Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Most Bizarre Religions

1. The Church of Scientology - Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by L. Ron Hubbard (1911–1986), starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics. Hubbard characterized Scientology as a religion, and in 1953 incorporated the Church of Scientology in Camden, New Jersey.

Scientology teaches that people are immortal spiritual beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counseling known as auditing, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects.

The Church of Scientology is one of the most controversial new religious movements to have arisen in the 20th century. It has often been described as a cult that financially defrauds and abuses its members, charging exorbitant fees for its spiritual services. The Church of Scientology has consistently used litigation against such critics, and its aggressiveness in pursuing its foes has been condemned as harassment. Further controversy has focused on Scientology's belief that souls ("thetans") reincarnate and have lived on other planets before living on Earth. Former members say that some of Hubbard's writings on this remote extraterrestrial past, included in confidential Upper Levels, are not revealed to practitioners until they have paid thousands of dollars to the Church of Scientology. Another controversial belief held by Scientologists is that the practice of psychiatry is destructive and abusive and must be abolished.

Beliefs and Practices

Scientology claims that its beliefs and practices are based on rigorous research, and its doctrines are accorded a significance equivalent to that of scientific laws. "Scientology works 100 percent of the time when it is properly applied to a person who sincerely desires to improve his life", the Church of Scientology says. Conversion is held to be of lesser significance than the practical application of Scientologist methods. Adherents are encouraged to validate the value of the methods they apply through their personal experience. Hubbard himself put it this way: "For a Scientologist, the final test of any knowledge he has gained is, 'did the data and the use of it in life actually improve conditions or didn't it?""

Body and Spirit
Scientology beliefs revolve around the thetan, the individualized expression of the cosmic source, or life force, named after the Greek letter theta
(θ). The thetan is the true identity of a person – an intrinsically good, omniscient, non-material core capable of unlimited creativity.

In the primordial past, thetans brought the material universe into being largely for their own pleasure. The universe has no independent reality, but derives its apparent reality from the fact that most thetans agree it exists. Thetans fell from grace when they began to identify with their creation, rather than their original state of spiritual purity. Eventually they lost their memory of their true nature, along with the associated spiritual and creative powers. As a result, thetans came to think of themselves as nothing but embodied beings.

Thetans are reborn time and time again in new bodies through a process called
"assumption" which is analogous to reincarnation.

Emotions and the Mind
Scientology presents two major divisions of the mind. The
reactive mind is thought to absorb all pain and emotional trauma, while the analytical mind is a rational mechanism which is responsible for consciousness. The reactive mind stores mental images which are not readily available to the analytical (conscious) mind; these are referred to as engrams. Engrams are painful and debilitating; as they accumulate, people move further away from their true identity.[86] To avoid this fate is Scientology's basic goal.[86] Dianetic auditing is one way by which the Scientologist may progress toward the Clear state, winning gradual freedom from the reactive mind's engrams, and acquiring certainty of his or her reality as a thetan.

Scientology uses an emotional classification system called the tone scale. The tone scale is a tool used in counseling; Scientologists maintain that knowing a person's place on the scale makes it easier to predict their actions and assists in bettering their condition.

Survival and Ethics

The Scientology cross has eight corners representing the eight dynamics of life.

Scientology emphasizes the importance of survival, which it subdivides into eight classifications that are referred to as
dynamics. An individual's desire to survive is considered to be the first dynamic, while the second dynamic relates to procreation and family. The remaining dynamics encompass wider fields of action, involving groups, mankind, all life, the physical universe, the spirit, and the Supreme Being. The optimum solution to any problem is held to be the one that brings the greatest benefit to the greatest number of dynamics.

Scientology teaches that spiritual progress requires and enables the attainment of high ethical standards. In Scientology, rationality is stressed over morality. Actions are considered ethical if they promote survival across all eight dynamics, thus benefiting the greatest number of people or things possible while harming the fewest.


Space Opera and Confidential Materials
The Church of Scientology holds that at the higher levels of initiation
(OT levels) mystical teachings are imparted that may be harmful to unprepared readers. These teachings are kept secret from members who have not reached these levels. The Church states that the secrecy is warranted to keep its materials' use in context, and to protect its members from being exposed to materials they are not yet prepared for.

These are the
OT levels, the levels above Clear, whose contents are guarded within Scientology. The OT level teachings include accounts of various cosmic catastrophes that befell the thetans. Hubbard described these early events collectively as space opera.

