7/29/2009                                                                                       View Comments

AN ATHEIST’S GUIDE TO BECOMING RELIGIOUS

by Troy Conrad

Lately, 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. This article was originally written for The Metro State Atheists and is posted here by permission of the author.





52 comments:

webmdave said...

Is this serious. What a bunch of propaganda. Why would an atheist want to become christian again. Why would we need to flex our imaginary Faith muscle and believe in god again, or go back to church, or start reading the bible daily. This is ridiculous and offensive to anyone with a brain. Oh, bush is gone so the time for atheism is over, like it is an adolescent phase of rebellion. You don't fucking get it, you will never fucking get it. "Maybe the only reason Richard Dawkins writes books is because he thinks he's better than you." "Purchase a firearm." This is meant to be a gimmick to try and convince people that are already rid of ridiculous religion, that it's cool again and it's ok now to come back and everyone is doing it, come on just take a hit man, come on stop pretending to be an atheist, the rebellion is over come back to god. I really really hope this is just a big joke article

webmdave said...

Although you made exemplary use of invented, self-serving statistics and the additional accompanying math to add apparent credibility, you did not mention this as a technique the recently lobotomized might use in his new situation. I just thought that being explicit with such techniques might be helpful.

webmdave said...

I really really hope this is just a big joke article

Uh, yeah - it is. If you couldn't tell from the tone, you could from the author's bio at the bottom of the article: "Troy Conrad is a comic, writer, and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. He is the creator of The Comedy Jesus Show... ".

webmdave said...

This is one of the funniest things I've read in a long time!!!

webmdave said...

You must be in the anger phase of leaving your religion, Facepalm. It is a comedy story.

I'm still a litttle ticked about my religious experience, too.

webmdave said...

You must be in the anger phase of leaving your religion, Facepalm. It is a comedy story.

I'm still a litttle ticked about my religious experience, too.

webmdave said...

Too funny!!!!

Love it!!!

webmdave said...

Funny!

webmdave said...

The guy who wrote this s*** is a bloody twit.

webmdave said...

Too funny! Great satire!

webmdave said...

Too funny! Great satire!

webmdave said...

Lemsip,

Christians can be nice. My family is Roman Catholic, Opus Dei. My family is very nice. However, niceness does not negate the fact that they live in a fantasy world and deserve to be treated as mental outpatients who refuse meds and therapy. I firmly believe that if they accepted psychotherapy and group counseling, the neurotic behavior would stop.

Here is a list of my family's wacko religious behaviors:

1. My relatives talk to god daily...non-stop and even in the car...rosaries in the car while driving. This is more dangerous than chatting on a cell phone. They put themselves and others at risk. They should have their licenses revoked.

2. Yahweh (He who created the universe) TALKS back to them...daily!!!! It's a 24/7, non-stop, chat-fest that would make any gum-snapping teenager blush with shame.

3. They eat and drink Jesus' body and blood in the consecrated host and the wine. They won't bite down on the Eucharist; they let it dissolve in their mouths because biting the cracker would mean tearing into Jesus's body.

4. They see ghosts/spirits of dead people...When my grandfather was dying at age 99, my relatives claimed that they had SEEN the ghost of my great-grandmother coming to get her son so he could cross over. The sad part is that my nephews and nieces think it is normal to SEE dead people slipping in and out of rooms.

5. They purge their homes of evil spirits through the sprinkling of holy water and prayers.

6. They pray to the sternum of a lunatic nun (a holy woman...she was taken out of the ground to see if her body had decomposed. Entropy failed. The nuns discovered that the cadaver had not rotted. Thus, she was holy and her sternum was removed for worship).

I could go on with the list...some of the nutty behavior has me laughing hard. My family is still nice...crazy as March hares, but nice.

I could care less what a person believes as long as they keep their spiritual fantasies and god-talk out of public policy. Once they spill their delusion into the public sphere, I will view them as my enemies...particularly if they get in the way of women's health issues.

Just my 2 cents.

webmdave said...

Lemsip,

Christians can be nice. My family is Roman Catholic, Opus Dei. My family is very nice. However, niceness does not negate the fact that they live in a fantasy world and deserve to be treated as mental outpatients who refuse meds and therapy. I firmly believe that if they accepted psychotherapy and group counseling, the neurotic behavior would stop.

Here is a list of my family's wacko religious behaviors:

1. My relatives talk to god daily...non-stop and even in the car...rosaries in the car while driving. This is more dangerous than chatting on a cell phone. They put themselves and others at risk. They should have their licenses revoked.

2. Yahweh (He who created the universe) TALKS back to them...daily!!!! It's a 24/7, non-stop, chat-fest that would make any gum-snapping teenager blush with shame.

3. They eat and drink Jesus' body and blood in the consecrated host and the wine. They won't bite down on the Eucharist; they let it dissolve in their mouths because biting the cracker would mean tearing into Jesus's body.

