Follow TV Tropes


Fighting Your God

Go To

"The temples are burning. The statues have fallen. We have starved them of our prayers! Tonight, after a generation of struggle, the Sun does not set over the ocean. It sets on Olympus itself! A new era has begun! The Era of Man!"
King Kepheus, Clash of the Titans (2010)

There are many in various cultures who worship divine beings and higher forces that they believe shape their lives and bedrock their cultures. The Gods are seen as loyal patrons and figures of respect, who rule the world with wisdom or cruelty, depending on the faith system in question. Sometimes the figures of worships are venerated messiahs and enlightened symbols that guide mankind in some way or another. Normally the believers would never dare to rise against the objects of their faith and kneel in reverence of their holy demagogues.

Then there are times when believers in a setting actively see their gods as a grievous impediment to their lives. Some reasons include the "gods" in question are Jerkass Gods demanding human sacrifice or not fulfilling their worshippers' expectations, harming the loved ones of the believers, or have outdated ways of thinking that their believers just refuse to follow despite their faith. Sometimes believers think they do not need their gods anymore and can do just find ruling themselves, declaring conflict in the name of independence. The believers decide to pull off the ultimate Rage Against the Heavens and actively declare open conflict with their figures of worship. Sometimes the believers might want to be Gods themselves. That is when this trope comes into play.

This trope is when the believers of a certain faith system or Crystal Dragon Jesus in their setting actively decide to fight against the object of their faith. Often times the trope can result in the believers confronting their own divine figures and telling them off. At worst, the believers may even decide to Kill the God and slay their own theological figures as an ultimate display of rejection.

Unlike Kill the God, this particular trope requires the people fighting their figures of faith or divine forces to actively worship and/or acknowledge them on a personal or cultural level while being no less willing to bring the pain.


    open/close all folders 
    Anime & Manga 
  • This becomes a central conflict in the second half of the story of Fire Force. The good members of the Church of the Holy Sol and everyone in the know with a shred of morality reels in religious dread at the revelation that the world-ending fanatical cult the White Clad actually runs the Church and the divine being they worship and serve called the Evangelist is actually the Sun God all of the Tokyo Empire worships and wants to destroy civilization. Shinra, himself a believer in the Sun God, resolves to become the Devil that destroys God if that God truly plans on destroying the world and his loved ones with it.
  • Briefly discussed in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid where Chantez thinks of how weird it would be if she (a sister in training of the Saint Church) ended up facing off against Vivio in the Inter-Middle Championship. They're both knocked out of the tournament long before they would have faced each other.

