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There was just no reasoning with them! If you’re their god, shouldn’t you be able to get them to stop worshipping you?
A god or messiah who doesn't want to be worshiped. The reasons for this are often not very clear; maybe the deity is a supporter of skepticism or independence, maybe they are fickle or irrational, or maybe they just want to be left alone. Or maybe they just consider that accepting worship would be a sign of Pride or even Tempting Fate.
Can range from the deity disliking their worshipers to being actively malevolent toward them. Note that this trope applies only to gods who actively discourage worship, or are visibly frustrated by it. If the god doesn't care one way or the other whether people worship them, it's The Gods Must Be Lazy. If the god in question treats everyone badly, regardless of worship, it's Jerkass Gods or God Is Evil.
Contrast to Gods Need Prayer Badly and A God Am I. Nay Theists and Flat Earth Atheists will be a favorite of these types of characters. Compare and contrast Unwanted False Faith for regular guys who don't want to be worshiped either. May overlap with A God I Am Not when the being saying this actually is a god.
Anime and Manga
- In one episode of Minami-ke Kanna dresses Chiaki up as a rain charm in order to make it stop raining so they can go to the beach. Chiaki eventually manages to negotiate the rain cloud into going away. When Chiaki's friends come over, Kanna boasts of having gotten rid of the rain cloud, at which point it angrily returns, and Chiaki ends up having to calm it down again. After this display Chiaki's friends and Kanna promptly start praying to Chiaki, over her angry (and still helplessly bound) protestations.
- Played with by Yurie in Kamichu!. The middle school deity doesn't mind some of the new attention she's getting as long as it's casual. Once she's put into ceremonial garb or has offerings left on her desk, she gets quite flustered. She may be a god, and she doesn't mind it, but she wants her classmates to be her friends, not her subjects.
- In Saint Young Men, Jesus and Buddha are living in modern Japan. They manage to keep their identities secret from humans, but there's no fooling the local animals. People do notice that animals act strangely around them.
- The creator in the Fallen Angel series wants people to stop worshiping her so she can leave humanity behind, and finally commit suicide. Unfortunately, she's now considering Armageddon to shut up the needy humans.
- Lucifer - At one point, Lucifer creates his own universe, and in his version of the Garden of Eden, the one rule he tells his Adam and Eve is that they are not to worship him. Later, when other people are invited to his Creation, this rule is extended to all inhabitants.
- In the fantasy comic strip Yamara, Yamara the halfling is temporarily elevated to a demigoddess by a magical artifact, then restored to mortal status. She then has to tell all the worshippers who've started to slavishly follow her around to go home and get on with their lives.
- Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen is powerful enough to be considered divine, but resents being perceived this way. He says something like "I don't think there is a god, and if there is he's probably nothing like me".
- Drunkard's Walk: It is public knowledge in the home timeline of Douglas Sangnoir that his commanding officer Wetter Hexe is an incarnated goddess. According to Doug, this is Hexe's reaction (along with "Get a life!") to anyone attempting to offer her any kind of worship or devotion, because she incarnated as she did in order to experience the mortal condition as a mortal.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail - God gets annoyed by people constantly averting their gaze and insisting that they're not worthy when He's trying to tell them what he wants them to do for Him.
- Bruce Almighty - After being given the powers and responsibilities of God, Bruce is notably frustrated with the amount of prayers he receives.
- Happens briefly in Oh, God!; after Jerry appears on the Dinah Shore Show and talks about his visits with God, his home is mobbed by groupies and visitors who want his time, his blessing, and his divine seed.
"I went to take out the garbage today and two people blessed me! And one of them blessed the garbage!"
- In Thirst, Sang-hyun becomes famous as "the bandaged saint" after miraculously surviving EV. A small group of followers camp outside his monastery, to his great annoyance. In the end he pretends to try to rape one of them so that they'll abandon their vigil.
"What of your own gods? I have never heard you call on them."
- The Lady, the personification of luck, abandons all people who call on her by name. The only known temple built for her was destroyed by a lightning strike... several times. The Lady is an especially interesting example, because she may be the only example of this type of god in a world where Gods Need Prayer Badly. This is explained by everyone believing in luck, despite no one worshiping it.
