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Egocentrically Religious

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"Heavenly father,
Why do you let bad things happen?
More to the point,
Why do you let bad things happen to
Elder Price, The Book of Mormon

Some characters have a very immature relation to God or His local equivalent. This comes in two main variations, the first with four subvariants, and the second with two.

  • Faith: Bob has this mindset about God.
    • Bratty Faith: Bob is religious, and expects God to not only take care of him and his life, but also favor him over everyone else. Obviously, God loves Bob, not you, and He will provide him with anything he wants, smite anyone he doesn't like, and give him a VIP seat in Heaven where he can laugh and blow raspberries at those stuck in Hell. As such, you can expect Bob to be highly smug and Holier Than Thou about it.
    • Self-Projecting Faith: A particular flavor of faith known as "self-projection as God" (SPAG) and "vicarious autotheism" outside This Very Wiki, which often overlaps with the above. Bob arrogantly claims to know God and what He likes or dislikes better than anyone else, but in reality, he is actually projecting his own thoughts and beliefs onto God. This may result in a particularly nasty type of Tautological Templar: one who believes — or desperately wants to believe — that because of God's Omniscient Morality License, anything he does is justified as long as they advance God's supposed agenda, or fall in line with His infallible set of values that sound suspiciously similar to the templar's own.
    • Utilitarian Faith: Bob is somewhat religious but puts himself ahead of his faith more often than not, picking and choosing which tenets to follow based on his own wants and needs rather than which parts he genuinely believes are more important, and generally treating religion as more of a tool than a devotion. While he might truly believe that his god(s) exists, he avoids the spiritual in favour of the temporal whenever it's convenient to do, and psychologically dissociates himself from the full implications of his own beliefs.
    • Whiny Faith: Bob is not religious (either as in "not very religious" or as in Hollywood Atheist), but keeps whining at God that he would believe in Him if He just started pampering him. This may be combined with a legitimate Rage Against the Heavens or a game of Religious Russian Roulette.
  • Accusation: Bob has this mindset about Alice, expecting her to have this mindset about God. Thus he steers the conversation in this direction, trying to expose Alice as having the "Spoiled Brat Of The Lord" kind of conceited "personal relationship with Jesus".
    • False Accusation: Bob turns out to be wrong about Alice, looking rather silly in the process.
    • Insightful Accusation: Bob is right, and Alice is probably a Straw Loser.

A believer who thinks this way is likely to engage in Activist-Fundamentalist Antics. Conversely, someone who believes all religious people think like this is probably a Hollywood Atheist or Nay-Theist.

If God Is Good then it's quite reasonable to believe He will do good things for people. But most religions also teach the importance of having due humility about it. After all, God is, well, God, meaning He's under no obligation to take anyone's orders, though He may be open to discussing the point. He's also well known for working In Mysterious Ways that may not always be what His followers expect or want.

Super trope to Prayer of Malice, when a person prays for God to be petty and cruel to one of their enemies. Compare Holier Than Thou, Hiding Behind Religion, The Fundamentalist, The Hedonist, Churchgoing Villain, and The Presents Were Never from Santa. See also Religious Russian Roulette, Deus ex Machina, and Prayer Is a Last Resort. Contrast Pals with Jesus and Clap Your Hands If You Believe for when the character actually has the benefit of divine favor. Not to be confused with A God Am I, where the character believes themself to be a god.

No Real Life Examples, Please! Not only would it be Flame Bait, but this is also one of those tropes that most people can agree is unfortunately common in Real Life but can't agree what cases are examples and what cases are not.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black Clover, Nacht called himself out for this when he realized that he was begging the gods to save his brother after being irresponsible and self-centered all his life:
    "Don't go spouting whatever's convenient for you at the time. You did whatever you wanted. Now when you're in trouble, you count on the gods? Don't gimme that, you idiot. Who in their right mind would save you?"

    Comic Books 
  • The Eternals (2021) has Ajak, who considers herself the most pious and loyal to their creators, the Celestials, but also feels an immense amount of entitlement to the same confidence from them. She jealously tries to murder anyone the Celestials contact instead of her and rationalizes that this must be their true intent since they act In Mysterious Ways.
  • In Persepolis, the child Marjane has God as her Imaginary Friend. She even thought she'd become the last prophet of Islam. Her growing out of it and becoming an atheist, after the Islamic government has her beloved uncle executed, is portrayed as a quite age-appropriate temper tantrum where she yelled at God in a mix of this trope and Rage Against the Heavens.
  • Occurs at one point in Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose. After Tarot saves a young boy, his mother starts harassing her for her "sinful" and "heathen" ways, when a priest interjects and calls the woman out on her behavior. She tries to justify herself by claiming that she's "trying to be a good Christian", but he tells her she should try to be a good person first (Tarot, being a devout Wiccan and witch, is rather surprised to see a priest take her side for once).
  • Star Saber of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye is an extreme example of False Accusation towards all other Cybertronians. He believes everything he does, up to and including genocide, is ordained by Primus and that anyone who disagrees is either an atheist or an apostate deserving of death and/or torture.

