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Religion of Evil

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At least you won't fall asleep during the services.

"Well, like any religion, the beliefs can tend toward positive or negative ends — can be used for good or evil. Christianity, for example, has its Doppelgänger, Satanism. Any time you attempt to set up an icon to explain evil, you invite some warped mind to worship it."
Prof. Hartridge, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

"Church Of Evil" redirects here. For a church itself being evil, see Corrupt Church.

Most often a Fantasy trope, the Religion of Evil has no pretenses of being anything other than... well, evil. Quite often it'll be a Card-Carrying Villain that refers to itself as evil; sometimes it won't say that word straight out, but its tenets and actions will be such that its followers are necessarily evil. Any time a temple's decoration involves lanterns made out of the skulls of their Human Sacrifices, it probably qualifies here.

This religion has three common forms:

In the latter cases, most of the time the masses will follow the religion out of fear rather than any genuine religious devotion. In the rarer cases when it exists openly in a "good" nation, it tends to be treated as a legitimate minority faith, perhaps worshiping the evil members of the pantheon. Members of the Decadent Court may attend, either in search of power or just for the thrill.

Why would anyone voluntarily follow such a religion? Maybe they have such horrible lives that they just want to bring down everyone else. Maybe they believe that their Satan will visit them with natural disasters or curse them with misfortune if they don't pay the proper tribute of rites and sacrifices. Maybe they think that they can get the perks from their evil god during their lifetimes but wriggle out of the consequences. Or maybe they think that their universe's Hell will be an eternal debauched party, or that they'll be guaranteed to be the people on top of it. Or maybe they're anti-authoritarian types who mistakenly think Satan Is Good. Or, sometimes, they really are just jerks.

Because Religion is Magic, devout practitioners and high-ranking clergy will use Black Magic and The Dark Arts; you can expect the High Priest to emanate a Cross-Melting Aura. Whatever deity the Religion of Evil worships will generally be the Greater-Scope Villain; with Demon Lords and Archdevils, Eldritch Abominations, Jerkass Gods, Satan, a God of Evil, The Anti-God (or even the one-and-only God Himself) all being likely candidates.

Any legal powers who don't take kindly to the sacrificial and depraved acts of worship this religion encourages may attempt to make it an Illegal Religion, although unlike many flimsy, often prejudiced reasons for banning a faith, the Religion of Evil's practices and rituals often prove that it deserves prohibition.

This trope is the polar opposite of the Saintly Church. Also contrast with Path of Inspiration, where an evil religion masquerades as a more ordinary faith. If a genuinely "good" (or at least non-evil-worshiping) religion is being twisted into evil, it's the Corrupt Church. Media portrayals of Satanism tend to fall directly into this trope; for this, see Hollywood Satanism. The Church of Happyology is a sister trope, especially if Happyology isn't being played for laughs. Combining them with Politically Incorrect Villain can also result in The Klan.

No Real Life Examples, Please! note  This is a very controversial subject and likely to invoke edit wars. It is sufficient to say that certain features of the Religion of Evil can be found in historical religions of human history, either because of human error, context (including a lack of), etc. Moreover, there has never been a (mainstream) religion intentionally aiming at worshipping evil gods, with historical examples of God of Evil having people worshipping against them (most notably Apep).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Cult of Hermaphroditus in the hentai series Bible Black consists of women who wish to perform a demonic ritual in order to gain the power to take over the world. For some reason, part of the deal involves them growing massive male genitalia.
  • The Followers of Kira from Death Note are either true believers who are happy to see the rule of law supplanted by the arbitrary power of a merciless god of retribution or opportunists who are happy to make money by publicizing and promoting same.
  • Dragon Ball GT has a religion that worships a giant gargoyle named Luud that turns people into dolls and absorbs their energy. It turns out to be just a giant android.
  • In Fairy Tail, various cults worship the Black Mage Zeref, even centuries after his supposed death. Dark Guild Tartarus in particular is led by Zeref's strongest demons and worship him as their master.
  • The Omekata cult from Future Diary. It's revealed they weren't always like that, until Tsubaki's parents aka the leaders were killed by a treacherous follower when they were about to disband it to give their daughter a normal life. From then on Tsubaki been kept as their prisoner, sexually/physically abused by the members while being made to pose as their high priestess. And even more so, in the parallel dimension created at the end, the murder of the leaders is prevented and the Omekatas remain as a benevolent group.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry's "question arcs" revolve around a Human Sacrifice and cannibalism based religion that worships Oyashiro-sama, a vengeful deity that serves as the Big Bad behind the Hate Plague. Subverted when "Oyashiro" makes a proper appearance and is largely powerless (due to a power bleed she recovers from in Day Break) and adorable, as well as very unhappy with the things that people do in her name. Given a prequel novel revealing that Oyashiro/Hanyuu was a demon who was an All-Loving Hero before becoming a goddess the irony is exceptionally cruel.
  • Naruto has Jashin (which literally means 'evil god'). His faith is based around mindless slaughter and death. The only Jashinist we see is Hidan, an Ax-Crazy Combat Sadomasochist member of the Akatsuki. Hidan is immortal and uses a Jashinistic ritual to transfer injuries to his opponents if he can consume some of their blood. Other rituals include meditating with a stake through his heart for a while after a kill.
  • The Society of Light in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is never actually referred to as a cult, but it clearly is. (Its kind of obvious, given that meetings they have are clearly sermons. And seeing as the Light of Ruin is ultimately behind it, clearly evil.) The American dub version makes it even more obvious, surprisingly, giving the Society member making a sermon in one scene a voice with the accent of a stereotypical southern preacher.

    Audio Plays 
  • Adam Sandler's Joining The Cult revolves around a friend telling his friend that he is joining a religious cult while playing basketball. The earlier friend explained to him, that Russell, the leader was rambling on during one of the speeches about the sun being bad and the Beast can't come out because of the sun. Adam explained the real reason why he wanted to join is because he wanted to see a girl.
    Adam Sandler: The point is, I'm not going to have time to hang out with you because I'm going to be fucking busy with this fucking cult!

    Comic Books 
  • In Astro City, the Nebulous Evil Organisation Pyramid has aspects of this, with their worship of the living Sekhmet Stone that leads them.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: The greatest force for evil in the world and the series namesake is the Black Moon, a dark religion that worships Big Bad Haazheel Thorn as a god and is directly allied with the armies of Hell.
  • The DCU loves this trope.
    • The Church of Crime, though at least they do it smart, with four branches that focus on four sins: the Deceit wing gets people to learn the religion by claiming that the whole thing is a hoax that they're seeking to expose, the Lust wing runs brothels and either slowly corrupts or outright blackmails repeat clients into Church membership, the Greed wing plays up just how much money there is to be made in crime, and the Murder wing... well, that's for people who already like killing. Hey, sometimes you gotta preach to the choir.
      • In the writers' notes for 52 (the series which introduced the Church of Crime), Mark Waid laments that they didn't pick a better name, noting that an evangelist saying, "Come and join the Church of Crime" probably won't get many converts. He specifically lists "The Way Of Sin" or "The Dark Faith" as examples he wishes he'd thought of at the time.
    • Teen Titans: The Church of Blood — even Nightwing was a member at one point! Brainwashing was involved. "All Hail Brother Blood!"
    • Checkmate: The Cult of Kobra, which controls a billion-dollar international crime syndicate and seeks to usher in the Kali Yuga (an "age of chaos") via terrorist attacks.
    • Speaking of Kali, Ravan, a member of the Jihad and later the Suicide Squad, is a member of an extremist Thugee cult with an opposite mission — to delay the coming of Kali Yuga — by killing. Every time he kills, Ravan says "Another thousand years, Kali..."
    • JLA (1997): The unnamed group of evil-worshipping monks that trained Prometheus and gave him the key to enter an alternate dimension.
    • New Gods: Apokolips, where daily life for its billions of enslaved and brutalized denizens revolves around the endless, eternal worship of the resident despotic ruler and god-emperor of tyranny, the cruel and malevolent Darkseid. Some really evil villains from other parts of the cosmos worship him too- including the aforementioned Church of Crime.
    • In Batman: The Black Mirror, Batman discovers an underground society named Mirror House run by a man named the Dealer who hosts auctions of super-villain objects as a way to celebrate the belief that cruelty and malevolence is humanity's "divine spark."
    • DC Pride: Tim Drake Special: The Children of Dionysus are a Gotham based cult that is enamored with Dionysus' chaos aspect and kidnaps teenagers to beat them and then cut out their hearts in human sacrifices. They notably only kidnap teens who are caught asking questions about them.
  • Legends of Baldur's Gate: The Cult of the Dragon (part of the Forgotten Realms source material) shows up in the form of a Renegade Splinter Faction. Unlike the original, this one believes in usurping the power of evil dragons rather than just worshiping them.
  • The Marvel Universe has its fair share of these as well.
    • Doctor Strange:
      • Dormammu, the demon God-Emperor and Sorcerous Overlord of the Dark Dimension and the archetypal Dimension Lord, derives part of his power from worship from throughout the cosmos and across multiple dimensions. He is the monotheistic god-tyrant of the Dark Dimension and all other dimensions he has conquered and merged with it, and is worshipped as a god in thousands of others. His goal is to conquer the multiverse and turn life and afterlife into a neverending torture camp for all eternity, ruling over everything as the new God.
      • Shuma-Gorath is another demonic god-tyrant who is worshipped throughout the cosmos, but while Dormammu is "merely" the ruler of one dimension, Shuma-Gorath is the all-powerful ruler of over a hundred entire universes and is close to being The Omnipotent for all the power he has. He is worshipped by gods of gods and once ruled the Earth in the distant past (twice) where he commanded human sacrifice. A seriously evil Eldritch Abomination and one of the most powerful villains in the entire Marvel cosmology.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy had a Story Arc that culminated in the Crisis Crossover The Thanos Imperative dealing with the Universal Church of Truth, originally founded by an evil, insane future version of Adam Warlock via time-travel. They believe in everlasting life, which doesn't sound bad until you learn this dimension is called the Cancerverse. They operate by the creed of "convert or die", and have armies fueled by their sheer, unrelenting faith in life to back that up, as Gamora can attest. And the Magus, their founder, takes control of them to summon the Many-Angled Ones into the main universe.
    • In Heroes Reborn (2021), America worships Mephisto — the Big Red Devil of the Marvel Universe.
    • Thanos himself is apparently a religious figure in a nihilistic cult that he inspired/founded on an alien planet, headquartered in something called the Nietzsche institute. He doesn't bother to tell them when he decided that nihilism wasn't working for him anymore.
    • Spider-Man: Norman Osborn once headed a cult called the Brotherhood of the Scrier, which worshipped a nigh-omnipotent cosmic entity of the same name. The cult is an international criminal organization, but the Scrier himself is actually closer to a True Neutral and not that bad a guy — it is unclear if they know this, so if they assume he really is evil and worship him anyway then they are this trope, if mistakenly. One faction in particular counts more than most when they followed Osborn after he was kicked out and became the Cult of the Goblin.
    • In Ultimate X-Men, the Hellfire/Phoenix/Shi'Ar religion is this, "saviour" of the universe by cleansing the current one.
    • The Pride from Runaways is one of the Secret Circle of Secrets variety. They sacrifice young women to a trio of fallen angels who want to destroy all of humanity.
    • Venom (Donny Cates) introduces the Church of Knull, a cult dedicated to the worship of the ancient god of darkness Knull and his symbiotes, seeking to facilitate his revival so that he can destroy the universe.
  • The Church of Elvon in Nexus believes that all high technology increases energy consumption, and therefore increases entropy and accelerates the heat death of the universe. They therefore preach the overthrow of technological civilization by force. Violent, bloody, sadistic force. How this religion spread across the galaxy, well, hypocrisy is the tribute that virtue pays to vice?
  • In The One Hundred Nights of Hero, the primary setting is ruled by The Theocracy of BirdMan. A woman being able to read is reason enough for her to be put to death, according to him. "Sassiness" is also a crime. BirdMan also stole the world from his daughter Kiddo, who created it.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight takes place in Hell and as such two of these examples: the Masters of Infinity and the Lords of Limbo. The former is the state religion of Draconia and resembles Christianity with members assembling at the church for mass to receive their blessing, while the former is more like a traditional Satanist/Occultist cult. In either case, both of them are demonic and at odds with each other.
  • Sha: The Catholic Church is portrayed like this, since it was apparently run by demons posing as humans who used the Inquisition as a pretext to wipe out their enemies.
  • Star Wars: Legacy: While the various Sith Orders in Star Wars have gone through numerous iterations and generally only worship themselves, the comic introduces Darth Krayt and his One Sith, a cult run by the Dark Lord (formerly the fallen Jedi Asharrad Hett) that teaches that all members of the Sith are a united entity following a singular vision, which in practice means they worship Krayt as much as anything else. This is so totally at odds with the openly selfish goals of the traditional Sith that the Holocrons of past Sith Lords declare Krayt The Heretic and refuse to pass on their wisdom to him, but his reasoning is an attempt to put an end to the infighting that crippled previous Sith Orders precisely because they followed a strict Social Darwinist path.

