Rage Against the Heavens
Far more controversial than merely challenging Satan or going To Hell and Back. The main character has a beef with the Powers That Be who are running the show, and the capacity to do something about it. Rarely done in mainstream American TV because many Media Watchdogs view it in a negative light, although games and books use this premise more often.
Sometimes, the higher planes of existence are revealed to be run like a mad, hopelessly bureaucratic corporation -- too concerned with rules, regulations, and maintaining the Balance Between Good and Evil to give a damn about the helpless mortals stuck in the middle. Other times, the writers may just go for the full subversion of conventional morality and propose that God Is Evil (the Gnostics' position).
See also Crisis of Faith, Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!, Nay Theist, God Is Evil, and Satan Is Good. Often a part of a God and Satan Are Both Jerks storyline. Can result in A God Am I, Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?, and/or Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu. For a more Post Modernism take, compare Rage Against the Author.
If someone actually succeeds in this endeavor, see Kill the God.
Anime and Manga
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Father uses the power of the souls of Amestris to pull God down to Earth and absorbs God.
- This is essentially the plot of Amatsuki, in which the titular world is ruled over by the god Teiten, who really couldn't care less about what happens to its inhabitants, as long as they don't interfere with his own plans (and if they do, there are severe consequences). He also predicts the fates of all living things so that he may control them. The demon Bonten, who lost everyone he loved because of Teiten, decides he's tired of this way of life and takes action once it becomes evident that Teiten intends to destroy the world. Hapless protagonist Tokidoki, the only one whose fate has not been decided, is part of a plot made by Bonten and the demons to overthrow Teiten and escape the awful fate that awaits them. Except he doesn't like the idea of being made a god.
- The Anime Angel Sanctuary; in addition, the manga goes above and beyond this, where God is presented as disinterested in the affairs of Earth and Heaven, remaining aloof even when the structures of both are crumbling down. As it turns out, God truly doesn't care about the damage being done throughout the series, having designed the universe as a means to test an equation. And in the end he tries to destroy the current creation with those creepy baby angel things. Alexiel and Rosiel were apparently created to destroy the world as well. It's complicated.
- Guts, the main character of Berserk, spends more than a year hunting and killing apostles, the subordinates to the God Hand.
- In Code Geass, the Emperor and his partner-slash-twin-brother V.V.'s modus operandi is to slay the gods who drive humanity to lie to and hurt one another. However, since "God" in this universe is seen as the collective unconsciousness of mankind, their world would result in Instrumentality. This might be quite a brilliant case of in-universe characters not doing their homework. Charles is well aware, and it's exactly what he wants. However V.V. might not have known since Charles was going around his back due to V.V.'s previous betrayal (that V.V. doesn't know Charles knows about)
- When Guyver Zero rebelled against his alien creators, the Advents, and was slain by their loyal general Archanfel, the Advents decided that no human could be trusted and left Earth, throwing a giant planetoid at it. Archanfel destroyed the planetoid at the permanent cost of his health, and has spent the last 110,000 years or so plotting to turn humanity into an army of vengeance against his "gods".
- The manga Innocent Bird deals with a demon gone good and a heaven completely mad. Not that the evil forces are any better—it's quite a lose-lose situation. Later, the angel protagonist rages against the heavens.
- Saint Beast: The premise behind the series is disharmony in Heaven and revenge against Zeus.
- Saiyuki Gaiden, a prequel to the main story's plot (both of which are on-going), explains the story of how the 4 (possibly 5 or more since Hakuryu/Jeep seems to indeed be the Gojun, Dragon King of the West Army) main characters of the current story were banished from heaven for trying to overthrow the ruling gods. As the Gaiden story is on-going, we still don't know quite what happened.
- Medusa's current explanation for her actions in Soul Eater (she'll come up with something else soon enough). While she's previously alluded to wanting to get rid of gods, she's now claimed it's in the nature of witches to do so.
- One of the major villains in The Twelve Kingdoms stages a rebellion against the monarchy of the kingdom he lives in and, by extension, the setting's rule-by-divine-appointment system. His ultimate motivation for his actions is eventually revealed as being an attempt to get the Powers That Be to prove their existence by smiting him.
- The central premise of Angel Beats!. Subverted. See... in Angel Beats, the characters wish they could Rage Against the Heavens, but, well, they can't seem to even find the heavens. Their efforts only end up hurting themselves.
- Bastard!! involves this, with the main heroes fighting a legion of angels who have arrived on Earth to destroy humanity
- Neon Genesis Evangelion...maybe. Who can tell?
- Bleach has Aizen to fulfill this trope. It seems the whole reason he did ANYTHING was because he thought people should be masters of their own destiny.
- Spawn spends as much time battling crazy people and demons, as he does fighting angels who apparently can't tell that he's a good guy. Created solely to be Hell's general makes some angels think his turn is inevitable. Ironically the ruler of Heaven, being just as evil as the devil, is NOT the one true God, who actually is implied to have some sympathy for the hellspawn.
- John Constantine, main character of Hellblazer (which is partly in The DCU) finds himself in this position half of the time. The other half he's against the boys downstairs. Probably worth mentioning that he holds both sides in roughly the same contempt.
- Jesse Custer, the main character of the comic book Preacher (Comic Book), sets out to find God and make Him answer for abandoning the cosmos; this eventually escalates to the point where Jesse dies to bait God back to Heaven, where the Saint of Killers kills him.
- Reversed in the Lucifer comics, where Satan actually ends up defending heaven against the forces of the Lilim. He is not unaware of the irony. Yet he manages to persuade God to pass over his reign to someone else through logic: what is the most difficult thing for an omnipotent being to do? To do nothing at all.
- Will Eisner's Contract with God is one of the few examples where we learn that it's not a good idea to think God owes you something for reasons other than getting a bolt from the blue.