4. They see ghosts/spirits of dead people...When my grandfather was dying at age 99, my relatives claimed that they had SEEN the ghost of my great-grandmother coming to get her son so he could cross over. The sad part is that my nephews and nieces think it is normal to SEE dead people slipping in and out of rooms.

5. They purge their homes of evil spirits through the sprinkling of holy water and prayers.

6. They pray to the sternum of a lunatic nun (a holy woman...she was taken out of the ground to see if her body had decomposed. Entropy failed. The nuns discovered that the cadaver had not rotted. Thus, she was holy and her sternum was removed for worship).

I could go on with the list...some of the nutty behavior has me laughing hard. My family is still nice...crazy as March hares, but nice.

I could care less what a person believes as long as they keep their spiritual fantasies and god-talk out of public policy. Once they spill their delusion into the public sphere, I will view them as my enemies...particularly if they get in the way of women's health issues.

Just my 2 cents.

webmdave said...

j o i.......kind of like BIG black Angus, huh ? I'd like a nice thick steak, medium-rare. BTW, is that a picture of a thistle ?

webmdave said...

Oh, man, I'm laughing soooo hard now. After reading this, I had to check out The Comedy Jesus show on youtube and this was the first video I saw -- "Proof That Prayer Doesn't Work. In 5 Seconds"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF88nB1SRCM

ROTFLMAO

BP

webmdave said...

Oh, man, I'm laughing soooo hard now. After reading this, I had to check out The Comedy Jesus show on youtube and this was the first video I saw -- "Proof That Prayer Doesn't Work. In 5 Seconds"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QF88nB1SRCM

ROTFLMAO

BP

webmdave said...

Thanks Webmdave,
in these days of near constant christian troll attacks a little levity is good for the bowels. I can now relax in peace on my ceramic pulpit. Watch out Benny Hinn, this one's for you. Bombs away!
RLC

webmdave said...

Thank-you also WebmDave ! This is so funny...my tickle bone is still giggling.
I love the part about the Flintstones ! Yes, man & dinosaurs back together again ! Wonder what a T-Rex burger tasted like 6,000 years ago ? Gosh, they should have written down recipe's....darn.

webmdave said...

lol That is too funny. I don't think I want to give up thinking. It is to much of a valuable commodity to give up. A mind is a terrible things to waste, much less allow to rot while still alive.

webmdave said...

The man who wrote this is an imbecile. For goodness sake. How idiotic can he be? I am asking myself, if he's an an adult or if he's still a child in a big physical body. What kind of a tweet would say that because you are a free thinker that you are against authority. Under who? I ask. Your Imaginary friend? Go ahead and tell me about it? Being a free thinker is about reasoning, not allowing yourself to follow childish books. Be well-ballanced. I am an Atheist and I respect authority, but I am not going to let anyone control me. I don't understand such a retard.

webmdave said...

Hilarious! It was the comment about the .50 cal Smith and Wesson 'cleaning out anyone's temple' that sent me into tears... thanks for that! :D

webmdave said...

"What kind of a tweet would say that because you are a free thinker that you are against authority."

I do believe you're taking this article far too seriously. Also, the authority he refers to is "being submissive to the authority of the Bible". The old addage says, "Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."

webmdave said...

Ok. Now I get it.

webmdave said...

Satire, friends, SATIRE!!!!

webmdave said...

No, not T-Rex, brontosaurs, they're "grass-fed".

webmdave said...

No, not T-Rex, brontosaurs, they're "grass-fed".

webmdave said...

Absolutely love it!!!

webmdave said...

I think you're tarring all christians by the same brush. This is how the fundamentalists treat all those who don't follow a religion. BTW I'm not an atheist.

webmdave said...

I think you're tarring all christians by the same brush. This is how the fundamentalists treat all those who don't follow a religion. BTW I'm not an atheist.

webmdave said...

"BTW I'm not an atheist."

Gee... What was my first clue, I wonder?
OK, so if we used 35,000 different brushes would it be OK?

webmdave said...

No need to be like that. Just because I don't want to lump all christians into the same boat doesn't mean I want to use 35,000 brushes. Well maybe there are as many types of christian as there are christians. My in-laws are Presbyterians and they are among the nicest people I know.

webmdave said...

What's wrong with Smart cars? They're driven by people in European cities because of the difficulty in finding car parking spaces. Besides it's difficult to offer people lifts with one so you don't have to.

webmdave said...

did you accidentally push " Report " instead ? I did that a while ago and now under my comments, there is no " Like "..........today I had a hard time being able to bring up much on this site, example = sometimes you couldn't get into the comments section below an article, also the most recent comments ( the 5 or 6 ones down in a row ) were GONE 1/2 the time, and when they did appear, it was comments from last nite ! I don't know if it's my unreliable computer or what !

webmdave said...

Lemsip,
How can you say we can't lump all christianity into one category?

