Which Christian denomination is the most hipster?

Which Christian denomination is the most hipster?

Unitarian: Pretty hipster
Remember the end of Lost, when everyone climbed into a church and they were all paired off into cute couples and then the light of God flooded in the window and the church shot off into space and J.J. Abrams was breastpumping a female Chewbacca and all this money fell on his head like goo on a Nickelodeon trivia show? Well, people said that it wasn’t a religious ending, it was a Unitarian ending. Not that Unitarianism isn’t religious—they do believe in God—but not in the idea of God being three beings. (Yeah, that’s the one thing too preposterous for them.) Regardless of what they believe, Unitarianism is the new non-objectionable way to be not-quite-religious. It’s kind of like the co-op of church: you do it for the community, and it’s okay for a philosophical, sorta secular show to conclude with a reference to your religion.

Evangelical: Unexpectedly hipster
There is really nothing too hip about a religion that forbids drinking, smoking, drugs, gambling, sex before marriage, sex in really any capacity whatsoever, non-Christian music, gender equality, critical thinking, etc. However, unlike more liturgical denominations such as Catholicism or Methodism, given the necessity of infiltrating secular culture (known within the religion as “the world”) as a means to conversion, evangelicals are encouraged to be “alternative bros,” albeit “alternative bros for Christ.” (And yes, “bros” is a gender-specific term; if you are a woman you still have to be conservative and old-fashioned.) But yes, evangelical bros should have alternative facial hair and play the acoustic guitar and express vaguely, pseudo-liberal beliefs about things like “stewardship of God’s creation” (environmentalism?) and “hating the sin, loving the sinner” (tolerance towards homosexuals?). And keep in mind, the very definition of evangelicalism involves approaching strangers and, without respect to their discomfort or interest in engaging in conversation, forcing your unsolicited, niche-philosophical opinion on them relentlessly until they agree that you’re right. And what’s more hipster than that?

Catholic: Potentially hipster
Saying the rosary with hysterical obsession, collecting bloody saints trading cards, getting the sacred heart of fiery Jesus tattooed on your arm – Catholicism has a bunch of long-standing rituals rooted in psychological obsession and decorative materialism – what’s more hipster than that? Plus, Catholicism is the most “authentic” of all denominations of Christianity because it came first. It isn’t quite as white as the others (bonus points!), and Catholics are enthusiastic drinkers. The blood of Christ is their PBR, yo.

Rastafarianism: Unexpectedly non-hipster
According to Rastafarians, Jesus came back in the person of Haile Selassie I, a 20th century Ethiopian emperor—making Rasta much more up-to-date than the average religion. They also believe in the spiritual use of marijuana, so big points for that. Rasta would seem to be the quintessentially hip denomination—but it’s completely non-ironic, and you can’t expect hipsters to go around sincerely preaching peace, love, and understanding.

Haitian Vodou: Postmodern hipster
Vodou is the Girl Talk of Christian faiths. It’s a wild mash-up of Roman Catholicism, African traditions, and the beliefs of local Natives. Like a lot of hip things, it’s been the subject of lamestream parodies, but the authentic practitioners of Haitian Vodou are way more alt than cartoonish witch doctors poking dolls with pins like they’re in a 1950s novelty song. Real practitioners of vodou honor the spirits with altars incorporating plastic baby dolls, which is exactly the kind of thing you’d run into at an indie art gallery.

Liberal Catholicism: Totally hipster
Liberal Catholics are like Unitarians insofar as they let you believe pretty much whatever you want, but they also stock up on all the party supplies of Catholicism: the incense, the statues, the holy water. A Liberal Catholic Mass looks exactly like a Roman Catholic Mass, except you have no idea who’s being sincere and who’s being ironic. It’s exactly like a Best Coast concert.

Lutheranism: Lovably hipster
Who needs “Liberal Catholicism” when you can have “Catholicism Lite”? Lutherans laugh gleefully while their gay pastors hold hands and skip merrily down the row of pews, giving communion wafers that are so not actually the body of Christ—come on, it’s a metaphor, people! You might be an ELCA Lutheran, you might be a Missouri Synod Lutheran, but most of their respective members agree the differences are about as  relevant as the difference between thick-rimmed prescription glasses and thick-rimmed plastic lens glasses: either way, you look cool. Might we suggest that at the moment in the service when you’re supposed to greet the fellow parishioners around you with a handshake, instead try a high-five?

Jay Gabler, Sarah Heuer, Becky Lang, and Katie Sisneros. Photo adapted from Hipster or Jesus?