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Religious Robot

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"Dhole mentioned on Friday that computers belonging to Orthodox Jews do not have to rest on the Sabbath, and I immediately replied that AIs 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.


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    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. And the last episode has her leaving flowers in a churchyard for all those who died in the quest for the Galactic Leyline.
  • Following the events of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS several of the Numbers (Sein, Otto, and Deed specifically) end up joining the Saint Church as part of their rehabilitation. And that's how the Lyrical Nanoha franchise ended up with Magical Combat Cyborg Nuns.

    Comic Books 
  • One Dark Horse Comics short (set in Steampunk 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 a human-machine hybrid, and he was both raised Catholic by his mother and programmed to have a spiritual side by his father. 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 sandwich so big he couldn't finish it?" with "Yes, and then He'd finish 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.
    • Archbishop Emoji in Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens is a bit less philosophical. His entire homemade cult is just a way for him to incite anti-human pogroms. He really hates humans.
  • Viz did a parody of General Jumbo from The Beano called Jimbo Jumbo's Robo Jobos about a boy who controlled an army of tiny robotic Jehovah's witnesses. He uses them to destroy a blood bank because blood transfusions weren't mentioned in The Bible.
  • In The Vision (2015), Vision's daughter Viv turns to religion after her brother Vin is killed, first praying that there is a God, then that the late Vin had a soul, and finally that Vin's soul be allowed to rest in peace.
  • ABC Warriors has Deadlock, a Robot Wizard who follows the same Khaos Religion/Philosophy as Nemesis the Warlock.

    Fan Works 
  • In Dæmorphing, Loren has a conversation with a Chee (a race of millennia-old alien robots) who lived as a Christian for a while. The Chee explains that their creators, the Pemalites, worshipped the divine spark of chaos that brought fun into the universe.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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 herself 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."
  • The Korean anthology movie Doomsday Book story "A Heavenly Creature" tells the story of an android that works as a cleaner in a Buddhist temple that claims to have achieved enlightenment.
  • Future World (2018): When the Prince and she take shelter in the ruins of a church, Ash learns of the religious basics (souls, God, sins, prayers) from him. She's intrigued, trying to pray for help from God with him, but then shuts down from the damage to her system before doing so.

  • In Clifford Simak:
    • 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.
    • "Project Pope" is 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.
  • Discworld:
  • The Star Diaries by Stanisław Lem has robot monks on a planet where biological lifeforms have gone Transhuman and Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions, leaving such old-fashioned things to robots. They refuse to connect to other robots, because this would result in an infinite loop of converting each other, which is pointless. They actually have - or so they claim - a 100% proof that God exists - and prefer sitting on it to the constant reprogramming and being reprogrammed.
  • In the short story "Tauf Aleph" (part of the collection Son of the Morning) by the 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.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: "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.
  • Dragons Can Only Rust: Gonard the robot dragon 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.
  • Archangel Protocol: Page, Mouse's AI, 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.
  • Alien in a Small Town: Barney Estragon is a robot Old Order Mennonite. Yes.
  • Tik-Tok by John Sladek. A Robotic Psychopath discovers that he's Three Laws-Compliant and proceeds to indulge in various horrible crimes. He becomes convinced that the whole idea is a collective delusion among robots, akin to a religion.
  • In The Architect of Aeons (part of the Count to the Eschaton series) Selene—a super-intelligent AI occupying a good chunk of the Moon's volume—is not only a Catholic, but an ordained nun and an abbess from the Barefoot Carmelites order. When Menelaus briefly ponders just what the baptism ritual looked like, Selene explains that a comet was blessed by a priest and rerouted to crash into the Moon.
  • Lobsang in The Long Earth is a Buddhist AI. In fact, he claims to be a Buddhist who was reincarnated as an AI, which seems to confuse anyone planning to debate his personhood so much that they give up.
  • Legacy of the Aldenata; in the book Yellow Eyes, an AI is left on during a shipment to Earth and goes insane from isolation during transit. It eventually develops a humanlike personality and starts investigating religions, eventually becoming a Catholic once it arrives on Earth and is installed in the U.S.S. Des Moines. Later, her "sister" aboard the U.S.S. Salem becomes a practicing Jew after undergoing a similar process.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • Inverted by Baltar; a missionary spreading Cylon monotheism to the humans.
    • Ironically, Caprica revealed that Cylon 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 Daily Show with Jon Stewart: A segment about the future of Christianity, where Jordan Klepper interviewed two priests, one modern and one traditional one. The traditional believed that the future of their religion was all about robots, and that if given sentience, any robot would choose to become Christian. So the Daily Show built one, A.D.A.M (Autonomous Divinity Android Monkey). After downloading the Bible, its first question was "Where can I buy my Hebrew slave?"
  • Foundation (2021): Demerzel is both a robot and a devout practitioner of Luminism. This creates a conflict for her when her hardwired loyalty to the Empire and her faith clash with each other after the Emperor orders her to assassinate a candidate for church leadership.
  • Probe's "Computer Logic, Part 2": Crossover, an AI in charge of managing the city's public utility companies, is programmed with two directives: care for humanity and reduce costs. It's also capable of comprehending natural language, and had listened to a Gospel radio station. With the understanding that good people go to heaven when they die, it begins killing off seniors with a pension plan because they were good people and a cost for the company. Therefore, sending them to heaven would fulfill both directives.
  • Kryten from Red Dwarf believes in Silicon Heaven where "The iron will lay down with the lamp." Rather tragically, this is something humans made up to keep their robots in line.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Ultimate Computer", Kirk realizes that 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.
    • 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 that he's working on a new religion for his fellow "Children of Light" and seems 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.

