Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

AN ATHEIST’S GUIDE TO BECOMING RELIGIOUS

AN ATHEIST’S GUIDE TO BECOMING RELIGIOUS

by Troy Conrad

TroyconradLately, I’ve had many atheists write to me, asking if now is a good time to become religious again.  It seems that the departure of the Bush Administration has awoken the vast majority of the atheist community to the simple fact that theocracy is no longer a threat here or abroad.  It is high time to embrace what we once called superstition,  dust off that Bible lifted in protest from the Holiday Inn, and delve once more into the church, dear friends.

For some, a conversion or reconversion to reverence seems a daunting task.  As freethinkers, we’ve gotten a bit rusty in the worship department.  When working out the faith muscle, we must start slowly so it doesn’t get overtaxed.  Start out at the Joel Osteen level, before you consider going full Falwell.  If you’re one of the 5% still on the fence about taking this sacred surge, ponder the inarguable, massive benefit of taking the faith train to Godville.

Huge time savings. Take into account how much time you spend thinking.  Now cut that in half.  Now cut that in half, and repeat until you reach zero, because you now have a handy-dandy book that makes your decisions for you.  As Ted Haggard said: “We don’t have to have a debate about what we should think about homosexuality.  It’s written in the Bible.”  Add up the time it would have taken you to mentally debate this, and use it to go golfing.  It is estimated that by eliminating thinking by 95%, the average American would save 14 hours per week.  Based on the new U.S. minimum wage increase, that translates to $5,278 per American each year.  That’s almost enough to purchase a Smart Car.

It should be quite clear that there has never been a better time to stop and smell the rosary.  Though there are obstacles ahead for the skeptical mind, here are some simple, tested guidelines to help you go from “infidel” to just plain “fidel” in just a few short weeks.

Make meaning out of small things, so that you can be trusted to make meaning out of large things. Before you can calm your inquisitive mind and embrace the idea of a loving, caring, and jealous God, you’ll need to start with baby steps.  Reading tea leaves and taking fortune cookies literally is a good start toward making meaning out of everyday situations.  Is a tearful image of God’s only Son right there in your bag of Funyons?  Has an outline of the savior shown up on your shower curtain?  Did your lawnmower leak lubricant, only to leave a loving image of God’s only Son on the garage floor?  Course through all snack foods, pre-made burger patties, tortillas (both corn and flour), breakfast flakes, nut mixes, or hastily topped frozen pizzas.  If the image of Christ or Mary appears, remind yourself that it is not simply coincidence.

Re-read The God Delusion with a more critical eye. Maybe Richard Dawkins himself was sent to test your faith.  Have you considered that maybe the only reason Dawkins even writes books is because he thinks he’s better than you?

Develop your ability to follow orders. For freethinkers who have not been in the military, you have a problem with obedience to authority.  This can be remedied by wearing a rubber band around your wrist.  Simply snap it against your flesh each time you become inquisitive.  Do this every day for 21 days, and obedience will become your second best friend.  The virtue of obedience will also prepare you quite well for the workforce should something open up.

Watch The Flintstones. Seeing humans and dinosaurs co-exist again will help free the mind from any previous knowledge of anthropology, paleontology, or history.  Likewise, shows like Two and a Half Men will leave you with no compulsion to watch documentaries and other shows that contain information.

Be stingy with your new virginity. Since virginity is restored when you become a Christian, don’t just go and give it away now.  You need to save it for marriage or Senior Prom. Post a pledge to Bristol Palin’s abstinence organization, and join Promise Keepers right away to build a solid, iron-clad moral and ethical foundation.  Additionally, the purchase of a Smart Car is a great way to keep from losing your virginity in the backseat this time around.

Invent a new controversy. If it’s possible to revive a formerly settled debate such as creation vs. evolution, surely there are scores of other settled controversies to renew.  These new debates will bring more validity to your newfound belief system, and balance out all the science that’s stuck in your head.  Next time you hear people arguing about abortion, say something like: “Whoa!  This is almost as heated as the ‘prayer vs. single payer health care’ debate!”

