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Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter
aka: Smite Me Oh Mighty Smiter

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"Fine! The gloves are off, pal! C'mon, lemme see a little wrath! Smite me, O mighty smiter! You're the one who should be fired! The only one around here not doing his job is you! ANSWER ME!"

Our character has had a bad — really bad — day/episode/life. Things keep going wrong, ranging from a bad day of training to failing to stop The End of the World as We Know It. It seems like nothing can help them short of a great Deus ex Machina, but it's failed to come. They've already kicked in a few doors, punched a few walls, had their fit of Unstoppable Rage, and told everyone to Leave Me Alone!

They've been patient and persevering long enough. Now they break down, turn their face to the sky, and unleash all their frustration and anguish at the highest up of the Powers That Be, most easily interpreted as God, demanding an answer. "Is that all you've got? Come on, I can take more! Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!" Twice as likely to occur along with pouring rain, thunder, and lightning.

Sometimes, they get an answer. Sometimes, they'll wish they hadn't. Sometimes, no answer makes for more drama than any answer could.

A notable subtrope is when the character involved is implied or explicitly an atheist and they refer to this fact pretty much in the same sentence. A Sister Trope is Religious Russian Roulette, where the character instead threatens to become an atheist unless God/whoever gives them an answer.

Indiscriminate by time, culture, religion, and even age demographic.

We've all had one of those days. See also Clifftop Caterwauling, Crisis of Faith, Rage Against the Heavens. Compare Divine Punishment, when the Almighty really does lay down some judgment. Compare and contrast Prayer of Malice, when the character asks God to smite someone else.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In The Girl Who Leapt Through Space, Tsutsuji Baba challenges God (or "fate") to smite her soon after landing on Earth. Nothing happens... and it fills her with overwhelming self-confidence. The whole scene may be a Shout-Out to Higurashi.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, the young Miyo Takano, running away from her orphanage, starts yelling at God to either strike her dead or give her a better life. God responds by hitting the tree she's standing under with lightning. She gets to return the favour at the end of the series.

    Comic Books 
  • In Eisner's classic graphic novel A Contract with God, lifelong good Jewish boy Frimme Hirsch feels God has violated their agreement by allowing his adopted child to die. He rages at God while a storm batters his home. The lightning and noise seem to be God's angry responses to Frimme's accusations.
  • The Mighty Thor resorts to daring Zeus to do so, after losing in a duel where Zeus intended to humble Thor by showing him the difference between a "mere" god and a sky father.Zeus had no intention of killing Thor, as Thor's father Odin is a political ally of his.
  • Part of the origin of the Blue Lantern Saint Walker. After reaching the end of a spiritual journey that cost the lives of his entire family, he demanded that God show him the Messiah. A lightning bolt illuminated his own reflection on a slab of stone.
  • Minor example in an issue of JLA. Plastic Man has just been called out by Batman for being a coward because he won't face his illegitimate son. After Batman leaves, the dejected Plas looks up and realizes he's standing near a billboard advertising Rubber Chickens. His reaction: "Rubber chicken. I get it. Good one, God."
  • Wonder Woman (2011) sees Wonder Woman imprison Donna Troy to stop Donna from committing suicide after she learns her entire purpose for being is wrong. An Olympian goddess annoyed with Wonder Woman decides to spite her by letting Donna Troy out, at which point Donna immediately seeks out The Fates and demands they cut her thread. Turns out Donna's creators didn't actually invoke anything related to the Grecoroman divinities as previously believed and she has no thread to cut.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes had an excellent example of this trope. The universe has an attitude, Mom!
  • It's not quite the same thing, but a Peanuts strip had Linus doing one of his annual Halloween vigils in the pumpkin patch, beseeching the Great Pumpkin to show himself, vindicate his faith, etc. In his frustration, he finally blurts out, "Show up, stupid!"...then clamps his hands over his mouth in horror.
  • In Prickly City, Winston demands "Why?" on a cliff. (Answer: "Why not?")
  • Garfield had a strip where he proclaimed "And if I'm lying may lightning... (pause to consider what he says) ...strike the dog next door!"
    Dog: YIPE!
    • In another strip, Garfield gets progressively angrier at Odie's blithe happiness, insulting him more and more. When he finally reaches the end of his patience, he looks upward and shouts "Who could possibly love a grinning idiot like you?" It promptly begins to rain...on everything except Odie. Garfield's not amused: "YOU STAY OUT OF THIS!"

    Fan Works 
  • In The Night Unfurls, Olga falls ill during the journey back to Ken, and Chloe gives a Death Glare to Kyril as though it is his fault that her liege lady is sick. Kyril proceeds to lampshade this trope.
    "What else was he supposed to do? Yell at the gods to make them feel better? Like that ever worked."

