Back when I was in middle school the question of my religion came up a lot. It was odd 'cause other students rarely talked to me and vice versa. I was wary of admitting I was an atheist given how mean kids can be, but I wouldn't deny it. I personally wanted to tell them to mind their own business. But that only worked when I managed to hurt their feelings. Which wasn't really my intention.
So I compromised. I wouldn't tell them I was an atheist and I'd wouldn't tell them to leave me the hell alone. Instead I would give them such an outrageous lie they would take a hint and drop the subject (keep in mind I was only 13 at the time and came up with that reasoning on the spur of the moment). From that moment on I was a member of the Cult of the Rutabaga.
Strangely no one ever did take a hint or get offended at the obvious lie.
And no one ever called me on the ridiculous nature of my "faith". I kept expecting someone to say, "You just made that up! No one could believe in a cult devouted to an VEGETABLE!" I thought that they must of known and were playing along for fun. And I guess it was fun for them. They'd ask what we did and I'd say the most ridiculous thing that came to mind (dressing up as rutabagas, dancing in front of a huge rutabaga idol, drinking sacred rutabaga wine, etc).
It came to a head in highschool.
A kid who went to middle school with me told the class what cult I belonged to, and the students wanted to hear the strange details I'd made up. Midway through my spiel the teacher, totally serious, asked me about my religion. She believed me when I said I was a rutabaga cultist. What's more she respected that! Some of the kids around me seemed to feel the same as she.
It was like finding yourself in a bizarro world where nonsense was respected and logic shunned. It was all too much. I confessed the lie and stuck my head on my desk until the crazies (they seemed sane moments before!) left me alone.
I guess this was when I realized religion had a sort of impenetrable armor in some minds. I'd always known it had unearned respect but this episode was an eye-opener. I wish I'd figured it out earlier. It was really embarrassing how I dealt with it at the end.