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Jesus Taboo

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"Because Christianity is an uncommon religion in Japan, we thought it would be mysterious. None of the staff...are Christians...we just thought the visual symbols of Christianity look cool. If we had known the show would get distributed in the US and Europe, we might have rethought that choice."
— Producer Kazuya Tsurumaki, talking about Neon Genesis Evangelion.

When a writer uses a religion (especially Christianity) in a story, but avoids going into God, Jesus, or anything of substance about the religion. Christian symbols, especially the Cross, might appear, but their theological significance will not be touched upon. There are two distinct variations of this trope.

The first version of this trope is common in anime and manga. Japan has a long and complex relationship with Christianity. Early contact with Europeans brought about a lot of novelty which was loved, oppressed, adopted, and feared all at once. Christian symbols were unusual, dramatic, and powerful. Christians were also seen as subversives by the state. Early Japanese converts were heavily oppressed and therefore quite rare. Consequently, many Japanese have seen many Christian symbols, but know little about the religion itself. From a Japanese perspective, Christianity can be a way to spice up a story with an exotic religion, similar to how in some Western stories, Hinduism, or at least Hinduism-like aspects, are used for the same purposes. These don't stop at simple metaphors; sometimes whole references exist to events or even specific names to Christian folklore or religious texts. These are sometimes unusual, incorrect, wildly inappropriate, or the simple product of religious syncretism. Likewise, the symbols, rituals, and trappings of Christian sects are used often without awareness of the meaning.

The second variation is common in Western fiction. While Christianity remains the dominant religion in the western world, a significant number of people are not strongly religious. Also, Christians have differing levels of piety and different interpretations of their religion. Being Christian does not necessarily mean that someone is interested in fiction with an explicitly religious theme. To appeal to the broadest audience, a writer will avoid mentioning Jesus even if their work involves God or the Devil. God will represent a generic "good" while the Devil will be generically "evil." This keeps the writer from tying himself to a specific religion. Although it may also have to do with Jesus being a part of the Trinity — something which many writers simply ignore due to it being a huge Mind Screw concept to some. Sometimes, especially in kids' shows, God's name will also be replaced with a euphemism like "the big guy", unless it's being used as an exclamation.

Lighter and Softer programming will focus on a vaguely defined God or a religious person's attempts to teach people lessons or offer them comfort (See 7th Heaven). Darker and Edgier works will present the struggle between God and Satan as war between good and evil without defining what either of those sides represent (See Constantine). In the worlds with Crossover Cosmology, Jesus somehow never appears in line with Greek, Norse and Egyptian deities. In stories that involve characters fighting forces of Hell, they're almost never reinforced or instructed directly by the God, and if they are, he will appear in anything but Jesus's shape.

A work might still fit this trope if Jesus is mentioned only as a character in The Bible or a historical figure. However, he will not be an explicit part of the show's plot or moral.

Notably, even in works containing a critical portrayal of an organized religion and even with one that is secretly evil or openly so, the requisite Christ Figure generally isn't criticized.

Needless to say, many non-Christian religions suffer similar fates in the West. Also, works that are specifically written for evangelism avert this.