    Comic Books 
  • Despite being an ardent worshipper of the Greek Gods, Wonder Woman is never afraid to dish out some pain to her own divine patrons when they step out of line and has done so with comical frequency. She engages in regular conflict and even killed Ares, her own theistic God of War, in multiple continuities; though as she explained to Steve Trevor the first time they did so, generally a human killing an Olympian only weakens them as their physical forms are only a part of their power so she never kills them permanently. She even punched Zeus, King of the Gods and the Divine Patriarch of her People, square in the jaw after growing tired of his shenanigans in at least one story.
  • Jesse Custer, as a Christian preacher, starts the second half of his quest to do this in Preacher. After meeting the God he preached of for much of his life and finding out that same God is a self-absorbed monster who then bites out his eye and leaves him for dead, Jesse renews his spirit and decides to make a plan to pay God back with interest.
  • In the "Death of the New Gods" story arc of the New Gods, Darkseid decides to pull a Last Villain Stand against the Source, the Divine Force that created the New Gods and is worshipped by the New Gods on Genesis and Apokolips, as revenge for its plan to destroy the New Gods for being flawed creations.
  • According to the New 52, this is how Darkseid committed his Start of Darkness after some pent-up Rage Against the Heavens. The reason the Old Gods are dead? Uxas got pissed at them constantly amusing themselves by fighting and causing massive collateral damage to the mortals like him who lived at their feet, so he killed them all and stole their power, becoming Darkseid.
  • Black Panther has had T'challa do this at least once with the Panther God of Wakanda, though it is notable that when he does so, it tends to be to prove a point to his deity, who does tend to take the King's point in stride, the most notable case being the Panther God taking an avatar and nearly causing a war for Wakanda with a neighboring country.
    T'Challa: You are my god, and I love you with every fiber of my being, but you are wrong.
  • The race known as "The Uncreated" in the Marvel Verse essentially did this. They were originally known as "The Works", knowing for a fact they were artificially created by a cosmic being and eventually developed a species-wide inferiority complex that led them to search for their "God". In an act of defiance, the Works killed their "God" and devoured its corpse after finding it and renamed themselves as the Uncreated to declare themselves to be superior to their creator by "recreating" themselves in their own image.
  • In the Legion Of Superheroes, Shikari Lonestar ends up having to do this in the "Legion Lost" arc. As a rebel member of the pacifistic alien race of the Kwai, Shikari encountered the Legion of Super-Heroes when she happened across the remains of the Legion Outpost thrown through a space-time rift. She decided to help them get back home and escape the Progeny who were killing off races they deemed impure or "deviants". Only later did she uncover that the Progeny were serving the will of the Progenitor aka a time-displaced Element Lad who was accidentally left behind within the rift and stayed trapped there for billions of years. During that time, he created entirely new sentient species such as the Kwai and became known as the Maker that became worshipped by all of his created species. Having worshipped the Maker, Skikari is more than a little disturbed at the revelation her own God is now her enemy, but is no less reluctant to fight Element Lad with the Legionares to stop his malicious plans.
  • Hound: During a party held by King Connor, Father Kava prays for Morrigan to side with Ulla and never against them. In the climax of the story, he and the warriors of Ulla come together with Cú Cullan to fight the goddess of war when Cú Cullan reveals that she, not Queen Maeve and her kingdom of Connact, is the true enemy.

  • In Dungeon Keeper Ami, whether it happens to be good people worshipping a God of Evil, or evil people who don't have any loyalty, both have this trope as part of their plans and actively decide to fight against their God in the end.
  • The entire premise of Left Beyond, especially in the first timeline when the Foreman recruits a Catholic priest to act as a theology advisor. The priest agrees to fight the God he spent more than half a century being devoted to after coming to agree that said God is committing atrocities by bringing about the prophecies in Revelation.


  • In Dark Heart, the gods of Caliel were once mortals who rose to power after rebelling against and overthrowing the selfish, power-hungry elder gods they worshipped.
  • In Craft Sequence, the human Craftsmen started a war with the gods. They managed to kill most of them.
  • Many of the Eternal Champion works of Michael Moorcock have the main characters, different incarnations of the Eternal Champion, fighting against their patron gods whose behavior is unbalancing the universes they are supposed to manage. The Elric Saga specifically ends with Elric destroying, among others, the avatar in the universe of his own patron deity, Arioch, after he and the other Gods of Chaos try to conquer the entire planet.
  • The Salvation War pits humanity against both Heaven and Hell, after the former leaves humanity to its own devices against the latter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Red Dwarf has a race of humanoid cats who mostly worship Lister as their God. However, by the episode The Promised Land, a cat fleet is taken over by a feral cat called Rodon, who fights against the religion and, eventually, Lister himself.
  • Stargate SG-1 is all about this. The Goa'uld masqueraded as gods and enslaved humanity, bringing them to other planets and turning some of them into Jaffa. The SGC's goal is to convince these people to rebel against their "gods" as they do themselves.
    • Later escalated with the Ori; while the Goa'uld merely aped divinity via advanced technology, the Ori genuinely did have nearly omnipotent powers, thanks to having Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence. They are nonetheless fought and ultimately wiped out.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Worf claims that Klingons have no gods because Klingon Warriors killed them centuries ago. Apparently they were "more trouble than they were worth." We later learn that this was actually a joke. The Gods were really all killed almost immediately after the first two Klingons were created; the Gods created the female second, a companion for the first male but even stronger than him. He grew jealous and tried to fight her, but instead, with her blade to the male's throat, the female suggested We Can Rule Together, so they turned against the Gods and wiped them out. This partnership is the core of the Klingon ideal of marriage: two Klingon hearts beating together can defeat any foe.
  • Supernatural: The Winchesters and even Castiel end up doing this in Season 15 when God, the literal God they all were praying for guidance or help and saved them at times since Season 1, becomes their worst and final big enemy. Naturally, this ends badly for them and requires multiple lower-level god-like beings for them to even stay alive.

