Follow TV Tropes


Physical Religion

Go To

So let us assume we have a Crystal Dragon Jesus cult which worships a certain god. Except it's not your standard, realistic religion, which relies on belief and faith.

There is a Physical God, everyone knows there is one, everyone's belief is out of question — not believing in them is like not believing in your neighbors. More than that: the fact that it exists is the reason the religion has been started in the first place! Yet there is a religion that worships it — there is less mysticism and theology and more requests and glorification.

You should note that this doesn't always have to have a deity be the physical aspect. A Sentient Cosmic Force or other physically certifiable religious paths may also be used. It's just the most used.

Academically speaking, the distinction would be that of an unobservable agent VS. an observable agent. To crudely boil down a very complicated topic: that which is unobservable, like many of the deities of real-life faiths which tend to be defined as immaterial entities, for the most part cannot be directly experienced or sensed. Believers may infer their existence via some sort of reason or religious experience, while skeptics may not. By contrast, an agent which is defined as observable can be directly experienced through the senses, and the existential status of such agents is much easier to determine. Obviously, such matters should be approached carefully.

If someone still refuses to believe despite the fact that the object of the religion is directly observable, they're a Flat-Earth Atheist. If someone is not a member of this church, they are a Nay-Theist. Compare Religion Is Right, where the religion came first, then the entity believed in is proven to be true.note  Gods Need Prayer Badly is rather common. If Religion is Magic, then God will grant spells those who worship Them. They may say Stop Worshipping Me! if They are bugged with that, though. A God-Emperor usually has both a physical religion and openly rules their worshipers, making for a "real" theocracy, but, even when a real and observable person, a God-Emperor isn't necessarily a real god. Giant Animal Worship can be considered a subtrope, though, again, their object of worship isn't necessarily "actually" divine or even sapient. If the worship is directed at ancestors rather than a deity, it is Ancestor Veneration.

Subversions occur when someone falsely claims to be a deity for whatever reasons and gets a religion.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU — particularly the likes of Lucifer, Hellblazer and The Sandman (1989). Gods are quite real... and they might be waiting to cause hell for the protagonist — or, just to peacefully chat. Whichever.
  • There are many real gods in the DCU outside of Vertigo-based series. For example, the New Gods are quite prominent ones, most notably Darkseid for Darkseid Is.
  • In one Thor storyline, humans started worshiping Thor as a god, even declaring themselves the true religion since, well, Thor IS a god and you can actually SEE Thor in action.

    Fan Works 
  • There's one based around each of the princesses in TD the Alicorn Princess. TD is extremely uncomfortable when he finds out that one has sprung up around him after his ascension.
  • Thousand Shinji: After Third Impact the new Chaos Gods —Shinji, Asuka, Rei and Misato— rule and are worshipped by the whole humankind. Not only they are very present — granting boons and gifts to their followers and trying to guide and protect humanity — but also they rebuilt the planet After the End, have introduced and spread new technologies and are preparing the united forces of humankind for a space war.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: While it's not a deity, and there isn't worship involved, the Force is very real — as Darth Vader will happily remind anyone mouthing off about his "sorcerer's ways".
    Vader: [while using the Force to strangle an officer] I find your lack of faith disturbing.

