Choo Choo Charlie from old Good & Plenty candy commercials.
  • The tongue-in-cheek post-apocalyptic America After the End: A Crusader Kings II Mod has a fair few:
    • Followers of a religion known as Americanism have taken the Founding Fathers of the United States to be gods who once walked among men, interpreting the many monuments and statues to them as temples and idols. Their entire religion is structured around the interpretation of documents such as the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers as religious texts.
    • The Tribe of the Mouse may be a literal example of this trope. They are Americanists (although earlier versions had them as Atomicists), but given their name and the fact that their capital is in Orlando and their ruling family is the Waltney family, it is likely they have some reverence for Disney and Mickey Mouse.
    • A few of the descriptions of the Consumerist religion that arises a while into the game suggests that one of the major in-universe inspirations was the consumerists-to-be finding references to the Almighty Dollar and taking it seriously.
    • Followers of Occultism's Lore of the Old Ones are not aware that the writings of H. P. Lovecraft were intended as fiction and regard them as holy documents offering both wisdom and warning. The Lore of the Masons likewise misinterprets Freemasonry as an independent religion rather than a fraternal brotherhood.
    • In what was the American Southwest and northern Mexico, El Santo has been interpreted to be an actual, literally semi-divine saint that the player can choose to follow the path of. Because the new world has forgotten about the whole "kayfabe" thing, unarmed gladiatorial combat is involved.
    • Although the Atomicists and Rust Cultists are primarily Cargo Cults, the relics they worship are remnants of pre-Event civilization (the Atomicists worship "the power of Atom" without really knowing what that is, and the Rust Cultists see the machinery of old as the creation of a higher power), and they have re-purposed related non-material concepts into their faith — for example, the Atomicist religious leadership, when founded, is the Atomic Energy Commission.
    • Revelationism is a unique take on this trope, as their subject of fascination is in fact Protestant Christianity. Allegorical Biblical stories lost their context and went on to be taken literally, folkloric practices such as speaking in tounges or divine healing completely overtakes mainstream theological practices, and syncretism with local myths and superstitions leads up to a pantheon consisting of the (very literal) Lamb, the divine Burning Bush, and the knowledge-giving Serpent.
  • A version of this is in Horizon Zero Dawn. The Nora tribe worships the Goddess All-Mother, holding a specific vault in a particular mountain to be sacred to her, especially a door which they can't pass through. The Carja tribe is all about sun-worship; the first Sun-King found an ancient textbook about the sun which led to a great migration. Modern Carja believe their kings are chosen by the Sun, and that it has a will and enacts judgment. Both are broadly correct. The sun doesn't have that kind of intent and personhood but of course, remains immensely crucial to life on Earth. As for the Nora, that vault and ones like it are where all of modern humanity originates, and there has been a benevolent female immortal presence who struck down the Metal Devils. It's just a lot more complicated than that.
  • The Inklings of Splatoon worship an ancient fax machine, known as the "Voice from on High," that supposedly transmits messages from the gods of old. The Splatfest, the most important celebration of the Inkling culture, is based around a ritual to honor these messages through competition. In reality, the fax machine is receiving ancient human signals that were sent into space millennia ago, and, after bouncing off various celestial objects, have returned to Earth.

    Web Comics 
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Reverend Theo Forbius, resident Chaplain for Tagon's Toughs, refers to "The Gospel of Uncle Benjamin" when confronted with the quote "With great power comes great responsibility" and Greyskull's Power as part of an exorcism rite (the first time was in a dream sequence, but the second was a direct reference of his own).
    • When Admiral Emm performs a wedding for Theo and his fiancée, it takes about thirty seconds, and most of that is just declaring her legal ability to marry them. She explains that her parents were "Orthodox Las Veganists", First Church of the King.
  • A quite literal example (although not post-apocalypse) here in Alone in a Crowd.
  • In Sinfest the devilgirl Pebbles thinks Jay-Z and Jesus are the same person, quoting lyrics from one of his raps as scripture. She also thinks Santa and Satan are the same, In later strips Seymour can be found preaching from the Gospel of Voltron although whether he considers Voltron an apostle of Jesus or an aspect of same is a little unclear.
  • Partially Clips has "Monk Reading", where, After the End, monks study and try to find wisdom in stories about the struggle between the Messiah and the Dark One... in other words, Popeye comics.

