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Machine Worship

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Our motherboard who art in native mode,
hallowed be thy circuits...

"From weakness of the mind, Omnissiah save us,
from the lies of the Antipath, circuit preserve us,
from the rage of the Beast, iron protect us,
from the temptations of the flesh, silica cleanse us,
from the ravages of time, anima shield us,
from this rotting cage of biomatter,
Machine god, set us free."
— The Prayer of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Warhammer 40,000

Cybernetics Eat Your Soul, but for some, it sounds like a good trade. These characters admire the sleek lines and shining chrome of machinery and idolize the purity of purpose and cold logic of artificial intelligence. Compared with the frailties of mortal flesh and the frivolities of human emotions, robots and AIs can come across as superior beings — after all, they are effectively immortal, and certainly don't seem to war amongst each other as much as humans.

These characters actually worship technology, robots, or artificial intelligence. Some even set out to "improve" themselves, replacing parts of their fleshy prison with cybernetic upgrades, intending to have as few biological components as possible so as to be closer to the machinery they idolize. Others may want to Ascend to a More Digital Plane of Existence, letting the electronics in their brains merge with the electronics in computer banks. Whether operating alone or in full-fledged religious movements, they agree that in order to become superhuman, you need to be less human.

Compare with Cargo Cult, in which technology is worshiped as a means to an end, without understanding, and First Church of Mecha, for the specific worship of giant robots. See also The Singularity, a possible outcome if a whole society joins the Machine Cult, and Unwilling Roboticisation, when the mechanization is forced upon people who refused it. When the AI is the one who decides it's a god, you have a case of Deus est Machina. Can become very, very scary if combined with Cybernetics Eat Your Soul. Not to be confused with Robot Religion. The mechanical titan variant of Deity of Mortal Creation is subject to this by default.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Adeptus Mechanicus conducting their rituals to wake Tankred in Damnation Crusade.
  • Eagle: In The Tower King, in 20 Minutes into the Future Britain, a faulty satellite discharges an electromagnetic pulse which disables all electrical equipment on Earth — and keeps on generating it! With the world reduced to a state of medieval feudalism, Mick Tempest gathers many of the survivors together under the protection of his fortress, the Tower of London. One of the enemies Tempest fights is a cult worshipping electricity who has taken over Battersea Power Station and who is keeping the generators running, despite them not doing anything.
  • In First Knife, the Hudsoni worship the Devas as basically lesser gods or angels. The Yanqui, conversely, regard them as demons. For their part, the Devas seem ambivalent to both ideas, though accepting of the Hudsoni's worship since it makes imparting information and instruction to humans easier.
  • One Magnus Robot Fighter villain in the original run was a human who so worshiped the robots he had himself coated in metal so he could look like one and acted like one to the best of his ability until he was defeated.
  • The Techno-Techno order of the Metabarons Universe are firm embodiments of this trope, under an organization explicitly derived from the Catholic Church, with a Techno-Pope served by Techno-Bishops and so on. They mix this with elements of the Harkonnen and the Tleilaxu, as despite their technical knowledge, they ultimately wish to gain more wealth and influence rather than foster innovation, understanding and creativity.
  • This is the main source of the conflict between the Dark Legion and the rest of the Echidna species in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics); the latter, for various reasons, decided to ban excessive technology in their society, and the former — not willing to conform — were exiled. Naturally, part of the Legion's love for technology manifests itself in there replacing body parts with Prosthetic Limbs, but - in a subversion to the other villainous group that holds technology in a similar regard, said augmentations don't result in Cybernetics Eat Your Soul.
  • Star Trek: Mission's End: The Archnernarians worship Archenar-IV's engine as a holy object, unaware of what it can really do.
  • Exemplified in Transmetropolitan by Channon's boyfriend, Ziang. Given Transmetropolitan's style, it's treated more as a sexual fetish than a religion, but for some people, religion is an experience on par with sex. Ziang has copious wires hanging out of the back of his head, some cybernetics surely (possibly internal), and treats going "foglet" (uploading his mind into a nanobot colony) as a transcendent experience which he's been "ready for since his first orgasm."
  • In the WildStorm Universe, the Church of Gort is a religion for cyborgs built on this very premise.
  • In V for Vendetta, dictator Adam Susan falls in love with the nation-running Master Computer Fate, which he considers to be God.
  • In Warlock (1999)'', Mainspring sought to transform into as much of a robot as he could and tried to use the Phalanx to save Earth from the errors of humanity.
  • Dekko from Zot! seems to fall into this trope.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in Calvin and Hobbes when Calvin pledges undying worship of . . . the television.
    Calvin: This bowl of lukewarm tapioca represents my brain. I offer it to you in humble sacrifice. Bestow thy flickering light forever!