See also: Santa Clausmas, No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus and Church of Saint Genericus. Ambiguously Christian is when characters' beliefs about Jesus are hard to pin down.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross:
    • During the attack in the Christmas episode, Minmay takes shelter in a Catholic or Anglican church that's portrayed accurately, down to a priest in a collar, and a number of parishioners, making the sign of the cross.
    • In an earlier episode, Max Jenius crosses himself in a quite accurate Catholic manner after his and Hikaru's wingman is killed.
  • Averted in Hellsing. Jesus Christ gets called by name a number of times. The series and its creators have really Shown Their Work when it comes to Christianity in general, portraying both Protestants and Catholics in a fairly accurate light and embracing Fantastic Catholicism instead of the more common and very inaccurate Anime Catholicism, which tends to be less palatable to Western audiences.
    Father Anderson: If anyone does not love our Lord in Heaven, Jesus Christ...let him be accosted where he stand. God save you from his fate. AAAAAMEEEEEEENNNNNN!
    • The quote above comes from Father Alexander Anderson, a Scottish priest who works as a Holy Hitman for the Vatican's Iscariot Section XIII and wears a glove on his right hand that reads "Jesus Christ is in Heaven".
  • Shaman King:
    • In an episode of Shaman King, Yoh was set to fight Johann Faust in a cemetery. While waiting for his opponent to show up, he asks why some of the graves have marks on them shaped like a lowercase t. His diminutive buddy, Manta, has to explain to him that the mark is actually a cross and that those people were Christians. In the manga at least, Yoh lightly freaks out, as the idea of physical burial is in stark contrast to the tradition of cremation that he's grown up with. It also gives his opponent for that fight, a necromancer, a lot more ammo to work with.
    • Also in the manga, when learning about the Shaman King tradition, Manta for a moment muses on whether Buddha and Jesus were Shaman Kings — best buddies with the Great Spirit, able to change the world, etc.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • As noted above, draws on Judeo-Christian tradition more for its mythic symbology than for any relevant plot points. The name "Jesus Christ" is never actually spoken anywhere in the series (although a few redshirts did exclaim "Oh Jesus!" in the English dub of The End of Evangelion right before being shot). Then again, it did focus almost exclusively on the "Judeo" side of the equation, except for the occasional cross-shaped explosion.
    • And, y'know, the name. "Evangelion" is Greek for "Good News" or "Gospel".
    • Remember that Shinji gets stigmata from having Unit-01's hands pierced both in The End of Evangelion and the second part of the Rebuild of Evangelion.
  • Zakuro Fujiwara/Mew Zakuro from Tokyo Mew Mew is some sect of Protestant in the anime, apparently one that has little problem with lesbians. She wears a cross, prays and goes to church, but never during actual scheduled mass times. Her weapon, the Zakuross, is a whip with a cross-shaped handle. The Macekred English dub "censored" this by removing the sides from all the crosses, prompting a joke in the fanbase that Renee venerates toothpicks.
  • Black Lagoon:
    • Black Lagoon features a church which is also a front for an arms-smuggling operation, known affectionately as "the Church of Violence". One of the characters, Sister Eda, often makes disparaging remarks about her own religion which can be construed as deeply offensive to a devout Christian. For example, she speaks in reference to herself as a nun when she says "she serves the ultimate trickster, the man who walked across the Sea of Galilee". Also a case of research failure; Jesus is at no point said to have walked across the whole Sea of Galilee, only from the shore to a fishing boat.
    • Revy and Eda have a discussion about what type of gun Jesus would carry. That alone speaks volumes about the extent of this trope, as anyone who knows even the slightest thing about Christianity could tell you that Jesus was the Badass Pacifist and probably not the type to even consider packing heat.
  • In Sailor Moon S Usagi (or, at least, Sailor Moon) is known as The Messiah, and uses The Holy Grail... or at least an item called The Holy Grail (seihai) to become Super Sailor Moon. The villainess Mistress 9 gets the name The Messiah of Silence. In the Cloverway dub these terms are changed to The Sovereign, The Purity Chalice, and The Sovereign of Silence. However, there were times that the dub threw out its production bible out the window and went with whatever term it felt like. They once used "Ambassador of Good", instead of "The Sovereign".
  • D.Gray-Man makes an early reference to the biblical flood of Noah as an early attempt to destroy the world caused by the Forces of Evil getting their hands on one Plot Coupon too many. Additionally, the villains are all gray-skinned, powerful humans that are part of Noah's family. It would appear that the manga's author is under the impression that Noah caused the flood. One interpretation suggests that the Noah were the incarnations of the various feelings Noah had after the flood when humanity started becoming just as decadent and corrupt as the ones washed away in the flood. Cain's family would make more sense, since Noah's family is supposed to be a genetic bottleneck where everyone went down to one family again, like in the beginning, so everyone is, in theory, descended from Noah. Noah's son Ham's lineage was supposed to be cursed for Ham's rudeness in looking at his father while drunk and naked, but this was interpreted for so many centuries as referring to the entire population of Africa that making the villains the descendants of Ham probably wouldn't go too well.
    • Well... looking at the actual curse, it was Ham's son Canaan who was cursed, not Put, Mizraim, and Cush. (Some commentaries say that since the sons were blessed, they could not then be cursed. Others say that Ham was involved but not mentioned in the above incident.) Anyway, despite what people who merely glance at the pages of their Bibles have read, Ham was not named as the curse's target.
      • Later chapters reveal that not all is as it appears. Cross Marian's last message to Allen before he died may have hinted that the Noah may not be the bad guys in this fight after all, considering it was most likely the Vatican that assassinated Cross. Also when in human form, none of the Noah seem malicious, including the Millennium Earl.
    • Also, the organization the main characters belong to is subordinate to the Pope. He's come up several times, in a name-dropping sort of way on the part of some nasty fellows from central headquarters, which appear to be in Rome. God's had a name-drop or two, as well. But the Asia branch had a guardian god in their headquarters. And no Jesus.
  • Despite all of the main characters being angels and demon (or evils, whatever those are), and generally bastardizing Christian mythology, the closest Angel Sanctuary ever comes to mentioning Jesus is a few shots of the crucifix in a flashback.
  • Trinity Blood is chock full of Christians, with most of the protagonists being Catholic priests or "nuns", the group's leader being a Cardinal, and the Pope being a significant character, and there are three characters named Abel, Cain and Seth (originally the three sons of Adam and Eve). Despite this, there are almost no references to Christian beliefs or mythology. The name "God" is mentioned a few times, but never Jesus. (In the anime, at least.)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Fullmetal Alchemist's religious subtext is extensive and subtle. The villain has an overwhelming god complex which includes the idea of the homunculi as all of his 'sins' removed from his soul. He even crucifies Greed. Calls him 'my son', and when he won't come back to the fold, kills and subsumes him. God is discussed by numerous characters from several perspectives. No Jesus, though. Hohenheim has some potential as a somewhat pathetic Jesus expy, but since he's also a sort of Cain, things get confusing. Devil/God-the-Father and Jesus/Cain-the-accursed. It's very strange.
