In terms of religious experience, Bootcamp is probably one of the most intense places that hopeful Marines can find themselves. For whatever the reasons, recruits tend to undergo a kind of extreme religious epiphany as soon as they step on those yellow footprints. Gone are their old ways of sinful heathenism, now they are acolytes of God–warriors of the Lord himself… that is, until they discover that epic amounts of alcohol can replace their voids of faith on the weekends once they hit the fleet.
I recall quite vividly the amount of recruits that attended the church masses, or even underwent baptism in front of an applauding audience of likeminded recruits. Like it is so true for many, religion in the Marines tends to only belong where its needed. During the stressful culture shock of recruit training, Marine recruits find solace in faith otherwise left alone. I myself succumbed to this endeavor, though stemming from Jewish background brought me to synagogue on Fridays instead of church on Sundays–which actually worked out great, because I still got to chill out on Sundays like everyone else.
Rarely when a chaplain or otherwise offer an infantry Marine a religious service will he take it, once he’s succumbed to his new culture of fleet-hood. The average Lance Corporal is more likely to attend the the omelet line at the chow hall on a Sunday than he is church. Some Marines remain devout Christians and otherwise–but for the majority: if you didn’t already regularly attend church, the Marine Corps probably isn’t going to change that, despite whatever religious events unfold at the Depot.