  • The Craft Sequence takes place in a world where gods demonstrably exist and are studied scientifically, even if some are more physical than others, and even if a boatload of them died in the God Wars and are no longer around to answer prayers (some continue to pray to them anyways, in remembrance). Kos Everburning, god of fire of the city-state Alt Coulomb, provides the heat powering the city's Steampunk technology, is a major player in the global economy, and has defense pacts with several nations allowing them to wield his flames against aggressors. Before the rise of the Craft, magic was effected through Applied Theology, in which humans worshiped their god of choice through prayer, sacrifice, etc. and were granted favors in return.
  • Discworld utilizes this trope, as there are gods, religions worshipping these gods, Nay Theists, Flat Earth Atheists (the latter two only really last if they have a way of surviving a Bolt of Divine Retribution or twenty), and cults worshiping gods that are MIA, usually because their followers started to believe in the religion more than the god, causing the god to disappear. Meanwhile, witches no more believe in gods than they believe in the postman.
    • It gets deconstructed in later books; modern Omnianism is based on the principle that Om chooses not to get involved in his worshippers' lives following his pact with Brutha (but in a more dynamic way than before, when he was completely ignoring them), and it's noted that you can really believe in a god like that, whereas when you have to deal with your god shouting at you while drunk, it's kind of hard to have any kind of faith.
  • Dragon Queen: People worship the sun and swear by it. It isn't really disputed that the sun exists.
  • The cults of the Old Gods and later, the Lightbringers from Arcia Chronicles worshiped the respective Physical Gods until they were killed or abandoned Tarra. The modern predominant religion is basically a fantasy counterpart of Christianity (minus Christ).
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar, the Tayledras, Shin'a'in and K'Leshya, collectively known as the Kaled'a'in, are called as such because they worship the Star-eyed goddess Kal'enel, who routinely provides divine intervention of the kind that cannot be mistaken for anything else, as well as being able to communicate with her devotees in 'the moonpaths'. Also in the Valdemas world is the god Vkandis, worshiped by the Karsites and the Iftellians who actually sent a lightning bolt to vaporize a false Son of the Sun (like their pope) who wasn't abiding by his doctrines, choosing a new one himself through a statue of him, even going so far as to prove it wasn't a trick by removing the crown which was a permanent, non-removable part of the statue and placing it on the new Son of the Sun and putting the statue back, crownless.
  • In one of the Everworld books, Dionysus is unsurprised to learn that the Greek gods are no longer worshiped in the "Old World" (our world). This is much to the amusement of real-worlder Jalil.
    Dionysus: Well of course they stopped worshiping us, we went to Everworld. How can you expect people to worship a god they can't see from time to time?
  • In The Record of Unusual Creatures, since gods exist and involve themselves in their universes, often running administrative works or overseeing and dealing with disasters, religions naturally appeared. Raven 12345 has one, the Goddess of Creation Rheia has one as well.
  • In Remnants, the aliens whom humans dubbed the "Blue Meanies" refer to themselves as the Children, specifically of Mother, the giant Sapient Ship that is the series' main setting. It turns out that the Shipwrights, who made Mother, created the Children to be her maintenance crew, but then exiled them for unknown reasons. The Children's goal is to take back control of the entire ship. Later, a cult of Children start worshiping Yago instead.
    • The Riders also inhabit Mother and also think that she's a god, but they're polytheistic and much less devout.
  • The Sandworms, or Shai-Hulud, from the Dune Universe are this.
  • David Eddings tends to rely on this trope for his plots, but also plays with it:
    • The Belgariad universe has eight gods (and two godlike consciousnesses of the universe, though their influence is a lot less obvious), who walked bodily among their subjects for most of history. They set up religious practices based on their personalities, which became self-sufficient after they left the picture and became guiding spirits only.
    • The Elenium has more deities than anyone can count, and the Styric and Troll gods in particular have no problem appearing physically to commune with their more faithful subjects. On the other hand, the Elenic and Tamul gods are more hands-off, but no-one doubts their existence, at least because the other gods sometimes complain about them.
  • Regarding Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan has used the following quote to explain the lack of organized religion: "This is a world where what might be called the proofs of religion are self-evident all the time. It seemed to me there was no necessity for the trappings of religion, which by and large are to reinforce us in our faith and to convince others. If your beliefs are made concrete and manifest around you at any given time there is not the need for that." Despite this, there's no concrete evidence in-universe that the Creator actually exists, but absolutely no one in the story doubts it. At most, they doubt whether He is personally involved in protecting the world from His opposite.
