Mmmmm... this is quite a big topic but it's all a matter of perspective. Before reading on it might be an idea to consider the words of Abu-al-Ala aI-Ma’arri, an arabic poet and philosopher (973-I057) ... The world holds two classes of men - intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence. Sounds like a top bloke to me!
Christianity & Judaism
- To put it briefly the orthodox Christian perspective of The Big "G" views the 'man upstairs' as a generally benign sort of bloke who quite likes us on the quiet. There are a quite a few flavours of Christianity: Church of England, Protestants, Catholics, Coptic and Eastern Orthodox to name a few. They all hate each other to a greater or lesser extent and consider all other Christian groups a bunch of splitters and heretics.
- The Jewish God is a bit stern but can be won over with a nice cream cheese and smoked salmon bagel. Won't let Jews celebrate Christmas for some reason. According to the ultra-orthodox followers, he's not big on negotiating. Or on land transfers.
- The Japanese are Shintoists which involves worshipping the fact that you're Japanese.
- Buddhists don't do the God thing and Hindus do Krishna and think that everything is God... including your hamster.
- Muslims teach that Allah is like an overblown tee-total RSM with absolutely no sense of humour who doesn't eat bacon. They may have a point.
- The Sikhs are a bunch of Punjabi fence sitters who can't quite decide between Allah and Krishna but they can drink like fish and are bloody good soldiers.
- The Satanic Temple. Upon first impression - either a bunch of loons that are no better than the God-botherers, or a group of virgin-sacrificers covered in goats’ blood drawing upside-down stars all over the gaff - but in reality, they are a do-gooding activist organisation that draws on the literary Satan to get some bloody good points across! Hail Satan!
- Wiccans and pagans. This invariably involves dancing around in forests, burning bewildered coppers on remote Scottish islands, or freezing one's spuds off on Salisbury Plain waiting for the sun to come up, so's one can get naked with a bevy of overweight munters with a tree fetish. They're easy to spot. When the receptionist in the dentists calls out 'Moondust Earth-Sister' then pound to a penny it's one of this bunch that in for a check up. They usually have beards - even the women!
- Scientologists apparently worship your money which they expect you to give to them. They like to live in Hollywood and throw extravagant parties. Tom Cruise is a Scientologist which is a pretty good reason for avoiding.
- Mormons and Jehova's Witnesses are just mad. Only in America! Unfortunately, they're over here as well.
- Young Earth Creationists & "Intelligent Design" advocates - mostly Christian biblical literalists (they're not Christian fundamentalists 'cause Christ reportedly said "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." This doesn't seem to appeal to them) although the teachings of Islam are fairly similar (and you can be stoned to death for not believing it!). Raving mad. Represented in the UK by the Christian Institute: "The Bible is without error not only when it speaks of salvation, its own origins, values, and religious matters, but it is also without error when it speaks of history and the cosmos."
- Agnostics don't believe in God, but nor do they believe that he doesn't exist. These guys are really sitting on the fence. One can only hope that God hates a smartarrse. Most people probably fall into this category.
- Atheists don't believe in GOD, God, god or gods. What they shout out during sex I'm not sure,(possibly big bang,RIP Bill Hicks!). This could result in real embarrassment come judgement day if God does exist. It might also result in insult being added to your 'terminal' injury if he's a sarcastic God. While not dramatically mong-filled, the issue with the Evangelical atheists is that they need the bloody world to know. Notable ass clowns are Dick Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the former having to erupt with fury anytime a priest/imam opens their mouth to order a cheeseburger the latter being a depressed, drunkard dead man.
- It should be remembered that anyone who does not subscribe to the Islamic faith falls right in to this category. No ifs or buts, if your name isn't on the list, then you're not coming in - and you're nothing better than a pig, a dog, or a pigdog kuffar. Worth remembering next time you're in Ali's Kebabs. To be fair, your wahabi friend thinks basically every Muslim in the world fits into this category too.
- Tony Blair is not God ... no matter what he thinks.
- George W Bush talks to God... I hope that frightens you as much as it does me.
- Some religions have pantheons, i.e. groups of gods, each with their own specialized area of responsibility WAR, LAW, THUNDER, RIFLE DRILL, TRICKERY etc. The Romans, ancient Greeks, Celts and Vikings all had pantheons.