    Fan Works 
  • Ages of Shadow: The Shadow Walkers were already a dark magic cult when Jade found them, at which point she took over and dedicated them to the worship of her "Yade Khan" persona, along with plans for taking over the world.
  • Amazing Fantasy: Cletus Kasady, aka Carnage. Cletus and his ilk worship the god Knull, a primordial being who revels in death and darkness and the creator of the symbiotes. To this end, Carnage recruits Serial Killers like himself as well as the downtrodden and insane to turn Earth-2018.688 into one giant offering to Knull. Their efforts are opposed by the Katsuki Bakugou of that world, who has since bonded with the Venom symbiote and is taking down their members one-by-one.
  • Aunt Salem: Played for Laughs with the Cult of Salem. They are zealous followers of Salem who are prepared to do any kind of atrocity in her name, but they also offer mundane activities typical of regular church organization, like free coffee and bowling leagues.
  • Beyond the Wall: The villagers worship a goddess named Gaea and believe that she loves everypony inside her walls, and hates everypony outside them. They will execute any stranger who wanders into the village (because Gaea doesn't love them), and anypony who tries to leave the village (so they won't stop loving Gaea).
  • Casey Steele: In the backstory, Casey was a Virgin Sacrifice of a satanic cult. She survived.
  • The Equestrian Wind Mage has the Church of Majora, the demons and monsters dedicated to the service of said God of Evil. Not too surprisingly, King Sombra is their choice of ally and chief representative in Equestria.
  • Eugenesis reveals that the Quintessons have a religion which is just as twisted, evil and insane as they are. Case in point, one of their Gods is Unicron.
  • A Father's Wrath takes the Naruto example from above in Anime & Manga and multiplies it. Here, Jashin is shown to have many more followers than just Hidan and The Big Bad is one of them as well, giving Jashin a backstory of how he was once a mighty conqueror who when struck down by The Sage of Six Paths was made into and worshipped as a God by his surviving army.
  • In Short Supply has Zimist Slarkism, one of the Irkens' oldest religions. The original belief, Virtuous Slarkism, runs on Blue-and-Orange Morality which states that since good leads to suffering, suffering is itself good and moral. Zimist Slarkism started as a counter-movement, which holds that because of the Virtuous' beliefs, the only true path to happiness is therefore to be as evil as possible. (And rather bizarrely, in modern times the Virtuous and Zimists actually get along better than with any of the Irkens' other religions.)
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: In the backstory, the Temple of Shadows was a religious sect of Valean monks who explicitly worshipped the Brother God of Darkness. They preached spreading death and destruction in their dark god's name, kidnapped innocent travelers that strayed too close to their monastery to use as human sacrifices, and carried out countless assassinations during the Great War. They were eventually wiped out by Vale's army after word of their crimes reached King Osmund (one of Ozpin's former incarnations).
  • My Choices: Twisted Tales Through Time: Subverted with the Order of the Stars. They're presented as a sinister cult, operating in the shadows and preparing for Darklight Star's return, but it turns out that they were founded by Blue Star just before her Face–Heel Turn and have actually been responsible for some of Equestria's post-Darklight Star improvements. Bright Eyes, their leader, confirms to Celestia that the Order has no intention of helping Darklight Star once she is released.
  • Past Sins has The Children of Nightmare, a cult bent on bringing back Nightmare Moon and plunging Equestria into eternal night.
  • The antagonists in the fan game Pokémon Insurgence are all cults, each one centered around worshipping a different Legendary Pokémon. While most of them have been disbanded before the game's beginning, five remain: the Cult of Darkrai (Exactly What It Says on the Tin), the Abyssal Cult (worships Kyogre and Lugia), the Infernal Cult (worships Groudon), the Sky Cult (worships Rayquaza and is secretly led by Jaern), and Perfection (which is a cult In Name Only — they're more a collection of mad scientists looking to create the perfect Pokémon than anything).
  • In Robb Returns, Theon discovers the Drowned God's religion is (or may be) this in a series of dreams he has — which leads to him renouncing the Drowned God. Several sliced carved runes Rodrik Harlaw finds in High Harlaw imply it is a death cult (considering their motto is "What is dead may never die" and that the Drowned God seems to be an Expy of Cthulhu, it makes sense).
  • Seventh Endmost Vision has a rather friendly example in the Descendants, more formally the Descendants of the Ancient Cetra. Members of the faith worship Aerith in secret, and all its preachers have strange white, pupil-less eyes. They seem very friendly, but as everything about them is connected to Aerith, who is shaping up to be the Big Bad of the fic, there's reason for concern.
  • Deconstructed in Sonic X: Dark Chaos. Satan himself is worshiped as a literal god by many races of the galaxy, but the satanist churches are depicted as being rather friendly and helpful to their societies. Meanwhile, Islam (at least the version practiced by the Emirate of Mecca) and Christianity (to a lesser extent) are portrayed as this trope instead - which is a major reason why many in-universe hate them even more than the Demons.
  • With Warbound Widow the Church of the Mirthful Messiahs are this. They range from outright murdering millions of trolls and aliens a year For the Evulz to stringing up trolls above giant vats and draining them of blood while they're still alive for their paintings, along with their belief system towards causing a galactic apocalypse once they harvest enough souls to summon their Messiahs.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Apocalypto depicts Mayan city dwellers as hungry for Human Sacrifices for their gods and sending sadistic warriors in raids to capture peaceful neighbor hunters/villagers to feed said sacrifices.
  • Many early horror films employed Satanism as a religion of this type. The Black Cat (1934), The Seventh Victim (1943), Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Omen (1976) are good examples.
    • The Seventh Victim is complicated; one of the heroes gives a Shut Up, Hannibal! near the end where he accuses the Satanists of being Straw Nihilists. Also, the Satanists are mostly nonviolent and prefer to use social pressure to make people commit suicide rather than just killing them (one of them even comments on the contradiction inherent in their refusal to commit violence versus their need to kill all who betray them). But the leader does claim that he worships evil and refers to himself as "evil".
  • The Cult of Maax from The Beastmaster with the evil High Priest Maax on top. Maax regularly sacrifices children to his God Ar while the villagers are forced to watch.
  • Botched: Although Sonya pretends to be a Christian, she and her her twin brother Alex have actually constructed their own religion worshiping their supposed ancestor Ivan the Terrible, and dedicated to reviving him through Human Sacrifice.
  • The Necromongers in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). They worship pain and death, have a very sinister gothic design theme, are on a holy crusade to convert the universe to their ways and kill anyone who refuses, and ultimately want to follow their "holy half-dead" Lord Marshal into the underverse.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) has the Children of Doom, who follow the evil sorcerer Thulsa Doom. He uses snake imagery (Thulsa himself turns into one with magic), frequently sacrifices followers to giant snakes, has others murder their fathers, he orders others to prove their loyalty through their killing themselves on command, practice cannibalism and plans a future "cleansing" of the world that would no doubt mean killing even more. His cult was very loosely based on the real People's Temple, whose infamous mass suicide took place only a couple years before filming began.
  • Dagon (2001): In a small town called Imboca on the coast of Galicia in Spain, a drunken tramp named Ezequiel tells Paul how the denizens of the town have overthrown Christianity in favour of the fish god Dagon, who has brought them wealth from the sea in the form of fish and gold, and the only way to appease the fish god, Dagon, was through Human Sacrfice, which they did to Paul's girlfriend Barbara at the end of the film.
  • Evil Dead: The Dark Ones, the enigmatic authors of the Necronomicon who worshiped the evil entities (later named "Deadites") contained in a hellish dimension beyond ours. They wrote the book as a way to summon these entities into our world by reading the inscriptions aloud.
  • In Flash Gordon, Ming the Merciless regularly tests other planets by sending unusual storms, floods and other artificial disasters. If the inhabitants think these are natural, he deems them ignorant and spares [what's left of] them. However:
    Ming: If the hand of Ming is recognized, then that planet is intelligent and dangerous. I call upon the great god, Dai-zan, and for his greater glory (and our mutual pleasure), I destroy it utterly.
  • An early script for Freddy vs. Jason featured a deranged cult that worshipped undead serial killer Freddy Krueger. They were called the "Fredheads".
  • In Fresh Meat, Heri Crane is attempting to resurrect an old Maori cult called Solomonism that believes that cannibalism is the path to immortality.
  • The Cult of Thorn from Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Possibly.
  • The main antagonists of Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft are a pagan coven at a school who perform Human Sacrifice to secure successful futures.
  • The Deaders from Hellraiser: Deader, whose leader kills and resurrects its members to take over the dimension controlled by supernatural sadomasochists.
  • The Kali worshippers in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, very loosely based on the Real Life Thuggee cult. In truth, the Thugs were more like highway bandits, who strangled travelers with scarves in their sleep to rob them. While a cult did develop that gave religious motivations to their actions, it was not very widespread. Far from an evil cult goddess, Kali is the Goddess of eternal energy, the Punisher of Evil, and is very popular in mainstream Hinduism.
  • The Japanese film Love Exposure has Zero Church.
  • In Pig Hunt, a cult of hippies worships the giant boar that dwells in the woods and makes Human Sacrifices to it.
  • Both Psycho Cop and Shocker slasher films feature villains who fanatically worship Satan.
  • The Purge: While it's not created as a religion, The Purge takes on a religious connotation to its supporters, down to some even saying a blessing to the New Founding Fathers of America before purging someone. Election Year shows that members of that political party actually hold a Purge Mass during the night, in which they kidnap several low class people to kill them in front of the altar one at a time. Arc Words for the franchise also include "Release the beast in our souls" and "God Bless America", to further play up the religiousness of those in favor of it.
  • The Trashers in Rolli – Amazing Tales are a cult of litterers that worships a hideous giant head called the Great Trash. Led by their High Priest, they aspire to destroy the Rölli Forest through pollution, and they fill their ranks by bringing people before the Great Trash who "baptizes" them (i.e. turns them into Trashers) by vomiting on them.
    The High Priest: We believe in the Great Trash, the Almighty Destroyer of the world, begotten by carelessness, born of greed. Oh, Great Trash! Wilt thou take these two as thy servants and baptize them as Trashers and Spreaders of Filth?
  • In Satan's Cheerleaders, a Satanist cult kidnaps a cheerleading team and intends to use them for a Virgin Sacrifice.
  • It's treated more in the Expanded Universe materials than in the original films, but the Sith in Star Wars are a surprisingly... complicated example. The Sith (originally a now-extinct alien species from the planet Korriban) do not see themselves as evil, but rather as embracing a proper, Social Darwinist philosophy of how society should be organized — an Übermensch ideal, Klingon Promotion as a key tool to weed out the weak, etc. Combined with their view that the Force serves them, and not the other way around, this makes the Sith more of a Path of Inspiration for The Dark Side than a Religion of Evil.
  • Waterworld features a Big Bad whose title is "Deacon of the Deep". His minions, known as Smokers to everyone else in Waterworld, are part of the Deacon's "Church of Eternal Growth", on a mission to conquer and consume all they survey.
  • The villains in Wolfhound, the druids Zhadoba and Man-Eater, are said to be priests of the local Religion of Evil. They later turn against each other in an Enemy Civil War, until the protagonist kills Man-Eater in revenge for the destruction of his hometown, leaving Zhadoba the undisputed High Priest.

  • Hollywood Satanist cult members form the antagonists in the Fighting Fantasy book House of Hell.
  • From the Lone Wolf series, the Acolytes of Vashna and the Cener Druids. The Acolytes wish to resurrect Vashna, the first and most powerful of the Darklords, so that he'd conquer the world with an army of undead. The Druids plan to kill about every living being beside themselves with biological warfare. And the two are allies.
  • In Murder at Colefax Manor, there is a hedonistic cult that the player can uncover, centered around an Eldritch Abomination that exists in the caverns beneath Colefax Manor.