    Comic Strips 
  • Chick Tracts goes both ways on this issue, encouraging this mindset in evangelical Christians while frequently having An Aesop about how this mindset in people of other faiths opens them up for demonic temptation.
  • One Nemi strip uses a straight Insightful Accusation, in a conversation between the protagonist and a fundamentalist. Nemi gives a long speech about a hypothetical person who is clearly Too Good for This Sinful Earth, and then asks The Fundamentalist if she really thinks that this woman should be tortured in hell forever for not sharing her exact beliefs, while she gets to be rewarded forever for happening to belong to the exactly right version of Christianity. Her answer is simply "Jesus loves ME". Nemi's reply to that is "Good, because the rest of us think you're a jerk".

    Fan Works 
  • All For Luz has Tyler Wittebane, who is so insanely self-absorbed that he's convinced himself that God chosen him to rid the world of super-powered people after a Mass Super-Empowering Event. He also believes that killing Luz, whether directly or indirectly, will earn him a spot in heaven, boasting that she should be proud to meet death by his hands.
  • All For Luz Reaction: Belos believes he'll be rewarded heaven for ensuring all magic creatures and Quirk users would die from the flames of God's holy judgment.
  • Angel of the Bat: Cameron Gram is the snobby, self-righteous host of a conservative Christian radio show. Cassandra repeatedly listens to his broadcasts, and confesses to Conner that one of the reasons why she's so fascinated and unnerved by him is that his very existence spurs her to question whether her own God Before Dogma approach is just her bending God to suit her own devices rather than changing in order to better serve His will.
  • In The Confectionary Chronicles, one reason Loki swiftly becomes fond of Hermione is that she subverts this trope. Most of the time once Loki responds to prayers for his aid in dealing with some urgent matter, people subsequently begin praying for his help with lesser matters such as getting a good job or winning someone over. By contrast, while Hermione summoned Loki to help punish those who drove her sister to suicide, afterwards she simply continues to worship him as her god without making lesser demands. While she does receive help from Loki, she only outright prays for his aid when she's in a life-or-death situation she knows she can't handle herself, and otherwise Loki gives her lessons and takes her on trips on his own merit rather than because Hermione asked for any of it.
  • Fuzzboy Total Pokemon Series: The immensely rude, self-centered and bigoted Elisha appears to have convinced herself that Arceus is personally watching over her and will ensure she wins the competition, and that she's representing all religion as a whole.
  • The Warrior Cats fic Luminous has a downplayed example. As kits, every Clan member is told that their Clan is the closest to StarClan, using different justifications (FogClan argues that their mountain home is closest to the sky, ShoreClan that the sea reflects the stars, etc). In this case, it's an indicator of a flaw in their culture, not villainy.
  • A Northern Dragoness has King Baelor, who's obsessed with an interpretation of the Faith of the Seven that panders to his own Suicidal Pacifism and rejection of sexuality, ignoring how important military strength and ensuring the continuation of the Targaryen lineage are to the future of Westeros, even when the Faith has the Warrior and the Mother amongst their number. Particularly, he infuriates his sister-wife Daena by refusing her the chance to become a mother and to seek revenge against Dorne for the death of her much more beloved brother Daeron the Young Dragon, to the point she spits back his "attempts" to bless her new marriage with Jonnel Stark.
  • Adelheid von Schugel in A Young Girl's Delinquency Record. In an unusual flavor, he's obsessed with the power of the divine/miracles and the ability to channel it through devotion and prayer. Particularly, his main wish is to reconstruct the monstrous Elenium Type-95 Computation Orb, the single quad-core orb ever successfully produced and fielded. Combining his beliefs and desires makes him an unstable Mad Scientist perfectly willing to torture test subjects into insanity for a glimpse of the (unfortunately, very, very real) divine power that enabled him to construct the orb in the first place.