    • Early on, Ed speaks with Truth, who very openly states that It is what humans would call "God". However, it seems like the God of the Fullmetal universe is not so much The Creator personified as it is the all-encompassing, unconscious creative force of the universe itself — thus, the more proper name is Truth. In other words, Science Is God/God Is Science, in a very literal sense. (Frank Lloyd Wright said it best — "I believe in God. I just spell it 'N-A-T-U-R-E.'") Which, it should be added, is actually one of the traditional views historically: the logic was that by studying His works, you will better understand Him. This got dropped in the Renaissance by the rise of men who, when you got down to it, wanted to make the Ancient Romans and Greeks into a lost Golden Age and themselves as the bringers of a Silver Age.
    • And of course, Truth, as in "The Way, the Truth, and the Life," is one of Jesus' many names/titles.
    • Averted for a brief moment in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003). In a moment that foreshadows a major twist later on, Izumi notes that the date on a letter she found was dated based on the birth of Christ. She then goes on to say that it belongs to a religion that hadn't been practiced in 400 years. And although the religion itself isn't super relevant, the finale of the series takes place in a city underneath a clearly Christian chapel.
  • Trigun is a heavy aversion of this as the writer of the manga is in fact a legitimate Christian, and while it doesn't make it explicit beyond the gun-slinging priest that is Nicholas D. Wolfwood, both the manga and the anime are full of Christian themes.
  • While Christian elements are otherwise quite absent from Eureka Seven, The Bible does get a passing mention as being the oldest surviving text from Earth.
  • Seemingly played straight at the beginning of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 7, the MacGuffin in this part is the Holy Corpse of an unnamed saint which grants supernatural powers to those who fuse it with their own bodies. It's then averted when it's revealed they're actually collecting parts of Jesus himself.
  • Averted in Hetalia: Axis Powers: God shows up from time to time.
  • In The Dissappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Kyon exclaims in his mind: "Who do I have to pray? Christ? Buddha? Mohammed? Zoroaster? Lovecraft?" as he hopes to find the titular character against all odds. Also, Haruhi earlier declares that even "Mr. Christ" would be glad that they are enjoying themselves, and that they'd later have to celebrate the birthdays of Mohammed and Buddha for the sake of fairness.
  • Very dramatically averted in Samurai Champloo, as later episodes in the series explicitly tackle the subject of Japanese Christians and the historical persecution they suffered. The Sunflower Samurai, Fuu's father, is one.
  • Averted in Lupin III. In the first anime series, Lupin is shown praying in a Christian church. In the second series, the Christ the Redeemer statue plays a part in one of the heists. Another episode features a vampire claiming to be Christ's sister.
  • Sailor Moon: After Nephrite (Neflite) is killed, there's a story where Naru (Molly) meets a priest at a cemetery. The dub censored out all use of the word "priest", even referring to him with the curiously non-specific term "person" in the preview for the episode, or in one instance as "a kindly man".
  • Digimon: The dubbers have usually replaced "god" with "sovereign" or something like that. They also seem to be doing away with the word "lord," despite it also having a non-religious definition. In the first series' dub, every bad guy was referred to as "lord" at some point; there's even a scene where DemiDevimon insists the Digi-Destined call Myotismon "lord." And there's the VenomMyotismon arc where the brainwashed humans were chanting, "Myotismon, lord and master!" But in later seasons, the use declined to the point where a character named LordKnightmon had his name changed first to Crusadermon (due to his effeminacy) and then to LoadKnightmon. Now, "master" is more often used.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics had, for decades, a literal Jesus Taboo that began in the 1980s: after the Handbook to the Marvel Universe was first printed, it explained that none of the major Judeo-Christian personas had ever appeared in one of their comics (retconning even series like Son of Satan) — that it was always a case of impostors, such as the demon Mephisto claiming to be Satan. This has relaxed in recent years. One particularly infamous Ghost Rider story had a character known as The Friend — obviously Jesus — helping save the hero from Satan. This was later retconned to have been a way for Satan to give the hero a false Hope Spot. Apparently, the editors didn't realize that this sort of implied that Satan had free run in the Marvel Universe but God never interfered.
  • One Swamp Thing comic was going to feature the creature, lost in time, meeting Jesus on the day of his crucifixion. It was scrapped at the last minute. The story's author Rick Veitch didn't work with DC for years afterward.
  • In The Cartoon History of the Universe, most Biblical figures are referred to by their most common English names ("John" rather than "Yohanan," for instance) — except for Jesus and Yahweh/Jehovah, invariably rendered as "Yeshua" and "Yahu-Wahu." "Yahu-Wahu" is part of a running gag; in the intro for the section that deals with Biblical times, the Professor says that they don't know the Jewish God's real name, just the consonants YHWH, and that it was eventually declared that anyone who said it would be struck by lightning. The Historian remarks that it could be anything, even "Yahu-Wahu" — at which point he gets zapped. (Thereafter, Gonick uses "Yahu" whenever he mentions the Jewish God.)
  • In the Don Rosa comic book A Letter From Home, Scrooge, Donald and the nephews recover a storehouse of ancient treasures collected by the Templars, including the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. In the foreword, Rosa explains that he received numerous letters asking why he never had Scrooge go on an adventure to recover the Grail, one of the most sought treasures in history. He replies that he wanted to give each of those readers a Dope Slap before explaining that recounting the history of the Grail would explicitly confirm the existence of Jesus in the Donald Duck universe, which wouldn't fly with Disney and most readers. The holy artifacts therefore had to be lumped in with a larger mystery.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm plays this as straight as an arrow for the first book, and the first 15 chapters of the second, with Knights of the Cross (who are fairly ecumenical, being picked as agents of God and not necessarily needing to be Christian), churches mentioned in the background, the occasional biblical quotation, and even a reference or two to Adam, the Anti Anti Christ from Good Omens, as well as vague remarks about 'the White God', who's noted to be something of an oddity among the collected pantheons (he might be an Elder God, or just a very old Skyfather, or something else entirely. If anyone knows for sure, they're not telling). Then, at the end of the Forever Red arc in the sequel, he appears as a fairly ordinary looking short, Middle Eastern, Jewish guy, who proves to be both very friendly and extremely powerful as he offers counsel to Harry. Who doesn't immediately figure out who he is. When he does, his reaction is priceless.
    Jesus fucking Christ!
  • Subverted in Misfiled Dreams (a Misfile fanfic). Rumisiel mentions that Jesus was actually a scam by the angels, though he's not sure of the exact details, or even if it worked as planned.
    Amanda: But I thought you had perfect memory
    Rumisiel: Sure. I can remember exactly what I was thinking about when I was supposed to be paying attention in History class.