- Monstrous Regiment - The Duchess isn't actually a deity, but due to the nature of belief on the Disc, the fact that people pray to her has sort of turned her into one. Even though she should have died from a painful disease long ago, and is being kept alive by their worship. She's not very happy about this.
- There is also a God of Evolution, who actively hides his existence so that nobody worships him anymore. He used to have worshipers, but they were all killed. Even he acknowledges his continued existence should be impossible in this setting.
- Bilious, the Oh God of Hangovers, who is worshiped by default whenever some miserably hungover wretch whimpers "oh god", is strongly in favor of temperance.
- A recurring theme in David Eddings' works:
- In The Elenium, the god of the Atan is not worshiped and doesn't desire it. The Atan tend to handle anything that happens on their own pretty well and don't really see much need for gods. Their relationship with their god is intimate, yet formal: it will lend its power to them in the form of magic, but they only call on it on very special occasions as they do not believe they should bother their god with things they can do themselves.
- In The Belgariad, the god Aldur has no worshipers, although he does have disciples. In Belgarath the Sorcerer, it's shown that when Belzedar, the second disciple of Aldur, first came to the Vale of Aldur, he attempted to worship Aldur with a burnt sacrifice. Belgarath made it very clear this would only manage to offend Aldur.
- Because there were seven peoples created for seven gods, and Aldur chose to live alone, one of the peoples went godless and separated into several factions. The leader of one of these factions went to the top of a mountain to speak to UL, the father of the seven gods, and ask for a god to lead his people. UL refused, having no interest in followers, but the man won UL's admiration and acceptance through sheer charisma and patience.
- In Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light, Sam is not really passionate about this trope, though it applies:
His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god, but then he never claimed not to be a god
- John Taylor from Simon R. Green's Nightside series really doesn't want to be worshipped, even before he finds out who his mother is. His friends usually perform scorched-earth practice for him, whenever they find a cult or church acting in his name. This being the Nightside, such acts being performed are generally icky and distressing. John is increasingly depressed that all of his potential worshippers tend to be nasty.
- In another Green novel, Beyond The Blue Moon, many peasants assume that the Shaman must be a prophet because he's an old hermit who lives in the woods. The Shaman dissuades their attempts to win his blessing by screaming and throwing Road Apples at them until they leave him the hell alone.
- In John Brunner's "Judas" (originally published in Dangerous Visions), Karimov tries to tell this to A-46's disciples.
- Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson has the character Lightsong. It's unclear whether he is a god or not, but since he returned from the dead, he's certainly no ordinary human being. He thinks the whole business of worshiping the Returned is idiotic. Interestingly enough, it turns out that Lightsong treats his followers with more respect than most of the other Returned; he feels that since people insist on putting their trust in him, he has to try to help them.
- What Paul Atreides eventually starts feeling towards his fanatic Fremen followers in Dune Messiah.
- The Bible, of all things, plays with this trope, in that it's the angels who invoke the trope a few times, partly because they are only messengers for the real thing, partly because one of their brothers already got in trouble for averting the trope, and partly because God himself averts the trope and REALLY DOES want to be worshiped, and gets REALLY ANGRY when he isn't, or even worse, isn't worshipped properly.
- Paul and Barnabas get mistaken for gods once and are rather horrified when they discover that the welcoming committee is coming forth to worship them. The irritated locals are then swayed to stone them and run them out of town.
- In one of the Magic: The Gathering novels, a planeswalker (immortal and powerful but not really god) sets himself up as a god just for the laughs. When he returns to the area centuries later for some rest, he's hounded by worshipers who want him to be god again and fix all their problems. He actually tells them to stop worshipping him or he will kill them. He kills a few but it doesn't stop the worship.
- In The Acts of Caine, the titular Caine eventually inspires the creation of a Chaotic Neutral philosophy, who tell him that its not about him, just his ideals. Eventually, he performs so many badass acts that the philosophy evolves into a full-blown religion worshipping him (which, considering the way divinity works in this universe, might actually elevate him to godhood at some point). Caine tells the founder to shut it down, and she calmly tells him to his face that she doesn't care what he thinks.