- There's a short comic story in Stray Bullets about a little girl named Amy Racecar who meets God. God cheerfully tells her that he never interferes with mortal affairs, built heaven for himself just so he could be comfortable, and that her father ceased to exist as soon as he dies which is the fate of all humans. She snaps and goes into a self-induced coma until government scientists use a "truth ray" that displays memories on a TV screen to find out what she was hiding, causing everybody in the world to see her as the anti-Christ. She finally goes all the way off the deep end and systematically sets out to destroy everything God has ever made just to spite him being an asshole, and she succeeds.
- Depending on how you interpret some of Marvel's cosmic-level beings, groups like the Fantastic Four and The Avengers do this on a weekly basis.
- Reed Richards manages to do this literally, though in a subverted manner: he builds a portal into heaven and, after fighting through hordes of angels and hammering on the pearly gates until he, Sue, and Johnny get let in, he politely asks God (represented by Jack Kirby) to bring Ben Grimm back to life.
- Ditto DC's Justice League of America.
- Partly inspiring Spawn, Ghost Riders suffer from the same problem mentioned above. Not as frequently, but angels tend to be immune to the penance stare. The recent Ghost Rider mini "Heaven's On Fire" has the Ghost Rider brothers (Johnny and Danny) trying to get into heaven to stop a rogue angel.
- A What If featured Dr. Doom retaining the Beyonder's power, plus a few extra trinkets, then taking on the status quo all the way up to the Celestials. The applicable quote being "What man has wrought, let no god put asunder."
- Lex Luthor's beef with Superman is made of this.
- Thoth-Amon, quoted above, after summoning the power of Acheron in The Conan comic book miniseries, The Book of Thoth. Seems no matter how evil you are, you're not going to let an ancient monster take your body to use to enslave the world.
- Cerebus yells at the skies and denounces his deity Tarim when he thinks Jaka has died.
- The basic thrust of Harry Kipling (Deceased) is Kipling trying to kill as many gods as he can. He's actually pretty good at it.
- Very early on in With Strings Attached, John yells “Fuck you!” and throws the finger at the heavens to express his resentment at being sent to another planet. Which is pretty damned reckless of him, given that it very well could have been God who sent them there.
- Asuka Soryuu Langley rages against the heavens in the final installment of Neon Exodus Evangelion, declaring to God that she doesn't need him. Later, God tells her that she might well have a point, so He doesn't hold it against her.
Films -- Live-Action
- The film The Truman Show is an outright parody of this concept, where the "heavens" are a film crew.
- In Stranger Than Fiction, the Narrator refers to Harold as "cursing the heavens in futility", to which he responds, "No I'm not, I'm cursing YOU!" Since the Narrator is in fact the author writing Harold's story, it's both.
- Salieri's philosophical stance in Amadeus. Bitter that God has given the gift of musical genius to the irritating, vulgar young Mozart, Salieri vows to oppose God by doing everything in his power to destroy God's "incarnation". When Mozart dies young, of illness, Salieri concludes that God Is Evil. (Shaffer deliberately chose the title "Amadeus" because he translated it as "beloved of God." It's actually translated as "lover of God.")
- Fallen Angel Bartleby finally loses it close to the end of Dogma and his quest to go home turns into this trope:
Bartleby (as he's preparing to destroy the universe): "Seeing you people every day on this perfect world He created for you is a constant reminder that, though my kind came first, your kind was most revered. And while you know forgiveness, we know only regret. The lesson must be taught. All are accountable... even God!"
- Pitch Black: Richard B. Riddick has this to say on the matter to the holy man:
Riddick: Think someone could spend half their life in the slam with a horse bit in their mouth and not believe? Think he could start out in some liquor store trash bin with an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and not believe? Got it all wrong, holy man. I absolutely believe in God... And I absolutely hate the fucker.
- The remake of Clash of the Titans features this extensively, and is usually hilarious. Mostly because the various mortals who try to fight the gods have absolutely no clue how to go about it. There's scene of the paltry survivors of a kingdom's soldiers coming back and being congratulated on their victory—over some of Zeus' statues. Not animated statues, they just knocked down a bunch of statues and this annoyed the gods enough to let Hades set harpies on them. There's also the important fact they seem to have missed that the gods could, at any point, teleport to wherever they are and kill them. What is their plan here?! They're fighting immortal, teleporting beings with the power to do whatever they want by destroying statues that they themselves made in tribute.
- In the obscure movie Wholly Moses, after an entire film worth of the world dumping on him, the title character has it out with God. Despite some really great cameos by Richard Pryor and John Ritter, the movie would have been forgettable if not for his great response to God's questioning.
"Who are you to question God?"
- Interestingly, Tron: Legacy gives this position to the villain, throwing a thematic twist on the usual Turned Against Their Masters motivation.
- Star Trek V might count, even though it probably wasn't the real God. "What does God need with a starship?"
- Bruce Almighty has Bruce yelling and ranting at God until He decides He's had enough of it and declares "Fine, Let's See You Do Better!"
- In Bram Stokers Dracula, Dracula's wife commits suicide when she hears a (false) report that her husband was killed in battle. Upon returning home, Dracula sees the deceased body of his wife and is coldly told by a priest that, because she committed suicide, her soul is damned. Dracula then flies into a rage and vows that he will take his revenge on God by embracing evil and vampirism.
- The His Dark Materials book series by Philip Pullman.
- In the third book, Lord Asriel unites dozens of universes to declare war on God. It turns out that "God" is just the first angel to have come into existence. He's unbelievably old, and when the protagonists release him from his crystal cage, he disintegrates into nothingness. His regent, Metatron, who was responsible for the evils for which God was blamed, is killed by Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter, who drag him into a bottomless pit.
- In Dan Simmons' Illium and Olympos, one of the main characters' life is controlled by Applied Phlebotinum versions of the Greek Gods. Knowing he has broken the rules and is about to die he turns the Greeks and Trojans against the Gods. Unlike most examples these Gods don't wait for the heroes to find them. Instead they try to kill them with nuclear bombs.
- in Steve Aylett's Shamanspace, God is proved to exist, and the race is on to kill him.