    Films — Animation 
  • Without a doubt, Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This trope defines his character and forms the essence of his Villain Song — the chorus to "Hellfire" is the Confiteor, a Latin Catholic prayer of confession about taking responsibility for one's own sins, and are sung in direct and intentional contrast with what Frollo himself is singing. The part where they chant "Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa" ("through my fault, through my most grievous fault") is where he blames his lust for Esmerelda on Esmerelda herself, on the Devil, even on God, everyone but himself; "Kyrie Eleison" ("Lord, have mercy") occurs just before he sings "she will be mine or SHE WILL BURN!" The rest of his song is about how he is so much Holier and therefore better than the masses and everyone else, and near the end calls a guard an idiot before deciding to burn down Paris to find Esmerelda and either force her to be with him or destroy her if she refuses (and for "making" him sin). Once or twice in the film, it looks like even he thinks he's going too far, but he ignores this, as this would mean accepting that he is less than perfect and in the right. He very much proves right Clopin's assessment that he sees corruption everywhere... except within.
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: "The Mole" from the movie is a case of Whiny Faith. He hates God and regularly cusses him out because he never did anything for him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Brimstone: The Reverend is an unbelievably disgusting and hypocritical one. He started out as a strict man proselytizing in the American West where he lived with his immigrant family. He begins lusting after his daughter Joanna—later raping her—and also drives his wife Anna to suicide through his years-long abuse of her, which he immediately dismisses as her being too weak and un-Christian. He spends the next several decades trying to track down Joanna to make her his again and murdering a whole assortment of innocent people who simply got in his way, including children, all the while maintaining that she's the evil one for driving him to sin.
  • Bruce Almighty starts out as an example of Whiny Faith, with Bruce constantly whining to God about everything that isn't perfect in his life. This bites Bruce in the ass when he meets God Himself, who says "Well, Let's See YOU Do Better!". Bruce accepts... and things go wrong. Very wrong.
  • Chucky of the Child's Play films is the Hollywood Voodoo equivalent of this, particularly in the Matthew Costello tie-in novels which explore his relationship with and devotion to the voodoo god Damballa. He considers himself to be Damballa's apostle, and his continued resurrections are explicitly credited to his faith in Damballa.
  • A very dark example from "Preacher" Harry Powell in The Night of the Hunter. He's The Bluebeard, serially marrying women, killing them, and taking anything of value they have; he believes God heartily approves of his misogyny, greed, and homicidal tendencies.
    Harry Powell: Well now, what's it to be, Lord? Another widow? How many has it been? Six? Twelve? I disremember. [tipping his hat] You say the word, Lord, I'm on my way... You always send me money to go forth and preach your Word. The widow with a little wad of bills hid away in a sugar bowl. Lord, I am tired. Sometimes I wonder if you really understand. Not that You mind the killin's. Yore Book is full of killin's. But there are things you do hate, Lord: perfume-smellin' things, lacy things, things with curly hair.
  • Once Upon a Crime: After losing a fortune at the casino, Neil prays to God that he'll become a devout worshipper if He just gives him a suitcase full of money. When he opens his eyes and spots a suitcase nearby he didn't see before, he offers a quick thank you and grabs it. He doesn't even check it until he's returned to his wife to show off his divine fortune... whereupon they discover that, no, that's not money, that's a dead body.
  • Saved! has this with a few characters. Hilary Faye, the antagonist, is a full-blown example of this. Then there's Pastor Skip and the mother of Mary, the protagonist, who think that all of Mary's ordeals throughout the entire movie are a punishment against them for their sins of dating each other while he's technically still married.
  • Saint Maud has the titular Maud, whose every conversation with God seems centered around what she wants, made obvious when things don't go her way like when she gets fired and almost instantly assumes God isn't there or mocking her when her own actions prompted the firing. Even when Amanda starts taking an active interest in Maud's spiritual beliefs, Maud sees it as furthering her own spiritual glory and purpose rather than helping a terminally-ill woman find comfort.
  • Sunshine has Pinbacker, the captain of the Ikarus 1 who goes insane during his mission. Convinced that God has spoken to him, Pinbacker believes that God has destined humanity to die and that humans have no right to restart the sun. Pinbacker sabotages the Ikarus 1 mission and almost stops the Ikarus 2 mission (nearly dooming humanity to extinction in the process) in the name of his deity.
  • Sweetwater: Josiah's beliefs always center upon his own desires, the voices he hears backing this up.
  • Winter Light: Pastor Tomas Ericsson had an egotistical faith; he thought that God loved him more than anyone else. This is is what leads to his Crisis of Faith, at least in part.
  • Young & Wild:
    • Daniela criticizes the Evangelicals for being very egocentric in their faith, especially the rich ones like her family. It's hard to argue when one event they have is even "We Are The Light Of The World", as that also sounds possibly blasphemous (Jesus is called "The light of the world" in the Bible).
    • Later she also questions one Evangelical while interviewing him about converting if he'd really "given up his ego" as he claims to have by giving away his property and breaking off with his girlfriend when he did what he'd wanted by following Christ instead. He isn't pleased by this, cutting off the interview and complaining to the station manager, who lectures Daniela over it.
    • Another example is when her family and Tomás pray for protection while the restaurant they're eating at gets robbed (it seems to work) but not for anybody else there.

  • One classic joke: A man is notified that his house is going to be flooded and he needs to get out of the house. He says "No I don't have to, God is going to take care of me." Then the flood starts to rise and a sheriff comes along and tells him to get out. The man says "No, God is going to save me." So, the floods continue to rise, and he climbs on top of the house. A boat comes along and he's told to climb into the boat. He says, "No, no, God is going to save me." Finally, a helicopter comes along and they lower the net to rescue him. The man says, "No, no, God is going to save me!" Well, the man drowns and goes to Heaven. When he gets to Heaven, he says to God, "Why didn't you save me?" God says, "I sent the sheriff, I sent a boat, I sent a helicopter, what more did you want me to do!?"
    • It's old enough that a version appears in Aesop with the punchline "Start swimming and help Minerva."
  • Another joke: A man is praying daily for God to let him win the lottery. Finally, after weeks of not winning, he asks God why he's not helping him. A booming voice replies from the heavens, "I'd love to, but you have to buy a lottery ticket."
  • Two men — one a very devoutly religious man, the other an atheist — live next door to each other. The religious man, though, is troubled, because he has a low-paying, unsatisfying job, his once-beautiful wife has let herself go, and his children are disrespectful underachievers. What really bothers him is that the atheist guy next door seems to have it all: a well-paying job that he enjoys, a beautiful wife, and well-behaved, high-achieving children. So the religious man falls to his knees, asking God why he is poor and unsatisfied even though he goes to church every week, reads The Bible, and prays several times daily, yet the man next door who never does any of these things has everything a man could want. And God replies "Because he doesn't bother me all the time!"
  • A man is cornered by a hungry bear and, in a panic, he prays that God will make the bear a Christian. Immediately, the bear drops to its knees and says, "For this meal we are about to receive, O Lord, we give thanks."
  • An all-purpose one: A man dies and arrives in Heaven. St. Peter leads him inside, and to his surprise, everyone he's ever heard of is there. Off in the distance, however, he sees a walled-off area. The man asks St. Peter, "What's over there?" St. Peter replies, "That's where we keep the (insert targeted religious group). They want to believe they're the only ones here."