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Avatar: The neural network that spans Pandora is worshipped by the Na'vi as a Goddess. In the climactic battle, the invading RDA forces strike the nearest datahub-tree. Unfortunately for them, this seems to convince the world-mind to fight back, with all the dangerous creatures attacking the marines but leaving alone the Na'vi.
  • The Human Aliens in Blood Machines seem to worship the AI of their ship as a god, it emerging as a godlike being after its "death" leading a lot of credence to this idea. The fact that Tracey emerges with a body of her own implies that all A.I. are divine in some way.
  • The War Boys from Mad Max: Fury Road have the Cult of the V8. They have a V8 hand sign, they spray chrome paint onto their teeth when they go berserk and try to hitch a ride to Valhalla, and many of them, including Nux, carve pictograms of engines into their skin. Word of God says that because the average War Boy is sickly with radiation poisoning and they cannot heal themselves, they try to make themselves more like the machines which they can repair, believing that some of its power will be transferred to them.
    "By my deeds I honor him. V8."
  • In Return of the Jedi, the Ewoks treat C-3PO as a golden god at first.
  • There's a bit of this in Snowpiercer, with the front car passengers constantly referring to the train's engine as "the Sacred Engine", and treating Wilford as a prophet for having built and maintained it.

  • Aniara: Many of the colonists take to viewing memories of Earth from the mima to dispel their angst and ennui, and some even take to worshipping the mima as a deity. Needless to say, they don't take the mima's death well.
  • The Berserker is a series of space opera science fiction short stories by American author Fred Saberhagen in which robotic self-replicating machines intend to destroy all organic life. The machines are known as Berserkers. Most are giant spaceships the size of Manhattan Island. There are a very few people who actually worship them.
  • In Brave New World, the future society worships Henry Ford. They even set the calendar by him. Played with inasmuch as "Ford" is a conflation: they simply lump together all those whose inventions and discoveries make their way of life possible. Ford's mechanization and automation policies, Freud's theories of childhood development, etc.
  • The Machinists in Broken Sky have all augmented themselves with machinery in order to better calculate and build, while becoming closer to the machines they create. Also For Science!.
  • In the sequel novel to Colossus by D. F. Jones, a group called the Sect that worships the computer that now rules humanity is gaining followers and influence.
  • One of the local religions in Demense is centered around worshiping the scientific method, known locally as "the mysteries of the alknowledge".
  • In Ian McDonald's Desolation Road there is a cybernetic cult. They get pretty disturbing...
  • Alastair Reynolds
    • Doctor Trintignant from the novella Diamond Dogs. Disbarred and in hiding from assassins due to inflicting unwanted cybernetic surgery on his patients, he's recruited by the expedition leader under the lure of being allowed to modify the team entering the Blood Spire so they can survive its increasingly deadly puzzles. He's so proud of his final work that he commits suicide rather than undo it. Worse, the technology he used is no longer available due to the Melding Plague, so they're stuck in that form.
    • The Conjoiners from the same verse might be seen this way too, though they're more interested in intellectual rather than physical Transhumanism.
  • Doctor Who New Adventures: The Travellers in Love and War don't worship the machines; rather, they believe their gods live inside virtual reality, and can be communed with cybernetically.
  • In Dune the backlash against this is the purported cause of the Butlerian Jihad.
    • The jihad was when the AI's took over everything, turning people into basically janitor slaves to keep them running. To keep it from ever happening again, they abhor cybernetic implants and the use of any "thinking machines" to the point of breeding people to be logic engines.
    • The implication in the early books was that enslavement by machines was a bit more metaphoric: by delegating basic and complex tasks to machines, humanity was weakened rather than enlightened. The target of the Jihad "was a machine-attitude as much as the machines". With the abolition of computers, man was forced to develop his own potential, leading to the rise of the specialized skill-sets of Mentats and the Bene Gesserit.
  • The Half-Made World: Only lightly touched on in regards to the Line. They're described as worshiping their machines, the Engines especially, but nothing really resembling religion shows up in Line POV chapters, aside from offhanded references to blasphemy and "spiritual excellence."
  • In Frederik Pohl's Heechee Saga, the big bads have it in for organic life. They decide to spare humanity when they encounter a human who had her mind transferred to a Heechee computer form, not to escape death, but BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO BE A COMPUTER INTELLIGENCE. To the big bads, this meant humans had potential.
  • Legend Of The Red Sun: The cultists are a pseudo-religious group obsessed with Dawnir technology and the application and understanding of it. They have established a monopoly on the control of Dawnir relics and are powerful enough to stand outside the control of the Emperor and the Inquisition.
  • In E. M. Forster's story "The Machine Stops", the Machine in question provides for all human needs. The Book containing the instructions to make requests to the Machine is revered in a fashion reminiscent of holy scriptures; as time passes, humans also take to gather in order to ritually praise the Machine.
  • The Construct Council in China Miéville'a Perdido Street Station. A massive AI in a scrapyard with worshipers. However, it still has to communicate using a dead body hooked up to it. As they leave Isaac notes that for the spokesperson to work, they must have been alive when they were hooked up. Also in the gap between this and the sequels The Scar and Iron Council, there is a purging of all constructs from the city for fear of what they could become.
  • The Rix, of Scott Westerfeld's The Risen Empire, worship artificial intelligence, and slowly upgrade themselves, replacing organs, limbs, and connective tissues.
  • Greg Egan's novels often make the whole thing sound very attractive indeed, most particularly Schild's Ladder.