  • Happened from time to time In Greek Mythology:
    • During the Trojan War, the Grecian warrior Diomedes wounds not one but two Greek gods in a single day after they threw in their lot in with the Trojans: Aphrodite (while telling her to leave the fighting to the warriors), then Ares (who'd come to avenge her with some help from Athena). The other gods have to tell him to knock it off before he lets up.
    • Heracles did this from time to time, as the favored demigod son of Zeus and worshipper of his divine father and pantheon, he had no problem beating up Greek Gods who got in his way, pissed him off, or if he needed to help a friend. He beat up Apollo, Ares the God of War, and Thanatos the God of Death for each reason respectively.
  • Happen to Jacob in a chapter of the "Book of Genesis", where the God-fearing man wrestles against an angel he feared was an enemy that he later learnt was God himself, thereby receiving the name of "Israel" for "he fought against God."

    Video Games 
  • God of War, of course. Kratos was once an ardent Spartan follower of Ares, but killed Ares and took his place to serve among the other Gods after being tricked into slaying his family. After being betrayed again by the Gods, he goes on a killing spree in Olympus as well as many other legends from Greek Mythology. Of course, killing the gods that govern the elements or the guy that guards the souls of the dead had unfortunate consequences for the rest of the Greek World
  • Happens in Final Fantasy from time to time:
    • Final Fantasy X has the entire party sans Tidus go through this, notably for Wakka, against the Church of Yu Yevon. Wakka in particular spends most of the game as a devout Yevonite until he discovers that they betray their own teachings by using the very machina they forbid. That, coupled with all of their lying, backstabbing, and assassination attempts on the party, really begins to sour Wakka on the church and gives him a Crisis of Faith. By the end, he views them as "nothing but low-life tricksters" who are just getting in the way. As such he joins his pals in essentially defeating the Church, Sin, and even Yu Yevon himself, effectively fighting and defeating his own belief system, Satanic Archetype, and Figure of Worship in one sitting.
    • In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning spends much of the game serving the will of Bhunivelze as his Angel of Death and worships Him as her God while thinking he is ushering souls into a new world in the collapse of the old one. When she finds out he is a monstrous tyrant who wants to wipe out free will and the souls of her friends, she decides to take him down instead.
    • In Final Fantasy XV, the Astrals are the Gods of Eos and human civilization, each overseeing the elements of the world. Noctis and his friends, themselves reverent of the Astrals, are forced to defeat some of them in combat to earn their respect and power to fight the Empire of Nifleheim. The two exceptions are Shiva, who was always a friend to Noctis and Luna since their childhood, and Ramuh, who simply asks (or rather, asks Gentiana to ask) Noctis to activate his runestones. Ifrit is the odd one out because Ardyn, another worshipper of the Gods at the time, already beat Noctis to it by forming a Covenant with Ifrit (infecting him with the Starscourge in the process) decades ago.
    • Final Fantasy XVI: Ultima proves to be an abusive precursor, having created humanity only to abandon them and intentionally 'gift' them gigantic crystals that secretly siphoned the life force of their planet, all to purely profit from draining an entire world. Except, after 'gifting' Clive divine superpowers so he could be hollowed out and used as a physical shell, Clive masters those superpowers instead and uses them to punch Ultima to death.
  • In Genshin Impact, the Electro Archon Baal rules over the nation of Inazuma with an iron fist, enacting a Vision Hunt Decree to seize and confiscate any Visions that mortal Inazumans have received in her pursuit for "Eternity" and closing off the nation to keep people from coming in and out as they please. Because of the tyrannical rule imposed by her Bakufu Shogunate, many people attempt to flee Inazuma to escape their Archon's wrath, but a few others decide to stay and oppose their god instead, seeking refuge in the remote Watatsumi Island where they formed a La Résistance group for a chance to overturn Baal's eternal reign.