  • Confessions of Georgia Nicolson: Played for Laughs, since the titular character is a Bratty Teenage Daughter who isn't very religious, but sometimes prays for God to intervene, especially where her social life is concerned. One notable instance is when she goes to church for the first time in ages after her boyfriend dumps her, in the hopes that God will reward her by having him take her back. At one point, she gets fed up with Him and decides to have a crack at Buddhism instead. Amusingly, she decides to only ask Buddha for small stuff at first, and save the really important things like the size of her nose and her boyfriend for later, lest he think she's "a cheeky new Buddhist who's only believing to get things."
    My room, soon to be a shrine to Buddha. Unless God gets His act together.
  • The Forgotten Realms novels gives a myriad of examples which, given it is a polytheistic setting where the gods have a whole range of personalities, isn't necessarily frowned up, but generally there is a real difference between someone who is only a passive follower versus someone who truly believes in it, particularly in the case of Paladins and Clerics who can draw actual magical power from the strength of their faith.
    • In The Avatar Series, the dark god Bane offers the mercenary Kelemvor a release from his family's lycanthropic curse- Kelemvor scoffs at this as he claims his family has always prayed to gods for this with no results, but Bane says he needed to have genuine faith in order for it to work; since Bane was standing right in front of him at that very moment, Kel manages to pull it off and Bane literally rips the curse out of him since a modicum of his faith was genuine. Ironically, Kel would become a god himself about a decade later, becoming the God of Death and having to learn to keep his own ego in check for the sake of his new job.
    • The Shadovar, a race of Netherse Shades, worship the evil goddess Shar because she saved them from destruction two thousand years earlier, but most do so out of custom and pragmatism apart from her High Priest, Prince Rivalen Tanthul, who tries to balance his commitment to the Netherese Empire and his genuine devotion to an apocalyptic goddess of darkness and despair...ultimately choosing the latter when Shar forces his hand with her own plans, and eventually devolving into a Straw Nihilist who wants to destroy everything for her so that his own pain will end.
      • His father Telamont Tanthul, meanwhile, continues to worship Shar- and make it mandatory for everyone under his rule- despite resenting her for corrupting his son, murdering his wife and plotting to annihilate all life everywhere including the Shadovar themselves. He does this purely because of the power Shar grants him and his people, to the despair of his favourite son Brennus, who comes to loath his brother and his goddess. Telamont cares about family and religion, but not as much as he does glory and power.
  • The Letters From Nicodemus: Set in 27-30 AD Jerusalem. Everybody's waiting for the Messiah to come, as promised, and kick the Romans out, as He obviously will, to make His people mighty. Especially Judas.
  • Our Man in Havana: James is not religious but swore to his wife that he would raise their daughter Milly as a devoted Catholic. Milly seems to take advantage of this trope — if she prays for some gift, then James has to get it for her, because if Milly doesn't get what she prays for, she might lose the faith.
  • Safehold: There is much debate in-universe by both antagonists and protagonists alike regarding where Grand Inquisitor Zhaspahr Clyntahn's narcissism ends and his devotion to God begins. One of his fellow leading vicars notes that Clyntahn started this war largely to increase the influence of the Inquisition (and, by extension, himself), sincerely believes his own survival is equivalent to Mother Church's, and that his own death would mean the end of the world. At the same time, his devotion is sincere enough that when, before his execution, it's shown to him that the entire Church he claimed to fight for was a lie, the revelation leaves him broken and raving that he did what he did because he believed the Holy Writ to be true.
  • The Screwtape Letters: Screwtape encourages Wormwood to have his Patient think this way. Since the two of them are devils, it will drive the Patient away from The Enemy (that is, God) and into their hands when the Patient dies. Screwtape encourages Wormwood by telling him to have the Patient's prayers focus only on himself and what he wants, blaming all bad things on The Enemy and seeing his prayers as practical. This doesn't work, as the Patient eventually has a crisis of faith, becomes a more devout Christian, and is sent to Heaven when he's killed in World War II.
  • The Silver Lotus: A rather positive subversion is seen with little Macy Hammond. While visiting relatives in southern China - at a time when the region had been suffering through almost four years of widespread drought - she performs a special ritual to honor her ancestors on her 8th birthday. As soon as the ritual is finished, she does a 180 from humble and pious to openly scolding her ancestors for not petitioning Heaven strongly enough to end the drought; her family had long been blessed with great prosperity and the ancestors had an obligation to use that prosperity for the good of others. Her more senior relatives are understandably shocked, but minutes later a massive thunderstorm breaks and ends up bringing huge amounts of rejuvenating rain (apparently the story of Macy's actions spreads throughout the entire region within a week).
  • Small Gods: Exquisitor Vorbis is the ultimate self-projecting kind. The book is partly told from the perspective of his god, who at one point makes an attempt at communing with him when he's at prayer and finds it's impossible to do so; all Vorbis ever hears when praying is his own thoughts reflected back at him.
  • The Summer Queen: King Louis VII of France has shades of this. Largely justified; the historical Louis was notably pious even by the standards of the era, and the “Divine Right of Kings” was a major component of Medieval politics. Where Louis runs into problems, though, is when he conflates the personally political and the personally religious too closely: While on the Second Crusade, Louis is so convinced of his own righteousness as a Christian warrior, it takes persuasion for him to diplomatically treat with the emperor of Constantinople, rather than aggressively confront him on the alleged mistreatment of his fellow Crusaders (Louis even calls himself the “Sword of God”, despite his army and grasp of local politics being far inferior to the Byzantines).
  • The War Gods: One knight of the Order of Tomanak manages to end up in this trope (specifically, the "Self-Projecting Faith" version) via excessive humility. Sir Yorhus desperately needs to know he's following Tomanak's will; if Tomanak doesn't give him direct orders, then Yorhus has to decide what those orders "should" have been. Once he does, whatever he decided is clearly an example of Tomanak's will because if Yorhus were wrong, Tomanak would have told him so. Given that handing down direct orders for every little thing isn't Tomanak's style, Yorhus manages to give his personal opinions "divine mandate" lots of times.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in 3rd Rock from the Sun when Tommy is temporarily on a basketball team. He constantly questions his coach why they have to pray before every game, since helping a high school basketball team win would naturally fall really low on God's list of priorities. He caps this by pointing to the opposing team, who are also praying, asking if it gives God a conflict of interest.
  • Played with in 7th Heaven at least once. In a later season, the dad (a reverend) has a heart attack and ends up being ready to give up not just his job, but his entire faith in God as a result of having to confront his mortality like this. In the end, his Rabbi friend has to come and remind him that God doesn't really play favorites, even good and devout people will still encounter personal suffering.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Dr. Gaius Baltar becomes an example of Bratty Faith after Head-Six convinces him he's an instrument of God.