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Lorax film, when the Lorax confronts the Once-Ler about the latter's big business at the expense of nature, the Once-Ler sarcastically asks why the Lorax simply didn't stop him with the 'nature's curse' the Lorax mentioned when they first met. The Lorax morosely responds "It doesn't work that way." Minutes later, the last truffula tree is chopped down, marking an end to thneed production. The Once-Ler's business goes down the pits, his employees abandon him, the Lorax just lifts himself away, and all the Once-Ler has to show for his efforts is a dilapidated house where he seals himself up for several decades until a random kid wanders by asking about trees.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Trope Namer is a line from the movie Bruce Almighty, where God's answer boils down to "Let's See YOU Do Better" when he temporarily gives Bruce his powers. Incidentally when God recounts his "Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter" statement he admits that, while he's not one for blasphemy, it did make him laugh.
  • Scarface (1983): Invoked by Tony himself, where his restriction of jobs to kitchen duty leads him to continue down the path to a life of crime. And again during the finale when he yells at his attackers as he gets shot many times in the mansion, just before The Skull kills him.
  • Also appears in a dramatic context in The Truman Show, where Truman, realizing some personal force controls the world and has sent a storm to destroy him personally, shakes his fist in angry defiance. Notably, like in Bruce Almighty (but predating it), Jim Carrey, playing the protagonist, delivered the lines.
    Truman: Is that the best you can do? You're gonna have to KILL ME!
  • In the film, Hellboy gets an answer when his love, Liz Sherman, has her soul taken by... something. He whispers that if she dies, he will cross over to their dimension and get her back. And then they'll "be sorry". She's promptly resurrected.
  • In The Odyssey, based on the epic by Homer, Odysseus yells a challenge to Poseidon when, after 10 years of facing all sorts of obstacles at sea trying to get home, the sea god sends a storm that sinks his raft and leaves him floating on a log in the ocean. Since Poseidon really has been out to get him for 10 years, It's Personal.
  • Bethany has one of these scenes at a lake during Dogma when she discovers the truth about her mission. An angel promptly tells her that God (due to extenuating circumstances) can't hear her, but he sympathizes with her ordeal.
  • In Caddyshack, a golfer (and priest) is provoked by a ruined game to yell "Ratfarts!" at the heavens. He's promptly struck by lightning, and his caddy, Carl, slinks away. The music that plays in this scene is God's theme from The Ten Commandments (1956), which featured the same actor (Henry Wilcoxon) and composer (Elmer Bernstein).
  • Subverted in Conan the Barbarian (1982) when Conan actually prays to Crom for the first time—rather than curse him out, he just asks for his desire, or for Crom to go to Hell. Whatever.
  • In At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, main character Coffin Joe has a raving episode during a thunderstorm, daring God to strike him.
  • In Forrest Gump, the embittered, crippled lieutenant Dan rides out Hurricane Carmen clinging to the mast of a small boat, challenging the lightning and waves to kill him. The twist is that after the storm, Dan thanks Gump for saving his life and promptly jumps over the side. Gump rushes to the side, convinced that his friend had committed suicide, but it turns out that he was merely swimming. Gump notes in retrospect that it showed Dan made his peace with God.
  • Occurs in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life: a military recruiter says, after showing a documentary film, "That is why we will always need an army, and may God strike me down were it to be otherwise." And, lo and behold...
    Sergeant Major: ''Don't stand there GAW-KIN', like you've nevuh seen the 'and of God before!
  • Shown with an aftermath in Nightbreed, the film of Clive Barker's CABAL—A badly fallen priest is dragged along for the ride when the rednecks go after the Nightbreed, and when he manages to splash the Shattered God's transformative baptism over himself, he winds up in the ruins of the Breed's old home, reviving Cabal's nemesis and vowing revenge: "Their God burned me. I want to burn him back!"
  • The End of the Affair is framed around a "diary of hate" that the main character directs at God, who he sees as the main force coming between him and his lover Sarah. At the end of the movie, after seeing Sarah die shortly after resuming an affair that she promised God she would end forever, he curses God "as though (he) existed".
  • In Cool Hand Luke, the atheist subtrope is used, in the rain, during a thunderstorm.
  • In Joan of Arc (the one with Leelee Sobieski and Neil Patrick Harris) Joan kneels at an altar after losing a major battle, begging God to tell her what she did wrong, and when she gets no reply, she snaps and screams, "Why won't you answer me?!"
  • The Poseidon Adventure: Here you have Rev. Scott (Gene Hackman) who has never lost his faith in God, who believes that the Lord loves people who can work it out themselves. He tries everything to help save his friends from the capsizing ship - resulting in the death of three, but he never turns a blind eye. However, when a steam valve is blocking the only way out, he finally snaps and tells God off while trying to shut the valve off. He dies right after but his effort saved the remaining members of the group.
  • Invoked in the 1983 remake of Scarface, where a restriction of jobs to kitchen duty turns a Cuban American into a drug kingpin. And again in a profanity-laced version when he yells at his attackers in the finale during the mansion siege, just before he himself gets killed by an assassin behind him.
  • This trope is one of Martin Riggs standard operating procedures in Lethal Weapon.
    Roger Murtaugh: "God hates me."
    Martin Riggs: (seriously) "Hate him back. It works for me."
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has Johanna doing this not to God, but the organizers of the Deadly Game.
    Hey, how does that sound Snow? What if we, what if we set your backyard on fire? You know you can't put everybody in here!
  • X-Men: Apocalypse. Erik Lehnsherr has put aside his Magneto persona and tried to live a normal life among humans, but his wife and daughter are accidentally killed by the police after his true identity is revealed. Erik slaughters the policemen in a rage, then clutches the bodies of his family and shouts skywards, "IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME!? Is this what I am!?" Getting no answer, he decides Then Let Me Be Evil should apply.

