The Jewish Chronicle - - FEATURES -

FOL­LOW­ING re­ports that the threat­ened dis­mem­ber­ment of the Church of Eng­land over the is­sue of ho­mo­sex­ual prelates is ap­par­ently per­suad­ing hordes of dis­af­fected Angli­cans to up sticks and de­fect to Ro­man Catholi­cism, thou­sands of you have, not sur­pris­ingly, writ­ten to ask me for my ex­pert guid­ance in this per­plex­ing mat­ter.

“All right,” you tell me, “we have seen the writ­ing on the wall, any minute now we will find our­selves go­ing into church of a Sun­day morn­ing and forced to lis­ten to ser­mons about mak­ing our lives over, start­ing with the bed­room cur­tains, and singing Abide With Me to the tune of Can­dle in the Wind; not for us, thank you, but we do not want to be­come Ro­man Catholics ei­ther, all that con­fes­sion stuff, you never know who’s be­hind the grille, plus wafers not be­ing al­lowed on the Atkins diet, so are there any other reli­gions you can sug­gest which might do it for me? I am not what you’d call re­li­gious, but it’s use­ful to have some­thing to put on the form when ap­ply­ing for a road fund li­cence and so forth.”

A very tricky one this, since I clearly do not have the space here to go into any great de­tail, but know­ing the Bri­tish peo­ple as I do, I think I may at least be able to come up with a few help­ful point­ers for those in what we ma­jor the­olo­gians call doubt.

Ju­daism, for ex­am­ple, has con­sid­er­able ap­peal. The soup is good, and you can keep your hat on in­doors, thereby mak­ing a con­sid­er­able sav­ing on fuel costs. Also, since you will not be al­lowed to drive on Satur­days, your car will last about 14 per cent longer than gen­tile ones. Fur­ther­more, books are read back to front, which means that you do not have to plough through the whole of the new Jef­frey Archer to find out what hap­pens.

Is­lam, how­ever, may suit you even bet­ter, in that if you don’t want to read the new Jef­frey Archer, you can not only pub­licly burn it, you can ap­ply to have him shot. The main draw­back with Is­lam is that you will have to take your shoes off upon en­ter­ing the mosque. If it is a big mosque, it may take you all day to find them again.

Bud­dhism is ter­rific if you are bald. No­body will ever know. You can also spend all day walk­ing up and down Ox­ford Street with­out ever hav­ing to buy any­thing, and with no socks to wash when you get home. More­over, the prin­ci­ple of rein­car­na­tion is im­mensely at­trac­tive: you could come back as Bill Gates or Ge­orge Clooney. Then again, you could come back as Jef­frey Archer.

Sikhism, on the other hand, is ter­rific if you are not bald. Be­ing pro­hib­ited from cut­ting your hair or shav­ing means that you will never have to visit a bar­ber. You will thus never have to sit in a chair while some­one asks you if have read the latest Jef­frey Archer yet, and — what­ever your an­swer — spends the next 15 min­utes retelling it.

So there you have it. Good luck, ex-Angli­cans, and God, which­ever One you choose, bless you. But if none of the above ap­peals to you, re­mem­ber that the Mor­mons are al­ways on the lookout for new re­cruits. They’re a re­ally nice crowd, with only one ma­jor draw­back: you have to wear a shiny blue suit and a per­ma­nent grin and tell ev­ery­body you meet about this truly won­der­ful book of yours. You will thus run the con­stant risk of be­ing mis­taken for Jef­frey Archer.

Pub­lished by JR Books in hard­back at £12.99

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