  • Philip K. Dick's A Maze of Death has a prophet foresee that God's real and some years later be proven correct. Three "manifestations" of God or possibly four are adressees of prayers (that need to be electronically enhanced to reach the godly planets), and one (The Walker on Earth) can be met, well, walking the Earth and giving advice. One of the characters is a Flat-Earth Atheist who thinks people just interpret any helpful stranger as Walker on Earth.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Chalion series, with its four or five Gods, depending on which sect you belong to. (There is no doubt about the existence of the Bastard, the fifth God. The argument is over whether or not he should be ranked up with the other four.)
  • The Valar for some peoples of Middle-earth: In the West, the Valar and Maiar live as neighbors and interact with the Elves. In Middle-Earth, contact has been more rare, and not even all peoples know of them.
    • The Númenóreans don't have any organized religion either, until Sauron introduces it for his own purposes. They at least have a vague religion dedicated to Eru Ilúvatar, but arguably the fact that He's not immediately present explains their rebellion.
    • It's deconstructed in Tolkien's legendarium as a whole; because god-like entities are fairly accessible (or at least where for a good portion of the world's history) organised religion didn't exist for a long period of time. What's the need for priests to communicate with the divine when you can literally walk down the street and knock on their door?
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Eric learns first hand how personal the religions based on Tariatla's trickster gods can be. When he goes to the Temple of Zaticana for a blessing, there is no ritual of any kind. Zaticana herself shows up and kisses him on the mouth.
    • Ataidar's government has a Department of Trickster Management and Maintenance because the tricksters are known to cause physical and measurable trouble.
    • "The Trickster made me do it" is a valid legal defense because everyone knows that Tasio is a Manipulative Bastard and Trickster Mentor.
  • Dragaera has gods who make regular appearances, including teleporting their faithful into their presence, battling the Abusive Precursors, and getting fractionally killed by an uppity Magic Knight in a turf war. Vlad Taltos notes that it feels much less appropriate to use the invective "Verra's tits!" after having seen the pair of them in person.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy:
    • The Lord Ruler runs the Final Empire as a theocracy, with himself as the Physical God in charge of it. However, he doesn't actually require his subjects to worship him, so long as he still has their obedience; religious rituals are mostly confined to the priesthood who form his central government.
    • In Wax and Wayne, the Sequel Series, the existence of the god Harmony is well-established by the historical record, yet his religion is a distinct minority in most of the Elendel Basin. While almost no one denies that Harmony exists, there are very good reasons to doubt that praying to him will actually accomplish anything, especially since Harmony himself does not encourage people to worship him.
  • Played with in Petty Pewter Gods, in that the gods in Garrett's world correspond to this trope in inverse proportion to how many worshipers they have. The dominant religions' deities can get by just fine as immaterial presences, sustained by pure belief requiring no evidence, whereas pantheons that are in decline will scramble so desperately for attention that they might run their churches' Bingo nights in person.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: The Arameri Empire rules with the power of four captive gods, delivered into their custody by the Top God Bright Itempas. By the second book, those gods are freed and loads of minor and major deities are active on the planet; some demand formal worship, while others have more businesslike or amicable arrangements with their followers.
  • Ann Leckie's The Raven Tower has an abundance of Physical Gods great and small who can grant prayers and need worship, so religious observance usually has an element of negotiation to it. The smallest gods provide minor miracles to individuals in exchange for worship, while the greatest ones have formal contracts with entire nations and might even outsource some duties to lesser gods.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine shows us the Prophets, incorporeal beings that exist outside of linear time, worshiped by the Bajorans. Several times in the series, Bajoran prophecies are brought up but doubted by skeptical characters while others (who may not even worship the Prophets) will point out that these prophecies have a way of coming true (just not always the way people expect them to, being written in metaphor and imagery) because the wormhole aliens/Prophets really do exist outside linear time and thus see the past, present, and future all at once (to the point of knowing what can be changed and what can't and what the consequences will be).
  • This is all over the place in the Stargate-verse. The Goa'uld are worshiped by human slaves all over the galaxy, and the Asgard have been deified by a few Nordic cultures. And don't forget the Ori, perhaps the best example of all in light of their proximity to genuine omnipotence.
  • The creators of Touched by an Angel point out that the angels don't have faith in the same sense that humans do. Faith is a virtue that humans need. Angels see the Lord every day.
  • An interesting variation in Merlin, where there was a physical religion until the Ban on Magic was instituted and, because the Old Religion counted, it became forbidden to practice it. Thus, we have Samhain, where everyone knows that the veil between life and death is thinning, but no-one is worshiping the gods or doing anything religious. Basically, it exists but everyone is ignoring it.

