Nonbelievers: if you HAD to give lip service to one religion, what would you choose?

Suggested by Foxy40’s thread on her desire to convert to Judaism. I’d link to it if I weren’t so freaking lazy.

Let’s say that a middling-evil despot takes over your country. Evil, because he’s outlawing atheism, agnosticism, and other varieties of freethinking, and is punishing the defiant by feeding them alive to ravenous mongooses, genitals first. But only middling evil because he’s forcing people to take one any particular faith. But you do have to name an existing religion, find a congregation in your area, and attend services regularly, or you’re mongoose food. People who give responses like “I’m a Jedi” or “I worship Marvel Comics Thor” will be beaten severely with a nail-studded 2x4 and then asked if they’d like to change their answer to something acceptable, or just go immediately to the mongooses.

Most of us will, I am sure, only pretend acquiescence while plotting to either overthrow the regime or move to Finland. But what church (or synagoge, or temple, or coven) will you join in the meantime?

I’ll go with some form of Druidic/Wiccan group. Should be lots of hippie chicks for fun and frolic, and I wouldn’t have to miss too many football games to attend the services.

Well since I grew up in a mildly christian (C of E) society, I guess my answer will be C of E.

(The one where the King or Queen is chosen by the magical pink pixie fairy in the clouds)


But I like my things. :frowning:

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism.

Shinto – eight million gods are better than one.

Yeah, I’m sold. Where do I sign up?

Who is holding the 2x4 and what do they want me to believe?

One lie is as good as another in that situation, pick the most popular one and keep your head down.

Shit. I forgot about that.

ETA: Wait…I don’t wanna be a monk. Geez. Do I really have to give up my stuff just to be a Bhuddist. Maybe I better look into this a bit further.

Nah. I’m sure Richard Gere has more stuff than you and I could dream of. If he can be a Buddhist, so can we.

But I’d also be willing to go with Unitarian Universalist, Quaker, Methodist, and Baha’i. My experience with these religions is that they’re generally liberal, tolerant, into social justice, and not too pushy on the specifics of what, exactly, one believes. An atheist can get along fine by just mentally substituting “God” with permutations of “humanity” and your respect and love thereof:

“We are commanded by God to demonstrate our love for Him by helping others.”

“We are commanded by our respect for humanity to demonstrate our love for humanity by helping others.”

I’ll buy that.

I’m a little surprised. I figured you’d be hooking up with whatever church would be most useful to you in plotting the overthrow of the mildly-evil overlord.

That’s almost sure to end with a two-by-four beating, and the nail’s likely to be rusty on top of everything else. Are broken bones and tetanus really worth the smart-assery?

I’d go with UU. The church is in walking distance of my house, they suspend services in the summer, and they don’t go on and on about God and Jesus. They also don’t seem to ask the congregation to hand over lots of money.

Wait, which is the one with arranged marriages and multiple wives?


Attend services? Which one has the least number scheduled? And which ones don’t stone the unbelivers?

Judaism because 1) my ancestors on my mother’s side were Jewish, so according to Jewish tradition I am Jewish, and 2) because it’s one of the only religions I know of that really values intelligence and critical thinking.

Yes, that’s right, Bow unto me…

Well, since this is a hypothetical and there is no chance this is ever going to happen; I’m gonna go with Muslim.

The prospect of having a wife who knows her freak’n place sounds intriguing to me.


No matter how atheist one is (and I’m athier than many), I think it’s undeniable that religion over the centuries has been a conduit for thoughts from the greatest brains around, and from that comes wisdom. Not universally - clearly, to me, most religions are astonishingly full of mystical horseshit, but there are many nuggets contained within.

“Be nice to people”, for example. That’s a good one. “Do unto others as you’d like to be done to you” - that’s another one (masochists excepted).

But of all of those I have read, the one that contains the most logical truths-for-life and profound analogy, to me, is Buddhism. Casting aside the reincarnation bullshit, I have taken away the following:

Life generally contains suffering. The more you desire - without fulfillment - the more suffering you will endure. Removing that desire will go some way remove the suffering. All is impermanent - change is something that cannot be avoided. In other words, accept entropy into your life. That sort of thing.

*It’s like Bhuddism, but spelled in the generally accepted transliteration.

I was going to say, whichever is easiest, and doesn’t impose any practical changes on my lifestyle, and then I read this. Fuck it, just kill me then. Whoever said Flying Spaghetti Monsterism is hilarious.