Use the “caps lock” on your keyboard. Many atheists are prone to using a lower case “g” when typing the word “God.”  This habit, left unchecked, is an embarrassing mistake for the newly anointed.  Using the caps lock is a foolproof solution, making it impossible to mess up a phrase such as:  “MAY GOD BLESS E. E. CUMMINGS.”

White-out the violent parts of the Bible. Let’s be honest.  Any book that condones rape, murder, genocide, and incest can be a real bummer.  Just memorize the parts with the word “love” if you want to really make a difference.

Put “under God” back in the Pledge. You may have loudly objected to the addition of those two words added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the McCarthy era.  Noble at the time, but you’re a believer now.  Besides, why not prepare yourself for a visit to Ireland?  They’ve just passed a bold new Anti-blasphemy Law.  It would be rude and illegal to omit “under God” when saying the Pledge in the Emerald Isle.

Write down what you would like your City of Gold to look like. You’re going to get one when you die (Revelation 21:18), so sit down and design your city intelligently.  Gold is currently near an all-time high, so guess who just picked a great time to be a Christian?

Purchase a firearm. God loves you now, and you’ve taken an oath to “treat your body as a temple.”  If someone is loitering near your temple, you better have the stopping power to keep it looking good.  A .50 caliber Smith & Wesson will clear out anyone’s temple.  Though Christianity is a religion of peace, there’s a nugget of wisdom in the phrase: “Kill ‘em all, and let God sort ‘em out.”

Try a night of gay sex. If you end up liking it, you will meet more people to share your faith with.  If you end up disliking it, then your repentance and faith will just get stronger.  Either way, God wins.

(Note: Though it’s our responsibility to vote against same-sex marriage, same sex-one-night-hookups are not specifically forbidden by name in the Book of Leviticus.)

It is my hope that these steps to religiosity can help spark a return to the peacefulness of the Middle Ages.  I am currently compiling some tips for nonbelievers with a background in Islam, so that they, too, can enjoy the massive benefits of a religious society.  So, my fellow former-faithless friends…  I am glad that we can all be a part of this new “beginning of faith” together, and I look forward to seeing you all at the Sunday meetups.  I’ll be the guy in the Smart Car.

Troy Conrad is a comic, writer, and filmmaker living in Los Angeles.  He is the creator of The Comedy Jesus Show, which toured internationally, and has just received distribution on DVD.  He is featured in the upcoming Paul Provenza book “Satiristas” with Janeane Garafalo, Stephen Colbert, and George Carlin.  To see videos from The Comedy Jesus Show, go to www.atheistcomedy.com or subscribe to “comedyjesus” on Youtube.

July 17, 2009 - Posted by | atheism, Blurb, Christianity, creationism, evolution, god, Jesus, Jesus Christ, religion, Satire, Troy Conrad | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

20 Comments »

  1. I’M ON THE WAY; I’M BECOMING RELIGIOUS. NOW I NEED A GUN!

    Comment by Godless American | July 17, 2009

  2. Dear Father Conrad,

    I followed your sage advice and feel the power of GOD already freeing my mind of laborious thought; however my rubber band can’t seem to slap the debate from my mind about the dilemma I am currently facing. While having the gay sex you proscribed (thank you by the way) I had the miraculous fortune of being splayed with the strangers cum on my chest in the form of the VIRGIN MARY. While I know of course this is not a condoning of gay marriage, I am not sure if I should let the cum harden into my skin as a sign for new gay friends I hope to convert or if I should wash to obey the command of cleanliness? Please help!

    -The Cumming Faithful

    Comment by Cumming Faithful | July 17, 2009

  3. Not my experience of faith– there are some other choices than Joel Osteen or non-thinking anti-science follow-orders type communities. I’m objecting to the broad stroke kind of thinking doesn’t just affect atheists.

