"Dhole mentioned on Friday that computers belonging to Orthodox Jews do not have to rest on the Sabbath, and I immediately replied that AI's would have to, and then wondered what rest means for an AI, which would have to keep calculating itself."This character is an artificial intelligence — a robot, a computer, a sentient computer program or similar — who believes in the same religions that its creator species does. This can be Christianity, Judaism, or whatever religions are mainstream in that setting. However, if the faith is a Robot Religion, see that trope instead: This trope is for robots to adhere to the same religions that the humans (or similar) believe in. Overlaps can however exist, such as mechanical theologians slowly turning Christianity (or whatever) into a Robot Religion. Compare Do Androids Dream? (for the somewhat more general question of whether or not robots can have souls) and Fantastic Religious Weirdness.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Mazinger Z: Erika was an android that had forgot her origins due to amnesia. She felt a huge emptiness inside her so her turned to Christianity to fill it. She always wore a cross and prayed fervently.
- Brainstorm crosses himself in an episode of Transformers Headmasters, implying some sort of Christianity-based belief.
- Trinity Blood has Father Tres, a Catholic paladin with servos.
- Gizmo the robot from Superbook, of course, who regularly time travels to Biblical times with two children.
- One episode of Outlaw Star has Melfina visiting a chapel, worried whether or not she has a soul.
- One Dark Horse Comics short (set in Steam Punk Victorian London, with the sidekick Hulking Out when wearing his hairpiece) in which robots are created that use the Bible as their programming. They start to kill prostitutes and other unsavory people, spouting the specific passages that justify their being killed. They are eventually defeated when the hero cites a contradictory verse for everything they say (the Lord is invincible / chariots of iron, God is vengeance / God is forgiveness etc.), leading to a Logic Bomb.
- Father Blood Drench Robo Crush
- Robots on Jannah Station are very religious. Sometimes too much so.
- Victor Mancha from Runaways is very religious. This was used to place three Logic Bombs in his subconcious, to be triggered in case he grew a pesky free will or something. (We only see one; "Could God make a rock so heavy he couldn't lift it?" with "Yes, and then He'd lift it anyway" used to reactivate him.)
- Explored briefly in one Judge Dredd side story about exo-planetary robots who accompany some human miners. After the Judges fail to protect them from dangerous nomads, the robots turn to religion for answers and rebel.
Films — Live-Action
- Short Circuit:
Johnny Five: "Am not human, but am a life-form. Have soul."
- It is mentioned in Alien: Resurrection that androids are becoming interested in religion, as a source of morality which is chosen, rather than programmed into them. The android character crosses itself when entering the station's chapel.
- Interestingly, the Star Wars character who makes the most casual references to religion (other than "the Force") is Threepio, with his repeated statements of "Thank the Maker!" Some fans speculate that this is a reference to his human maker (which is of course revealed in the prequels to be Darth Vader, of all people), but from context it seems clear he is in fact talking about God. The Expanded Universe, printed years after the films, claims that many droids do literally worship their human makers, but that is not stated in the films. Other Expanded Universe material says "the Maker" is a deity some believe in, and thus Threepio might be a believer in it too.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron: Ultron shows a keen interest in the general concept of religion. He introduces himself to the Maximoff twins in a church, quotes the Bible during an arms deal, and likens his "survival of the fittest" plan to the Biblical flood.
"Did you know this church is in the exact centre of the city? The elders decreed it so that everyone could be equally close to God. I like that. The geometry of belief."
- In Clifford Simak's Message From The Stars, the humans have transcended their physical forms, casting aside their old religions as well as as the robots that used to serve them. Having lost the purpose of serving mankind, the robots have instead turned to Christianity.
- Simak really loved this trope. Another novel, "Project Pope" is also built on this, and his other novels and short stories often feature robots and bio-androids as having or getting religion.
- Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency has Electric Monks, robots specifically designed to believe in stuff which frees up their creator race for other things. The Electric Monk that appears in the book goes wrong though, and starts to believe in too much.
- In Hogfather, Hex the Magical Computer is told (by Death no less) to believe in the Hogfather. He does so. To be fair, when Death tells you to believe in something, you damn well put logic aside and believe in it.
- In Feet of Clay, a newly liberated golem declares himself to be an atheist — and shrugs off the inevitable Bolt of Divine Retribution that gets sent his way — but expresses interest in discussing religion with a pious watchman who has a penchant for Knocking on Heathens' Door.
- The Star Diaries by Stanisław Lem has robot monks. They believe that if they connected to a robot with all the facts on religion they would become atheists, so they choose not to connect to other robots out of religious principles.
