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Blasphemous Praise

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Wat: And your love? Have you proven that yet?
William: Wat, you remember church as a boy. The fear, the passion. That's what she makes me feel. And for that, I say my rosary to Jocelyn and no one else.
Wat: William, that's blasphemous.
William: Then may I burn in hell.

A character praises someone(s) or something(s) else by comparing them favorably to a given deity.

How to react can sometimes be a dilemma, especially to devoutly religious characters who believe in the deity in question. If the recipient is a Humble Hero, they will probably consider this Unwanted False Faith, and may respond "Stop Worshipping Me" or "A God, I Am Not!" If they're more of a Narcissist, on the other hand, they may agree. It can also lead to Tempting Fate. Beware of saying Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter, though, or a Bolt of Divine Retribution may ensue.

A Super-Trope to Like a God to Me and Love Is Like Religion.

A Sister Trope to Blasphemous Boast (comparing oneself favorably to a deity), Like a God to Me (which can be blasphemous, depending on the particular context), Bigger Than Jesus (the Stock Phrase shout-out to The Beatles), and Answers to the Name of God (when someone says "Oh God" and a character replies "Yes?").



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    Comic Books 
  • William the prophet in The Kingdom believes that Superman is a divine being, even to the point where he builds a church and offers up prayers to him.
    William: ...and he changes the course of mighty rivers...and bends steel in his bare hands. His kingdom come...his will be done...for his is the truth, and the justice, and the...

  • In Titanic, Cal says of the ship "God Himself couldn't sink her". Sure enough, it turns out God loves a good challenge.
  • Clash of the Titans has Queen Cassiopeia of the city of Joppa saying that her daughter Princess Andromeda is more lovely than the goddess Thetis. Thetis is not pleased by this and orders that Andromeda be sacrificed to the Kraken. If they don't, the Kraken will destroy Joppa.
  • In The Usual Suspects, there's this line from Verbal Kint, whether you consider it "praise" or not: "Keaton always said, 'I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of Him.' Well, I do believe in God... and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze." Of course, Verbal Kint is Keyser Söze himself...
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian has a man who's about to be stoned because during dinner he said "That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah!". After some weird arguments like only Monty Python can do, the stoning organizer is killed instead.
  • Airheads had the following exchange: Who would win in a fight? Lemmy or God? Trick question! Lemmy is God.

  • In Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis's retelling of the tale of Cupid and Psyche, the narrator's younger sister Princess Istra gets in big trouble by allowing people to proclaim her a goddess.
  • Tai Pan has one character tell the Tai-pan that she "worships" him. Since he's a devout (if unconventional) Christian, he tells her not to say such things.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Lay of Leithian features a variant, where Thû (Sauron) suspects a group of orcs (actually Beren, Findrod and a troop of elves in disguise) of disloyalty, and tries to make them speak a literal blasphemous praise to Morgoth as a sort of If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!-test:
    Whom do ye serve, Light or Mirk?
    Who is the maker of mightiest work?
    Who is the king of earthly kings,
    the greatest giver of gold and rings?
    Who is the master of the wide earth?
    Who despoiled them of their mirth,
    the greedy Gods! Repeat your vows,
    Orcs of Bauglir! Do not bend your brows!
    Death to light, to law, to love!
    Cursed be moon and stars above!
    May darkness everlasting old
    that waits outside in surges cold
    drown Manwë, Varda, and the sun!
    May all in hatred be begun
    and all in evil ended be,
    in the moaning of the endless Sea!’
  • According to Dante's Vita Nuova, Beatrice's beauty is so great that even an angel admits to God's face that Heaven is flawed for the lack of her.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Cassiopeia comparing the beauty of her daughter Andromeda to that of various goddesses ticks the gods off.
    • Arachne recieves this in her own story. When she claimed that her weaving could challenge the gods, Athena decides to come down and put that to the test. They both weave tapestries, and (in at least one version) when they have the people vote, they chose Arachne's tapestry. This is what doomed her.
    • Niobe, a woman with seven sons and seven daughters, once claimed to be superior to the minor goddess Leto, who only had two children. Unfortunately for her, those two children were Apollo and Artemis. To avenge the insult, they broke out the bows and arrows; Artemis shot Niobe's daughters, and Apollo shot the sons.
    • Psyche, the girl who eventually married Eros/Cupid, was said to be so beautiful that the local men started worshipping her instead of Aphrodite. Naturally, Aphrodite was pissed, so she sent Eros after her to make her fall in love with an ugly man. It backfired hard when the praise turned out to be true.
  • In The Bible:
    • One of the Herods is struck dead for accepting such praise.
      ...Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.
    • After Paul and Barnabas perform a miracle in a Greek city, the people mistake them for Zeus and Hermes and begin preparing sacrifices to them. The disciples are horrified when they realize what's going on.
    • Jesus Himself used this trope in John 14 when He proclaimed that some believer would do even greater works than His own.