  • The early SF novel Gladiator (best known today for being one of the inspirations for Superman) ends with a note that Hugo Danner, frustrated with his the uselessness of his superhuman powers to improve the world, climbed to the top of a Mayan pyramid and began cursing at God; he was immediately struck dead by lightning, possibly the only thing that could have killed him.
  • In The Master and Margarita, or, more specifically, in the Master's novel about Pontius Pilate, Matthew Levi, angry at God for denying Yeshua a quick and painless death, screams: "I curse you, God!" He then expects God to smite him on the spot, but nothing happens. A storm does come, which causes the guards to leave and kill the crucified before they leave, providing, indirectly, a somewhat quick death.
  • On the Discworld, this kind of thing will get a quick response, because the gods are real, impatient, and trigger happy. As a Discworld bartender who services philosophers explains, "We get that in here some nights, when someone's had a few. Cosmic speculation about whether gods really exist. Next thing, there's a bolt of lightning through the roof with a note wrapped around it saying 'Yes, we do' and a pair of sandals with smoke coming out."
    • This works significantly less well on the atheist golem Dorfl, who, being ceramic, is not particularly vulnerable to bolts of lightning and regards them as a rather poor substitute for rational argument.
      • And then there's "Charcoal Abraxas":
        "Gods like an atheist once in a while; it gives them something to aim at"
    • They actually appreciate the really angry type of atheist (as opposed to the philosophical ones mentioned earlier), since all that rage against them for not existing is almost better than belief and worship. Om, at the end of Small Gods, was favorably impressed when a character declared his atheism before the obvious incarnation of his god.
      Simony: Don't think you can get round me by existing!
      • A priest who'd lost his faith in the Discworld Noir video game actually went one better than Simony, proclaiming that no god was deserving of mortals' worship or trust from the top of the dome of the Temple of Small Gods. Even Death said he was impressed by this performance, when he came to collect the guy after the inevitable Cluster Lightning Strike.
    • Rincewind once compared Twoflower's ability to attract mayhem to the lightning-attracting ability of someone standing on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armor and shouting "All gods are bastards!"
  • Happens to Lister in the Red Dwarf novel Better Than Life. First he is marooned on a strange planet covered with garbage, by himself and with no food. Then he is almost killed (and has his earlobe burnt off) by concentrated acid rain. Then it starts raining oil. And then he discovers that the planet is actually Earth, turned into a planetwide garbage dump. Then an earthquake cracks open the ground directly under him. This leads him to the conclusion that the planet itself is trying to kill him for being one of the species that trashed it, and he shouts to the sky "Do it, then! Come on - kill me!" A bit different to normal in that he doesn't get an answer until he desperately offers to rebuild the planet, at which point the earthquake stops and it begins raining proper water.
  • The ending of Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut. After the entire planet is turned to Ice-9 and humanity is dying, the protagonist runs into the philosopher Bokonon. He asks him what he is doing, and Bokonon replies he is writing the end of the Books of Bokonon. The final sentence goes as follows: "If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who."
  • Frankenstein: Homeward bound from Ingolstadt, depressed Victor walks outside into a thunderstorm one night, and screams at the sky.
  • In The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, after a series of successively more bizarre and unpleasant coincidences, Dirk Gently spends a night on the roof of his house, shaking his fist at the sky and yelling "Stop it!" The neighbors complain.
  • This sums up Mau's feelings in Terry Pratchett's Nation when his island is destroyed by a tidal wave and leaves him sole survivor of his people. The fact that the spirits of the Grandfathers constantly shout in Mau's head telling him to perform ceremonies for the gods he's come to despise doesn't help. Daphne's father, as well, was angry enough at one point that he felt it necessary to grant God absolution.
  • In the catalyzing event of the Spider Robinson novel Very Bad Deaths, a serial killer thinks he's about to die and engages in a defiant harangue of God...and a telepath overhears.
  • In The Crow Road by Iain Banks, one particularly devout atheist demands that if god exists, he should strike him down, complete with much swearing and finally an attempt to climb a church. By the lightning conductor. In a storm. The result horrifies a religious witness, leading him to believe that the god he believed in was far more cruel and vengeful than he'd imagined.
  • Happens in the beginning of The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg. It's a bad year for the crops. Karl-Oskar and his wife have been working hard for six weeks to harvest the hay, but they still haven't been able to scrape together enough to get their cow to survive winter. Karl-Oskar throws a wisp of hay towards heaven: "If You've taken almost all our hay, why don't You take the rest as well!". Later, when a thunderstorm alights in their hayshed, the wife sternly reminds Karl-Oskar of his blasphemy.
  • Inverted in the Heralds of Valdemar series. In the Backstory to the Mage Storms trilogy, the violently theocratic Karsites abruptly clean up their act and sue for alliance with Valdemar after their deity, Sunlord Vkandis, takes it upon himself to actually answer an invocation during the country's annual high holy ceremonies... with a Bolt of Divine Retribution which incinerated the thoroughly corrupt high priest of their religion (and that was just for starters).
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel I, Q, Q has one of these:
    "I, Q, defy you to the last, and if you think you can stop me just by destroying the universe, I'm here to tell you you'll have to do better than that!"
  • The protagonist of Colas Breugnon, while normally on good terms with God, gets very angry when his grand-daughter is slowly dying from The Plague despite his desperate prayers, and tells God that in that case he'll ask "different masters" for help - he means a pagan ritual.
  • Till We Have Faces is written as Orual's accusation and defiance of the gods.
  • In the Book of Job Satan accuses God of unfairly favoring Job, and insists that if should Job lose his possessions, the human would turn instantly away. God grants Satan permission to divorce Job and his possessions (here including his family), and Job is eventually left wallowing in ruin in the streets. The book is spent at first by Job insisting that he is guiltless of any personal sin on his own part, contrary to the suggestions of his friends, though is later rebuked by Eliu (who also rebukes the friends for being assholes). At the end of the book, God Himself steps down and, while He ultimately restores Job to double his wealth, takes a fair bit of time chewing him out, which provides us with the interesting situation of The Heavens Raging Back. Oh, and did you know this is considered the oldest book of the Bible?
    • As for his three friends, God also rebukes them, telling them that He'll listen to Job's prayers on their behalf.
  • Richard Wright's autobiography Black Boy reports a communist ordering the Lord to strike him dead. He uses his continued life as evidence against God.