  • In Dragalia Lost, the religion of Grastaea worships two beings. The goddess Ilia and the Holywyrm Elysium (who is essentially considered to be the god of dragons). Both of them are painted in benevolent light within the history of the Ilian Church. Come the "Forgotten Truths" event, it is revealed that Elysium is actually a Control Freak who wanted complete power over humans while the Ilia of legend is actually a Faerie named Meene who took the name of Ilia after her adopted human daughter performed a Heroic Sacrifice when sealing away Morsayati. Later, Elysium serves as the raid boss and main antagonist for the "Dawn of Dragalia" event, in which Alberius has to fight Elysium when the Holywyrm declares humans to be unworthy of living after Myriam's father is responsible for freeing Morsayati, aka the Other. Averted with Meene and the real Ilia, who are made playable upon their official introduction, with Ilia even making it to the game's present time and befriending Leonidas.
  • Happens two times in Fate/Grand Order:
    • Lakshmi Bai leads the rebellion against the God Arjuna, the amalgamation of the Hindu gods she worships, in the fourth Lostbelt. She is disgusted with his callous disregard for people's lives in his reckless pursuit of a world free of evil, fighting to end his rule and restore the proper cycle of reincarnation.
    • In the fifth Lostbelt, the Greek Orion is forced to shoot down his beloved Artemis at the climax of the Atlantis chapter. In Olympus, Adele and Makarios help Chaldea strike down the rest of the Greek pantheon in their pursuit of something beyond eternal life.
  • Inverted in Warframe. Several Tenno and their Warframes were revered as Patron Saints or gods by the members of the Orokin Empire. The Scoria order held Ash up as the epitome of the political assassination it extolled, while Nezha was considered a patron War God of the Child Soldiers of Reshantur. And yet, the reverence Ash received did not stop him from slaughtering the Scoria when the Orokin fell.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin II Act 3, you learn a lot of unflattering things about the Seven Gods of Rivellon, including your own patron (specifically, that they were originally the Eternals, who rebelled against their people and banished them to the Void, condemning those people to become the Voidwoken, and then proceeded to create the mortal races simply to feed on their Source). Regardless of how you might feel about them after this, the issue gets forced at the end of the act, with your patron turning against you, both as punishment for allowing the Wellspring to be destroyed by Dallis, and as a last-ditch attempt to stave off their death by Source starvation.
  • Downplayed, subverted, and possibly played straight at the same time in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Vyrthur, from the Dawnguard DLC, was once an Arch-Curate of the Chantry of Auri-El in the late Merethic Era until he was turned into a vampire by an initiate. Blaming his god Auri-El for failing to protect him from becoming a vampire, he used an Elder Scroll (of which even the Aedra, the gods of the setting, must adhere to if certain conditions are fulfilled) to concoct a prophecy called the Tyranny Of The Sun to exact his revenge on Auri-El. It is only downplayed in that, since the Aedra no longer take physical form, the most Vyrthur could ever hope to achieve, and indeed strives for, is to weaken Auri-El's influence over the world. Naturally, Auri-El, who is more colloquially known as Akatosh to the races of Men, has something to say about that and is not only implied to have revoked his protection over Vyrthur because of what Vyrthur would later donote , he is implied to have sent the Last Dragonborn to personally punish Vyrthur. Subverted if the Last Dragonborn decides to use the Blood-Cursed Arrows of Auriel's Bow and fires them at the sky, thus disrupting Auri-El's influence over the world for a day and giving Vyrthur some measure of revenge even in death (as the Dragonborn had no idea what Auriel's Bow power could really do until they find and battle Vyrthur). Played straight if one takes the theory that all dragons, and by extension all Dragonborns, are aspects of Akatosh/Auri-El himself as canon.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer'' has two examples of this, both of which revolve around Gods of the Dead and the Wall of the Faithless, a construct used to punish atheists by inflicting an And I Must Scream fate on their dead souls:
    • Akachi was once one of the greatest priests of Myrkul, a former god of death, but turned on his god because he allowed Akachi's lover to be imprisoned in the Wall. He then led The First Crusade against Myrkul's home, the Fugue Plane, in the hope of freeing his lover's soul.
    • Kaelyn the Dove is a half-celestial who once served Kelemvor, Myrkul's successor and the current God of the Dead, but became disillusioned with his religion because he continues to maintain the Wall, which she sees as a symbol of tyranny. Kaelyn has turned her service to the church of Ilmater, god of alleviating suffering, and now plans to join The Second Crusade so that she, like Akachi, can assault the Fugue Plane and tear the Wall down once and for all.
  • Doom Eternal has the Doom Slayer (himself a devout Catholic) facing off against the Khan Maykr, whose realm of Urdak is said to have been the inspiration for many cultures' version of Heaven and angels, and who before her betrayal was known as nothing less than the "Mother God" of the Sentinel race. The reason the Slayer is fighting her is that she is seeking to condemn his world to Hell as she has done with other worlds as part of her deal with Hell in order to save her own race, the Maykrs, from Transfiguration.
    • This theme is even more pronounced in the Ancient Gods DLC where it is revealed at the very end that Davoth, the Dark Lord of Hell whose demonic forces you have been fighting throughout the series, is the true Father of all creation, who seeks to destroy all that he created in revenge for the Maykrs betraying him, stealing his power and sealing him and his original people away in their original realm, Jekkad, which would soon become Hell because of Davoth's wrath.
  • In Pillars of Eternity Eder's backstory is that he was a worshipper of Eothas who fought in the Saints War on the side that ended up killing his god, believing that his avatar Waidwen was a fraud. He's deeply troubled by whether or not he fought on the right side as well as whether he truly betrayed his god. In the sequel he ends up accompanying the player as Eothas is now the central antagonist, leading to even more personal strife.

    Web Animation 
  • Occurs in RWBY where, in the distant past, a powerful mage led the people of Remnant against their Gods. The Gods wiped out humanity on Remnant in response. Salem was the one who led the fight. She survived, and became a powerful nearly immortal witch hellbent on destruction.

    Western Animation 
  • According to Hawkgirl in Justice League, the people of Thanagar once worshiped a pantheon of extradimensional entities known as The Great Old Ones. At that time, Thanagar was a harsh world and theirs a primitive and savage culture; in return for offerings made to him, the Old Ones' leader, Icthultu, gave the Thanagarians agriculture, mathematics, and philosophy; the foundations of their entire culture. As they matured, however, the Thanagarians grew sick of their gods' demands for sacrifice and fought against them; modern-day Thanagarians now bow down to no higher power.
  • Occurs in the Son Of Mars episode of Adventure Time where Finn sees the King of Mars and a much worshipped God of Ooo, Grob Gob Glob Grod, about to execute Jake while believing he is the trouble-making Magic Man (thanks to the real Magic Man pulling a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Jake to save his hide). Finn rushes and decides to beam Glob across his faces with a chair to save his friend and then chews everyone out for Jake being accidentally killed during the scuffle.