Not all religions in fiction are corrupt, nefarious, or downright evil. Some of them are actually Always Lawful Good and Neutral Good examples of The Church that are quite honestly interested in the saving of souls, promoting spiritual growth, and are generally shown to be simply, purely, Good, as is the Big Guy upstairs.
These are the Churches where you can find religious people good with children, animals, and the elderly. Kindly priests and other religious types ready to give help or good advice to any troubled heroes are to be had here, and in the more fantastical types of setting, clerics willing to give healing of both the physical and spiritual to the wounded adventurer and resurrect the occasional dead team mate. Should the heroes ever meet the Pope or local equivalent of this church, more often than not, they will find themselves standing before a Reasonable Authority Figure very ready to hear what they say.
Generally, in Speculative Fiction settings, the more likely you have an Exclusively Evil monster race that is hurt by holy powers, the more likely it is that the church will be good instead of evil. Sometimes this kind of Church may be portrayed besides one of the corrupt or evil ones for contrast and to help emphasize the pure goodness of the religion.
Compare Good Shepherd. This will be replete with Good Shepherds, but the Good Shepherd can also be found in the Corrupt Church. A single good priest or religious figure falls under that trope rather than this one. Also compare Turbulent Priest.
- The Belkan Saint Church in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, who in addition to building schools and hospitals, also provides assistance to the Time-Space Administration Bureau whenever they can. In the third season, the Bureau itself (for whom all of the protagonists work) has been revealed to have a darker side, so the Saint Church remains as the only incorruptible authority in the setting.
- Trinity Blood although in the manga various characters keep pulling it closer to the Corrupt Church end of the spectrum.
- Mahou Sensei Negima has a church-related arc, wherein the clergy are supposed to be of the "kindly old man" variety, even though we never do meet them. Made ironic (possibly subverted?) by the fact that the local nuns are, in fact, mages.
- The Royal Order of Protestant Knights, and Iscariot Division XIII from Hellsing, while appallingly brutal in battle against Millennium (and occasionally each other), act for the good of the Crown, the Church, the Vatican, and the people under their care. There are zealots who go too far, such as Maxwell, but most (like Anderson and Integra) have high moral standards, even if they are unapologetic fanatics for their beliefs. To be fair, their enemies are Nazi vampires. This is exemplified by Anderson's first appearance in the first anime: the Trenchcoat Brigade scarred giant of a man gives a stewardess a start but then produces a genuinely warm smile and blesses her (in the best Norio Wakamoto voice)--for no other reason than to dispel her fears.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- The church, and holy men in general are generally portrayed positively in the Hellboy comics. Most priests are pretty nice guys and their blessings are genuinely effective against minor demons, though big ones like Helldad can shrug them off. Even vicious ones like the Inquisitors from The Island and the Witchfinder General were usually the lesser of two evils. What makes this rather odd is that the Mignolaverse's cosmology, aside from having some sort of God and a Hell full of demons bears little resemblance to any major religion.
- For the most part, the Catholic Church in Warrior Nun Areala is portrayed very positively, as being an organization working directly under the authority of Heaven, empowered to hunt down and battle the forces of Hell, and optionally more mundane villainy such as Nazi masterminds. The order of Warrior Nuns is armed with weapons that, while lethal to demons and the undead, do not harm humans.
- In Marvels What if... story where Wolverine became the Horseman of War future is an wannabe-utopia where humanity has united under the threat of War (as in Wolverine, not war). There are retreats, held by monks, for people who wish to practice peace more than the other people. The monks are the ultimate keepers of peace, teaching the way on non-violence in a world without war. One of the monks is Brother Xavier, who really is Wolverine, who has learned how to keep his anger in control.
- The Blind Side: Christian charity is part of what motivates the Tuohys to help Michael.
- Star Wars: The Jedi. Terminally stupid and short-sighted, but good.
- Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, although there is one Sinister Minister in there.
- In The Minion Dolph Lundgren is a warrior priest who is a member of The Knights Templar. They hunt demons with blessed holy gauntlets fitted with spikes.
Literature[edit | hide]
- Modern (and heavily fictionalized) Catholic Church in Dan Brown's novels is generally portrayed as benevolent, despite individual misfits and shady past.
- The Universal Church in Alan Dean Foster's Commonwealth books is one of these.