    Mythology And Religion 
  • Religions tend to describe their "Mythological Age" as this, their Holy Scriptures describing a time where the divine Powers That Be freely interacted with mortals. This is so universal that one argument used against the existence of God is that the gods don't do this anymore.
  • Christianity:
    • Presumably the status of the early Church, if the Gospel accounts in The Bible are to be believed. After Jesus rose from the dead, Thomas even touched the wounds on his body to verify it.
    • According to the Book of Revelation this will happen in the future. Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead, and then will rule in the New Jerusalem living side-by-side with his people.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Godforsaken: In Bontherre, where the gods walk in tangible bodies, perform miracles every day and empower their priesthood to do likewise, disbelief isn't just rare, it's idiocy. A few people renounce the gods and refuse to give them worship, but most want to show their gratitude and fidelity to the beings that make their lives so good. People who don't want the Sacrante in their lives mainly just move to a Godforsaken Land; those who remain in Bontherre are generally treated by society with the condescending patience given to recalcitrant but mostly harmless malcontents. This makes it a bit difficult for Bontherreans to interact with people from the Godforsaken Lands who worship more distant or abstract things, since they are not used to faith in unseen spirits being a part of religious life.
  • Warhammer / Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Chaos gods. They exist, show up in person, and give gifts to people.
    • Also from Warhammer: Sigmar, god of The Empire's religion.
    • Warhammer 40,000: the God-Emperor of Mankind (though his actual divinity depends on who you're talking to: the Imperium and some Space Marine chapters believe he is; Eldar, Traitor Legions and some chapters don't (though they view him as the ultimate man).
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a large pantheon of gods, and nobody really questions their existence, seeing as they, again, show up in person and grant spells. Except for Ao in the Forgotten Realms, who is so powerful he doesn't care.
    • In the setting of Eberron, the Physical God trope is averted. The true gods, if they exist, do not manifest themselves physically. There are tales of them doing it, but that's nothing more that myths and legends. However this trope still applies, as faith powers divine magic, so someone believing in the divinity of a mortal can still have divine magic. This leads to certain mortal beings having become the "God" of their churches.
      • The Lord of Blades is the Warforged Messiah of The Blades, who worship him as a divine entity. His teachings are how Warforged are a superior race and fit to inherit the world.
      • The Lich Vol is the holy figure of The Blood of Vol, a religion that preaches immortality through undeath and defiance against the "gods" who hoard the immortality. Vol herself only regards her religion as a tool for her plans to Take Over the World.
      • The Lizard Folk of Q'Barra worship the Dragon Rhashaak, who rules over them as a god.
      • The Church of the Silver Flame worships the titular Silver Flame, a cosmic force of good manifested in a pillar of fire in their capital city, the location of a battle between a Couatl, a Demon Lord and a Paladin. This particular pillar has the mind of all three beings composing it, but it's worth mentioning that the Silver Flame itself is a cosmic force not limited to that single pillar; a left over of the spell cast by the Couatl to seal the Demons in Khyber.
      • The elves of Aerenal are devoted to a gestalt entity called the Undying Court, comprised of their own deceased ancestors - preserved as positive-energy fueled undead called deathless. The Court is undeniably real and powerful, and offers a way for the elves to cheat eventual death; but is artificiallyfuelled by the worship of its members' descendents, and the deathless themselves are mostly confined to Aerenal itself because the island's close affinity with the positive-energy plane Irian props up their existence.
  • In Exalted, most religions are like this. However, the more powerful the god worshipped is, the less likely it is to show up in person - the Celestial Gods are addicted to the Games of Divinity, the Elemental Dragons are asleep, and the Yozis are Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • Battletech has ComStar and their worship of Jerome Blake, the founder of the organization. Notably, while Blake did set up ComStar as a kind of "secret brotherhood" organization with only the top members allowed in all the facts, he never intended it to be religious or to set himself up as a messianic figure. His successor was the one who did that, following Blake's death.