  • This is part of the psychopathy of Sicilian gangster Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire. He was raised Catholic but makes no attempt to follow scripture, being guilty of every crime and sin imaginable down to killing people on a whim. This doesn't stop him from visiting a church during Easter, yelling at, and insulting Jesus himself for being supposedly unfair.
  • Caroline in the City: When Richard stands to win a lot of money in a competition, he earnestly thinks, "God, if you let me have this, I'll forgive you everything!" He wins the competition but is later disqualified on a technicality, possibly showing what God thinks of attempted guilt trips.
  • Margaret Beaufort in the TV adaptation of The Cousins' War Series. Complicated by the fact that A. her faith is entirely genuine B. she uses it as her sole justification for her megalomaniac power fantasies, but also for very understandable desires (safety, justice for her family, her son not being murdered) in a world that abuses her and denies her these things because she's a woman C. In a world where even more outwardly sympathetic characters feel no remorse about harming rival families, she's very occasionally guilt-wracked and implores God to tell her if she should Shoot the Dog to save her banished son and their future. He sends her no clear answers.
  • Falling Skies: Karen pulls this accusation on Lourdes in the pilot episode, taunting her for being a Christian by requesting that she pray forth a B2 Bomber for them. Lourdes soundly rebuffs this, thus turning the accusation back on Karen by showing it to be a false accusation.
  • Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly. Prior to the events of the series, he was a Religious Bruiser who was fully convinced God was on the side of him and the Independents as a whole. He wound up being quite disabused of that notion when the Alliance crushed the Independents' leadership, wiped out Mal's platoon in Serenity Valley, and won the war. In the present day, he has lost all faith in God (or at least, any faith that God would help him) and while this is ostensibly because of what he experienced in the war, it's made pretty clear that the real reason is that deep down he took the Alliance's victory as a personal betrayal from God.
  • On The Guest Book, a woman named Jill takes a weekend vacation with her son and his girlfriend, Lynn, who happens to be an atheist. She attempts to twist the occasion into a chance to "baptize" Lynn against her will via drugging her and administering the "baptism" in a hot tub. Lynn gets an infection on her foot as a result, winding up in the hospital... but after fully recovering, she decides to Turn to Religion. However, this prompts Jill to abandon her faith, upset that God didn't answer her prayers to cover her tracks for her and conceal her crime, but apparently answered Lynn's prayers and healed her. Jill is further Driven by Envy of Lynn's good looks, despite how Jill herself is a perfectly lovely-looking older woman, as well as how Lynn's life is improving after she repented while Jill's hasn't gone through any major improvements.
  • Hannibal:
    • Hannibal Lecter justifies his serial murders to himself by arguing that God loves killing, and humans are made in God's image (in a scene copied word-for-word from the movie Manhunter, though "Lektor" in that film was trying to frighten Will while Hannibal here was trying to intrigue him). He arrogantly believes that he understands the Almighty, judging from his conversation with the "muralist". Hannibal murders the "muralist" serial killer by installing him in his own eye-shaped "mural" in such a way as to symbolically reflect the light of God.
    • Later on, Will asks Hannibal what he thinks about when he kills; Hannibal replies that he thinks about God. It is strongly implied that — furthering the Luciferian subtext — Hannibal honestly believes that he himself is like God and every sadistic thing that he does is in imitation of God. It is also strongly implied, therefore, that Hannibal is pathologically incapable of not thinking of everyone else, even people he likes and otherwise cares about, as fundamentally inferior to and less important than himself.
    • In keeping with the literary Hannibal (who is strongly implied to be a misotheist — i.e. he hates God and thinks he is evil, making him a Straw Nihilist who thinks torture-murder is fine since divine justice is a lie), Lecter seems to view actual religious people (or at least, those of the Abrahamic faith) with a mixture of amusement or contempt, referencing, for instance, his twisted "hobby" of collecting newspaper articles of churches collapsing and killing the congregations, since those who love God are still killed by him. Hannibal's justification for his psychological torture of people like Will — whom he sincerely views as a friend, even surrogate family — is that God does whatever he likes to those who love him, and therefore so can Hannibal, because both of them are Above Good and Evil.
  • The Haves and the Have Nots: When Jeffery comes out to his parents, his father David gently reassures him that he accepts him just the way he is. Sadly, the same cannot be said of Veronica, who declares that God must be punishing her for an abortion she had years ago, telling Jeffery outright that she wishes he was dead. She goes on to torment her son, even blackmailing Jeffery by taking his car away and forcing him to date girls, or else she'll have him arrested for a crime he didn't commit.
  • Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia operates as the Token Religious Teammate of the Gang. Following the show's theme of the gang being vitriolic, codependent, narcissistic scumbags, Mac is a fundamentalist Catholic that pushes regressive ideals for purely selfish reasons, usually either to lord over his friends and to cover for his obvious homosexuality. He tries to have his girlfriend (whom he met at an anti-abortion rally) get an abortion when he finds out she is pregnant (having joined the rally to get laid), he tries pushing anti-gay rhetoric on his transgender ex-girlfriend when he finds out that she had the procedure and was now married to someone else, he goes to confession to ask God to smite his friends when he blames them for him gaining weight and forces the gang to listen to a five-hour sermon on the evils of homosexuality (while sporting an erection the whole time).
  • Legend of the Seeker: Discussed when a woman who may or may not be the Creator incarnated as a woman warmly compliments Kahlan for not acting like this, saying she'd always prayed only for her mother or sister's wellbeing and not her own.
  • A sinister example in the Midsomer Murders episode "Echoes Of The Dead" where The Fundamentalist, hitherto regarded as a naïve, gentle, and innocent Noble Bigot type at worst, turns out to be a Serial Killer. He tries to keep his act up and comes across as a Tragic Villain Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, a mentally disturbed type who honestly thought he was doing the right thing ("saving" sinners by killing them, so they stop sinning), but Barnaby calls him out as a narcissistic bastard who knows full well what he is doing and was just killing people he didn't like For the Evulz. However, he is still presented as a believer, just one who happened to think murder made him like God.
  • One Saturday Night Live sketch involved a religious woman constantly praying to Jesus for help on things, very petty and minor things, and Jesus himself arriving at her home to ask her to stop because he's okay with protecting her while she's driving and the like, but is it really necessary for her to give him the whole minute-to-minute list of things she's gonna do while she's driving that she wants him to help her with, and similar stuff like asking him to prevent her rice from getting overcooked? Naturally, his ranting leaves the poor woman in such hysterics that he has to tell her he's sorry and take it back.
  • The Walking Dead: The final seasons introduce the Reapers, a murderous gang of Afghanistan war vets who also happen to be devout Christians. Their leader Pope is a crazed psychopath who believes he is delivering The Scourge of God, the lives of innocent people that he pillages be damned. In fact, anybody who even kills theirs in self-defense are deemed unholy enemies. One of them, when mortally wounded, even demands that Father Gabriel pray with him as he dies. Gabriel, naturally, recognizes it for the hot bed of shit it is and murders the man.