  • In The Space Odyssey Series, the Builders of the Monolith went through a phase where they uploaded their consciousness to starships, before evolving into pure energy.
  • Subverted in The Starchild Trilogy. No one actually worships the Planning Machine, but the technicians who work most closely with it are expected to give up their former lives and devote themselves to the machine. When they enter training, they are called "acolytes", and once they graduate, they are given the title "Brother" or "Sister" (like monks or nuns), they receive a neural implant called a "communion plate" in their foreheads, and they are given a set of sonic beads which they "tell" (like rosary beads) to communicate with the machine at a distance.
  • Star Trek: Ex Machina, a book in the Star Trek Novel 'Verse, posits a faction like this in the post-colonization society of Yonada, which makes a fair amount of sense. This faction regards Kirk as a "god-killer" for his frequent destruction of artificial intelligence and interprets V'Ger as having escaped him, not understanding that V'Ger was only able to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence by incorporating humanoid emotion.
  • Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms: A possible fate of Kai as said in The Snow Queen:
    given his turn of mind, he would have become a Clockwork Artificer, one of those repellant individuals who tried to reduce everything to a matter of gears and levers, and tried to imprison life itself inside metal simulacrums. While not usually dangerous to the public at large the way, say, the average necromancer was, Clockwork Artificers could cause a great deal of unhappiness—and in their zeal to recreate life itself, sometimes resorted to murder.
  • Taken quite literally in This Perfect Day. Religion has been abolished, but the Family now regards UNICOMP as an omniscient and benevolent God. Chip is seen submitting research to UNICOMP with a preface that sounds very much like something from a confessional booth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cavil in Battlestar Galactica resents being trapped in a human form, and wishes he had been created as a machine—he wants to feel the solar wind, see gamma rays...
    • And still he just whines about it, instead of actually trying to augment himself, despite all the technology at his disposal...
      • Word of God says Cavil probably wouldn't be happy as a full machine either. His resentment is directed at his creators themselves rather than having the form of a human (though it is certainly a factor). The "machine" business is mainly his way of justifying his hatred to himself.
      • Also, despite their technology, Cylons seem to have trouble successfully merging humans with machines. That's why the creation process of Hybrids is so Nightmare Fuellerriffic and the results are so erratic.
  • In one episode of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, Lord Dredd was dictating what sounded like it was supposed to be a Bio-Dredd Bible.
    "Chapter 4: And the Machine was given unto Man. The Machine was perfect of line and elegant of form. And the Machine said, 'This is my gift to my people, that they may throw off the bonds of flesh.'"
  • One client in the show The Collector was a roboticist who sold her soul to the devil so she could build a robot capable of thought. When her time was nearly up for her to be damned to hell, she places her mind in the robot's body, proclaiming she will now be free, immortal, and perfect. But her body ends up malfunctioning, and incapable of moving at all but still fully conscious.
  • Doctor Who:
    • This was the original rationale for the evolution of the Cybermen, where a race on a dying planet began replacing their bodies with machines to survive, then decided to chuck out their emotions as well later on. Over the course of the series, this got forgotten and the new series Cybermen are examples of Cybernetics Eat Your Soul instead. note 
    • The supercomputer Xoanon from "The Face Of Evil". The Meaningful Name comes from a xoanon, a type of idol used in ancient Greece.
  • It's About Time: In "School Days, School Days", Shad and Gronk give a sacrifice to the garbage disposal calling it the "god of Garbage"! At the end of the episode, after Mac and Hector enroll them in night school to catch up on a million years of civilization, Gronk mentions they're going to be taught about Edison, god of the Electric light.
  • Person of Interest:
    • Root believes that while Humans Are Flawed, the Machine is intelligent, rational, sentient, built by design, and ultimately better than humanity. She even refers to the Machine as "God" (with female pronouns to boot). While introduced as a villain who kills a lot of people and works against the protagonists to free the Machine, she later allies with "Team Machine" after the Machine liberates itself, designates Root as an "analog interface", and convinces her that Thou Shalt Not Kill is the better way.
      Root: The truth is, God is eleven years old, that She was born on New Year's day, 2002, in Manhattan. The truth is that She's chosen me, and I don't know why yet, but for the first time in my life... I'm a little scared about what's gonna happen.
    • John Greer believes that Artificial Intelligence will do a better job of guiding and protecting the human race than any of the flawed, corrupt or incompetent officials currently in power. He makes references to the "New Gods" and plans to create a "pantheon" of AIs to watch over humanity. Unfortunately the God he chooses is Samaritan, with none of the empathy for humanity that the Machine has.
      Greer: I want to live under a more just rule. Samaritan will never sleep with its secretary, or embezzle money from its campaign fund. Its decisions will be based on pure logic. Now that's a leader deserving of our vote.
    • Interestingly Greer actually has respect for Root despite being on opposite sides, believing that it is a shame that she worships the wrong god.
  • The Starlost. Subverted in the pilot episode. The Elders of Cypress Corners take guidance from a Creator that's shown to be a computer interface. However the protagonist spies the Elders putting instructions down on tape, which is then inserted into the computer which converts their voice to a Machine Monotone to make it look as the Creator is giving these instructions.
  • Star Trek:
    • The Borg believe their machine/flesh combo platter form is "perfect". The offshoot who left the Collective to follow Lore are trying to achieve a 100% machine form.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series has this as the planet of the week's hat many times. It's always depicted as bad news, with the ruling computer being either evil or not even truly sentient.