  • In the Left Behind book series, both Nicolae Carpathia and Leon Fortunato have separately challenged God to strike them dead to prove that He is truly God. God doesn't respond to either of their challenges, since they are permitted to live only to face judgment at the end of the Battle of Armageddon by Jesus Christ before they are sent to the Lake Of Fire.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: When Euron Greyjoy was a child, after murdering his half-brother, he pissed into the ocean and dared the Drowned God to strike him down for kinslaying, the worst sin a person can commit in virtually every faith. When neither the Drowned God nor any other god did, Euron took it as proof that the gods and their morality systems were lies, only being limitations by men. Rather than despair, his reaction was ecstatic as it gave him free reign to indulge in all of his depravities (which are limitless). It's implied Euron's desire to become a god himself would be the final, ultimate insult towards the world's various beliefs.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, Szeth-Son-Son-Vallano spends half a page screaming at the sun, which his people worship as the supreme deity.
  • John Rain does a low-key version a couple of times when he's carried out a particularly morally dubious hit.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: In the Stormlands, the Storm Kings of old had this sort of relationship with their Storm God, and it was this attitude the fueled the creation of Storm's End, it being a castle that was repeatedly destroyed by the weather but continued to be rebuilt out of sheer mule-headed stubbornness until they built one that finally could withstand the beating.
  • In the episode "A Single Drop of Rain" of Quantum Leap, Sam (who has leaped into the life of a con man who claims to be a rainmaker), does everything he can to help a drought-stricken community, to no avail. He spends time haranguing God before it finally rains:
    Sam: I don't know who's runnin' this show. I don't know why I was chosen. I bounce around from place to place. I do everything I'm supposed to do, at least the best way I can, but I don't know how to do this one. I mean, you gotta help me. I figure you owe me, for a couple of times, anyway. You make it rain. You hear me? You make it rain!
  • One episode of the surrealist comedy show Upright Citizens Brigade features Captain Lunatic, a police detective who constantly does this. At the end of the episode, he gazes into the Bucket of Truth, which has sent everybody else who's looked in it running away screaming, then looks up at the heavens and shouts, "Don't you think I know that?!"
  • In the second-season finale of The West Wing, President Bartlet has already had more than enough, and then his personal secretary dies in a random traffic accident. After buying her first ever brand-new car. After her funeral in the National Cathedral, he has the Secret Service seal the room and turns to the dais. He opens with "You're a son of a bitch, you know that?" and continues in both English ("You feckless thug") and untranslated (and unsubtitled) Latin.
    "Haec credam a deo pio? A deo iusto? A deo scito? Cruciatus in crucem! Tuus in terra servus, nuntius fui; officium perfeci. Cruciatus in crucem! Eas in crucem!" Eng.
  • Occurs in the Red Dwarf episode 'Waiting for God', in which an embittered and dying Cat priest does just this. The twist is, his 'God' actually is listening — Dave Lister, who has inadvertently been considered to be a deity by the Cat people over their three-million year history. He takes pity on the (blind) Cat priest and stages a 'glorious return' to persuade the priest that his years of suffering weren't in vain.
  • In the Highlander episode "The Modern Prometheus", Lord Byron climbs to the roof of a building, in the rain, grabs a lightning rod, and proceeds to harangue the Heavens.
    • The twist is that Byron is actually immortal, and that even if he did get smote, he would be fine a few minutes later.
  • Supernatural's Dean Winchester has taken to yelling at God after a bad day during Seasons 4 and 5. The only answer he ever gets is Castiel showing up.
    • Castiel had his moment in Season 5, calling God a "son of a bitch".
    • In Season 4, Jimmy Novak Castiel's vessel calls him out on supposedly abandoning him and his family when he gave him everything.
  • In Doctor Who minisode "Rain Gods", the Doctor does this by daring the titular gods to strike him down while he and River are about to be sacrificed to them. Slight inversion as it is part of his plan to distract their captors in order to escape.
  • An episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! has Penn and Teller running around with lightning rods on their heads, challenging God to strike them for all the things they've said about him. Well, not Teller.
  • Happens in episode 2.12 of Waterloo Road when Andrew the deputy head confronts The Fundamentalist who's trying to take over the school, finally spurred to action when the latter starts preaching to the students about the teacher who committed suicide earlier in the series did so because she was too weak. "You are interrupting a dialogue with the Lord!" "Then let him strike me down! (long pause) Didn't think so."
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Marshall has one of these at his father's funeral, where he thanks God for the comforting words of his father's message from beyond the grave. (It was a phone message found after his death that turned out to be a pocket dial (several minutes of dead air). But then it didn't.
  • Piper gets on of these in Charmed. She's dealing with small, invisible creatures who have tripped her walking to her car while Leo has been barred from seeing her, and she does this to the Elders, yelling at the sky that she's a good witch and to give Leo back. It works, eventually.
  • In one episode of The Red Green Show, Mike makes a bet that he can bring an angel to the lodge. When Mike arrives alone, Red mockingly dares the angel to smite him. Unfortunately, at that moment the “angel”, in actuality an enormous man, walks in. It turns out he is a member of the “Guardian Angels Society.”
  • In Good Times, James jokingly gives God sixty seconds to smite him. While Florida begs him to stop, James counts down the seconds on his watch. Which stops with a few seconds left.
  • At points of great despair both Frasier and Niles have resorted to cursing the heavens.
    (a cricket keeps chirping in Frasier's apartment)
    Frasier: Dear God, can't you make him shut up?!
    Martin: (muttering) That prayer doesn't get answered around here.
  • The It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "How Mac Got Fat" plays with this trope. It's a How We Got Here story in which Mac "confesses" to a priest that he's gained sixty pounds in the last few months. He claims that it's really his friends' fault, and specifically requests that the priest have God smite them for him. The priest is tired of listening to Mac whine, and promises to make it happen if he'll just leave him alone.
  • Downplayed for both laughs and pathos in The Office (US); in one episode, after being invited to a christening, The Chew Toy Toby (who was a former seminary student who left to get married, beginning a long line of misfortune in his life) struggles with entering the church, admitting that it's been a while ("The Big Guy and I, we got some catching up to do.") Eventually, he manages to enter the church after everyone has gone, walks to the altar, looks up at the stained glass window — but instead of an impassionated monologue, all he comes out with is a rather plaintive/pathetic whine of "Why you always gotta be so mean to me?"
  • Radio Enfer: When Giroux tells Carole Péloquin that Laplante is nothing more than a little liar, the latter denies that, asking for a lightning to strike him if that's the case. All three of them look up and, naturally, nothing happens given that they're inside the school.
  • Midsomer Murders: The Reverend Giles Shawcross, the gloomy vicar in "The Sword of Guillaume". Naturally (for this programme), he's given a sign just at that moment.

