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The Church of Unitology, or simply known as the Unitology and "The Church", is a dangerous doomsday cult that hides beneath their facade of a legitimate religion and they are one of the main antagonistic factions of the Dead Space trilogy. It is a religion based off of the discoveries of the Markers by geophysicist Michael Altman. The discoveries had spread all over the universe from Earth to all of the human colonies resulting in billions of followers within this faith Unitologists. Its members are delusioned by the idea of bringing about the apocalypse via the Convergence Event (simply called "The Convergence" according to Unitology) to unite humanity and as a result, they pose the greatest threat to mankind and make up all human antagonists in the Dead Space series.
|“||For two hundred years, Unitology has sought the truth. When Michael Altman spread his word, few people believed him. The government tried to discredit him! And when that didn't work, they killed him and said it was an accident! But we also know he was telling the truth! For two centuries, we and our forefathers kept the faith and our belief in his words. Now finally we have proof - that we have been right all along. You've all seen the vidlogs by now, you all know what they found out there. Here on this very planet, we found - Another Marker!"||„|
|~ Deakin Abbot preaching the official history of Unitology.|
The Markers, mysterious alien artifacts, are the overall basis and central focus of the entire Unitologist faith. The mysterious extraterrestrial artifacts come from an unknown origin and many scientists, even Altman himself, was unaware of what they are and where they came from. The meaning of the various inscriptions are also a source of mystery as Unitologists themselves are confused on what their true meaning really is. It is a general belief among Unitologists however that the inscriptions are messages that will reveal the true origins and meaning of human life. It's also believed that the Markers' inscriptions also mean that it'll bring about a physically real paradise and it will save humanity from its destructive nature at the hands of its materialistic course.
The Markers are at the core center of Unitology and as such, they're the main symbols of the entire religion. Everything about the church is modeled in the image of the marker and its symbols adorn them as well. Intertwining circles and images in accordance of the markers are present and they symbolize the promise of unity and are used to create a rich environment for Unitologists to worship at.
The Church of Unitology frequently preaches a positive message to the masses about peace, unity, and social harmony in appealing messages to normal people as well as voice concerns to those that are environmentalists and talk about the issues of planet cracking as well as the apparent destructive course that the Earth Government has taken. Unitology has been able to thrive and grow and its message has been well received because of the diminished state of spirituality and meaning in the lives of ordinary people and how the positive messages of unity and social harmony have helped the New Age Movement grow and gave a sense of purpose and comfort to people who live in a world of increasingly incomprehensible technology and Unitology is considered the fastest growing religion in human history.
The theology of Unitology is based around the studying and debate of the origins and meaning of the Black Marker. The Unitologist Church based on Titan Station was the site of the annual Unitologist Symposium and contained a vast library of Unitology scholarly material. Unitologists have never been clear about God. Challus Mercer has frequently used the word God and has it scrawled on the wall of the USG Ishimura during the events of Dead Space, though its meaning remains vague and unknown. The overall Unitologist belief in God is used to refer to the elusive power of alien intelligence or agency that created the Marker and it was a force that would regather humanity and make it "one" through the process of the Convergence.
Unitology is a highly eschatological religion and is heavily based on the concept of the end of days similar to that in other religions. Death is a central tenant in Unitology as Unitologists believe that all living beings will be intertwined into one similar to that of two prongs of the Marker and will be reborn as one. Unitologists also believe that the Convergence will unite humanity as one and will alleviate the destructive materialistic cycle that mankind has been "cursed" with according to Unitology. Unitologists also seem to believe that they will be saved while the non-believers will be forsaken, unless their bodies fall into the hands of the Unitologists themselves.
They refer to those who do not accept the church and the end of days as "infidels" and seek to "save" them. Mercer believed that the Necromorphs were a path to salvation and sought to turn Isaac Clarke into a Necromorph via an Infector to "save" his soul. Mercer believed that infidels such as Isaac could never truly understand and was trying to "help" him. Unitologists believe that the Convergence is attainment of spiritual oneness in paradise. Unitologists do not believe that the Convergence is a usual oneness with God (although it is possible that the church does have such a doctrine), but is instead the coming of the Convergence for humanity: the souls of the deceased will be stripped of their individuality and all souls will merge as one single entity. Sometimes, the word "soul" is substituted for "body" or "flesh", in what is thought to be a figurative reference.
