The World’s 10 Weirdest Religions
As the New Year approaches, many folks spend time thinking about changes they want to make in their lives. If you’re bored with the same-old same-old beliefs, why not try out some new ones?
BTW, all these religions are REAL!
10. Happy Science
A chap named Ryuho Okawa founded this pleasant little religion to teach the Fourfold Path: Love, Wisdom, Self-Reflection and Progress. These teachings would seem perfectly fine if Okawa didn’t claim to channel the spirits of Muhammad, Christ, Buddha and Confucius. Oh yeah, he also says he’s the incarnation of a supreme spiritual being called El Cantare.
Popularized by the late, great Robert Anton Wilson’s amazing novel, Illuminatus!, the Discordianism religion is based on the idea that chaos rules the world, and order and disorder are simply illusions. Extremely popular with hackers, Discordianism teaches that according to Eris, the religion’s “diety,” and outlined in the relation’s primary text, Principia Discordia, every human is a “genuine and authorized Pope.” You can even print a handy ID card from their website!
An offshoot of a religious group called Chino-Shoho ("True Law of Chino") based in Shibuya, Tokyo, Pana-Wave was founded in 1997 by Yuko Chino. Pana-Wave’s central teaching is the evils of electromagnetic waves, which the group believes cause catastrophic environmental destruction and climate change. In the mid-1990s, Pana-Wave members began dressing only in white, thus protecting them from harmful scalar electromagnetic waves, which they claimed were being used against them by communists to try to kill their leader. Sadly, the world did not end on May 15, 2003, as Chino predicted, so their current slogan is “Pana-Wave: How the Men in White Postponed the Apocalypse.” Thanks, guys!
7. Temple of the True Inner Light
A Manhattan-based religion, The Temple of the True Inner Light is believes that the psychedelics DPT, marijuana, LSD, peyote, psilocybin mushrooms and DMT are the true Flesh of God. And that’s kind of it.
A French religion founded by former race-car driver Claude Vorilhons, now known as Rael, this church follows the belief that Rael was captured by aliens and taken to the planet Elohim, where he spent time hanging with Jesus, Buddha, Joseph Smith and Confucius. While there, the aliens informed Rael that they created humans in their lab 25,000 years ago and will be visiting Jerusalem again in 2025. We can’t wait!
5. Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth
Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (yes, the spelling is correct), also known as TOPY, was founded in 1985 for the purpose of promoting a system of functional, demystified magick, using pagan and modern techniques to investigate the magical aspects of the human brain, namely to engage in “guiltless sexuality.” Now that’s a belief we can support. Sadly, this church was disbanded in 2008, but no one’s stopping you from starting it up again.
4. Church of All Worlds
Founded in 1962 by Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, The Church of All Worlds is based on the fictional religion of the same name that Robert A. Heinlein created in his famous sci-fi novel, Stranger in a Strange Land. In addition to worshipping various pagan and ancient Greek deities, the Church believes in faeries and recently founded The Grey School of Wizardry, inspired by the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Who wants to join?
3. Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarianism)
Another parody religion, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), whose followers are referred to as Pastafarians, chooses to “believe” that the world was created by a deity known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster. A response to the teaching of Creationism and Intelligent Design in our public schools, the idea behind FSM is that if one religion can be taught in schools, why not all religions, no matter how ridiculous? Pastafarians are generally thought to be the coolest people in the world.
2. The Church of the SubGenius
Just because the Church of the SubGenius is a parody religion, that doesn’t make it any less real. According to SubGenius tenets, the Church was founded in the 1950s by J.R. J. R. "Bob" Dobbs, the "world's greatest salesman.” The primary belief of Subgenii is the pursuit of Slack, which is exactly what it sounds like: freedom, independence and original thinking. Not surprisingly, The Church of the SubGenius is extremely popular with pot-smoking college kids.
Yes, real people living on planet Earth have founded a religion/way of life based on Star Wars. Jediism incorporates the fictional teachings of the Jedi, believing that The Force is a very real power in the universe. Unfortunately, not everyone loves the Jedi: In 2008, two members of the Church of Jediism were attacked outside their home by a drunken man dressed as Darth Vader. Oh yes, and ordained Jediism Ministers can marry people. No joke.
So which of these religions do you find most appealing? Tell us in the comments!