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"I don't hold with paddlin' with the occult," said Granny firmly. "Once you start paddlin' with the occult you start believing in spirits, and when you start believing in spirits you start believing in demons, and then before you know where you are you're believing in gods. And then you're in trouble."
"But all them things exist," said Nanny Ogg.
"That's no call to go around believing in them. It only encourages 'em."

The Nay-Theist is not an atheist or agnostic — they are well aware of the existence of the gods (or God), and freely admit it; they just refuse to worship them or to "believe" in them in any strong spiritual sense beyond merely acknowledging the fact of their existence. Perhaps they have some personal grudge against the gods for something they did (or didn't do); perhaps they refuse to accept divine judgment because the gods don't measure up to their moral standards; perhaps this character is just the independent type by nature; or perhaps they simply think (or know) there is Always a Bigger Fish, making searching for an "all-powerful" creator a pointless venture.

They may go through the motions of worship, but if so, it's only to avoid getting struck by lightning or stoned by an angry mob, not out of any sincere religious feelings. Alternatively, they may spend time voicing their dislike of the powers that be to anyone who'll listen, possibly while daring the powers-that-be to strike them down.

This should not be confused with the Flat-Earth Atheist, who simply doubts the existence of the divine despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Nor should it be confused with No Such Thing as Space Jesus, where the "gods" in question are actually aliens, computers, time travelers, or whatever. The Nay-Theist only applies to worlds where there really are genuine gods who are actively worshipped as such by most people. The Nay-Theist will be a favorite of a Stop Worshipping Me style God.

The protagonist of a Rage Against the Heavens plot will have this worldview by necessity, but Nay-Theists are by no means limited to that story.

Clap Your Hands If You Believe may be a reason for this; the character doesn't want to give the gods more power through their "belief".

A variant of this position is misotheism where the person believes in but actively hates God(s). For media portrayals of atheists as misotheists (among other misconceptions), see Hollywood Atheist.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Most of the SSS in Angel Beats!, though most prominently their leader, Yuri. The entire point of their organization is to rebel against God in any way they can because they all had such horrible experiences during their lives. Ultimately, whether or not God exists is left up in the air, and the SSS get over their issues and move on with their (after)lives.
  • BNA: Brand New Animal: The Beastmen worship the Silver Wolf, a protective deity, and make small offerings of wrapped meat to pay for his help. Shirou doesn't deny the Silver Wolf's existence but insists that any god that demands payment for protection is not worth worshiping. He in fact is the Silver Wolf himself, foreshadowed by him eating the offering in apparent disdain for the tradition.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist tells most people that he's an atheist (claiming that alchemists, being practitioners of an art based in truth and logic, don't believe in such vague concepts), but in truth he has met and has a very bad relationship with the Truth, the living embodiment of Equivalent Exchange that's the closest thing to a proper "god" ever seen in the setting.note 
    • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) Truth doesn't exist as it does in the manga. However, Edward's agnostic theism still pops up. Edward has several lines noting that, despite saying he's an atheist, he does believe in a God... He just has absolutely no interest in worshipping it and believes it's personally out to get him.
  • Minene Uryuu, the 9th diary holder in Future Diary. Having lost her parents at a young age to religious fighting, she's become a terrorist who only targets religions and believes God Is Evil. And then one day, God answers and informs her that he wants her to participate in a game to decide his replacement... By killing MORE people.
  • Naru of Ghost Hunt shares some characteristics of a nay-theist; he's a ghost hunter who refuses to believe absolutely in ghosts. Even though he has seen them himself and felt the effects they have, he argues that, since all of his experience is filtered through human (read: fallible) senses, ghosts do not exist in the scientific meaning.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • Rika has a nay-theist attitude towards Hanyuu despite being her priestess. Shutting a god up by force-feeding her spicy food (by proxy, it's a bit complicated) is not the most reverent act ever.
    • Takano believes in God... if just to challenge him. She also has the blessing of a witch to become a god. It's complicated.
    • In the original game, Hanyuu tells Keiichi that the human will is greater than any god or fate. Noticing a theme yet? Not an uncommon one in Buddhist countries, as one of the basic tenets of Buddhism, is that human beings are best suited to achieving Nirvana, which is beyond all deities, while the gods themselves are too caught up with being supremely wise and powerful to look beyond their state.
  • Magician's Academy magic world is full of every imaginable creature from gods/demons to anthropomorphic cameras. Gods do not have any privileged status there and some even suffer great abuse from humans which they created.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Dragons of the Chaos Faction hate the divine on general principle, and Tohru has a particular disdain for them for their part in the Forever War dragons have fought both against them and amongst themselves. This presents itself as the mere mention of God or gods being a Berserk Button for her. When an enemy dragon praises the heavens for his luck in finding Ilulu, Tohru hears and takes great pleasure in making him regret his choice of words (and hurting Kobayashi on top of that). When asking Kobayashi to pick a yukata pattern for her, Kobayashi picks one with an "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe" chant that invokes God's name, prompting Tohru to immediately pick the opposite of what Kobayashi chose rather than do what "that bastard" says.
  • The Saga of Tanya the Evil gives us an extreme example in Tanya Degurechaff: in her previous life as a salaryman, she seriously dissed God when He talked to her in the moments before her death, refusing to address Him as anything other than "Being X" as she believed that no loving God would allow suffering to exist. This pisses God off enough that, in her new life as a magical soldier in an alternate version of WWI-era Germany, she is forced to pray to Him to keep her Super Prototype magical gem from killing her.
  • In the Saint Seiya: Episode.G manga, while not denying the existence of gods (as he is fighting them at that moment and he technically works for a goddess) Leo Aiolia states that (paraphrasing here) "The notion that mortals should bow to gods and always be defeated by them is a sad delusion created by the gods themselves" and that "they are not worthy of worship".
    • In his first battle against his Worthy Opponent Oceanus, Camus goes so far as to say humanity has the right to oppose gods that have no respect for humanity and view them as playthings.
  • Rakushun, from The Twelve Kingdoms, just doesn't see much point in praying to the gods:
    "Well then, who do normal people worship? Anyone?
    "Not me. Why, if you work the fields well, and the weather holds, you'll get a bountiful harvest. No Emperor is going to change that, and it's the climate that'll say whether you weather is good or bad. You can cry and you can laugh all you want, but when the rain falls, it falls, and when it don't, it don't. Praying won't help anything."
    • Which is ironic since a bad ruler in that world (they're appointed by divine mandate) will blight crops and ruin the climate. No ruler is even worse. Prayer still makes no difference though, with the exception of procreation, which is handled through prayer to a tree instead of doing the deed.
  • Battler from Umineko: When They Cry is engaged in a very involved argument with a witch that he said doesn't exist. Her killing him, bringing him back to life, etc. has nothing to do with the issue. She eventually gets sneaky in her pursuit of his belief. And sadistic. Mostly sadistic. He verges somewhat into Flat-Earth Atheist territory because his debate is literally over her existence - he does not, in fact, accept it. Although he does swing in this direction in later arcs. At least enough to accept that Beatrice has enough of existence to have motives. And he switches sides when he winds up as Endless Sorcerer.
  • Seto Kaiba of Yu-Gi-Oh! is an excellent example of this trope in the original Japanese. Unlike in the dub, he doesn't dispute the existence of the supernatural, rather he doesn't care about it. Being a reincarnation of an Egyptian priest is irrelevant to him because he only cares about the future. And though he seems to treat the Egyptian God Cards as genuine deities, his arguably biggest Moment of Awesome comes when he literally changes destiny by sacrificing his God card in order to summon Blue Eyes White Dragon. The sheer audacity to offer a God as a tribute to his favorite card leaves everyone in the audience absolutely stunned. He later tells Ishizu that everyone has something they believe in even more strongly than gods.

    Comic Books 
  • Depending on the Writer, Batman seems to be this or an atheist, based on the fact that while he has met several entities who claim to be gods, he has also met just as many beings with Godlike power who do not claim to be gods, and since the former are usually the more dickishly Ax-Crazy, why should he distinguish? A common bit of fan description for Batman's view of religion is, "If there is a God, He'd better have a damn good explanation for all this shit."
  • Most longtime superheroes in general fit this trope, especially the milder "independent type by nature" variety of it. The Fantastic Four have met God, been offered a chance to stay in Heaven, and turned it down, reasoning that they'd rather keep exploring life. Practically every superhero has fought some kind of demonic invasion, without being particularly bothered by the theological implications of it as far as the reader gets to see. Teaming up with Thor, Hercules, and Wonder Woman has rarely if ever influenced heroes' beliefs, even if they get to visit Asgard or Thymescria and learn that, yes, there really is something supernatural to them.
  • Eppy Thatcher, of Grendel, actually has "God hates me" as his catchphrase. And devotes all of his (crazy) effort to mess with the Church.
  • During the "Wager of the Gods" story arc in Groo the Wanderer, Chakaal responds that the gods are uncaring buffoons when they attempt to assign her a task.
  • John Constantine of Hellblazer, knows first-hand that God and Satan and all the rest exist. He thinks they are utter sods and hates their ineffable little games to the point that he takes extra effort when he screws up the plans of devils and angels, so they wind up all the more humiliated.
  • Paul Cornell's take on Lex Luthor.
    Luthor: In a cosmos like ours — if you accept the "Big Hand theory" of the universe's origin — deciding on atheism isn't a logical choice. It's an ethical one. If there is a God if he turns out to be ... a little man in a bowler hat or something, do I at least get to put forth my case? Do I get to argue?
  • In the opening page of Iron Man (Vol. 5) #1, Tony Stark pointedly lays out his thoughts on the matter of belief, and his monologue reaches this fragment:
    Iron Man (Monologue): Oh, me and gods. I mean, I've met a few, and I still don't believe in them.
  • Daimon Hellstrom, from Marvel Comics, is the Anti-Christ, but has an extreme dislike for his father/fathers, and is pretty much indifferent about God and Heaven. It's not as if he has to worry about his fate after death though; he already rules a section of Hell.
  • Beta Ray Bill from The Mighty Thor is essentially one after "The Green of Eden", also saying that he thinks Thor and the Asgardians are not gods "in any sense that matters". Considering all he's been through, it's easy to see why.
    • Given that Bill is exactly Thor's equal in power after being given his own Asgardian hammer, accepting that Thor is a god would require thinking of himself as one. He doesn't have that kind of ego, even though it would be arguably justified.
    • Gorr the God-Butcher is one of these. He started out hating his own people's gods due to a Trauma Conga Line in which everyone he ever loved was killed and his whole world died, despite his people's fervent prayers to gods that never answered the call. He then set out to slaughter every god in creation after acquiring All-Black the Necrosword, a powerful weapon fueled by divine bloodnote . He is particularly glad when fighting Thor when he realizes Thor thinks Gorr might have a point about the gods being jerks.
    • It turns out that this is why Thor was unworthy of Mjolnir for a time; Fury's confirmation that "Gorr was right" when tapping Uatu's knowledge led Thor to believe that he no longer deserved it because he has come to agree with Gorr that no god is worthy.
  • Pretty much the same can be said of Jesse Custer of Preacher, except that he knows firsthand that the Devil is dead and that he's being hunted by the guy that killed him.
  • Cyclonus in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye. At one point, he comes up against Star Saber, who is The Fundamentalist, and gives a speech about how he thinks Primus, Cybertron's God, can't be all that infallible if a Nice Guy like Tailgate is dying of cybercrosis but an asshole like Star Saber is still going strong. Not to worry, though; Cyclonus is here to fix that.
    • Then comes the "Lost Light" arc. Whirl states that he actively hates the gods, Rodimus goes so far as to demand to see the afterlife's manager in a hilariously rude way, and Ratchet wants to hear an explanation for the whole afterlife thing just so he can reject it.