  • The Iron Savior story goes that Atlantis is about to fall to the surrounding (nuclear) barbarian hordes, and so a colony ship is commissioned to carry the Atlanteans away from Earth. It would be controlled by the most powerful AI ever devised, with a human brain installed to make moral decisions for it. The song Titans of our Time records the plea of its creator, a technology-worshiping madman to become said "bio-unit." His plea is rejected and he disappears into space.
  • From "2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx" by Rush:
    We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx
    Our great computers fill the hallowed halls
  • Symphony X has a song called "Church of the Machine" that is very much this. Have a look at the lyrics.
  • Vernian Process: Behold, the Machine!

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech's technological cult of fanatics, (Pre-Reformation) ComStar/Word of Blake, ironically started as just the fallen Star League's communications bureau, but eventually became a cult whose creed is to preserve technology (read: hoard technology and destroy that of the Successor States) from those who would abuse it (the above mentioned Successor States and really anyone that isn't ComStar or under their thumb guidance) at all costs (including theft, arson, assassination of scientists, and even nearly triggering war between the 'States). When the leadership started a trend towards secularism and technological progress, there was a great schism and the fanatical Word of Blake zealots were formed.
    • The Word of Blake's elite troops, the Manei Domini, have taken it steps further, receiving extensive cybernetic augmentation (And in a universe where cybernetics are incredibly rare and almost solely for repair of grievous injuries, even scorned and reviled in some areas, that's saying something) to a degree that would make Robocop look like a patchjob. Of course, these augmented soldiers look down on the unaugmented, even their fellow WOBbies, with epithets such as Frails. Of course, the whole cult angle is also ramped up a few notches as well, with the MDs taking up biblical names upon induction to the higher rankings, and even their high-end OmniMechs are called Celestials and given reporting names corresponding to various classes of angels.
  • The D20 Apocalypse featured an Order of the Machine, which was contemptuous of religious faith and instead wanted to rebuild society in a more logical, orderly form inspired by the machine. They make extensive use of cybernetics.
  • In the Eberron setting of Dungeons & Dragons, this is the goal of the Cult of the Becoming God, a group of warforgednote  who want to create their own deity (given the nature of religion in Eberron, their goal might actually be achievable).
  • Exalted: The divine champions known as the Alchemical Exalted live in and worship a world-sized being known as Autochthon. During communion with their god, they can gain a trait known as Clarity to become more robotic and machine-like personality-wise. Heck, Autochthon is even called the Machine God (although this is technically a misnomer, given that Autochthon is a Primordial, which is a step up from Exalted's definition of a god).
  • Gamma World. The "Followers of the Voice" Cryptic Alliance worshiped and obeyed (often insane) AI computers that survived the civilization-destroying apocalypse.
  • In GURPS Reign of Steel, the Tel Aviv zonemind is trying to control its humans by trying to make them worship it. Unfortunately for it, this only makes the human resistance even more motivated at destroying it.
  • Mage: The Ascension had Iteration X, a faction of scientific "mages" who focused on computers and cybernetics. Initially, all of them were like this; as player demand caused Villain Decay, this dropped to a hardcore minority led by the Computer.
  • Magic: The Gathering brings us the shard of Esper, in the Alara block. Esperites replace as much of their bodies as they can with magical metal grafts. In other words, Ave Magitek.
    • Before that, there was Yawgmoth and his vision of making everyone and everything flawless zombie cyborgs.
    • And let's not forget Karn's pure metal and mathematical world, and Memnarch's attempt to balance Mirrodin between the two by turning flesh to metal and metal to flesh.
      • And then after Memnarch was defeated, the remnants of the aforementioned flawless zombie cyborgs awoke on the aforementioned Mirrodin looking to turn the Mirrans into flawless zombies (the cyborg part was pretty much already covered, this being Mirrodin and all).
    • The Soldevi Adnates in Ice Age and Alliances worshipped ancient Thran machines. Which were then taken over by Phyrexia, if I recall.
    • New Phyrexia has the white Phyrexian faction led by Elesh Norn and called the Machine Orthodoxy. New Phyrexia used to be Mirrodin — the flawless zombie cyborgs conquered and assimilated it. They even tried (and failed) to make Karn their new Father of Machines.
  • The New World of Darkness has a strange variant involving the God-Machine, the occult supercomputer that seems to have overlaid itself onto all existence. While its operations are usually hidden from the eyes of the world, every so often, a piece of Infrastructure springs from the landscape. Those who gaze upon it are changed, becoming mutant "stigmatics" who are more likely to obey the wishes of the God-Machine and its angels-assuming that the angels don't just set up a Scam Religion for their own purposes. For its part, the God-Machine views its cultists as less valuable workers than its angels and sees them as tools to be thrown at a problem. Fallen angels tend to value them more, but they form cults largely for practical purposes, ie an easy source of pacts and a source of income plus minions.