    Films — Animation 
  • Frozen (2013): Elsa's coronation takes place in a small chapel, by a figure who in robes and a bishop hat, rather like one would expect from a Christian monarchy... but without a single Christian symbol present anywhere. Even the cross on the bishop hat has been replaced.
  • The Secret of Kells: Though the film is centered around a monastery and the creation of an illuminated New Testament, the religion is only alluded to. Christian symbols appear and their mythical relationship with pre-Christian deities is touched upon, as well as their treatment by Viking raiders. Justifiably nothing is really said about the theology of the characters as it is only a background for the plot.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Bruce Almighty and its sequel Evan Almighty, God plays a major role and is obviously supposed to be the Christian God. However, Jesus is never mentioned. God does mention appearing to Mahatma Gandhi, suggesting that the God of the films' universe is more universalist.
  • Played with in the George Burns movie Oh, God!. When asked, God admits that Jesus was His son — but then also counts Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, and various other spiritual leaders as His children as well.
  • Noah is an odd example since it's considered to be a biblical movie loosely based on the Old Testament story of Noah's ark. "God" or "Yahweh" is called the "Creator" instead and it introduces the Watchers/ Nephilim, who aided Noah in building the ark. In general, despite ostensibly being a biblical film, it feels more like a completely original Low Fantasy story loosely inspired by a biblical story.
  • In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the witch-hating villains are clearly based off Puritans and other fundamantalist Christian movements. However, they never mention God or Jesus and they are never shown reading Bibles or displaying crosses.
  • Thor: Love and Thunder features gods from just about every major earthly religion, in-keeping with the Crossover Cosmology of the source materialexcept Jesus and the Christian God. The closest either gets to being mentioned is a pointedly unnamed and off-screen "god of carpenters" that gets mentioned at one point, but it's not even clear if that's meant to be Jesus. Given the rather unflattering light many of the gods are portrayed in (in contrast to the source material), the reasons for keeping Christianity out of the firing line are pretty obvious.