    Video Games 
  • Warcraft didn't used to be like this. Different faiths could conjure magic, but there wasn't much proof of what they specifically worshipped being real outside of some distant legends. This changed over the course of World of Warcraft.
    • In The Burning Crusade, the draenei brought with them the naaru, physical manifestations of the Light which the humans had worshipped as a part-faith, part-philosophy for generations.
    • The titans, once thought merely to be the creators of the dwarves, were slowly revealed to have shaped worlds and seeded almost all life we know of in the Warcraft universe. We finally meet them in person in Legion. Oddly, they do seem to be remembered more as historical figures than religious ones, however.
    • Scores of evil cultists worship the Old Gods. Proof of their physical existence was lost to many for quite some time, but the players meet one face to face in the vanilla version of the game and they make themselves more known from then on.
    • The exception to "Warcraft didn't used to be like this" is the trolls and the Pandaren. These races have always worshipped the loa or celestials (many fans think they are the same thing, though there is some disagreement). These beings have always been physically present in the world, or at least able to be so. Indeed, trolls have been known to not only worship the loa, but also to control them and even kill them. Gods Need Prayer Badly is part of this, as loa who are prayed to can sometimes come back from death (as with Hakkar the Soulflayer, and several other loa). Also, they can empower worshippers even after death. To be completely fair, the Pandaren do not actually worship the celestials (who don't exactly want worship). Their temples rather seem to be for the purpose of countering the Sha curse. They have a Zen Buddhism like religion which does not center on a deity.
      • Some fans think the wild gods are the same thing as the loa, and the trolls in game certainly do. At the very least, they share many of the same characteristics: though it's likely that the definition of a loa is more expansive than that of a wild god. At the very least, the wild gods do seem to be divine: since Malorne is actually brought back from the Emerald Dream where his spirit had been after being killed. Goldrinn likewise comes back from death to empower the worgen.
    • Elune, moon goddess of the night elves, is the longest lasting object of faith that, while clearly having performed miracles, made no physical appearances. The closest thing to a physical appearance she has made is Ysera's death cinematic, in which tendrils reached down from the moon and turned Ysera into stars.
  • Guild Wars plays this relatively straight. The Six Human Gods are known physical entities that are merely interpreted slightly differently by different cultures. You meet some of them personally.
  • In the Harvest Moon series, people worship the Harvest Goddess. Not only is she very real (and very cute), in some games, it's even possible to marry her.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura gives us interesting example. The most mainstream religion in the world is worshiping a powerful elven wizard called Nasrudin, who lived long ago. They got most of the events right, except the fact that Nasrudin didn't die. There are also a dozen older gods whose altars still exist throughout the world and bringing the right offering to them will grant a very real blessing.
  • The three golden goddesses and various other deities of the The Legend of Zelda universe.
  • The entire Greek pantheon is real in God of War.
  • Touhou Project has a pair of goddesses (and their Shrine Maiden) who are trying to spread their worship in the mystical land of Gensokyo because Gods Need Prayer Badly. Backstory also shows that several other Shinto gods also existed.
  • In Transcendence, the goddess Dominia is known to exist, her location (the galactic core) is reasonably well-known, and she'll grant the player character powers if you make the right offerings.
  • The cosmology of the Dark Souls universe has three Physical Gods holding three of the original Lord Souls, and at least one of them became a functional God-Emperor and, after succumbing to the Undead Curse, the Final Boss. A small order of warriors continue to worship the Dragons of ages past, despite them all well, almost all being dead. Strangely enough, there also exists a very non-physical religion that worships Velka, the Goddess of Sin, who debatably is absent within the actual game.
  • In Pillars of Eternity, the powers that gods grant their priests are undeniably real. Occasionally the gods even deign to speak directly to mortals and there are places built specifically for such communion. However, it turns out the gods were not always real. Indeed, the ancient Engwithans built the gods out of ideals to fill that void and bring order to the chaos. Before them there were thousands of different beliefs, many of them heinous and barbaric.
  • Path of Exile: As an extreme case of irony, the average religious fervor DECREASES as a direct result of witnessing the return of the gods. Mostly because (A) most of the zealots whose faith was astronomically bolstered by proof that their gods exist have spent their time worshiping the evil gods and sacrificing their fellow faithful (examples:Utula, Kira), (B) the capital city of Oriath just witnessed the death of a 'good' god and the rise of a crazy insatiable murder-god, and (C) a previously reviled 'trickster' god is helping the local heroes and preaching about the lies and sins of his fellow gods.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, deities can occasionally have over physical affects on the world during worldgen, mainly through cursing those who defile their temples, or releasing demons into the world and guarding the secret to their banishment in angelic vaults. Physical entities such as titans or megabeasts can also become worshiped among civilizations that come into contact with them. This has no effect on how hostile the creature in question is, though.
  • In Black & White, A God Is You and Gods Need Prayer Badly, so the local religion is a formal arrangement between your adoring and/or terrified masses and the miracle-making luminous presence in the sky. Moreover, you can assign dedicated worshipers, send your Bond Creature to lead services, and personally conduct Human Sacrifices if villagers aren't performing adequately on their own.
  • City-Building Series:
    • Zeus: Master of Olympus: A city can build a Sanctuary to a patron god, who manifests in the flesh to walk the streets and dispense blessings. However, this isn't lightly done: if the city fails to show the appropriate devotion, the god's displeasure is just as personal as its favour.
    • Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom: When plied with generous offerings, various deities will manifest in your city and offer blessings — some provide Mundane Utility, while others can even be sent on military missions. Ancestral Heroes also inflict curses when they feel neglected.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Some groups who worship Daedra use this as their justification. The other deities, the Aedra, are more classical creator deities, but are rather aloof and indirect in how they affect the mortal plane, to the point that one could reasonably question if they're actually there. The Daedra are a related but distinct group who vary massively in alignment with plenty of Jerkass Genies and outright demonic characters among their line-up, but at least they actually do stuff. Heck, you can go to one of their shrines, perform the right ritual, and talk to them in person! Then get cast into Coldharbour to be tortured for eternity...
    • There is also the Tribunal in Morrowind. They are three elves who magically ascended to godhood in terms of powers, but continued to exist on the mortal plane. There's no doubt among anyone, worshipper or not, over whether they exist. Whether they're worthy of worship or not is a trickier question.
  • The basis of the Neptunia games is that the goddesses not only exist, they live among the people on the landmasses they protect and even take up requests in order to gain prayer power.
  • Genshin Impact: Each of the seven nations of Teyvat worship an Archon of a specific element, and it's hard to deny their existence, as aside from Barbatos, they regularly appear and give guidance to the people. Interestingly, each nation shown so far also approach the concept of worship differently. Mondstadt has a Church to Barbatos, Liyue has an annual ritual where Rex Lapis would descend from the heavens, the Raiden Shogun literally lives in the capital, Kusanali presides over the Akademiya and Furina has nominal rule over the Court of Fontaine.