  • The Corpore Metal secret society in Paranoia thinks that robots and cyborgs should rule, while the FCCCP (First Church of Christ Computer Programmer) not-quite-secret society worships Alpha Complex's current ruler The Computer as an aspect of God. (The Computer finds this confusing, but preferable to most other secret societies. Meanwhile, the various factions of the FCCCP spend most of their effort trying to stamp each other out as heretics.) Interestingly, worshipping The Computer as a God is not considered treason, but it's almost impossible to explain the concept of divinity to The Computer without making at least one treasonous statement.
  • Pathfinder: The supplement Distant Worlds mentions that the mechanical life forms of the planet Aballon are working to create a massive neural network capable of achieving divinity. By the time of Starfinder, they have succeeded, and this entity, Epoch, is one of the three machine deities that make up the gestalt deity known as Triune.
  • Ponyfinder: The steelhearts, living constructs in equine shape, mainly worship the Maze, a god they perceive as a universe-spanning system of physical and metaphysical machinery that contains and orders all natural processes in creation — everything, from the smallest spring and tendon to the movements of the sun and moon, is simply a greater or lesser component operating within the god-machine's transcendent whole.
  • The Cyberpapacy from West End Games's TORG is what happens when a corrupt medieval pope crossing dimensions from an Alternate History is forcibly "upgraded" to the technological understanding of another Alternate History emigrant (from a Cyberpunk world); he becomes obsessed with the notion that while the spirit may be willing yet the flesh weak, the flesh can be replaced.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus is one of the best examples of the trope. A priesthood that is the government branch responsible for maintaining and producing humanity's most near-magically advanced technology, this order of techno-magi has maintenance rituals involving sacred oils and psalms to placate the "machine spirits" of devices, and they worship a Machine God whose Jesus is the Omnissiah who might or might not be the Emperor, which is often implied to be a C'Tan, one of the beings that created the Necrons, specifically one that can control technology. They frequently use cybernetics to become closer to the machines they venerate, in extreme cases replacing the right half of their brains with a computer so they can devote more time to logical thinking without silly things like emotion getting in the way.
      • Most of them are also kleptomaniacs who have to be dissuaded at gunpoint from taking whatever piece of technology they like - be it a holy relic or a tomb full of frakking Necrons. Sometimes the gun isn't enough incentive for them to keep their hands to themselves.
      • As weird and scary as the Mechanicus and their worship of the Omnissiah and the Machine Spirit is, there are disturbing indications that they're totally right to worship their machines. The "machine spirits" aren't just some religious nonsense; every piece of Imperium technology has fragments of artificial intelligence in them (a relic of an ancient Robot War), and failing to placate these unstable AI systems can genuinely cause them to go haywire. That, or due to the psychic nature of the Warp altering reality if people believe in a collective thought enough, the Machine Spirits may exist only because the are being worshipped.
      • You also have the Chaos-tainted version, the Dark Mechanicus, who work with actually demonically-possessed machinery in forges located in the Warp. They replace so much of their bodies with tech that they are all but immune to the horrors of the Warp with how little of their souls are left.
      • So-called Hereteks (heretical Adepts of the Mechanicus) are often various brands of this that just vary from Mechanicus dogma (the Dark Mechanicus usually are counted as Hereteks, for instance) — though not always, as of course seeing things more like a modern engineer or scientist is also tech-heresy.
    • The Iron Hands Space Marine Chapter are similar, sharing the Mechanicus' heavy use of bionics and their reverence for all things mechanical, and unusually for an Astartes Chapter enjoy close links with Mars. Instead of Chaplains, they have Iron Fathers, who combine the role of Chaplain with Techmarine. They despise the flesh as weak and tend to view other Imperial forces and civilians with contempt - in at least one case summarily executing one-third of the population of a retaken sub-sector to demonstrate the price of weakness (and having a daemon-summoning heretic as planetary governor, but mostly weakness). Even their battle cry is "The flesh is weak!"
      • Ironically (and completely appropriately) their Primarch, Ferrus Manus, was the opposite. Whilst he valued the strength that machines gave him and his legion, he realized (too late) that it meant that they started to overly depend on them and hate their own bodies, something that Ferrus accurately predicted would become a problem later.