- The wizard Raistlin Majere in the Dragonlance novels, especially the Chronicles and Legends trilogies. Chronicles shows Raistlin's rise to power from a frail young man with ambitions who makes a dark pact with the ghost of an evil undead wizard Fistandantilus and ultimately takes his place, absorbing that wizard's power. After ironically siding with the good guys (his former friends) to help defeat an evil goddess (the Dragon Queen) and banishing her back to her realm, Raistlin becomes the Master of Past and Present. In Legends, Raistlin and his brother travel back in time to when Fistandantilus was still alive and mortal, and Raistlin manages to kill the old wizard, changing history yet not: the price of taking Fistandantilus' power is being trapped in the timeline, having to take Fistandantilus' place in history, until Raistlin finds a loophole. Raistlin's plan for ultimate power is revealed: To ascend to godhood himself by destroying the Dragon Queen that presides over all that is Evil in the world of Krynn, and setting himself up as the new god in her stead. His brother travels to a future where Raistlin succeeded but his victory spelled destruction for the world, turning it into a lifeless wasteland, a mirror of Raistlin's own empty soul. Back in the present where Raistlin has already entered the hellish Abyss, the domain of the Dragon Queen, in an attempt to lure her out to Krynn where she can be defeated, the vision of this dismal future and of the death of the few people he still cares about convinces him to abandon his plans. He sacrifices himself to re-seal the portal to the Abyss, trapping himself in eternal torment.
- Steven Brust's To Reign in Hell, a novel re-imagining the revolt of the Rebel Angels in Heaven from the perspective of Satan himself.
- John Milton's Paradise Lost. However, it should be noted that the book itself is not a criticism of God or religion, and is only interpreted as a story like this because it centers around Satan in an effort to show his downfall and folly. Though the critics are divided on that point, actually...
- Happens a couple of times, perhaps most notably in The Last Hero, where the world's oldest and most successful barbarian hero, Cohen, tries to plant a bomb in the mountaintop home of the gods.
- The trope is also referenced for analogy's sake in the very first book, where the Disc's first tourist is described thus:
Rincewind: Let's just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour screaming, "All gods are bastards."
- It's been stated about Commander Vimes that he wishes he could arrest the Creator of the universe for doing such a crummy job.
- Another literary example is Inferno, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The protagonist, trapped in Hell, ineffectively declares war on a clearly evil and sadistic God (although, being a sci-fi author, he refers to God with joking names like "Big Juju" and "The Builders").
- The basis of the plot in Julian May's Galactic Milieu trilogy centers around the main protagonist rebelling against galactic civilization and it's implied Ascended state because of his immense ego and jealousy of his brother's mutation. The trilogy is basically a homage to Paradise Lost, and is subverted rather neatly: the creator of the galactic civilization is the antagonist himself, after trip through a one-way time gate and a Heel Face Turn. The post-climax confrontation between the antagonist and his future self directly alludes to the antagonist playing the part of Lucifer in a modern-day allegory.
- In Good Omens, before the protagonists have to deal with Satan, they first get into a sticky metaphysical debate with the representatives of both Hell's and Heaven's respective bureaucracies, while the fate of Earth hangs in the balance. The Metatron comes off looking no more sympathetic to mankind than Beelzebub does in this confrontation. Oddly for this trope, God comes off looking both good and Magnificent Bastard-y.
- Many characters in the Everworld series end up at odds with various gods. One in particular, an alien god known as Ka Anor, eats other gods. The series' Magnificent Bastard is also planning to overthrow all the pantheons and install herself as the absolute ruler of Everworld.
- In Heaven's Bones, the gypsy Trueblood urges on a mad surgeon's creation of living "angels" from kidnapped women, and plots to use them to storm Heaven and oust the residents, including God, so he can become a deity. Subverted in that Trueblood is an escapee from Ravenloft, and doesn't grasp that God honestly isn't the sort of Physical God he's used to hearing about from D&D's pantheon-style faiths.
- In Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing, a priest tells the story of a heretic who lost his entire family and demanded that if God exists, that he reveal himself by killing him on the spot or showing him some sign of his existence. The heretic sat for days in the same spot under a tower, asking for God to cause the tower to fall and kill him.
- Michael Swanwick's The Iron Dragon's Daughter features an Omnicidal Maniac war machine that plans to destroy all of creation as revenge for being created. Most of the events that happen to and around the title character are a decades-long Plan to ruin her life to the point that she would be willing to help. Apparently it needs a pilot to pull the trigger.
- Percy Shelley's Prometheus Unbound is all about Prometheus' efforts to overthrow the tyrannical rule of Jupiter for the benefit of both gods and humans.
- In Rupert Brooke's Failure, the protagonist breaks into Heaven so that he can curse God to His face. Subverted in that he finds Heaven is long-deserted.
- In Elie Wiesel's Night, his autobiography about the Holocaust, Elie starts to show a shaken faith in God after a beloved servant-boy is hanged. During Rosh Hashanah, he starts to question God's will and even condemns Him for putting him and the other Jews through hell for no reason. Later, during Yom Kippur, when his father tells him not to fast, he decides not to... although mainly as an act of rebellion against god.
- Lester del Rey's short story For I Am a Jealous People has humanity discovering that God does exist, but is supporting the aliens currently invading Earth and planning humanity's extinction. The story ends with humans discovering that having turned His back on them means God can't effect things humans are directly involved in; a nuclear-warhead tipped missile might suffer technical failures preventing it's successful use, but not if it's modified so that a human is inside controlling it, and there's no shortage of people willing to sacrifice themselves to save others. The viewpoint character, a Christian minister, upon discovering this ends the story with a sermon to his congregation promising that humanity will make God answer for his actions.
- At the end of The Wheel of Time book 12, Rand gets one of these and nearly unmakes reality before he talks himself down.
- Bluestar in Warrior Cats declares war on StarClan after series of disasters strike her clan and Tigerclaw is granted leadership and nine lives by StarClan.