In the OT levels, Hubbard explains how to reverse the effects of past-life trauma patterns that supposedly extend millions of years into the past. Among these advanced teachings is the story of
Xenu (sometimes Xemu), introduced as the tyrant ruler of the "Galactic Confederacy." According to this story, 75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs in the volcanoes. The thetans then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today. Scientologists at advanced levels place considerable emphasis on isolating body thetans and neutralizing their ill effects.
[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology#The_Church_of_Scientology]


2. The Church of All Worlds - The Church of All Worlds (CAW) is a neopagan religious group whose stated mission is to evolve a network of information, mythology, and experience that provides a context and stimulus for reawakening Gaia and reuniting her children through tribal community dedicated to responsible stewardship and evolving consciousness.

The key founder of CAW is Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, who serves the Church as "Primate", later along with his wife, Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, designated High Priestess. CAW began in 1961 with a group of high school friends. One of these was Richard Lance Christie from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Christie was fascinated by the "self-actualization" concepts of Abraham Maslow, a renowned American psychologist, and after meeting then-Timothy Zell at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, he began experiments in extrasensory perception. CAW was formed in 1962, evolving from a group of friends and lovers who were in part inspired by a fictional religion of the same name in the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein; the church's mythology includes science fiction to this day. The headquarters are presently in Cotati, California.

CAW's members, called Waterkin, espouse pantheism, but the Church is not a belief-based religion. Members experience Divinity and honor these experiences while also respecting the views of others. They recognize "Gaea," the Earth Mother Goddess and the Father God, as well as the realm of Faeries and the deities of many other pantheons. Many of their ritual celebrations are centered on the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece.
[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_All_Worlds]

Supposedly Zell-Ravenheart has also begun a "Grey School of Wizardry" to teach the art of wizardry to non wizard children. This school is said to have been inspired by the "Hogwarts School" from the Harry Potter series.


3. Nuwaubianism - Nuwaubianism is an umbrella term used to refer to the doctrines and teachings of the followers of Dwight York. The Nuwaubians themselves typically do not use the term. It is not to be found in the works of their teacher Dwight D. York. Instead, they have referred to their teachings by such terms as “Nuwaubu,” “Nuwaupu,” “Wu-Nuwaubu,” “Right Knowledge,” “Sound Right Reasoning,” “Overstanding,” “Factology,” and many other names through the years. The Nuwaubians originated as a Black Muslim group in New York in the 1970s, and have gone through many changes since. Eventually, the group established a headquarters in Putnam County, Georgia in 1993, which they have since abandoned. York is now in prison after having been convicted on money laundering and child molestation charges, but Nuwaubianism endures.

York developed Nuwaubianism by drawing on a wide range of sources which include Theosophy-derived New Age movements such as Astara as well as the Rosicrucians, Freemasonry, the Shriners, the Moorish Science Temple of America, the revisionist Christianity and Islam of the Ahmadiyya Movement founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the numerology of Rashad Khalifa, the ancient astronaut theories of Zecharia Sitchin, Robert Temple’s The Sirius Mystery, J.J. Hurtak’s The Keys of Enoch, the works of Richard Shaver (a proponent of the Hollow Earth theory), David Icke, the UFO mythology of greys and reptilians, the political and legal theories of patriot mythology, modern scientific and pseudoscientific legends like those of Area 51, the Philadelphia Experiment, Project Blue Book, Montauk Project, and MJ-12, popular conspiracy theories such as those about the Illuminati or the Bilderberg Group, and even a paperback on fortune-telling.
“The spell of Leviathan”

Much of the purpose of Nuwaubian doctrine and practice is to counteract what is called “the spell of Leviathan” or “the spell of Kingu.” In Nuwaubian mythology, Leviathan is a god associated with the moon, sex, and spirit — also known as Lucifer, Sin, Set, Thoth, Siva, Hermes, Jehovah, Poseidon, and the biblical serpent.

Nuwaubians believe that the Spell of Leviathan was cast by the devil thousands of years ago to hypnotize Black people into “spiritual ignorance and racial indifference” through such media as the Bible and certain elements of popular culture.