    Fan Works 
  • Blessed with a Hero's Heart: Izuku adopts this attitude towards both Aqua and Eris and their respective churches. Aqua constantly complains about Izuku not worshipping or pampering her despite not doing anything to help him (like she's supposed to), while hearing about the Fantastic Racism towards demi-human races quickly sours his opinion about Eris.
  • The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum: In the "Shades of the Unsung" side-story, one character, a grumpy old earth pony stallion named Rockwell, states that even before Equus' corruption and turn towards fascism (as well as xenocide) he never held a very flattering opinion of Celestia, accusing her of blatantly favoring the unicorns over the others and of being blind to "how rotten her little ponies can be".
  • In Enlightenments, Wander is well aware that gods exist since he's immortal due to having a chunk of the god Dormin's soul inside him, but at the start of the fic he's been dealt such a bad series of hands thanks to it that he initially wants nothing to do with them. Even as they do start to become closer, he never quite gets as reverent as a normal mortal would.
  • In The Good Hunter, anyone who is not on the Order of the Chief God's side, hence not worshipping the Chief God (e.g. Cyril, the Monster Lord, the Oberon League, etc.) is this, be it of hate, indifference, or simply being on the opposite side of the conflict.
  • Hemostuck: According to Word of God, while traditional atheists don't believe in the five gods as anything except a social construct, the first cohort (a.k.a., Karkat Vantas) doesn't believe in them because he wants to stay out of their way. This, despite personally meeting with the first four on numerous occasions and actually being the fifth.
  • Knud Knýtling, Prince of Denmark. His descendants too, but Knud himself has the most hilariously passive-aggressive way of expressing it.
    Knud: I send all my problems to church. Because I hate God. And myself.
  • The Night Unfurls has some benign examples.
    • Kyril Sutherland is well aware of the existence of gods and similar entities in Eostia and beyond, even having a Goddess Incarnate as his employer. He just doesn't revere them. It's not that he has a grudge or anything like that, but rather, he has seen beings like that capable of scaring one's memories for an eternity. Oh, and he has also slain said beings before and ascended to become one of them as well.
    • Discussed in Chapter 2 of the remastered version. In response to Prim's question to Kyril on whether the Goddess makes him uncomfortable, he says, "No. I bear her no ill will. But I have learned that blind faith is lethal." Somehow, Prim concludes that Kyril doesn't believe in divinities (atheist) because of how he doesn't hold the Goddess in high esteem.
    • Chapter 29 of the original has Lily confiding to Soren about how she will forever only trust her own strength instead of the powers of the Goddess Incarnate, putting her Crisis of Faith arc to a closure.
  • Not Completely, Altogether Here: Nessarose is a devout Unionist who, upon dying, learns that heaven is ruled by a different god that she dislikes (though it's implied that the Unnamed God does exist as well). However, just because Lurline is a goddess doesn't mean Nessa has to worship her. Nessarose prefers to think that she's being tested until she can enter the proper Unionist afterlife.
  • Essentially applies in the Doctor Who/V2009 crossover "A Special Prescription"; the Doctor observes that the Vs (real name the Valasars) abandoned belief in their gods after his first confrontation with them because it was easier to believe in nothing than believe in the Doctor, even as he remained a figure of fear in their mythology.
  • The Way, Truth, and Light: Ritsuka Fujimaru manages to summon Jesus himself as a Servant. Though Olga Marie Animusphere acknowledges he is real and undoubtedly powerful, she refuses to worship him, saying several Heroic Spirits can do his miracles on some level. She is also pissed at him for refusing to help kill their enemies and for saying he will not help anyone who doesn't worship him and God.
  • A Tale of Two Rulers: Zelda believes that if the goddesses exist, they're evil beings for allowing so much suffering in the world, to the point she allows temples and churches to them to fall into rot and disrepair. Ganondorf is asghast at this; not because he disagrees per se, but because he's seen their wrath firsthand, and has a vested personal interest in not incurring it again, even if it means humbling himself by praying to them.
  • Truth and Consequences: Kaiser Long and Firebird, the Big Bad Duumvirate of the second story, view the Kwami, and by extension the fundamental universal forces they embody, as selfish, uncaring gods who refuse to use their power to help humanity. Part of their goal is to take all that power, and put it in humanity's hands; specifically, their hands, as the majority of humanity is currently too ignorant to use it properly, and will need to be uplifted by them first.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A popular image meme sums up this trope with regard to The Avengers (2012):
    Captain America: Met two gods. Still a Christian.
    Iron Man: Met two gods. Still an atheist.
    The Hulk: Met two gods. Beat the crap out of both.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The abuse Lex Luthor suffered at the hands of his father led him to believe that God was either not powerful enough to stop it from happening, or simply didn't care. This is a key factor in his hatred of Superman, an actual God-like figure he can direct his anger toward.
    Lex: See, what we call God depends on our tribe, Clark Joe, 'cause God is tribal, God takes sides. No man in the sky intervened when I was a boy to deliver me from Daddy's fist and abominations! I figured it out way back! If God is all-powerful, he cannot be all good. And if he is all-good, then he cannot be all-powerful...and neither can you be.
  • Conan the Barbarian has a moment in the original movie.
    "Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you, Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!"
    • Another, briefer one.
      Akiro: The gods are pleased! They will watch the battle!
      Conan: Are they going to help?
      Akiro: No.
      Conan: Then tell them to stay out of the way!
    • Conan the Barbarian (2011): Khalar Zim says the Cimmerians don't pray, with an armory existing as their closest equivalent to any house of worship. Conan then makes this explicit, when after Tamara wonders if the gods have a plan for them, he replies "I know not. I care not."
  • John Constantine, as portrayed in Constantine (2005).note  He has this attitude because he's sentenced to go to Hell due to his suicide attempt as a kid. Since then, he has battled demons and the like to try to "butt his way into heaven" but was told repeatedly it doesn't work that way. He's not permanently barred — an angel (well, half-angel, but whatever) points out that all any human needs to do to be forgiven of their sins is to repent. The fact that John refuses to do so since he believes suicide was a perfectly rational reaction to his "gift," is actually a great example of this trope.
  • Cool Hand Luke: There are several moments in the movie where Luke shows he is kind of disappointed regarding God. At one point he says that God is a hard case.
  • In Deewaar, Vijay refuses to go into the temple with his mother and brother. When his mother gets ill, he goes there and chews Shiva out for punishing Sumitra for his crimes, before begging the deity to spare her.
  • Borderline examples in Dogma:
    • Loki's first appearance has him convincing a nun that her service to some "father figure saying 'Don't do it, or I'll spank you!'" is misguided and there isn't really any proof of God. The trick is, Loki's a fallen angel, who's not only stood in the presence of the Almighty but has spoken to Him personally. He just acts like an atheist because he loves to "fuck with the clergy, man; I love keepin' them on their toes."
    • Also Bethany, who by now has seen the Metatron and thus is pretty sure God exists:
      Bethany: When some quiet little infection destroyed my uterus - where was God? When my husband decided he couldn't be with a wife that couldn't bear his children - where was God? ... To Hell with Him.
  • Dracula in Dracula 2000 not only believes in God but personally knows Jesus, being Judas Iscariot. He also blames Jesus for what he has become and sees making more vampires as a big "fuck you" to him (i.e. my children are better than yours). It's also why he's deterred by Christian symbols.
  • God's Not Dead has the main antagonist as a Hollywood Atheist, who turns out to be in the end... surprise, a nay-theist with a Crisis of Faith (and arguably Faith–Heel Turn, since they made him a complete jerkass) who just hates the Abrahamic deity instead of disbelieving in it. Though some religious people actually think atheists and nay-theists are the same thing, at least concerning their religion's deity.
  • Hoodlum:
    Bumpy Johnson: The good Lord and I have an arrangement. I don't go into his house. He doesn't come into mine.
  • James McCord, Steve Buscemi's character in The Island (2005):
    Lincoln Six-Echo: What's "God"?
    McCord: Well, you know when you want something really really bad and you close your eyes and you wish for it? God's the guy who ignores you.
  • In Jason and the Argonauts, Jason says he does not "believe" in the gods, but it isn't clear what this means. Once he actually visits Mt. Olympus, he says that until then he had always assumed a mere mortal could never really expect to receive any help from the gods. In a later scene, when the Argonauts are in trouble and another character suggests that he pray for assistance, he replies that he would rather depend on his crew's abilities than on gods who play with mortals for entertainment. "The gods of Greece are cruel. In time, all men shall learn to do without them."
  • Mel Gibson's character Riggs in Lethal Weapon, where his partner Murtaugh complains that the loose cannon Riggs has been assigned to him. Murtaugh laments, "God hates me", to which Riggs replies "Hate Him back; it works for me."
  • Mythica: Dagen says he never thought that the gods really listened to prayers. Marek also expresses rage over them not coming to help when Szorlok is waging war on the living and says mortals may be better off without them at all.
  • Noah: The Big Bad, Tubal-Cain, is the leader of The Descendants of Cain who are ultimately the reason God (consistently referred to as "the Creator" in the film) is going to flood the Earth and start over, having industrialized to the point of apocalyptic resource depletion, driving many species into extinction, and have descended into civil war and cannibalism because of that. Tubal-Cain knows perfectly well that God exists but says that no one has spoken to or heard from Him since Cain was marked with evil and is just fine with that. He makes a mocking show of this when, as the flood is beginning, he fires a cannon into the air as a signal to God and demands that He answer him before leading the charge to try and take the Ark for himself.
  • Pitch Black: Keith David's Imam offers to pray with Riddick, then accuses him of being an atheist when he refuses. However, Riddick responds:
    "Think someone could spend half their life in a slam with a horse bit in their mouth and not believe? Think he could start out in some liquor store trash bin with an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and not believe? Got it all wrong, holy man. I absolutely believe in God... And I absolutely hate the fucker."
  • Trumpkin in Prince Caspian. In the book, he's cheerful, and loyal to Prince Caspian, in spite of not believing in Aslan or the old kings and queens. In the movie, he's presented as sour and miserable, who believes in Aslan but blames him for deserting Narnia.
  • Punisher: War Zone toys a little with the notion. Though it's not said that Frank Castle is a through and through "nay-theist" he does imply that he can be quite angry with him at times. When a priest tells him, "God be with you Frank" he replies, "Sometimes I would like to get my hands on God."
  • In the film A Pure Formality the main character says: "It is not hard to believe in God. I believed in him many times. But I must say I was often ashamed of him."
  • This is the whole point of the 1991 film The Rapture, where Mimi Rogers stars as a born-again Christian who loses her faith just before the second coming. After her husband (played by David Duchovny) is murdered, Rogers takes her daughter to the desert to await the Rapture, but it doesn't come. Starving and confused, Rogers kills her daughter to send her to heaven. When the Rapture really does come and Rogers is reunited with her daughter, she forsakes God for His cruelty and chooses to remain alone in darkness forever.
  • Antonius Block of The Seventh Seal comes to hate God as he sees the death, suffering, and human cruelty that the Black Death has caused.
  • Mel Gibson's character in Signs, a former minister, initially seems to be an atheist, but then in the scene where his son's having an asthma attack, he prays to God, "I hate you."
  • Solace: The killer, after John accuses him of playing God, responds that he's not, as God's work doesn't impress him so he has to step in.
  • Stealing Heaven: Héloïse becomes very angry with God over Abelard being castrated, and even questions if he's real. Later it seems she's gone back into faith though.
  • In the original TRON, the Master Control Program and his Dragon are nay-theists to the point of preaching Flat Earth Atheism. Them being programs living Inside a Computer System, the "gods" they're denying are humans.
    • In TRON: Legacy, most of the program population in Flynn's private server has adopted a nay-theist worldview, declaring their former User a tyrant.
  • Achilles (Brad Pitt) in the movie Troy, based on The Iliad. Although god-like himself, being the greatest warrior who ever lived:
    Eudorus: My lord, Apollo sees everything. Perhaps it would be wise not to anger him.
    Achilles: (chops off the head of Apollo statue)
    Briseis: The sun god will have his vengeance.
    Achilles: What's he waiting for? His priests are dead, and his acolyte's a captive. I think your god is afraid of me.
    Briseis: Apollo is master of the sun, he fears nothing.
    Achilles: I know more about the gods than your priests. I've seen them. [...] I'll tell you a secret. Something they don't teach you in your temple. The gods envy us. They envy us because we're mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.