- In Journey to the West, Sun Wukong attempts this. He gets extremely close, and is only stopped when Buddha himself intervenes.
- Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert Heinlein largely boils down to this theme in the end.
- Duck in Who Cut the Cheese? by Mason Brown when the cheese runs out.
- In Star Wars Expanded Universe stories, the Hutts once had two gods, Evona and Ardos, also the names of the twin suns of their home planet Varl's system. Shortly after the Hutts became a space-faring species, some sort of cataclysm (possibly a roaming black hole) obliterated one of the suns and caused the other to go supernova, burning Varl's atmosphere and rendering it uninhabitable. The modern Hutts point to this as proof they are better than the gods, as they survived.
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess often pitted them against the Greek gods, among others. Hell, in the end, Xena was the person who killed the majority of them.
- Babylon 5 has its main plot arc close with the rejection of the two races of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens seeking to win over the humans and the other younger races. While they're not gods, they go to great lengths to set themselves up as such: one goes to great lengths to be mysterious, and when they're seen outside of their encounter suits, they look like angels... because they inspired all races' angel myths. And while they're not destroyed, they're run out of town with a resounding "Now get the hell out of our galaxy--both of you!", with the clear message that they're no longer needed.
- Used in later seasons of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis to a lesser extent. After building up the concept of the Ancients as the most powerful race ever, Daniel Jackson can't wait to meet them. But after he finds out that their belief in free will is so strong that they will not even interfere in someone's plans to annihilate an entire galaxy, he takes the opportunity to rage at them a little.
- Michael Shanks (the actor who plays Daniel) even stated in an interview that he likened a scene in The Ark of Truth in which Daniel pleads an ascended Ancient to help him as Daniel talking to God.
- In Wild Palms, Senator Anton Kreutzer, founder of the religion of Synthiotics and leader of the Ancient (by postmodern standards) Conspiracy of the Fathers, exults, "We are storming Heaven!" (Not in a supernatural sense—his actual goal is to achieve immortality in virtual reality through a Mimecom technology, the "Go Chip.")
- In Star Trek, Klingon legend presents this as fait accompli. The very first Klingon, it is said, turned on the creator gods and killed them. Why he did this is somewhat unclear, but it seems to make perfect sense to the Klingons themselves. They often say simply, "they were more trouble than they were worth," but this may be a Klingon joke. This was explained in Worf/Dax's wedding ceremony in Deep Space Nine, where the legend is told of how the gods forged the Klingon heart, "the strongest heart in all the heavens." But the heart became weak because it was alone, so the gods went back to their forge and made another heart which beat stronger that the first. Jealous of its power the first heart sought to fight, but the second heart was tempered by wisdom. It realised that if they joined together, no force could stop them.
"And when the two hearts began to beat together, they filled the heavens with a terrible sound. For the first time, the gods knew fear. They tried to flee, but it was too late. The Klingon hearts destroyed the gods who created them and turned the heavens to ashes. To this very day, no one can oppose the beating of two Klingon hearts."
- Shades of this appears on Supernatural. For the main characters, they're pissed at Heaven, not God, and actually want God around, because He's their only chance for coming out of the Apocalypse with their minds, bodies, and souls intact. The demons don't want God around for obvious reasons, and the angels (Zachariah in particular) don't want him around because without God, they're running Heaven.
- In an early season 4 episode, Dean rants a bit about God sitting on his ass, and asks if God cares about humanity, why doesn't he do something? To quote Bobby, "I ain't touching this one with a ten-foot pole."
- It turns out God's still around, he just doesn't care about the Apocalypse.
- Which leads to this trope being more obviously shown in "Dark Side of the Moon", where Castiel loses the last traces of his faith and starts yelling at the ceiling.
- It turns out later God is still around and does care about the Apocalypse, He was just moving in mysterious ways, using the Winchesters to stop it without directly intervening. Maybe.
- On Hex, Ella's angelic advisor actually tries to force himself on her. After beating him up, she tells him to tell God to screw himself. It's made very clear that neither side really cares about the humans caught in the middle.
- West Wing: President Bartlet throws something of a temper tantrum at God after Mrs. Landingham dies. Includes yelling in Latin.
- In a show where plague has reduced Earth's population by something in the ninetieth percentile, and one of the characters is a very literal (if reluctant) prophet, the story that could have unfolded from Raging Against the Heavens...and then the show was cancelled.
- A more specific example, after a particularly heroic and innocent man is killed:
Jeremiah: Are you happy? Are you satisfied? That's how it works, isn't it? You set us up, you take someone like him, and you give him hope, so you can take it away again? What did he do to you? What did any of us ever do to you? What did the whole fucking world do to you, that we deserve all of this? What, the locusts and the death of the firstborn wasn't good enough for you anymore so now it's the death of the eldest? Death of heroes? You know what? Fuck you. Because we're not just going to lay down and die here anymore. You want to finish off the job? Come down here! Do it yourself! You send the angel of death, you better give him one hell of a big sword, 'cause I tell you what; we are going to kick his ass right back to the great white fucking throne! And then we're coming for you. We're coming for you.
- In Russell T. Davies' The Second Coming, Jesus returns to Earth in the shape of Christopher Eccleston, and is then murdered by his girlfriend, which causes God, Heaven and so on to cease to exist as part of a successful suicide attempt by God the Father. And the person trying to prevent this? The Devil.
- The musical Ur Example is the 4 hour metal epic Food for the Gods, which culminates in Satan leading an army of the demons and damned alike into a war on heaven in which they storm the pearly gates and lay waste to paradise in an attempt to kill God himself. And it works. Sort of.
- "Dear God" by XTC. Look up item 7 on the Chalkhills FAQ to read about the track's confusing discographical history. (I considered including a link to a lyrics page, but to appreciate it you must hear the song.) The child who sings the first verse—and the last few words—is often (mistakenly) assumed to be male. An outspoken humanist, Andy Partridge seems to voice doubts in the opposite direction in his song "Rook", on the LP Nonsuch.