  • His Dark Materials: Despite a mention of taking communion in the first book, it's never clear how Jesus fits into the Authority's goal of using the hierarchy of churches to suppress independent thought and the production of Dust, or whether Christianity was a naturally occurring movement that he co-opted. The author has expressed interest in returning to the subject in a later book, and he's made another book which revolves around a good Jesus and evil Christ as separate characters.
  • In The Elenium trilogy, there are numerous references to the Elene God, and the Elene Church is obviously based off of the Catholic Church. However, there is no reference whatsoever to a Jesus figure in the story.
  • In Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens, all except one of the events Fundamentalist Christians have extrapolated from the last book of the Bible come to pass. Revelations, Christian eschatology and the whole body of literature derived therefrom are sent up, and mercilessly satirised. Except for one thing. While Beelzebub and at one point Lucifer himself manifest for one side, the equivalent figure from Heaven is conspicuously absent. Jesus Christ manifestly fails to make His second coming, and is only ever referred to indirectly. The fact that one of the main characters is The Antichrist, Jesus's infernal equivalent makes this especially jarring. Maybe Pratchett and Gaiman wanted to stop short of really having their book barbecued in redneck Southern states?
  • The Last Church, a Warhammer 40,000 short story, features a mysterious figure named Revelation (aka The Emperor of Mankind) debate with a priest. The priest's religious beliefs are implied to be vaguely Abrahamic (with at most an allusion to Adam and Eve and to the Crusades), and his place of worship is called a church, but that's the biggest glimpse into what faith he belongs to. There's no reference to Jesus or anything that would say for sure he's Christian.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Judeo-Christian theology is frequently referenced as background. God, Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel and other Celestial Paragons and Archangels are explicitly stated as being real characters. The same goes for Satan, Lilith and various Demon Lords and Archdevils. Jesus, however, is mentioned only once, and in jest.
  • Averted in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. The series takes places in a Parallel Universe resembling The Wild West that frequently crosses ours in ways both subtle (humming the tune to "Hey Jude") and overt (a shootout on the New York subway). Although Jesus seems not to exist in the fictional world, there are sufficient characters that have crossed over (and are evangelically minded) that pocket communities exist that believe in "the man Jesus."
    Your man Jesus seems to me a bit of a son of a bitch when it comes to women,' Roland said. 'Was He ever married?' The corners of Callahan's mouth quirked. 'No' he said, 'but His girlfriend was a whore.' 'Well,' Roland said, 'that's a start.
  • Swynmoor has an abbey, complete with nuns and a Mother Superior, as well as Brothers of the order, and they pray to God, but there's no mention of Jesus, and the common religious gesture is a triangle made with the thumbs and forefingers.
  • The Crimson Shadow: The people of Eriador and Avon seem to follow a fantastic Christianity. There is mention of God more than once, Brind'Amour relates that good mages considered themselves priests, cathedrals pretty much indistinguishable from medieval ones are shown, and a priest appears in the last book. However, there is never mention of a Jesus figure. In fairness, the series doesn't give any detail on the religion aside from the above.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Jesus, as Aslan, is a very important character often playing a direct role in the plot, but the whole series tries to avoid ever explicitly identifying him as such despite it being very obvious. The closest it comes is vaguely saying Aslan is known by a different name on earth.
  • Spinning Silver is set in a medieval Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Lithuania, with Miryem and her explicitly Jewish family subject to all the antisemitism one would expect from medieval Christians, with the threat of violence always hanging over her head. However, the majority religion is never named as Christianity. It can't be anything else, given its relationship with Judaism and Irina's references to the Holy Mother, but the Holy Son is never named and the midwinter festival is called only "the midwinter festival" rather than Christmas.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 7th Heaven was a show about a Christian minister and his large family. Despite the show often having a preachy tone, Jesus himself never seemed to be much on anybody's mind. Even though the minister is regularly shown preaching, the name of Jesus was mentioned less than half a dozen times in the 11-year run.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer liberally uses crucifixes, crosses and holy water to repel vampires yet very rarely mentions Christianity (or any other religion). Despite using symbols heavily associated with Jesus, the characters never discuss the significance beyond Spike once mentioning that a lot of vampires like to (falsely) claim they were present at the Crucifixion.
  • Reaper is a comedy about how a young man is forced to work for the Devil. Though elements of Christian religion pop up frequently, Jesus is never mentioned.
  • Supernatural is absolutely drenched in Judeo-Christianity, except for the minor issue of God apparently being apathetic, resulting in a situation wherein demons and the Devil can be the primary antagonists without serious opposition. The angels are extremely dysfunctional and running their own show without regard to considerations of Good or Evil, at least by ethical standards. Aside from the stray name check here and there, Jesus is entirely absent and there is no expectation, not even on the part of the angels, that He will play any role in the conflicts on the show. In the episode "Dark Side of the Moon", however, Sam and Dean are rescued from Zachariah by an individual called Joshua who is described as very close to God, so that might be Him choosing to Anglicize rather than Latinize His name.
  • In Tensou Sentai Goseiger, the Goseigers were guardian angels (an offshoot of humanity rather than anything religious, but still). Power Rangers Megaforce drops the (admittedly minor) angelic elements in favor of a Recruit Teenagers with Attitude setup.
    • This has actually come to pass with Power Rangers Mystic Force, with Mahou Sentai Magiranger having the people giving the family their powers be "Heavenly Saints", who live in "Magitopia", which for all intents and purposes is Heaven (It's a bunch of buildings set up in the clouds). In Mystic Force, they simply replaced it with a more sword-and-sorcery alternate dimension.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
  • Lucifer (2016) can go pretty deep into religious history and theology and it's a constant theme of the show, but the closest it gets to bringing up Jesus is Lucifer sneering "Not hardly!" when someone blurts the name after seeing him hold back a car bare-handed. The only other reference comes in season five when God visits Earth and mentions buying coffee beans from a farmer "aptly named Jesús", although even then he doesn't expand on why the name is apt.
  • In Merlin (2008) the Christianity that was an important facet of the Arthurian legend is never mentioned. The Holy Grail appears but it is only called the "Cup of Life" and its connection to Jesus Christ is never mentioned. The clearest example of it falling into this trope is when Arthur is in a chapel-like building, with his head bowed, awaiting a vision that will tell him what his first quest should be. This is described as "thinking".
  • Somewhat averted with The Magicians. Religious magic is mentioned, and the goddess Our Lady Underground (actually Persephone) is explicitly identified with Virgin Mary imagery. We don't see any mention of Jesus and the show mostly deals with Greek and Roman mythology.
  • Good Omens (2019) zig-zags the trope. Just like the book it's based off of, Jesus has no involvement in Armageddon despite His Second Coming being a major part of the war between Heaven and Hell in "real" apocalyptic lore. Nevertheless, Episode 3 has a flashback scene where Aziraphale and Crowley witness Christ's Crucifixion — but the scene is carefully agnostic about whether he's anything more than a human would-be prophet, albeit one whom Aziraphale and Crowley respects. On one side, Crowley mentions "showing him all the kingdoms of the world", referencing a passage of the New Testament and confirming that this version of Jesus had dealings with actual supernatural powers to some degree; on the other, Crowley and Aziraphale take an almost casual approach to watching the event and Crowley mildly calls him "a very bright young man", rather at odds with their behaviour when dealing with the show's version of God in other scenes.
  • Happy Days: In one episode, ABC's Standards and Practices department forbade a priest character from using the word "God" in a comedic context: instead he pointed ceilingward and spoke reverently of "Him". (Though another episode got away with Fonzie's Silly Prayer that went, "Hey, God, thanks!").

