Whether you’re a committed religious devotee, or you’re more of the Richard Dawkins persuasion, there’s no denying that religion is something that fascinates people the world over. As well as the world’s major religions though, there are thousands of crazy cults out there. Here we take a look at some of the world’s weirdest religions.
No list of weird religions would be complete without Scientology. Created by science fiction writer, L Ron Hubbard in 1952, it is an extension of his earlier self-help concept Dianetics. According to Scientologists, the ‘Galactic Confederacy’ is run by the alien Xemu, who brought millions of people to earth 75 million years ago in spacecraft that looked very like conventional modern jets. Xemu stacked these people around volcanoes and then detonated bombs. Their remains are called thetans, and they stick to the bodies of the living and continue to do so today. Scientologists think of these like the soul.
Scientology claims 3.5 million members in the United States of America, but many people believe 55,000 to be a more realistic figure with worldwide membership at about 200,000. Popular with celebrities, Scientology boasts John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis and Beck as members.
Prince Philip Religion
Prince Philip has been called a lot of things in his life but we don’t think he ever thought he’d be called ‘God’. However, according to the Kastom people of the Yaohnanen village on the island of Tanna in the South Pacific state of Vanuatu, he is.
The tribe believe that many many years ago, the son of a divine spirit travelled the world and married a powerful woman in a faraway land, and in time, will return to them. The people of the tribe believe that Prince Philip is the son referred to in the legends, as he is married to the Queen, a very powerful woman in their eyes. It’s unclear when this belief first came about, but it was probable that it was during the 60s, and strengthened by the Royal couple’s visit to the islands in 1974.
Prince Philip and the islander have exchanged gifts in the past, and he remains their ‘God’ to this day.
Founded by Ben Klassen in 1973 as the Church of the Creator, the Creativity Movement is one of the more darker and notorious religions on our list. A whites only religion that also doubles as a white separatist movement, its reference to a deity is not to a ‘God’ as such, but to themselves as white people. The religion nearly died out following the death of its founder, Klassen, in 1993, but three years later it re-established itself under the leadership of Matthew F Hale as its high priest, known as Pontifex Maximus. He remained leader until his arrest for plotting to murder a federal judge with a fellow Creativity Movement member.
Church of Maradona
Created by the fans of the famous Argentinian football player, ‘Iglesia Maradoniana’ (Maradonian Church) has 80,000 members across more than 60 countries. Just like Christians who count the year from the birth of Jesus, member of the Church of Maradona do so from the birth of Maradona in 1960.
The Church of Maradona even has their own 10 commandments:
1. The ball must not be stained
2. Don’t be a hothead
3. Always live by the teachings of the Church of Maradona
4. Do not mention the name of Maradona in connection with a single club
5. Love football more than anything else
6. Always defend and respect the colours of Argentina
7. Love football unconditionally
8. Take Diego as your second name, and also do the same to your children
9. Pray in the stadiums that he preached
10. Preach the words of Diego Maradona and his church across the world
The perfect religion if you love Diego Maradona and football!
The Church of Euthanasia
The Church of Euthanasia was founded in Boston, Massachusetts by Chris Korda, a cross-gendered vegetarian, software developer and techno musician. Korda’s church has followers across the world, thousands of which being online, or ‘e-members’. Believing that humans are harmful to earth, and that they must be eliminated by voluntary means so that the planet can return to its natural state.
“Save the Planet – Kill Yourself” is the slogan of the Church of Euthanasia. It’s aim is to save the planet by reducing the problem of overpopulation by the promotion of fur different activities abortion, cannibalism, suicide and sodomy. Each of these activities, according to the Church of Euthanasia, help reduce the human population. Never far from notoriety, following the September 11 attacks in 2011, the group posted a four-minute music video called ‘I like to watch’, which was an electronic soundtrack with a montage of images combining the footage of the two jets hitting the Twin Towers with hard-core pornography. The lyrics of the track were somewhat shocking as well, “People dive into the street/ While I play with my meat”. Er, that’s pretty messed up.
Founded by Ryuho Okawa in Japan in 1986, Happy Science was officially recognised as a religion in Japan in March 1991. It was formed after Okawa read a number of books by the authori Takahashi Shinji who was the leader of the GLA (God Light Association). Deeply moved by them, he decided to quit his highflying job in the city and start his own religion.
Okawa claims to be the rebirth of a supreme spiritual being called El Cantare, the true God found in the Old Testament. As well as ‘guardian spirits’, he also claims to channeling Christ, Buddha and Confucius. Although having its roots in Buddhism, it is a very modern religion but is often claimed to be a cult by its critics. Amongst its more outlandish beliefs are believing the USA will sink in 2050 and aliens will come to earth in 2400.
Nuwaubianism is the name that is given to the followers of Dwight York. No, not the former Katie Price squeeze and Manchester United striker but the US born writer and musician. The movement began as a Black Muslim movement in the seventies, and has been through a number of changes since, drawing on Theosophy, Rosicrucianism and the New Age Movement. With York now in prison for child molestation and money laundering, it still has a relatively large number of followers.
The beliefs of the Nuwaubians are somewhat odd:
- Satan’s son was born to Jackie Onassis on 6/6/66 in the presence of the Pope, and now lives in Belgium where it is hooked up to a computer called 3666.
- Afterbirths should be buried to prevent Satan using them to make a doppelgänger.
- Each person has seven exact replicas living in different parts of the world.
- Some aborted foetuses survive and live in the sewers where they are gathering together in an attempt to take over the world.
Did you know there is an underground network of 15,000 vampires in the UK? And did you know they meet up regularly to drink blood? It may sound outlandish, but that is the claim by respected university lecturer, Dr Enyr Williams, of Glyndwr University.
“This is a subculture that exists in every country, especially in the West. They are a group of people who drink blood and drain energy from people, but their well-established laws mean they know who it can and can’t be taken from”, he says.
Stunningly, he says there are 30,000 people who class themselves as donors, those who give their blood to be drunk.
The Aetherius Society
Founded by George King in the fifties, the Aetherius Society is a New Age and Millenarian religion. After he had contact from aliens that he called his ‘cosmic masters’, he founded the society based on Theosophy, Yoga, UFOlogy and ideas sourced from a range of world religions, such as Buddhism and Christianity.
The aim of the Aetherius Society is to improve the relations between humans and their cosmic masters by using spiritual energy and healing to improve the calibre of the Earth. They also believe that there will be a messianic figure returning to the earth via a spaceship that will be more powerful than all the world’s armies.
The Aetherius is a small but growing religion, with members totalling in the thousands, mainly in the United Kingdom, USA and Africa.
The Moonies are perhaps the best known of the religions featured and by far the most popular, with over 1 million members (3 million according to the religion though). Founded in Korea by Sun Myung Moon, much of what they preach is conventional Christianity, but where they differ is that Moon believed himself to be the second coming of Christ. Big in both Korea and the USA, they are known for their mass weddings, where over 1000 couples tie the knot.
Some of their more crazy beliefs:
- 1. When couples have sex, it should be done near a photo of Sun Myung Moon.
- Once sex has finished, the couple should wipe themselves down with a ‘holy handkerchief’ that must not touch any other clothing.
So, next time you’re having to sit through someone’s boring Church of England marriage or Christening ceremony, just think how much more interesting it could be if they were a member of one of these crazy religions!