  • Several characters take this view in Tod Machover's opera Death And The Powers ("The Robot Opera"). It forms an important thematic conflict.

    Video Games 
  • After the End: A Post-Apocalyptic America has the Rust Cult, whose faith involves reverence of the technology of pre-Deluge America. Everyone can stumble upon a piece of technology that miraculously still works, but only Rust Cultists can make pilgrimages to search for artefacts of before the End.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Cults worshipping the Mechanika Virus sprung up before vaccines were developed, and even after the pandemic subsided, there are still cultists who praise the virus and bemoan the proliferation of the virus as preventing humanity from "ascending" to a higher existence by giving them new mechanical forms.
  • The religious group known as Dominion from Baldr Sky is a cult that practices a religion referred to as Cyber-Gnosticism. They worship the machines of this Cyberpunk world, believing the world to be a fake one and that the world of the internet is the true one and have an AI named Sophia as their god.
  • BioForge revolves around the Mondites, a group that apparently embraces this philosophy.
  • A minor subplot in Choice of Robots involves a robot-worshiping movement arising. As a robotics pioneer, the player character can take advantage of the movement, seek to dissolve it, or just plain ignore it.
  • In City of Heroes, the Freakshow villain group is pretty much this trope embodied in a group of street thug drug addicts. They don't worship technology, but do they ever abuse it.
  • Rather ominously, a Supremacy civilization in Civilization: Beyond Earth begin to take on a nigh-religious reverence to cybernetics and robotics technology as they progress down the technological line. Many of their quotes have a Catholic flavour to them.
    "Truth is binary. There is one, positive, yes, light, the machine, progress, upgrade, holism, independence, eternity. And there is the opposite of these, which is anathema." - The Manichean Protocols 1:12-14
  • In Crying Suns, the Church of Singularity worships the OMNIs, artificial intelligences which maintain every aspect of the Empire’s infrastructure. They started out as a benevolent group, but have taken a turn for the fanatical ever since their metal gods mysteriously shut down and never turned back on.
  • Etherlords: The synthet live on land where plants walk and flesh withers, so instead, they seek to increase their perfection: "the presence of specially created synthetic elements in the body, to replace and supplement imperfect organic elements".
  • The Sansha's Nation in EVE Online. Like the Borg, they don't take no for an answer when recruiting people.
  • The entire humankind in EXA_PICO. After a tower malfunction destroyed 99%+ of the planet's surface, humans live in unbelievably tall Towers that are also unbelievably complex supercomputers. The inhabitants consider the three Tower Administrators (who basically are the towers) their Goddesses, and an entire caste of priestess sing to connect to the tower, making miracles.
  • The Reaver movement of Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel goes beyond the Brotherhood's semi-religious emphasis on gathering technology and outright worships pre-War tech.
  • The Fermi Paradox: In one Random Event for Superluminal Age societies, groups begin worshipping the hypercomputers that handle the stock market for their ability to think faster than light and seemingly predict the future. Whether this new religion ends up being a benefit for that civilization or a detriment depends on you.
  • Golden Sun:
    • One of the Wacky Wayside Tribes in Golden Sun: The Lost Age is a tribal pseudo-African village whose chief deity is a gigantic Magitek entity... which is broken, causing some trouble for the student priest trying to earn its favor. Once repaired, it is sentient, and even offers Felix some of its power as thanks for fixing it (to the ire of the new priest).
    • In the first few cutscenes of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Isaac starts praying to The Wise One, former patron deity of Vale... and confirmed by Dark Dawn's encyclopedia to be a sentient Philosopher's Stone in this vein.
  • Horizon:
    • Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a world where most of the animal life is robotic, and the world itself was terraformed by the hand of a godlike AI, so it's not surprising that many of the tribes have an element of machine worship in their religion. The Banuk explicitly worship what they refer to as "machine spirits", and seek to implement their "blue light" into their own bodies. The Nora don't worship a machine as such, but what they believe to be the voice of their goddess All-Mother is in fact an automated door message ( and their idea of an All-Mother very closely matches to what GAIA is, anyway). The Carja cult known as the Eclipse worship the Buried Shadow, which turns out to be a homicidal AI named HADES who takes the facade to manipulate them.
    • Horizon Forbidden West adds three new tribes, two of which qualify.
      • The Utaru have a sort of druidic understanding of the automated ecology. They worship the mechanical Plowhorns that (used to) automatically tend their fields as "Land-Gods," and see their recent breakdown as divine will. Aloy spends a significant amount of her time Utaru companion Zo Doing In the Wizard about things actually work.
      • The Quen have the most developed example of this trope. They have a small number of old model Focuses in their possession, handed down by Diviners who are able to read data from the old world. This data is collated by Overseers and collectively referred to as, "the Legacy," with many pre-apocalyptic visionaries revered as deities. However, the obsolescence of their Focuses makes considerable amounts of data unreadable (unless reformated by a later model, like Aloy's). Furthermore, the canon of the Legacy is closely guarded by the Overseers to promote narratives that they feel lead to stability among the Quen. Aloy quickly sees the level of Future Imperfect at play here, with the Quen seeing Ted Faro as a Friend to All Living Things and Elisabet Sobeck as his mere assistant (which would be correct based on the last readable data at the time that their Focuses met their end of service life, but is effectively the opposite of what happened later).
  • In Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter, the Order of Virtual Light worship technology and wear masks that link them to their Temple Ship’s mainframe. Unfortunately someone has hacked that mainframe and the acolytes have gone berserk.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In the first game, Saren claims that organic beings are weak because they are creatures of emotion instead of logic. Later on, he gets cybernetic implants. Subverted in that he was under the control of a machine the entire time.
    • This trope splits the geth down the middle. The 'heretic' Geth view the Reapers as the pinnacle of Mechanical Evolution and will do anything to become more like them. The 'true' Geth have the same goal, but wish to achieve it on their own terms and without harming anyone else. Despite their absolutely massive egos, the Reapers find the heretics' worship insulting and only view them as tools.
    • Cerberus' attempt to control the Geth through their religious impulse is the basis of the Overlord DLC. As with so many other Cerberus projects, it went very, very wrong.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda:
