You have to remember that we were fifteen-year-old punks - we wanted to piss peple off. Anything that might make parents, teachers, and people with authority bristle was up for discussion. We also wanted a name that would suggest a great logo for stickers and T-shirts. Many of the names were compelling but too repulsive. Smegma, Vaginal Discharge, and Head Cheese might make for great logos but were quickly rejected as not representative of our songs. We played around with a lot of names involving the word "bad" - Bad Family Planning, Bad Politics. When we hit on Bad Religion, it seemed perfect.
That year, 1980, was a time of rising prominence for televangelists like Jimmy Swaggert, Pat Robertson, and Jim Bakker. The year before, Jerry Falwell had founded the Moral Majority, which was having a powerful influence on the presedential election between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Religion was a hot topic, and those TV preachers seemed like a good target to us, though we didn't think they could possibly last for more than a few years. We knew that most people were so defensive about their religious ideas thst they would be highly offended by our name - a major plus! And then Brett came up with a logo that represented our philosophical stance. We felt complete.
In a lot of respects very small interest groups can be thought of as bad religions too, because they definitely prescribe ways of thinking
Greg called Greenpeace a bad religion despite being himself a member of the organization.
^ Anarchy Evolution (2010)