  • In Ape And Essence by Aldous Huxley, the post-apocalyptic Los Angeles is ruled by Belial worshipers. The devastation wrought by World War III made them lose belief in any deity but a malevolent one.
  • The worship of Torak in The Belgariad, a prime example of the case where only the Grolims (priests) have any real faith and the masses follow out of fear. They keep the faith into the Malloreon, even though Torak is now dead. At the end, it's said that Eriond's first act as a god will be turning the Grolims towards a less vicious path.
  • Played with in the Books of Swords: some of the gods, most notably Mars and Vulcan, are clearly malevolent, even evil. Interestingly, however, even though religion clearly exists in this world, we see very little organized religion. The only exceptions are the White Temple, which worships Ardneh, the Blue Temple, which ostensibly worships Tyche, and the Red Temple, which ostensibly worships Bacchus and Venus. Practically speaking, however, the White Temple is really a chain of hospitals, the Blue Temple is really just a bank, and the Red Temple is a chain of casinos and attached brothels. All three continue to function long after the gods they worship are dead. There is a reference in one book to a wizard bringing magical sacrifices or offerings to Mars to win his intercession in a battle, but that's about it for the explicit worship of any of the gods. In the Empire of the East trilogy, however, it is made clear that Orcus, the demon prince, did compel his followers to worship him, so the titular empire was itself a Religion of Evil, at least until Orcus' top lieutenants overthrew him in a coup.
  • The established church in Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun is this, since the gods being worshiped, with one or two exceptions, are deranged sociopaths whose idea of a commandment is "Overthrow your government and let me know when it's done; if you sacrifice enough children you'll probably get my attention." Interestingly, though, the church itself is closer to a Saintly Church: individual clergy may be corrupt or unpleasant, but the church as a whole is a force for good, providing education and charity to the poor of the city.
  • The Cabal Of Thotash worship the titular Cthulhu-esque elder god. They're pretty bad at it, though, and have trouble finding people to sacrifice. Then a possible sacrifice forces herself into the cabal and ends up turning it into a regular club with hundreds of members. The original leader leaves in anger, while the new "cabal" is slaughtered by Thotash for failing to perform human sacrifices as per the contract.
  • The Black Canons in Teresa Edgerton's Celydonn trilogy. They camouflage themselves by taking on the external trappings of whatever religion is currently in power.
  • In John Milton's Comus, Comus and his followers worship Hecate with evil rites.
  • In Dark Heart, Vraxor is a demon who rose to godhood. His religion is based on human sacrifice, and his priests are sinister, powerfully magical beings who can "volunteer" anyone for the altar and the sacrificial knife. Not all its followers are evil however.
  • Daughter of the Sun: Iius, God of Glottony, is served by cultists who feed him other people.
  • Worship of Liart the Master of Torments, Achrya the Tangler of evil plots, Gitres the Un-maker, and Nayda the Un-namer in The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon.
  • Robin Jarvis has three of these in his two Deptford Mice trilogies; the cults of Jupiter, Hobb (and his co-gods Mabb and Bauchan), and Suruth Scarophion. All of them practice sacrifice of their fellow sapient animals, since there are no human characters, in gruesome manners. Jupiter eats his sacrifices, Hobb's unfortunately named followers, the Hobbers skin their victims alive in a process referred to as the "bloodybones", and Scarophion's cult (known as the Scale) poison their victims with his blood, which dissolves the victim into a puddle of tar. You know, for kids.
    • Then in The Whitby Witches we get the Coven of the Black Sceptre, aka: the Brides of Crozier, a cult of crazy fangirl witches who can turn into dogs and worship the evil warlock Nathaniel Crozier who treats them like scum.
  • Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series has the Holy Dominion, an empire located on an alternate America founded by Spanish conquistadors from our world mixed with a Mayincatec tribe (also from our world). After many centuries, the Dominion's version of Catholicism has adopted several Mayincatec facets, including the cult of pain and blood sacrifices. Basically, they believe that Jesus endured pain and spilled blood for our sins, which must be repaid in kind. Thus, in order to be close to God, so must everyone else. Only painful death in God's name can bring one closer to Him. Naturally, they believe that everyone should worship this religion, and the Dominion's blood cardinals spread the message. The author constantly insists that this is most definitely an evil perversion of Real Life Catholicism, especially since one of the good characters is a Catholic nun from our world. Another character, an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, is also a Catholic, although there's constant friction between him and Sister Audrey, who doesn't believe that an evolutionist has any right to call himself Catholic.
  • The cult of Cataris from the Devil Trilogy: bent on world domination, partaking in human sacrifice and requiring its followers to chop off their pinkie finger.
  • Played with in the Discworld. There are a few demon-worshiping cults, and Evil Harry Dread has occasionally run a temple of evil, but most people who've compared Discworld demons to Discworld gods have decided the main difference is PR. The worshipers of Bel-Shamharoth, the Soul Eater, on the other hand, are clearly insane. And mostly very, very dead (it should be pointed out that there is a "Young Men's Reformed Cultists of the Ichor God Bel-Shamharoth Association", or "YMPA" in Ankh-Morpork, too).
    • The Guild premises belonging to the Fools and Clowns were formerly the Monastery Of The Brotherhood of Infernal Zoth, the Undying Renderer. This religion ended abruptly one night when the buildings were wiped out by a localised earthquake, lightning, and mysterious fire.
  • The Dark Brotherhood in the Drenai novels.
  • In The Dresden Files, it's mentioned that the Red Court encouraged the Aztec religion's notorious propensity for Human Sacrifice to keep themselves as well-fed as possible, with their highest nobility taking the place of gods.
  • Demon worshipping cult the Crimson Hand in The Eldest Curses. The cult was originally founded by warlock Magnus Bane as a joke, but after a change in leadership the cult became a whole lot more sinister and started with Human Sacrifice in order to summon Asmodeus, a greater demon.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Fidelia is a cult that worships angels and is trying to bring them back. Because of this, they willingly aid the Undying Emperor in his various experiments and conquests.
  • The Mijak religion in Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy is an example of this, contrasting with the religion of Etherea. It's symbol was a scorpion which they bred in the temples to fill in a pool and swim in for divination. Animal blood was used a lot in ritual, drunk hot from the carcass and poured into pools to determine the will of god. Priests and the rulers of Mijak were chastised with beatings, including a young Zandakar. In fact they are not worshiping a god, but a dark power they believe to be God.
  • The Worshipers of Helgrind from Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. They worship a mountain that they refer to as their "dread and terrible lord," kill slaves as sacrifices, drink human blood, and make offerings of their own flesh and limbs. It was initially implied that the Priests of Helgrind genuinely believed that their sacrifices were going to the mountain itself, but book four revealed that the Ra'zac that lived inside were the true subjects of their worship all along.
  • The state religion/culture of Skrea in The Kingdoms of Evil.
  • In Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Carey, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Persia is tired of worshiping Ahura Mazda and getting nothing for it; a cult that worships his enemy, the evil Angra Mainyu kills the leaders of the country and takes over. It seems to pay off, as the members of this cult, who describe themselves as evil, actually do gain supernatural powers, but it scares everyone else, gods and humans alike.
  • One of the most Badass Evil Church of Evils around would be the pantheon in Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny. Not only did the evil gods have all the psionic superpowers of the Hindu gods, but if you wanted to be reincarnated in a younger body, then you had your mind scanned for disloyal thoughts: have some and BAMF! you're reborn in the body of a smelly ape.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The Dark Lord Sauron was worshiped as a god-king by the humans under his control (the orcs, however, just saw him as their cruel slave-driver). Aside from their leaders, though, they weren't themselves evil — they were forced to worship Sauron out of fear through lies and threats, not faith or devotion. This doesn't really come across in the movies.
    • Sauron also managed to convince Ar-Pharazôn and the Númenóreans to worship his master Morgoth/Melkor with Human Sacrifice, as part of the chain of events that lead to the downfall of Númenor described in Akallabêth.
  • The faith of the Pannion Seer in Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen is a particularly nasty example, most evident in its conversion of the combat capable population into cannibal fanatic shock troops (through implied Mind Control) and the rest into their supplies. There is also a sect of fanatical women who produce children by raping dying soldiers, which is not played for titillation.
  • The nation of Khalador in The Night Angel Trilogy has one of these. They worship the Khali, the goddess of Suffering, who give them access to a unique form of magic called the Vir. In return, Khaladorans must deliberately create suffering for Khali. Every Khaladoran we see has a penchant for unnecessary strife; for example, Khaladorans don't consider it sex until the man has beaten the woman after. The God-King, Khalador's absolute monarch, absolutely delights in his status as a Card-Carrying Villain.
  • The child cult that worships "He Who Walks Behind the Rows" in the Night Shift short story "Children of the Corn" and the movie series based on it.
  • The entire plot of each Odd Thomas book is the titular character foiling one of these. The first book? Satanists. The second? A crazy woman that has studied evil religions all over the world. The third? A guy that claims he can create life. The latest has apparently radical Islamists that planned to assassinate important government officials before blowing up several American cities with nukes.
  • The underground demon worshiping cult from Of Fear and Faith that tried to sacrifice Elin was definitely this. Elin sees them sacrifice another woman and summon a demon inside her that rips its way out of her chest and then devours her body. All in all, not a nice bunch of folk.
  • Prince Roger:
    • The Fire Temples in the volcanic land of Krath. Despite being a theocracy, none of the natives are willing to talk about their religion at all, and laws in the cities are quite prohibitive. They trade for slaves to act as "Servants of the God." These "servants" are sacrifices which are roasted and then served in chunks to the people of the cities. There's a reason the local pirates fight to the last man to avoid capture.
    • Averted with Armagh's Satanists. They're the victors of a nasty schism on an all-Catholic planet, where they simply decided not to fight being called minions of Satan by a vicious inquisition. Their doctrine holds that God is being held prisoner by the angels, and the rebel armies of Satan will liberate him on judgement day. Other than the bizarre terminology in worshiping His Wickedness, they're good people.
  • Yscalin, a nation in The Priory of the Orange Tree, has converted from Virtudom to worship of the Nameless One (a massive evil dragon whose thousand-year imprisonment is due to end very soon). This was a decsion made by Yscalin's king due to his rage at being rejected by Inys' queen, and it turns him into an Empty Shell who is slowly being burned away to act as the dragon's mouthpiece. His subjects are not believers, but have to appear "faithful" to avoid being horrifically executed by draconic creatures.
  • The Radiant Dawn has the cult of Tyadrig, an evil demon lord whose goal is to slay Jehovah, the Christian God. The cult seeks to summon Tyadrig to Earth, but to do this, they have to annihilate all non-cult humans because hostile sentience on the planet interferes with the summoning ritual.
  • The Reynard Cycle:
    • The Glyconese worship Hydra, a multi-headed dragon goddess that they believe will bring about the end of the world via deluge. They don't even think they'll be spared.
    • The Hivans apparently worship the seven Demons that once ruled the world, and believe that one of them, The Dreamer, slumbers beneath their capital of Metnal. Ritual human sacrifices meant to awaken him/her/it are carried out by the royal family, who function as the high priests of the religion. Weirdly, the country is actually a fairly progressive place for the setting.
  • Robert E. Howard:
    • In the Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", Salome institutes Human Sacrifice as part of the religious practices.
    • In both "The Phoenix on the Sword" and "The Scarlet Citadel", the worship of Set. Indeed, the first story has the only hint of White Magic and the intervention of good gods in Howard's stories. The nation of Stygia is crawling (or slithering) with really nasty Set worshipers. Pythons are allowed to eat people in the streets as sacrifices. In a move sure to annoy Real Life Hindus, Howard also depicts the religion of Hanuman as evil (granted, this is supposed to be before modern cultures).
    • In the Kull story "The Shadow Kingdom", the priests of the Serpent. Then, they are half-human half-snake and do it to control people.
    • In the Kull/Bran Mak Morn story "Kings of the Night", Even Evil Has Standards is a comparison between two:
      The Druids of his own isle of Erin had strange dark rites of worship, but nothing like this. Dark trees shut in this grim scene, lit by a single torch. Through the branches moaned an eerie night-wind. Cormac was alone among men of a strange race and he had just seen the heart of a man ripped from his still pulsing body.
  • Rose of the Prophet: The Black Paladins of Zhakrin, whose sole aim is evil, and even call themselves that. As such they take slaves, ritually murder people in Zhakrin's name, and reproduce by raping captured women. However, at the same time the Paladins truly believe in brotherhood, family and loyalty.
  • Both played straight and subverted in Mike Carey's post-The Sandman novels.
  • In Sard Harker, the villain Hirsch is a priest in a dark and secret religion that explicitly worships Evil as the true source of power in the world, and practices human sacrifice as well as other unspeakable rites.
  • A quintessential example is the Esoteric Order of Dagon from the H. P. Lovecraft story The Shadow Over Innsmouth. They restore the economy of a local fishing town, and in exchange everyone in town has to agree to have sex and reproduce with Fish People. Soon the town is entirely inhabited by territorial and violent half-humans.
  • S. M. Stirling provides several examples:
    • In the Nantucket novels, the sadistic Dr. Alice Hong starts a cult in Bronze-Age Achaea (Greece), with herself as the avatar of the Lady of Pain, to be worshiped by torture and sacrifice. This cult actually has official status within the Sacred Collegium, as Hong is the senior wife and lieutenant of William Walker, King of Men.
    • The Cult of Malik Nous, the Peacock Angel, in the alternate history novel The Peshawar Lancers. It is the prevalent religion in the remains of Tsarist Russia following a meteor shower that destroys most of the northern hemisphere and involves the worship of the Slavic dark god Tchernabog, cannibalism and virgins who can tell the future (to make matters worse, their powers eventually drive them to insanity, at which point they are taken away to become breeders for the next generation).
    • The Church Universal and Triumphant (C.U.T.) in his Emberverse series.
  • The Thebans in the Starfire books, who embark on a holy crusade to bring humans back into the light of worshiping Holy Terra. Never mind that they're aliens (explained later, trust me). There is seriously one Theban dude who does not like the prospect of the campaign.
  • The religion of the Pah-Wraiths in the Star Trek: Millennium series may qualify, as the "Ascendants"' principal aim was to destroy the universe for reasons of cosmic harmony. This may also be an example of Utopia Justifies the Means.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe :
    • The Yuuzhan Vong have a priesthood devoted to genocide, non-consensual bio-forming, and extreme masochism. They actually consider themselves guardians and caretakers of life. The problem is their central tenet is "life is full of suffering and death, therefore suffering and death is good."
    • Then there's Pius Dea, which dominated the Republic some 11 thousand years before the contemporary setting. Followers worshiped a goddess (its name is "saintly goddess" in Latin) and taught humans were supreme. During this period the Republic was involved in some pretty bloody interplanetary crusades to destroy species they declared "unredeemable" and the Jedi officially severed ties with them. Pius Dea was eventually taken down by a coalition of species they condemned, the Jedi, and a splinter faction called Renunciates, who rejected Pius Dea's human supremacism.
  • The Maruli in The Stone Dance of the Chameleon bring Human Sacrifices to a god they call "The Darkness Under The Trees". They appear to greatly fear him themselves and keep him imprisoned on the Island of Flies.
  • The Hellborn in the Stones of Power series.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Followers of Odium are an interesting look at how an evil religion could actually work. Odium claims to be a god of passion, and therefore is happy to reward passion—many of his followers are respectful of even explicit insubordination if it is done with true passion. However, Odium is ultimately a god of hatred, so what he values above all else is people killing in his name. Therefore, he encourages people to give their emotions to him, their guilt and their shame, so that they don't have to feel anything for the crimes he makes them commit. Many of his worst servants claim to be "unchained" and "beyond guilt;" exactly how true this is seems to vary. Some are clearly just lying to make themselves feel better, while at least one successfully turned himself into an Empty Shell with no purpose besides service.
  • Winterbourne's cult in Stormrider.
  • In Christopher Ruocchio's The Sun Eater series, the vile alien Cielcins love cannibalism, mutilating their victims and making slaves out of captured survivors or waging genocidal attacks on planets of their enemies. Their culture developed in a such a way because they worship the Eldritch Abomination known as the Other. And joining the Cielcin are human renegades who feel the Other is too mighty to withstand so they intend on surviving by having humanity debase themselves as a Servant Race to these Others.
  • The Cathedral of the Shadow God in The Legend of Sun Knight is a complicated subversion. Their god is good, their goals are good, and their leadership usually isn't any worse than the other religions, but they are obligated to drop everything and serve the whims of an evil and destructive Demon King every few generations, lest a greater evil destroy the world. They risk and sacrifice everything to keep the world safe, and if that means burning down villages, kidnapping princesses, and killing princes, so be it.
  • The Sisters of the Dark in the Sword of Truth series have it as their stated goal to unleash the Keeper (the God of Evil) on the world and end all life (except theirs; they believe that they will be granted immortality for doing so).
  • Played with in Technomagia i smoki, which has lots of various religions, mostly in the background. The cult of Gryphon seems scary, but is actually quite harmless. The cult of Five used to be benevolent - now it's a theocracy with totalitarian ambitions and the head priest (who orchestrated this change) is the Big Bad. The one straight example would be the cult of King Tick, a religion whose sole point seems to be making Human Sacrifices to a literal enormous arachnid.
  • Time Scout brings us Jack the Ripper and Aleister Crowley.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: One of these is typical in Fantasyland, usually involving Human Sacrifice (virgins especially) and Hollywood Satanism cliches.
  • The worship of Skotos in The Videssos Cycle is definitely this, heavily featuring human sacrifice and backing a brutally expansionistic empire. Somewhat deconstructed in that it's pointed out that Skotos-worship has very little staying power under most circumstances; it's actually very philosophically shallow, with it's only real substance being that it gives its adherents carte blanche to be assholes, and it turns out that even the most self-centered people typically want more from life than that. The religion tends to really take root (as it did in aforementioned empire, Yezd) only in the presence of its High Priest, the immortal Evil Sorcerer Avshar, largely because he's sufficiently scary that nobody wants to invoke his wrath by refusing him. Avshar himself serves Skotos from a mix of his belief that the world is inherently rotten and deserves to be punished and a desire to make a point in a centuries-old debate with the priests of Phos that only he remembers or cares about anymore.
  • David Weber's WarGod series has a pantheon of evil gods.
    • The one who appears most often in the trilogy is Sharna, a scorpion-God of demons and assassins, although in the second and third books several more show up. Their worship is pretty classically evil, with rituals involving gang rape, mass torture, and cannibalism. Or worse.
    • About the best of the lot of them is Carnadosa, the Goddess of wizardry, who is more Chaotic Neutral than true evil. Her followers are generally depicted as smart and possessed of personal honor.
    • Strangely enough, although it's frequently emphasized in the text that no form of power is inherently evil and that it's only the methods that make dark wizardry evil. There seems to be no incentive for wizards to stay 'white,' since there are no 'good' institutions to counterbalance the Church of Carnadosa. The only representative of white wizardry is Wencit of Rum, and he seems to have no interest in taking apprentices or forming a new White Wizard academy (even though a similar institution exists for magi). He's much too busy going around and executing wizards on the spot without any opportunity to reform. The practice of wizardry is also described as so seductive that those born with the talent cannot resist using it. And since it's illegal in every country in the world, you can't exactly join a support group for it. So essentially, if you are born with any kind of wizard power, you have no other options besides joining the Church of Carnadosa, practicing blood magic, and eventually getting killed by Wencit of Rum. Nice.
  • The worship of Lolth in War of the Spider Queen
  • Darkfriends from The Wheel of Time worship The Dark One, the antithesis of the Creator who is a Sealed Evil in a Can, the Can in this case being the Pattern, of which the world / universe is the tapestry. If he escapes his prison he will unmake the Pattern and bring about The End of the World as We Know It, but Darkfriends believe that once he has done this he will remake the world in his image and reward his loyal worshippers by resurrecting them as immortals who lord over the rest of humanity. In practice though most are actually quite terrified of the idea that this will happen in their lifetime and the majority simply joined for the perks, since Darkfriends tend to be quite well connected and for most Darkfriends its more like an international, criminal secret society and mutual benefit group. The books happen to take place as the Dark One is starting to escape, and the initial reaction of every Darkfriend is abject terror followed by varying degrees of fanaticism, resentment and paranoia towards non-Darkfriends and each other. Almost every single Darkfriend is both terrified of the Dark One beyond measure and entertains the delusions that they will be his favoured subject. [[spoiler: Turns out The Dark One himself doesn't quite know what sort of world he will make if he gets out, but he's toying with different kinds of Dystopia that won't really benefit anybody.
  • In R.S Belcher's The Brotherhood of the Wheel, there are various serial killer packs. One of these is the Zodiac Lodge. The serial killers of the Zodiac Lodge believe they'll personally go to a Paradise after death regardless of what they've done and that every person they kill will become a personal slave of theirs in the afterlife. So they really want to rack up their body counts.
  • Harlan Ellison's short story "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" centers on one of these. A street murder along the lines of Kitty Genovese in which nearby witnesses did nothingnote  turns out not to be simple Bystander Syndrome but a religion in which worshippers view human sacrifice.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Atlantis: The Cult of Dionysus is this. Your average kidnapping, brainwashing, and human sacrificing cult with a penchant for Ominous Greek Chanting and owning a pack of trolls to set upon strangers.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • Subverted with the Cult of Baltar. They are perceived as a religion of evil by the fleet but are actually very peaceable.
    • Played straight with the Sons of Ares, an old militant group within the Colonial religion who reemerge to combat the Cult of Baltar (violently). Judging by the comments from Adama and Tigh, they have a long, unhappy history in the Colonials' past.
    • The Cylons themselves occasionally veer into this with their religious fanaticism.
  • Buffyverse:
    • The Harbingers who worship the First Evil, and every cult of the series. At least one Wolfram & Hart security guard/soldier told Angel that he believed, specifically, in the cause of evil, by name. Angel using the guy's own shotgun to blow his head off did make others at least briefly re-evaluate their positions, however.
    • Some of Twilight's followers worship him as a god.
  • Colony: The Greatest Day, which worships the Hosts and encourages total obedience and compliance with their regime.
  • An episode of Criminal Minds featured a cannibalistic villain who worshiped Satan (or some kind of demonic entity). During the raid on his house, they find a hidden, demonic shrine, the walls of which were covered in Francisco de Goya's Black Paintings and creepy symbols and Madness Mantras written in blood. It's notable that the profilers state "He doesn't kill because he believes in Satan, he believes in Satan because he kills."
  • Doctor Who features the Silence, whose belief that "silence will fall" when the oldest question in the universe is asked drive them to kidnap Melody Pond and brainwash her into killing the Doctor. Their most prominent adherents are members of a species of Grey/The Men in Black hybrids who make people forget all about them as soon as the people look away, and who have secretly controlled humans since humanity first existed.
    • Slightly subverted in "The Time of the Doctor". The Papal Mainframe the Church of the Silence is from turn out to not be so bad, the Doctor is on reasonable terms with them. The Silence who were causing the Doctor trouble were a splinter sect.
    • The Daleks in the Series 1 finale. The last Emperor Dalek to survive the Time War developed a massive god complex and rebuilt the Daleks as religious fanatics who worshiped him. "DO NOT BLASPHEME! DO NOT BLASPHEME!"
    • The Disciples of Saxon in The End of Time worship The Master as a living god and ultimately bring about his resurrection.
  • The Following:
    • The series features "Carrollism," a cult founded by Serial Killer Joseph Carroll, although this is the name given to it by the FBI just so they can call it something. Loosely based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe and general Gothic sentiments, with some Straw Nihilist faux-Nietzschean stuff thrown in, it depicts murder as an artistic/creative act, and encourages practitioners to "find their voice," by coming up with their own signature murder style.
    • Ultimately it is a Deconstruction of the concept, showing that an organization composed of murderous sociopaths would eventually collapse under the weight of the collective dysfunctions of its individual members. Not enough of them are sane enough to have any clue what their doing. It is also shown that Joe cribbed bits and pieces from various religions and philosophies to create it.
    • Season 2 introduces a new cult even crazier than Joe's. Micah's cult is full of people who are excited to be a Human Sacrifice. The same season establishes that Joe is actually an atheist and implies that Micah is as well (as when he meets Joe he asks him to teach him how to get his cultists to die and kill for him, and alters the teachings of his cult to achieve this), so both are something of Path of Inspiration as well.
  • Game of Thrones: The faith of the Lord of Light presents itself as good and loving and a necessary bulwark against the god of darkness who aims to wipe out humanity. However, some of their rituals involve human sacrifice and necromancy. Subverted; aside from Melisandre, most Red Priests/Priestesses are not shown to be evil. On the contrary, the religion of R'hllor is often a source of hope for the largely enslaved population of Essos. Thoros of Myr, for instance, is a noble and courageous man working with the Chaotic Good Brotherhood Without Banners. That's not even getting into the fact that said god of darkness does exist, and does intend to destroy humanity.
  • The Satanic cult in the Hammer House of Horror episode "Guardian of the Abyss".
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider BLACK: Gorgom is a cult of mutant supremacists with ties to influential figures in Japanese society. Their religion revolves around worship of an idol called the "Creation King", who is decided by selecting two "Century Kings" born on the day of a solar eclipse and having them duel each other to the death.
    • The Deadmans in Kamen Rider Revice are an underground cult which worships a demon god and seeks to use his power to summon people's inner demons.
  • Lexx is built on this the first two seasons, with this "religion" being enforced on at least 20,000 worlds, in the goddamn Light Universe, even going to the almost absurd levels of the quote above, the only difference being that that is a parody, where this is a black comedy. Turns out it's just the ploy of an insect civilization to destroy humanity from the inside. And it worked.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "The Screwfly Solution", the Sons of Adam are a psychotic fundamentalist Christian cult who claim they are dedicated to 'freeing' the world of all female presence and restore it as it was in the Garden of Eden before God created Eve. It's really not their fault, however, as they've been driven insane with a virus sent by aliens. The religion just gives them an ideology to justify themselves.
  • The New Adventures of Robin Hood: In "The Devil's Bride", Marion is abducted by Brother Groliet, an evil member of the God of Death cult. She is intended to become the bride of Balor, the Prince of Darkness, to have a child and give him the power of eternal life.
  • One episode of NUMB3RS features a cult based around the idea that "the way to heaven is by marrying virgins — as many as possible". In practice, this takes the form of marrying underage girls off to adult men, often several girls at once to the same man. The cult leader has also been known to kill his own followers if they defy him (and sometimes, like in the episode's climax, just because it's expedient).
  • In The Orville a race called the Krill are shown to be following one of these, and they are suggested to be one of the few space-faring races to have a religion at all. Their own race are vampiric and their faith teaches them that they are on a Great Crusade to subjugate or destroy all other races in the galaxy, who are regarded as being without souls, as the command of their deity Avis, with religious ceremonies involving blood sacrifices such as stabbing severed human heads. It is somewhat implied that some of their tenets are actually interpretations of their religious text and not necessarily the intended message, but the result is a religion that preaches interstellar genocide and racial superiority in practice all the same.
  • The Outpost: The human cult who worship Lu'quiri in "Kill the Rat, Kill the Kinj" do so through human sacrifices.
  • The pagans in Reign, although there's reason to believe it wasn't always like that. Once it worshiped nature, now it's centered around an unknown and presumably demonic entity in a cave somewhere in the Blood Forest.
  • In Robin of Sherwood there are three-and-a-half of these. First, Lilith and her unnamed companion who serve Simon de Belleme in the worship of Aziel (Simon's in it for the power, and his other servants are bewitched slaves, but Lilith seems to be a devotee). Second, the Lucifer-worshiping nuns in "The Swords of Wayland". The odd one out is "Cromm Cruac": the villagers indulge in human sacrifice, but they get an idyllic life in exchange - it's self-interest, not For the Evulz. Gulnar, that time round, gets involved for the sake of revenge - again, a normal human motive. But in Gulnar's next appearance, "The Time of the Wolf", he's running a murderous apocalyptic cult that really does seem to be just For the Evulz.
  • Stargate Atlantis: The Wraith worshipers believe that their vampiric overlords are godlike beings. The religion itself venerates culling of humans, mindless obedience to the Wraith and a prophecy foretelling the end of all human life. The Wraith themselves just consider it a useful tool to instill complete loyalty in their followers.
  • Stargate SG-1: Origin is a religion invented by a banished group of Ascended Alterans known as the Ori. The Ori want to destroy the Ancients and figure out that they can feed off the belief of un-Ascended beings. They twist the history of the Alterans, making themselves out to be the good guys and encase their version of history within a Holy Book. Their gospel is spread by evangelical priests known as Priors who bear the powers that advanced humans close to achieving Ascension display. As the formidable power of the Ori is genuine, people accept the truth of the Ori gospel and convert. Those that resist are conquered; they are forcibly converted by violence, and if even that fails, they are destroyed. If anyone does manage to kill a Prior, the believer's death makes the Ori that much more powerful. For countless millennia, this was a win-win situation for the Ori... until they take on the Tau'ri. The Tau'ri may have spent years being irritated with the Ancients' non-interference policy, but once they meet the Ori, they begin to understand why the policy exists.
  • The Cult of the Pah-wraiths from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which may also qualify to be a Path of Inspiration.
    • In a subversion, the cult members are not evil and believe that the Pah-wraiths are the true gods of Bajor, and that they have been demonized by their rivals, the Prophets. But they are wrong: the Pah-wraiths are evil.
  • Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan: Machine Empire Black Magma are a theocratic Robot Republic whose religion involves human sacrifices to their "Black Sun God".
  • True Blood:
    • Maryann Forrester is a Maenad who mind-controls humans into worshiping Dionysus (Greek god of madness and ecstasy) through wild orgies and ritual sacrifice.
    • The Sanguinista Movement, a group of Vampires who follow a literal view of the Vampire Bible and fanatically worship Lilith. Their belief is that humans are food and nothing else, the complete opposite to the mainstreaming Vampires.
  • The Shine Shine Dan from Warrior of Love Rainbowman are the KKK (against Japanese) with monsters and Faceless Mooks.