- This is how Raamo D'ok acts in the Green-Sky Trilogy. He's had a couple of foretelling visions and some equivocal experiences which the people accept as mystical revelations. Through it all, he is firm in his belief that he is an ordinary Kindar and begs people not to hail him as a prophet, seer, or anything else.
- In Mistborn, a newly sprung-up religion starts worshipping Vin as "The Heir of the Survivor." This makes her extremely uncomfortable for a number of reasons (not the least of which is her social awkwardness), and she avoids them as much as possible, even when it means sneaking out the back of a store and Roof Hopping away.
- Though not a god, G'Kar from Babylon 5 is treated like a prophet by the Narn during the final season due to the book he had been writing about his experiences accidentally being published without his consent and spreading like wildfire. Crowds of followers followed him everywhere he went asking for his wisdom on all sorts of deep questions. He grows increasingly disillusioned by this treatment for a few reasons: he doesn't want to hold that much power among his people (he had turned down the position of president earlier in the show), he doesn't have the answers they're looking for, and he sees that everyone is projecting their ideals of a perfect person onto him, creating this idealized person that's not actually him. Eventually he decides to leave civilized space for several years to get away from it all.
G'kar: I worry, Ta'Lon, that my shadow may become greater than the message.
- Caparezza's song "Messa in moto", which is about God getting bored of His worshippers and all the people using His name to justify everything, only wanting to go around as a biker.
- The song "Divine Disappointment" by Alias is from the viewpoint of "God" angrily telling the world that not only does he not want people to worship him, but that he didn't even intend for us to exist in the first place. The lyrics imply in places that the universe is the result of some kind of experiment and God is just the guy who started it.
So carry on if you wish, unknowing, thinking breath is wind blowing
- One Gahan Wilson cartoon has a psychiatrist down on his knees kissing his patient's hand, as the patient growls "This is not going to help my Messianic complex, doctor!"
- Dungeons & Dragons has a lot of "Powers", some of whom are gods (feed on worship and grant divine magic), some aren't, and others don't need it, but moonlight as gods - Elemental Lords generally are concerned only with their planes and don't give a jack about mortals, but when someone applies, they grant magic and advice, as this somewhat glorifies their element.
- Planescape setting has The Lady of Pain. Whose response to worship is either to banish the offender to a nearly inescapable maze, or simply kill him. Locals tend to brutally enforce this prohibition before she drops in to take care of this personally. It's mainly because if enough people believe she is one, she will actually become a goddess. It wouldn't be enough normally, but according to Pages of Pain, she's a daughter of gods and thus is ready to become one herself. Her city, Sigil, is a god-free Truce Zone, and she couldn't sit there herself without compromising her absolute blockade against deities. Should this happen, the expected result is all-out war (as in "half of the Multiverse's gods vs. the Lady and each other") for Sigil starting the next minute or so.
- Greyhawk god of magic, is Boccob, whose official title is "The Uncaring". He is demonstratively not concerned with anything other than balance (between Law and Chaos, and between Good and Evil) and magical knowledge. He had an evangelistic patriarch and other over-enthusiastic servants, but mostly the job of his church is to provide magic services, promote magical research and stay out of other people's mess if possible.
- In the Forgotten Realms setting the "overgod" above the other gods and probable creator of the universe is Ao. Who literally did nothing whatsoever until some lesser gods tried to nick his power. His response caused him to become known to mortals at large for the first time and his power caused a fair few to worship him. No magical powers reached his clerics, he made no further appearances and those paying attention noticed that many of those worshipping him had a tendancy toward misfortune until they knocked it off.
- Warhammer 40,000 - The God-Emperor of Mankind explicitly denied his supposed divinity throughout his life and preached atheism, despite knowing that Gods do, in fact, exist. It was only after the Horus Heresy, and being put on life support, that he could no longer prevent the various cults based around him gaining acceptance.
- This was actually part of a brilliant Xanatos Gambit: he was trying to weaken the forces of chaos by eliminating their source of worship. However, at least his being worshipped is better than the alternative.