    Web Videos 
  • The partial Trope Namer is The Nostalgia Critic's review of Battlefield Earth:
    Tribesman: [on a bunch of mall mannequins] Look at these poor bastards, though. They really, really angered the gods!
    Nostalgia Critic: [waving his fingers] Over here you'll see the statue of the mouse god named "Mickey"!

    Web Original 
  • 1983: Doomsday:
    • A minority of people in the Republic of Lincoln seem to worship Abraham Lincoln as a deity. However normal circumstances that bring this about are subverted: the cult seemed to have formed because "the people are desperate for any piece of old America, no matter how small."
    • There's also the "Cult of the Once and Future King", in New Britain, which worships King Arthur and The British Royal Family as divine. It's practically a step away from turning the British Empire itself into a god.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • The Bellerverse is a collection of stories set on Earth long after the apocalypse hits. While the Foundation had measures in place to restart humanity if/when this happened, this too is far in the past, to the point where the original researchers, staff and even SCPs are now considered gods, heroes and monsters (such as the First King Starel locked away with the dragon Sikayt, in fact Captain Strelnikov who voluntarily became bait to trap the indestructible reptile SCP-682 in an inescapable maze).
    • The Doctors of the Church canon is similar, set in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has fallen back to a medieval society. The Foundation survives as a church, with the senior staff worshipped as old prophets and containment procedures treated like sacred rituals. This was actually intentional on the part of the Foundation, who knew that a religious order was the most likely form the Foundation might survive in if society collapsed. Dr. Bright is still "alive", and makes sure they stay on track (though he'd really prefer if they stopped all that damn worship).
  • A large part of Piecing Together the Ashes: Reconstructing the Old World Order is dedicated to this due to the humans' limited knowledge of our present day. Disney itself is regarded as a religion of the ancient world and its characters as deities.

    Western Animation 
  • In the South Park episode "The Wacky Molestation Adventure", the children of South Park manage to send all adults to jail on false molestation charges. And of course, Social Services Does Not Exist. Later, in the ruins of the town, the children are seen worshipping a statue of John Elway made of trash that is supposed to represent "The Great Provider", a supreme being that provides them food and shelter (as a faint memory of what their parents did for them). Played for Laughs when we find out it's been only a week since all adults have left.
    • In another episode, Cartman tells Butters that the government is watching everything they do, and Butters misinterprets that as the government is a literal benevolent god. He and a handful of converts start confessing their sins at the Department of Motor Vehicles like actual church and this pisses off an employee.
  • Futurama brings us "Oprahism", which is considered a mainstream religion. In addition, all recordings of Star Trek were sent off of Earth because the religion that formed around it was growing too fanatical.
    • The sewer mutants have a church where they worship an atom bomb. However, no one is very observant, going only on Easter and Christmas.
  • One episode of Family Guy sees Peter combining the Roman Catholicism with which he was raised with inspiration from his one-time spirit guide Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzerelli from Happy Days and starting his own church. Eventually, Peter's followers are co-opted by churches built around other '70's sitcom characters (also, Kirk Cameron).
  • In an episode of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, the gang encounters a cult that has a soft drink commercial as its inspiration and use its jingle as their hymn.
  • An episode of the Beany and Cecil revival (1988) had the crew on a tribal island looking for the Golden Menu, with which its possessor can order any food desired. The island is populated by a tribe of waitresses waiting for the arrival of the Great Customer, who turns out to be Captain Huffenpuff who is a dead ringer for the tribe's idol. The Captain must eat everything the waitresses serve him lest he offends them.
  • Twice: Danger Mouse is looking for Penfold in a Brazilian temple (episode "Ants, Trees and...Whoops-A-Daisy") where the hopeless hamster has disappeared. DM encounters a coven of snakes of who have adopted the hippie lifestyles and mantras of the late 1960s. When DM finds Penfold, he is tied to a temple pillar by a tribe ants who force Penfold to sacrifice his eyebrows as they await the arrival of their queen Ataxi. Penfold's auntie suddenly arrives and thinks the goings-on is childish nonsense. When she says she arrived in "a taxi," the ant tribe genuflect to her and upon her order releases Penfold.