Leviathan has many aliases and hides in many guises, as this example shows:
Sam is short for one of his titles, SamaEl meaning “poison those of EL.” He knows his name. He calls himself Uncle Sam or Dr. Seuss (Zeus) with his famous statement, “Sam I Am, I Am Sam.” This is what they teach the children; not ours however, for they will get right knowledge.
“Right Racism”

Some of Nuwaubian racial doctrine borrows from Moorish Science and the Nation of Islam. York’s racial philosophy explicitly indicates that certain blacks – “Nubians” or “Melanites” – are of a superior race.

Periodically Nuwaubians will claim not to adhere to a racist doctrine, for instance quoting York’s statement: “We accept as fact that no one race of people is better than the other. In fact no one wins the race in racism.”

However, other statements from York and his followers indicate that his philosophy does rank moral worthiness based on race. For instance, in one lecture York said: “White people are the devil. They say the Nuwaubians are not racist – bullcrap! I am. He might not be; that’s his prerogative. I am. White people are devils — always was, always will be.”

White people (sometimes also referred to as “Amorites,” “Hyksos,” “Heka Khasut,” “Canaanites,” “Tamahu,” or “Mankind”) are said in one Nuwaubian myth to have been originally created as a race of killers to serve blacks as a slave army, but this plan went awry:
The Caucasian has not been chosen to lead the world. They lack true emotions in their creation. We never intended them to be peaceful. They were bred to be killers, with low reproduction levels and a short life span. What you call Negroid was to live 1,000 years each and the other humans 120 years. But the warrior seed of Caucasians only 60 years. They were only created to fight other invading races, to protect the God race Negroids. But they went insane, lost control when they were left unattended. They were never to taste blood. They did, and their true nature came out.… Because their reproduction levels were cut short, their sexual organs were made the smallest so that the female of their race will want to breed with Negroids to breed themselves out of existence after 6,000 years. It took 600 years to breed them, part man and part beast.
Other Teachings

Human Origins
  1. It is important to bury the afterbirth so that Satan does not make a clone of the newborn baby.
  2. Aborted fetuses survive and live in sewers where they are forming an army to take over the world.
  3. Each of us has seven clones living in different parts of the world.
Animal Origins
  1. The pig was created by Imhotep and Zoser during the time of Abraham, by grafting cells from the dog, cat and rat together, and was designed to help dispose of leprous corpses.
Anti-Nubian conspiracies
  1. "Haven’t you ever wondered why for the simplest blood tests your doctor needs 4 tubes of blood? Where is all this blood going? The albino man’s ‘blood bank’ is just a sophisticated way of getting all the blood he needs! It is still a form of vampirism."
  2. Alcoholic beverages are made cheaply available to Nubians by the powers that be in order to preserve their blood and organs better "(just like they preserve organs in jars in laboratories)" for later extraction.
  3. Disco was created by the devil to win the souls of the Nubians: "The evil one knows that he can control the music world as long as his agents are within the A & R (Artists and Repertoire, who are responsible for choosing who makes it in the music world) of the well known companies. He cannot evaluate Latin or Black music because he (the evil one) has no soul. He only duplicates it… He had to come up with something to win our souls through his means, and he did it with disco."
  4. There is an underground road connecting New York and London. Furthermore, Alternative 3 is a fact, and Mars is being prepared for the evacuation of Earth’s intellectual and political elite.
  5. "People like the Pope, and Queen of England and various political leaders of various countries and some members of the clergy gather at the major Sabbats to invoke the malevolent one. On each of these occasions a Nubian man is sacrificed."
  6. The Illuminati have nurtured a child, Satan's son, who was born on 6 June 1966 at the Dakota House on 72nd Street in New York to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis of the Rothschild/Kennedy families. The Pope was present at the birth and performed necromantic ceremonies. The child was raised by former U.S. president Richard Nixon and now lives in Belgium, where it is hooked up bodily to a computer called "The Beast 3M" or "3666."
[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuwaubianism]



4. Iglesia Maradoniana (Maradonian Church) - was created by fans of the retired Argentine football player Diego Maradona, who they believe to be the best player of all time. It was founded on October 30, 1998 (Maradona's 38th birthday) in the city of Rosario, Argentina but it wasn't until 2001 that they had their first gathering.

It could be seen as a type of syncretism. It's clear that the passion between the different members is what glues them together. As Alejandro Verón, one of the founders tells us "I have a rational religion and that’s the Roman Catholic church, and I have a religion passed on my heart, passion, and that’s Diego Maradona."

