Various groups and civilizations since before recorded history have considered themselves to be chosen people by a god or goddess. Historical cases operate more on a form of honors system — that a specific people or leader claims to have been chosen by what they believe is a real, infallible, supernatural authority and thus this entitles them to privileges and authority not accorded to the rest of their species. They would then use this word-taken status as a means of claiming dominance, whether it is an assurance that this higher power has granted them ownership of territory, over resources, and even over their own fellow man, sometimes with Moral Myopia in full effect. Anthropologists commonly regard claims of chosenness as a form of ethnocentrism.
In fiction, however, the likelihood of this being true is much higher. When the actual existence of supernatural — or at least, very amazing and hard-to believe things — is made known, it is also just as likely that not only does this higher power possess an independent, thinking sentience in the universe, but that it can also pick favorites.
What these Chosen People have been chosen to do varies, but it usually is done as a means to spread their message. The God of Good asks their chosen people to give to charity and spread their messages of love and humility with the promise of its divine protection as they do so. The God of Evil tells them to pillage and torture all they see with guarantees of Heavy Metal blood-orgies in Hell after death. Dagon and Hydra demand human sacrifices in exchange for gills and fins to better enjoy their underwater paradise. A legacy is given to their descendants, carrying on their chosenness by virtue of their very ethnicity (and the traditions and creeds that come with it). This "chosen society" may be a target for a villain who thinks they'll be a hindrance to their evil plans, so their living place is likely to get decimated.
If the Chosen People seem poor, despondent or massively unimpressive at face value, then they can be a collective version of The Chosen Zero. If the Chosen People actually are poor, despondent or massively unimpressive, then the higher power that chose them was wrong and they are all The Poorly Chosen One. If the creator shares a specific homeland with the chosen, then it can be considered a form of divine Creator Provincialism.
Compare Tribe of Priests, which covers groups or species with religiosity as their hat, and Of the People, when the group or species in question consider everyone else to be inferior at best, or Always Chaotic Evil at worst, out of this belief. Not to be confused with The Chosen Many.
- In Attack on Titan an ethnic group known as the Eldians can turn into the titled giants, a power which they believe is given to them by God. This has some evidence to back it up, such as the transformation being triggered by a lightning bolt from the sky.
- The elves in Black Clover were said to have been "blessed by mana" because of their great magic power far surpassing humans.
- In the Creation Myth from Magi: Labyrinth of Magic, the world of Alma Toran was populated by countless different sentient species. One of the weakest of the races Humanity struggled to survive before Ill Ilah chose them to wield the power of magic. Though it's implied that this was a story humans made-up to legitimize their goal of enslaving the other races.
- In the Creation Myth on The Seven Deadly Sins, an entity known only as Chaos created the Earth and was responsible for the creation of the Supreme Deity (who is the creator and leader of the Goddess Clan), the Demon King (the creator and leader of the Demon Clan), the Sacred Tree (which begat the Fairy Clan and the Fairy Realm) and the Giant Clan. Chaos declared that they were all failures because it saw each of them lacking the same balance between dichotomies that itself embodied and would then declare the Human Race to be its finest achievement because like Chaos itself, they are equal parts good and evil, light and dark, cruel and kind.
- Dungeon Keeper Ami: A Dwarf says that the Light Gods blessed his people with the ability to live underground.
- In The Belgariad, the Ulgos are an interesting case. Rejected by all of the other gods, their leader appealed to UL, the creator of the gods, and successfully convinced Him to adopt his people. Incidentally, the Ulgo religion is heavily inspired by traditional Judaism.
- In Tolkien's Legendarium, the Atani — that is, humanity itself — are the Chosen People. Unlike other races such as elves and dwarves, the fates of Men are not bound to Arda until it ends, but through dying go ''beyond'' it. Therefore, they are said to have the ability to shape their destinies beyond the fate of the world, and were set apart by Eru for this purpose.
- Mistborn: The Kandra are a shapeshifting species whose You Are Who You Eat abilities make them excellent infiltrators, created by the Lord Ruler through Blood Magic. By the Wax and Wayne sequel series, the Physical God Harmony has adopted them as its agents, giving them quasi-angelic significance as the "Faceless Immortals".
- RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant: In The Shallow Sea, when the God of Animals went looking for Humans, they wanted only the special ones, the ones who seemed a little bit more than Human. They selected the misfits, the outcasts, those who felt they didn't belong or didn't feel comfortable in their own skin. They took them on a long journey and, at the end of it, asked them for a leap of faith. Those who completed the final test became the first Faunus, the people chosen by the God of Animals to join them on their magical island. The God of Animals is therefore regarded as the god of Faunus as well.
