As an extremely irreligious atheist who shouts at the TV whenever a Pentecostal minister appears on it, I was horrified recently to discover that I am, in fact, a total zealot.
This realisation rocked me as I was sitting up late at night watching all 90 minutes of Insiders - an ABC show in which politicians are allowed to bore holes in your brain by not answering David Speers' questions - at the end of a day in which I'd also listened to four separate political podcasts.
It turns out that I do have a religion, and it's called politics. Not only do I worship it, which is worrying enough, but I have that kind of foul fervour that only true fanatics get where I feel the need to browbeat those who don't share my beliefs. I just cannot understand how they can't care, or believe, as much as I do, and that's exactly the kind of behaviour I despair at in those who worship the Sky Fairy.
I recently discovered that someone I know is that rarest and yet most precious of beasts - a swinging voter - and while this should have fascinated me, I was uncontrollably appalled. "But surely," I ranted, "your political beliefs are your core values, surely the way you vote defines you?" If you change your vote at each election you're just ... well, exasperating me, for one. And backing a horse called "Self Interest".
Essentially, in my world, swinging voters are the agnostics, while donkey voters and the totally disengaged are political atheists, and thus people I simply cannot be friends with.
Like any religion you care to name, my belief in politics is based on a vast fallacy - that the way I vote will actually make a difference, and that changing the colour of the political party which represents my local area will change the country, and indeed the world.
And yet I do believe - with the kind of rabid illogic that goes against my training as a journalist, which is to question everything and be as cynical as humanly possible.
I think about politics every day and, to the no-doubt endless frustration of my friends and family, I talk about it every day, too, and possibly fall over the line into preaching about its importance.
I'm so obsessed, in fact, that Australian politics isn't enough to satisfy my needs. I also read and listen to podcasts about the American version, which is more alarming, but has more interesting villains and, over all, more miracles (among them a gibbering idiot not causing nuclear war while in power). And I try and find time for the slow-moving car crash that is the UK version as well.
Politics has its saints, of course, although not many - Bob Hawke for some, Robert Menzies and John Howard for others (he even famously played out a parable about a bloke called Lazarus and a triple bypass), and more than its share of sinners.
You could also say it has high priests and priestesses - Laurie Oakes, Laura Tingle - and a Grand Inquisitor in Leigh Sales.
If I had to choose one particular religion that politics is like, I'd have to go with Christianity - it's simply too bloody and brutal to be Buddhism - because it offers a similar schism. The conservative side would be the Catholics, while the lefty, same-sex-marriage-supporting side leans more Anglican; it's even willing to consider the idea of a female pope (aka a prime minister or president).
On the plus side, I don't have to go to church, although Saturday mornings with the weekend papers and their many reams of political commentary is a time of quiet religious reflection for me.
On the downside, however, my faith is tested with frustrating regularity as seeming saviours - Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, take your pick - turn out to be not just fools, but false idols.
Just like someone religious, I can only blame my affliction on my parents. I grew up in Canberra, which didn't help, in a hugely political family, so I never really stood a chance.
Religion, of course, offers nothing as deeply testing, nor potentially revelatory as an election. I guess they are the political equivalent of the Rapture (the point at which good people will be sucked up to heaven by some kind of vast and righteous Dyson, while the rest of us are left down here to burn in a hell that's somehow not the fault of climate change), yet potentially less enjoyable.
There was plenty of religious fervour among my similarly afflicted brethren on election night, as we gathered at what is always really quite a unique "party". How often do you go to an event that you know has a fairly high chance of ending in fury, fights and foul recriminations?
An election, essentially, for the politically afflicted, is a combination of faith-driven fire walking, the emotional highs and lows of a wedding (good speeches make a big difference) and, if it goes well, witnessing the Second Coming.
You'll have noticed, of course, that there is also much talk of "miracles" - like Queenslanders voting for the Greens, Clive Palmer not winning a single seat and Scott Morrison not smirking once.
You'll have to excuse me now, I'm afraid, as I have many, many political stories and podcasts to peruse.
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