  • The Monastics in general and T'Passe in particular in The Acts of Caine. The Monasteries were, in fact, developed for the express purpose of protecting humanity's interests from the predations of deities.
  • Adventure Hunters: Regina has lost respect for Runa because she never helps anyone. Her fellow Info Mages think she doesn't believe the goddess exists but Regina doesn't go this far.
  • Mezentius of The Aeneid refuses to worship the gods.
  • Arc of Fire: Kail has concluded that it's pointless to worship any gods since none have ever answered his prayers to them and give no indication of caring.
  • Don Marquis, archy and mehitabel
    you want to know whether I believe in ghosts
    of course i do not believe in them
    if you had known as many of them as i have
    you would not believe in them either
    perhaps I have been
    unfortunate in my acquaintance
    but the ones I have known
    have been a bad lot
    no one could believe in them
    after being acquainted with them
    a short time
  • Margaret from Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. briefly becomes one. She was raised irreligious but is theistic. After getting "mad" at God she decides to stop praying to Him. Margaret ultimately stops being this after her first period finally comes.
  • This trope is the central theme of Harry Turtledove's novel Between the Rivers: humanity has been serving the gods since time immemorial until the people of one city start to explore the advantages of self-reliance.
  • Richard K. Morgan is fond of this trope, but the best example is probably Carl Marsallis in Black Man (aka Thirteen).
    "Even if you could convince a variant thirteen, against all the evidence, that there really was a god? He’d just see him as a threat to be eliminated. If god were demonstrably real? Guys like me would just be looking for ways to find him and burn him down."
  • Holden from The Catcher in the Rye says he is "sort of an atheist" but he sounds more like this. He believes in Jesus but finds other Biblical characters to be obnoxious. He isn't that interested in the Bible.
  • Jame, the heroine of P. C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath books, is unable to deny the reality of the Three-Faced God because she can feel its power inside her, but she hates it for what it has done to her people (basically enslaved them in a seemingly doomed attempt to save the multiverse), and gives it, as do most of her people, only the bare minimum of respect necessary to avoid its wrath. However, it's not a deity that requires faith or love, only obedience.
    • Jame is also fascinated by the native gods of Rathillien, the Kencyrath's current temporary home, and carries out experiments on them. Unlike her God, these seem to live on their believers' faith and love. When she inadvertently allows a worshipper-less goddess to enter the inn on the Feast of Dead Gods, she attempts to sate the goddess's needs to save the inn; finally she tells the goddess that as a Kencyr, she cannot worship her, but she can believe that she exists in some fashion, and that suffices.
  • Conan the Barbarian speaks several times about the futility of wasting your time on gods in this life, though when he comes face to face with them, he sometimes changes his tune. It helps that Crom more or less encourages this with a definite laissez-faire policy towards his worshipers: Cimmerians are expected to take what they want from life using the gifts given to them by Crom at birth. As far as Crom is concerned, creating the Cimmerian race was gift enough, and calling on his assistance every time they are in need would be contemptibly weak. Crom only takes pride in them if they never call on him for aid in their lives.
    • Though that doesn't mean he's completely absent from those of his followers. He once saves Conan from a dishonorable death from a sorcerer (the implications being so Conan could have a more glorious death down the line, befitting him.) Conan is pretty aware of this and privately offers Crom a sacrifice as thanks.
  • The Craft Sequence is set in a world recovering from the God Wars, where human magic users rebelled against the gods and took power into their own hands. Even in the post-war world, magic users and their adherents tend to view gods as tyrannical spiritual parasites that humanity has outgrown.
  • In Dagger-Star by Elizabeth Vaughan, Red Gloves follows the teachings of The Twelve, who basically say to do good deeds and solve problems on your own instead of wasting time calling on the lazy gods for aid. In The Twelve's backstory, they prayed to the gods to cure a town of plague, but the gods did not respond, so they instead managed to cure it on their own.
  • The Deed of Paksenarrion: Duke Kieri Phelan has no love for Girdsmen and their marshals, thanks to a Cynicism Catalyst. However, he is never shown to be a bad person because of this — in fact, his personal honor is a byword. It's not the gods' existence that he denies, he just distances himself from the church of Gird. But, as it turns out, in a world where evil gods exist and take a vested interest in human affairs, it definitely helps to have servants of Good on your side.
  • Discworld
    • Plenty of folks have this attitude towards the gods, who manifestly exist, but only gain power when people believe in them. It's also worth noting that the setting doesn't really have a Supreme Being, instead the Disc was made by a sub-contractor who hurried off as soon as construction was done, life evolved from bacteria on a sandwich Rincewind left behind at Creation, and the gods we see have fairly limited powers and tend to become less active as their number of worshipers grows.
    • Witches and wizards would simply feel silly worshiping beings that they meet and converse with on a regular basis. "Contrary to popular opinion, seeing is not believing; it's where belief stops because it isn't needed anymore."
    • When Samuel Vimes gets married, he is against holding the ceremony in a church because he doesn't much like the gods or sees what business it is of theirs that he's getting hitched. He does, however, choose Unseen University's great hall, which has a churchy feel to it, as the setting for the ceremony. It isn't required for gods to show up on such occasions, but they should feel at home if they do.
    • Small Gods is full of them to the point of it becoming a recurring theme.
      • Sergeant Simony is a ballsy enough atheist to tell the Great God Om, to his face, "This doesn't change anything, you know! Don't think you can get 'round me by existing!" For his part, Om quite likes Simony - a man whose Rage Against the Heavens is like a shadow of faith, especially when compared to the lip service Om was getting from almost all of his "worshipers."
      • 'Charcoal' Abraxas is an Ephebian philosopher and agnostic. He has been struck by lightning at least 15 times (often on sunny cloudless days). He takes the view that the gods' existence is not a valid philosophical reason to believe in them, and that the gods like seeing an atheist around because "it gives them something to aim at".
      • Koomi of Smale is another philosopher who has studied the gods and was the first person to theorise that Gods Need Prayer Badly, something the gods of the Discworld really don't want their worshippers to know. He also said that there is almost certainly a Supreme Being, but that it's probably best not to attract this Being's attention.
    • Polly, the protagonist of Monstrous Regiment, is increasingly aware that the local God Is Evil. She's not alone, either - The Last Hero introduced a Nugganite who attacked his deity when they met face-to-face, screaming about the punishments his people had suffered for eating chocolates or breaking the deity's other insane commandments. This is probably why Nuggan is dead by the end of Monstrous Regiment.
    • Constable Dorfl is both a nay-theist and a ceramic Golem, who replies to an attempted Bolt of Divine Retribution with "I Don't Call That Much Of An Argument." However, he's open-minded enough to listen to the arguments of the priest of the "most worthy god" (prompting an interfaith fistfight) when he's off-duty (he's never off-duty).
    • Havelock Vetinari is extremely intelligent and fully aware of the Disc's deities, but after a few drinks in Unseen Academicals stated that "If there is any kind of supreme being, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior."note 
    • Discworld's dwarfs have a creator god because it's useful to have something to yell at when you hit your thumb with a hammer, but don't worship him as a matter of dogma because "Tak doesn't demand that we think of Him, only that we think." They don't believe in devils or demons, but their customs dictate that a dwarf be buried with an excellent weapon just in case any of those things don't know that dwarfs don't believe in them. And then there's the Summoning Dark, an ancient spirit of revenge that no dwarf worships but all dwarfs know to steer clear of.
    Vimes: You believe in that stuff?
    Grag Bashfullson: Believe? No. I just know it exists.
  • Divine Misfortune: Being a world where the existence of gods and the supernatural are a proven fact instead of speculation, being a part of a religion and serving a god has become a bureaucratic and transactional affair and one can choose to take part or abstain. Teri in particular wanted to abstain from such practices after her grandfather was smote, but decides to give it a try at the thought of using divine power for good. Her friend Janet is a "deiphile", meaning that while she is unwilling to commit to a faith, she's a big fan of gods and even starts dating Lucky.
  • In Steven Brust's Dragaera series everyone admits the existence of gods, but dragaerians (elves) are nay-theists to those gods, while the human race sincerely worships the same beings.
    • [A human says:] “We aren’t elves. They don’t worship as we do. Many of them know of her [Goddess Verra], but think she is only a person with skills and power. They do not understand the concept of a goddess the way we do.”
  • In Dragonlance, Tanis Half-Elven voices the viewpoint that the "Old Gods" aren't worth the trouble of looking for and certainly don't deserve mortal reverence, even though they did once exist and granted mortals powerful healing magic. Since the "Gods of Good" were instrumental in causing an Earth-ravaging cataclysm, stripped mortal kind of their healing magic, and abandoned them to rot in the wasteland whilst blaming doing so on mortals, and only came back to the world because the God of Evil was secretly trying to sneak back and conquer the world to make it exclusively her domain, it's not that unreasonable a viewpoint, for all Weis & Hickman insist that it's a good thing that the gods came back.
  • The Dresden Files
    • As for the title character, Harry Dresden's best friend is one of the aforementioned Knights of the Cross, as a magic-user he dallies with the supernatural each day, he's conjured up demons and done battle with devils, and he's even sat down and chatted with several deities. But Harry's not very religious, and when it comes to God, Harry thinks that He has good intentions but needs to be more involved - at one point Harry even calls out God for apparently doing nothing when the Knights of the Blackened Denarius seem to get direct aid from Satan, which leads to Michael getting severely injured. For His part, God seems on good terms with Dresden judging from the number of times the Knights of the Cross have been available to help him, allowed a disguised Archangel Uriel to speak with Harry and Harry was even given Soulfire, the same power the angels use, to counteract Satan's assistance to the Denarians. Also note that while Harry is not very observant, he does have enough faith in the positive power of magic to use his pentacle amulet as a holy symbol against vampires. It's worth noting that despite the existence of Angels and the historic fact that Jesus was some kind of faith-powered superhuman, God has not been confirmed to exist, only alluded to. And Harry has tangled with lower-case-g gods multiple times, in one case even having a polite conversation with Hades. Harry doesn't necessarily deny the existence of God, but rather has no context for the power of God when confronting all these supernatural creatures that claim to be gods.
  • The Emigrants: Karl Oskar arguably becomes one after Kristina's death; he doesn't stop believing in God, but he utterly refuses to call God just.
  • In Everworld this is the best way to summarize the attitudes that the core four and Senna have towards the gods of yore. They acknowledge that the gods have tremendous powers and are a force to be reckoned with, but they refuse to accept them as gods per se, and frequently insult or manipulate them for their own ends. Merlin may be a native Everworld example.
    • Jalil is the best example of the series. For the first several books, the group goes with whichever gods they're dealing with at the moment, mostly as a function of practicality and not dying. However, when the opportunity first arises, Jalil tells the gods (specifically, the African gods) that he is NOT going to kowtow to every deity that they happen to come across, and quite persistently tells them to buzz off. They don't like this too much.
  • Fate/strange Fake:
    • Gilgamesh has a dim view of the gods and says he prefers people who can take care of their lives without calling on them for aid. He later attacks a church, despite it being a Truce Zone, saying he does not acknowledge God's authority.
    • True Archer has an extreme hatred for the gods and attacks anybody with divine blood in them. One of his Noble Phantasms is the sash of Hippolyta, which can power up the user and their weapons with divine energy. He only uses it to power up his weapons, because he doesn't want the divine energy to enter his body so he can prove he can win with the power of man alone. He prefers other power-ups that came from man instead of the gods.
  • Glory in the Thunder: When Tsovinar first becomes immortal, the Will of the World speaks to her as a voice in her head. She tells it she does not much care what it wants.
  • Orc religion in Helen and Troy's Epic Road Quest is described as "ignoring the gods and having them ignore you in turn." It also doesn't help that when an orc dies, they are expected to either kill a god or spend eternity adding to an ever-growing mound of corpses, the former having yet to be accomplished.
  • In the short story "Hell Is the Absence of God" by Ted Chiang, angels routinely and overtly intervene, causing both good and bad results. People are therefore split between the "devout" and "non-devout". The non-devout know that they will be going to Hell rather than Heaven, but while Heaven is a paradise of eternal devotion, Hell doesn't seem so bad for a non-devout person; it's merely Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Hrafnkell Freysgoði, in Hrafnkels Saga Freysgoða, concludes that "I think it is folly to have faith in the gods," after his temple to Freyr is burnt and he is enslaved.
  • The Iliad: Little Ajax, after the Trojan War, survives a shipwreck and shouts at the gods that they have failed to kill him. And then he's immediately killed.
  • In the Inheritance Trilogy gods walk among humans, so atheism is a de facto impossible position. However, as the trilogy progresses the faith devoted to Top God erodes, leading heretical cults worshiping other gods to appear and later give rise to the "primordialism" movement of people who see no need to worship the gods, instead putting mortals first.
  • Journey to Chaos: Eric fully acknowledges the existence of gods since Tasio, the king of the trickster gods, literally hovers over him. This is why he doesn't like Tasio or his divine siblings. Their hovering often causes trouble for him.
  • In Charles Stross's The Laundry Files, Bob is fully aware of the existence of at least one being he deems "indistinguishable from God". As of The Fuller Memorandum, he is awaiting his God's return to Earth... with a shotgun... and saving the last shell for himself. There's also a bit in The Jennifer Morgue where a fellow agent points out that while Bob may not believe in God, he certainly believes in Hell (as he's had extensive dealings with informational entities from other universes that could easily be classified as demons). The prelude to The Fuller Memorandum spells out his Nay-Theism well.
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The title character started out as an atheist before he went to Vahalla, and is now this. He even says that The Reveal just made him even more sure that there wasn't any master plan. Sam is a variation on this since she's a Naytheist with only the pagan gods while still being Muslim (she thinks that the gods are just powerful mortals).
  • Zakath from The Malloreon admits that while he acknowledges the existence of the gods, he still can't accept that they play any sort of role in the world. He's basically got the right end of the stick on the gods; Aldur and UL are the only ones who still interact with their followers to any degree anymore, and even they don't really get involved unless they must (Aldur to get Belgarath, Belgarion, and Silk away from Vorduvai, and UL to tell Relg to stop being a troublemaker and go with the companions.) He's seriously wrong about the Prophecies not having any real impact, though. The gods left deliberately because if they'd stayed, they'd have had to confront Torak, and that would have risked destroying the world, thereby fucking up the Prophecies on a horrific scale.
  • In Midnight's Children, Saleem's grandfather Aadam becomes this after he mistakes Joseph D'Costa's ghost for God, as he blames God for the bad events in his life. He spends the rest of his life haranguing priests and ranting outside of mosques.
  • The Mortal Instruments:
    • Jace Wayland believes that there is a God, just not that God cares, after seeing his father murdered in front of him.
    • The Clave as a whole is extremely irreligious considering that they are a group of enhanced humans whose gifts were very explicitly granted to them by an archangel. While they show a notable interest in angelology and can name more angels than most people who are not professional theologians, they tend to steer clear of discussions about God. The Nephilim have no churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. in Idris, and when seeking consecrated ground for their Institutes they are prone to using sites that were formerly mundane locations of worship. They also rely heavily on holy water but do not produce it themselves, instead getting it from various mundane religions.
  • No Gods for Drowning: Alexander Stathos knows the gods exist and are meant to be protect humanity from the monsters known as the Glories, but has a poor opinion of them. He dislikes that humanity are meant to hold them in this regard but the gods abandoned them. His bad experiences creating sacrifices to the goddess, Logoi and seeing the carnage of killing in her name has also left him resentful of how humanity now has to do horrible stuff for them.
  • In No Gods, No Masters Mikhail Bakunin, a big name in anarchist political ideology and a self-identified anarcho-collectivist wrote: "The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth. A boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth, therefore should God exist, he would have to be abolished." This was a reversal from what Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire had said: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him." Bakunin did believe that God didn't exist, however, as the above passage indicates.
  • In one of the Obsidian & Blood novels, Acatl encounters a Nay-Theist. It's worth noting that he is absolutely horrified by this, despite having personal experience of what jerkasses gods can be, and despite the Nay-Theist being that way because a god did something really awful to him.
  • In The Odyssey, Polyphemus the Cyclops rejects Sacred Hospitality by eating members of Odysseus' crew and denounces the laws of the gods as irrelevant. This despite being the son of Poseidon. Hypocritically, after Odysseus blinds Polyphemus in revenge and arrogantly revealed his true identity, Polyphemus invoked Poseidon's favor (read: whined to Daddy) to punish Odysseus.
  • Of Fire and Stars: Zumordans almost universally stopped worshiping the gods after they found a different means of doing magic than bonding with them, resulting in ancient temples being abandoned. They don't deny that the gods exist, but just think they're useless, being somewhat disdainful toward people that do worship them.