    Tabletop Games 
  • Western example: In the game supplement GURPS Alternate Earths, one parallel world's history diverged from Real Life back when the Roman Empire was on the rise. While most nations' and cultures' alternative courses of development have been thoroughly investigated by dimensional travelers from our own world's future, such historian/explorers have been unable to determine whether Jesus of Nazareth did, or did not, ever exist on this (still pagan) world.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Second Edition was infamously Bowdlerised, with almost all Christian elements removed; hence the change of Devils and Demons to Baatezu and Tanar'ri, among others. It was eventually changed back for 3e, but oddly, they did change one religious element that had still been present in 2e: the River Jordan, which flowed through the Upper (Heavenly) planes and is symbolic in the West of crossing into Heaven, became the Oceanus, which encircled the world in Greek Mythology but has no actual religious connotations. 3E also saw the final disappearance of such Biblically-inspired spells as Sticks to Snakes.
    • Ironically enough, the World Of Greyhawk pantheon — used as the "default" set of gods for setting-neutral material — includes a real-life Catholic saint: Saint Cuthbert. Much of this was carried over to Fourth Edition.
    • 4e had an odd case of including what is heavily implied to be the Abrahamic God as a Posthumous Character, referred only to as He who Was. He was overthrown by Asmodeus and Unperson'd to prevent His resurrection, which would destroy the demon prince's plan. He who Was is stated to have been the most powerful of the gods and only killed due to a combination of luck and planning on Asmodeus's part, and if He is ever brought back to life it won't happen again. His spirit is still alive but unable to function without a body. His body is encountered during the last phase of the 4e version of Tomb of Horrors, within Acerarak's Abyssal stronghold. It's described as dead but retaining lifelike warmth. Combined with the descriptions of related subjects (heavens, hells, demons, and angels), the Christian influence is noticable — but again, no mention of Christ.
  • Scion is a game about the children of the gods, who have powers and abilities beyond mortal men, and who may someday ascend to godhood themselves. Christianity and YHVH never put in a direct appearance; there is one Titan avatar who looks and acts a lot like the Abrahamic God, but it is never directly said whether he's the same guy or just aping the part. (The Scion Companion does present a group who are trying to use Fate to rewrite all "pagan" religions into Abrahamic molds, but even this doesn't state whether the God of Christians, Jews, and Muslims exists or not.) Jesus is never once mentioned.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Much of the Imperial cult of the God-Emperor has aspects of Christianity just replacing crosses with two-headed eagles and skulls - they have a god who sacrificed himself for others, a glorification of martyrdom, a defined religious hierarchy, veneration of Patron Saints, and a love for words like "crusade", "inquisition", and "heresy". Though this mostly in terms of decoration and names (presumably the actual Inquisition had little interest in setting deformed people on fire). There are even some mottos from the Imperium that are remarkably similar to those of the Bible or famous Christians ("Faith without deeds is worthless" sounds awfully similar to the Book Of James' Faith without works is dead", and "The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Imperium" is just a modified quote from Tertullian). Some old lore implied the Emperor might have met Jesus, or perhaps was him, but this is debateable.

