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Being God Is Hard

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Bender: I was God once.
God Entity: I saw. You were doing very well, until everyone died.

Godhood ain't all it's cracked up to be. It's a huge responsibility being in charge of all creation; it's a 24/7 job with no holidays, you never get a break for all of eternity, then there's having to deal with the petty behavior of lesser mortals, some of whom outright refuse to acknowledge everything you do for them, while others commit horrible acts in your name and give you a bad reputation. And the prayers, oh my, the prayers! Will they ever stop?!?

You want the job? Here, you can have it. But don't say we didn't warn you.

Being omnipotent may be an appealing fantasy at first glance but a Required Secondary Power of being a god is having the right kind of mindset. That is, you can't be bored or exhausted, you can't be sad (or at least sad enough to hamper your job), and you have to be omnibenevolent. That's partly why a god's mind is often perceived as "alien" to mortals. Therefore a Deity of Human Origin or someone who becomes a God for a Day is even more likely to experience this. In extreme cases you may even end up as a Loser Deity. Plus, gods are usually immortal, and if you have loved ones who aren't, Who Wants to Live Forever?

May be the reason why God Is Flawed. In more extreme cases this could lead to With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.

Compare The Chains of Commanding and With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. See also To Hell with This Infernal Job, where the Devil wants to call it quits.


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    Comic Books 
  • Lucifer: Elaine Belloc is an Ordinary Middle School Student...who happens to be the daughter of the Archangel Michael. As the series progresses and she comes into her powers, Lucifer realizes that God intends to resign his post and have Elaine take his place (not that she asked for it, or even knew it was possible for anyone else to do). First, however, he has to teach her how to use her powers, and when not to. In the end, God states that the reason He is stepping down is that being omniscient/omnipotent means that nothing ever surprises him, and he wants to know what not having ultimate power is like.
  • Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan, fails to save a pregnant woman that the Comedian had impregnated then killed and gets so sick of dealing with humanity after being falsely accused of giving people cancer that he leaves Earth and heads to Mars.
  • Wonder Woman
    • Volume 2: Diana is granted a position in Olympus as the goddess of truth after she falls in battle. As she refuses to become detached from humanity and stop helping her family, friends and the general public even when stuck in Olympus the Olympians decide she's incapable of having the right mindset to be a goddess since she's just too human and return her to her "mortal" life.
    • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): The reasoning behind the Valkyries stopping their duties of resurrecting those who die during the battles in Valhalla. They've simply grown exhausted with the burden of having to bring back souls everyday who die in the daily battle that happens in Valhalla.

    Fan Works 
  • Always Visible: Lampshade Hanging. Delia does not claim to be a god, but she wonders how difficult it is for her to bear the burden of being God's slave.
  • The Infinite Loops: Many of the Admins are shown to be heavily overworked trying to fix Yggdrasil, which expresses itself most clearly with Skuld, the Head Debugger.
  • In The Confectionary Chronicles, Hermione acknowledges from the beginning that her god, Loki, is a god who deserves her respect, which is one reason Loki finds himself so fond of her so quickly; past worshippers began to pray to him for help with even little things once they knew he was real, whereas Hermione only ever directly asks him for help when dealing with serious, potentially life-or-death issues.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • This is the topic of Hard to Be a God. Even though the Sufficiently Advanced Earthlings are not gods by any measure, to the native Human Alien population of Arkanar, they are, with all the expectations and responsibilities that come with it.
  • Deth, the High One, in The Riddle Master Trilogy, who spends hundreds of years masquerading as a servant to the one who has tried to usurp his throne for his own nefarious purposes. He is also forced to betray Morgon, whom he has come to love and care for, to pain and torture at the hands of Ghisteslwchlohm in order to eventually allow for the world to be saved.
  • Phumtar, god of physics, gravity and administration in The Saga Of Billy, is perpetually sleep-deprived and neurotic, as he has to approve or disapprove anything that happens in the world, basing his judgment on whether it follows the laws of physics or not.
  • Harmony ( Sazed from the original Mistborn trilogy, fused with the essences of Preservation and Ruin and ascended to godhood) from The Alloy of Law points this out to Wax, pointing to moral dilemmas in particular.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Supernatural:
    • In the Season 6 episode "Appointment in Samarra" Death gives Dean his ring and has him walk a mile in his shoes. After Dean has to kill a Littlest Cancer Patient, Death remarks to him that some days he wishes he didn't have the job.
    • Subverted with God himself. He is absent for most of the series, a Disappeared Dad to the Angels who tried to start the Apocalypse in his name, but when he returns in Season 11 to help with the fight against his destructive Sister, he impresses the leads on how difficult it actually is to be God, is deeply remorseful for how Lucifer ended up, and that he left because he was disappointed with his creations. Which turns out to be a bald-faced lie. God did all of that for his own amusement.
    • In Season 13, the remaining Angels allow Lucifer to take over the throne of God (who's AWOL) because they need his help to prevent Heaven from collapsing, and he promised to make more Angels. Lucifer attempts to respond to prayers, but he ignores most of them to intervene in an exorcism. While the priests are thankful that he banished the demon, they're not so happy when he tells them his name. He just disintegrates them after failing to calm them down. Annael outright calls him a loser who doesn't hold a candle to his Father.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • One of the interpretations of God's speech in the Book of Job is a downplayed version of this. When Job complains to God about how unjust life can be, God shows him all the complexities of the natural world and challenges Job if he could manage that. One understanding of this monologue is effectively that God is asking, "Do you know how much I have on My plate?"