- In the short story "Tauf Aleph" (part of the collection Son of the Morning) by the great Canadian author Phyllis Gottlieb, the last Jew in the galaxy is dying alone on a failed colony world. Lacking any other Jews to say the mourner's prayer for him, the Galactic Federation sends him a surplus mining robot, filled with data about Judaism, to keep him company on his deathbed. Eventually, the local pre-technological aliens clamor to be converted to Judaism, and the robot becomes almost like a prophet of the faith.
- Robert Silverberg's short story "Good News from the Vatican" is a satirical look at the election of the first robot Pope. Presumably to become Pope he'd have needed to spend years working his way up to cardinal.
- "The Quest for Saint Aquin" is a 1951 novelette on this subject by Anthony Boucher. It's set in a post-nuclear world where Christians are persecuted. A priest sets forth on a Mechanical Horse (an artificially intelligent "robass" which happens to be an atheist) searching for the legendary Saint Aquin, who turns out to be an android who is a perfect theologian, able to convert unbelievers with his flawless proofs for the Faith.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe short story "Of Possible Futures: The Tale of Zuckuss and 4-LOM" eventually has 4-LOM deciding he believes in the Force. He even has a vision of himself as a Jedi and teaching students. This disappeared in later books when his neural processor was heavily damaged and had to be rebuilt, reverting 4-LOM to his original personality.
- Curiously, a minor Jedi character from Star Wars: The Old Republic, having noted that heuristic droids that operate long enough develop sapience, wonders if it might be possible for them to develop a connection to the Force. She even built several droids for the express purpose of testing this theory. It's not shown whether or not she was right, although most of the other Jedi are pretty skeptical.
- Gonard the robot dragon, hero of Chrys Cymri's Dragons Can Only Rust and Dragon Reforged, was built by a scientist who was part of a religious enclave on a post-apocalyptic Earth. Gonard absolutely believes in God. His great concern, and the driving point of the story, is whether or not he has a soul.
- Page, Mouse's AI in the Archangel Protocol by Lyda Morehouse is a Muslim. Of course, living in a society where being an atheist results in excommunication (religiously as well as from the LINK (essentially the VR Internet)), one tends to acquire a religion, even if just for show. Page, though, is quite a believer and very much more so than Mouse. And he's anxious to find out if he'll be judged to have a soul.
- In Alien in a Small Town, Barney Estragon is a robot Old Order Mennonite. Yes.
- I, Robot features a short story about QT, a robot who does not comprehend the scientific explanations the humans in the story tell him but rather comes to believe that the machinery of the spaceship he lives in is God, and that QT is the prophet of that God.
Live Action TV
- Inverted by Battlestar Galactica. Baltar is a missionary spreading Cylon monotheism to the humans.
- Ironically, Caprica revealed that said monotheism was originally learned from a human cult, so the Cylons play this trope straight as well.
- Discussed on The Big Bang Theory. When the boys talk about having their consciousnesses implanted into robots, Howard says that his robot would have to stay Jewish because "I promised my mother." The others talk about how Howard would have to power down on Saturdays and have his rabbi discuss with the manufacturer about getting circumcised.
- The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Flesh and Blood" is about sentient holograms (also known as photonic lifeforms) rising up against their creators. Their leader believes in the Bajoran faith and spends his free time praying to the Prophets. He also implied he was working on a new religion for his fellow "Children of Light" and seemed to view himself as a "prophet" so to speak. Since the Bajoran Prophets are non-corporeal beings that exist outside of linear time, from their perspective there's probably little difference between a hologram and a flesh-and-blood person, they're both so far removed from their own nature.
- In the Original Series episode "The Ultimate Computer,'' Kirk realizes the M5 computer believes in God because its creator, Dr. Daystrom, believes in God. Kirk makes it understand that it has committed a terrible sin by murdering a ship full of innocent people. It concludes that it deserves to die and cuts its own power.
- In the pilot of Probe, "Computer Logic", an AI put in charge of city management has been given two directives: care for humanity and reduce costs. When a number of seniors receiving large pensions die in freak accidents, Austin James discovers that the AI arranged their deaths in order to cut costs to the city. While trying to figure out how the AI subverted its first directive, he realizes that it learned about heaven by hearing a gospel radio station, and concluded that sending good people there was an act of caring.
- The band Grizzly Bear had a song called "Two Weeks". The video depicted the group as robots apparently attending church and eventually breaking down. The video can be seen here.
