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Playing With / In Mysterious Ways

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Basic Trope: The way God intervenes in human affairs is incomprehensible.

  • Straight: The strange events of the plot are revealed to be down to God playing a plan so complicated only He could possibly keep track of it.
  • Exaggerated: God's interventions take the form of the Butterfly Effect.
  • Downplayed: Mortals have a general idea of what God is up but it's about as effective as predicting the weather.
  • Justified:
    • God doesn't want humans to be certain that he's intervened, so he only does so in the most convoluted and unpredictable way possible.
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    • God's Hands Are Tied and so he can only help in a indirect manner that cannot be traced back to Him.
  • Inverted: People think a miracle must have occurred, but it turns out God has no idea how it happened.
  • Subverted: He gives the whole "thou canst not know the mind of God" spiel... Until someone reveals The Man Behind the Curtain.
  • Double Subverted: As the characters storm out in disgust, the man behind the curtain smiles to himself, turns to the camera and winks.
  • Parodied:
    • God's interventions are entirely mundane and idiotic - while he thinks these minor tweaks are pulling the puppet-strings of the world, everyone else is utterly bemused.
    • God creates a cosmic Rube Goldberg Device whose ultimate result is to pants someone. A crowd of atheists gather to discuss theories of how it happened and some of them are stranger than the truth.
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  • Zig Zagged: God causes Obscure Event A but claims not to have caused Confusing Event B, then A and B intersect and cause Bewildering Event C which was His plan all along, then Event D happens...
  • Averted: God did or didn't do it and this is made very clear.
  • Enforced: "If we make a definite statement about the existence of God either way, someone is going to complain. Better to make a vague faux-philosophical platitude about the ineffability of the divine, then everyone's happy."
  • Lampshaded: "God must be pushing butterflies again... Would it be so much trouble for Him to tell us what's going on?"
  • Invoked: God pretends to be mysterious and ineffable so people will think he's in control - in reality, he's as mystified as everyone else.
  • Exploited:
    • The way God intervenes is with some goal other than being mysterious, but the vague, confusing nature of it makes a convenient smokescreen if need be.
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    • A Sinister Minister uses this doctrine to roundaboutly justify his actions.
  • Defied: God explains exactly how he caused what happened.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Implied: Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane
  • Deconstructed: God's tendency to work through overly complicated chain reactions is inefficient, allowing deaths and suffering that could have been avoided if He had just taken an active involvement. As a result, people begin to suspect that He isn't really helping at all but is simply taking credit for all good events whilst writing off the bad as part of some undefined plan. Meanwhile those pesky atheists keep pointing out that a God controlling the universe in an incomprehensible way looks exactly the same as a universe doing incomprehensible things all on its own.
  • Reconstructed:

Seek the path back to In Mysterious Ways, and the Lord shall provide.

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