  • Doom Breaker has the Followers of the God of Demons, Tartarus. They are a supersecret cult that swallows bugs with marks on them to get power. They helped Tartarus destroyed the world.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Kevin Sullivan's Army Of Darkness started in Championship Wrestling From Florida. He thought Adolf Hitler was an inspirational example of what even an insignificant, poorly educated man could accomplish with his God given power.
  • WWE has had a few examples.
    • The Ministry of Darkness, led by The Undertaker, which worshipped a Satanic "higher power" and whose antics involved kidnapping, brainwashing and attempted human sacrifice, although it's unclear if any of it was real or not since Vince McMahon was revealed to be the "higher power" in question and claimed the whole thing was just a ruse to get under the skin of his Arch-Enemy "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, despite Undertaker at least and some of his cronies apparently having genuine supernatural powers of their own.
    • Vince would later create an evil religion yet again, this time simply called "McMahonism", which began as a mockery of Shawn Michaels and his conversion to Born Again Christianity as well as an attempt to make money, but which Vince egomaniacally begun to actually believe to some degree, and which was still explicitly evil since it was about worship of a man frequently compared to Satan himself in kayfabe, who in the storyline even burnt himself by touching holy water, implying Vince was genuinely demonic even if he didn't know it. The religion basically declared that Vince was a god who could do whatever he wanted, and in order to "convert" to it employees were forced to literally kiss his ass on live television.
    • The Wyatt Family was a Cult that followed a mysterious being called "Sister Abigail" who may or may not exist, and were fond of kidnapping and brainwashing other wrestlers to make them members and preaching nihilistic messages about destruction and darkness; after the family broke up, the leader Bray Wyatt even ended up possessed by a demon called "The Fiend".
  • Nikki Strychnine and the members of his Ministry Of Hate in Gateway Championship Wrestling.
  • UltraMantis Black's Order of the Neo-Solar Temple in Chikara, founded on abuse and mind control.
  • Michael Kovac's secondary goal in SMASH, after winning matches, was creating more Apostles of Hell.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Every Host for the Witch race in Bleak World has started their own, except for the Host of the Moon, who only demands that you have consensual sex as an offering for power. Everyone else demands blood sacrifice or worse.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Most settings have one, if not dozens of these; the followers of Lolth from Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk and Takhisis from Dragonlance are only the most prominent examples. Other major examples in the standard Third Edition D&D cosmology are the churches of Bane, Hextor, Nerull, Erythnul, Gruumsh, Maglubiyet, Shar, Tiamat, and any of the Demon Lords and Archdevils.
      • Hextor's church falls between this and Path of Inspiration. Where his clerics have power, they openly preach his creed of militarism, conquest and tyranny. In other places, they claim he's a god of fitness, discipline and strength.
      • Bane is the god of Tyranny, Strife and Fear. His church was initially marked by sectarian violence that he encouraged and approved of, believing it culled the weak from the strong, but when Ao declared that the power of a deity would now be tied to how many followers they actually had, he shifted to a more orderly and hierarchical approach that promoted ambition, obedience, discipline and harsh punishments for those under their power. The Banite religion is the most popular of all the evil religions as it at least has the image of being "tough but fair" and promotes stability, but the ultimate goal of Bane and his church to Take Over the World and to destroy all other gods and churches who don't submit to Bane.
      • The church of Bhaal, god of murder, is a darker shade of black compared to Bane's. Bhaalists, like their god, are all Omnicidal Maniacs that want nothing more than to watch the world burn. Bhaal himself was The Friend Nobody Likes between him, Bane, and the God of the Dead Myrkul as he was too Ax-Crazy even for them.
      • The Church Of Lolth, the Spider Queen, is the state religion of Dark Elf society. Lolth herself is an Ax-Crazy Chaotic Evil Sadist, so she demands absolute obedience from her followers on the one hand, but also punishes them for being too obedient and slavish towards her own rules on the other, and she prefers her clergy to be cunning and ruthless backstabbers who break the rules and manage to not get caught. She demands human / Elvish sacrifices but her favourites are actually her own top priestesses as she finds it amusing that they were so cocky that they got themselves killed. Other pleasant features of the Lolth religion include extreme misandry with male Elves being slaves, Dark Elf supremacy and hatred towards all other races (especially surface Elves), rampant sexual depravity, and various practices instituted by Lolth designed solely to humiliate and demean her own people.
      • The Church of Shar is an underground cult of straw nihilists as Shar- the primordial Goddess of Darkness- was the co-creator of the world with her sister Selune, who felt betrayed when Selune started populating the planet with messy things like "light" and "life", leading to a titanic battle between the two which Shar lost. The Church thus preaches that the world not only belongs to Shar but was in fact stolen from her, and the faithful are to murder followers of Selune and other good-aligned gods and embrace despair and their own miserable lot in life as everything in existence truly belongs to Shar. Criticising a superior means you willingly forfeit your life, initiates must commit murder or some other heinous crime both on initiation and every ten days thereafter, and apostasy is punished by death. Shar and her clergy are also fond of magical memory wipes both to ensure obedience and to foster feelings of hopelessness and loss in subordinates and enemies alike. The ultimate ambition of Shar and her church is to kill Selune and any god who opposes her (most of whom are technically her own kids) and blanket the world in eternal darkness and converting the mortal races into shades, undead and other evil creatures who will worship her forever.
    • Eberron: This is mostly subverted, because religions in Eberron don't restrict their followers' alignments. The Lawful Good Silver Flame has plenty of evil-aligned worshippers, while a heroic priest of the Fury could stress the positive elements of extreme emotion and downplay the others, and since the power comes from faith rather than the direct gift of the god, these alignment conflicts don't even deny spellcasting.
      • Subverted with the death/ancestor worship of the Aerenal Elves. Plenty of trappings that would be red flags in most settings (skull motifs, efforts of worshippers to look more dead, fallen troops remaining on duty) but they are as benevolent (if somewhat less universalist) as the Silver Flame (not counting the Knight Templars in the organization).
      • Subverted with the Blood of Vol. At first glance, it's a Lawful Evil cult that reveres undead, pursues immortality, talks a lot about blood, practices necromancy, and is named after a malevolent lich-queen. When you dig into the setting detail, most of its principles are actually pretty sympathetic: immortality/divinity is a logical goal when the afterlife is as shitty as it is in Eberron, they believe that everyone has a spark of divinity in their blood, and they don't pursue undeath, but view Seeker undead as martyrs who have given up their own shot at divinity to guide others (while being first in line to beat the tar out of non-Seeker undead, more often than not). The religion is, by Word of God, actually based on the original beliefs of the line of Vol; Erandis simply hijacked a chunk of it for her own ambitions, and J. Random Blood of Vol Priest in Nowheresville, Karrnath, has almost certainly never heard of her and may well be no more evil than the Sovereign Host priest over in the next village. (The version in the Bloodsail Principalities plays it straighter; that version never picked up the "Divinity Within" concept and views immortality in the form of vampirism as just fine, thank you.)
      • The Dark Six are a classical pantheon of evil deities cast away from the main pantheon... and The Traveller. It's possibly subverted, as the Dark Six could be gods of nature that were removed from the Sovereign Host not because they were evil, but because the Sovereign Host was becoming the religion of civilization. Which, together with Eberron's Absent Deities-situation, leads to their evil possibly being a result of the Dark Six-worshippers gradually, over the ages, beginning to believe the propaganda spread about their deities. In Droaam, it's the state religion, and while they stand for the same concepts, the positive elements are emphasised: the Shadow is still the god of ambition, but ambition makes you strive and sharpens your will, just as an example. There are also cults that worship individual members of the Six as part of a multifaceted approach to a concept, such as the Three Faces of War, who revere the Mockery along with the more noble Dol Dorn and Dol Arrah.
      • The main religion that plays this straight are the Cults of the Dragon Below. They don't worship Khyber, just whatever they run across: a grab-bag of aberrations and fiends, backed by madness and cruelty. Even then, many cults of the Dragon Below aren't evil so much as crazy: a cult that feeds its elderly relatives to a gibbering mouther that it believes will preserve their souls is awful but not that big a deal, while the Vigilant Eye cult you've chased down are murdering people because they believe their victims are some kind of demon masquerading as a mortal (and with quori possession it's not guaranteed they're wrong).
    • Ravenloft:
      • Most morally-iffy faiths in the Mists are tools of the realm's Darklord, but there's also some faiths that come from worshipping evil deities from mainstream D&D, like the religion of the Lawgiver (actually Bane, god of Tyranny). For Mist-native religions, you have the cult of the Wolf God (which was also probably made up by a Darklord, but this one actually believes what he preaches), patron of werewolves, whose philosophy is basically 'be as Chaotic Evil as possible'. For some of that Ironic Hell those Dark Powers love, the darklord is cursed to return to normal form if he ever cuts loose, meaning that he can preach the tenets of his cult but not practice them himself.
      • The worst example of this trope in Ravenloft (possibly the worst example period) is the cult of the god Zhakata in the realm of G'Henna. He is a god of famine and most of the food produced in the realm is sacrificed to him (and actually eaten by the corrupt priesthood, natch). His worship involves voluntary human sacrifice via starvation, among other such pleasant things. Worshippers hope that their sacrifice will mean that Zhakata will transform from his evil Devourer aspect to his benevolent Provider aspect, and reward them with an era of bounty. The thing is, even in universe Zhakhata isn't real, so people are killing themselves in hope that a fictional savior will come. Zhakhata is actually a delusion of Yagno Petrovna, the high priest. Yagno is aware on some level that his god doesn't really exist, but chooses to continue to delude himself and promote Zhakata regardless. This willingness to let people suffer and die for a lie is what keeps Yagno as the darklord of G'henna.
    • Planescape:
      • The Factions throw a wrench into this. There are quite a few of them who follow a belief system most of us wouldn't hesitate to describe as "evil" if we came across it in reality, but Planescape does its best to portray them from a detached, non-judgmental standpoint, often with inspiration from real life.
      • The ridiculously callous and selfish Fated justify themselves based on, essentially, the writings of Nietzsche and Ayn Rand.
      • The Dustmen, who have all of the trappings of a Religion of Evil (decorating things with skulls and wearing black robes and using zombies and such) have a belief system that is Buddhism with the added twist that they believe they've already lived their life and are now trapped in an existence of rebirth into a state of "False Death" until their souls learn to let go of suffering and attachment.
      • The Doomguard has a philosophy centered around the inevitability of entropy, which can range from Omnicidal Maniac behavior to a simple acceptance that nothing can be accomplished without destroying something else.
      • The Bleak Cabal believe in the essential meaninglessness of existence, but the attitudes of their members vary from Straw Nihilist to Anti-Nihilist, with most members leaning hard towards the latter.
      • Ironically, the Harmonium — a group known for being Lawful Stupid at best and a bunch of Knight Templars at worst — admire St. Cuthbert the God of Justice, regarding him as their patron god. Whether St. Cuthbert approves — or cares — about this isn't know, although their are many clerics of his clergy among the Harmonium.
    • Interestingly enough, in the default D&D cosmology evil people generally still go to the so-called Lower Planes (assorted afterlife dimensions, although only one group is considered "Hell" proper) after death to be tortured by the local denizens. If one is sharp and tough, however, he/she can survive and become more powerful. Most denizens of the Lower Planes don't envision themselves in any other place — with the notable exception of the prison plane of Carceri, where no-one wants to end up, and everyone who's already there wants out.
      • Fiendish Codex II notes that most evil people are egotistical and arrogant— they don't look at lemures or dretches (bottom-of-the-barrel devils and demons, respectively) and think that will be their afterlife. They think they'll shoot to the top of the infernal hierarchies immediately. In addition, resurrection magic doesn't generally leave the revived with memories of where their soul ended up, so nobody has firsthand information as to what happens after you get killed.
    • Both subverted and played straight in the new fourth edition of D&D. Some evil gods actually have large (rational) followings that aren't typically seen as "evil". For example, non-evil worshippers of Bane (god of tyranny) might see him as the patron of "rightful and strong authority", and Grummsh (god of savagery) is worshipped by many as the "god of strength and conquest"- Gruumsh, incidentally, also created the Orcs and they don't have much choice but to worship him (same with Lolth and the Drow) or face his wrath. A new deity, the Raven Queen, is worshipped as a personification of Death without the evil overtones (and is a mixture of Wee Jas and Morr from Warhammer). On the other hand, for those who like this trope straight, we still have , Vecna, Torog, etc., and also a lot of classic Demon Princes who are worshipped as gods by deranged cultists. Some of the more "evil" gods can be justified: for example, Torog's domains include jailers and torturers— Likeable? No, not at all. Necessary? Perhaps.
    • The Raven Queen also has a good bit of My Species Doth Protest Too Much, as plenty of her worshippers are a bit overenthusiastic. (Shadar-kai especially tends to end up as random encounters.)
    • The one that takes the cake is probably Tharizdun, the god of omnicidal mania who has been imprisoned since the dawn of time by all the other deities (good, neutral, and evil) working together. He still has worshippers. In fact, Tharizdun is very aware that few people would want to worship him, and consequently, most cults of Tharizdun are actually cults of something else that is actually worshipping him. A particularly notable case is the Elder Elemental Eye, which claims to be a powerful elemental entity but is actually just Tharizdun.
    • Pathfinder has a number of these. The Church of Asmodeus controls Cheliax, while their neighbour, Nidal, worships Zon-Kuthon. Cultists of Norgorber, Urgathoa, Lamashtu, and Rovagug are distressingly common, both among society's outcasts, and the setting's various monsters. And that's without getting into the cults centered on various Demon Lords and Archdevils, evil demigods, or gods forbid, The Four Horsemen. The Demon Lord Angazahn in particular has a substantial following in the Mwangi Expanse.
  • Exalted features cults worshipping the Yozis, the titanic Demon Princes who created the world but were overthrown by the gods. Yozis are insane and evil, horribly twisted by their rage against the gods, and they want to corrupt Creation into a horribly painful hellhole. If they ever escaped their prison-world and remade the world the way they now want, it would be a Fate Worse than Death for all humanity. Indeed, before they were overthrown, humans were one of the most miserable species in existence. Nonetheless, some humans worship them and work to free them.
    • The Yozi generally don't play up the "We're going to wreck the world" angle. Most cult leaders tell their followers that the Yozi are going to fix the sorry state of Creation...Or just say they NEED to wreck the world first in order to fix it. When you spend your entire life farming and toiling just for another day of life while the Gods try to extort worship out of you, and the Exalted (Currently Dragon Blooded, formerly Solars) live like kings...A total change to the world where you don't toil just to keep breathing seems pretty damn appealing.
  • Godforsaken: Evil priests are worshippers of evil gods, demons, devils, strange malevolent forces from beyond known dimensions, or even death itself. They lead cults, corrupt the innocent with lies and twisted ideologies, and enact the will of their patron in the mortal world. The most insidious ones are able to infiltrate good churches and secular organisations in order to tear them down from the inside.
  • In Nomine averts this, stating that despite demons being real and affecting human life, movie-style satanic cults don't really exist, and ones that do pop up are loose and unstable collections of disaffected loners and sociopaths who generally implode or get caught before long. The real-life Church of Satan doesn't actually have anything to do with Lucifer and is generally ignored by Hell. In general, it's really hard to get humans in significant numbers to believe in something outright evil.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Until its destruction Phyrexia (think equal parts Cybernetics Eat Your Soul, Body Horror, and The Legions of Hell) always had religious traits, with Yawgmoth at the head. These traits have been exaggerated by the white-mana faction of the reborn Phyrexia, calling itself the Machine Orthodoxy. In keeping with its Phyrexian nature, it really isn't very pleasant; the flaying and horrible mutilation of enemies and converts, gratuitous use of ritualized surgery, and stripping angels of their honour and turning them into sociopathic monsters all get four thumbs up from the average Whiterexian. For added horror, white has Phyrexian Unlife, which depicts an androgynous but most likely female porcelain mask looking at her newly-completed hands. And who do you do this to when you cast it? A creature? No. Your opponent? No. You do it to yourself.
    • On the popular plane of Ravnica, there is also the Cult of Rakdos, a Black- and Red-mana-aligned, murderous, hedonist cult dedicated to an ancient demon. What makes them stand out from other cults throughout Magic, however, is that the Cult of Rakdos is one of ten guilds whose existence is mandated by a plane-wide Magically-Binding Contract called the Guildpact. This means that not only are the other guilds magically barred from taking large-scale action against them, but they're also able to operate more-or-less openly, and are the largest player in the plane's entertainment industry.
    • Rakdos isn't alone in the "evil church" business on Ravnica. The main religion is the Orzhov (White and Black), which is an oppressive mafia/bank/church that forces its debtors to serve it after death.
  • New World of Darkness:
    • In Vampire: The Requiem there's Belial's Brood, a covenant of vampires that are debauched and cruel even by vampire standards. And this is a Darker and Edgier Crapsack World where being a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire is nothing but a pipe dream. So trust me: "Debauched and cruel by vampire standards" means they aren't so much at the bottom of the barrel as outside of it holding up a liquor store. Their cults believe that the inner "Beast" that all vampires struggle with is actually a fragment of divinity caged by imperfect humanity; so, in an effort to "liberate" and master the Beast, they deliberately lead their followers in acts that drive the Karma Meter down faster than mercury in Antarctica.
      • The Brood are a Religion of Eviler to other vampires, while the Lancea Sanctum have set themselves up as a Religion of Evil to humanity, as they act as a dark mirror of Christianity (and other mortal faiths to an extent). Their message is "don't sin against God, or you will be cursed like us."
      • The Circle of the Crone, being vampiric Neo-Paganism, somehow manages to pull this off, to the extent that learning dots in their Discipline causes a permanent reduction in the vampire's maximum Humanity score. Admittedly, this might be due to Early-Installment Weirdness.
      • Mythologies introduces the optional Mithraism heresy, which is unabashedly this. Simply gaining levels in a Mithraic cult requires acts of evil depending on initiation level; these range, in order, from utterly destroying an aspect of a target's life, to shattering a target's will, to driving a target over the Moral Event Horizon on-purpose, to engaging in a mass slaughter of human victims with nothing but one's natural weapons, to using treachery to indirectly kill another vampire, to purposefully committing Diablerie upon a more powerful vampire whilst they are being consumed by full sunlight.
    • Mage: The Awakening has the Ministry of Paternoster, one fourth of the Seers of the Throne's major factions. To them, Sleepers worshiping Supernal truth profanes the Exarchs, so it is their duty to remove all truth in religious doctrine while being true to the Seer credo of utter domination over the Sleeping world. Notable for being a Knight Templar Religion of Evil, since unlike most, cynical Seers, they have deluded themselves into truly believing they're a good thing for the world-once all Supernal truth has been scoured from the Fallen World, the Exarchs will make the world a utopia under their benevolent hand. In this, they're a pretty good Evil Counterpart to Pentacle mages (the default good guys), who all make a point of questioning their own beliefs.
    • In the fan-made Princess: The Hopeful, servants of the All-Consuming Darkness occasionally gather into "Dark Cults", basically sects who worship it exchange for powers. Their practice vary depending on the cult, but typically include things such as Human Sacrifice or sequestrating people in Tainted Areas so they will get corrupted. Most of them rarely last long however, as their practices tend to attract attention from the authorities.
    • Leviathan: The Tempest has these as a standard part of the game: a Leviathan is part-God of Evil and will Mind Rape those it encounters into fanatical servants, whether or not it wants to. And it will usually want to, given that a Leviathan's cult is both a useful tool and one of the primary means of regaining Ichor.
      • Some Leviathan cults actually organize themselves as a formal religion, with things like scriptures, regular days of worship, and a division between priesthood and laity. They're even known to openly declare themselves if they're in a part of the world with legal protection on religious freedom.
  • The Old World of Darkness has a few of these as well:
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse has the Black Spiral Dancers, a tribe of Garou who worship the Wyrm (the spirit of decay and destruction). The Black Spiral Dancers have their own pantheon, rites, and a sophisticated theology, as seen in Chronicles of the Black Labyrinth.
    • The first edition also features the Seventh Generation, a human cult that serves the Wyrm's Defiler aspect.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade has kindred who follow the Path of Typhon, and a couple other Paths of Enlightenment that are For the Evulz. There are many other splats that deal with demon worship, but those are more along the lines of quid pro quo than true devotion.
    • The game's most enduring example are the Baali, an ancient sect of infernalists considered vile even by kindred standards.
    • And then there's the Sabbat, who could be considered the predecessors of both the Lancea Sanctum and Belial's Brood. Many of them worship Caine, the first vampire, and believe that during Gehenna, he will rise up and save his childer from the Antediluvians that mean to devour them. Their membership consists of the most amoral vampires (and that's saying something), who often have to pick up alternate Paths of Enlightenment to avoid falling to their Beasts and practice twisted rituals that often involve human sacrifice (Their interpretation of the rite of baptism, for instance, requires immersion in a literal bath of blood). And the real kicker? They fucking hate infernalists.
    • Let's not forget The Followers Of Set, a clan that, save for branch groups like the Serpents of Light, worship Set, their antediluvian ancestor and the one they believe to be a god. The main tenets of their faith revolve around absolute corruption, in all its forms, of anyone and everyone. Not surprisingly, most clanmembers follow the Path of Typhon. Also, Settites have a snake theme, complete with their clan discipline Serpentis.
  • A small cult in the setting of the REIGN RPG believes in heaven for the good, hell for the evil and reincarnation for everyone else. They also believe that if you are killed by the archery-based martial arts style they invented, you get "promoted" in the afterlife. Thus, if you kill an evil person, they come back and get another chance, while killing anyone else gets them into heaven before they can do anything bad! They killed a lot of people.
  • More than one example in Shadowrun, though the state religion of Aztlan stands out as a particularly nasty piece of work.
  • Talislanta has the Nihilist Cult of Rajanistan, which worships death, and "converts" outsiders by means of Human Sacrifice.
  • Talisman:
    • The Dragon expansion features cultists who worship the various dragon lords, doing their bidding in the world by attacking the player characters. These cultists invariably receive a combat bonus when the particular dragon lord they worship is the dragon king, sometimes doubling their effectiveness in battle or psychic combat.
    • The Dragon Priestess player character is implied to have a leadership position in the aforementioned dragon cults, having the abilities to automatically take cultists as followers, and to make sacrifices to dragons they encounter in exchange for random benefits.
    • Other types of cultist enemies are thematically linked to various "boss" characters, such as the Ice Queen, the Eagle King, and the Dungeon Lord.
  • The Church of the Conciliator in the Cthulhu City setting for Trail of Cthulhu is what happens when a Christian denomination is inspired by the Mythos. Suffice to say that blood sacrifice is not an infrequent part of their rituals.
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000
    • Enter worship of any of the Gods of Chaos and you hit Religion of Evil levels very quickly. Each Chaos God has their own angle: Slaanesh worshippers pursue emotional excesses and all manner of extreme sensational highs, Khorne worshippers seek only to spill as much blood in Khorne's name as possible (often with blatant disregard to the source of the blood when there isn't enough 'other' blood to shed), Nurgle worshippers revel in spreading disease and despair from their own rotting and infectious yet immortal bodies, and Tzeentch worshippers are fuelled by unprecedented ambition and embrace evolution and change no matter what that change entails. The downside is that there is a roughly 99% chance of getting possessed, sacrificed, burned by witch-hunters or simply turning into a screeching, frothing, mindless mutant abomination with four heads that vomit blue fire. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, but only Chaos gives you eyes inside your mouth.
      • There's also the other side of that coin; the Gods of Chaos are gods of bloodshed, decay, degradation, and relentless ambition, but they're also (respectively) gods of honor, rebirth, passion, and hope. As you can probably imagine, it's pretty damned hard to out-crapsack the Crapsack Universe of 40K.
      • In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay it is mentioned that while the Norscans openly and unrepentantly worship the Ruinous Powers, they worship several of the same gods as the southerners as well. Manann, god of the sea, is popular among the Norscans (quite obviously, since the Norscans are pretty much Vikings), as is Taal, god of the wilderness. Some Norscans in the more civilized regions of Norsca even reject Khorne and prefer to worship Ulric as their war god. This is deeply confusing and upsetting to many priests in The Empire, who would prefer to treat all Norscans as Always Chaotic Evil instead of occasional co-religionists.
      • That said, as mentioned by Ciaphas Cain (in Sandy Mitchell's The Traitor's Hand), many Chaos cultists start out presuming the organizations they're joining are relatively innocuous like crime networks, interesting occult or deviant pleasure groups, or even social reform movements; they often only grasp the true nature of what they've joined when they're far too corrupted to even care anymore. The cult in that book mostly consisted of the bored, and very few of them had any idea what they were getting themselves into.
      • At least in Warhammer, many of the cults initially present themselves as organizations for social and political change, something that the Empire could rather use.
      • Because of the way Chaos works (having an open mind will leave you defenseless against demons), Chaos often infiltrates and takes over actual rebellions and social reform movements.
      • In 40K, actual rebellions often turn to Chaos because they literally have no other choice. The Imperium is stronger than they are and will punish them just as badly for rebelling for non-Chaotic-causes anyway; they turn to Chaos worship because they have nothing to lose, and considerable advantages (sorcery, powerful blessings/mutations, daemonic warriors, alliances from Chaos Marines, etc) to gain.
      • Chaos Cultists tend to view the mutations and horrible deformities as blessings. There does exist for every follower of chaos a very small chance of getting immortality by being promoted to a demonic demi-god. Most of them die or go insane way before ever getting close, but as with the D&D example above, most don't look at the likelihood of death or spawnhood and think "hey, that could be me"; they're convinced that they will be among those lucky enough to ascend to daemonhood.
      • The Word Bearers Legion take this trope to its logical conclusion. In fact, Lorgar devoting himself to his official Religion of Evil is responsible for the 40kverse being the Crapsack Universe it currently is; it was Lorgar's minions who secretly manipulated events so that the Horus Heresy was inevitable — it was even a Word Bearer Chaplain who conducted the Chaos ritual that ultimately saw Horus corrupted and sworn to Chaos.
    • The best part? The other religions aren't that much better. At least Chaos is sort of honest about what it does, and doesn't pretend to be good.
      • In fact, the Imperial Cult worshipped by the Imperium? Created by Lorgar, primarch of the Word Bearers, as his first try at organized religion; when the Emperor smacked him upside the head with the fact he did not want any religions in his Imperium, even — or especially — if those religions deified him as a God-Emperor, Lorgar went running into the arms of the Chaos Gods.
      • The most interesting legacy of Lorgar may be the Chaplains, the unique sect of warrior-priests amongst the Space Marines. Their official purpose is to help keep Space Marines from being corrupted; however, not only were they created by the very first Legion to be corrupted (none of the other Traitor Legions have fallen Chaplains amongst their ranks because Chaplains were strictly found amongst the religiously-zealous Word Bearers), they were actually instrumental in corrupting the other Traitor Legions. Nobody remembers this fact now...
      • The Imperial Cult goes so far as to consider genocide a holy act as long as it's being inflicted on aliens.
      • The Genestealer cults. Worshippers of a Horde of Alien Locusts, whose membership is made up exclusively of the victims of Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong and their Half-Human Hybrid children. They exist to increase their membership until they register in the Hive Caste System, at which point the bugs turn up and devour everything on the planet, including the cult.
      • The Elves of Fantasy still have their pantheon, unlike the Eldar of 40K. Also unlike the Eldar they only give Khaine (as well as other more malicious gods in the pantheon) a small amount of worship, as he is also the God of Murder and is considered a corrupting influence not unlike Chaos. The Dark Elves have no such worries and actively worship the underworld gods above all others, with Khaine being their patron deity. Wanton acts of murder, torture, and human sacrifice only begin to describe Khaine worship in Naggaroth.
      • The closest thing anyone has to a "good" religion in the 40K setting is the "Greater Good" beliefs of the Tau (which drives the Tau to put people in internment camps and use forced sterilization, although they don't exterminate non-believers on sight like most of the faiths), and the followers of Cegorach, the Eldar Laughing God (who is a creepy manipulative clown who hides from the Chaos Gods in the Eldar webway, but his manipulations seem to be at least trying to save the Galaxy).
      • The religion of Orks and Orcs of both settings is evil and simplistic. They follow the Gods Gork and Mork. One is cunningly brutal who will stab you in the back, while the other is brutally cunning who will stab you even when you are looking. The closest thing Orks have to theological debate is killing each other of which God is which. Worship of both Gods usually involves going around killing people and building giant mechs in Gork's and Mork's image, which the Orks then use to kill people.

