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A plot point where a mortal persuades the Powers That Be to come to their aid or postpone/abort an act of divine wrath.

Compare Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?, where mortals manage to defeat something infinitely more powerful. This trope is about mortal wits (or emotions) finding the right words to convince a superhuman intelligence. Compare/contrast Bargain with Heaven, Deal with the Devil. Also not to be confused with Pals with Jesus, where the character has stable working relationship with higher powers.

Examples of Reasoning with God include:


Anime & Manga

  • In the end of Scrapped Princess, Pacifica Casull convinces Lord Mauser to give humanity another shot at the aliens.
  • In Magic Knight Rayearth, Fuu and Umi plead with Mokona to let them help Hikaru. They then manage to somehow pass the gate to the other world (earth), so it's implied he let them

Comic Books

  • Laurie talks with Dr. Manhattan on Mars in Watchmen and convinces him to come back to Earth to help with the current crisis.
  • There was an issue in Spider-Man where Spidey dies along with a little girl he was trying to save. After a brief fight with Thanos, he talks to Death herself, convincing her to allow a little girl to come back to life. In honor of his bravery, Spider-Man comes back as well.

Film

  • Jake in Avatar communes with Eywa and asks her to help the Na'vi fight off the human invaders. Neytiri doesn't think she'll intervene, until the battle reaches its Darkest Hour, and then...
  • Xanadu. Sonny, upon finding out that Kira is a muse, goes to this strange neon dimension and tells Zeus off for forcing Kira to come home. Hera and Zeus discuss it but decide not and dismiss him. Kira begs, and they reconsider.
  • Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey has them going to heaven to ask God for help, rather than to intervene and act himself, directly.

Literature

  • Multiple examples in The Bible:
    • Such as when Abraham persuaded God to spare Sodom if ten righteous men were found in the city (they weren't).
      • Which actually spawned an interesting theological debate that still continues to this day. If God is omniscient, then he already knew there weren't ten righteous men to be found, so God's agreement to the pact merely delays a divine punishment he already decided on - in other words, God deceived Abraham. Conversely, if God did not deceive Abraham, this implies that God is not omniscient.
      • Doesn't seem that complex. "I know there aren't ten good people in there. But if there were, I wouldn't destroy the city."
    • Moses, on several occasions, talked God successfully out of enacting his wrath of the Israelites. Most notably, when God becomes angry with the Israelites, Moses reminds God of his promise to Abraham to make his descendants as numerous as the sand of the desert, and thus talks God down from killing all the people of Israel.
  • Earendil in The Silmarillion successfully convinces the Valar to abandon their isolationist policies and save the Middle-Earth from Morgoth.
    • Luthien also convinces Mandos to bring Beren back to life, in exchange for turning her into a mortal.
  • The conclusion of The Black Tattoo.
  • In the backstory for the Belgariad, Gorim got UL to accept the would-be Ulgos as His chosen people with a combination of nagging and guilt-tripping.
  • The Percy Jackson series is the definition of this trope. Percy and Co. often convince the gods to either a, help them, or b, at least not to destroy them completely.
  • Towards the end of Discworld novel Small Gods, the seemingly simple-minded Brutha, who has just been made high priest of his religion, talks his own god Om into letting Brutha take the religion on a radically more tolerant and open-minded course. Many years later in other books, characters occasionally mention that the religion is very popular because of those principles.
  • In Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, individuals and civilizations sometimes try to petition one of the Powers for intervention, and sometimes it works.
  • Subverted in Arcia Chronicles, where Roman (an immortal elf but still far from divine power) seeks the aid of the Lightbringers who abandoned Tarra: the only one (of seven) he ever finds, the War God Anges, is barred from returning to Tarra.
  • In "The Last Trump" by Isaac Asimov, God announces that it's time for the Judgement Day, but a junior angel notices a loophole in the declaration, plucks up his courage, and successfully argues for the whole thing to be postponed. (God's reaction to the argument turns out to be, more or less, "Oh good, I was hoping somebody would bring that up".)

Live Action TV

  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Ben Sisko gets the Prophets to intervene during the climax of the episode "Sacrifice of Angels"; they wipe out an entire Dominion fleet entering the wormhole.
  • Supernatural: Dean asks Death to restore Sam's soul. Death has a price: Dean has to be Death for one day. Dean fails, but Death's a nice guy and does it anyway.
  • On MST3K, they spoof this trope while watching Jack Frost, specifically the scene where the girl has to finish her sock before the sun rises, and the girl asks the sun to wait.
  • In Babylon 5, Captain Sheridan manages to convince the Vorlons, an ancient powerful race so far beyond the younger races as to be nearly gods in comparison, to directly intervene on behalf on the younger races against the Big Bad race called the Shadows. The Shadows are as powerful as the Vorlons and are their chief rival, however previously, the Vorlons would only use younger races as proxies against them rather than involving themselves directly in the fight.
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