- Farscape: The ancient Eidelons were considered this to some degree for their ability to promote peace and understanding between different cultures. After most of them were wiped out, the galaxy descended into an age of strife. When the last remnants of their civilization was discovered, the survivors were able to repair some of the damage.
- In Judaism, the Israelites (and their descendants) are God's Chosen people. This is in regard how certain people among the Israelites are chosen to carry-out divine missions, or are exempt from specific declarations and boundaries brought up by God. However, God does make it clear in the story of Jonah that He is the God of All nations, and gets angry when Jonah is unwilling to preach so the people of Ninevah (Assyrians) can be saved.
- The Hebrew Bible alters between Playing this Straight and Subverting it - in the Book of Amos alone contains both references to God only knowing Israel (3:2) and holding all nations to the same standard (9:7). Although this makes more sense when you understand chosenness as being chosen for a task (like being a light to other nations) rather than being loved more than others, this begins to make a bit more sense.
- In the case of Israel, being "Chosen" also means having responsibilities. Several times Israel is punished for failing to uphold their part of the Covenant with God. Israel as a whole is a Tribe of Priests leading by exemple the entire human race.
- This is further clarified in Christianity. It's made clear that while the Jewish people were God's chosen people, part of the reason they're chosen is to be ambassadors to everyone else; the choice isn't exclusive. Also contains an interesting inversion of Ethnic God, where God essentially joins the Israelite race.
- The Demigods of Shinkoku from Asura's Wrath were originally a civilization of regular humans that were chosen by Chakravartin to wield the esoteric power known as mantra as a part of a long-term plot to choose his successor as Gaia's divine ruler. They would use this power to advance their civilizations, becoming so physically and technologically superior to the rest of mankind that they were worshiped as gods.
- In Destiny, a massive space-faring sphere known as the Traveler makes itself known to mankind. Not only does it sacrifice parts of its own power to stave off the Darkness, but it also provides an arsenal for humanity to defend itself with and the power of resurrection to the Guardians of the last city. This has inspired much envy from aliens of other races, including Dominos Ghaul and the Cabal. This isn't the first time this has happened either; the Traveler has chosen multiple races before humanity, including another race that they fight, the Fallen, but each one has been destroyed by the Hive, an Evil Twin of this trope who have been chosen by the Darkness, the Traveler's archenemy. They do this because the Darkness wants them to return the universe to its "true form", where conflict and survival of the fittest is what decides how life proceeds.
- Dragon Quest VI: The people of Ghent (the Ghentiles) believe themselves chosen by the Goddess. This results in some of them being Holier Than Thou types, but they soon get over it.
- The Elder Scrolls series includes numerous forms of deities who have had direct, tangible impacts on the mortal world. Included are these deities expressing favoritism toward specific races or groups of people. A few prominent examples:
- Both Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus (the mortal plane), and the Aedra, "original spirit" beings who followed Lorkhan's plan to create Mundus, are said to "belove" the races of Men. Both Lorkhan (in his various Shezzarine forms) and the Aedra have directly aided the races of Men in conflicts against the Races of Mer (Elves) over the centuries, (particularly during the Alessian Revolt of the 1st Era). In the words of one of their own, these beings love the races of Men because they find "strength-in-weakness" in their mortal forms (as opposed to most of the Elves who feel that the mortal world is a prison) and who live with passion and hope despite always being doomed to death in the end.
- The Dunmer (Dark Elves) primarily worship three patron Daedric Princes ("original spirits" who did not participate in the creation of Mundus) - Azura, Boethiah, and Mephala. Known as the "Good Daedra" to the Dunmer, these deities led them away from their decadent Altmeri (High Elf) cousins in the Summerset Isles to their promised land of Morrowind (in a manner very similar to the Biblical Exodus). There, they taught the Dunmer to survive in its harsh climate surrounded by many powerful, antagonistic neighbors (Nords, Dwemer, etc.) They also taught the Dunmer how to avoid succumbing to the four "Bad Daedra" - Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, Sheogorath, and Malacath. Though the Dunmeri Tribunal caused the Dunmer to go away from the worship of the Good Daedra for a few thousand years, Azura (through the events of Morrowind) brought them back within her sway.
- Speaking of Malacath, he provides a great example of how the deities of the series are subject to in-universe Alternative Character Interpretation depending on one's cultural lens. Considered a "Bad Daedra" by the Dunmer (and not considered much better by any other race), he is the patron and divine ancestor of the Orsimer (Orcish) people.