  • This was the meaning behind the song "Prayer" by Disturbed.
    "A conversation with the idea of the God that common Judeo-Christian theology would have you believe in. If God truly inflicts vengeful acts of pain and suffering upon its creations as a sort of temper tantrum in order to elicit a response, then bring it on."
  • Dear God by XTC is a mix of this trope and Screw Destiny.
  • Live performances of the VNV Nation song Solitary get you a lot of shouting for God to set the singer on fire. No, really. Counting how many times he says it could be interesting.
    Set me aflame! You up there! Set me aflame!
  • "O Fortuna"
    Nunc per ludum,Eng.
    Dorsum nudum,Eng.
    Fero tui sceleris.Eng.
    Hac in hora,Eng.
    Sine mora,Eng.
    Corde pulsum tangite!Eng.
    Quod per sortem,Eng.
    Sternit fortem,Eng.
    Mecum omnes plangite!Eng.
  • Bo Burnham's song My Whole Family...
    If I'm gay hey, God, strike me dead! (proceeds to have a coughing fit) That was weird.
  • Truth in Television: In one of many Tear Jerker moments from the Gettysburg Trilogy, Armistead asks this should he ever raise arms against his old friend General Hancock:
    Just a mile or so away,
    Is my dearest friend in the world.
    He wears the blue and I the grey,
    And God, it hurts me so.
    The last time we were together,
    I grabbed his hand and I pledged:
    "If I ever draw my sword on you,
    May the good Lord strike me dead!"
  • Beck does this at the start of "Missing" from Guero, seemingly as a way to deal with romantic angst.
    I prayed heaven today
    Would bring its hammer down on me
    And pound you out of my head
    I can't think with you in it.
  • The trope name appears to be a deliberate play on the hymn Bread of Heaven, which opens with the line Guide me, O thou great Jehovah and invokes, among other things, God to manifest as the fiery, cloudy pillar to Lead me all my journey through: God is invoked as lightning not for destruction but for light, guidance and protection. The original Welsh lyric is even more explicit in invoking lighning: Colofn dân rho’r nos i’m harwain - "Give a column of fire to lead me at night".
  • The conclusion of Bruce Springsteen's song Youngstown is a less shouty — but no less bitter — version of this trope:
    When I die, I don't want no part of Heaven.
    I would not do Heaven's work well.
    I pray the devil comes and takes me to stand,
    In the fiery furnaces of Hell.

