Conceptually, in a spiritual mumbo-jumbo sort of way, it is possible to love all of the Gods simultaneously. However, because there are an infinite number of Gods, it is, in a practical, real-world sense, impossible for us to properly worship all of Them individually. Consequently, most Infinitian churches focus on one or a small number of the Gods, while occasionally saying a collective prayer for the infinite set of Them.
Another reason for restricting their worship to a limited number of Gods is that the cost of buying an Infinitiaty church franchise that allows the worship of all of the infinite number of Gods individually is cost-prohibitive for most church franchisees. A license allowing a church to say collective prayers for Them all at once adds only a slight amount to the licensing fee paid for the worship of a single God. (Each church must buy a license to worship at least one God individually because Gods don’t answer prayers collectively. And what’s the point of praying to Gods if They are not going to answer your prayers?)
When considering which Infinitiaty church to join it is, therefore, important to base your choice on which God or Gods the church worships. Otherwise, you may be stuck practicing some terribly weird rites. (But don’t let the responsible Gods hear you call their rites weird. You’ll regret the consequences if you do. Contrary to popular belief, lightning can strike twice, or three times, or millions of times. Enough said.)
A Small Sampling of Gods’ Weird Rites
For example, consider the following:
- God 3298 insists that, at each service, five congregants chosen by the presiding preacher take turns lifting the church’s lead-encased, ersatz-jewel-encrusted bible scrolls over their heads while dancing energetically around the perimeter of the temple; once around for each of the selected congregants.
The encased, decorated scrolls weigh about 75 pounds. Carrying this weight symbolizes the bearing by man (or woman as the case may be) of God 3298’s burden. This practice came about as a sop to God 3298 because it really bugs Her when She has to bear Her burden alone.
Because the bible scrolls are precious, if a congregant drops one he or she is required do penance in the form of fasting from sunup to sundown for forty days. During the nights he or she is allowed to eat only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches bought at great expense from the temple cafeteria.
The dropping of the scrolls, whether intentional or accidental, is considered to be such a horrendous crime against God 3298 that the punishment is born not just by the perpetrator, but also by everyone who witnessed the offence. For this reason, congregants and the preacher usually keep their eyes closed during this part of the service.
From one service to the next, preachers are supposed to rotate the honor of dancing around with the bible scroll equally among all congregants. Nonetheless, it’s wise to pay great deference to your preacher lest you have more than your fair share of honor foisted upon you.
- Prayers to God 937 cannot be spoken in any human language. Instead, they must be clucked in sounds like those made by chickens. God 937 claims that this demonstrates modesty by honoring incredibly stupid chickens. To avoid the dreadful public humiliation that this practice might engender when witnessed by outsiders, parishioners and reverends in churches that worship God 937 refer to it as “speaking in tongues.”
By the way, rumor has it that God 937 is the greatest practical joker in this and every other universe. Nonetheless, He is also a horribly vindictive God. So if you choose to worship God 937 you would be wise to play along on this one.
- All Infinitian churches that worship God 731689 are required to have birthing centers on the third floor of their buildings. (Consequently, all churches worshipping God 731689 are required to be at least three stories tall, even if the second floor remains empty because it is not needed.) All members of the church must use only these centers when giving birth. (Males are exempt for obvious reasons.) Mothers are charged a nominal fee (nominal in the eyes of the church) to cover the costs of building, running and maintaining the facilities; paying, feeding and liquoring up the medical and ecclesiastical staff; and donating generously to God 731689 or His corporeal representatives.
At this point you might be saying to yourself, “That might be a bit overly restrictive, but the ritual is not all that weird.” Wait. It’s what comes immediately after the delivery that tests parishioners’ devotion.
To determine whether God 731689’s favor shines upon the newborns, they are thrown out the window of the birthing center onto the concrete sidewalk below as soon as possible after birth. Babies who survive the fall are accepted into the church. Those who die aren’t.
Members of these churches have to copulate without protection as frequently as possible with whomever is available at the time in order to worship God 731689 while simultaneously obeying God One’s rule about being fruitful and multiplying. (Actually, they can stop that now because God One suspended the be fruitful and multiply rule once the population of Earth exceeded a few billion. However, members of God 731689’s churches haven’t yet taken notice of the rule suspension.)
In addition to an abhorrently high rate of infant mortality, the community of God 731689 worshippers also has an exceptionally high rate of sexually transmitted diseases.
It is well known among the Sages of Infinitiaty that God 731689 hates all of God One’s creations. Worshippers of 731689 are also aware of this, but they are devout in their worship because they can’t bear to think how much worse things would be if they didn’t worship Him.
- God 89486 considers the reverends in Her churches to be holy, but She also insists that there can be only one living reverend on the staff of each of her churches at a time. Thus, it is essential to verify that a reverend is dead before appointing another one for that church.
God 89486 prescribes a specific method for validating a reverend’s presumed death. A congregant must rap the quiescent reverend on the head three times with a steel hammer. If the reverend responds then he or she is clearly not dead. If the reverend does not respond he or she can be buried immediately without further tests for life and without an autopsy. A new reverend can then be appointed.
Rumor has it that in many of the churches worshiping God 89486, when the congregation grows unhappy with its reverend the strongest member of the congregation will sneak into the reverend’s quarters at night. He or she will then wait until the reverend is sleeping quietly. Because it is hard to tell if the reverend is dead or truly just asleep, he or she grabs the steel hammer and performs the death test by rapping the reverend on the head three times with all of the congregant’s strength.
Not surprisingly, owners of God 89486 church franchises find it difficult to hire qualified reverends. And by qualified they mean breathing.