  • In Gunnerkrigg Court the people of the titular Court are largely irreligious, since it's not that difficult for them to meet divine beings face to face, which kind of takes the edge off religion. The Native American Trickster God Coyote has moved to Gillitie Forest, right next door to the Court, and in one chapter the moon goddess Chang'e briefly visits them with minimal fanfare to complain about the giant fingerprint that the protagonist accidentally left on Moon's surface (Coyote was involved).
  • In A-gnosis' comics on Greek Mythology, the pantheon are Physical Gods who often interact directly with humankind, such that Zeus sends a young Athena to be Raised by Humans for a time. At one point in Anthesteria, a priestess is quite nonplussed to realize that the Dionysos impersonator arriving at the titular festival is actually the deity in the flesh.
  • The Order of the Stick: Gods live in the Outer Planes but empower Clerics with magic, dispatch angelic or demonic emissaries to convey their will, and can be visited directly with Dimensional Travel. One character speculates that people must live much more cautiously in a world where the afterlife isn't empirically verified.
    Durkon: Ma... Pa's in Valhalla.
    Sigdi: [bowing her head] I know.
    Durkon: No, I mean he's in the actual physical place, Valhalla. It's na, like, a metaphor. It's a giant ale house wit spires an' stuff. I saw it wit me own eyes.
  • Sluggy Freelance
    • The demons of the Dimension of Pain worship the Demon King, who is usually aloof but can come down among them any time he likes. Ironically, in the story in the "Meanwhile in the Dimension of Pain" guest strips where the religion analogy is made especially clear, the Demon King everyone sees is not real but a scammer in God Guise.
    • Even though K'Z'K spends most of his time out of sight as a Sealed Evil in a Can, his demon worshippers in particular have eyewitness testimony of his existence — Skip encounters him while they're both possessing mortals, and some of the demons might even have served him back in medieval times. Even his human worshippers get to see him when he's released.