  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978) The Hexagonal Phase, a previously untold event during Ford and Arthur's time on prehistoric Earth (i.e. a Deleted Scene from Life, the Universe and Everything) introduces the Consultant, a mysterious figure from a nearby universe who gets very worked up when Arthur says "in God's name", insisting there isn't a God and getting increasingly vehement on the subject, despite Arthur and Ford trying to calm him down. Eventually he snarls "If there is such a thing as God, may He strike me down where I stand" and is immediately hit by a Bolt of Divine Retribution. Just before he dies, he manages to say "Now, I don't want you jumping to any conclusions..."

    Religion and Myths 
  • In Deuteronomy it is stated "Do not try the LORD your God", a line repeated by Jesus in the Gospels when being tempted in the desert by Satan. In context an inversion as its actually warning against being too dependent on God to solve your problems or, worse, putting yourself in danger and expecting God to save you; however, it still applies as a more general rule.
  • Some of the psalms, those written to express feelings of anger, fall into this category (although often with a desire to repent expressed shortly thereafter). Psalm 42, verse 3: "My tears have been my food day and night; I am ever taunted with, “Where is your God?”"
  • The Book of Job references it, too — Job's friends, and eventually his wife, repeatedly suggest that he 'blaspheme God and die' to end his suffering. He simply replies that as Creator of everything, God can do whatever He wants. He never does curse God... who comes down and tells him that mere humans have no right to complain, especially against the Creator of absolutely everything, whose ways he knows not. Job is humbled and repents, and in return, he and his wife get a new brood of children, gets even richer than before, and lives another 140 years before dying peacefully. The part here that everyone misses is that Job was still right and his friends, who told him he must be suffering for his sins, weren't; he was really innocent and Satan was just testing him to try and break his faith, as shown both by the backstory and God's response to his friends.
  • This is why The Flying Dutchman is cursed. Captain Van whatever should never have started cursing and swearing at God.
  • The trope occurs in almost every other Greek tale, with the petty Greek gods more than willing to comply.
    • Heracles, not one for big speeches, simply aims a weapon at the sky threateningly.
    • Ajax from The Iliad (the other, cowardly one) does this: His boat sinks during a storm (Poseidon is pissed at him cursing the gods), but he manages to swim to a rock that just sticks out of the water. What does he do then? Why, Ajax keeps cursing and blaspheming away until Zeus lets him have it.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • The title character of Tosca suffers a Break the Cutie ordeal at the hands of Scarpia, the corrupt police boss and villain of the opera, that involves her lover Mario Cavaradossi. In the final stage of this ordeal, which has Scarpia forcing her to accept his namesake ultimatum to keep Cavaradossi from being executed, Tosca breaks down and tearfully asks God why he would do this to her, who lived only for art and love, and tried only to serve Him.
  • Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof does this often.
    Would it spoil some vast eternal plan
    If I were a wealthy man?

