Saturday, May 27, 2006

Comparative Religions -- An Analysis by Dr. Liam McEneaney

(Stolen from GirlComic) If you've shopped around and still can't decide on which religion best fits your needs, look no further. We bring you Liam McEneaney's comparative analysis.

Choosing My Religion

By Liam McEneaney

As one who exists mostly in the world of show business, I find it easy to forget that religion is a serious topic. Most performers don't really adhere to any one particular faith. I ascribe this to ego; there's simply no room in their world for a being greater than themselves.

But for those of us who study religious thought, there are so many questions to be answered: How can God exist in a world where Pauly Shore is an international celebrity and I am not? Why do beautiful women find Pauly Shore attractive, but not me? How is it that Pauly Shore can pull together the funding to write and direct his own movie, while my own screenplay goes unread by a guy who claims he wants to represent me, just because it's "ten pages too long"?

These are the kinds of questions most religious thinkers will ponder, especially after they've spent some time on Pauly Shore's website. But I would say that the one question every human being needs an answer to is: "What if those religious nuts I grew up hating are right, and I'm going to end up in hell? Am I, in effect, partying with the right crowd? Or, when I die, will I try to get into the Great VIP Room in the Sky, only to be told by an angelic bouncer that I'm 'not on the list'?"

Indeed, it's not easy to know whether or not you've chosen the right religion. Luckily, I have my bases covered: My mother is Jewish, my father is Irish Catholic, and I was raised Buddhist. But not everyone can be so lucky. Don't despair, though, for today I bring you good news: It's not too late!

You can still change faiths out of a cynical desire to get out of going to hell. But which one is the right fit for you? Let's do some comparison-shopping:


More than a religion, Judaism is a lifestyle. It has many special dietary rules and arcane rituals dictating that, for instance, you can't eat cheeseburgers and you're not allowed to do anything other than sit in a dark apartment all day Saturday. The good news, though, is that most Jews only follow those rules when they feel like it. (That's called being a "Reformed Jew." They aren't Jewish so much as Jew-ish.) The bad news is that if you're a guy, they will want a "piece of you."

The good news: Liberals who weren't lucky enough to be born black can still join an oppressed minority.
Big bonus: Hollywood connections.
Big drawback: Everyone else in the world will hate you.


A true smorgasbord of religious possibilities. The basic tenet of Christian belief is that God sent his only son down to Earth, where he gave a message of peace and love to all mankind. Then he died, came back, and flew up into haven. This is the only thing Christians around the world can agree on. There are easily a dozen different sects of Christianity and they all hate each other:

Catholicism -- Do you love Jesus but hate the feel of condoms? You can tell your significant other, "Baby, I'd love to, but God says we shouldn't."

Protestantism -- Founded by people who felt that traditional Catholicism wasn't oppressive enough.

Baptism -- For people who like the oppressive nature of Protestantism, but like a little more show biz in their sermons.

Born-again Christianity -- For people who feel that the Spanish Inquisition was "too soft on crime." George W. Bush is one.

Big bonus: The Bible is so big, and filled with so many contradictory things, that it's possible to believe one thing while behaving completely differently.
Big drawback: Premarital sex is out, as is excessive drinking. So be prepared to feel very guilty.


Boy, oh boy, if there's one thing the whole Salman Rushdie thing taught us, it's that those Muslims sure have a real sense of humor about their religion, right guys? Basically, they believe everything the Christians do, only their Bible is "The Koran," and their savior is "The Prophet Mohammed." Also, Muslim countries tend to be harsher on women, but only because they can get away with it. Otherwise, they're pretty much the same, which is why the two religions hate each other so much.

Big bonus: You will never doubt for a second that you're completely right (men only).
Big drawback: If you're a Muslim in America, be prepared for the FBI to get to know you better.


The cool "alternative" religion. Remember, though, that this means that any hipster moron with a Tibetan tattoo will think he identifies with you. A peaceful path is always a good philosophy, especially in these times. Plus, reincarnation means no afterlife, which means no hell! However, chanting is dull. Also, you should be warned that saffron robes are good for "Autumns," but not for "Winters" or "Springs."

Big bonus: It's a good conversation starter.
Big drawback: People might mistake you for a Hari Krishna.


The other religion of Hollywood celebrities. Too bad they won't want to have anything to do with you. Your friends will all think you're in a cult; worse, they'll be right. The German government hates Scientology, but they've been known to be wrong once or twice.

Big bonus: You will join in the only religion in the world with a team of attorneys on call.
Big drawback: Scientology's tenets are encapsulated in Battlefield: Earth.


Hey, you've already lost your mind, why not your circle of friends too? The only people who want to hear about Wicca are other Wiccans. It's based on the worship of Earth and Nature; this is another way of saying, "prepare to be dirty." Its followers are mostly female, so if you're a dude who can nod convincingly while sitting cross-legged, you're in like Flynn.

Big bonus: Learn Earth magic and wreak havoc on those snotty cheerleaders from high school.
Big drawback: People are laughing at you.

Atheism and agnosticism

Atheism is the declaration that there is no God. Agnosticism is the same thing, but with the caveat that if there turns out to be a God, you believed in Him the whole time.

Be warned: For people who don't believe in anything, atheists sure spend a lot of time talking about it.
Big bonus: No beliefs equals no rituals, holidays, or ancient laws to follow.
Big drawback: Atheists are even preachier than hard-core born-agains.

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