    Video Games 
  • Very common in the 8 bit era, back when video games were still primarily kids' entertainment. Nintendo of America made this an Enforced Trope during the NES and early SNES eras by prohibiting any religious references or symbols in games on Nintendo systems, leading to several games being Bowdlerized when they were brought out of Japan. One of the most obvious examples was the cross in Ghosts 'n Goblins changed to a completely different item in both the arcade and NES ports, a shield. (Since this weapon had the power to block shots, a shield might have actually made more sense.) Konami changed the holy water and cross weapons in Castlevania into "firebomb" and "boomerang", respectively (also justified, as those names were more in line with what they actually did).
  • BioShock Infinite: Despite the fact that the setting is drowning in the language, decor, and hymns of the Third Great Awakening, there is almost no mention of Jesus — largely because Comstock and the Founding Fathers have replaced Jesus and the Prophets in all but name. The only time Jesus actually receives a namedrop (other than Booker murmuring the name as a curse at one point) is from the preacher attempting to baptize Booker after Wounded Knee. A marked contrast to the baptism in Columbia, where Booker is baptized in the name of Comstock, the Founding Fathers, and God. In that order.
  • Subverted by Persona 3. Though the Megami Ibunroku Persona series is a spinoff of Shin Megami Tensei, where God is Occasionally A Monster But Lucifer Ain't Too Hot Either, the Main Character, who is about the epitome of ultimate selfless good, has Messiah as his ultimate Persona. Not a messiah, but the Messiah. However, the Messiah Persona is supposed to represent all such messianic figures, including Jesus. Regardless, it doesn't stop the main protagonist from dying for humanity's sake as an expy of Jesus.
    • Shin Megami Tensei as a whole tends to play this trope straight more often than not. Most elements of Christianity, such as God and Satan, appear frequently throughout the franchise. Jesus, however, is almost never mentioned. Though The Hero Aleph in SMTII was constructed as an artificial Messiah Clone Jesus.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The original The Legend of Zelda featured the actual Bible (translated as "Magic Book" in English) and crosses on the shields. The Japanese guide for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past also features an illustration of Link praying in front of a large crucifix, while the actual game contains a church (referred to as "Sanctuary" in the English localization) with stained-glass windows, and to enter the Desert Palace Link prays while drawing a cross on his chest with the Sanctuary theme playing in the background. All of this would be dropped in subsequent games and replaced with the constructed religion of the Hylian Gods, partly to enforce the Jesus Taboo but mostly just because of Earth Drift; the early games, never expected to leave Japan or become popular outside it, used Christian symbology as easy "mystical and exotic" imagery since Christianity is a minority religion in Japan, and Hyrule itself was a very generic, not-yet-developed Medieval European Fantasy world. As the games became one of Nintendo's main franchises and were exported, the creators made the conscious choice to remove the Christian imagery in favor of emphasizing Hyrule as a Constructed World.
  • A mythology-based MOBA Smite features deities and heroes from many real-world pantheons, including less known, such as Maian, Polynesian, Shinto, and even Cthulhu Mythos. At the same time, it deliberately avoids any mentioning of the Judeo-Christian names like a plague.
  • Xenosaga was rife with religious (primarily Gnostic) imagery, complete with references to Jesus's contemporaries. Fans were surprised after learning one enigmatic character's true name is Yeshua (a common synonym for the name of Jesus) in what seemed like an unusually bold subversion of the trope. However, in the final game we see the character in soundless flashback seemingly attending a sermon by a man tactfully out of shot, presumably the real Jesus.
  • AirMech averts this completely, despite not even having an Excuse Plot. Jesus is pilot who can be unlocked around Easter. He gets bonuses to healing and respawn time, but earns money more slowly. There are achievements for beating an all-Nikolai team with an all-Jesus team, or vice versa.
  • Simon and Ritcher Belmont appear as fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with their holy weapons in tow, but Christianity itself is never explicitly mentioned. The church in the Pac-Land stage also had its cross removed.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night centers completely on an extremely powerful artifact known as the Holy Grail, but the story goes out of its way to specify that this is not the cup that held the Blood of Christ—just that, as a cup capable of nigh-omnipotence, it qualifies for the name. Averted somewhat, however, with Kirei Kotomine. As a Priest of the Holy Church (all but stated to be the Roman Catholic Church centered in the Vatican) Kirei invokes the names of God and Jesus in a holy prayer that can exorcise (aka annihilate) evil and unholy spirits.
    • The Nasuverse as a whole has a bit of an... odd relationship with this trope. On one hand, the Holy Church regularly invokes God’s name in their work, Heroic Spirits with Christian history like Jeanne d’Arc and Saint Martha are open about their love for Jesus, and between events like Jeanne’s Divine Revelation and the powers of the Church we know the Abrahamic God exists in some form within the Nasuverse. However, although the crucifixion of Jesus is clearly alluded to as a history-changing event for the world of magecraft, Jesus is never directly incorporated into the plot, even after including the Buddha in Fate/EXTRA. Even when there are characters related to him like Saint Martha and Longinus, he is merely referred to as "the Messiah".
  • Averted by Umineko: When They Cry. In EP7, Maria makes references to the Book of Matthew, specifically about the circumstances of Christ's birth, and draws parallels to Maria's situation, i.e. Maria not having a proper father.
  • In the Key/Visual Arts visual novel Rewrite, Shizuru and Lucia's organization Guardian is said to be Catholic with its HQ in Vatican, and even though we don't see some Catholic teaching or mention of Jesus, we see some aspects such as Cardinals and the Pope being central in Lucia's Route's plot, the Bible and Genesis being glossed in a talk between Kotarou and Touka, and Bible verses being referenced by Shizuru and Brenda, though these are mostly restricted in Lucia's Route and don't appear anywhere else in the VN.