- Rastafarians smoke dope... lots of it. (see also Queens Ganja Rifles)
- Contrary to popular non-belief, Jedi is not a recognised religion - rather a bunch of jokers trying it on for the national census. Funnily enough, a religion has to have at least 250,000 followers to be recognised as such (allegedly). During the last census, over 300,000 put Jedi down as their chosen path of enlightenment, so...?
- Because the sort of idiot who is going to put down "Jedi" on the census isn't going to bother to check the actual rules, but rely on some Facebook group or weird chain email. Apparently, the rumour of official recognition started in Australia in 2001 - but the question there is optional, just like it is the UK census.
- There is also Pastafarianism. Worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, observance of Talk Like a Pirate Day and various other phenomena were invented by Bobby Henderson in 2005 to intervene (sarcastically) in the Kansas State Board of Education / Intelligent Design debacle. Longer lasting and more popular than any other joke except Scientology. Having been invented by a then professional physicist, all of the weird stuff is entirely deliberate. The beer volcano is likely to be the most popular aspect of this religion's "beliefs" with ARRSErs.
- Its philosophical predecessor is the worship of "Invisible Pink Unicorns". Amongst other reasons for its creation is as a counter to the debate closer "prove God didn't do it." "Prove invisible pink unicorns didn't do it" is a weak comeback, but they're not listening to anything at this point anyway.
Talking to Godot
Most practitioners of the above religions engage in some form of communication with their chosen deity, commonly known as 'prayer'. Prayer takes many forms, from loud verbal masturbation in public (see also: Mosques, daily Mass) to quiet internal contemplation (see: Om). A few claim that their deity answers back (notably T. Blair and George W Bush). Remember that's literally, like telling them to do stuff... like invade Iraq. Steer clear of these types and hope they don't get into power... ooops!
- The Vikings probably have the best afterlife (Valhalla) which you are called to by BIG women on flying horses. Valhalla is a sort of big log cabin pub were unlimited beer is served 24/7 without problems with the police or council AND meat is served off the bone with no fear of a health warning for BSE. The young blonde serving wenches have long braided hair that you can throw axes at for a laff and you spend all day kicking ass 'medieval' style without fear of missing the evening's fun because of death... cause you're already dead! Sounds like the perfect religion for all Arssers.
- The Aztecs believed that war fed their voracious gods with fresh blood, and was therefore encouraged. Moreover, human sacrifice was considered an honourable death by prisoners of war that would guarantee their entry into the warrior's paradise, where they could drink, smoke tobacco (a pleasure exclusive to the Native American squaddie until the mid-1500s) and shag nubile maidens in a great hall with their fallen comrades for eternity. This would have been great, unless your comrades were all jackoffs with whom you had no wish to drink in the afterlife.
- The destination of choice for all Islamic martyrs is of course Paradise where, according to the Koran, they are promised the "full on" attention of seventy virgins. Unfortunately this may not be the great deal that it seems. Some modern Arabic scholars have ventured to suggest that the Arabic word for 'raisin', which is almost indistinguishable from the word for 'virgin' has been misquoted in the "Bad Book". In 7th Century Arabia (when Mohammed did his stuff) raisins were a scarce and valuable little snack. A bit like a tube of Cheese and Onion Pringles when you're twenty miles from the nearest Tesco while on exercise on Salisbury Plain.
So... what a bastard! You've just atomised yourself - and fifty innocent bystanders - courtesy of 5 pounds of Semtex and nails strapped to your back and suddenly there's some bloke in a caftan with a big beard offering you a small bag of juicy currants. There's no justice. Which reminds me of a joke...
- Abdul has just successfully obliterated himself and several dozen women and children in a busy railway station and has been wafted up to Paradise.
- "Howdy there!" says God on horseback. "Glad to see you buddy. Let me introduce you to Davy Crockett, Colonel Jim Bowie, Trampus and..."
- "Hang on a minute!" protests Abdul. "Allah promised me seventy virgins!" God takes off his stetson hat and scratches his head.
- "Where did ya read that boy?" he drawls. Abdul pulls out his Koran and points to the relevant passage. God spits out his chewin' tobacco and laughs.
- "Why!!??... you dumb ass son of a bitch! It says seventy Virginians!"
Hope that helps a bit guys. Oh... by the way... we're all going to die anyway. Enjoy.