Famous Montras and Verses
- "Altman be Praised"
- "Praise the Great Marker"
- "Death is only the Beginning"
- "Keep us whole. Unity is Forever"
- "There is no Death. Only Rebirth"
- "Give unto the Church, and the Church will give unto you"
- "Embrace the Evolution"
- "Take Us. We are Ready"
- "The Marker is everlasting life for all of its children"
- "Praise Altman, chosen of the Marker, architect of the Church"
- "To join is to survive"
- "Holy creatures transform me into your servant, show me the path to enlightenment, as you alter my flesh and free my soul"
- "One Mind, One Soul, One Flesh"
- "One Purpose, One Mind, One Soul"
- "One People, One Mind, One Purpose"
- "Unity after death, unity forever"
- "One mind, One body"
Bibliography of the Unitologist Church
- Teachings of Unitology, attributed to Michael Altman
- Tome of Unitology
- Death is Only the Beginning
- Eternal Life
- Hymn Book
Preaching and Public Conduct
Unitologists are very evangelical and often preach to non-Unitologists to convince them to join the church and convert to Unitology. Unitologists themselves are openly proud and unashamed of their faith despite many within the public regarding them as bizarre and insane, particularly their belief in an intelligent alien designer. They publicly wear marker pendents they purchase from the church as a social statement that they are proud of their beliefs. Unitologists are also very devoted to spreading their beliefs such as distributing literature in public squares, which EarthGov has tried to suppress before by making Unitologists preachers acquire a permit to conduct such activities on Titan Station.
Unitologists are opposed to such laws accusing EarthGov of oppression while the latter critically addresses the preachers in the press accusing them of being a threat to public order. Not unlike other religions, Unitology has built a rich religious tradition while also maintaining its own aesthetic value like other faiths. Monetary gain is achieved through merchandise and other products such as books to spread their gospel and the church and memorabilia depicting the Black Marker in trivial fashions like paper weights and miniature statues.
Rites and Rituals
Little is known about this practice other than that it is a initiation ceremony for Unitologists and it is most likely a painful and disorienting process.
Unitologists are believed to go through a process of "indoctrination" or brainwashing by the church. Unitology is opposed to individualistic and free-minded people and so they are indoctrinated to make sure they remain loyal to the church and asses them before letting certain adherents progress further and advance up the ranks of the church itself.
Unitologists engage in communal prayers, led by the church's clergy, like other religions.
Unitologists are known to conduct meditations with their arms crossed across their chest to make the appearance of a marker. They posses a number of aids for this purpose such as marker replicas, candles and mats and their meditation process is characterized as being quiet and reverent as they focus their minds on the teachings of the church.
The most vital and important ritual in all of Unitology, Death Rituals are conducted once a Unitologist has died, but death itself is the most important step for members of the church and Unitologists are to celebrate the deaths of their loved ones as soon, they will be joining them in convergence as a single entity, rather then mourn for them. Unitologists refuse to allow their bodies to be buried or cremated, instead they chose to preserve them on ships as they view the body as a vessel for the Convergence and must remain intact even after death. Unitologists also believe that if they body is preserved, then they have lived an unselfish life and will be reborn as their bodies ascend and acquire spiritual and physical prowess where they will live in unity with their brothers and sisters as a single community.
Because of this belief and the strive to reborn as one entity within a single community, Unitologists seek to preserve their bodies at all costs. It's even encouraged to keep their bodies in top shape as possible upon death. The church teaches its members to embrace death and it's one of the many cult-like features that Unitology shares despite its friendly exterior. Other cult-like features include practices of indoctrination, its hierarchy, and its proven capacity to convince members to take part in mass suicides.
Hierarchy and Ranking System
Despite its persistent atmosphere of what they call oppression, Unitology itself is said to posses considerable large amounts of economic and political influence with upper echelons of the Concordance Extraction Corporation being mentioned being under increasing control and pressure by Unitgolosits on many occasions and it's also mentioned that high-ranking members of the CEC pay in donations to the church so that they can rise up through the church's ranks faster. There only two confirmed ranks; "Vested" and "Overseer", with the latter being higher, and a possible third and highest rank called "Enigma". The speculation comes from a video feed where the recipient is addressed to as "Enigma Lange" after the author addresses himself by inserting his rank within the church before his full name.
Unknown to the common Unitologist, much of the church's overall history has been fabricated by its true founders and leaders for their own personal gains. Michael Altman himself never truly believed in the promises of the Marker and in fact he attempted to destroy the original Marker as he knew it was a threat to mankind. Altman was murdered by Craig Markoff and Stevens, the true founders of Unitology, and they used his death and several broadcasts to transform Unitology is a rising and powerful religious movement under their direct control. Moreover, despite a long-lasting conflict with the Earth Government, Unitology's true founders were actually scientists and researchers from EarthGov and were originally staff of the Chicxulub Crater Facility who became psychotic due to prolonged exposure to the Marker's effects and carrier waves which lead them to stray away from their logic and sense. The effects of the marker on their minds was later explained as humans being too weak minded and materialistic to understand the workings of God (described as an alien intelligence and creator of both the marker and humanity itself).
