Before he embarked on his current hot streak of writing acclaimed nonfiction books, John Higgs wrote two not terribly long novels which I liked very much, The Brandy of the Damned and The First Church on the Moon.
The latter book has a charming "agnostic bishop" named Jennifer Hammerpot, and there's one particularly wonderful bit in which the bishop pulls out her bible, and reads a passage of scripture suggesting that people are best off if they have three religions -- zero or just one religion isn't enough but anyone having a dozen religions is "confused or bamboozled." Maybe I can get away with a brief quotation without committing a copyright violation, although a brief quotation leaves out some pretty good lines you'll have to get yourself a copy.
"4. The most practical and useful approach is to have three religions.
"5. I mean, roughly three. It's not an exact science. But between two and five, something like that.
"6. Three is good though. You can position yourself in the centre of three religions and in doing so drink of their wisdom without falling for their bullshit.
"8. Consider the man who is a Daoist, a Pagan and a Christian. Consider the woman who is a Buddhist, a Sikh and an atheist. These people won't easily fall for your nonsense. These people will have a wide perspective. These people will be able to get on in life."
In one sense, this passage seems like a restatement of what Robert Anton Wilson had to stay about reality tunnels, although it offers a unique perspective and perhaps some useful life advice.
And I recently wondered if perhaps I've taken John's advice, at least in a way and maybe not on purpose. What would my three religions seem to consist of?
I was brought up at a Unitarian. I got confirmed in the denomination as a teenager. I haven't really kept up and my church attendance consists of very occasionally attending my parents' or my sister's Unitarian church as their guest.
I got really interested in Buddhism while still a teenager and I've read quite a few books on the subject. I once attended an Insight Meditation Buddhist retreat that lasted for several days. I have not maintained a consistent meditation practice but I still know a fair amount about Buddhism.
And more lately I have become really interested in Epicureanism. I have recently finished reading three books on the subject and have put a fourth on hold at the library.
(I would not consider myself a Discordian, although I am obviously very interested in the ideas of Robert Anton Wilson.)
So, how many do you have?
Update: The passage also is in John's novel The Brandy of the Damned. See the comments.