    Perchick: Money is the world's curse.
    Tevye (his face to the sky): May the Lord smite me with it! And may I never recover!
  • The storm scene in King Lear is the archetypal example — thunder, lightning and all. Because of Lear's rather unwound state, however, he alternates between cursing nature, asking nature to smite Goneril and Regan, and thanking nature for not being as inhumanely cruel as Goneril and Regan.
  • Jesus Christ Superstar actually has Jesus doing this before the betrayal, trying to figure out why God's plan involves his death. Whether or not God answers or Jesus just gives up isn't entirely clear.
  • Medea begins with Medea's servants and the townspeople discussing how pissed off she is, interspersed with the sounds of her screaming at various gods from inside her house.
    Come, flame of the sky,
    Pierce through my head!
  • A lighthearted version is done in 1776 when John Adams addresses the Almighty in "Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve," blaming Him for inflicting the curse of Congress on Philadelphia and saying that He'd better interfere if He wants a good ending to this.
    A second flood, a simple famine, plagues of locusts everywhere
    Or a cataclysmic earthquake, I'd accept with some despair
    But no, you sent us Congress! Good God sir, was that fair?!

    Video Games 
  • God of War II: Right after the last Spartan dies in Kratos' arms, the broken warrior stands up and challenges Zeus, screaming to the heavens to come down and face him directly if he's so strong. Zeus' answer? The Kraken emerges out the water and attacks Kratos. Kratos is actually so angry he ignores the Kraken entirely at first, still ranting and raving at Zeus, until it grabs him.
    • And at the end, facing straight up. This time, the odds are tipped even more in his favour.
  • Ingway in Odin Sphere ends up begging the heavens to kill him if the player uses Mercedes to fight the beast of Darkvoa, resulting in her death in Ingway's arms.
  • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, an NPC in Kolima claims that they've had some hard times, but they're still around despite the multiple catastrophes befalling the village (including a giant lizard attacking the roots of their village, causing their main source of income to wither away (a leaf giving pleasant dreams that now gives nightmares), and being all turned into trees). Despite this, he still yells "Hear that, curse? WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT?!"
  • In Discworld Noir, Mooncalf goes mad with guilt and renounces all gods while standing on the roof of the Temple of Small Gods during a thunderstorm. Even Death himself admits that he went in style.
  • Asura's Wrath has Asura, already angry at his former colleagues for killing his family, go into full Roaring Rampage of Revenge when he discovers that they've become near-gods after he spent centuries crawling up from Naraka. When Wyzen gives "The Reason You Suck" Speech followed by a massive increase in size, almost dwarfing the planet, Asura goes for this trope (see picture). And manages to win.
  • In Secret of Evermore, there's a preacher in the Nobilia marketplace who's going on about everyone actually being characters in a video game. He ends his speech with the line "If I'm lying, let me be transformed into a...", at which point, you're given the choice between a basket, chicken, or goat, which will be exactly what he gets turned into (As the player is the god he's referring to in his speech). Alternatively, if you scroll down past those three options, you're able to simply choose to do nothing, at which point he'll give you a reward for being merciful.
  • In Age of Empires, one of the taunts that the player can use is "Yeah smite me...".

    Web Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Abridged Series episode 7, Sokka, after the others decide to piss away the money he had nearly gotten killed earning, yells "if there is anyone up there, strike me down right now!" and gets promptly attacked by a turducken.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged has Freeza mocking Goku's declaration that he's evil, saying that if he's really that evil, God should strike him down. Before he's even finished speaking a lightning bolt strikes Freeza... who promptly laughs and tells God to try harder next time.

  • Played for laughs in this Sluggy Freelance strip, where eating a mutant fly gives a frog human level intelligence.
    Frog: "Good job, God! Granting self-awareness to something that lives in the plumbing! That's disturbed, man!"
  • This sparks the plot of Fur Will Fly—the protagonist dares God to make his day even worse, and is immediately teleported to a Mirror Universe. Subverted in the end, however, as his life actually ends up getting better as a direct consequence... eventually.
  • The titular character of Vexxarr considers the creation of a robotic version of Spoorflix this.
    Vexxarr: Well, that settles one theological question. If there were a god, we'd all be smoldering piles of ash right now.