The founders had originally viewed the Necromorphs as a defect and the church kept live specimens and didn't release them. They did however, view the reanimation process as proof of the Marker's ability to create life and could bring about eternal life on Earth if used correctly. This irrational anthropocentric conclusion has remained one of the central tenets and beliefs of Unitology since then and has helped Unitologists develop and unyielding faith in the marker itself. The Church views the Marker as the next step in human evolution and was entrusted to ensure that this evolution comes to pass and justify the psychosis caused by the Marker and its waves as humans being blinded by their materialistic needs and are too weak-minded to understand the workings of God, who was described and viewed as an alien intelligence who was responsible for the creation of both the Marker and humanity as a whole.
Unitology's entire theology was written to blind its adherents to any conceivable horror and to willfully submit to the power of the marker, even if it turned out that Infection was the only true way to reach eternal life it provided. The Church was founded to prepare humanity for the upcoming event where another marker was to be founded and that same marker would allow them to bring about the evolution that they had promised. Common Unitologists are blissfully unaware of the true mission of the church and only the upper echelons are aware of such information and have access to it and maintain their secrecy even at the cost of their adherents and countless other people.
It was later revealed that Unitology is the result of the Markers' manipulation, tricking humanity into building more Markers by making them believe that Markers are divine artifacts of salvation through false promises of immortality and unlimited energy sources. The true purpose of the Convergence Event that the Unitology worships is to create a new Brethren Moon, and the promise of eternal life is merely a means to manipulate living beings into allowing Necromorph infestations to occur in order to facilitate a Converge Event.
Secrets of the Church
Belief in the Markers
It would be 200 years before a scientist was capable of decoding the inscriptions on the Black Marker; the inscriptions on the rock's surface are the codes for recombinant DNA that transforms humans into the terrifying creatures known as Necromorphs. While the revelations were not short of extraordinarily important to discover the truth behind the church, both incidents where the information was discovered had lead to an outbreak of Necromorphs and the deaths of everyone involved and onboard the space stations these tests were conducted.
Rebirth and Convergence
Unitologists believe in preserving the bodies of deceased church members to keep them "pure" so that they be properly reborn along with their other fallen brothers and sisters so they may merge together into a single entity after death in a greater community and to facilitate the act of Convergence. Though singularity of sentience is the former individual's rebirth or Necromorphic state, it remains separate from the act of Convergence itself, the final stage that converges all primed (Necromorphic) matter and DNA into a single moon-sized entity known as the Brethren Moon, an interstellar apex predator with telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Dead Space 3: Awakened confirmed that the Unitology's belief in the Convergence and in resurrection is in reality the process of creating a new Brethren Moon.
Formation of a Brethren Moon
The life cycle of a Brethren Moon starts when a Marker is seeded into the right environment that allows it to properly grow. The Marker contains all of the genetic information required to create and replicate a Brethren Moon. It's presumed that upon the needed requirements of an unknown nutrient threshold are acquired and it's within the presence of a compatible organic vector (such as the organism known as Isaac Clarke), the Marker begins to germinate in a chain of processes documented by pioneering explorers of the Church of Unitology which is known as "rebirth" in the eyes of the Unitologists which culminates in the process of the Convergence. Upon the completion of Convergence, the Brethren Moon is allowed to manifest, although sentience is shown to appear quickly before the physical birth. It is also observed that the consummation of a moon is aided by a congress of other moons, though the ritual's true purpose is unknown since Dead Space 3 shows that a Brethren Moon can form all on its own and that the newly formed moon must consume a large majority of primed organic matter if it is to ever achieve its massive size. It is unknown if the Brethren Moons are capable of a form of reproduction.
Faith in Convergence
The true founders of Unitology were fully aware of the Necromorphs and believed them to be living proof that the Marker could bring about eternal life if used properly. While the founders viewed the Necromorphs as divine instruments, they had also viewed them as defective; produced by the "broken" Black Marker and their theory was that another Marker would be found or created as a means of truly bringing about Convergence. The church leaders possessed many specimens of Necromorphs and preserved them, believing the original purpose of bringing about eternal life rather than infection, though ironically enough a Necromorph was used to kill Michael Altman. However, the more enlightened designs of the founders fell apart sometime and the Necromorphs became the center for the promise of rebirth in the church's theology. Certain Unitologists such as Challus Mercer take refuge in Necromorph infection as evidence that the church has been right all along. The Church now believes this, as evident by Daina Le Guin that the infection was glorious and must be spread at all costs. This does not mean that they know of the horrors that the infection brings, but are prepared to accept it because it comes from the Marker.