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the Heron Tribe Laguz claim that they are the closest to the setting's goddess. The given reason for this is that their hearts are much more balanced between order and chaos than either beorc or their fellow laguz; this makes them the only race that can safely hold Lehran's Medallion. Their claim also put them into conflict with the Empire of Begnion, who claim that their empress has the power to directly speak to the goddess; the herons claim that the empress's powers are a lie. This conflict is why the citizens of Begnion were so quick to believe that a race of Actual Pacifists could assassinate the empress. The irony is that the empresses of Begnion have their powers because they are beorc-heron hybrids who inherited their power from the individual heron that was the closest to the goddess.
- One of the Kiith (clans) from Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, Kiith Siidim, believe that they are this to the god of the Hiigarans, Sajuuk, and that they will ascend to the stars while the other Kiith remain on their homeworld of Kharak. They believe this so strongly, in fact, that in their people's distant past during a religious war against another Kiith, they declared that all sources of water around their territory were theirs and brutally kicked out any Kiith that lived around them as "unclean."
- In Halo, the unfathomably powerful Precursors known as the Forerunners waged war with Advanced Ancient Humans, reducing them to stone-age primitives surviving only on a single planet, only to learn they were Invading Refugees fleeing an all-consuming parasitic Hive Mind known as "the Flood". Realizing the only way to stop the flood was to starve it of biomass, they committed a species-wide Heroic Suicide using the Halo array to exterminate nearly all life in the Galaxy, save for a few protected pockets. Knowing that this would leave a massive power vacuum, they designated humanity as the "Reclaimers", their chosen successors and the only species who can activate their technology, in recognition of their potential. Unfortunately, humanity is completely ignorant of this, and the only people who do know are the leaders of the Covenant, a powerful alien theocracy that worships the Forerunners. Upon learning that they are not, in fact, the Chosen People, the Covenant "Prophets" decide to cover up the discovery by exterminating humanity.
- The Forerunners themselves proclaimed themselves to be the chosen of their own Precursors, selected to bear the “Mantle of Responsibility” that granted them stewardship of the galaxy. But near the end of the war against the Flood, the Forerunners (re)discovered the truth: the Precursors didn’t choose them at all. In fact, they were planning to choose humanity. The ancient Forerunners, enraged at being passed over, slaughtered the Precursors and lied about the Mantle to justify their dominion of the galaxy, and over time forgot and/or covered up the truth. The designation of humanity as their Reclaimers was in part the deliberate righting of an ancient wrong.
- Horizon Zero Dawn:
- The Nora believe that they hold the preeminent place in the eyes of the All-Mother, by virtue of never leaving the Embrace. Other tribes are compared to wayward children, who have forfeited her protection, and thus are not to be interacted with unless absolutely necessary. This attitude is extended to Nora who leave the Embrace (except for the extremely rare Seekers). One of the reasons that the Nora are seen as savages by everyone else is simply because no one else ever meets a Nora.
- Not unlike the Nora's own belief, Carja theology holds that the Carja occupy a special place under the Sun, as its anointed people. However, unlike the Nora, the Carja also believe that since the Sun shines on all tribes and peoples, the Carja are still obligated to help them when they can. The previous Sun-King was The Caligula who decided the best way for other tribes to bring glory to the Sun was to be sacrificed in the Sun Ring. Most of the politics in the game revolves around the new Sun-King trying to make up for his father's horrific foreign policy.
- The Quen introduced in Horizon Forbidden West believe that they were chosen by "The Ancestors" (the Old Ones) with the key to rediscovering their "hidden" or "forbidden" knowledge by virtue of having discovered Focuses.
- In the The Legend of Zelda franchise, Hylians are a sub-category of humans that are differentiated by their long, elf-like ears. Their ears distinguish them as the Chosen People of their goddesses and allow them to hear what others cannot.
- Oddworld: The Modukons believed themselves the chosen people after the appearance of a moon with the shape of a modukon hand on its face. They became arrogant and this alienated their former allies the Glukkons who eventually underwent an industrial revolution and enslaved them.
- A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: The Winged people's religion says that they are the special children of the "Mother".
- Xenoblade Chronicles 1: The Pureblood High Entia believe themselves to be the chosen of the Bionis, and it's not uncommon for them to arrogantly insist that they are superior to all other life. They also believe themselves superior to the half-Homs High Entia, who despite being officially encouraged by the crown (in fact, it's tradition for the king to have a Homs mistress, and his half-Homs daughter is a fully recognized princess) are looked down by the purebloods. Part of this is because of a number of visions and prophecies, where the Bionis himself calls the High Entia his chosen people. Turns out that they were chosen to be his mindless army of slaves. When the Bionis awakens, he transforms the purebloods into the monstrous telethia. Only the half-Homs are spared, which was the reason for the long breeding program.