A couple weeks ago I posted "'Cellar-Christians': What it Really Means When an SF Author Says Religion Doesn't Exist in the Future." Accompanying that post was a pretty neat illustration by Virgil Finlay of praying robotic hands from the January 1957 issue of Galaxy, where the final installment of Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination appeared. I was being perhaps a tad disingenuous there, because that illustration wasn't on Bester's novel at all, but on Daniel F. Galouye's story "All Jackson's Children" from the same issue. This story describes a group of robots on an abandoned world that have developed a religion around "Jackson": "Jackson is my administrator... I shall not rust... He maketh me to adjust my joint tension." And so on. It's a cute story, if you're willing to overlook that its central conceit was better-explored in Isaac Asimov's classic "Reason." The human explorers who discover the mysterious robot colony put forth this theory about the origins of religion, both human and mechanical:
"What's the main difference between human and robotic intelligence? It's that our span of life is limited on one end by birth, the other by death-- mysteries of origin and destiny that can't be explained. You see, the ordinary clunker understands where he came from and where he's going. But here are robots who have to struggle with those mysteries-- birth and death of the conscious intellect which they themselves once knew, and forgot, and now have turned into myths."
It may not be the most original story, but it's an enjoyable one. Galouye also wrote a story called "Blessed are the Meekbots" (Imagination, December 1953) that seems, from the evidence of the title alone, to cover similar ground.
Now, to further complicate matters-- just as the Finlay illustration wasn't for The Stars My Destination, the Dick Francis illustration above isn't for "All Jackson's Children." It's for Kris Neville's "Moral Equivalent," the lead story in the same issue of Galaxy. The Bible doesn't figure nearly as much in that story as the illustration suggests, and you'd be forgiven for thinking it belonged with Galouye's story instead of Neville's-- hence its inclusion here.