Conflict with EarthGovThe Church of Unitology has been in a state of conflict with the Earth Government for an unknown period of time. Unitologists have come into conflict with EarthGov over issues such as planet cracking, the suppression of information on the Marker, and most believe that EarthGov was responsible for the assassination of Michael Altman. The Church itself is a very powerful institution, but it continues to seek more power and seeks to accomplish such ambitions by overthrowing EarthGov and taking over its position. Meanwhile, EarthGov has portrayed Unitologists as carpetbaggers and insurrectionists in the media while Unitologists continue to accuse EarthGov of suppressing information about the Marker and the divine truth that was revealed to Altman himself. Unitology claims to be the only true source of opposition to EarthGov, which they view as a corrupt and oppressive institution that persecutes the faith and its members.
The conflict between the two organizations is purely a war over information and is fought in the press, but both sides due posses considerable military power and their conflict has evolved to the point of it becoming an armed struggle. Unitology itself appears to be very popular and has acted as the insurrectionist force against EarthGov. Both factions however, are authoritarian entities vying for the Marker as a means of using it for their own agendas. The ways that each of the two handle the Marker varies as EarthGov seeks to study and analyze the Marker and even create new ones to satisfy energy and economic failings and demands regardless of the risks while Unitology acts more irrational and seeks to break out every captured Marker to unleash the Convergence on the human race despite the cataclysmic scale of damage and the disasters they have caused.
It is unknown how long Unitology as been at odds with EarthGov, but it's implied to have started as early as the beginning days of Unitology and the early rise of EarthGov itself. The conflict has progressed into 2514 where the conflict is now fought on the off-world human colonies housing the Markers in various EarthGov facilities with Jacob Danik leading the campaign as the head of The Circle. By 2514, it is implied that EarthGov has either been successfully overthrown, or at bare minimum has seen its structure weakened and crippled, though the exact details of the coup are unknown. It's implied that the destruction of the various Marker facilities and their "freedom" by Danik and his insurgents on colonies such as Uxor and Luna have played a large part in EarthGov's downfall.
Several members of the Church of Unitology are prominent characters in Dead Space including:
- Craig Markoff: True founder of Unitology; led Government splinter group in possession of the Black Marker.
- Benjamin Matthius: Captain of the CEC Planet Cracker USG Ishimura. (deceased)
- Challus Mercer: A doctor aboard the Ishimura, creator of the Hunter. (deceased)
- Terrence Kyne: A doctor aboard the Ishimura, researched the Red Marker. (deceased)
- Hanford Carthusia: Manager of the Aegis VII Colony, ranked as "Vested". (deceased)
- Deakin Abbott: CEC Engineer on the Aegis VII Colony, first to experience visions after the discovery of the Red Marker. (deceased)
- Vera Cortez: Aegis VII P-Sec officer, partner to Abraham Neumann. (deceased)
- Warren Eckhardt: CEC Executive of Colonial Mining Affairs, ranked as "Overseer". (deceased)
- Benedykt Malyech: Captain of the Black Beak in Dead Space: Salvage.
- Samuel Irons: Engineering specialist of the USG Ishimura. (deceased)
- Omar Nayim: One of the engineers on board the USG O'Bannon. (deceased)
- Lana: A member of the USG O'Bannon. (deceased)
- Carrie Norton: Protagonist of Dead Space (mobile).
- Daina Le Guin: Prominent Unitologist on Titan Station; anti-EarthGov insurgent. (deceased)
- Franco Delille: Associated with Unitologist insurgency on Titan Station; subordinate to Daina Le Guin.
- Gatura Okeke: Captain of the Sunset in Dead Space: Salvage.
- Michael Altman: Geophysicist who made the discoveries that became the foundation of Unitology. (deceased)
- Jacob Danik: Leader of The Circle. (deceased)
- Unitologists are often derogatorily referred to as Marker-Heads or Rock Worshipers.
- Unitology seems to be inspired by the "Church" of Scientology on the grounds that members must pay vast amounts of money to learn the church's teachings and secrets, the considerable controversy surrounding it as well as the all around sci-fi influence, among other things.
- Unitology's history is further fleshed out in the Dead Space: Martyr novel, which describes Michael Altman's discovery of the Black Marker.
- Isaac Clarke hates Unitologists. This is because his mother was one and spent family funds attempting to move up in rank in the Church.
- Unitologists are the main human antagonists besides EarthGov in the Dead Space series.