    Live Action Television 
  • That '70s Show: In one episode a visiting pastor asks Eric and Hyde to draw what they associate with God. They both draw Eric Clapton.

  • Eric Clapton became known in part for some London Urban Graffiti saying "Clapton is God," as pictured above.
  • A common misconception is that John Lennon praised The Beatles in this way when he said that they were "Bigger Than Jesus". In fact, he was criticizing pop culture of the day in a way that would become characteristic of him as he got older. Despite not having meant it the way it was taken, he issued a public apology to get the band back in the public's good graces.
  • Slayer. A reactionary graffiti defacing a billboard reflecting a message different from their music portrays.
  • Fats Waller was playing in a jazz club when he noticed Art Tatum entering. Waller welcomed Tatum to the stage with the memorable introduction, "I only play the piano, but tonight, God is in the house!"

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WWE billing Triple H as "King of Kings," seeing as how it is a title normally given to Jesus.
  • Some people started bringing signs saying "Foley is God." He expressed his preference for them not to do that so the signs changed to "Foley is Good," which became the title of his second memoir.
  • Kevin Owens called himself the antichrist for pro wrestling. When he was kicked out of SCUM, Steve Corino called his replacement, Matt Hardy, the Jesus Christ of pro wrestling.
  • Seth Rollins earned the nickname "Crossfit Jesus" among internet wrestling fans during his 2015 championship run.

  • Inversion: During the 1970s a church in Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia put up a sign saying, "What would you do if God came to Hawthorn today?", under which an Australian Rules Football fan graffiti'd, "Move Peter Hudson note  to centre half forward!". Upon hearing of this, Hudson jokingly complained that God had never attended a single training session.
    • Geelong fans nicknamed Gary Ablett senior "God", something which Ablett, being a devout Christian, was none too comfortable with.
      • And the Hudson story becomes Hilarious in Hindsight if you know that Ablett began his career at Hawthorn before transferring to the Cats.
    • Gary Hocking, who played for the cats at the same time as Ablett, recieved the nickname "Buddha" (Hocking is not a Buddhist).
  • Any current NFL fans or people hip to pop culture are hereby invited to look up "Tim Tebow Jesus" under any image search engine.
    • Or Drew "Breesus" Brees.
  • Supporters of Brian O'Driscoll, star player and long-time captain of Ireland's national Rugby Union team, have adopted the motto "In BOD We Trust", playing on USA's official motto "In God We Trust". This motto even became the title of O'Driscoll's biography.
  • Back in Wayne Gretzky's prime, there was a comedic bumper sticker that read "Jesus saves! GRETZKY SCORES ON THE REBOUND!" Mocking the play by play of a hockey game where goalies "save" shots from going into the goal, but occasionally allow the puck to bounce away, giving up a "rebound" that can be played.
  • A similar joke appears in UK graffiti, with Gretzky replaced by whoever The Beautiful Game's top striker is at the moment.

    Video Games 
  • inFAMOUS 2: While Laroche doesn't think very highly of Cole at first, he does indirectly compare him to Jesus Christ when admitting that his men admire him greatly.
    Laroche: Lord knows my boys think you can walk on water.
  • In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, in a meta-humor sense, Miller deduced that the name of a new friend, Cecile Cossima Caminades, is in fact a hidden message when translated to Japanese into "Kojima Kami Nan Desu", which translates to "Kojima Is God". Even moreso in the Japanese version where Miller started chanting the message in utmost devout fervor and dragged Cecile into doing so.


    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of The Simpsons reveals the deeply religious Ned Flanders to have a substantial collection of Beatles memorabilia because they were Bigger Than Jesus.
    • Then there was his horrified expression when Homer started praising him for revealing the secret to defeating his new boss at work: "All hail Flanders. Mightier than Jesus. Praise Flanders!"

    Real Life 
  • Chuck Norris mostly finds Chuck Norris Facts to be a source of amusement, but he has on occasion taken issue with some of the jokes that suggest he is greater than God. Not surprising considering he's a devout (and staunchly conservative) Christian.
  • Elvis Presley was uncomfortable with the nickname "The King" for this reason ("Jesus Christ is the King. I’m just an entertainer.")
  • Hail Columbia, America's de-facto national anthem for much of its history, contains a verse about George Washington, which says "With equal skill and godlike power he governs in the fearful hour of horrid war". In addition, Congress has a fresco which depicts him having ascended to Heaven and there is a statue of George Washington dressed as and posing Zeus in the statue Zeus Olympios.