- Almost all of the religious organizations in The Dresden Files. Most specifically Father Forthill's church. But there's also the Buddhist monastery that Mouse the Lion Dog puppy came from.
- The churches run free hospitals in Jennifer Government, where everything down to the ambulance service is privatised. Volunteers for the hospitals take the hospitals name as a auxiliary surname.
- The Christian Church in Quo Vadis? is unambiguously good. Its members live simple, happy lives, standing above the depraved environment surrounding them in Ancient Rome.
- In the backstory to H.P. Lovecraft's The Haunter of the Dark, the evil Nyarlathotep-worshiping cult are routed by a Catholic/Baptist alliance between Father O'Malley and the Reverend Drowne. At the climax of the story, a group of Italian Catholics attempt to contain the avatar of Nyarlathotep within its prison using candles, but, sadly, it slips through.
- David Weber's Safehold books has the Church of Charis, created in book two in response to the Corrupt Church Church of God Awaiting, headed by Archbishop Maikel Staynair.
- From the Honor Harrington series, most religions are implied to be this, including Second Reformation Catholic (Queen Elizabeth III), Third Stellar (Honor herself) and the Church of Humanity Unchained (Grayson edition), which, although highly conservative and somewhat sexist, is largely good - personified in leader Reverend Hanks. Obviously, the Masadan variant - well, not so much.
- The Universal Brotherhood in E.C. Tubb's "Dumarest" books. The "monks" are pacifistic, doing good among the downtrodden, oppose the machinations of the Cyclan, and frequently assist Dumarest against them.
- The Omnian religion in Discworld, once Brutha becomes Cenobiarch at the end of Small Gods.
- The Catholic Church in A Canticle for Leibowitz is portrayed as being the sole retainer of knowledge from the times before the Fire Deluge.
- In the Lord Darcy series, the Church polices both itself and the Empire's sorcerers, using magically-Talented Sensitives to check that its members remain free of corruption.
- The Church of Pelor... and pretty much every church of good aligned deities in Dungeons & Dragons that are on the ball.
- Other major examples in the Third Edition standard cosmology are Hieronious, Kord, Moradin, Corellon Larethiean, Garl Glittergold, Yondala, and Bahumat.
- In the Forgotten Realms setting, Ilmater tends to be this especially, but then, he is Crystal Dragon Jesus more than most. Also the divinely-granted spells of the worshipers of Sune, Goddess of Beauty and Love, are the closest thing to weaponized love in the setting.
- A good Eberron example is the ancestor-worship of the Elves of Aerenal, which is Neutral Good and splits its time equally between giving advice to the still-living Elves and beating seven shades of undead crap out of the Blood of Vol.
- Although they were the ones responsible for the Blood of Vol's creation: during the elf-dragon war, the Vol House (elves with a power over Death) allied with a powerful green dragon to create a half-dragon elf girl named Erandis, under the belief that such a being could end the battles. She did, in a sense: both sides teamed up on the House because Erandis was deemed an 'abomination'. The only "survivor" was Erandis, transformed into a lich by her mother in order to "survive" the massacre; she is now the head of the Blood of Vol, with two goals, no morals and all the time in the world: get her revenge on both species, and recreate the Vol House.
- The Ministry of Elemental Good.
- The Dragonlance setting has the Church of Paladine, which had become a Corrupt Church by the times of the Cataclysm, but, reborn under the guidance of Elistan, now fits the bill.
- In short, almost any church to a Good deity will either have extensive charitable operations or a generally benevolent police force, if not both.
- The Church of Sigmar in Warhammer Fantasy Battle Fantasy, except for the Witch Hunters, of course. Even the good ones are pretty vicious.
- Also Temple of Shallya, goddess of healing and mercy. And non-violence, what is quite hard a commitment in such a violent world as Warhammer. Church of Sigmar is the good guys, but it's more an example of Lawful Good Church Militant.
- Elven deities range from pretty good to Axe Crazy, but Asuryan especially usually comes across as a good guy. Making the Awesome Moment of Crowning into a Secret Test of Character helps.
- The Brotherhood from Mutant Chronicles. They run charitable hospitals, schools and soup kitchens, maintain the only universally recognized bank and currency, and mediate in corporate disputes. Granted, they also torture suspected devil-worshipers and assassinate dissidents, but in a time when the legions of Hell have already conquered 2/3 of the Solar System once, were only driven back because the Brotherhood intervened, and are looking to infiltrate human society and make a repeat performance this may not be a bad thing...