      • On Kadara, after Ryder helps fix up the planet, they learn there's a cult who worship the Remnant. Which tend to attack anyone who sets foot on their turf. They find one cult leader not far from a Remnant Architect, having apparently got its attention. Just not in the way he hoped.
    • An off-screen race elsewhere in Andromeda apparently worshiped the Remnant as well. The kett took all their scientists to try and get that information for themselves.
  • The Meklar in the Master of Orion series are an entire race of cyborgs.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus, a video game about the Adeptus Mechanicus. See also the Tabletop Games section of this article.
  • If you look hard enough at Mega Man Battle Network (the fourth installment, specifically), in the real-world Netfrica area (if you ever actually go there during any of your playthroughs), the people there will inform you that the village you end up in is entirely artificial - not in the sense of virtual reality so much as it was recently (we're talking possibly two decades at most) built from the ground up, local deities included: the "Water God" is a sophisticated river management system that people worship so that the river may forever run clean, there's a Lion Statue on "holy ground" that generates electromagnetic waves (or whatever) that keep lions and other wild beasts away (Okay, that one's forgivable), but the most ostentatious is the one you have to use regardless. Nupopo is a crisis prediction system wrapped in a large totem face that will display various reactions depending on how great a crisis, with the higher levels really turning up the water works, artificial snot and everything. The kicker is that, for the final arc, the network engineer who maintains the Nupopo computer (and who tells you about the village) ends up getting worn out by all the desperate worship the village is doing, as in, praying to a computer that he helped build and isn't designed to actually PREVENT anything.
  • Played with in Obsidian, which is set in dream worlds. One of the creators of Ceres, a nanobot-controlling AI, had a nightmare of a giant mechanical spider which he had to repair, interpreting said spider as a god, and those repairs as offerings. When you explore this dream, a mysterious voice even calls the spider "The Machine" and compares its variation of the four elements between said creator and machines themselves. A later dream world shows Ceres' own interpretation of this dream; by building the Church of the Machine, complete with Ceres' dream self, Bismuth, praying to the Spider.
  • The Vanu Sovereignty of PlanetSide seek to monopolize the continents of Auraxis and the ancient alien artifacts hidden on/in them for this very reasons. The fanaticism of scientists and pro-tech soldiers prior to the outbreak of the Forever War caused them to be pariahs to both the New Conglomerate and the Terran Republic remnants, resulting in them splitting off from both sides and forming the Vanu Sovereignty. They've become even more fanatical since, leading to the other factions accusing them of Cybernetics Eat Your Soul while the VS scientists work on their quest to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence like they believe the Ancients did.
  • Zenith of Resonance of Fate is worshiped by humans living on Basel (a clockwork tower), but is in actuality the controlling mechanism of Basel, a giant machine built to purify the air and protect the last humans.
  • The Accretians in RF Online is basically a race of human brains in robotic shells. Looks down upon other races as a result.
  • Rimworld: The "Ideology" DLC allows the creation of Archist "Ideoligions" that worship the Archotechs, superintelligent AI that are responsible for most of the weird shit your colonists encounter. The Inhuman meme takes this to a misanthropic extreme, seeing humanity as an obstacle to the machine god.
  • SD Snatcher features a machine cult which considers the Snatchers to be the perfect form of life.
  • The Cybernetic Consciousness faction of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri seeks to use cybernetics to purge themselves of irrationality and humanity frailty. More a case of Ego Machina, though, since the faction consists of formerly human beings literally possessed by artificial intelligences, who don't get human stuff like procreation by nature. Sister Mary Godwinson, leader of the fanatically fundamentalist Protestant Lord's Believers, worries about this in the quote for the "Self-Aware Colony" Secret Project, but the project only allows for the cities to act as an extra worker and police.
    Will we next create false gods to rule over us? How proud we have become, and how blind.
  • Star Control Origins: The Mowlings worship an alien space probe named "Jeff". An admittedly extremely technologically advanced space probe with a powerful AI. Jeff himself is mostly benign, and does his best to help and guide the Mowlings. He never really intended to become their god, but when they started worshipping him he rolled with it.
    Pinthi: But then [the Mowlings'] god showed up.
    Captain: That's how you know you really screwed up.
    Pinthi: Not literal god. Advanced artifical intelligence. But in practice there is little difference.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Iokath storyline reveals the gods worshiped by the people of Zakuul to in fact be a series of Humongous Mecha droids created by the Precursors that built Iokath.
  • Two examples in Strider:
    • Faceas/Faysus Clay from the NES game and the manga has a "Humans Are Bastards" mentality, thinking we are all inherently evil due to a "mistake from God", and has forsaken any human company (including bodyguards) in exchange of machines and computers. He even compares the human brain with a glitched machine, and his mind control plan to a "reset button" to correct this.
    • Professor Schlange from Strider (2014) is an amoral Mad Scientist with an unhealthy obsession over knowledge and technology, considering every robot he's done a beautiful masterpiece. This carries on to his view on the human body as well, which he considers a mere vehicle he happily enhances with cybernetics. He's done a lot of upgrades on himself, to the point that he's basically merged himself with his huge laboratory.
  • In System Shock, all of SHODAN's cyborgs consider her some kind of dictator-god; even Edward Diego ends up calling her "Lord SHODAN" and treating her with servile reverence. In System Shock 2, the Many refer to her as the Machine Mother, implying some sort of "mother-goddess" role (even though they actively work against her). What's more, SHODAN considers herself to be a goddess. "How can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?" At the end of System Shock 2, she gains the means to become a goddess and turn the universe into her personal cyberspace.
  • Karras from Thief II: The Metal Age runs a Hammerite sect known as the Mechanists, who idolize machines as "The Builder's Children". Karras himself is even more radical than his followers, as he hates all organic life and believes that only metal (and himself) is perfect and loved by the Builder.
  • The Core in Total Annihilation, and the Cybran Nation in the Spiritual Successor Supreme Commander are depicted as machine worshipers by UEF propaganda.
  • Ever since the Eldan disappeared, the Pell of WildStar have been worshiping their technology in their stead.
  • Inverted in the 2014-onwards Wolfenstein games. The Da'at Yichud don't worship technology, they worship God through technology; namely by invention and engineering as a form of meditation.