Ten Commandments
  1. The ball must not be stained, as D10S has proclaimed;
  2. Love football over all things;
  3. Declare your unconditional love of football;
  4. Defend the colours of Argentina;
  5. Preach the words of "Diego Maradona" all over the world;
  6. Pray in the temples where he preached, and to his sacred mantles;
  7. Do not proclaim the name of Diego in the name of a single club;
  8. Follow the teachings of the Maradonian Church;
  9. Let Diego be your second name, and that of your children;
  10. No ser cabeza de termo y que no se te escape la tortuga. (Don't be a hothead and don't let the turtle escape you.)
Supporters of the Maradonian Church, supposedly from all parts of the world, count the years since Maradona's birth in 1960. It is popular among the followers of this religion, and also among other football fans, to use the neo-Tetragrammaton "D10S" as one of the names of Maradona. D10S is a portmanteau word which fuses Maradona's name (Diego), shirt number (10) and Dios, the Spanish word for God.
[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Maradona]


5. The Church of Euthanasia - The Church of Euthanasia (CoE), is a political organization started by the Reverend Chris Korda in the Boston, Massachusetts area of the United States.

According to the church's website, it is "a non-profit educational foundation devoted to restoring balance between Humans and the remaining species on Earth." According to the church's website, the one commandment is "Thou shalt not procreate". The CoE further asserts four principal pillars:
  1. Suicide
  2. Abortion
  3. Cannibalism ("strictly limited to consumption of the already dead")
  4. Sodomy ("any sexual act not intended for procreation")
Slogans employed by the group include "Save the Planet, Kill Yourself", "Six Billion Humans Can't Be Wrong", and "Eat a Queer Fetus for Jesus", all of which are intended to mix inflammatory issues to unnerve those who oppose abortion and homosexuality.
[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Euthanasia]


6. Jediism - Jediism is a post-modern religious movement based upon the philosophical and spiritual ideas of the Jedi as depicted in Star Wars media.

The Jedi interpret and use the philosophic teachings found in the "Star Wars" stories/films, and other inspirational sources. Not all people who practice Jediism consider it a religious movement; some see it merely as a way of life. In addition to following the examples set in "Star Wars", Jedi practitioners also incorporate such codes as the Code of the Samurai and the Knight's code of Chivalry.
[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedi_Religion]


7. The Church of Ed Wood - First thing that you see when you enter their web site is a pop up that says: “To answer your first question – yes, we’re totally serious.” This religion is registered and official. Woodists at their gatherings always dress up as opposite genre and indulge their desires, because Ed Wood loved transvestites and engaged them in his movies.
[Source: http://www.weirdworm.com/]


What you are about to enter is The Church of Ed Wood.

We are an internet church that practices Woodism. Woodism is a pop-culture-based religion created in 1996 by Reverend Steve Galindo. We follow the late cult director Edward D. Wood Jr., and we look to him as a savior. We at The Church of Ed Wood use Ed and his films to inject spirituality into those who get little fulfillment from more mainstream religions like Christianity. By looking at his films and his life, we learn to lead happy, positive lives. We strive for acceptance of others and of the self.
[Source: http://www.edwood.org/]


8. Apatheism - Apatheism (a portmanteau of apathy and theism/atheism), also known as pragmatic atheism or (critically) as practical atheism, is acting with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief, or lack of belief in a deity. Apatheism describes the manner of acting towards a belief or lack of a belief in a deity; so applies to both theism and atheism. An apatheist is also someone who is not interested in accepting or denying any claims that gods exist or do not exist. In other words, an apatheist is someone who considers the question of the existence of gods as neither meaningful nor relevant to his or her life.

Apathetic agnosticism (also called pragmatic agnosticism) is the view that thousands of years of debate have neither proven, nor dis-proven, the existence of one or more deities (gods). This view concludes that even if one or more deities exist, they do not appear to be concerned about the fate of humans. Therefore, their existence has little impact on personal human affairs and should be of little theological interest.

Arguments of Brands of Apatheism

Absence of Religious Motivation
Morals are present in human society and do not rely on religion to be a part of the human experience. The existence or nonexistence of a god has no effect on the actions of humans and may actually cause more human suffering than benefit. Apatheists recognize that religion may provide a "comfort" for many people around the world, but apatheists do not need religion to be content with the morality of their lives and therefore live without it, thus "
moral apatheism".