  • One Nation, Under Jupiter: Gottlieb, at least for the Roman pantheon.
  • In Henri Charrière's Papillon, the title character (usually considered literally autobiographical) on several occasions breaks down to express his hate or gratitude for God, depending on his success. He was raised in an atheist family, but that obviously doesn't stop him from blaming God for his adversity.
  • Attolia of the Queen's Thief series accepts the gods' help to find Eugenides and fight the Medes, but flat-out refuses to worship them or be married at an altar. Her displeasure seems to stem from the fact that the gods are as deceitful and tricky as her barons; although Eugenides worships them more than she does, he suffers the most. She changes her mind when Eugenides's Pals with Jesus status leads him to challenge the gods—who break every window in the palace, lock the room he is in, and give him a terrifying vision of impending doom. She promises to worship if they leave him alone.
  • FBI Special Agent Randal considers God to be malevolent and this world to be Hell in Queen of Wands by John Ringo.
  • The Rifter: John (the incarnation of the Rifter) is something of a nay-theist god. He doesn't want people worshiping him, is skeptical about the value of worship and faith in general, and isn't convinced that the creator god Parfir is looking after people.
  • In Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim: Kill the Dead James Stark has this little gem.:
    Stark (Narrating): If I was a religious man (and no, knowing there's a Heaven and Hell, God and devil and angels doesn't help being religious one little bit), I might take what I see as a sign.
    • Also worth noting is that he himself is half-angel.
  • Kallik's brother Taqqiq becomes this in Seeker Bears. After his mother died and his sister was presumed dead as well, Taqqiq stopped worshipping the Spirits.
  • The Silerian Trilogy: The Society in regards to Dar. Although they acknowledge she exists, none of them worship Her.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire,
    • Stannis Baratheon tells his adviser Davos Seaworth that he stopped believing in gods the day his father Steffon died in a storm at sea. Stannis appears to have 'converted' for the effectiveness of Melisandre's powers.
    • Tyrion Lannister wants to take a crossbow with him when he dies so that he can thank the heavenly Father the same way he did the earthly one.
  • Special Circumstances: The head of the US and Europe branch of Special Circumstances, Augustus Germaine, is well aware of the existence of gods and demons — they are, after all, the very reason for the existence of Special Circumstances — but doesn't follow any of them. In an organization composed of followers of many different belief systems, he is usually moderating disputes between different faiths, as a neutral party.
  • Star Trek Novelverse:
    • A'churak'zen in Star Trek: Titan. Assigned to pilot a spaceship to a phenomenon believed by her people to be the god Erykon, she privately intended to confront it on the meaning of life. Having previously suffered great personal loss, she no longer believed that Erykon was just, fair, or benevolent and refused to worship it. She certainly still believed in its power though. She also decided that if it didn't answer her questions satisfactorily, it would feel the wrath of A'churak'zen, in pleasing symmetry.
    • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch novel Avatar introduces a Bajoran minority religion, Ohalavaru, that believes the Prophets (the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who are known in the setting's present-day to live in the wormhole in the Bajoran system) are powerful beings, but not gods, and have a symbiotic relationship with the Bajoran people. The mainstream church persecuted them as heretics.
  • Zalasta in The Tamuli. Most gods he simply tries to exploit to achieve his goals. To make him fit fully into this trope, his primary goal is to kill Aphrael, Child Goddess of Styricum.
  • In John French’s Thousand Sons novels, the Chaos sorcerer Ctesias acknowledges that the Chaos Gods exist but refuses to worship them because they don’t need or deserve such reverence, and he views any Chaos Space Marine who does worship the Chaos Gods with contempt. This is one of the few things that Ctesias and Ahriman, who all but despise each other, can agree on.
  • Humorously treated in The Thurb Revolution by Alexei Panshin. On an outback planet, one of the natives announces that he is God, having just been elected by the other Plonks (Don't ask). Anthony Villiers and his friends respond by engaging Him in an oh-so-respectful and reasonable discussion of what constitutes proof since surely He would not wish to encourage the worship of false gods. Reviving the dead is "a modern commonplace". Transubstantiation "can be accomplished by mechanical means". And revealing a secret as proof of his omniscience fails because one of the other characters has already found out.
  • Tortall Universe: Duke Roger, the Big Bad of Tamora Pierce's Alanna quartet, says that he believes in the gods because "only a fool does not," but doesn't like them because they don't like him.
  • In James Morrow's Towing Jehovah, when God's 2-mile long corpse shows up floating in the ocean, the oldest and founding member of the Central Park atheist society suggests as rational, scientific-minded people they should keep an open mind that this is evidence they were wrong all along. The rest of the society angrily rebuke her and begin conspiring to destroy God's corpse.
  • The Traitor Son Cycle: The Red Knight's favourite saying is "God doesn't give a f***"; hence why he doesn't worship Him unless he has to show up in a church for PR.
  • Lightsong from Warbreaker is a strange example, though this trope is probably the best fit for him- he actually is a god, or at least a kind of being that is worshiped as such, but he finds the whole idea quite ludicrous and refuses to acknowledge his own divinity. Lightsong doesn't really have any solid ideas about gods otherwise- he's just certain that he's not one. He ends up changing his mind, though to readers familiar with Brandon Sanderson's multiverse, it's clear the Returned aren't actually gods, just the emissaries of one of them.
  • David Weber has the WarGod trilogy, where gods manifest and choose champions all the time, with almost two dozen champions of the God of Justice running around. The race of Dark Elves/Orcs Hradani haven't had a single champion since the end of the last wizard war made the entire race into nay-theists. It's so ingrained that most of the first book is the main character, Bahzell Bahnakson, running from clerics, wizards, and the gods themselves rather than being talked into being their champion.
    • In the same series, the somewhat misogynistic Trisu of Lorham is accused of feeling this way towards the goddess of women. He claims it isn't hatred but healthy skepticism: he doesn't doubt the existence of the gods (or goddesses), but he also doesn't doubt the existence of con men. If you show up at his door claiming that the gods sent you, you had better have some corroborating evidence.
  • Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!) of Warhammer 40,000 is an odd version of this. It's not that he doesn't venerate the Emperor, Cain just feels so insignificant that he's sure the Emperor has better things to do than pay attention to him, so Cain doesn't bother with prayers for help. While he doesn't attend religious services if he can avoid it (he considers it "Emperor-bothering"), he has also shown himself to be incredibly devout in other ways and knows the works of the saints well enough to spot a Quote Mine.
  • In Bernard Cornwell's The Warlord Chronicles King Arthur doesn't dispute the existence of the gods and is technically a Mithraist and later, just as technically, a Christian but believes that men are better off taking their fate into their own hands.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • After being betrayed by Tigerclaw, seeing her home destroyed in a fire and a bunch of cats dying, Bluestar goes insane and decides that StarClan is worthless and declares war on them, and also becomes the cat version of a misanthrope. She snaps out of it just in time to save Fireheart before dying.
    • Mothwing starts out believing that StarClan doesn't exist; that "prophecies" are only things medicine cats knew in their subconscious that they just happened to remember in dreams. Eventually, she does come to accept that StarClan exists, but she still doesn't truly "believe" in them. And she's supposed to be the religious leader of her Clan...
    • Cloudstar was the leader of SkyClan when they were driven out by the other four Clans in ancient times. In response to this, he renounces StarClan, saying that the spirits of their ancestors aren't worth worshipping if they allow Twolegs to destroy their territory and do nothing to help.
    • Stoneteller, the leader of the Tribe of Rushing Water, refuses to worship or heed the signs of the Tribe of Endless Hunting because they've had to completely overhaul the Tribe's way of doing things after another, unfriendly group of cats became their neighbors, something that Stoneteller dislikes.
  • We All Fall Down: Jimmy is living through the biblical tribulation after his wife and the world's other Christians are raptured. As The Antichrist establishes a One World Order, Jimmy tells everyone this proves the Bible is true and intends to convert once he's fled to safety in Israel. When he's confronted over his faith, though, Jimmy can't bring himself to accept God's terms for salvation in light of all the devastation and suffering the world has been plunged into.
  • He Who Fights With Monsters: Jason has a very low opinion of religion, even if there's absolute proof that gods exist in this new world. It doesn't help that most of the local religions, due to their remote location away from the main churches, tend towards the Corrupt Church. He repeatedly tells the Goddess of Knowledge to her face that he doesn't think she deserves worship (which she mostly thinks is funny until she manipulates him too much and he cuts off all ties), and the God of Domination finds him hilarious.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Daredevil (2015): Matt begins to think God is cruel and uncaring in Season Three after his experiences, citing the story of Job and saying he shouldn't have kept faith in a being who'd inflict such things on him. He changes his mind by the end of Season Three though.
  • In Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert either is this or becomes this over the course of the series due to his many misfortunes.
    Robert: (looks up) Was this your plan? Huh? You sat up there and you put me through everything and then let me end up like this? Well, let me tell you something, mister: You. Are not. Funny.
  • In Farscape, Aeryn says that the Sebaceans stopped worshipping gods after their goddess killed everyone on seven Sebacean worlds for fun.
  • In the pilot for The Finder a bishop who's also a friend of Walter Sherman, the main character, asks one of Sherman's associates why he's angry at God "this time."
  • In Firefly, a flashback shows Mal was once rather religious. The implication is that when the Browncoats lost the war, it left him somewhat pissed off with the Almighty for letting him down. Best summed up with a line he gives Shepard Book:
    Mal: You're welcome on my boat. God ain't.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Cersei says her father believes in the gods, he just doesn't like them, something which she agrees with, quoting him in "Blackwater" when she says "The gods have no mercy, that's why they are gods". Along the lines of a typical Hollywood Atheist backstory, he developed this attitude after the death of his beloved wife. Tywin also views his son Tyrion, whom he intensely dislikes, as a cruel lesson by the gods to teach him humility because Tyrion can still wear Lannister colors despite Tywin's disapproval of him. Tyrion has much the same attitude as his father, calling the gods vicious cunts...except for that god of tits and wine he's heard of, assuming it exists. Jaime disagrees with this, as he is more of a Hollywood Atheist.
    • Davos. Even after he admits the Lord of Light exists after witnessing Melisandre's powers, he's not fond of him (or her). True to this trope, however, Davos's continued rejection of the "true god" is likely about not wanting to worship something that terrifying. He flat out spells it out to Melisandre while asking for her to resurrect Jon Snow, saying he wants the help of a Lady of Black Magic, not her Lord of Light.
    Davos: Fuck him then. Fuck all of them. I’m not a devout man. Obviously. Seven gods, drowned gods, tree gods, it’s all the same. I’m not asking the Lord o’Light for help. I’m asking the woman who showed me miracles exist.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: King Pantheus of Atlantis has convinced his subjects that there are no gods, but he readily accepts that Hercules is the son of one.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: The devoutly Catholic Pembleton eventually turns against God and renounces his faith after getting fed up with the amount of horrific crimes he's witnessed, even refusing to enter a church for a friend's funeral mass out of spite. He eventually regains his faith in the sixth season.
  • Jeremiah: Jeremiah has come to believe God is cruel and uncaring after the hardships he's been through.
  • The Knick: Thackery speaks of God as "the enemy" in his struggle to save people, which a nun characterizes as his "personal war against God".
  • Law & Order: SVU:
    • In "Uncle", Season 8 ep. 4, Detective Beck, to the practicing Catholic Detective Stabler, regarding the death grip the ten-year-old victim of the week has on the crucifix she was clutching as she was raped and tortured to death:
      She was praying for help, that never came.
  • In one of the first scenes of The Pacific Robert Leckie is seen lighting a candle in a church. Several episodes (and battles) later, he and God are "not on speaking terms".
  • Pure: Eli Voss expresses hatred of God and contempt for the Mennonites' teachings. This appears to be a result of his family being killed after a truck hit their buggy. As a result, he lost faith and became a criminal.
  • Raised by Wolves (2020): Early in Season 2, Campion says he believes Sol (the Mithrac god) is real, but evil.
  • George Costanza in Seinfeld fits the bill. In the episode The Pilot when talking to a therapist after headway is being made on he and Jerry's show for NBC but feels in his gut that something will go wrong, claiming that "God would never let me be successful." When the therapist says that she thought he didn't believe in God, he replies "I do for the bad things." Throughout the rest of the episode, he continues to repeat such sentiments.
  • Star Trek:
    • It's mentioned occasionally that the early Klingons originally had gods, but rose and slew them for being more trouble than they were worth. Their religious beliefs now center on a messianic Klingon named Kahless.
    • In Star Trek: The Next Generation Captain Jean-Luc Picard is a nay theist specifically to the idea of Q as God: "I refuse to believe the afterlife is run by you. The universe isn't so badly designed." It helps that Picard knows there are other Qs around. When you have other beings with the same amount of power, by definition, you can't be all-powerful. Also note that while Q has been called the God of Lies by at least one species, he has never actually referred to himself as a god and meant it. Other episodes indicate Picard believes in some creator of the universe and acts reverently toward this based on its wonder, probably explaining his contempt for the idea Q is it
  • Dean Winchester, and Sam to a lesser extent, of Supernatural. Even some of the angels are nay-theists.
    • More specifically, Dean absolutely knows that Heaven and Hell exist (he's been to both), but feels his life would be simpler if they left him alone.
    • Including Castiel, once they come to believe that God has no intention of stopping the Apocalypse. A more complete explanation is that God gave them all the help they needed to stop the apocalypse without his interference in their lives, thus preserving their free will. Castiel made it clear that he wants to aid Heaven, now that Michael's gone. When Dean asked, Castiel asked him if he wanted Peace or Freedom before POOFing out.....
    • This is exaggerated once they find out that Chuck is God; and to an especially Rage Against the Heavens level by the Season 14 finale, where Chuck reveals that he just thinks of them all as his Cosmic Playthings, and enjoys their protracted suffering like his favorite TV show.
    • Castiel's human vessel Jimmy was a devout, church-going man who prayed for a spiritual mission of some kind and Jumped at the Call when Castiel needed his body as a vessel. When he's freed a year later, he returns to his family knowing full well that angels and demons exist and are fighting but wants no part of it, not even saying grace at dinner. When his wife and daughter are taken hostage by demons, he even has a Rage Against the Heavens moment. Years later, when Castiel tracks down Jimmy's daughter, she's not shy about expressing her contempt for heaven, either.
  • Rick in The Walking Dead (2010) has moved into this territory ever since he asked God for a sign and next thing you know, his son gets shot.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess is a perfect example. She knows only too well that the gods exist, but she despises them for their arrogance toward humanity. Far from worshiping them, her approach to them varies from deliberately ignoring them to actively working toward their destruction. Hercules is very similar, though the situation is more complicated since he's, you know, related to them.