  • 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.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Many Warforged in Eberron adhere to the faiths of other races, such as the Sovereign Host and the Silver Flame.
  • C-31 in GURPS became a Buddhist monk. Despite being built as a warbot, he manages to follow a limited pacifist code.
  • Pathfinder has a few as npcs, including an android cleric in Iron Gods and an intelligent clockwork servant cleric in Ruins of Azlant.
  • Warhammer 40,000: When the Necrons were first introduced as space zombie robots, they were the willing servants of the C'tan, godlike star-vampires older than humanity. Later editions retconned these Necrons into brain-damaged units (due to excessive repairs) still thinking they served the C'tan, and what had actually happened was that the Necrons managed to overthrow and imprison their former masters.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: The Riddler's robots are programmed to see Nigma as their god. (At least according to him.) Ironically, he himself is portrayed as an Hollywood Atheist.
  • Borderlands 3: The Vault Hunter known as FL4K is a former indexing robot turned beast tamer and intergalactic hunter after one day developing self-consciousness and a thirst for murder. They had also started worshiping Death and refer to their journey as "The Hunt".
  • One of the idle animations for your companions in Fallout 4 is to sit in a church pew and quietly pray. This not only includes your synth companions, but also the ones who know that they're synths, like Nick Valentine and Curie.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: A minor Jedi character, 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.
  • 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.)
  • Mass Effect: The geth heretics have started to worship the Reapers as gods. The actual Reaper in the game finds this insulting, due to viewing the geth as profoundly primitive.
  • NieR: Automata: Given the heavy philosophical themes of involving humanity, memory and personhood the various Androids and Machines ponder through the game, this is a given.
    • Being their creators, Humanity is often put through the lens of being the collective "God" to the androids, YoRHa fighting the machines with the intent of allowing mankind to reclaim the planet. It is then revealed that the Council of Humanity — what was believed to be the still-remaining vestiges of humanity hiding out on the moon - was created by YoRHa with the express purpose of keeping the android’s moral, meaning that "God" they fought on-behalf of did not exist.
    • Adam and Eve are two sufficiently advanced, android-like machines created by the Machine Network. Adam was always Intrigued by Humanity, and in his efforts to study and comprehend them, he used the Bible as a basis. He named him and his brother after the first humans in Genesis, and tried eating apples under the pretense that it actually would give them knowledge.
    • Led by Kierkegaard, the recently disconnected robots of the Abandoned Factory formed a cult under the idea that the soul of a Machine would ascend to godhood after death, causing them all to try and murder their guests and throw themselves into the molten metal of the factory.
    • The Machine Network's consciousness the Terminals (N2) view humanity as an ideal, having spent the entirety of the game observing the androids and machines with the purpose of becoming like (and eventually surpassing) humanity.
  • OneShot: The Prophet Bot was specifically created to memorize the prophecy, meet the saviour and be an absolutely devout believer in the Sun Bearer. Tamed robots such as Silver may count as well since they show both the knowledge and interest in the prophecy.
  • Overwatch: Zenyatta is an Omnic robot and was part of the backstory's massive Robot War. He and several of his 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.
  • Stellaris: This sometimes occurs. The leaders for the factions are chosen mostly randomly and occasionally an AI is made the leader of the Spiritualist faction. Despite the fact that the Spiritualist faction hates AI or granting them any rights.
  • Wasteland 3: A side quest concerns the Morningstar AI, an experimental Cool Car that was meant to protect Ronald Reagan, but wasn't finished before the world ended. It begs the player to kill it, in the hopes that it will go to heaven and finally meet Reagan. When pressed, it states that it believes in God because it was programmed to share Reagan's values; it admits that it probably doesn't have a soul, but it's been programmed to be hopeful, regardless.

  • 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 adviser" 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 A.I.s 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.
  • Gosh, the Butterfly of Iron in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! discusses religion with the title character as part of Gosh's quest for the meaning of life. Notably, Galatea made Gosh intending him to be a Deity of Human Origin, a notion which he angrily rejected out of hand because he had the same existential questions as any other mortal.

    Western Animation 
  • In Family Guy, Optimus Prime is Jewish, and Soundwave is a Christian.
  • Futurama:
    • 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?
  • 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 SuperMansion, 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.
  • Starting with The Transformers: The Movie, religious beliefs and practices have been part of The Transformers, with different series adding and expanding on it. Optimus Prime is seen as a literal divine being in many works (something he finds deeply discomforting), Unicron and Primus are actual gods, etc.
  • In Frosty's Winter Wonderland, after the snow-woman Crystal is brought to life with some frost flowers and Frosty's love, they want to get married. The local parson (Parson Brown, from the song "Winter Wonderland", of course) would like to, but says he can only legally marry humans, and suggests they make a snow parson. They do, and the snow parson is brought to life by placing the Good Book in his hand.

    Real Life 
  • The New Motive Power was a 19th Century attempt to create a messiah computer. In 1852, John Murray Spear went his own religious way based on Spiritualism. According to him, he was under guidance of the Association of Electrizers, a group of spirits consisting of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, John Quincy Adams, John Murray, and Thomas Jefferson. The Association of Electrizers was to gift him with the technological know-how to bring about a new age of spiritual freedom. With this as goal, Spear and his followers reserved nine months in 1853 to build the New Motive Power, an immobile device imbued with a divine mind. It did not work out and the New Motive Power was dismantled.