  • The narrator of the old spiritual song "I Hear A Voice A-Prayin'" can be interpreted as really not liking people who take this approach. It really depends on the choir and the director.
  • Parodied by the Austin Lounge Lizards with their song, "Jesus Loves Me (But He Can't Stand You)":
    I know you smoke, I know you drink that brew
    I just can't abide a sinner like you
    Y'know, God can't either, that's why I know it to be true
    That, uh, Jesus loves me, but he can't stand you
  • An infamous line from the Band Aid Charity Motivation Song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" admonishes us to think of Africans suffering from famine: "Tonight, thank God it's them instead of you." (Bono, who sang it in the original recording, has said that even at the time he disliked it and only recorded it under protest). It's been claimed that the Unfortunate Implications were a deliberate ploy, intending to shock people into realizing that attitude and work against it. In any event, the line was conspicuously removed when Band Aid released an updated version of the song 30 years later.
  • Many Blutengel lyrics present the vampires as abusive and murderous. In Save Our Souls, they finally start worrying about how bad their behavior is... for their own mental health. They still care nothing for their victims, praying only for their own souls.
    We fight against, everything and everyone
    With every war, we try to make our kingdom come
    Every day we lose ourselves, more and more
    But still we pray, for someone to save our souls
  • Daniel Amos's "Angels Tuck You In", from Doppelgänger, criticizes the belief that God owes his followers a life completely free of hardship.
    This cartoon world you've created
    It's like Disneyland
    Get out your golden ticket
    The one they give you when you’re born again
  • In Genesis' song "Jesus He Knows Me" from We Can't Dance, the Scam Religion Straw Hypocrite preacher caters to this mentality.
  • Jonathan Coulton's song "Gambler's Prayer" features a person like this. He's not praying to get over his gambling addiction.
    Deal me good cards and I'll handle the math
    We'll take their money while they take a bath
    I'll show them my hand, you'll show them your wrath
    Oh Lord, help me take money from my friends
  • Regina Spektor's "Laughing With" is essentially a list of different perceptions of god being contrasted with each other. A few lines sum up this trope:
    God can be funny,
    When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
    And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
    Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
    God can be so hilarious!
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied this with "Amish Paradise", about an Amish man singing about how much he enjoys his simple life. He's mostly portrayed as a pretty decent upstanding person who happens to prefer the life of a "crazy Mennonite" but he admits at points that the reason he acts like a decent, forgiving person to everyone, even people who mock or assault him, is because he believes he'll be going to Heaven and will be laughing his head off while those people are burning in Hell.