All christians as far as I know believe in a savior they call jesus christ, who was said to be born from a virgin.
Do you believe in this impossible birth?
Do you believe he was killed and then rose from the dead three days later?
Do you believe, although there is no evidence outside the bible, that he actually existed?
Is he your savior?
These are requirements for christianity, that is what the word means, belief in christ.
This lumps them all in one category, DELUSIONAL!
Niceness has nothing to do with it.
I am patiently awaiting your answer, paint brush in hand, holding a large can of tar and ready to smack you with a feather pillow.

RLC
(stuck behind a ridiculously slow, not so smart car, ready to pass over him in my monster truck!)

webmdave said...

Presbyterians are Calvinists. Use "teh Google" and read up on John Calvin and his sick ideas about mankind.
The "35,000 brushes" comment was referring to how many different denominations of protestants there are.
35,000 different flavours, all preaching that they have the "One True Word" and the other 34,999 are teaching "false doctrine".
Oh, and as for not knowing many Xians who own guns? Never been to Indiana, I take it?

webmdave said...

Yes but often their beliefs vary. I really do not care what a person's spiritual beliefs are as long as they don't proselytise and that goes for atheists as well as christians and muslims. It's how they behave that counts. I know very few christians who type in capitals in e-mails and forums, go to gay nights in clubs for a pick-up and keep guns at home.

webmdave said...

Oh, OK, I get it now....
you're a TROLL, aren't you?

webmdave said...

This is just so stupid of you to make such a remark. Just because I'm defending some christians; the more liberal ones who attend Methodist and Presbyterian churches to be precise; doesn't mean that I am one. If you bothered to look back on the previous posts you would have seen that I have made comments that hardly make me look like a troll.

In fact it's atheists such as yourself caused me to be scurrying into christianity in the first place so I could be among people who were kind and loving (albeit at first) rather than those who sneered at anyone who wasn't totally cocksure of themselves or had beliefs in something outside of themselves.

webmdave said...

Some Presbyterians are calvinists. It's considered to be a mainline denomination in the US. Yes I do know about Calvinism. I attended a few Calvinist churches while being totally unaware that they were so before deconverting. I don't like the doctrine and especially dislike the way the church elders refused to label their teachings as such.

No I haven't been to Indiana because I live in another country where it's illegal to have personal possession of a gun.

webmdave said...

There are christians so liberal they don't believe in a virgin birth and many more don't believe in hell or Adam and Eve. As a said before I really don't care if they are delusional; it's how they live their lives that matters. Most people I know are delusional about something.

webmdave said...

There are christians so liberal they don't believe in a virgin birth and many more don't believe in hell or Adam and Eve. As a said before I really don't care if they are delusional; it's how they live their lives that matters. Most people I know are delusional about something.

webmdave said...

lemsip

In fact it's atheists such as yourself caused me to be scurrying into christianity in the first place so I could be among people who were kind and loving...

Oh -- now there's a perfectly legitimate (massive sarcasm) reason to join an ignorant superstitious organization.

--S.

webmdave said...

Lemsip,
"yes but".
Need I say more?
RLC

webmdave said...

BP....Yeah, we know. 2 beers, right..........( as I yank your chain ! )

webmdave said...

lemsip

I know very few christians who type in capitals in e-mails and forums, go to gay nights in clubs for a pick-up and keep guns at home.

Ohhhh, you know, huh? Then it must be true.

Generalizations steeped in stereotypes based on personal testimony does NOT -- a valid characterization -- make.

--S.

webmdave said...

RLC,

Soupy Sales?
As in, Hey kids, send me the green paper in your Dad's wallet....HAHA

ATF

webmdave said...

Correction. Bloody genius.

webmdave said...

I was only twenty at the time and had quite a few christian friends before even starting to go to church. All but one of them were kind, had a love of life and were sociable but just weren't around on Sundays. The ones who were doubters who were open to anything such as ghosts or re-incarnation were pretty OK as well. The atheists I knew were pretty cocksure and as evangelical about believing in oneself as the fundies were about believing in god. They were also incredibly boring as they lived only for sex, drugs and rock and roll.

How was I to know that christianity was superstitious when I had gone to christian schools? Also if christians were ignorant then many people without religion were ignorant as well. Homophobia and sexism was pretty rife in the seventies and eighties among both christians and non christians.

webmdave said...

lemsip

So get your story straight -- was it atheists who caused you to become a christian? Or was that just a lame accusation that was not based in reality?

And you also admitted you went to christian schools -- was that after or before atheists supposedly caused you to scurry off to christianity in the first place?

--S.

webmdave said...

The article was full of generalisations about christians. I was merely trying to readdress the balance.

As for typing in capitals; anybody who does it is just as likely to be non religious as christian and contrarily to what some atheists belief they are just as capable of committing crimes as christians.

webmdave said...

Why are you here? This site is for ex-Christians. The purpose of the site is clearly stated on the home page.

webmdave said...

Summerbreeze,
perhaps this will clear things up. Last night Lemsip and I had a rather heated discussion. She didn't like my replies, so she complained. Webmdave in his wisdom removed several comments of both hers and mine.
RLC