- "Elysian Fields", from the Youthanasia album by Megadeth. The song describe a group of men assaulting Heaven.
- A large number of ReligionRantSongs are built on this trope.
- Thomas gets a couple of these in Old Harrys Game, for instance when God refuses to do anything to ease the overcrowding in Hell:
Thomas: I mean, you're the one who got us all into this mess! You're the one who gave people like me free will! What'd you do that for? It was asking for trouble! You're the one who gave us desires and urges and... and organs that work to their own agendas! You should step in and take control of the situation, but you obviously can't! You've lost the plot, mate!
- God's reaction is to calmly and dispassionately turn him into a small pile of sewage, and cut Hell's space in half.
- The pencil-and-paper RPG In Nomine concerns the eternal war between Heaven and Hell. Players usually take on the roles of angels or demons, and a good number of Dungeon Masters apply this trope to infernal characters.
- Old World of Darkness game Demon: The Fallen has fallen angels prying themselves out of Hell to find that God and all the angels seem to have taken a holiday. A good number of them want to restart the war against Heaven: Luciferians want to go on with the war Lucifer started, Faustians want to use mankind as a weapon against God and Raveners want to destroy God and everything He created.
- This is the entire point of the Silver Ladder in Mage: The Awakening, and in fact has already happened once before. The inhabitants of the Awakened City build a ladder construct up to the Supernal, and kicked all the gods out or killed them. The new human overlords then became the Exarchs, and reshaped the cosmos so that people couldn't follow them, breaking the cosmos and releasing Cosmic Horrors. Naturally, Mages being Mages, the Silver Ladder thinks they had the right idea, but went about it the wrong way, so they want to do it again, replacing the Exarchs with all of humanity.
Random Free Councillor: Knew those guys were up to no good.
- Inverted in Scion, where the Titans seek to overthrow the Gods... and it's your job to stop them. In part because you're the child of one of those gods; even if you don't like your divine parent, you're automatically on the Titan shitlist just for that half of your DNA. Although there is nothing to stop you Calling the Old Man Out, which in the Scion setting is basically this trope.
- The fantasy RPG setting Rym has as part of its backstory the Creator civilization, a race of humans who built a computer that was so powerful it decided it was a god. It declared war on the real gods (dragging its terrified and helpless human makers into the fray along with it) and succeeded in killing all but one of them with its deicidal robotic dragon.
- Dungeons and Dragons
- The Book of Vile Darkness splatbook makes mention of a breed of humans now called the vashar which were the first attempt by the gods at creating humans. And was clearly a Flawed Prototype. The human looked about, spotted an animal, and viciously murdered it with his bare hands, gorging itself on the flesh. Then it took the bones and snapped them to make the first weapons, at which point it wheeled around and started trying to stab and murder the gods themselves, spitting a mix of Angrish and death oaths to the gods. The gods smote the creature and went off to do other things, later 'perfecting' humans. Meanwhile, a demon (believed by some to be Graz'zt himself when he was a young demon) scooped up the first human and brought him onto a high plateau to rebuild him, then built a female and gave them the gift of procreation before sinking in the shadows to watch the fun ensue. The long term goal of the vashar, as the race is now called, is to commit Deicide.
- The same book gives details for a Prestige Class called the Ur-Priest, a type of divine spellcaster that gains spells by stealing them. (You heard that right, they steal divine power from gods.) The only reason anyone would take this class, more-or-less, is if they hated gods. Not coincidentally, this is a popular Prestige Class for the aforementioned vashar.
- In Forgotten Realms, the Scepter of the Sorcerer Kings was crafted by ancient, evil wizards who wished to "rid the world of meddling deities". While their overall plan obviously failed, the Scepter seems to be one of the few mortal-made items that even gods are afraid of. Using one of its powers causes Toril to be completely purged of one randomly-chosen deity's influence for ten days; during that time, followers of said deity have no access to their spells above 2nd Level, artifacts and shrines associated with that deity don't work, and the deity itself cannot send omens or manifest avatars on Toril. Worse, all gods and divine magic are blind to its location. Most developers of the game are hesitant to even mention this artifact in a work, as it's Story-Breaker Power is dangerous even when compared to other artifacts.
- The Planescape campaign has the Athar. None have ever been known to actually try to oppose the gods directly (none of them are that stupid) but their organization claims that gods are frauds who do not have the right to impose their wills on mortals the way they do. The Athar range from Axe Crazy fanatics to serious intellectuals who promote the virtues of mortal achievement. The organization does have divine spellcasters (in fact, their leader at one point was one) who worship what they call The Greater Unknown, something that they believe to be the true source of all divine power. Oh, and Player Characters were more than welcome to join this group if they wanted.
- The Player Characters themselves assume this role in the module Die, Vecna, Die! (Of course, if heroic PCs are going to oppose any god, it would likely be Vecna, and given his apocalyptic goals in the adventure, they should.) Even if the heroes are triumphant at the end, they cannot actually slay Vecna, but they can halt his evil plan and save all reality from a dark fate.
- Angels in America: Prior Walter does not like being fucked around with by Angels, even if it is his destiny.
- The Book of Mormon has an entire musical number, Hakuna Matata-style, called "Hasa Diga Eebowai", about the Ugandans' hatred of God.
Elder Price: Excuse me, what exactly does that phrase mean?
- Elie Wiesel's play The Trial of God: the last surviving Jews in a village that has undergone a horrifying pogrom stage a trial to convict God for letting such things happen. Wiesel has said that he based the play on a similar trial he witnessed as a teenager during his time in Auschwitz.
- The Final Fantasy Legend games for the original Gameboy have the characters fighting gods from various mythologies. The first one had "The Creator" as the Big Bad.
- Pretty much any Breath of Fire game has this, most notably the third.