  • In the Nine Inch Nails song "Terrible Lie," the speaker feels betrayed by God and proceeds to tell Him directly how much he hates Him and that He owes the speaker "a great big apology."
  • Roger Waters mixes this with A God Am I on the first verse of "Déjà Vu", with the narrator holding God accountable for man's flaws and the sorry state of the world and suggesting he would have done better.
    "If I had been God
    With my staff and my rod
    If I had been given the nod
    I believe I could have done a better job"
  • Slayer, with "Disciple". The song criticizes how terrible life and humanity are, and that the only conclusion is that God doesn't care. It becomes pretty evident when they start shouting GOD HATES US ALL.
  • XTC's "Dear God" sort of combines this with God Is Evil. The song actually starts merely requesting God's help with human problems such as famine and riots. The singer goes from mocking the very idea of God's existence ("Did you make mankind after we made you?") to railing against Him for allowing evil and suffering to flourish ("You're always letting us humans down"), so by the end, the lack of God's response is a Foregone Conclusion.

  • Dice Funk:
    Jayne's Inner Monologue: Gods are stupid. I hate them.
  • Arthur Lester from Malevolent starts out as a run-of-the-mill atheist, but after everything he's been through including interacting with actual, literal gods, he's now aware that gods exist, but rejects them.
    Arthur: I’ve seen these Gods, and they’re nothing.