    Real Life 
  • The Wahgi people of Papua New Guinea have been known to paint images of The Phantom on their shields, which is usually reserved for creatures that the Wahgi warriors want to emulate. The reason for this is most likely that American soldiers stationed on Papua New Guinea brought with them Phantom comic books and shared them with the natives. The Phantom is a mortal man, but his speed, skill and strength gives him an air of invulnerability, which the Wahgi wish to emulate. The Phantom also "worships" his ancestors by taking up their mantle, similarily to the Wahgi's ancestor worship.
  • John Coltrane: There is an African American Church of St. John Coltrane
  • In Rastafari, Emperor Haile Selassie I is the embodiment of God. By all accounts, he showed a great deal of patience with them, even after they obstructed his plane from landing in Jamaica.
  • This website holds up Elvis Presley as a god.
  • The church of Spongebob Squarepants and the church of Google.
  • A variation shows up anywhere there's monumental architecture of forgotten origins: among countless other examples, the Aztecs held the long-abandoned city-state of Teotihuacan to have been built by the Gods; 19th-century white settlers often attributed Mississippian earthworks to biblical figures, a mythical race of giants, or even God himself; the classical Greeks believed Mycenaean fortifications were created by the cyclopes; and the construction of Stonehenge has been associated at various times with giants, druid sorcerers, Merlin, St. Patrick, and aliens.
  • The church of Haruhi Suzumiya, more like a fan club though.
  • The US Department of Energy looked for ways to subvert and prevent this from happening at Yucca Mountain and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, as described here, since the very last thing you want people to do with a nuclear waste storage facility is to mistake it for a place of worship...
  • Ironically, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, which did an entire episode warning about the dangers of cults, actually spawned a cult in Russia that worships Gadget... who (again, ironically) was the most against the cult to start with.
  • Invoked by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who coined the term "Manhattanhenge", a twice-a-year phenomenon in New York City when the sun sets aligned with the grid street pattern of Manhattan. Tyson also claimed that the two instances each year tended to happen near or during Memorial Day and the Major League Baseball All-Star game, and postulated that "Future anthropologists might conclude that, via the Sun, the people who called themselves Americans worshiped War and Baseball."

  • The Billiken was a fad toy from the early 1900s that is kept alive partly because of this trope. In its heyday it was as popular as the Teddy Bear (which came out shortly before) and was a hit in Japan because it bears a strong resemblance to their Seven Lucky Gods that inspired it in the first place. Today Billiken statues can be seen in Japan, especially Osaka, and he is something of an informal folk god. He's also a the mascot of the University of St. Louis and a popular kitsch item in Alaska, lots of Inuit carvers produce Billikens.
  • Annie Christmas is a tall tale heroine who has gotten that treatment. She's a African American giantess who captains a keelboat. Most scholars believe she is one of the many "fakelore" characters created as Expys of Paul Bunyan, but that hasn't stopped some voodoo practitioners from believing she is a Loa.
  • There have been actual groups who are dedicated to worshipping the Great Old Ones and the Outer Gods found in the Cthulhu Mythos, such as a Defictionalized Esoteric Order Of Dagon and the Cult Of Cthulhu.
  • The Church of the SubGenius is a send-up of fundamental religions from Dallas, Texas that worships J.R. "Bob" Dobbs. It's a figurehead of the face of a smiling, pipe-smoking man. From one of their radio promos, the words of its founder, the Rev. Ivan Stang:
    What the hell do you think you're doing? Dragging your butt through the day selling body and soul to a bunch of bland normals? Acting stupid so they'll think you're one of them? Tired of getting all the guilt...but none of the sex?

    There is a simple answer, dear friends. A glowing beacon of "Slack" amidst the turmoil and darkness. It's J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, the living Slack master and his church of the SubGenius. "Bob" brings a new destiny for the abnormal, for "Bob" comes to justify our sins, to unmask the Conspiracy, and to get us back the "Slack" they stole away.

    It's us versus them. Are you gonna fry in hell on Earth alongside the pink boys, or will you pull the wool over your own eyes and accept "Bob" into your minds?

    Repent! Quit your job! Slack off! And PRAISE "BOB"!!

    Voiceover: The Church of the SubGenius. Eternal salvation or triple your money back.
  • Dudeism, a religious and philosophical movement inspired by Taoism that worships The Dude and promotes emulating his carefree slacker lifestyle.


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