Lauren Rabaino

They tell you what’s up when this life ends, but please believe religions have some trends.

Nothing is immune to being trendy. And no matter how set in stone some things seem to be, sometimes they still fall out of style. Plus, trends can both be immediate and long-term, so today we will examine religious trends. Now, unlike your eighth-grade teacher, I’m not playing favorites; I’m just pointing out what I see as trendy religious behavior in the world.

Let’s start with religion itself. If you consider the whole of human history, there have been a ton of religious trends and not many have lasted. Be it conversion, war or just simply a dying out of followers, many religions have disappeared off the face of the earth. It’s easy for us to view our own religion as correct and therefore long-lasting – but isn’t that the same way the ancient Greeks felt? Correct me if I’m wrong, but no one still believes there’s a bunch of gods living on top of Mt. Olympus, right? I mean, we have helicopters and we’ve been up there. No one still believes Zeus came down from the mountain, turned himself into a bull, seduced and kidnapped a woman and made love to her under a tree on an island. Greek “mythology,” as it is called today (I guess we’ve proven it to be false), was as juicy as an episode of “The O.C.” or “The Hills,” which makes no sense why it died out. You had gods procreating with mortals, fighting among each other and being all-around sluts. According to Wikipedia, Zeus had something like 42 baby’s mamas. They had Dionysus, the god of wine and party. C’mon, is there no religion more suited for the college lifestyle?

Nevertheless, religions aren’t spared from being trends that fade away, and today’s religions are stepping up their game to stay alive.

Usually, billboards give us information on where to call if we need help getting out of jail, what casinos have the loosest slots, and where Hall and Oates are playing next week, but lately, they’ve been telling us what to worship. Driving back to San Luis Obispo from Berkeley on U.S. Highway 101, I saw two billboards advertising for Jesus. I have yet to see a religion besides Christianity promoted this way. Why is that? Perhaps other religions don’t want to get into a media-bash like Apple and Windows.

Then we had billboards in September that said, “If you were Jewish, you could probably take the day off today.” This isn’t saying to use Jewish holidays as excuses to get out of work, but the fact that many important Jewish holidays happen in September and require time off work may be worth advertising. Then again, this would lead to the notion that the only reason someone becomes Jewish is to have days off work. Moral of the story: Maybe it’s better that other religions don’t hop on this trend or allow me to write their billboards.

Also, religious beliefs can sometimes be trends. The Vatican recently released a list of new sinful behaviors, which include drug use, pollution (even the pope is going green), accumulating excessive wealth (sorry, Oprah) and genetic manipulation (sorry, Michael Jackson).

All of this shows that trends don’t just exist on television and in stores, but they are a part of every facet of our lives. So practice what you believe, promote what you believe at your own discretion, and don’t count out Greek “mythology” yet. The TRENDASAURUS says it’s prime time for a comeback, if only for a weekly comedy or soap opera.

Brian McMullen is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily columnist.

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