- Of course, the way it was handled is "a little" ludicrous. Quoth /tg/ - "Whaaattttt, you think I'm a God? What made you think that? Was it my unbelievable psychic might? My golden halo of divine light? My perfect physique out of a legend of gods of old? Well here. How about I make my halo brighter, and have it instill a feeling of absolute awe in you? There. I bet you think I'm a mortal man now!"
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay - Necoho the Doubter is the Chaos god of atheism, and he gets weaker the more worshipers he has.
- He also no longer exists. Too many believers?
- In Paranoia, while The Computer basically occupies the role of an insane god, the First Church of Christ Computer Programmer is still technically a treasonous secret society (albeit pretty far down on the low end of the scale).
- Subverted in that the FCCC-P is one of the Secret Societies that, despite being illegal and treasonous, the Computer actively encourages in secret. It's illegal status probably has more to do with the Ultraviolets that don't want an entire Society that is actually loyal to the Computer interfering with their own plans.
- In Mass Effect, this is the Reapers' general reaction to the Geth worshipping them. They tolerate the worship since they have need for Geth assistance for now, but don't do much to hide their contempt for it.
- It's less "worshipping us is annoying" than "how dare you compare us to something as rubbish as a god. We are much better than that!" They are a whole race of smug robo-cuttlefishes.
- Shepard repeatedly tries to instill this towards his crazed fan, Conrad Verner. It doesn't work.
- In Fallout 3, Harold is being worshipped by a cult, much to his annoyance.
- The God Roark Libertas of Lusternia adopts this attitude, due to his extreme belief in objectivism, social Darwinism and individuality. He views mortals that feel compelled to worship Gods as weak, trapped in a servant mentality. Instead, he encourages those that would be his 'followers' to pretend to worship whichever God will serve their needs best, and abandon them when prudent. The book of Roark states, "were I to have an order, there would be no followers. There would be only leaders".
- Asura of Asura's Wrath comes across as this upon entering a human village and finding its people bowing before him, in stark contrast to his fellow demigods who have, over 12,000 years, brainwashed the mortal populace of the earth into being willing sacrifices to power their mantra.
- In The Settlers III, the godly pantheons of Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, and China are all subservient to an overgod, referred to only as 'Him'. Because Jupiter, Horus and Chi Yu have neglected their worshippers, the people of the world are developing monotheistic religion, which annoys 'Him' because there aren't enough hours in the day for him to answer all their prayers and keep the universe running smoothly.
- Ronson, god of alcohol and apathy, and the protagonist, from The Gods of Arr Kelaan.
- Suras from Wayward Sons tries to get the ancient Greeks to stop calling him and his crew gods, but causes a brief lightning storm in his frustration (which was counterproductive to his efforts).
- Shub-Niggurath in Ow, My Sanity. Usually she's pretty nice. Mi-go stopped his overblown supplications, she stopped addressing him as "toejam" and started acting somewhat helpful.
"Shubby": If I wanted to be tailed by sycophantic nutjobs, who think I'm some sort of goddess, do you think I would be here?
Vexxarr: What's... this?
- My Life as a Teenage Robot - In one episode, Jenny is mistaken for the Comet Goddess by a group of Adorkable aliens, and while the worship is nice at first, she eventually gets sick of it.
- In Justice League Unlimited backstory, the previous incarnations of Hawkgirl and Hawkman were Thanagarian police officers stranded on Earth before human civilization arose. They founded the first human state (in Ancient Egypt) and, despite their sincerest efforts to avoid it, were worshiped as gods in return.
- In the Transformers episode "The God Gambit," a few Autobots and Decepticons stumble across a primitive humanoid race living on Titan. The primitives (understandably) mistake the enormously powerful metal giants from the sky for gods. The Autobots try to clear up the misunderstanding, while the Decepticons play it up for all it's worth.
- Rarity, showing thanks to Princess Celestia in an episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, drops and starts kissing her hooves. Pan up to show Celestia is, for as many frames as she can get away with, squicked.
- This gets a bit dicey as Celestia is functionally Equestria's sovereign in both the political and deistic sense. It's hard to tell where Royal protocol ends and religious reverence begins. That said, she's also the first to drop formalities and relax around her subjects . . . even if they don't return the gesture.
- see Isaiah quote on the quotes tab