- The Church of Avacyn on the plane of Innistrad is the only shining beacon of hope for humanity in a plane full of many horrors, most of them undead in one way or another. The church employs various Catholic-esque imagery, such as the Mark of Avacyn, a vaguely cross-like symbol used in many of the same contexts, and naming its prominent members as "Saints" (during life rather than posthumously). Unfortunately, its patron angel Avacyn is AWOL.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- Castlevania: "To restore your life, shout in front of the church.", which really means "Go inside and talk to the priest."
- Also the Catholic church which employs Yoko and Arikado in the Sorrow games.
- The Churches of the unnamed deity in the Dragon Quest series.
- The temples of the Nine Divine in The Elder Scrolls are uniformly benevolent. It contrasts against the mostly evil Daedric cults, though the Daedra themselves operate on a very Blue and Orange Morality.
- The cult of Avo in Fable.
- Several standalone churches in Fallout3. The player can donate to them to increase their karma.
- Even the ones that get people killed are well meaning and misguided (and you can make them realise the error in their ways)
- The Mormons, now called "New Cannanites" over at New Vegas.
- The Light of Kiltia in Final Fantasy XII. Benevolent, politically-neutral (their priests are forbidden to engage in matters of the state), and deeply protective of refugees and pilgrims. It is implied, however, that in the mythology it shares with Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story its diminished political power allowed the Church of Glabados and the Müllenkamp cult to appear from within its ranks.
- Danette's parents were part of one of these in Soul Nomad and The World Eaters. One was a priest, the other a mage. Revya's group also protects one of these from Thurists.
- The Church of the Holy Light in Warcraft 'verse. Their offshoot, the Scarlet Crusade, is less so. Disgruntled members of the Scarlet Crusade also have their own reformist organization, the Argent Dawn, which is an equal-opportunity employer and even has high-ranking undead members.
- The various Churches of Mana from the World of Mana series.
- The church of Nisan in Xenogears, led by Sophia as its Holy Mother.
- The Church in Palm Brinks in Dark Chronicle. It's sole purpose is to allow you to recruit Priest Bruno and let you get a few photos for the photogrophy mini-game.
- The Zedem church in Startopia is old-fashioned and moralistic but seems genuinely well-intentioned, spreading the word by evangelism and its adherents being nonviolent ascetics. Much more importantly, they pay the administrator a lot of moolah if you let them set up a church on your biodeck and bring in converts—a more high-risk, high-reward alternative to more secular alternatives of dealing with sinners.
- The Church of the Holy Maiden in La Pucelle; although the game actually questions the notion of faith in gods at some points (and even their goddess, Poitreene, herself claims not to be perfect at one point ) the Church is still largely a force for good that cares for the people. On the other hand their rivals, The Church of the Holy Mother, turns out to be a Religion of Evil in disguise but has more worshipers.
- The monk and his church in King's Quest II help Graham a great deal. The Fan Remake? Not so much...
- Shining in the Darkness has a church where you can save your game.
- The Temple of Palfina in Hexyz Force. When they learn that Cecilia inherits Palfina's power, they throw all their support behind her despite her reputation as a slacker.
- The temples (which seems to be an Expy of the Catholic Church) in Dokapon Kingdom cures you of your status ailments and serves as a checkpoint.
- Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame added a benevolent bishop character to offset Sinister Minister Frollo. The nice cleric got Frollo's job from the novel, that of Archdeacon.
- The Air Nomads in Avatar: The Last Airbender are heavily implied to have been a Buddhist-inspired variation of this, mostly according to the backstory and a lot of Word of God. They used all the money they made to support others, they fought only in self-defense, and the last surviving Air Nomad, the eponymous Last Airbender, makes reference to various Air Nomad wisdom from time to time. It's notable that as a whole, they were so spiritual that their entire culture could Airbend, while in the other Nations only a certain percentage can, though this may be related to their small population.
- This is so much a part of airbender culture that in one late episode, when Aang is conferring with his past incarnations to try and find a relatively peaceable solution to the problem of Fire Lord Ozai, he almost has a Heroic BSOD when even previous Air Nomad Avatars counsel killing Ozai as the best solution.