  • The Bible:
    • The Book of Job is straight False Accusation, as Ha-Satan claims Job's faith is contingent on his prosperity. This is disproven when Job remains faithful in spite of his suffering, though Ha-Satan doesn't stick around to the end to see how it all turns out.
    • The Book of Jonah deconstructs the trope by having God Himself call Jonah out for being more concerned about losing a vine that gave him shade than about getting tens of thousands of people in Nineveh to repent.
    • This is one of the traditional Jewish interpretations to the shift in Elijah's character from the zealous and vengeful Biblical prophet to a jolly Gandalf-like figure in later traditions. A prophet is supposed to warn the people of God's wrath, but also intercede with God on their behalf; Elijah failed to do the latter, placing his own righteousness and wounded pride first. Having to go to every Passover Seder for all eternity is his penance.
    • The group of Pharisees in the New Testament were a type A, which makes it ironic when they didn't recognize said Lord when He appeared to them disapproving of their hypocrisy and arrogance.
    • Addressed in the Epistle of James (chapter 4): "You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." In other words, God does answer prayers but for selfish prayers, the answer is "No".

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Caerns sourcebook for Werewolf: The Apocalypse provides information on Zhyzhak, the game's signature Black Spiral Dancer and warder of the Trinity Hive Caern. Zhyzhak believes that she understands Grammaw (the colossal thunderwyrm revered as a goddess by the Trinity Hive) better than anyone else, and resents the deference that other Trinity elders receive due to their knowledge of Grammaw.

  • From 1776: "The Lees of Old Virginia", "They say that God in Heaven is everybody's God...but [He] leans a little on the side of The Lees...of Old Virginia"
  • The Book of Mormon: Elder Price suffers from this and provides the page quote at the top. It's not his fault though, as it's made clear that all the praise he has gotten from his family, peers, and church elders for being a devout Mormon has caused him to honestly believe he is supposed to be rewarded for following the church's rules and practices to a T.
  • In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye constantly and very self-consciously walks the thin line between a polite personal relationship with God and being an example of both Bratty and Whiny Faith. On one occasion, he tries to persuade God (in song!) that it would be a very good thing If He Were A Rich Man. Another time, he starts pontificating while praying and begins to tell God "As the Good Book Says......" before catching himself and realizing that God already knows perfectly well what the Good Book says. Ultimately, he averts actually being this trope, but he Apologizes a Lot for it anyways.
  • Hair, "Manchester England":
    I believe in God
    And I believe that God believes in Claude, that's me
  • Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers generally takes the Whiny Faith route, particularly in "I Believe In God":
    I believe in one God,
    But then I believe in three.
    I'll believe in twenty gods
    If they'll believe in me.
    That's a pact.
    Shake on that.
    No taking back.
    Who created my life,
    Made it come to be?
    Who accepts this awful
    Is there someone out there?
    If there is, then who?
    Are you listening to this song
    I'm singing just for you?

    Video Games 
  • A "Get Back Here!" Boss in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood continually rattles on how God's on his side throughout the whole chase/fight. If you actually do catch up to him and manage to hurl him over the side of a railing, there's a special cutscene where Ezio grabs him before he falls away. "Haha! You saved me! I told you God was on my side!" However, Ezio was only grabbing him to get the key from him before he fell away and lets go right after.
  • Bioshock Infinite: Zachary H. Comstock is convinced that (A) God loves white people, (B) every other race is meant to be their slaves, and (C) since they can't follow this 'simple' dynamic on the entire planet, civilization has to burn and start over. And on a personal level, that being The Chosen One doesn't mean you have to be a saint about it - which apparently includes murdering hundreds of Native Americans, your own wife, your science division heads, anyone who speaks up against your tyrannical regime and locking your daughter in a tower for 20 years. Eventually, he gets called out on how murderous and escapist his worldview is.
  • Good old Sister Petrice of Dragon Age II is quite certain she's doing the Maker's will when she incites the public to persecute a group from a different belief system who've landed in Kirkwall. Even when she gets called out by everyone else, including her direct superior in the church.
  • Karras from Thief II: The Metal Age, in spades. "Praise be to Karras!... and The Builder." He seems quite certain his genocidal hatred of all non-machine life is shared by the Builder, and just so you know what he really believes, all the machines he designs have his face and speak with his voice.