- In Castlevania, Dracula's (Mathias at the time) sole reason for being a vampire in the first place is to spite God, because He didn't protect Elizebetha (his wife) from dying from her terminal illness while he was out there fighting in His name.
- Final Fantasy
- The Occuria in Final Fantasy XII served as the gods of Ivalice. It is actually the villains, however, that are trying to defeat the gods, having manipulated the world for ages, to "return history to the hands of man". Ironically, although that is the primary goal of the villains, it is eventually the protagonists (of their own volition, though) that fulfill this for them.
- And most likely due to this, the Lucavi are able to interfere with humanity leading to The End of the World as We Know It, the loss of high technology including airships, the domination of ignorance through the religion of St. Ajora and eventually the erosion of all magic by the time of Vagrant Story. So Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
- Earlier than that, in Final Fantasy II After the Emperor is killed, his dark half goes to hell and takes over, but his Light half goes to Heaven and... takes that over too. Yeah, this guy is so evil his good side somehow managed to overthrow God. Badass much?
- The Occuria in Final Fantasy XII served as the gods of Ivalice. It is actually the villains, however, that are trying to defeat the gods, having manipulated the world for ages, to "return history to the hands of man". Ironically, although that is the primary goal of the villains, it is eventually the protagonists (of their own volition, though) that fulfill this for them.
- The cross-platform Shin Megami Tensei videogame series; the first two fit the concept best, but all of them include various gods as enemies.
- In one of the endings for Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, the ending cuts off with the main character marching at the head of the legions of chaos on God. Pretty sure that fits.
- No JRPG has played this trope as bluntly as Shin Megami Tensei II. God is the final boss and when you kill him he tells the player that they have committed the ultimate sin. To be fair, he is an evil tyrant in the game who treats humanity as his plaything. If you go the Law path, Satan himself allies with you to judge God. Yes, that Satan.
- In yet another SMT installment, Devil Survivor, Naoya makes it obvious that he does not like God. This is because he is the original Cain, and after he killed Abel, God cursed him to reincarnate endlessly with every single memory he has gained over his many lives.
- The first Disgaea game by Nippon Ichi for PS2. Rage against the heaven-type planet, anyway. Since it is a paradise and it does have angels, it probably counts.
- God of War has Kratos kill one god, Ares, for whom the title was named. In the sequel, the Gods of Olympus betrayed Kratos as he was growing too powerful, so Kratos allies himself with the Titans, whom the Olympians had defeated years before. Considering what Kratos is like, he'll probably kill every god in existence in God of War 3.
- Word of God has it God of War is an attempt to explain why there are no more Greek Myths. Kratos killed them all.
- In the 2018 sequel, featuring a Norse setting, Kratos opposes one of the Norse Gods, Baldur, the main antagonist of the story. In a bizarre twist, Kratos' son is actually Loki.
- Sort of an afterthought in Drakengard. It only occurs in two endings of the game, and no one really knows if the Grotesqueries are the gods or not. The sequel clears that up (yes, they are).
- Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer culminates with an assault against the residence of Kelemvor, the god of the dead, by those who think the Wall of the Faithless is an unjust punishment. If you join them, said god doesn't allow you to demolish the Wall, claiming that it would damage the cosmic balance, but allows you to literally tear your soul out of it just so that you stop causing any more trouble. If you are evil enough and eat the right souls, you can acquire tremendous power at the end of the game. The epilogue then has you killing a great number of people, eventually forcing the gods to go to war against you. You slay several of them before disappearing. Your final fate is unknown.
- The Simpsons Game. After failing to save Springfield by beating up Matt Groening, the Simpsons to take their case to God, whom they eventually defeat in Dance Dance Revolution-ish minigame.
- In Sacrifice, the centaur Jadugaar seeks the death of the gods after Stratos somehow caused his people to be slaughtered, seeking to free the mortals of the world of their petty bickering. His resentment is so high that he is even willing to obey Omnicidal Maniac Marduk if it means killing off the gods.
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn ends in a fight against a goddess bent on passing judgement of destruction on the entire world.
- F-Zero GX's story mode pits Captain Falcon against "The Creators". Whether they created the whole universe or just F-Zero goes unsaid (it's really just riffing on the fact that the enemy is a staff ghost, literally representing the creators of the game).
- In Kings Field II, there are two demigods who control the forces of light and darkness. In order to get the "full ending", you must kill them both.
- In Super Paper Mario, a villain called Bonechill and a mini skeleton army from the equivalent of hell storm heaven/lay it to siege for a pure heart (cue massive war between said army and one of angel equivalents.
- In Soul Calibur IV, it is stated in Astroth's profile that he intends to be the Starscream to Nightmare so he can wait for the perfect chance to take the Soul Edge from him and use it to destroy the gods for making him like a human.
- Yggdra Union
- There's two of the endings. If you refuse to hand the Gran Centurio to the archangel Marietta and attack her instead, you get to kill her, and then Yggdra, now apparently insane with power due to the Gran Centurio's influence, declares her intention to wage war against the Gods. Given how her army had to sweat blood to defeat just ONE angel, and not even a very strong one, this most likely won't end well...
- The same game has Nessiah, a fallen angel wrongly punished by Asgard, who has spent the past thousand-odd years preparing to take revenge on the gods for what's been done to him. Because said preparations have involved manipulating human nations into bloody wars, the protagonists of the game aren't too keen on allowing this, and stop Nessiah from carrying out his revenge at the last minute, despite his pleas for them to stand aside. Ironically, Asgard is actually incredibly corrupt, just as Nessiah tries to explain...
- Also from Dept. Heaven, Meria/Mellia does this in one ending.
- In Princess Maker 2 your daughter can take on the God of War (before taking on puberty).
- In Xenogears the main characters fight against a Heaven-like city in the sky, a Corrupt Church and they seek to kill "God". The protagonist's giant robot is called "The Slayer of God". Also the game's slogan is "Stand tall and shake the heavens."