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the ancient times of the Forgotten Realms setting Jergal was a much more powerful deity than he is now. Then the Dead Three, a trio of evil epic-level adventurers consisting of Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul, challenged him. To their surprise, Jergal had actually grown tired of his role and divvied up his portfolio voluntarily: Bane got tyranny, Bhaal got murder and deceit, and Myrkul got death, while Jergal was content to remain as archivist of the dead.
  • Grim Hollow: Part of the reason Etharis is such a Crapsack World is that all its gods died; the Arch Seraphs who stepped up to take their place don't have nearly as much power and are struggling to fill positions they were never intended to have. For instance, Aurelia, the Goddess of Protection, was responsible for keeping mortals safe from the monsters and dark forces of the world; her replacement, Myklas, only has the domains of healing and mercy. What this means is that she's powerless to actually stop tragedies from occurring, and can only offer comfort and aid afterward.

    Video Games 
  • In Asura's Wrath, Asura has this opinion, as he calls shit on his fellow demigods slaying their own followers for powering up themselves. Considering that Asura managed to become more powerful than even them by sheer wrath alone, he might have a point.
  • The eternal vampire Mayong Mistmoore managed to obtain Godhood in the backstory of EverQuest II, just as he intended. However, after a few hundred years, he got bored with it and voluntarily changed himself back into a vampire. At least then he could be more of an impact on the mortals of Norrath.
  • Explored and pointed out by Issun to the people of Nippon in the final battle of Ōkami, when Amaterasu is on her last legs against Yami, and needs prayer badly.
    "Let's show Ammy that we truly believe! Put your hands together and pray. Let's make our gratitude obvious! I mean, we shouldn't pray only when we want something. We should consider how the gods must feel once in a while. We should even take on some of their burden. If you pray with all your heart, maybe the sun will cheer up and show itself once again, lighting our world with its heavenly glow! After all, the best thing about the great god Amaterasu is that happy-go-lucky spirit! Right, Ammy? Answer if you can hear me, ya big furball!"
  • Mortal Kombat 11: After defeating Kronika, the titan that controls time, Fire God Liu Kang is tasked with being the new watcher and keeper of time and, unable to handle the job alone, brings his beloved Kitana to do this duty together. Further, in his Tower ending, Liu Kang appoints his most trusted friends and allies to be the new Elder Gods that govern the MK multiverse. However, he is haunted about many of the decisions he needs to make to protect the realms, as well as mournful that he and Kitana will never enjoy being able to marry and make one-another happy.
  • Not so much of a god as he is more of a deity, but Mr. Grimm from Twisted Metal: Head On accidentally devoured a soul he was supposed to deliver, and has been addicted to devouring souls since then. He then entered the tournament so that he can wish for someone else to take his job. Bottom line, he entered the tournament to quit being the grim reaper.
  • In RuneScape, Guthix has this attitude due to being a Nay-Theist whose godhood was the opposite of his intentions. He doesn't want to be worshipped, hates the burden of responsibility for impossible decisions, hates being compared to the warrior gods, and misses his dead mortal family. His greatest wishes? To create a world free from the enslavement of gods and religion (himself included), and to die and be with his family in the afterlife. He achieves neither; banishing all gods proves a temporary fix and is undone by Guthix's death in "The World Wakes", and in "Missing Presumed Death" we learn that gods don't get an afterlife, only Cessation of Existence.
  • Implied in The Talos Principle. During his interactions with The User, Elohim displays the serene, gentle persona you would expect. However, numerous glitches hint that this virtual paradise is fraying at the edges, and should the player discover a hidden hole in the world they'll fall into Elohim's rambling thoughts and learn that he is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Not only will he cease to exist once the experiment is complete, he's also fighting a losing battle against data corruption due to his hardware running nonstop for centuries without maintenance.


    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: Bender becomes a god to a bunch of micro sized aliens that landed on him while he was drifting through space. His seemingly simple request for beer led to them having many hardships. And then they waged religious war against the other micro alien colony on Bender that couldn't see him and didn't believe he existed. And then everyone died. Later in the episode Bender met an entity that may or may not be the real God, and compared notes. Conclusion reached: being god is hard.
    Bender: Who would have known playing God could have such terrible consequences?
  • DOTA: Dragon's Blood: Mirana ascends to godhood twice (in different timelines, although both times as a solar deity, the God-Empress of the Helios Empire), and both times, she feels mostly overwhelmed and exhausted by the insane responsibilities placed upon a deity in a world that is constantly on the brink of destruction.


Video Example(s):


Bender meets "God"

While drifting through space, Bender encounters a galactic entity which may or may not be God and has a chat with it about the struggles of being God.

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