  • The Bible says that all professed atheists are really this because they can see creation around them and figure it out for themselves.
    • Romans 1:18-25:
      18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
      19 For what can be known about God is plain to them because God has shown it to them.
      20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
      21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
      22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
      23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
      24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
      25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen."
    • Note that the last line goes as far as to claim that anyone who doesn't worship any gods (or anything that isn't the Abrahamic deity, since it supposes that everyone inherently knows that other gods are fake) must be worshiping something else by default, be it themselves, a material element , or pure pleasure. Some real-life theists actually believe this is necessarily the case for atheists, even though these three ways of living just mentioned are not a vital pillar for lack of religious belief by itself, nor a necessary consequence of it. Others have argued this does not refer to atheism, which at the time was less well known, but rather impiety or the disbelief in the Abrahamic God alone.
    • Book of Exodus has the Pharaoh behaving like this. He acknowledged the existence of God. He even went so far as to admit that he sinned, but he still refused to do what God said and let His people go. It doesn't end well for him when he attempted to chase Moses between the sea... There is also a verse saying God "hardened Pharoah's heart" to not let the Hebrews go, however, so not all of it was within his control.
    • In one particular scene from the Gospels according to St. Mark and St. Luke, Jesus encounters a man with an unclean spirit. The man (or rather the demon speaking through him) says, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." before getting exorcised. (Mark 1:21-28, Luke 4:31-37)
      • By extension, James 2:19 says: "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder." It makes it very clear that the demons are nay-theists; they acknowledge the existence of God but refuse to worship Him out of pride.
  • The Book of Mormon describes a man named Korihor who gained a following by preaching against religion in general and Christianity in particular. He initially appears to be a Hollywood Atheist but eventually says that he knew there was a God all along, but was persuaded by a Fallen Angel to preach against Him - and had so much success that he started to believe what he was teaching.
  • In some versions of Buddhism, gods are acknowledged to exist, but they're still part of the same cycle of reincarnation as humans and animals, and they're a distinctly secondary concern to the enlightenment taught by Buddha. This could also qualify as No Such Thing as Space Jesus as the difference between humans and gods is simply one of degree, not kind, and theoretically, both can move either way up and down the karmic ladder. A "big G" deity is usually explicitly denied, however, so we're talking lesser gods in this.
  • Deism is the belief that God exists, created the universe, and then left it to its own devices. This was quite a common belief between the Enlightenment (and the decline in religious sentiment in Western societies) and Darwin's theory of evolution (which provided a naturalistic explanation of the origin of life). Most deists as a result didn't actively "worship" in the sense of praying or performing rituals. However, this wasn't due to a negative attitude about God, but since they didn't believe it was useful. Some even believed in divine providence, but not of an interventionist kind. This is also older than they think-in the classical period the Epicureans had the same attitude, holding that the gods were distant, blissful entities unaware of humans, thus prayer or sacrifices to them were a waste (though worship was proper since they represented an ideal state). In their case, however, they didn't believe that the gods created the universe, and had even evolved from mortal beings, combining this view with a strict materialist cosmology.
  • Several Norse works refer to "godless" people who refused to worship any god in revenge for having had a particularly unlucky and tormented life.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: House Tremere descends from a priestly order of Necromancers who served, and were abandoned by, three consecutive Gods of the Dead. This left them jaded towards divinity in general and especially hostile towards any god that wishes Human Sacrifice, leading them to declare war on the Druids of House Diedne.
    Tremere magi understand, with perfect clarity, what happens to a person when they are murdered to please a god.
    They don't think that gods are worth it.
  • Chronicles of Darkness: Very common, since being a supernatural being gives a person a certain perspective that induces natural skepticism towards the existence and/or worthiness of human-worshipped gods. Exactly how tends to vary depending on the supernatural race in question.
    • Vampires are the least likely splat to give this. They're clearly supernatural, yes, but compared to some other races, they're surprisingly ignorant of the world around them. Although their lack of certain traditional "holy" weaknesses, like being repelled by crosses or unable to enter churches, does give some pause, many aren't sure. As a result, one of the five Covenants who give vampires some organization in the night is the Lanceae et Sanctum, a Christian Covenant that preaches vampires have a place in the scheme of things as "God's chosen monsters", with the purpose of Scare 'Em Straight.
    • Werewolves after changing are exposed to the Shadow, which is the birthplace of the animistic spirits who underlie all of creation. Actual religious figures, particularly of the Abrahamic faiths, don't show up at all, though spirits deliberately trying to found cults and manipulate mortals do. At the same time, spirits can give potent magical boons to those who help them, and worshiping them is one of the easiest ways to do so. So, not only is there a tiny minority of werewolves who manage to cling to their pre-Change beliefs, but there's also a minority of werewolves who actively worship their totemic spirits, although they're not supposed to. The Pure is more of an aversion; they genuinely do worship and reverse the spirits, which is one of the reasons why the spirits like them more than the Forsaken.
      • This reaches a peak with the Lodge of the Fallen Idol, a small Lodge that recognizes that the Uratha owes their existence to two powerful entities of the Shadow, they receive guidance from powerful entities of the Shadow, and there are some things out in the Shadow of such power they could be called "divine." This all proves to them that the last thing these beings need is more worship, as it will just make them more powerful and possibly give them "ideas" about how best to affect creation.
    • Mages are a mixed bag. Some do give up on their old beliefs after their Awakening, especially those who have the ability to communicate with the dead or the spirits. Others retain their old faiths. Others still devise whole new belief systems to account for their powers.
    • Prometheans generally don't think much about religion, being too concerned with their ongoing Pilgrimage to try and forge souls for themselves. Many do form a sincere belief in their chosen faith if they choose to explore it, but others still tend to drift away again when they realize it's not going to magically finish their quest for them.
    • Changelings are well aware that there are creatures out there that might as well be divine... of course, as these same creatures abducted and tormented them, transforming them into half-human freaks, they generally aren't inclined to worship them, and often become skeptical of human religions as well. Some don't feel that way, especially if they become convinced that their Durance was God's punishment for sinning or some such thing, but they tend to be a minority.
    • Sin-Eaters may play this straight or may avert this; although their religions are often cobbled together from what they've seen of the underworld and, often, bits and pieces of their original beliefs or their occult lore, they tend to be very sincere about it. Dying and coming back from the dead tends to breed respect for the idea that there are more things out there than humans are generally aware of.
    • Mummies know for a fact that the Judges of Duat are real — they can hear them screaming in their souls when the Arisen thinks about disobeying, and they only exist because the Judges created them in the first place. So the vast majority of the Arisen do worship and homage the Judges. On the other hand, they tend to be scornful towards human religions, save for how they can utilize and exploit them; after all, Mummies were created centuries before the Abrahamic faiths existed, and many of the Arisen can remember being there for the founding of Islam and doing battle against Judaic heroes during the time period the Old Testament calls the Book of Judges. That said, a few of the Arisen have recreated their faith in a more henotheistic note  interpretation. There's even a Muslim-practicing mummy mentioned in one of the sourcebooks.
    • Demons generally fall under this. Having fled the service of the God-Machine, most are convinced that God Is Evil and/or that it's a Mad God and certainly not worthy of servitude. The Integrators are exceptions, and even they believe that the God-Machine needs some... maintenance... before they can go back to its arms. Additionally, whilst most Demons are contemptuous of mortal beliefs, there is a small sect that spun out of the Integrator agenda that actively looks for a "real" god to offer their services to, rather than seeking a return to the God-Machine.
  • DragonMech: Many people in the setting have noticed that the gods either couldn't or didn't really do a hell of a lot to stop the moon from falling and have more or less given up on religion as a result. Since the gods are currently under siege by the lunar gods, they haven't been helping to correct this, because they can only intermittently spare power for their clerics and paladins, and their most powerful and devout worshipers rarely get to take advantage of Death Is Cheap because they really need as many righteous dead as possible to help them fight the lunar gods.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, it's entirely possible to play a Cleric or other class with access to divine magic who doesn't follow a specific deity, but instead believes fervently in an abstract principle, philosophy, or code of honor. Thus the Forgotten Realms feature clerics of Kossuth, the Elemental Lord of Fire who doesn't care that he doubles as a deity (Kossuth, along with the other elemental deities in later editions are revealed to be Primordials, elemental beings with godlike levels of power but explicitly are not deities), or in the Dark Sun setting you can simply be a cleric of Fire itself. There are even classes that bypass the gods entirely: the Archivist from Heroes of Horror is an occult scholar who can cast divine spells from prayerbooks like a more conventional wizard learns spells from tomes. Ur-Priests, on the other hand, despise deities and use their abilities (usually granted to them by demons) to steal divine power from the gods as they work to destroy them. It goes without saying that gods don't like them very much.
    • The Eberron setting hasn't really answered the question if gods actually exist or not, and many of the religions don't center around gods. The Blood of Vol believe that the gods cursed mortals with death, while the Silver Flame is based around the remains of a paladin's sacrifice, the Elven religions are ancestor worship in one form or another, and the Path of Light is a philosophical religion. The followers of the Becoming God know for a fact that their god does not exist, because they're building him. The spells of their clerics work just fine anyway.
    • Dragonlance has Mystics and Primal Sorcerers that arose during the early Fifth Age. Mystics draw their power from the energy of all living things on Krynn and their own soul, and Sorcerers draw their power from all non-living matter on Krynn. A large part of the flavor for Mystics is that because they draw power from a strong faith in themselves, they can not worship a deity because worshiping a deity is drawing power from outside of themselves. Sorcerers technically can choose to follow a deity, but many do not because they arose during a time when there were no deities.
    • In the Forgotten Realms it's a pretty bad idea to not worship anything since you will be condemned to the Wall of the Faithless after death. The sheer number trapped in the Wall shows that this doesn't stop people from denying the gods their worship.
      • One notable nay-theist in this setting is Artemis Entreri, whose mother was raped by a priest of Selune while his neighbors in the Slums of Memnon were exploited by the rest of that Order. He knows the gods exist, but he sees them as powerful beings who pretend to be good or lawful while being petty monsters no better than anyone else. Though it should be noted that this backstory contradicts the canon that Forgotten Realms deities do not tolerate deviant behavior, and any priest of a good deity who commits an evil deed will have his powers stripped from him until he atones. It was implied in Road of the Patriarch that in Entreri's case, the worship of Selune had been usurped by an evil deity posing as Selune, possibly Ibrandul or Shar masquerading as Ibrandul.
      • Much like Artemis Entreri, many of the ancient Netherese believed that gods were simply very powerful beings, and any sufficiently powerful creature could effectively become one. When Karsus, one of the most powerful wizards in Netheril, put this theory to the test by stealing the power of the god of Magic itself, he accidentally destroyed almost the entire empire by dropping their flying cities out of the sky.
    • In the Planescape setting, most of the Athar faction don't deny the existence of gods and other Powers, they just think beings like Zeus or Odin are merely powerful planar beings - hence their motto, "The gods are frauds." They are open to the idea of a non-personified "Great Unknown," however. Their former leader, Factol Terrance, was a cleric of the goddess Mishakal (from the Dragonlance setting) who simply woke up one day and realized he was no longer awed by his deity's power; he knew for a fact that she existed, but no longer believed she was genuinely divine. The Athar are based around the giant pillar supporting Sigil, the City of Doors, at the very center of the Concordant Plane of the Outlands (said to be the hub around which the multiverse revolves), a place of such strong Anti-Magic that even deities' powers are nullified. A perfect place to philosophize and experiment without being disturbed by irate gods, in other words.
      • Similarly, the Believers of the Source (or "Godsmen" as they're more popularly called) believe that gods are simply the beings that have reached the apex of the Karmic Wheel — godhood is their "payoff" after having reincarnated enough and lived "good" lives throughout. Thus, while the Godsmen won't deny gods exist, and many of them worship gods as an ideal and as a way to respect those who have reached the apex of existence, every one of them aspires to the same height and don't believe gods are anything intrinsically special (this bears a close resemblance to the beliefs of many Buddhists).
      • Half-giants (from an open content sourcebook) believe in the gods, but generally, don't consider them important.
  • Exalted embrace this trope with a gleeful grin. If there is a god and you're an Exalt of any type, it's your job to kick it in the nuts until it behaves. The Sidereals live in the capital of the Celestial Bureaucracy and it's their job to regulate millions of celestial gods, most of which are as much power as they are complete jackasses. The Immaculate Faith is a tool of the Sidereals to make sure the terrestrial gods don't see humans as mere essence batteries, and its tenets forbid full-blown worship of gods. So yes, gods exist; you can chat with one, you can have sex with one (or several), but they can't expect you to respect them.
  • Legend of the Five Rings: The Kolat conspiracy dates from the time when the children of the Sun and Moon fell to earth and took over the land of Rokugan, and was originally founded by the tribal leaders of that time who resented the Gods taking their power away from them. Over time, however, it evolved into a philosophy that exalts the achievements of mortals and resents the interference of Gods, spirits, and other extra-planar beings in the mortal world. They've even found some justification in Rokugan's official religion ("Fortune favors the mortal man").
  • Mage: The Ascension has, well, pretty much the entirety of the Technocracy. They don't deny that the things Sleepers might call "gods" exist, but these extremely potent Extra-Dimensional Entities (or, as a Reality Deviant might call them, "spirits") do not have a divine mandate over creation, and a world of Enlightened Science does not need to put its faith in such beings.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Toshiro Umezawa from the Kamigawa block starts like this but eventually becomes the favored acolyte of the Myojin of Night's Reach.
    • Most of the leonin of Theros are nay-theists, having experienced the tyranny of the archon Agnomakhos. As the block goes on, the rest of Theros also become nay-theists themselves, as support for the gods drops away sharply. After the end of Journey into Nyx and the death of Elspeth, Ajani Goldmane decides to take up arms against the gods of Theros.
      • It goes badly.
  • Pathfinder: The Golarion/Lost Omens setting uses the term "atheist" in the pre-modern sense of refusal to participate in religion, with the explicit justification that denying the gods' existence outright is an exercise in futility. The psychopomp usher Phlegyas is responsible for handling them in Pharasma's Boneyard, where the most extreme atheists who actively reject the existence of divinity are quarantined in the Graveyard of Souls as an existential threat to The Multiverse itself rather than continuing in the cycle of reincarnation. On Golarion proper, there are three nations — Rahadoum, Touvette, and Bachuan — whose official philosophy is the rejection of all gods and religions.
    • Although not without its share of problems — plagues, pirates, famine, giant beetles, and an ever-expanding desert for starters — that believers are quick to attribute to divine wrath, Rahadoum actually copes quite well, and in fact boasts a centuries-long history of peace and stability that other, more religious nations can't match. It is however fairly dogmatic in its atheism, viewing religious people and divine casters as essentially part of a hostile power, and tends to be fairly hostile to them — notably, the two iconic characters from Rahadoum are both exiles who cannot go back home for this reason, as one developed faith during her travels and the other was forced to leave the country after spontaneously manifesting oracular powers in her youth.
    • In Touvette, though officially a military dictatorship, it's implied that most see General Cabol Voran's rule as being genuinely better than the religious wars that previously devastated the country.
    • In Bachuan, though, the leadership is a fairly blatant expy of 1950s Communist China.
  • Space 1889: Godhaters from Transactions of the Royal Martian Geographical Society think that gods are evil or at least more bad than good for Martians (this makes them misotheists or dystheists to use the exact terms) and are dependent on worship or belief to stay powerful or even exist. Thus they refuse to worship and try to work against religion (making them antitheist to use the exact term).
  • Tormenta has the nation of Sallistick, famed for spawning the best doctors in the world. This is because they deny deities, and thus divine magic barely even works there.
  • Warhammer has Archaon, the Everchosen of Chaos and Lord of the End Times. Between the prophecy of the Everchosen ruining his life and shattering his faith, then finding out he was basically manipulated by the Chaos Gods to follow it, Archaon's contempt for the realms and gods of the mortal world extends to Chaos. His ultimate goal is to annihilate all life in the hope of destroying both the mortal realms that failed him and the Dark Gods and their followers who doomed him.
    Archaon: Your God-King does this to you. You feel the hopelessness of his failure. Abandon him as he has abandoned you.
    Giselle Dantzinger: And pray to your dread gods?
    Archaon: No. For I have none. Let the powers of Darkness favor me as they will. Let them lend me their strength and draw strength from my victories if that is their want. You will not see me kneel to them even as I kneel to you now. All gods are fickle. Don't trust in them. I don't. Believe as much as you need to, or not at all. Ultimately, the only thing you can really believe in is in yourself.
    Giselle Dantzinger: You serve the Chaos gods...
    Archaon: They serve themselves, as do I. The world is not fit for man or god [...] All will fall and burn for me. I will be the Lord of the End-Times. The harbinger of doom for all — man and god — for in a world of the slain, with no men, no savages, no ancients of the elder races to pray to them and erect their temples, what will become of these gods, their heroes, and their daemons?
  • In Warhammer 40,000, followers of the God-Emperor of Mankind and Chaos are on mutual non-speaking terms with one another. The Imperial Cult preaches the divinity of the Master of Mankind and that the Ruinous Powers are false gods, while those who believe in the Primordial Truth accept that the Chaos Gods are the only deities around, and scoff at the notion that the shriveled corpse on the Golden Throne is worthy of worship. The truth is more complex - the Chaos Gods are fueled by the thoughts and emotions of all intelligent life, meaning that they were created by mortals rather than vice-versa, and indeed could not exist without them. At the same time, the sheer number of people who believe in the God-Emperor of Mankind has more or less elevated him to deity status, or at least to an equal level with the Dark Gods.
    • The kicker is that the Emperor knew this, but before ending up on the Golden Throne, he pushed a rational, secular Imperial Truth that was dismissive of religion and gods and demons, as part of his attempt to starve the Chaos Gods of faith. So in the Horus Heresy novels, we have a scene where a pre-heel Horus has to sit down and have a talk with a Space Marine who just saw a creature possess someone, mutate his body horribly, drive three people insane, and kill a half-dozen genetically-engineered super soldiers in power armor. How does he explain it? That the "demons" and "gods" of the Warp are just creatures that live in another aspect of reality. The "magic" they use is simply following a different set of the laws of physics, channeled by psykers. Indeed, these very real and "natural" beings are what probably inspired those ancient myths, so why not call them daemons? Problem is, that doesn't mean there's no reason to fear or worship them....
      • This varies quite a bit Depending on the Writer. In one version, the Emperor actually is a living god who has been around since the early stone age (created by humanity's shaman sacrificing themselves to create him when they noticed their previously reincarnating souls were now being eaten by the Chaos gods).
    • The Tau qualifies as well. They've done battle with the forces of Chaos, including daemons, but the Tau's lack of psychic power and their minuscule Warp presence mean that they view such foes as exceptionally unpleasant aliens. This leads to a funny moment in the Dawn of War games where a Chaos Marine is trying to psychically taunt the Tau commander, who merely complains about his malfunctioning comm unit and tells his men to quit screwing around.
    • The C'tan fall here as well. Worshipped as gods by the Necrontyr (before they became the Necron), and with power to match any of the "real" gods, but certainly denied as such by those who actually know of their existence. In a twist, the Machine God generally agreed to be an alternative aspect of the Emperor to prevent humanity from descending into civil war yet again, is sometimes implied to be a hibernating C'tan.
      • In another twist, it's also hinted that the C'tan is known as The Deceiver and the Chaos god Tzeentch may also be the same.
      • As of the more recent Codices, the C'tan are "merely" incredibly powerful but ultimately physical entities who have no connection to the Warp. The Machine God is indeed a C'tan: the Void Dragon, whom the Emperor beat into submission and sealed away on Mars to act as an inspiration for the Adeptus Mechanicus. Mephet'ran the Deceiver is not Tzeentch or the Eldar Laughing God Cegorach, though the three apparently know and respect each other for being devious bastards.
    • The Eldar and Ork gods tend to fit as well. Any manifestations or influence on their part is generally dismissed by other races as demons, illusions, or just good old psychic powers. In the case of the former, all but three of them were eaten by Slaanesh, a Chaos God/dess, one was shattered into pieces in a fight to claim him between Slaanesh and fellow Chaos God Khorne, Cegorach the second survivor managed to escape into the Webway and the last one was kidnapped by Chaos God Nurgle taking advantage of Slaanesh being distracted by Khorne.
    • Dark Heresy: The second edition has Frohrn the Slayer, chieftain of the Gwydrae, the nomad tribe living in the wasteland outside the Desoleum Hive, who hates all forms of religion and spirituality, seeing them as a threat to his people's traditional way of life. The chieftain is notorious for his exceptional cruelty towards representatives of the Ecclesiarchy, but on the other hand, he has no mercy for Chaos cultists fleeing from Imperial persecution and trying to hide in the desert.
  • World Tree (RPG):
    • True atheists are very rare in the World Tree — it's a difficult view to hold when the seven creator gods are visible in the sky at all times and there are multiple reliable records of the thirteen lesser ones interacting with civilization throughout history. Instead, atheists tend to take the view that, real as they may be, the gods aren't inherently better or more "divine", whatever that may mean, than anything or anyone else — they're just bigger and more powerful. The sourcebook notes this to be a defensible position.
    • A similar attitude is present among some non-Prime species about the concept of Primes and divine favor. That the gods made the Primes special and like them best, while they view all other species as scenery and background actors, is a well-known and indisputable fact. Some non-Primes try to deny this, or believe that they can become Primes, but others accept that this is so and just don't really care. Akkamagga, for instance, give very little thought to any Primes other than the Herethroy that they often neighbor, while the sophisticated and magically-powerful nendrai view Prime civilization as a resource to exploit and do not give a whit about who the gods do or don't prefer.

  • In Amadeus, Antonio Salieri becomes this as he starts getting overshadowed by Mozart.
    Salieri: Because you are unjust, unfair, unkind, I will block you, I swear it. I will hinder and harm your creature as far as I am able. I will ruin your incarnation.
  • Hippolytus from the play of the same name. He prefers Artemis to Aphrodite, to the point of treating the latter with scorn. Aphrodite herself stated that she has no problem with Hippolytus preferring Artemis, but Hippolytus treating Aphrodite with scorn is a punishable offense.
  • Jesus Christ Superstar: Judas realizes his place as Cosmic Plaything when in a moment of horror after he shows his immense regret for turning Jesus over, he comes to the conclusion that God was carrying everything out as part of his plan, including Judas's role as the betrayer. He cries out to God, claiming that he killed him, before doing the job himself.
  • The Trail to Oregon!: The family all believe in God, being pioneers in the 1800s, but they don't always have a great opinion of Him, thanks to their various misfortunes, leading to such immortal lines as, "God is a vicious, two-faced prick" and "Our farm burned down. God did it, damn Him to Hell!". That said, it's made clear that the Father is using "acts of God" to excuse/downplay his own mistakes, and the Mother does pray for guidance and help on occasion.