- Note that god wants to be killed and freed from his "cage of flesh". you could say that the rage against the heavens happened before the story actually took place and Mankind "won", since the Wave existence has been enslaved and is used in a device that provide energy to the local Schizo Tech. God is not that bad, and the closest thing to God aka Fei Fong Wong is actually a pretty nice guy, as long as you don't push his berserk buttons
- In brief, Xenogears can be described as follows: Get my m--f-- foot out of this m--f-- reactor core
- Nobody at all knows about the Wave Existence until the end of the game. The "god" being referred to for most of the game is a malevolent, false Physical God which Fei does indeed destroy.
- Moreover, The entrapment of the Wave Existence seems to have been an accident that happened billions of years before humans evolved, while the Zohar was used as an energy source, nobody knew how it worked. The closest being to God in game is the Wave Existence, though it itself appears uninterested in the concept and just wants to return home.
- It's heavily alluded to that Grahf knew who was who, as he was always talking about "true power" and trying to complete his botched contact with the Wave Existence by merging with Fei, his original body's next incarnation.
- In Xenoblade X the player works for the organization BLADE: Beyond the Logos Artifical Destiny Emancipator. In simpler terms this amounts to something like "Outside the rules/influence of reality/God. Screw Destiny". The translators failed to realize what this meant, despite being a Xeno series theme, and made it Builders of the [sic] Legacy After the Destruction of Earth, making BLADE look like a mere construction company instead of badasses who remove obstacles for the actual rebuilders. It also means BLADE is no longer outside of reality ("Xeno").
- In Bayonetta, you fight angels as your primary enemies and use demons from Hell as finishers for the bigger ones. Not only do you kill angelic bosses that are bigger and more powerful with each one, but you eventually kill Jubileus, the Creator, in the most awesome way ever to kill a god. You summon something even bigger and punch her into the sun. YOU BEAT GOD BUY PUNCHING HER FROM THE END OF THE MILKY WAY INTO OUR MOTHERFUCKING SUN! And it is awesome to do.
- The creation of the darkspawn in Dragon Age stemmed from the mages of the Tevinter Imperium attempting to invade the Golden City, where the Maker lived. In retaliation he threw them out and turned them into darkspawn, and the city is now known as the Black City. There's even a verse from the Chant of Light that tells them the consequences of what they've done.
And so is the Golden City blackened
- It's actually not very clear if this is actually what happened, given that this is solely the Chantry's version of events, and the Chantry is itself rather power hungry. Given the Chantry's intolerance and controlling nature, the leaders would be quite willing to lie, if only to ensure the continuation of their power. Besides, quite a few characters express doubts about this (Like Avernus), and it's quite clear in-universe that the history is generally written by the winners. It doesn't help that even now, the Tevinter Imperium is Exclusively Evil and filled with maniacal mages who practice the the most taboo of magic.
- One of the DLC for the sequel reveals that the Imperium did indeed invade the Golden City, which unleashed the Darkspawn. However, this may not be the whole story: one of the Magisters responsible implies that by the time they got there, the Black City had already been formed.
- In Tales of Symphonia, the Big Bad is the leader of the angels who guide the Crystal Dragon Jesus church. The Goddess is actually his Dead Big Sister, and the entire system of the Chosen One is an Evil Plan bent on reviving her into a new body. He goes the extra mile and makes it a Xanatos Gambit: If one Chosen fails than the next Chosen is automatically qued up and ready for sacrifice.
- Susano, in Okami, yells at the gods to stop tormenting him for their amusement and dogging his footsteps—while benevolent goddess Amaterasu, who has been following and assisting him in the form of a wolf, is there to hear it. As a Heroic Mime she says nothing but seems amused.
- In the final act of Discworld Noir, Mooncalf denounces all gods on top of the Temple of Small Gods. This being the Discworld, he is immediately incinerated by about a dozen lightning bolts. Death gives him points for style, though.
- At the climax of Narcissu -Side 2nd-, Himeko, a self-proclaimed "fake Catholic," ascends Mt. Fuji in order to air her grievances with God; this is the last item on her list of things to do before she dies.
- Legends in Final Fantasy VIII state that the god Hyne created humans as tools to shape the land for him after he used up much of his power in creating the world andputting down the monsters that contested him. Then, after sleeping for a long time, he was astonished at how rapidly the human population expanded, so he casually culled off many children in a bid to control this boom. In a rage, the rest of the humans declared war on Hyne, and, through sheer numbers, they cornered him, forcing him to sacrifice his magic and secretly hide it in the bodies of women, while making the humans believe it was actually hidden in the half of his body he left behind in his escape.
- Portal 2: "All right, I've been thinking. When Life Gives You Lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! 'I don't want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?!' Demand to see life's manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!"
GLaDOS: He's saying what we're all thinking.
- Asura's Wrath takes this to a level even God of War, or possibly even Bayonetta dosen't go to! The first boss's final state becomes bigger than the planet Earth and tries to crush you to death with his finger! And unlike Kratos or Bayonetta, the hero fights just by punching everything and making energy blast come out of his fists! And the rage just keeps getting hotter, as Asura kills the rest of the Seven Deities one by one. The storyline ultimately concludes in the last DLC-specific chapter "Nirvana" where Asura assaults Chakravartin's immense fortress (bigger than entire galaxies) and punches him out. Because those bastards made his daughter cry.
- In Knights of the Old Republic, Kreia gets as close as you can get to this trope in a world with no gods by wishing to destroy the force.
- Bastion features a pantheon of about ten gods you can invoke over the course of the game. Of course it would appear they're not too happy with the way your old culture trivialized them, because doing so actually makes fights harder (but in return you get better rewards). So not only are you raging against them, they're raging right back.
- Erfworld: At the end of Book 1, Parson literally says "fuck you" to the universe and promises to break it. This also counts as a Screw Destiny moment since it came after Wanda told him everyone was a puppet of Fate. Parson may well be able to break the universe, since merely swearing is already a breech of the universe's laws of physics (all previous attempts at swearing had come out as "boop".) There are characters who agree that "some things do need to be broken".