    But, if you’re saving all that time not thinking, here’s a way to fill the time.

    My church founded USC, GoodWill Industries, a daycare, a community social service agency, a non-profit housing corporation, a Foundation that grants money to small inner-city efforts to help kids after school, we ran a food bank for years, and now we’ve just started a leadership development program for kids.

    Perhaps some of you soon-to-be-former atheists could get together (you don’t have to worship anything), and get going on some of this stuff as well. We could use the help. (We sure aren’t letting Ted Haggard volunteer…)

    You know I love ya! -Sandie

    Comment by Sandie Richards | July 18, 2009

  4. By the way, Mr. Atheist Science guy, you can’t divide things in half, and half again, etc., and ever get to zero. You’ll get a smaller and smaller number, with more and more digits, which will get you quite close to zero but never actually there.

    It’s annoying to be so close to zero yet have it out of reach, but that’s just one of the trials made by the Creator to test your spirit. Fill those nano-seconds with short-lived doubts and questions if you have to.

    Keeping you in prayer!

    Your friend, Sandie

    Comment by Sandie Richards | July 18, 2009

  5. Aside from the errant and insulting assumption about freethinking military members and veterans, very nice.

    I am actually going to read the Quran after I finish The Accidental Mind (Mohamed’s staff sent me a free Quran for filling out the form at yourmuslimneighbor.com), so this advice is quite timely for me. It’s too much of a coincidence; I guess GOD arranged it.

    And Sandie: As soon as the armies of religious folk (and that is meant partly-literal, partly-figurative) allow rationalists to be a part of society, you’ll see plenty more social engagement from the fact-based portion of society. After all, we know that prayer won’t make the bogie men, or hunger, or war, or racism, or rape, or abortion, or cancer, or HIV, et al, go away (which I guess you are admitting by doing good works anyway).

    Comment by Bob Muller | July 18, 2009

  6. Sandie,

    How very contributive you are! It’s nice to see that; I assume you don’t make people sit through sermons to get the help they need either. There are many atheist organizations that do a lot of contribution around the country and the world. Try to remember, we are the minority so we don’t have the membership that Jesus fans do.

    Comment by Godless American | July 18, 2009

  7. G.A.:

    To be fair, it should be pointed out that while those who employ secular worldviews are a vast minority and do seem to many to be underrepresented in charity work (although I would challenge that, based on experience and a lack of evidence), it is not prayer or various charity work from churches that creates life-saving medical technology and procedures and the huge technological advances that humanity has made.

    While churches may do some work with soup kitchens, housing or “leadership development programs for kids” — a nifty way to say “brainwashing for Jesus” — things like vaccines, antibiotics, computers, prosthetics (since none of the gods created by man will regrow amputated limbs — a clear violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I’d say), etc., etc., ad nauseum, come from the work of scientists, engineers, and others employing secular methodologies. There’s nothing in the bible or any other religious text that tells us how to do that sort of stuff. It comes from the vast minority of humans who know how to create and use secular, often anti-religious, approaches to problem-solving.

    So we shouldn’t be tough on the godless, or quick to convert ourselves, as it is only the secular part of humanity that has the ability and willingness to solve the big problems. We’re a small group, but we get the real work done. Imagine what could be done if we were allowed to have a greater standing in society.

    Comment by Bob Muller | July 18, 2009

  8. Excellent point Bob; I think you’ve burned Sandie and added an entirely different way of looking at the contributions that people make.

    Comment by Godless American | July 18, 2009

  9. No burn,after all– our leadership development program is, in fact, NOT a religious-based program.

    So there.

    Comment by Sandie Richards | July 19, 2009

  10. Sandie, if you didn’t notice…this is satire. A comedy routine. He is in no way being serious.

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | July 19, 2009

  11. By the way, Mr. Atheist Science guy, you can’t divide things in half, and half again, etc., and ever get to zero. You’ll get a smaller and smaller number, with more and more digits, which will get you quite close to zero but never actually there.