    Video Games 
  • Church of the Key in Alundra 2. They promise you happiness, they turn you into a soulless slave.
  • Bloodborne has the Healing Church. They are ultimately responsible for Yharnam's obsession with blood, seeking to spread the Old Blood that they had discovered in the defiled Pthumerian tombs under the city. When people started transforming into monsters when misusing the blood, rather than back down, they hid the connection so that their leaders, the Choir, could continue their ascension attempts. The main game sees the Choir turn innocent civilians into proto-Great One monsters, torch a section of the city when the Ashen Blood plague (which they created and spread on purpose) got too bad, and encourage a vicious cycle of hunters turning into beasts, and clerics turning into the worst beasts of all. The DLC shows they did even worse. They had hunters specifically to kill anyone who found out their secrets, they turned the patients in the Astral Clocktower into malformed lumps of flesh, and the nightmare itself is a curse placed on them for the atrocities they committed against the Fishing Hamlet. Ironically, the gods they worship and are desperately trying to emulate are implied to be far less malevolent.
    Simon, Seeker of Secrets: Not a pretty sight, isn't it? The true face of the blood-worshipping, beast-purging Healing Church.
  • In Bounty Hunter, we have the Bando Gora, a cult of drug-addicted, brainwashed, zombie-like followers who wear animal skulls over their faces and possess Glowing Eyes of Doom. They live on a graveyard moon and are lead by an insane, dark Jedi whose only purpose is to spread her drug and indoctrinate more people into her cult to serve as her slaves.
  • Castlevania:
    • Throughout the series, Count Dracula has been periodically revived by cultists who see him as the bringer of a new age of man. At least four times in the series do we see him revived in a black sabbath, conducted by the villains of the series:
      • In Castlevania: The Adventure, it is described in one of the timeline materials that Dracula was revived by cultists, something expanded upon in Castlevania: The Belmont Legacy where the sabbath was led by Ivan Bartley. The production materials also refer to the Night Stalker enemies as being "Priests of the Evil Cult".
      • The opening of Castlevania Chronicles as well as the manuals for the original game and Vampire Killer show a black sabbath in process on Easter Sunday, as if to mock Jesus.
      • The opening of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood has one led by the Dark Priest Shaft, who later is fought as two separate boss battles, and later on in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
      • The ending of Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness shows a black sabbath conducted by Death, Gilles de Rais, and Actrise, setting up the resurrection of Dracula in time for his appearance in Castlevania 64. Adding to this, Death leads the unholy ritual in the chapel, making perverted Signs of the Cross while saying the incantation.
    • The "With Light" cult of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow counts, what with one of its members being an international arsonist and its leader perfectly willing to murder a helpless young girl in cold blood.
    • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2: The Church of Satan is (obviously) this, complete with a doctrine that involves burying their parishioners alive so that they would have a closer link with their infernal master and indoctrinating those with authority and political power. The High Priest of the church also just so happens to be a Sinister Minister of the Corrupt Church, as well as one of Satan's human offspring and Acolytes.
  • In Chrono Trigger, when the Fiends worship Magus in 1000 AD. The sole thing they desire is the death of all humanity. This is coupled with Ominous Latin Chanting from Fiends as they march around a statue of Magus.
  • The Chzo Mythos series of games concerns The Order of Blessed Agonies, a cult whose members worship the eponymous Chzo. The cult has prayer books, religious texts, a symbol, a founder, and a fairly clear objective. Chzo is referred to as a "pain elemental", and appropriately, all of the order are masochists. You might also call them a "religion of idiots", because they hadn't got a clue that their objective was completely wrong. They were also being fooled by their "god". Chzo just wanted a new prince, and the order were just a whole bunch of Unwitting Pawns.
  • Cult of the Lamb takes place in a setting ruled by a brutal cult known as the "Old Faith". The protagonist is a lamb who is recruited by a renegade dark god known as "The One Who Waits" to create an equally sinister cult in his name and take down the leaders of the Old Faith. In-game while you can certainly be a cruel leader by enacting such things as sacrificial rituals, approving cannibalism or exploiting your followers for labor and money, keeping your followers happy and healthy is crucial for the survival of your cult lest they die or rebel.
  • In Crusader Kings 2 with the Monks and Mysteries DLC, you can join Demon Worshiping cults (such as worshipping Satan for Christians, Hel for Germanic Pagans, and Kali for Hindus). You gain more points in the society the more sinful and terrible traits you have. Activities include sacrificing people, abducting people (usually so you can sacrifice them), and desecrating temples to gain enough points to gain the power to curse, possess, or even the absorb the life essence of other characters. Worshipping demons is also the only way to heal certain condition, including the potentially game ending Castrated one. However, you will occasionally be inflicted with terrible genetic traits, and if you are caught everyone will hate you and you can be burned at the stake by your liege.
  • In The Darkside Detective, one of McQueen's unseen cases involved busting up the Brotherhood of the World's End, which worshiped a being called Gruel the End-Timer and sought to bring about the end of the world.
  • Dark Souls III has two:
    • The Cathedral of the Deep, centered around the sadistic cannibal Aldrich, the so-called Saint of the Deep. As he indulged in his appetites to the point of "luxuriating in his victims' screams", he devolved into an Eldritch Abomination and had the brilliant idea to eat the gods themselves as well, successfully consuming the Dark Sun Gwyndolin. His deacons sacrifice Hollows to feed him in the defiled Cathedral of Anor Londo, and his co-deity Rosaria, Mother of Rebirth, leads the current equivalent of the Darkwraith Covenant. Its leader, Pontiff Sulyvahn, was a nobody who stumbled upon the Profaned Flame under Irithyll, and used it and Aldrich himself as a prop. He kicks everyone he doesn't like or could threaten his authority into the Outrider Knights, sending them away from Irithyll equipped with rings that madden their users into feral beasts, he was the one who had Aldrich moved to Anor Londo when he revived, and fed Gwyndolin to the monster.
    • And of course, the Sable Church of Londor, worshippers of the Dark, eternal servants to the Primordial Serpents. Their ultimate goal is a bit Ambiguously Evil, but they still gleefully use abominable weapons like the Dark Hand and perform terrible rites in hopes of creating a Lord of Hollows to usurp the power of the First Flame and lead the world into the Dark.
  • The Rest In Peace Cult, also known as the Rippers, from Days Gone qualifies. They shave their heads, carve and burn their own bodies to resemble the freakers that they worship. They are so hopped up on PCP that, despite not wearing any armor, or any clothes at all from the waist up in the case of all male members, they are substantially tougher enemies than most other survivors the player fights in the game. The evil bit comes from the fact that they are known to kidnap and torture other survivors until they either join or die, including the player character, Deacon at one point in the game, but this is more because the Cult's leader has a history with Deek and his sidekick Boozer...
  • Dead Space:
    • A bit of a subversion in the first game, as the Church of Unitology seems like this as you go through the game, what with them wanting bring the Marker back to Earth and turn everyone into Necromorphs, but you'll find somewhere in the middle of play that there are Unitologists that didn't think turning into Necromorphs was all that of a great idea, but Mercer killed them. Played straight in that this really seems to be how the Church and most Unitologists are. The promise of a coming of angels that will touch the bodies of the dead to transform them into heavenly beings that are reborn in paradise doesn't sound so bad by itself. It's only when you realize that these "angels" are giant alien bats that will jam an arm-long spine into your skull and transform you into space zombies, which don't discriminate between believers and non-believers, wait for your natural death, or make your death any less painfull than being torn to pieces, that one starts to doubt that path to paradise is really such a good idea. What really makes it ironic though, is that its "prophet" didn't start it, and in fact was opposed to it. He merely found the Black Marker and was immune to its effects, and people that were affected by it started worshiping him as a prophet. He began trying to blow the whistle on a government plot to use the Marker as a weapon. The two military officials that were in charge of the project kidnapped him and killed him with a Necromorph to martyr him in order to strengthen Unitology, which would most likely throw suspicion away from the government and quell social upheaval that Altman was causing.
    • By Dead Space 3, a radical Unitology group, the Circle, managed to catastrophically destabilize EarthGov. While EarthGov was corrupt and behind much of the evil in the franchise, the Circle's troops gun down civilians, deliberately cause Necromorph Outbreaks, and consistently cause trouble for our heroes. An in-game log shows that most of them were not aware of the Necromorphs at first, and that their leader rationalizes them not as a natural endpoint of their beliefs, but rather as a plague brought about by nonbelievers tampering in God's Domain.
    • The Awakened DLC for 3 features a new Necromorph-worshipping Unitologist cult who were hit with a final, pure dementia signal which came from the fallen Brethren Moon right before its demise. The insanity of this cult is so horrific and ungodly that devout Unitologists think they're absolutely nuts: one Unitologist who saw all the horrors of the game and maintained his beliefs steadfastly immediately lost his faith on seeing the cult's practices for himself. They cut off pieces of their body voluntarily as offerings of dead flesh to the moon, and use these to decorate the ship. The walls of the ship are strung with dismembered limbs on string like Christmas lights, and small towers of human hands hold candles and provide lighting.
    • Interestingly, the first game and its associated Expanded Universe have a few examples of "good" Unitologists, people who are not fanatically devoted to the religion and fight back against the Necromorphs because they realize this cannot be the salvation they were promised. Later games don't feature such individuals, perhaps explained as an effect of the Markers' growing influence.
  • The cults dedicated to the Seven Great Evils in the Diablo series are this by definition. The biggest one was the Triune, a seemingly benevolent religion that worshiped the Prime Evils, Diablo, Mephisto and Baal, as gods, and deceived their believers by making out the Evils to be Spirits of Determination, Love and Creation, the exact opposites of what they actually were.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest V features the Order of Zugzwang, a cult that worships the Big Bad. Interestingly, it counts both monsters and humans amongst its ranks.
    • Deconstructed in Dragon Quest Builders 2. The Children of Hargon worship the Master of Destruction, and accordingly regard destruction as holy and creation as evil. Since creation includes building, farming, mining, and cooking, everyone is reduced to living in caves and foraging. As soon as the Builder introduces a high standard of living that contains "sleeping in a bed" and "eating cooked food", everyone quickly abandons their faith.
  • Dragon's Dogma has Salvation, a cult that worships the Dragon that stole your heart as a harbinger of the endtimes and serve as The Usual Adversaries for The Arisen. Hilariously, the Dragon doesn't care one bit about them.
  • Hinted at with the Scary Dogmatic Aliens in Duke Nukem II: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering."
  • Dungeon Crawl features several Religions of Evil, from Beogh, god of the orcs, Kikubaaqudgha, an evil demon-god of necromantic magic, Makhleb, god of chaos and violence, to Yredelemnul, an evil god of death. Xom, god of true chaos, is an interesting case, in that he isn't looking for followers quite so much as new playthings.
  • Lampshaded in Dungeons & Dragons Online. Adventure pack Keep on The Borderland, closely based on the pen-and-paper D&D module of the same name, has "Cult of Evil Chaos" as its main adversary. When the quest giver NPC explains to you the mission, he says "They call themselves Cult of Evil Chaos. Not very subtle, are they?"
  • In Dwarf Fortress, some deities can be associated with the spheres of murder or torture. Moreover, cults worshipping demons or vampires can appear during generation.
  • Elden Ring has multiple of these:
    • The Order of Rot worships the Scarlet Rot, and in fact most of its worshippers are actually spawned from it. They seek to spread the Scarlet Rot to 'bless' people with their mind-warping body-rotting disease, and actively seek a goddess, an avatar of Rot itself, to lead them in this effort. Said goddess, Malenia, has spent her whole life resisting the spread of Rot inside her own body and would much rather they left her alone.
    • The worshippers of the Frenzied Flame are less of an organized religion, and more like a loosely organized doomsday cult, as the Outer God they worship wants nothing less than to wipe out all life. Very few people actually willingly worship the Frenzied Flame; most are either drawn to it in a moment of despair, or the yellow flame of Frenzy burrows its way inside its victims' eyes and turns them completely insane.
    • The Bloody Fingers are a cult that worship the Formless Mother, an Outer Goddess of blood, violence and 'love', as well as her chosen champion Mohg, Lord of Blood. They relish in murder and draw power from blood, and their base has a massive river of blood that is extremely implied to be created through the collective blood of all their victims, and their ultimate goal is to usurp the order of the world and raise Mohg as its unquestioned lord. If that doesn't make them sound obviously evil enough, their leader is literally covered in black horns, wields a demonic three-pronged spear, and kidnapped his younger step-brother to be his 'consort'.
    • The Fire Monk order is a downplayed case, being more a Religion of Well-Intentioned Extremism. They believe in corporal punishment and self-flagellation by means of fire ('fear the flame' is their central doctrine) and can get overzealous in their efforts to make damn sure no one can access the Giants' Flame but given what the Giants' Flame can do, they're not wrong that it should be kept out of easy reach. However, several factions of Fire Monks have been sliding into played straight territory, with some monks turning to worship the Giants' Flame instead of fearing it, and the Blackflame Monks leaping gleefully into pure evil territory by allying themselves with the Godskin Cult.
    • The game doesn't delve into the theology of the Godskin Cult, but much can be inferred from the fact that they get their name from hunting down demigods and wearing robes made from their skin, along with the fact they're the original wielders of god-killing Black Flame magic.
    • While the more widespread Dragon Cult is generally benevolent or neutral (and is officially accepted by the Golden Order), the related practice of Dragon Communion counts. While Dragon Cult members emulate the ancient dragons by using their signature lightning magic, practitioners of Dragon Communion seek to become closer to their objects of worship by slaying them and eating their hearts (the act of Dragon Communion, performed in-game at the Church or Cathedral of Dragon Communion) to gain draconic abilities, which will eventually cause them to go nuts and mutate into Magma Wyrms. The dragons themselves strenuously object to this practice for obvious reasons, and one of them, Ekzykes, gained the title 'Dragon Communion Revenger' due to hunting down people who practice Dragon Communion.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series in general, the various Daedric Cults qualify. While not technically illegal in most of Tamriel, the cultists are seen as misguided at best and dangerous lunatics at worst. While there are certainly a few good if not always nice Daedric Princes to worship, most are quite malevolent (at least from the point of view of mortals). Voluntarily worshiping Jerkass Gods who govern spheres such as Rape, Destruction, and Betrayal can definitely be seen as this when the main alternative religion is a Saintly Church. Most who choose Daedra worship do so for the immediate, tangible rewards the Princes offer in comparison to the Aedra worshiped by the church of the Divines, who prefer a lighter touch when interacting with the mortal world.
    • The Dark Brotherhood, an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing, double as a cult dedicated to the worship the primeval embodiment of chaos, Sithis.
    • Morrowind:
      • Dagoth Ur's Sixth House Cult is seen as this by outsiders. In particular, the Tribunal Temple sees them as deranged and mutated heretics who will be killed on sight.
      • While Daedra worship is permitted (if somewhat frowned upon) in the rest of the Empire, it is considered evil by the Tribunal Temple in Morrowind. Worshipers, particularly those of the "bad" Daedra (Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon, Sheogorath, and Malacath) are typically hunted down and killed by Temple enforcers.
    • Oblivion: The Mythic Dawn, a cult led by the Big Bad, who, among other things, require you to offer 'red drink' to Mehrunes Dagon (the god they worship) in order to join. Though they started off closer to a Path of Inspiration style cult, they make the jump to this trope once their true intentions are revealed.
    • Skyrim:
      • Introduces the Dragon Cult, whose remnants are encountered throughout dungeons as the undead Draugr and Dragon Priests. As the name implies, they were worshippers and servants of the dragons in ancient times.
      • Following the Oblivion Crisis, the Vigilants of Stendarr formed as a group dedicated to wiping out supernatural threats to the citizens of Tamriel, including Daedra and Daedra worshipers. Unfortunately, they make no distinction between the worshipers of more benevolent Daedra (like Azura and Meridia) and the more malevolent ones.
  • In Epic Seven, we have the Church of Illryos, a demonic cult organization that worships and manages to resurrect Anghraf The Archdemon. Besides that, they manage to create evil materials and practicing The Dark Arts. Sacrificing a number of Suins to create a dark stone is one of their infamous experiments. They serve as the antagonist of the game. They have military armies, the cult members, priests and leaders. The military armies include the homunculi (of which a number of them are evil knockoffs of the protagonists from The Goddess side), banshee girls, Acolytes and Vildred, who has a Face–Heel Turn during Ras' 10 years coma. Later, at the end of Chapter 1, Vildred kills Queen Diene, who previously saved the world by sealing The Archdemon.
  • The worshippers of whatever ancient deity you pick in Eternal Darkness. Mantorok, who seems to have posed as a relatively benevolent god to a Khmer group, is a possible exception, but not an option you can pick.
  • EVE Online: Religion of Amarr Empire approve of slavery, conquest and racial superiority. The Blood Raiders. Since their "religion" invovles vivisection with no anesthesia... And to a lesser extent Sansa's Nation. They believe in turning people in to "true humans" by destroying the personality yet keeping intelligence and creativity intact.
  • Every dungeon in Exile/Avernum will have an evil temple with skulls, bloodstains, and/or traps that unleash demons in it somewhere.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: The Mad Scientist Michael uses the destruction of Tokyo as an excuse to make one of these. Major features being him as the central god and the use of his giant, faceless, laser-spewing man-made angels to kill nonbelievers.
  • Played straight and parodied in the Fable games with the Chapel of Skorm and the Temple of Shadows. The latter example involves a rather amusing parody. "On Wednesdays we drain the blood of virgin chickens. On Thursdays we anoint ourselves with said blood. Friday is poker night, of course"; and "If there's one downside to being an evil cultist, it's that we must take our tea without milk" indeed.
  • Fall from Heaven:
    • The Ashen Veil religion explicitly seeks to bring hell itself to Erebus. So despised is this religion evil civilizations join confederations to stamp it, if only to have a world to rule.
    • The Illians worship the winter god Mulcarn. Their goal is to turn everything to ice again, so they can prosper. Of course, no other civilization can survive on ice. After the death of their god, their task is to turn their leader into a new winter god.
  • Fallout 3 introduces the Children of Atom, a cult that worshiped the unexploded A-bomb in the crater at the bottom of the town of Megaton. In that game they were seen as mostly harmless nutters, with the exception of a few members who tried to spread "Atom's blessing" by irradiating water supplies, but they could be talked down. By Fallout 4, set ten years later, the Children have expanded into the Commonwealth, aggressively spread Atom's message by attacking people with weapons that fire pulses of gamma radiation, and some even tried to get a pre-war missile silo operational so they could bless the world with Division. The ones in the Far Harbor expansion are nearly at war with the eponymous town, and seek to tear down the condensers that keep settlements safe from the island's radioactive fog as an affront to Atom. Unlike the cultists on the mainland, you can join this faction and help them succeed.
