The 5 Craziest Religions in History!
WARNING: This article will be one of the nerdiest ones I have done to date. Plan your reading accordingly. So I live near a giant Scientology center and a couple weeks ago they opened their doors to the public for an art show in their garden. The entire time I was there I couldn’t help but feeling like I was being secretly watched by Tom Cruise and Beck’s parents (google it). And once they asked me if I wanted to answer a few questions I ran out of there faster than John Travolta after being caught in a bathhouse. It made me think though, all religions can seem crazy to anyone unfamiliar with them. So I decided to go for a google and came up with 5 of the craziest religions through out history. Let me know what you think, @danborrelli
This was a common religion in ancient New Zealand/Australia/and some Polynesian areas that continued well into the 1900s. And it’s pretty rad. So basically, they believe certain people and things contain “mana”, a spiritual power essence. And people with high mana can be considered sacred and must not be touched by anyone ever or else the offender could be killed. Sort of like how we regard Lady Gaga.
The best part about Maori however, is their creation myth. So basically Earth was this chick named “Papa” and was the mother of everyone, and sky was this super clingy dude that hung on to Papa no matter what. They were physically inseparable. Until they had some crappy kids who eventually pushed them apart and that’s what created our world. And one son, Tawhiri, was so pissed about this that he created thunderstorms to try and punish everyone who separated his parents. Talk about an Oedipus complex.
The Maori traditions are still held, sort of in a similar way the Native Amurrcan culture still has a presence in Amurrca. Only with less casinos.
4. Aetherius Society
It’s a yoga cult that started in 1955 that actually does believe in Jesus, Buddah, and Krishna. Only it believes they were aliens. They also have claimed that aliens have given them information on events that have yet to happen. Most notably, the Chernobyl event that they were supposedly aware of 4 hours before it occurred. Scumbag aliens, can predict any event on Earth before it happens, tells a bunch of powerless nutbags.
Like many religions this one started with one guy claiming to have been given a command. Only his command wasn’t from a being we meet in the afterlife, it was from an alien. And the command was to ready himself to be Earth’s representative in the interstellar parliament. I guess crazier long-shot campaigns have been run (see: Newt Gingrich). The thing is, I’d like to think that if there is intelligent, organized, future predicting life in the universe; that they have a better system of government than a watered down democracy. Also the church’s numbers were a mere 650 people 20 years ago. So calling them a religion is sort of like calling my articles “literature.”
3. Catal Huyuk
You guys still here? Awesome. This next one is crazy mainly because of their death rituals. And the fact that it’s super old. We’re talking around 4,000 BC people. Cave drawings and rock carvings are where most of this info comes from. Along with stories that were passed down. One thing historians are sure of is that these Cro-Magnons had a completely different view of death. In fact they didn’t fear it at all.
They would often bury their dead a mere couple of feet below their homes, and often the area they slept in. Barring some exceptions, they also refused to do any preparation for the afterlife. No sermons, no Amazing Grace on the bagpipes, just throw ‘em in the ground! They would sometimes bury them with clothes and accessories to sort of, put aside the body for now. They were big believers in rebirth and that everyone was connected.
The biggest thing to take away from this ancient religion was that there were a lot of similar morals to what is now Christianity. Including the first appearance of the idea, “love your neighbor”. Causing some historians to consider Catal Huyuk the first heavily documented religion. There’s only one difference between theirs and our present theologies…
It was matriarchal. HEAVILY matriarchal. These idiots thought that women should be held higher in society than men. Like a bunch of dumb idiots (see: I’m being sarcastic). It’s interesting though. The Mother/daughter relationship was viewed as more important to the society than father/son. And that the mother, like their goddess, was a divine figure. Also, while it hasn’t been proven, I’m pretty sure that men made 65 cents for every dollar a woman made.
2. Ancient Egypt
So this one is pretty much on the list for the stories. While the entire concept is considered insane by today’s standards, the Egyptians practices of pleasing their many gods and the pharaoh himself were of the highest priority at the time. The religion endured so long that it stuck around until the first few hundred years AD, when Christianity came in and kicked the sh*t out of it. Anyway, on to the stories.
So for a while all that existed in the universe was water, fine. Until this dude Atum, who was one of the “forms” the first god, made himself a wife. They had two children together, the god of air and the goddess of moisture. Thus leading to what would eventually become the Earth we know today. There was only one problem, The “wife” that Atum made wasn’t exactly a person. And in the story, was represented by his hand. So basically Atum was a fourteen year old boy who just discovered the internet so hard he made two babies.
This guy was also incredibly powerful. And could remain powerful while he and his children were shaping the world, on one condition. No one could learn his true name, “Re”. How very Snoop Dogg of him. Why is this crazy you ask? It’s clearly just a bunch of stories they told each other. Except that the Egyptians BELIEVED it. Everything. Word for word. They thought this Re guy was actually their first Pharaoh. To be fair they were notorious for having horrible drug problems in ancient Egypt. And all the cat stuff is still weird to me.
1. The religion of Mesopotamia
The original ideas behind the Greek/Roman gods and the fun mythology we all read about in middle school (and in “all” I mean “me” and in “middle school” I mean “college” and in “read” I mean “read instead of talking to girls”). The Mesopotamians had some cool stories as well. And again, their followers did take everything on faith.
The craziest of the crazy beliefs people in Mesopotamia had, was the notion of magical animism. The idea was that by painting an animal on a cave wall, it would appear in the wild, and the hunters would have a larger food supply. I guess this is the same as the idea that 4,000 friends on facebook means you really are popular, but none the less, it’s crazy.
Makes you think about how future societies will think of us. My guess, Star Wars holds up.
What fun stories from history to you love? Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting at me @danborrelli