    Web Original 
  • The Music Video Show suggests doing this to Scott Stapp of Creed in Episode 7 since God is trying to kill him but "has very lousy aim."
  • Sean O'Cann of Survival of the Fittest has a 'word' with God. Over the course of V3 up to that point, his best friend, cousin, and boyfriend had all been killed, as well as it being very likely he would go the same way. Even God would probably have to recoil at the sheer ferocity of the verbal attack.
  • The Salvation War: Pantheocide has an interesting case of it being played straight. Humanity challenges Yahweh to smite them, and end up smiting Him instead.
    • Humanity gets smitten a bit first, though. For example: a bunch of extreme tornadoes and hurricanes, a 200-foot-tall monster cat, two cities nuked. Afterwards, when they find a way into heaven, they drop a nuke themselves, on the "Incomparable Legion of Light". Yaweh himself is killed by angelic rebels.
  • There is a chain email in which an atheist college professor stands on his desk and challenges God to knock him off. Finally, a student stands and punches him off, saying that God was too busy protecting soldiers in Iraq and sent him to do it. These event are generally acknowledged to be fictional.
  • This infamous little clip.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Despite the Eastern mythology-based "spirits" introduced on the show, Prince Zuko has such a scene in the episode "Bitter Work". After a day of failing to learn to bend lightning, on top of everything else that's happened in his life, he stands on top of a mountain during a raging thunderstorm and screams at the heavens. Unusually for this trope, he actually wants the lightning to hit him so he can practice redirecting it. This being Zuko, it doesn't go anywhere near him.
    Zuko: You've always thrown everything you could at me! Well I can take it! And now I can give it back! Come on! Strike me! You've never held back before! Aaaaaargh!
  • An unintentional example in one episode of The Boondocks, in which Uncle Ruckus begins a religion based on racism toward African-Americans, and telling the African-Americans themselves that they need to apologize for being what they are. At the climax of the episode, he shouts for God to strike him down if anything he's saying is untrue, though he fully believed in what he was teaching and undoubtedly thought he had nothing to fear. God, however, was more than happy to take him up on it.
  • Family Guy: In "Fifteen Minutes of Shame", Meg asks God to "kill me now." We then see God on a cloud with a sniper rifle... (He gets interrupted by a phone call.)
  • An episode of Histeria! had a character say, "And if I'm wrong, may lightning strike me dead!" Cue a lightning bolt hitting the spot directly next to him. "See? It didn't even wind me!"
  • Played with in Kevin Spencer. In one episode a preacher is telling his congregation "God wants you to give me all your money. If I'm lying may He strike me down right now!" Then a stray bullet Kevin fired nearby hits the cross behind the preacher and it falls, crushing him.
  • The Simpsons: Inverted in "Homer the Heretic" when Homer interprets the lesson of the episode as "The Lord is Vengeful!" and wants God to turn him into the instrument of His divine retribution. "Oh Spiteful One, show me who to smite, and he shall be smoten!"
  • South Park:
    • In "Christian Rock Hard", Cartman and his band are being signed onto a Christian record label, and the heads tell him they want to make sure that his band isn't just in it for the money. Cartman replies, "I have never in my life done anything just for the money. If I'm lying, may the Lord strike me down right now." Nothing happens, but Butters scootches away, just in case. This could well be a case of Fridge Brilliance in that Cartman is, in fact, telling the truth: he really doesn't do anything just for the money... every motivation also involves spite.
    • At the end of "HUMANCENTiPAD", Cartman gets angry after having his new present, the Apple HUMANCENTiPAD, taken away from him. He shouts at God to stop "fucking" him — and this time, Cartman does get smited, getting nailed with a bolt of lightning out of the blue and winding up in the hospital. Word of God *cough* says they were going to have him moon God and get struck in the ass, but the censors nixed that one.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "SpongeGuard on duty", SpongeBob claims to be as cool as Lifeguard Larry. "And if I'm not, may I be struck by—" [thunder booms] "...a flying ice-cream truck." Cue Shadow of Impending Doom accompanied by chiming. Right before the truck is about to hit him, SpongeBob plays it safe and shouts "AND LIVE!" The truck conveniently stops in mid-air right above him as he says this, then falls on him. He lives.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Jet Can't Sleep", the Propulsion family is playing charades. In one round, Celery pretends to be sleeping. Carrot guesses a coffee table, but then Sunspot correctly guesses that Celery is sleeping. Carrot then remarks that he was gonna say that. Carrot says: "If I wasn't, may lightning strike me!" Then lightning flashes in the sky, and Carrot jumps into Jet's arm. Carrot then remarks that tonight isn't a good night to say that.

    Real Life 
  • Several years ago there was a guy who did something like this in stormy weather. Standing on a boat in the middle of a lake. He got a Darwin Award.
  • As part of his routine, George Carlin challenged God to strike the audience — and then himself — dead to prove that an Almighty exists. It never happened, although he did report a small twinge in his leg.
  • Radio host Alex Jones once admitted on air to praying for the destruction of the entire Earth if it meant the death of his enemies in the process.
  • A popular Brazilian expression concerns people feeling like God is smiting them: "I must have thrown stones at the cross". (there are comedic variants using other Catholic objects, like "I blew my nose in the Holy Shroud", "I made drinks in the Holy Grail" and "I ironed clothes in the Ten Commandments")


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Smite Me Oh Mighty Smiter


Bel'akor's Fall From Grace

Bel'akor arrogantly demands more power from the Chaos Gods, who punish him for his arrogance.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / SmiteMeOMightySmiter

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