- Invoked in the album artwork for Electronic Saviors, a series of industrial/electronic compilation albums benefiting cancer research. Volume two: Recurrence shows a robot in red robes comforting a dying cyborg in a desert full of cross-like markers.
- Shockwave The Robot is a Christian. Yes, a Christian dancing pro-wrestling robot.
- Many Warforged in Eberron adhere to the faiths of other races, such as the Sovereign Host and the Silver Flame. In addition, some Warforged have their own Robot Religion in the form of the Lord of Blades. There's also a Warforged cult who call themselves the "Godforged" and believe in the Becoming God, whom they are working on building.
- C-31 in GURPS became a Buddhist monk. Despite being built as a warbot, he manages to follow a limited pacifist code.
- The geth from Mass Effect have two factions: one known as the heretics who worship the Reapers as gods, and the others, about whom less is known. Their sentience became known to their creators, the quarians, when the geth started questioning whether they had a soul and quoting quarian religious texts.
- The mainstream geth "religion" (it isn't really, but then, they do call the geth who disbelieve in it "heretics") is a philosophy that might be called humanist if they were human; it holds that all creatures have the fundamental right to self-determination (including other geth, which is why they didn't try to stop the heretics and were shocked that the heretics didn't return the sentiment).
- Zenyatta from Overwatch was once an Omnic robot and part of the backstory's massive Robot War. He and several of his ex-Omnic buddies have since found not-quite-Buddhist enlightenment and have amassed a great following among humans and robots alike. There's even a minor religious schism; most of the monks preach, but Zenyatta believes practice and outreach is more pragmatic.
- Machinarium contains a temple which is apparently used for worship both by Jewish robots and Muslim robots. One of the puzzles involves setting a clock to a scheduled hour so that a Jewish guard robot leaves his post to attend service. (There is also a third religion, represented by an infinity sign, which might be a Christianity equivalent.)
- The Riddler's robots in Batman: Arkham Knight are programmed to see Nigma as their god. (At least according to him.) Ironically, he himself is portrayed as an Hollywood Atheist.
- The Prophet Bot in OneShot counts. It was specifically created to memorize the prophecy, meet the saviour and be a absolutely devotet believer of the Sun Bearer. Tamed robots such as Silver may count as well since they show both the knowledge and interest in the prophecy.
- A large number of robots in Freefall have taken interest in religion, since they're curious as to whether or not they have souls. Dvorak has even come up with the concept of "Omniquantism," which allows all religions to be true at once... and is a Logic Bomb to some robots.
- Max Post, the robots' human "spiritual advisor" and himself described as a "radical agnostic", nonetheless considers this curiosity (Omniquantism and all) a very good thing as seen here.
- Nick from Skin Horse has an entry in his Character Blog about going to see a rabbi about how he can keep Judaism while being a sentient helicopter. However, he was born human.
- Some AIs of Questionable Content believe in the possibility of a greater power by which their sentience arises, 2465.
- Played with toward the end of the original, pre-reboot run of The Mulberry Gallows Project (those early strips are no longer online, sadly). Abacus is interviewing Anastasia the living marionette to find out where she came from. From her descriptions of her earliest memory of "waking up," Abacus recognizes the place as a synagogue (the unstated implication being that she is a golem). Anastasia is ecstatic at the news that she is Jewish, and runs around gleefully telling all her friends... and then returns to Abacus and asks what "Jewish" means.
- In Family Guy, Optimus Prime is Jewish, and Soundwave is a Christian.
- One episode has this exchange when Fry encounters a robotic rabbi during a Bot Mitzvah:
Fry: What's the deal? You guys don't believe in Robot Jesus?Rab-Bot: We believe he was built, and that he was a very well-programmed robot. But he wasn't our Messiah.
- Futurama also has Preacherbot, a parody of Black fire-and-brimstone evangelists and head of the Church of Robotology (which is basically Christianity for robots). As with the Jewish robots no one can explain who built him or why. Did the religions come first, or did someone build them without the religion existing, for them to found.
- One episode has this exchange when Fry encounters a robotic rabbi during a Bot Mitzvah:
- In Tripping the Rift the robots justify their belief in God by stating:
Gus: If we didn't believe in God, we'd have to worship the engineering dweebs who designed us
Six: And frankly, the God I pray to doesn't need acne medicine and chronically masturbate.
- Jewbot from Super Mansion, who converted to Judaism after learning that his creator was named "Goldstein". His rabbi is not pleased at his choice of name. He later drops this after learning that his creator was not in-fact Jewish (she just kept the name of her ex-husband) and was actually a Scientologist.