    Web Comics 
  • In Arthur, King of Time and Space, Guinevere's initial attitude to Lancelot is of the False Accusation variety. Eventually Arthur snaps:
    Guenevere: He thinks he's so much better than us.
    Arthur: How can you still think that?
    Guenevere: Listen to him!
    Arthur: No, you listen to him for once! He doesn't go around doing right because he thinks he's better than everyone else! He does it because he's afraid he's not as good as everyone else!
  • Miko Miyazaki in The Order of the Stick, as her sanity unravels, starts believing she is specially chosen by her gods to fulfill some special purpose. Even having her paladin powers removed by said gods in a direct intervention does nothing to dissuade her, leading to one of the comic's greatest Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moments and her death.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Steve is not happy that he spent his life being a goody two-shoes specifically to reach Heaven, only to find his Hard-Drinking Party Girl sister also gets in.
  • The Preacher, aka Foghorn Leghorn from Scoob and Shag. His religious fervor stems from the fact that he believes God gave him a Ballyhoo for a higher purpose. He even seems to view his attacks on other Toons as proof he's more deserving of His gifts than the others.
  • Seymour in Sinfest thinks he is God's BFF and writes Jesus fanfics. He gets enraged when Armageddon keeps not happening. Ironically, he's the only character who has never spoken to God. The only time God has ever been in the same panel with him is when God mocked Seymour behind his back with a Seymour hand puppet labeled "Loony Fanboy".

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • Stan Smith is this at times, such as in "Dope & Faith", where he prayed to Jesus to let him win a raffle for a paddleboat. He claims his religion is the "foundation" of who he is, yet he more often than not uses this as an excuse to think that he's better than others (like in "Rapture's Delight") rather than live up to its teachings, and in "Daesong Heavy Industries", admitted that he's never actually read the Bible. Following a Crisis of Faith after Steve's logic undermines all the book's stories, he reacts dismissively to the suggestion that he simply sees them as a set of instructional fables, detesting the idea of basing his character around some "fairy tales".
    • In "Santa, Schmanta" Roger converts to Judaism, but it's transparent he's only doing so because the family is more focused on celebrating Christmas than doing what he wants to do. After acquiring the powers of Santa Claus, he uses them to supplant Christmas for Hannukah out of spite to the Smiths while completely ignoring any Jewish traditions to indulge his vices.
  • On Daria, Quinn becomes a sympathetic version of Bratty Faith for an episode — after avoiding an accident, she comes to believe she has a guardian angel who will help her with whatever she needs. After a Humiliation Conga at a party, she believes that she's been abandoned. A conversation with Daria helps her realize that she's been overly reliant on her hypothetical angel.
  • On God, the Devil and Bob, Bob often asks for favors and becomes upset when God fails to provide them. This can shift between Bratty Faith and Whiny Faith since he has a special relationship with God but doesn't act particularly devout. In addition, he once came to believe that being God's prophet meant God was protecting him from any harm, causing him to take dangerous risks (including ultimately sky-diving without a parachute). In reality, he'd just had a lot of dumb luck recently.
  • Looney Tunes: The classic Pigs is Pigs short has Piggy Hamhock, a gluttonous little piglet who doesn't give a damn about anything besides feeding his belly. At dinnertime, his mother leads his family in saying grace, but Piggy instead uses the opportunity to whine to God for lots of ice cream for dessert. While the others are distracted, he even ties everyone's spaghetti together so he can steal it all from them once they're done, and returns to his seat with a smug "amen".
  • Many characters on Moral Orel display some variety of this trope, but the Book Burning librarian, Ms. Censordoll, is a harshly straight example of Self-projecting Faith. Her interpretations of God's will are far, far stricter than the norm (to the point of burning half of the Bible itself for being too Jewish), and at one point, when she is all alone and listening to a religious radio show, she outright states she thinks she knows more than God does.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Though not as evident an example, Ned Flanders sometimes becomes this in his Christian overzealousness, sometimes showing a condescending view of God's treatment towards others or praying for his goodwill for even minor things like winning a game of bowling (this one works). He's usually not nearly as bad as Homer thinks, however. It's also very much Depending on the Writer.
    • In the season 10 Episode "Lisa Gets An A", Lisa is given homework while sick from school (Reading The Wind in the Willows), but fails to do so, being hooked on a video game. Unprepared for the test on the book, she prays to God for a miracle saying "Come on! You owe me!"
    • "Pray Anything" has Homer endlessly praying to God for good luck or indulgences, which actually come true. He returns the favor later on by suing the church following an accident. In Homer's defense, Homer believed this was God's work, as when he was praying for funds/a better home, he underwent the accident on the church grounds seconds later before a lawyer shows up seconds later after that. Given by that point he had swapped praying for demanding God for nice things however, it still very much applies as Bratty Faith category.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride", Jimbo starts praying to Jesus to give their team one last score to beat the spread. Jesus, who is also in the crowd, tells Jimbo to leave him alone.
    • Cartman in "The Human CentiPad" rants at God for "fucking him over" (his Spoiled Brat tendencies have gotten out of control in this episode, to the point where even Liane can't put up with it). Cartman then promptly gets struck by lightning.

Alternative Title(s): Spoiled Brat Of The Lord