in reply to Religion in the Monastery.

and already I'm going to break one of the unwritten "never talk about at a party" rules...

Hmm. This also reflects cultural values. An anecdote:

My girlfriend was once explaining to a French exchange student (Virginie, I think, was her name) about American customs. One of the things Americans learn is to never discuss sex, religion, or politics at the dinner table. When my girlfriend told this to her, Virginie exclaimed, "But in France, that's all we talk about at the dinner table!"

And that was in a culture as close to American culture as any can get. Imagine if we were any less tolerant... These rules appear to exist as a means of preventing social unpleasantness and I am more than happy to let them apply in the Perl Monastery as well.