  • In Far Cry 4, there are some people who follow the cult of Yalung, a demonic deity from the traditional religion and mythology of Kyrat (the fictional country where the game is set in).
  • Final Fantasy VI: Okay, sure, the Cult of Kefka is composed of people who have had their homes and possessions reduced to dust, friends and families slaughtered through Death from Above and world ruined by Kefka, and worshipping him is the only way you're allowed to keep your miserable life, so they're more The Church of Woobies than anything else, but really now; worshipping him (and being willing to go as far as to fight for him in order to escape his judgement) really isn't going to make it better.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Forgotten Realms:
    • Neverwinter Nights has the "People of the Eye", who are working to resurrect the Creator Race through such means as attempting genocide against an entire city through a Mystical Plague.
    • In addition to various examples from the usual suspects among the Forgotten Realms gods, Neverwinter Nights 2 has people who worship the King of Shadows (the Pure Magic Big Bad). The second expansion adds the cult of Zehir, worshipers of the yuan-ti god of poison who have set themselves up as the rival to a different Religion of Evil, those who worship Sseth, the yuan-ti's normal patron deity.
  • The Gagharv Trilogy game The Legend of Heroes IV: A Tear of Vermillion has a rather complex backstory leading to the Religion of Evil. The leader, Bellias, was originally the next Supreme Priest of the Bardus Church before his epiphany in the Island of Kanaphia / Truth Isle, in which he turned to Octum as his god. The great irony of this Religion of Evil is that its base is the same city as the Bardus Cathedral and the portal to Octum (and base of operations) is right under the Cathedral. Just to demonstrate how evil this religion is, Bellias' second-in-command, Borgeid, is responsible for corrupting the Great Spirits and the lands themselves, and they resort to terrorism in spreading their beliefs. Yeah, it's that evil.
  • Grim Dawn:
    • According to mythology, Ch'thon was a primordial god who was betrayed by his fellows, who tore him apart and used his blood to create the first mortal life. The Cult of Ch'thon sees all blood as belonging to Ch'thon and are determined to return it to him, making copious use of Blood Magic and Human Sacrifice.
    • The Forgotten Gods expansion has Korvaak's followers, once Kymon's Chosen. In past eras, Korvaak wasn't evil, just tough (if fair) and easily angered. Now, after being usurped, forgotten and driven mad by both, he is apocalyptically pissed and wants his new followers to just lay waste to everything and begin again once all his enemies (AKA almost everyone) have been burned to cinders.
  • The White Mantle of Guild Wars: Prophecies starts out seeming like a bunch of pretty cool guys. They're a functional theocracy, wear nice outfits, welcome you into Kryta after your homeland gets burnt to a crisp, and induct you into their order. The only real problem is that the gods they worship are actually a race of amoral illusion-weavers who are currently harvesting the souls of specific individuals to power the seal on an entrance to the realm of a very real and very evil god. They're not doing this because it's necessary for the greater good; they just want to make sure they themselves stay alive. After the destruction of most of the Mursaat race by the opening of the entrance they'd kept sealed until some nosy heroes showed up, the White Mantle hired former bandits, thugs, and other detritus of society, named them Peacekeepers, and sent them out to kill anyone who didn't agree with the Mantle.
  • Halo has an interesting example. The Covenant's religion didn't (completely) start out this way, but thanks to the High Prophets misinterpreting the sayings of the Oracle in their holy city (actually a fragment of Mendicant Bias, a Forerunner AI who went nuts and joined the Flood for a while) and said Prophets' own corruption and thirst for power, a new tenet of the faith is added; Kill All Humans. Making things worse, this tenet was added simply to cover up the fact that humans are the true Reclaimers and not the Prophets. It is also noteworthy that the end goal of their religion is to activate the Halo rings, thus killing everyone in the galaxy. While at the beginning of the games it's implied that even the Prophets don't know what the rings actually do, by Halo 3, it's abundantly clear that they just don't care.
  • At first glance, the Order of the Harvest Moon from Harvester seems like a slightly skewed Brotherhood of Funny Hats. Once you've passed the final step of their initiation ritual, which involves navigating an Evil Tower of Ominousness, killing horrible monsters, and having sinister and nihilistic conversations with really nasty people, you've discovered their true colors... and their true intentions.
  • In the Heretic and Hexen series, the Serpent Riders are fond of forming cults dedicated to their own worship, and among the enemies you face, there are 'dark bishops' and 'heresiarchs'.
  • Hidden Dragon: Legend has one called the Trigram, who seeks the long-lost methods creating an immortality elixir and goes on a rampage across entire villages, having hundreds of innocent civilains sacrificed for their experiments. Their leader, Dark Raven, stood out in heinousness by being the person responsible for destorying the hero's sect and killing his family.
  • The Multitude in Incursion is a, well, multitude of demon ghosts who each want you to go kill and slaughter and rape and be generally depraved in that particular ghost's name, and are willing to bribe you with power for it. Zurvash is slightly more philosophical about it, making no bones about the fact that he has no regard for civilization, ethics, or foresight, and glorying in brutality and domination.
  • The primary state religion in Kobold Quest is explicitly stated to be one of death. If the protagonist chooses to attend a sermon, they'll bear witness to one of the daily blood sacrifices, and can even partake in it. Children are brought to these as a fun outing.
  • Legacy of Kain:
    • While the ancient vampires worshipped the soul-devouring Elder God, they believed his wheel of fate was good and divine. The vampires of Kain's empire deified him after they conquered humanity, he was their creator. The priests of Avernus Cathedral (the official religion of which is never explored in detail), however, are members of a secret cult worshipping Hash'ak'gik, a group of hylden possessing the body of a horribly mutated vampire from the future. They performed ritual human sacrifice to their 'god', cutting the throats of their first born and throwing them into a massive pit.
    • Soul Reaver also briefly features a run-in with human vampire worshippers, who seemingly kidnap humans and feed them to their masters, presumably in the hope that they will one day be converted into vampires themselves. Either way, pretty evil.
    • One of the Dummied Out bits from Soul Reaver before it was gutted due to time constraints would have involved Raziel killing a human priestess in the last human settlement who was using mind control to send humans into a vampire den.
  • The Legend of Zelda occasionally portrays Ganon as being worshiped as a god, with his more devout followers trying to revive him or selling their souls to him for power. The Triforce of Power, the source of his magic, is a third of the most powerful holy artifact in the series, so he does have deity-like powers.
  • The Nihilist Church in Lusternia. They worship five extraplanar entities that are essentially Anthropomorphic Personification posterboys of madness, pain, rage, forbidden knowledge and pride. They serve as spiritual leaders for the Tainted city of Magnagora, and are keen practitioners of Necromancy.
  • The Ensanglante of the Mafia III DLC "Sign of the Times".
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Geth religion in the first game comes down to the total extinction of all organic life in the galaxy. Unfortunately, the gods they worship — the Reapers — are quite real... and in an expansion of the trope, the reaper Sovereign sees them as so inferior that it is insulted by the Geth's worship of it. The second game reveals that the vast majority of the Geth prefer a "live and let live" approach, the ones that followed Saren being seen as heretics.
    • An indoctrinated Hanar combines this with Insane Troll Logic to come to the conclusion that since Hanar worship Protheans, and Protheans were turned into Collectors who now serve the Reapers, Hanar must worship the Reapers and aid them in their goal of total destruction.
    • The kett of Mass Effect: Andromeda have one, seeing it as a religious duty to "exalt" any lifeform they meet, turning them into more kett, with their empire being some mix of an aristocracy and a theocracy, their leaders having titles taken from human religions, and their larger military bases looking like alarming mixes of cult centers and slaughterhouses.
  • The Ptolemaic Army from the fifth Metal Slug game is this, if the final boss and the various shamans walking around are anything to go by.
  • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the corrupted Space Pirates certainly seem to regard Dark Samus like Jesus, referring to themselves as disciples.
  • There's a few of them in the Might and Magic series. In the first few games, there were a lot of monsters that suggested evil cults, but with no clues to any actual cults. Starting in VI, they had the Cult of Baa, which worshipped the Kreegans, devil-like creatures that were the antagonists. These cultists also appeared in VII.
    • In VIII, there are the Necromancers, but they're only enemies if you choose the Light Path. If you choose the Dark Path, they're important allies.
    • IX has some fun with this. The "evil cult" here is the Cult of the Great Honk. These guys aren't related to the main plot, and are Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains at best. (In fact, one of the quests involving them requires you to convince a group of them to leave a city without killing them.) The Great Honk isn't even a real god, it's a giant goose that the actual gods keep as a pet.
  • In Mortal Kombat, the Brotherhood of Shadow follows the fallen Elder God Shinnok.
  • In The New Order: Last Days of Europe, the Brotherhood of Cain, founded by disgruntled loyalists of a mad ruler, took to worshipping the Morning Star by Human Sacrifice. Abaddon, the High Priest of Satan, also preaches human desires are sacred, leading to serial killers becoming high priests and being able to torture, rape and murder with impunity, such acts even being praised.
  • The followers of Ahg-Za-Haru and Tholaghru from Nexus Clash are insane dark cultists seeking to revel in evil, indulge their own feelings and flood the world with chaos at the expense of others. The third evil member of the Nexus Pantheon, Tlacolotl, is more a Manipulative Bastard whose followers alternate between this and Scam Religion.
  • Pillars of Eternity: Skaen worship is widely perceived as this, and it certainly has the evil deeds to back it up, but the truth is a little more complicated than that; Skaen is the god of rebellion, so many of his worshippers are people rebelling against those who oppress or wrong them. Unfortunately, Skaen is also the god of hate, so he encourages his worshippers to do so in the most disproportionately violent and cruel manner physically possible in order to indulge their hatred. Further, once the rebels/worshippers win, Skaen abandons them for someone else because they're not the underdogs anymore. Because of all this, worshipping Skaen is unsurprisingly banned in most regions, and in the few places it isn't, his worshippers tend to end up with such lovely jobs as "torturer" or "executioner".
  • "Los Illuminados" from Resident Evil 4 have a massive army of Black Cloak monks, cannibalism, institutionalized child murder, and colossal Body Horror.
  • In Rise of the Kasai, the titular Kasai is an evil cult whose only purpose is to gather up six marks that are branded on to people's flesh, and use them to cast a spell that will allow their God of Evil to enter the world and wreak havok. Said marks are often found on children, who they will kill and skin to use the magic.
  • In Romancing SaGa, the three Dark Gods each have followers, however the religion supporting the Big Bad is the Religion of Evil One of the Priests of the Temple of Elore in Melvir is actually the leader of said evil religion, even going so far as to summon monsters into the town and said summoning ritual was directly under the Temple of Elore itself, even more disturbing is the sacrifices and strange deaths at the start of the game.
  • Runescape originally had only three gods, Saradomin, Guthix, and Zamorak, representing Good, Balance, and Evil respectively. As the gods have actually shown up and gotten more character development, Saradomin and Zamorak became more Order and Chaos, and sympathetic Zamorakians have been introduced. Zamorak's place as Runescape's resident God of Evil has been largely taken over by Bandos, the patron god of goblins (along with other dumb, warlike races such as ogres and orks). Bandos is a war god who sees his followers as Cannon Fodder for wars to increase his own glory, and likes making them fight each other for his amusement (this is why Yu'biusk, home plane of the goblins, is currently a blasted wasteland when it was once a warm, fertile place). His doctrine emphasizes the strong crushing the weak, and his commandments for goblins boil down to 'don't think for yourself, don't doubt me, and fight whoever isn't already on your side'. He serves as the main antagonist of the Dorgeshuun quest line, which centers around a goblin tribe that refused to fight a hopeless battle for him and was forced to flee underground to avoid his retribution.
  • The Cult of the Aten in The Secret World. Unlike the Morninglight, who at least pretend to be a benevolent religion, the Atenists openly worship one of the Dreamers as a god, revere the corrupted Pharaoh Akhenaten as their messiah, deliberately infect themselves with the Filth as an initiation rite, recruit additional followers by pumping Filth into the local water supply, and are all about waking up Aten so he can destroy the world. For good measure, they've been like this ever since Akhenaten created Atenism as the state religion of Egypt.
  • Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew: The militant zealots of the Inquisition show few redeeming qualities. Theresa mentions that she used to be a devout follower until she realized that the religion used the martyrdom of the Maiden as an excuse for atrocities. She also points out that a sanitarium was once a place for rest and healing, but over time had been repurposed into a place where dissidents are imprisoned and reeducated. Theresa decided to abandon the religion because of her disdain for its transition to evil.
  • The Order of the Silent Hill series worship a God that has promised to bring about the salvation of humanity and paradise on Earth. Given that their plans for helping God bring this about invariably involve physical and psychological torture and murder (especially of children and childhood best friends) and that all of the Order members (with the possible exception of Claudia, who can be seen as just a Well-Intentioned Extremist) encountered in the series are amoral, vicious sadists, and/or outright insane, one can be forgiven for wondering what exactly their paradise would entail.
    • Interestingly, their God is frequently depicted as female, and many of the church's evangelists are women. The menfolk, such as Kaufmann or Vincent, are more interested in earthly matters and tend to mutiny. Their mythology is also very confusing: According to their myths, humanity came first, in a world without linear time and death, and their God was created from prayers, but used up her power making the world as it is; most of the Order's plots seem to be to bring her back. Their religion, according to Word of God, was based on christianity, Japanese folklore and Aztec rituals, and their deities were actually borrowed from the Native Americans who lived in Silent Hill's area and given Judeo-Christian names as cover.
    • It's telling that the main antagonist of Silent Hill 3, the Order priestess Claudia Wolf, who orchestrates a brutal murder and has the protagonist put through Hell, would apparently be considered one of the Order's more liberal theologians. While she, however misguidedly, wants to make a paradise for everyone and acknowledges she likely won't get in it for being a murderer, her father is a fullblown fundamentalist who wants anyone who isn't a believer (i.e. just about every sane person in the world and/or not from Silent Hill) to be damned.
    • Something else that makes the Order look like pure evil rather than just a Scary Amoral Religion is that their God thrives on suffering and hatred, although Claudia reasons that a truly compassionate God must first experience the horrors of the world through a human host. Of course, Claudia, like Alessa Gillespie and Walter Sullivan, was raised in a cult that glorifies torture and brainwash, so she's delusional at best. Their God is often depicted artistically as a Lady in Red Evil Redhead (Or Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette, as Claudia summons her looking like Alessa), and its name seems to either Samael(Archangel of Death or a demon) or Kwekwaxawe(Native American's original name, meaning "The Raven"), and, personality-wise, she seems to be an adorable mix between the Abrahamic God, the Greek Gods, Aztec Gods, Lucifer, Shub-Niggurath and Nyarlathotep. And every time it DOES show up in story, it looks like a Body Horror demon or Eldritch Abomination that wouldn't look out of place in Berserk. She also seems to be a pyromaniac and Psycho Electro.
  • The Thurists from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters are very much this. Every member indulges in an Evil Laugh, even in the battle quips (ordinary units will have the laugh replace their normal grunts and cries), their "god" is World Eater Thuris, the sickest of the lot (mentally, that is — Raksha's a Magnificent Bastard and Feinne is simply mindless), and they regularly purge other religions, especially the followers of Apis, who many of their members were converted from. Danette is a survivor of one of these purges, which razed the town of Pulkina ten years ago. And if that wasn't bad enough, they have a reputation for indulging in the spread of Scarlet Iago — this may have killed Shauna/Shari and Trish's parents 15 years ago during a vaccine panic, and if it weren't for a charitable donation by Cristophe and Levin, it could have claimed the Raide survivors under Nereid care as well. Kanan and her lot all fail to comprehend why evil religions are doomed to swift destruction — namely, that they are mere pawns for the "gods" they worship.
  • The Order in Strife. They worship a malignant god, which involves blood sacrifices, mass murder, human processing and overall plenty of evil, demented stuff. Said god is actually an Eldritch Abomination from outer space which operates by draining worlds of all their life-force.
  • Lampshade Hanging in Star Control II: the Ilwrath are theocratic self-declared worshippers of Evil and Death, but if the player confronts them over this ("If your actions are judged by your society as correct, aren't you, in fact, good?") they tie themselves into a logical knot before deciding to attack the player for being annoying.
  • The Order of the One True Way in Suikoden Tierkreis has elements that can qualify as Nightmare Fuel. For example, early in the game, none of its followers react, let alone tried to run at all, when lightning struck among the crowd and fried one of them to death. All because their leader predicted the lightning strike.
  • The Nhuvisarum in the Summoner games. They enslave nations and purposely garner a 0% Approval Rating because their magical powers are fueled by human suffering.
  • Sundered has the Eschaton, a theocratic society of horrible tentacle monsters that worship Eldritch Abominations lifted straight out of the Cthulhu Mythos. Every single one of them wears robes and white masks, and the caverns where the game takes place are littered with statues built in honour of their god Nyarlathotep, whom their high priestess was trying to summon in order to “cleanse” the world of human corruption according to the lore.
  • The Drowned Man's worshippers in Sunless Sea, who generally turn out to be cannibals. The Chapel of Lights, a heretical Christian sect that worships the Drowned Man, offers free food to passing zee-captains that isn't always human flesh, but has a very real chance to be. Players of Fallen London may recognise the Drowned Man as Mister Eaten.
  • The D∴G Cult from the Trails Series, first mentioned in the Crossbell arc, are a particularly depraved example: they're a secret cult that denies the existence of Aidios, they have knowledge of demon-summoning, and they created a Fantastic Drug. They're also known to kidnap children (mostly young girls) as young as 5 in order to experiment on them, torture them, straight up ritually mutilating and murdering them and, in one particularly infamous case, rent out their victims to child brothels for some extra cash. Holy. Crap. Thankfully, an international investigation took down most of their lodges and members before the start of the series, though some remnants remained. It should also be noted that the series generally doesn't go this dark, except when the Cult is involved.
  • Valkyria Chronicles II has Yggdism, a cult that worships the setting's resident omnicidal Eldritch Abominations as gods and preaches that brutal oppression and mass slaughter of Darcsens should be a way of life. While not all that prevalent in the original, one of the main villains from the sequel is a devout follower of Yggdism.
  • Warcraft:
    • The Cult of the Damned. Originally, they were often seduced by promises of eternal life, social grievances, and disillusionment with the Holy Light. In the modern era, this is exacerbated by the widespread trauma and suffering experienced by humanity. Members are given a potion after their initiation that removes their ability to object and makes them unquestioning fanatics.
    • Also the followers of the demons of the Burning Legion from the same series.
    • The Twilight Hammer, who worship the cosmic horroresque Old Gods. The entire goal of their religion is to bring about the end of the world.