- Weird rites? Sometimes they’re not just weird, but also horribly painful. Reverends in the churches that worship God 89486 are not the only Infinitian clergy who have a rough time of it. At the end of each weekly service, priests in God 8747’s churches are expected to drain a goodly serving of their blood into a pewter chalice.
The priests must also slice a chunk of their skin off of a body part of their choosing. This skin slice is chopped into little bits and placed on a pewter plate.
Worshippers are then invited to come to the front of the church to sip from the chalice and eat a morsel from the plate. Upon doing so, the blood and body of the reverend are immediately transubstantiated into wine and wafers inside the worshippers’ mouths. This transubstantiation is necessary because drinking blood and eating bodies is widely considered to be unhealthy.
- A great many Gods require that you keep your head covered. Worshippers of God 4743 are advised to wear hats with sturdy chinstraps when engaging in vigorous sex to ensure that their hats remain on their heads throughout their romps. An orgasm—or the activity leading up to it—is no excuse for allowing your head to become uncovered under God 4743’s eyes. He can’t stand the sight of the tops of human heads. Worshippers are required to keep the punishment they receive for this sin a secret, but it is understood to be severe and involve anchovies.
This is not a problem for worshippers of any of the other Gods who require head coverings. These other Gods prohibit vigorous sex even by married adults. In fact, for Them, if you’re enjoying yourself while having sex you’re sinning. Their motto is, “an orgasm if necessary, but not necessarily an orgasm,” whatever the hell that means.
- Young teens also get in on the weird rites. God 39712 expects Her devotees to welcome their children into adulthood at age 13 by performing an ancient ritual. In the case of a female child this consists of a male church deacon giving her a giant hickey.
The adulthood rite is a little different for males. It’s called baptismal circumcision. The 13-year-old lies on his back in a bathtub nearly full of water. A floatation device is placed under his bum to ensure that he stays afloat.
The boy is then baptized by pushing his head under water. Simultaneously, a church deacon circumcises the boy without the use of an anesthetic. The boy’s head cannot rise above the surface of the water until the circumcision is complete.
This creates a dilemma for families that also worship a God or Gods who require that circumcision be performed on the boy a few days after birth. To resolve the dilemma, shortly before the baptismal circumcision, a foreskin taken from the recent circumcision of another boy must be transplanted onto the boy about to be baptismally circumcised so it can be sliced off again in the ritual baptismal circumcision.
Family and friends are invited to watch the baptismal circumcision and then partake of a light buffet while the baptismal circumcision-boy continues to wail like a baby being mercilessly mauled by a horde of cats in heat. The boy’s circumcised foreskin is displayed on a small ceremonial pedestal that sits prominently at the center of the buffet table until all of the guests have left.
- Worshippers of God 927877 must observe an eight-day “baker’s week” of atonement to atone for their sins against God 927877 and any other God. Because there are an infinite number of Gods, many of whom have conflicting sins, that’s a whole lot of sins to atone for.
During most of the year, God 927877 considers a “day” to be the midnight-to-midnight period. However, during the baker’s week of atonement He considers days to run from sundown to sundown.
Worshippers must fast during the baker’s week of atonement, taking neither drink nor food. Because this would be fatal for some people, worshippers are allowed to eat from one minute before sundown to one minute after sundown each day during the atonement period. It is important to verify with your preacher when sundown occurs in your locale and then synchronize your clocks precisely with an atomic clock because if you miss the two-minute eating period you have to wait until the next one before you can eat again.
There are strict limits on what worshipers can eat during this two-minute period. They can consume only peach schnapps and kippers. Children under the age of 13 are allowed to substitute water for the schnapps, but only with their parents’ express permission.
In addition to fasting, at one minute before the sundown that marks the start of the baker’s week of atonement, all worshippers must don brand new underwear. They are not allowed to remove that underwear until after the end of the atonement high holy days.
To ensure that the atonement days are kept holy and special relative to the other days of the year, worshippers must change back into old, but laundered underwear after sundown on the final Day of Atonement. They must then wear the same underwear every day, without washing it, until the atonement high holidays return the following year.
It goes without saying that people who don’t worship God 927877 avoid the social circles of God 927877-worshippers whenever and wherever possible. And God 927877-worshippers tend to avoid social circles altogether.
To mark both the beginning and the end of the atonement period, the preachers in all temples worshipping God 927877 must blow on a ram’s horn. This is particularly difficult because the horn must still be attached to a living, fully conscious ram. Most rams take great offense to this, but some consider it to be an amorous gesture. In either case, the practice is exceptionally dangerous for preachers.
- Death is not an excuse for not practicing some Gods’ weird rites. Despite there being an infinite number of Gods, God 227896 is one of only a very small, finite number of Gods who not only recognize, but encourage the posthumous acceptance of people into the congregations of Her churches, even if the recruits specifically rejected such a conversion while alive.
After-death conversions require a baptism that is performed by watering the grass over the deceased’s grave and saying a few prayers. For people who were cremated, you can toast marshmallows instead of watering the grass. If the body has not yet been buried, parishioners can, instead, spray the body with a garden hose and say the prayers.
Of course, God 227896 would prefer to be worshipped by the living. Therefore, She encourages all of the congregants in all of Her churches to vigorously proselytize all of their relatives, regardless of whether they are close or distant relatives. Parishioners must employ their absolute best efforts to convert their relatives to the worship of God 227896, but if they fail in those efforts they must kill the heathens and baptize them into the faith after death.
Needless to say, worshippers of God 227896 are rarely invited to family gatherings. That’s the price you pay for sublime piety.
The above represents only an infinitesimal fraction of the weird rites practiced in various Infinitian churches. So, my friends, as I said at the start of this post, choose wisely the Gods you worship.