    Web Original 
  • In Tales of MU, the Gods sometimes host press conferences.

    Western Animation 
  • Primus and Unicron in several Transformers 'verses, although any implications of an actual Transformer religion is very rare. Even though the badge of office of the Autobot leader contains a fragment of Primus's soul, waging war against a Prime doesn't seem to have or cause any theological issues. God and the Devil are acknowledged to exist, but otherwise aren't given much attention.
  • South Park has Jesus living in town in the early seasons and hosting a talk show. In one episode, Jimbo prays to Him for the local team to win, to which Jesus, who is sitting a few rows down, tells him to leave Him alone.
  • In Family Guy God and Jesus will sometimes show up in earlier episodes. This only makes the "religion is stupid" messages in later episodes all the stupider.
  • In Magi-Nation the people of the Underneath have a religion based around their local guardian hyren, Chiroptera and her daughters. And in the Weave the native people have a religion based on the precious Haz Mai aka the dreamstone of their realm. Said stone can be used to summon and control their local guardian hyren.
  • In The Simpsons Ned Flanders and his family are sometimes seen directly talking with Jesus.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, spirits aren't exactly worshipped but are the basis of many cultures and traditions - and are, naturally, very real. The titular Avatar is a human bonded to an ageless spirit of balance, forever reincarnating with a new personality to protect the world.

    Real Life 
  • This was the case in ancient Mesopotamia (at least from the perspective of its people). No one, as far as we know, seriously doubted the existence of the gods: after all, you could just go to the temple and see them there, residing in an ordinary if extravagant house in the form of a statue. Those idols were clothed, bathed and served three meals a day (cynical Assyriologists tend to ask who actually ate the food prepared for the god, although it also very likely that Mesopotamian people would have seen the food decomposing as evidence of it being "eaten" by the god). Hell, they even went to visit friends and relatives at their temples for festivals and such. Moreover, Mesopotamians expected to be able to communicate directly with their gods: make a sacrifice and the god's answer to your question would, without fail, appear in omens, most usually on the liver of the sacrificial animal. Again, it does not seem as if anyone ever doubted the efficacy of those omens in all the texts that have come down to us: if something didn't go as predicted, clearly the interpretation had been mistaken. Part of this is due to the surviving sources. In ancient times, those who were fully literate tended to be a priests of some sort. If any skeptics or non-believers existed, they may not have had the opportunity, or the inclination, to write it down.
  • A Collection Of Unmitigated Pedantry argues that this was the case for pretty much any ancient religion, at least in the beginning. In the absence of today's understanding of natural science, the existence of gods was a simple fact of life, and rituals relating to them were far less about faith and metaphysics than they were practical efforts to effect the good outcomes their worshipers wanted. All that stuff about faith and metaphysics comes later, after the rituals have been codified.
  • An interesting example is the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is believed to be a reincarnated tulku, which is a custodian of a specific tradition of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism. Each tulkus is itself incarnation of Avalokiteśvara a boddhisattva, basically a person who has achieved buddhahood to a degree of becoming a type of god.