    Video Games 
  • In the world of Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, many people are implied nay-theist, not bothering with religion at all. The dwarves, orcs, elves, and Bedokkan peoples still appear to worship their pagan deities, to some degree. As for the Panarri religion, it's demonstrated to be false during the main quest. Given that an optional, obscure, and a rather difficult sidequest involving making offerings at altars of the "old gods" will actually confer blessings giving significant bonuses to the player characters, it is rather odd that the worship of these deities has been abandoned.
    • Considering that the blessings given by individual "lesser gods" are pretty negligible and attaining the blessings of the "greater gods", let alone the All-Father, requires some rather specific knowledge and resources, it's not all that odd.
  • Taken to its obvious conclusion in Asura's Wrath. Asura does not believe that humans should have to worship gods, including himself, because the gods that they worship just cause them more suffering, pain, and death. Chakravartin, the closest being in the Asura universe to an actual capital-G God, is the one responsible for the whole Gohma situation that drove the Earth's gods to do all this. After killing them all, Asura delivers an epic beatdown to Chakravartin before killing him as well.
    • There's also Ahria, a human girl who hates all the gods save for Asura due to the death and suffering they bring to humanity.
  • Valygar's attitude towards the gods in Baldur's Gate II. After all, when the pantheon includes evil madmen like Cyric and gods who were once fallible humans, why exactly do the gods deserve worship?
  • Token Evil Teammate Minthara in Baldur's Gate III was a former paladin of the God of Evil Lolth, but after Lolth abandoned her for worshipping other gods while Brainwashed and Crazy, she became critical of gods in general.
  • Dracula from the Castlevania series clearly believes in God... and hates his guts. As the story goes, he was off in the Crusades doing work for God, his wife dies of illness, and so he became a vampire in opposition to God's cruel betrayal of his devotion. And then, because that knife hadn't been twisted enough, Dracula fell in love with a human woman, Lisa, and had a son, Alucard. Because he couldn't be allowed to experience happiness, the Inquisition found his wife, declared her a witch, and burned her at the stake. Dracula's incredible anger at this resulted in him denouncing religion forevermore.
  • City of Heroes has this going on in the Rogue Isles as the nation is ruled by Lord Recluse, who has godly power but is still a flesh-and-blood (though long-lived) mortal. Hence religion is illegal in the Isles now because bowing to a full-god equates to pledging loyalty to a foreign power. It's not that the residents don't believe in God/gods, they just don't worship anyone.
  • The Civilization IV mod Fall from Heaven features the Grigori, an entire nation of "atheists". Their leader Cassiel doesn't deny the existence of gods, but claims that they did not create the world, are unworthy of worship, and should not interfere with mortal affairs in any way. Seeing as Cassiel is an ex-archangel who abandoned Heaven, he should know. All the "gods" of the setting are actually angels - there is a single Creator of Erebus, but he has never been seen and pretty much went hands-off after creating the world. The angels, as the most powerful beings in Erebus, pretend they're gods.
  • The Hellion in Darkest Dungeon has a move called Reject the Gods, which will reduce her stress at the cost of her partners increasing in stress, with bonus stress for religious characters. With the Crusader, the Occultist, and the Vestal as proof that they grab their power from some higher being(s?). Of course, it turns out that the only "gods" in the world are Eldritch Abominations that exist only to feed on humanity, so maybe the Hellion is on the right path.
  • Naoya from Devil Survivor knows very well that God exists, just that he hates Him due to being the reincarnation of Cain.
  • In Discworld Noir, Mooncalf loses his faith in the Disc gods, clambers up to the Temple roof while ranting about what ungrateful, undeserving total bastards they are, and is struck by a dozen lightning bolts simultaneously. He was congratulated for his style by Death.
  • Dragon Age II - It doesn't come up much, but a sarcastic Hawke seems to harbor increasingly cynical feelings about the Maker under the Sad Clown act. It's very apparent in the final conversation with their sister Bethany (who, by contrast, is the most religious teammate next to Sebastian).
  • Drakengard:
    • Drakengard features a religion whose followers are mainly Evil Empire knights with a Global-Suicide agenda, their high priestess is a demonically possessed little girl, and their "gods" are reality-warping nightmares that appear as giant, winged babies, and mommies. With teeth. This has naturally prompted a resistance movement called the Union that vows to oppose the Empire and its twisted religion, even if they have to recruit Sociopathic Heroes like Caim and people like Arioch and Leonard, who loves kids and loves kids, respectively.
    • Drakengard 2 confirms that these "gods" are false deities from another world, who overthrew the equally false religion of the Dragon Gods.
    • This means that NieR's world and Emil's ultimate weapon may be mankind's only hope, which is to say that mankind is fucked.
    • The introduction to NieR: Automata says this in a nutshell:
      2B:Everything that lives is designed to end. We are perpetually trapped in a never-ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse? Or some kind of punishment? I often think about the god who blessed us with this cryptic puzzle... and wonder if we'll ever have the chance to kill him.
  • Eirik from Dead In Vinland believes in the Norse gods but is "not very fond" of them, having ended up stranded with his innocent family on a Deserted Island ruled by bandits.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The extinct Dwemer were an exaggeration. While they acknowledged the existence of some of the entities that the other races considered "gods" (Aedra, Daedra, etc.), the Dwemer refused to accept their divinity. They were said to especially despise the Daedra, mocking and scorning the "foolish" rituals of their followers (primarily their greatest rivals in Morrowind, the Chimer). They would even summon Daedra specifically to test their divinity. The science and reason-focused Dwemer even extended this skepticism to reality itself, refuting anything as truly "real". It is implied that this belief is a core element of how their technology functions. They devised technology that ignored the laws of reality or outright manipulated the tonal architecture of the Earth-Bones (the spirits of creation who gave their lives to set up the laws of nature and physics) simply through sheer refusal to accept physical and magical limitations. The Dwemer would all disappear entirely from any known plane of existence after discovering and tampering with the heart of the "dead" god, Lorkhan.
      • One Dwemer tale (notably written by an Unreliable Narrator) tells of a Dwemer who tricks the Daedric Prince Azura with a box containing a mirror. After she correctly guesses what the box holds, he opens the box and the mirror makes it appear as if the box was empty,note  'proving' she is fallible and so not a god. He dies that night, a smile on his face. The Dunmer tells a different story: Azura sees through the tricks and strikes him down there and then.
    • Most of the gods in TES are subject to this at some point. The Daedra are worshiped as gods by some, condemned as demons by others, acknowledged to exist but largely ignored by still others, and denied entirely by yet more. The Tribunal were mortals who took the power of a fallen god. They were worshiped as gods by the Dunmer, but while the Empire allowed their religion to continue in the interest of peace it refused to acknowledge their divinity. Finally, the Eight Divines are accepted by most races, but by the time of Skyrim, worship of the ninth Divine Talos, originally the mortal Tiber Septim who founded the Third Empire and who was said to have ascended to godhood, has been banned by the Aldmeri Dominion who refuses to acknowledge his divinity out of spite towards the idea of a human becoming a god. The Nords are not happy about this, although the position of other humans and elves on the subject is never really explored.
      • One of those Tribunal gods, Vivec, makes this claim about the Aedra and Daedra. He acknowledges them, but sees "no compelling reason to worship any of [them]".
    • Oblivion also has a minor Plucky Comic Relief character, Else God-Hater, who acknowledges the existence of the gods, but, as her name implies, despises them all. In the case of Daedra, she acknowledges that they at least do things, even if it's mostly bad. As it turns out, she's a member of the Mythic Dawn.
  • Seems to be a common attitude in Final Fantasy VIII, in which Hyne is identified as a god and mentioned in several in-game myths, but is largely depicted as a Jerkass in said myths and is apparently not worshipped by anyone in the setting.
  • Keqing from Genshin Impact looks down on how her citizens look up and depend on their god Rex Lapis' guidance every year. She advocates the citizens to start taking care of themselves, proclaiming that the age of Archons is past and it is now the age of humanity. Rex Lapis himself secretly approves of her disapproval and gives the ultimate test on whether the city of Liyue is ready to set sail on their own without needing his guidance. He's pleased that they do, and can now rest and relax in his mortal form as Zhongli. The whole thing is also deconstructed following the conclusion of Liyue's chapter. Gods have a much bigger scope of duty than mortals can comprehend, often working from behind the scenes. Upon finding out just how much their late god has worked for the sake of Liyue, Keqing has a newfound respect for Rex Lapis, to the point of collecting his merchandise in secret.
  • Kratos from the God of War series becomes this after he realizes too late his deal with Ares set him up as the god's Unwitting Pawn. His contempt for the Greek Pantheon deepens after the deal he brokered with them to exact vengeance on Ares and cleanse him of his sins fell through, turning his vengeance on them. Kratos apparently never learned the invaluable lesson that you Do Not Taunt Cthulhu if you value your life.
    • In Chains of Olympus (before the first game), he is forced to forsake being with his daughter in Elysium forever so he can save her and the world from Persephone's plan to destroy the Pillar of the World and destroy Olympus, Earth, and Underworld out of spite for being trapped in a forced marriage with Hades. In Ghost of Sparta, before the second game, he finds out that his brother, Deimos, was taken captive by the gods because of a prophecy that said a Marked Warrior would destroy the Olympian gods, and Deimos was born with a mark very similar to Kratos' tattoo, which Kratos actually made to honor the then-thought-to-be dead Deimos. In the end, Deimos was killed by Thanatos, and Kratos was angered by the way Athena waved the torment Deimos suffered for decades as I Did What I Had to Do, especially because she and Ares were the ones to kidnap him. He's also not happy with becoming a God since he has to live with the nightmares the Gods refused to take and, when he tried to kill himself, granted him immortality! All in all, his dislike for the gods is understandable...
    • In the soft reboot taking place long after the original series, while Kratos has changed in many ways he still maintains a low opinion of Gods, even the local Norse pantheon. He often tells his son that they are unworthy of worship and continues to scorn them. At the end, it turns out that his recently deceased wife Faye was pretty similar and that the whole game was part of a post-mortem plan to bring about Ragnarok since their son Atreus turns out to be Loki.
  • Xardas from the Gothic series. His whole plan during the whole Piranha Bytes trilogy was banishing the gods to end their wars once and for all. While he's himself using the powers of Beliar, he isn't loyal to the god of darkness at all, only using the powers for his own plans.
  • The Charr and Asura of Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 have differing approaches on this trope.
    • The Charr were duped into worshipping the Titans for centuries, only for humans to destroy them and the Destroyers that were offered as a replacement. This resulted in a bloody civil war as the ruling Shamans tried and failed to maintain control. Since then the Charr have taken the stance that there are no gods, just powerful spirits, and will often sneer at the devotion of humans to the Six. And given what happened in the Path of Fire expansion with the human god of war Balthazar, they may have a point.
    • The Asura regard divine being as parts of the Eternal Alchemy, a system wherein all living creatures, spirits, and even magic itself is working towards some greater purpose. They do not regard the Alchemy as worthy of worship either, instead viewing it as the ultimate science to be unraveled and understood.
  • The Wizards in Heroes of Might and Magic 5. They know that the gods exist, but they don't put much effort into worshiping them. The fact that their founder managed to become a god through his magic (before his Heroic Sacrifice) probably helps; they know it can be done and view worshiping the gods as a roadblock to doing so.
  • Elwin in the Independent path of Langrisser II wants both the goddess Lushiris and Chaos drove the hell out of the world.
  • Pantheon in League of Legends is the misotheist variant; After succeeding the Impossible Task of climbing Mount Targon, the warrior Atreus was possessed by the Aspect (read:God) of War, who used his body for what amounted to a joyride throughout Runeterra. The aspect was eventually killed, but Atreus's will to live proved strong enough to survive and reclaim his body. Since then, he has had a strong hatred of Aspects, seeing them as manipulative overlords who toy with mortal lives.
  • The Earth government in Messiah has developed portals to Hell and Heaven, and has no intention of worshipping either God or Satan—it just sees Heaven and Hell as a ground to conquer, and Satan and God as the local head honchos which can be bullied into submission.
  • Just about every character in the Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion Mask of the Betrayer. Except for the guy who is a god. Gann even refuses to worship a god after talking to Kelemvor in front of the Wall of the Faithless.
  • Susano in Ōkami, as part of a general Screw Destiny attitude, thinks the gods are tormenting him for their amusement and tells them to stop dogging his footsteps - all the while the benevolent goddess Amaterasu, in wolf form, is keeping an eye on him and continually yanking his tail out of the fire. Sometimes literally.
  • The Defiant faction in Rift is based around thinking that the main pantheon of the setting fucked up big-time. And they may very well be right about that.
  • RuneScape has the god (!) Guthix, who forcibly ended the God Wars by banishing all other gods from Gielinor and voluntarily entering hibernation himself, with the specific goal of preventing all direct divine interference with mortals and allowing them to define their own destinies. Since his assassination, Guthix has been succeeded by the Godless, a rapidly-growing militant faction of mortals whose goals range from driving the gods out of Gielinor again to outright killing them all.
  • One of the three starting Creeds of Salt and Sanctuary is The Iron Ones, who worship no gods and instead revere the iron will of men. And this is in a world where gods explicitly exist and grant visible miracles to their followers, especially clerics (or at least they did before the Nameless God starved them all to death and took their place). They somehow still get miracles and even their own clerics, who lampshade this oddity but never do explain how they manage.
  • Occurs regularly in the Shin Megami Tensei games, and depending on the path you take the Player Character is often one. To start with, you beat on (and then enslave) various gods out of world history. Lucifer is often an ally (of convenience or genuine). It snowballs from there, with any path other than the Lawful leading you into direct opposition to God or His angels in multiple titles. Even the Persona series touches on it since you can punch Philemon (one of two confirmed true gods in the world) right in the face at the end of Persona 2: Innocent Sin.
    • This is subverted depending on your game's ending. If you choose to go Law or Chaos, then your character follows God or Lucifer and thus ceases to be a non-believer. If you choose the Neutral Path, however, the games end with you defying and, most of the time, beating the crap out of both.
    • Akihiko from Persona 3 fights supernatural forces daily and has physically met several gods, but refuses to worship any of them.
  • DLC character Eliza from Skullgirls officially lists one of her Dislikes as "Trinitism" (the dominant/sole religion in the game). Despite living in a world where magic and mad science are very real, she herself is a blood-drinking, blood-manipulating monster due to having replaced her skeleton with a sentient parasite, and she actually fights against the proxy of one of Trinitism's deities. Who is admittedly a Humanoid Abomination in the form of a Blob Monster made of disembodied flesh and organs, but still. However, this may be more due to hedonistic arrogance rather than disbelief; it seems that she accepts that the gods are real, but believes that people should be worshiping her rather than them. In her canon ending, she defeats the aforementioned proxy, Double, and immediately declares that this means that the position of the goddess should go to her as a result, along with everything that goddess possessed.
    • This is apparently a semi-commonly held belief amongst the population of that world, in a manner crossing over with Flat-Earth Atheist - it’s not so much that people don’t believe the Trinity exists, but are merely humans with exceptionally powerful Parasites. Eliza herself is close to this (an immortal skeleton likely stronger than the rest of the cast combined), so it’s not an unreasonable mindset to have.
  • In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, when the spaceship appeared about the medieval planet; a Cargo Cult did not form. In fact, the people who thought it might be a deity were offended that such a deity would stoop to physical form. "It would be no better than a demon."
  • Star Trek Online: Lieutenant Commander Tem Inasi, science officer of the USS Enterprise-F, is a Bajoran who doesn't worship the Prophets. That they exist is indisputable, but she prefers the Federation's take on it, that they're just Sufficiently Advanced Aliens like Q.
  • The Khalai and Nerazim Protoss attitude towards the Xel-naga in Starcraft. Specifically, they are misotheists. They are very aware that their creator gods exist...and hate them. With very good reason: their ancestors were genetically modified by the Xel-naga, to be used as slaves. The weird bit is that the Protoss behave exactly like Church Militants in every respect. The Khalai are fanatically devoted to Aiur, their homeworld. The Nerazim have a similar devotion to the Void.
  • Kreia from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords has this attitude towards The Force; she knows perfectly well it exists and makes use of it as a Jedi and Sith, but has a deep suspicion of it, is highly impressed by The Exile's ability to survive having it stripped from her body, and considers The Force a manipulative 'god' whose 'will' keeps the sentient races of the galaxy from being truly able to self-determine. Her ultimate goal, after having witnessed first-hand from The Exile that life without The Force is possible, is to destroy it. Well, maybe; she's a Consummate Liar and Unreliable Expositor who also claims several other "ultimate" goals over the course of the end game, leaving her true aims ambiguous.
    • Likewise, Consular Companion Tharan Cedrax in Star Wars: The Old Republic; no one can deny what Jedi and Sith are capable of, but he's highly skeptical of the idea of any mysticism attached to it. As he's a scientist, he trusts what he can observe, measure, test, and replicate, and seeing as he's not one Sensitive, he has no way of figuring out how The Force works. He'll disapprove if the Consular suggests a Force-based solution over a mundane, practical one.
  • Touhou Project's setting of Gensokyo features several characters who, like the Discworld example above, gladly describe themselves as irreligious despite having tea parties with goddesses on a semi-regular basis (though declaring full atheism is just asking for trouble when said deities can be quite vocal about their existence). The local Tengu and Kappa view faith as a negotiation tool when dealing with the goddesses of the Moriya Shrine, who more or less dole out extra-Border technological innovations in exchange for worship. The Scarlet Devil Mansion's denizens contributed to the Hakurei Shrine's reconstruction, but only because Reimu's their friend, and they flatly deny her any more assistance since they don't want the gods to get in their way, nor do they need them in the first place. Magicians like Marisa Kirisame have little use for religion save for its magical applications, and tend to be more committed to their craft than to deities - Marisa once complained about how the faithless can't understand faith, and when she outright asked Kanako what faith was, she was told, "It's the same as how you feel towards magic."
  • Jonathan Reid, the main protagonist in Vampyr is a scientist and therefore a skeptic by default. After being turned into a vampire, he finds out God's existence after being repelled by crosses and has to come to terms with his new condition. He is forced to confront religion when advised by his closest friend to confess to the local Vicar and the player can select how he will answer.
  • The majority of the Forsaken race in World of Warcraft. Their very name refers to the fact that the Holy Light they worshiped while alive turned its back on them. One of the Warcraft novels notes that it was not uncommon among the Forsaken to dress as priests of the Light and "mock the order by wearing their garments and allowing the sacred robes to be soiled and tainted by their bloody work."
    • The Light is also not a sentient being or anything resembling a stereotypical deity (although it does seem to have an agenda). It is a very very powerful universal force, which can be tapped into by belief in one's cause and willingness to sacrifice for it. Forsaken, just like anyone else, can in fact use the Light. However, doing so hurts them (and canonically, sets them on fire). This is because they are animated by the magic that is opposed to the Light, shadow magic. This does not stop some Forsaken, or indeed some Scourge: but it does make the prospect unattractive to the majority of Forsaken or otherwise undead priests. A large number of the races in the game do not worship the Light as such, but their use of the Light is often a byproduct of their worship of something else (the ancestors for the Tauren, or the animal-god loa for the trolls). Other races, such as the Pandaren, also tap into the Light without worshipping anything in the conventional sense (they seem to have a non-theistic philosophy akin to Taoism). The dwarves don't worship the Titans exactly but do respect them as their creators. Since the Titans are kind of assholes this is a very sensible outlook. Their ability to use the Light comes rather from their commitment to their leaders and culture.
  • Once the party of Xenoblade Chronicles 1 learns the true nature of the gods, they (most specifically, Shulk) fight against them (again, more specifically, Zanza), primarily out of Screw Destiny. In the end, when Shulk is offered the power and position of a god, he outright refuses, claiming that what he wishes for, above all else, is a world without gods.