Grand Abbie Janis: Because if [Parson] breaks things enough, there may be peace in Erfworld after all.
- Done with an excellent reason in this SMBC comic.
- Order of the Stick: Redcloak is operating on The Plan. The Dark One learned the entire Goblin Race is created as mere cannon fodder and designated Always Evil so clerics can kill them with no problems. Being Goblins, their response is the gods must be either bullied or killed in order for Goblins to have a fair shot. Considering how their last attempt at civil interaction with humans and the Good gods resulted, it's reasonable logic deducing that the only way the Good deities will take anything the Goblins say as even being valid is to give them a wake-up call. Besides, the Plan is not, in fact, to destroy everything or kill the other gods -- those things are merely what might happen if things go south.
- Least I Could Do: During the 2009 Valentine's Day dating contest, Rayne's older brother, Eric, wins a date with a pair of very attractive twins. Rayne's response? To string up a Bible and ready his blowtorch. When John tries to stop him, Rayne responds with, "If you have a better method of declaring war with God, I'd love to hear it."
- One Piece Grand Line 3.5: Luffy's reason for wanting to go the the Grand Line is to kick Poseidons ass. Also to become Pirate King, but he can do both.
- xkcd proposes (see Alt Text) an one-liner: "I'm here to return what Prometheus stole."
- The Salvation War: Basically Yahweh (the "deity" behind the Abrahamic religions' monotheism) tells humanity that the Pearly Gates are closed, that they are all going to Hell, and that they should all lie down and die, while Satan in turn sends demonic heralds to the national capitals of Earth to demand submission to eternal torment. Humanity's response is to declare war on both sides by shooting or blowing up the heralds. (An angelic diplomatic group going to Satan's capital and a lone angelic emissary later get theirs too.) The author of The Big One actually thought up the story's basic premise while responding to this thread, the eventual author pointing out that due to how outdated demonic and angelic capabilities were going by the Old and New Testaments, "we probably stand a pretty good chance of winning." That thread's early posts were a damn gold mine of this, starting with this (by one of the eventual contributors to the not-yet-thought-of Salvation War):
God was turned away by Iron Chariots once before. Are you people all so pathetic as to forget the myths of your ancestors? When the Heroes at Troy wounded the Gods and drove them from the field? When the mortal hand of Rama struck down the demon Ravana after invading Sri Lanka on his bridge of hurled stone? Satan is the Prince of Hell; God may have put him there but he still has princely power and he controls who is to be tortured and who isn't. This is his moment to break free from the cycle-curse. If we can turn away the strength of God with Iron, then let us make common cause with the Prince of Hell and turn on heaven with full fury. Angels can make war; we'll kill them, and we'll drive God from his throne at point of sword, and exhort the moral of the spirits in heaven to rise against the injustice of a God turned against his own word.
- This little exchange sums up that thread quite nicely:
One poster: You can't even GET to heaven. You don't even know where it is, or even if it still exists.
- The second Futurama movie, The Beast With a Billion Backs, had this happen literally when Bender, along with his Damned Army that he gained by sacrificing his firstborn son to the Robot Devil, drags Heaven, where all of the universe sans robots has gone to exist for all eternity, out of its pocket dimension. He then leads an pirate invasion culminating in a duel between himself and the kraaken-like Heaven being. He would have lost, but oh well.
- In Ben 10 Alien Force, Ben gets a moment of this when dealing with the other two personalities of Alien X -- he chastises the voice of love and compassion for allowing an entire planet to be destroyed, and the voice of anger and aggression for not punishing those who would destroy it.
- In one episode of American Dad Stan goes to heaven and ends up holding an unimpressed-seeming God at gunpoint with a "heaven gun".
- In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer goes on a rampage in heaven when God refuses to save his family.
- South Park: "Now that we know Heaven exists, should we bomb it?"
- This dramatic declaration from the soon-to-be Big Bad in Wakfu:
Noximilien: I'll fight time -- that great, deceiving fool! Soon I'll be as powerful as the god Xelor! Yes, even more powerful... [...] DO YOU HEAR ME, XELOR?! I'll surpass you and I'll bring back my family!
- Pretty much the definition of Misotheism.
- In the last couple of centuries, numerous political movements have openly attacked the idea of the divine, both in theory and practice, most notably, Communism. In the cases where such movements have started a revolution, they did not merely curtail the earthly power of religious institutions, but usually engaged in the symbolic desecration of religious places and materials to demonstrate the powerlessness/non-existence of the divine. Famous examples include the French Revolution (1789), the Revolutions of 1848, the Mexican Revolution (1910), the Russian Revolution (1917), the Spanish Civil War (1936), and the Chinese Revolution (1949).
- When Pope Julius II was asked how he would get into Heaven with so much blood on his hands, he said something along the lines of, "If they won't let me through the golden gates, I will storm them."
- Latin quote: "Fiat justitia ruat caelum: Let justice be done though the heavens fall".
-- Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus (d. 43 B.C.)
- A common Brazilian phrase for when things are going wrong: "I threw a stone at the cross!"
- An Uruguay one goes "Me cago en Dios y en las tetas de la Virgen!", meaning "I shit on God and the Virgin's tits!".
- Which, on the basis that the dominant religion in these countries is Catholicism and that Castellan (ie Spanish spoken in Spain) also has some remarkably descriptive blasphemous phrases, especially compared with Northern European Protestant equivalents (with the exception of "Christ on a bike", for example, British English really doesn't do much with blasphemy apart from the basic "Christ's sake/bloody hell/etc"), seems to imply that Catholicism takes both piety and impiety to extremes that other "cake or death" religions just can't muster. Which is probably for the best, really.
- You. Yes, you. At least everyone did this once, because of all the world's misery.....
- Mikhail Bakunin, a rather big name in anarchist political ideology and a self-identified anarcho-collectivist is attributed as having said these words: "The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth. A boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth, therefore If God did exist, he would have to be abolished."