    While this is true in the abstract mathematical sense, in the physical world, things tend to have a smallest indivisible element. In other words, you get to a point where you either can no longer divide things, or you can no longer divide them without destroying what you’re dividing. For example, you can divide a bar of gold down until you have a single gold atom. While it is possible to continue dividing, doing so will leave you with zero gold.

    Since thinking is a finite system/process, the same principle applies. You can keep dividing until you reach the smallest thinking unit, which if you divide further will leave you with reflexive instinctual behaviors such as chanting, obeying, believing, and worship. Since this analysis is scientific, I’m sure it’s what “Mr. Atheist Science guy” meant in his brilliant column.

    ps—Nice article Troy!
    ~Javier

    Comment by The Science Pundit | July 19, 2009

  12. This is so great. The only problem is that I cannot read it. I forsake reading all things except the bible in order to properly place my head in the sand and supplicate my self to the almighty.

    When I say the bible, I really mean the bible as written by the great Flying Spaghetti Monster – may he grace you with the touch of his noodly appendage.

    rAMEN

    Comment by rini6 | July 19, 2009

  13. EXCELLENT GUIDE! I AM OFF TO BUY A GUN AND A BIBLE RIGHT NOW!

    Comment by Buffy | July 19, 2009

  14. For freethinkers who have not been in the military, you have a problem with obedience to authority.

    What are you, ign’ant? Everybody knows there are no atheists in foxholes.

    Comment by Rieux | July 20, 2009

  15. MSA –

    What you talkin’ about comedy? I mean Sandie is burning. Just like Saddam and Gomorahh.😉

    Comment by Godless American | July 20, 2009

  16. I tried the Gay thing you suggested and enjoyed it very much a long time ago, but it made my butt hurt, praise Jesus, better than lashing my back when I had impure thoughts about women like my mom taught me .

    She was a very devout woman and was a Baptist and Sundays meant everything to me because we went to church and that was the only time she wasn’t drunk, praise jesus.

    She loved jesus also when she was a bartender and brought home her trucker friends for ‘tithing on the side’ as she called it, and she would go to sleep early and her trucker friends often made my butt hurt, too.

    Praise Jesus.

    And then I would hold back her beautiful long hair while she threw up, and then she would yell at me and beat me in the name of the lord, for I am a sinner, and deserved it for tempting her man friends, and she would go back to work, and this went on every day, but mom and our family always kept Sundays Holy and that’s why I’m a Christian but I’m a Catholic Priest now, God Bless you Troy Conrad for speaking the truth to my heart.

    You are a fine looking young man, and I think we might have been good friends had we met when you were a bit younger.

    -Father Mackenzie

    PS if you have any younger brothers who are thinking about joining the cloth or Alter Boy Curious, please send me your contact info

    Comment by scooter | July 26, 2009

  17. Okay, this made me laugh!

    Very well written. I am going to go through my bookshelves and see if I still have a Bible hanging around somewhere. I used to keep one to be able to catch hypocritical Christians about the truly violent and cruel nature of much of the Bible.

    I’m also glad to see I get to keep my copy of _The God Delusion_. I knew it would come in handy for something!

    Comment by AurariaMJ | September 1, 2009

  18. wow all that talk of dividing things again, by half and half…

    it not only made me a believer ..but I’m a fully qualified homeopath now🙂

    I love irony🙂

    Comment by Petursey | February 24, 2010

  19. Hallelujah!

    Recently I became a believer again and thankfully was asked to run for the position of GOD…

    My campaign for the position of God is well under way, I promise to fill everyone’s crack bag and wine bottle, and I promise to heal all sexually transmitted diseases, except AIDs- that one is a gay thing and I am not a gay God, I also promise to rid the world of Islamics and Atheisms cause we know they are bad, evil and devil worshipers.

    Comment by Jesse M | October 18, 2010


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