  • The title character of the webcomic Digger is very definitely this; all wombats in that universe apparently are. "We find a lot of old gods underground. They're kinda a nuisance." One of the few things worse than Gods is Magic (bloody Dwarfs), and the only thing worse than that is prophecy. Of course, wombats have a distinct advantage that allows them to be this way: thanks to an ancient deal that they don't even know about, wombats are Immune to Fate.
    • Ed thinks the wombats might just have something with that.
      Ed: Mousies not having gods? Hmmm. Probably being smart mousies. Gods is being like demons - is big thing, not safe.
  • Cleric in 8-Bit Theater doesn't worship a god because "It's a competitive market and I can't afford to play favorites." He also states that not believing in gods actually makes it easier to be friends with them since "they know I'm not just trying to suck up to them."
  • Eastwood of Exterminatus Now. When asked how he cannot "believe" in gods despite working for an all-powerful religious organization, he snarks "Easy. All it takes is a little faith."
  • This The Nib comic where Steve Jobs arrives in Heaven after his death. Despite meeting St. Peter himself, he reminds him he's a Buddhist and orders to be reincarnated. St. Peter obliges by sending him back as a Chinese sweatshop worker making Apple products.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Roy takes this view—despite having the stats to be a capable Cleric, he became a pure Fighter in part because he's not keen on being a "Fetching Boy" for a god who never does things for himself. The fact that he's saying this to an angel, while dead and standing outside the gates of Paradise, serves to demonstrate his commitment.
      Roy: Well, this is kind of awkward to say, given where I am, but I've never been all that religious. I mean, I guess my mom raised me to worship the Northern Gods, but I always just figured that as long as I didn't actively offend any of them, they'd leave me alone.
    • In a much later strip, after the revelation at the Godsmoot, Roy confides to his sister that one of the only things he agrees with his father about is that the gods are just fancy alien wizards who "found a way to crowdsource their magic" but that the fact that they are powerful does not mean that they should be treated with special deference; if they can judge mortals based upon the mortals' actions, then mortals should be treating the gods according to their actions.
    • Somewhat deconstructed with the revelations of the Godsmoot in that the Gods of the three surviving pantheons can vote to destroy the world so they can rebuild it as a prison for the Eldritch Abomination that would otherwise kill them all and have done so plenty of times before. In fact, Thor, Durkon's patron deity, has been one of the primary movers to try and deal with it, but he notes that God's Hands Are Tied, so neither he nor any of the other Gods can get directly involved in mortal affairs. As explained by Odin, they decided on a Obstructive Code of Conduct for themselves on purpose to prevent the not-so-Good Gods from wreaking havoc on the world.
    • In the prequel Start of Darkness, Right-Eye eventually grows disillusioned with the Dark One and his Plan. Believing that the Dark One cares more about revenge than aiding the Goblin race (citing the many Goblins who died for the sake of the Plan as evidence), Right-Eye wants nothing to do with the Plan anymore. This doesn't sit well with his brother Redcloak.
    • Girard Draketooth's illusory message to Soon Kim states that he thinks Soon is stupid for worshipping the Twelve Southern Gods, calling them a "glorified petting zoo" (as they're directly based on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac). This is despite the fact that he knows full well that the Southern (as well as Northern and Western) Gods exist and they were responsible for creating the Snarl, which Draketooth and Soon are on a mission to destroy in the first place.
    • Oona claims this to be the case for bugbears in general, noting that they consider the Dark One (the sole goblin god in the setting) to be "nice for weddings and funerals, otherwise, can give or take." They perceive the Dark One as overly focused on goblins and hobgoblins and leaving bugbears out to dry, and it's even worse for the more obscure goblinoid subraces like norkers and nilbogs.
  • In Unsounded, the Ssaelit religion revolves around Naytheism to the Gefendur Pantheon; in their gospel, the four creator deities were capricious Jerkass Gods who engineered all mortal pain and suffering for their entertainment, and who were killed by Ssael to free the world from their tyranny. Meanwhile, the Gefendur religion believes that Ssael was just a mere mortal who lived, died, and could do nothing to scratch the creator gods. Most of the wars between Ssaelit-dominated Alderode and Gefendur Crese are fueled by an inherent belief of each side that their god/pantheon lives and the other's is dead, while both sides staunchly believe that they truly did exist.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: The Drow and the Orcs both virtually abandoned their respective gods in the wake of a brief but devastating war between them. The Drow rejected Lolth due to her role in leading the Drow into a war they had little chance of winning and which decimated their population. The Orcs turned away from Gruumsh after he refused to intervene on their behalf, even after Lolth herself joined the fray and (probably most damning) ignored Glon's prayers and allowed Goria to die from a Drow assassination attempt meant for Maura.

    Web Original 
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device:
    • The Emperor, like in canon, knows that the Chaos Gods exist, but he also knows that they are utter bastards, and wants to turn his Imperium from the worship of any god, including himself. He claims that he wants the Imperium to be built on rationality and reason instead of religion, but keep in mind that he is also a raging narcissist who often has to stop himself from accidentally calling himself a god. His attitude is more or less "No gods but me... And I'm not a god!"
      Emperor: I am like a glorious golden god... Except I am not.
    • In one bonus episode, the Ecclesiarch Decius is given the unenviable task of breaking the news that the Emperor doesn't wish to be seen as a god to the rest of the Imperium without being burned for heresy or causing a civil war. The way he ultimately goes about it is arguing that every single god in the galaxy is either dead, an asshole, or a dead asshole, and calling their glorious Emperor a god is an insult, because he is a man, and there is nothing greater than that.
  • In the SCP Foundation universe, the Global Occult Coalition has this stance on God. They view it as their job to kill God if ever given the chance or the means. Considering that they live in a Crapsack World plagued by every kind of Eldritch Abomination imaginable, this is somewhat understandable. And indeed, they have killed several entities that could claim the title already.
    • The Foundation itself keeps several important figures and artifacts from just about every major world religion under lock and key, but nowhere in their documents does the Foundation actually identify them as those important figures and/or artifacts, even when doing so might lend context to their anomalous natures. From the Foundation's point of view, there's no guarantee that these things are really what they claim to be, and making assumptions about these inherently unpredictable and incredibly dangerous objects is a recipe for disaster.
  • Feraligatr of Twitch Plays Pokémon Crystal is portrayed as one of these, fighting for his team rather than the gods established back in Twitch Plays Pokémon Red.
  • Critical Role: Exandria Unlimited: The Calamity campaign takes place at the height (and end) of the Age of Archanum, when wizards and mages had grown so extraordinarily powerful, they saw themselves and their civilization as equal to, if not superior to the Prime Deities, which extends to the party. Zerxus in particular is a Paladin, normally a divine caster, who draws his power from the city of Avalyr itself, rather than any belief in the gods, whom he actively dislikes. This gets exploited by Asmodeus, who portrays himself and the Betrayer Gods as victims of the tyrannical Prime Deities, a lie Zerxus believes because it only verifies what he already believed about the Prime Deities.

    Western Animation 
  • In Castlevania (2017), Sypha states that her people, the Speakers, consider themselves enemies of God. They collect the knowledge and secrets of the world through oral tradition, information God does not want humanity to have like the Adamic language. To her people, the Curse of Babel was put on mankind because God was envious of their ability to work together in unity. Though while Sypha thinks of herself as God's enemy, she still thinks Jesus Was Way Cool.
  • In the Justice League episode "The Terror Beyond", Hawkgirl describes how her home planet Thanagar worshiped the Eldritch Abomination Icthultu centuries ago, and stopped when they decided that Human Sacrifices were too much. Ichthultu's knowledge was also the basis of their society, so it can also be considered a Faustian Rebellion. Hawkgirl later actually meets Icthultu face to face, and expresses nothing but contempt for it. Then she lobotomizes it.
  • Rick of Rick and Morty ranges from outright not believing in God to simply being irreverent toward Him. It's all but outright confirmed that God exists, as the Devil and Hell are real, and after a fight with a Zeus Rick casually remarks even he wouldn't stand a chance against Him — knowing Rick, he views God as just yet another authority figure to treat with absolute scorn.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Nay Theism


I'll Call You "Being X"

The Salaryman disputes the existence of God towards "Being X".

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Main / NayTheist

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