  • The doom cultists in 8-Bit Theater. And whatever Black Mage is worshipping that week. Though Black Mage admits he's only worshipping them for the express purpose of gaining their dark blessings until he is powerful enough to usurp them for his own ends. This comes back to bite him later on, when Chaos rises and he tries to get on his team. Chaos then tells him that he's planning on destroying everything, Black Mage asks if that includes him. Chaos's response? "Biiiiiiiiiiiig time". Needless to say, Black Mage immediately sees the need to kill Chaos.
  • The mass murdering Ash Circle cultists and the other Ixzerites in Charby the Vampirate whose trade with their god for power has caused descendants of Ixzerites that are completely unaware of the religion to unconsciously act to support Ixzerit.
  • Girl Genius: The Geisterdamen worship and serve the Other, a time traveling evil Spark who is obsessed with overwriting people's minds to make them copies of herself or her slaves.
  • Guilded Age:
    • The Countless Limbs are a deceptively massive cult that worships death and seeks the end of all life. The rank-and-file are kind of lousy and some were forced by their parents to become cultists.
    • Our Lady of the Perpetual Bloodshot Eyeball may also count.
  • In Homestuck, the troll version of Juggalos are a legitimate religion on Alternia. They possess terrifying psychological powers known as "Chucklevoodoos" and use the blood of trolls that they slaughter as decorative paint. And the Mirthful Messiahs of the religion? They are actually the Big Bad and his Dragon.
  • Vince's cult in Jack is a weird example in that the cultists are all already in Hell, and are turning to the cult to try and get them out. Vince has a lot of fun manipulating them.
    "Now each of you prove yourselves! Come to the centre of the arena and curse God's name! Denounce His only son! For only those with the courage to face God's wrath are worthy to bask in His glory!"
    They don't even think twice. No wonder they're damned.
  • In Newman, the cult that is trying to bring Cthulhu back.
  • Subverted in The Order of the Stick: Despite the deity being called "The Dark One" and despite his worshipers being almost universally evil creatures, it's not quite a Religion of Evil but rather a religion of people who are so downtrodden that they're willing to do anything to even slightly improve their lot in life, even to the point of tempting The End of the World as We Know It. More a religion of evil people than a Religion of Evil.
    • Redcloak's brother Right-Eye eventually renounced the Dark One and the Plan because he believed the religion had become a straight example of this, with the Dark One caring more about getting revenge than about improving the lives of goblins.
    • Zigzagged in regards to Malack from the Empire of Blood story arc; he worships the Western Death God, but explains that death is by and large a neutral force. However, he also plans on setting up an oppressive theocracy and having daily sacrifices of thousands of innocent people to his god once Tarquin's plan succeeds and all the others have passed away, since Malack is a vampire and will outlive all the others by a good degree of time.
    • Subverted a different way with the church of Hel, a goddess so unpleasant that no one actually follows her and she thus has no clerics or political clout among the gods. And then played straight when Durkon is turned into a vampire by Malack and possessed by a spirit loyal to Hel, who declares it her High Priest and orders it to carry out an Evil Plan in her name, which among other things involves turning many more people to increase their church's ranks.
  • The Dimension of Pain demons in Sluggy Freelance worship the Demon King, who thinks the highest compliment he can give something is "How evil".
    • The same goes for the cult of K'Z'K started up by Chilus.