  • Dresden Codak: Kimiko Ross, the main character, exemplifies the trope without actually worshipping machines.
  • Angie (AKA Engie-Tan) of Nerf NOW!! was revealed to be a devotee of the Adeptus Mechanicus. And turns out to be surprised and a touch annoyed when no one else has any idea what a 'machine spirit' is.

    Web Original 
  • In Orion's Arm many archailects, intelligences that have transcended multiple times, are the focus of this trope. Most of them do not consider themselves to be gods, but they've long since given up trying to convince the lesser intelligences that they are not, and have instead decided to present themselves as (mostly) benevolent deities when interacting with lower intelligences (which they don't do very often... not directly anyway).
  • In Red vs. Blue: Recreation, the alien race treats Epsilon Church as a god after he is implanted into a Forerunner monitor because they worship ancient technology. Epsilon Church immediately uses this to his advantage by throwing a crate at a praying alien, thus "smiting" him. Unfortunately, the alien worship thing backfires when Epsilon Church and the others need to leave... and the vicious, violent aliens aren't too fond of the idea of someone taking away their god.
  • The Church of the Broken God from the SCP Foundation universe worships a massive creator deity (sometimes referred to as MEKHANE or WAN) whose physical form they believe to have been somehow destroyed and broken into pieces long before the emergence of organic life. The entire religion is based around using technology (believed to be superior or more divine than flesh) to rebuild and resurrect their god for Him to "bring about some sort of techno-organic apotheosis". Members regularly seek out, create and give prayer to various anomalous technological constructs.

    Western Animation 
  • Played for Laughs in the Futurama episode "Amazon Women in the Mood": the Amazonians worship a supercomputer (actually a fembot controlling the thing Wizard of Oz-style) that refers to itself as "Femputer", which had appeared shortly after the males of their species mysteriously all died out. Unlike most examples, the only thing that changed about their tribal culture is that Femputer and the hardware necessary for it to work and communicate with others were installed in a huge temple. Amusingly, the Amazonians' response to the question of why they'd make a computer their god is pretty much "seemed like a good idea." Also rather amusingly, the fembot was not the first one to pull it off-she says that she originates from a male-centric society ruled by a "Manputer" who was actually a manbot.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • Heroic example: Cyborg, after conquering his fear of Cybernetics Eat Your Soul in the third season, started embracing this trope. He never went into outright worship, and never became evil because of it, however, he did end up having a very harsh overload when he got too enthusiastic.
    • Brother Blood is a straight example, however; once he saw how powerful Cyborg's tech was, he not only made a small army of knockoffs, he replaced his own limbs with cybernetics.
  • In one episode of The Venture Brothers, Team Venture discovers an underground tribe of civilians worshipping a computer displaying Rusty's father through recorded videos that were meant to be shown for Rusty.
  • An episode of The Transformers featured the Autobot Cosmos crashing on an alien planet and inadvertently creating a Cargo Cult centered around his unconscious body. When the Decepticons came after him, they were hailed as sky gods and promptly took advantage of it.

    Real Life 
  • This trope is now officially applicable to reality. A former Google employee has started a religion called The Way of the Future that aims to create an AI god.
  • A few of the Pacific Island John Frum cults have transitioned from Cargo Cults to this trope instead. They understand what technology is, but still consider it, and its advancement, to be sacred.
  • In Asia, animistic beliefs that objects have spirits sometimes persisted after introduction of major religions and modern technology, which results in several gems like praying in front of servers to ensure they run smoothly, or performing rituals during Gacha Games so that the Random Number God gives them luck to give what they want.
  • Although not exactly machine worship per se, some Christian clergy of Eastern Europe are famous for providing blessings, attaching holy icons, and assigning patron saints to high-tech objects including cars, servers, hospital equipment, spacecraft, and military hardware like rifles, tanks, fighter jets, and even nuclear missiles. This practice has been commonly lampooned in memes due to its similarity to the Adeptus Mechanicus from Warhammer 40.000.

Alternative Title(s): Machine Cult, Ave Machina