  • Demonseed Redux: The series borrows Biblical themes with angels and demons, but tends to incorporate its own mythology over Biblical canon.

    Western Animation 
  • Angel Wars: Downplayed, in that very little of real-life religion makes it into the series, apart from an empty church being the location of a showdown with a high-ranking demon and one brief shot of The Bible in The Seven's library, though this is justified in that angels' relations with God are very different from those of humans. Averted in the supplementary materials, which provide each angel-character's favorite Bible verse, and state that "The Refiner" is what the angels call Jesus Christ, explicitly including Him as part of the 'verse.
  • Parodied in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Gee Whiz", where Standards and Practices prohibits the cast from using Jesus' name, leading to the nickname which doubles as the episode's title. He's also described as looking like Ted Nugent, who actually appears in the episode as a guest star.
  • Rugrats:
    • Played With in the second Christmas Episode, where the babies come across a life-sized Nativity scene and admire what they think is a real baby. "Jesus" is still never named, though.
    • Played Straight and taken further by other episodes based on Bible stories, however. God is never mentioned in the Passover special; a burning bush talks to Moses/Tommy for no explained reason, and the parting of the sea at the end is a Deus-less Ex Machina. Likewise, an episode about Noah's ark gives a vague comment about Noah being warned "from the Heavens."
    • Subverted in many other episodes and The Rugrats Movie when the babies innocently mispronounce God's name as "Bob."
    • In the sequel series All Grown Up!, this is throughly avoided in the Christmas episode as God is mentioned by name and is a major component of the episode.
  • Averted by A Charlie Brown Christmas. Linus actually quotes a passage describing Christ's birth, thus giving the true meaning of Christmas. Charles Schulz reportedly got this scene past the radar by asking the censors "If we don't tell them the true meaning of Christmas, who will?" In fact, this one could be considered something of a deconstruction of the whole idea, as the special uses the secularization of Christmas as an example of the soulless commercialism it so heavily criticizes, effectively pointing out that Christmas is a religious holiday by its nature and origin and that pretending otherwise for the sake of "mass appeal" is disingenuous or even actively scrubbing away the true spirit of the holiday and culturally appropriating it as a bland, shallow tool for selling products.
  • Deconstructed by South Park: Jesus Himself appears in many episodes throughout the show's run, but hardly behaves in a manner consistent with biblical teachings. The creators consciously got past this trope in a sneaky way, introducing their "Jesus" character in such a way as to imply that he is merely an actor who portrays Jesus in a Christian-themed local-access show. By the time he starts getting into boxing matches with Satan, having face-to-face chats with his dad, and resurrecting himself to get past jail bars, he was already an established part of the show.
  • The Simpsons downplays this, at least in relation to the Trope Namer. As noted in the supplemental book, The Gospel According to the Simpsons, God is always depicted as a constant in the series, and characters often turn to—or directly converse with—him on a regular basis. But (with the obvious exception of Ned Flanders), Jesus doesn't appear to get this special treatment from other characters: he rarely appears outside of one-shots and off-handed mentions to the point there's very little characterization to read from his depictions. There doesn't appear to be any specific reason for this, but you know it's bad when the town minister confuses him with an alien, and the main character can barely pronounce his name.
  • VeggieTales, despite being a Religious Edutainment show, rarely mentions Jesus in the episodes themselves, drawing mostly from Old Testament stories. Their reason? The show's theological consultant forbade them from portraying the Lord as a vegetable, believing it could be taken as irreverent. Whenever he is mentioned, which is usually in the Christmas and Easter specials, he is either spoken of but not shown, or depicted as a human, and through images like stained glass windows.
    • Averted in ‘’The Veggietales Show’’ due to the creators making a more conscious effort to teach more overtly Christian lessons and adapt more stories from the New Testament.
  • Averted by the Johnny Bravo Christmas Special, where Little Suzy outright mentions that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus.
  • Averted in JOT, where explicit mentions of God, Jesus, etc. are common. Given the show's Anvilicious nature, this shouldn't be surprising.
  • Sofia the First had the cast of Enchancia celebrate Wassailia, a combination of Christmas and Hanukkah, presumably to avoid the implication that religion exists in the Ever Realm. Elena of Avalor later averted this trope by having Navidad/Christmas, Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas), Carnaval (Ash Wednesday, AKA the beginning of Lent), La Semana Santa (Holy Week, AKA the week before Easter Sunday), and so on being celebrated in Avalor as well as having locations like San Prado ("San" being Spanish for "saint"). Word of God would confirm that Christianity is observed in Avalor, and a kingdom where Judaism is the main faith would later debut in Season 3.
  • The Owl House: Philip Wittebane/Emperor Belos is a pagan-magic-hating pilgrim and self-proclaimed witch hunter from 1600s Connecticut. Given all this, it would be logical to presume that he is meant to be a New England Puritan, but beyond the obvious implication this is never even suggested by him or any other character, nor is there any mention — positive or negative — of Christianity or any Christian beliefs. The only religion ever featured is the fictional religion of the Boiling Isles revering the Titan, and if Luz and her family practice any real world religion, it's not brought up.
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral is featured in Miraculous Ladybug because the series takes place in Paris and it's a famous landmark, but it's just a background element that gets little to no focus and there aren't any gargoyles on it, which was a choice by series creator Thomas Astruc. Averted in Ladybug & Cat Noir: The Movie which has a scene inside the cathedral and there are gargoyles.
  • Hazbin Hotel combines this with Devil, but No God; the series takes place in Hell (and briefling in Heaven) with the explicit goal of redeeming sinners so they can go to Heaven. St. Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, makes an appearence complete with song, but Jesus Himself (and, indeed, God) are never even hinted at being present anywhere. The story of creation as relayed in the first episode specifically attributes the creation of Adam and Lilith to a group angels.