    Web Original 
  • Aldrivers, Devourer of Cos: The Church of the Tupperware, with Joan Rivers as its creator and leader. She intends to use the church as a means to devour the entire world and then, the entire universe.
  • It's parodied on tumlbr of all places by the user beyonddesolation, the leader of The Black Legion of the Dark Lord Sketch Melkor, who presents herself as Melkor from the Tolkien-verse, commonly referred to by her followers as the Dark Lord Sketch. It's complete with requests to do strange things, and some form of organized government.
  • Deconstructed in Critical Role. Tharizdun, the god of omnicidal mania listed in the entry for Dungeons&Dragons proper, is a god in the Exandria setting known as the Chained Oblivion, but he's considered less of a deity to worship and more of a problem to really really hope never gets out of his prison in the Abyss. As Matthew Mercer puts it, you would have to be insane to even think of voluntarily worshiping a deity whose entire deal is "If I win, you all go mad and die." Consequently, most cults to Tharizdun don't know they're worshipping Tharizdun, as he appears to them in the guise of false deities, like the Angel of Irons.
  • SCP Foundation: The Children of the Scarlet King, they worship the Scarlet King (the equivalent of Satan in the Foundation universe) and their faith tells them that they will rule the Earth in the future, but only after the Scarlet King destroys it. By the way, they created SCP-231...
    • There are also the Sarkicists, another Apocalypse Cult whose entire belief system is essentially Hollywood Satanism on steroids mixed with a twisted version of Gnosticism (in short, they believe in an Azathoth-like deity associated with flesh, and see their religious practices as them parasitizing the entity's power so it is too weak to destroy the world), as they regularly practice cannibalism, incest, Human Sacrifice, fleshcrafting magic, and Faustian bargains in an attempt to become gods.
    • But as bad as the Sarkicists are, the Daevite civilization, which the founder of Sarkicism came from and played a major role in causing the collapse of, was far worse. There are several Sarkicists who are neutral or portrayed sympathetically, the Daevites are never shown to be anything but pure evil. The return of the daevites might be even more of a nightmare than the Sarkic apocalypse.
    • There's also the Brazen Heart, a sadistic cult that worships the demon Moloch and engages in brutal human sacrifice.
  • The Brood of Nachash in Tall Tales is fundamentally driven to free mankind from the influence of gods by eradicating every other religion through violent force, including human sacrifice and binding dark gods to channel their power.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • The Cult of Kellith, worshiping the daughter of Gothmog (and granddaughter of Shub-Niggurath)... who, for all that she's ostensibly a lust demoness, started out as a human, is currently attending Whateley Academy as a student, and is generally not a bad person. (Although there are signs that she's starting to actively distance herself from her previous human existence and morals, so this may change in the future — she is an Eldritch Abomination in the making, after all.) The head of the cult was actively trying to turn Carmilla evil until she killed him. Cultists have been seen to do things like sacrifice cute animals in her name. And there may be a hundred thousand of them out there doing god only knows what.
    • The Tong of the Black Madonna, an apparent mystical cult opposing the Tao and making trouble for its current Handmaid a.k.a. Bladedancer, including a concerted attempt to attack her in her dreams via a spell powered by human mass sacrifice.
  • Worm: The Fallen are a bunch of interconnected groups who worship the Endbringers and support practices like robbery, racism, slavery, and murder. They constantly preach that whoever is killed by the Endbringers deserved to die and that whoever joins them will be saved. Only a few of them seriously believe their dogma, the rest join just for an excuse to be evil.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Church Of Evil


The Church of the Morninglight

Supposedly only a New-Age spiritual group, the Morninglight is actually devoted to the worship of the Dreamers. In a vast cathedral hidden under Tokyo, their preacher sermonizes before a congregation of dead cultists, the stage soaked with the highly-mutagenic Filth.

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Main / ReligionOfEvil

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