If you stop and think about it for a bit, being religious is a lot like supporting a footy team.
Now wait, before you start laughing at me, hear me out. Then you can mock me afterwards.
Like a footy team, people become part of a religious group in one of two ways; they’re either born into it or they look around and choose one they like.
Once you’re part of that religious group, you can choose how much you support them. Maybe you’re a casual follower who only wants to show your support on the special days and who doesn't think a whole lot about it from day to day.
Or perhaps you’re a full-on fan who turns up every single weekend and finds their daily life affected by the goings-on in their team. And maybe, when your team fails, you’re secretly disillusioned but publicly you stand right behind them.
Your religious team comes with its own history, its own culture, rules and beliefs.
But, just as is the case with footy, you're not the only team around.
There are plenty of other “teams” around, who also have their own supporters who embrace the culture and beliefs of those teams. There are even those who don’t like the game at all and have chosen not to support any team.
And, guess what, those other teams don’t actually affect the one you support.
Even though they exist, these other sides don’t change the culture of your team. No matter what they might say about your team, it's not really going to stop you supporting it.
However, you may well be utterly convinced that your side is the best and look to ridicule those supporters of other teams.
One crucial area where footy and religions diverge is that footy fans don’t go as far as to insist that everyone – both fans of other teams and those with no interest in the game – has to abide by the culture of their team.
Because that would be stupid.