Indifference

Also known as the
"I'll eat another cookie" philosophy, an indifferent apatheist would say, "Since the existence of God can never be proven, nor can it be disproven, I won't waste my time asking questions to which there are no answers, and just eat another cookie."
Better known as "Indifferentism" in that
"Indifferentism is the belief that there is no evidence that one religion or philosophy is superior to another."

"Not In My Power"
Many religions first became popular because of
"miracles" or "acts of god". In the Bible, Jesus and his Apostles were seemingly granted powers from God in order to convince followers of his existence. They healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, fed multitudes with a few loaves of bread, walked on water and rose from the dead. Without these acts of God, it is doubtful that anyone would have believed in Christianity. Although it has not been proven if those feats really occurred, if God wanted people to believe in him, he could show off his existence and explain to humans what he wants us to do. Being all powerful, if he truly wanted humans to believe, he could send a divine sign. Since he does not seem to care if humans believe or not, apatheists will not care until he shows them a reason to.

"Agnostic Neutralist"
Individuals who identify as agnostic neutralists may argue that they prefer to be
"nonparticipant" in prioritizing theistic or atheistic beliefs and claims. The Agnostic neutralist may argue that it is distinguished from apatheism in that the agnostic neutralist is not necessarily "apathetic" regarding the existence of god, or lacking religious motivation, but instead open to the idea of any or all possibilities, claiming that the existence of god is equally as likely as no god existing on the basis that neither has definitive evidence.

The agnostic neutralist may also argue that agnostic theism is the positive belief in god, while agnostic atheism is the negative or negation-of belief in god, and that since one can effectively have a
"neutral" stance to belief itself, they must then be considered neither theist or atheist leaning, but rather neutral as they hold both "sides" equal in their potential to be true.
[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apatheism]


9. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism - The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the deity of the parody religion. Created in 2005 by Oregon State physics graduate Bobby Henderson, it was originally intended as a satirical protest against the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to permit the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public schools. In an open letter sent to the Kansas State Board of Education, Henderson parodied the concept of intelligent design by professing belief in a supernatural creator that closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs. Henderson further called for his "Pastafarian" (a play on Rastafarian) theory of creation to be allotted equal time in science classrooms alongside intelligent design and evolution. He explained that since the intelligent design movement uses ambiguous references to an unspecified "Intelligent Designer", any conceivable entity may fulfill that role, even a Flying Spaghetti Monster. After Henderson published the letter on his website, it rapidly became an Internet phenomenon and a symbol for the case against teaching intelligent design in public schools as well as religion in general.
"I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence". — Bobby Henderson
Pastafarian beliefs —generally satires of creationism—are presented both on Henderson's website, where he is described as a "prophet", and in The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, published by Villiard Press in 2006. The central belief is that an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. Pirates are revered as the original Pastafarians, and Pastafarians facetiously assert that a steady decline in the number of pirates over the years has resulted in a significant rise in global temperature. Pastafarians celebrate every Friday as a holy day. Other Pastafarian holidays include Ramendan, Pastover, International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and a vaguely defined holiday near Christmas named "Holiday".

The central belief is that an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe "after drinking heavily". According to these beliefs, the Monster's intoxication was the cause for a flawed Earth. Furthermore, according to Pastafarianism, all evidence for evolution was planted by the Flying Spaghetti Monster in an effort to test Pastafarians' faith—parodying certain biblical literalists. When scientific measurements such as radiocarbon dating are taken, the Flying Spaghetti Monster "is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage". The Pastafarian belief of Heaven contains a beer volcano and a stripper factory. The Pastafarian Hell is similar, except that the beer is stale and the strippers have sexually transmitted diseases.

The Loose Canon

In September 2005, before Henderson had received a grant to write the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a Pastafarian member of the Venganza forums known as Solipsy announced the beginning of a project to collect texts from fellow Pastafarians to compile into the Loose Canon, a Holy Book of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, essentially analogous to the Bible. The book was completed in 2010 and published for free download.

Some excerpts from the Loose Canon include:
“I am the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Thou shalt have no other monsters before Me. (Afterwards is OK; just use protection.) The only Monster who deserves capitalization is Me! Other monsters are false monsters, undeserving of capitalization.”

- Suggestions 1:1

“Since you have done a half-ass job, you will receive half an ass!" The Great Pirate Solomon grabbed his ceremonial scimitar and struck his remaining donkey, cleaving it in two.”

- Slackers 1:51–52
[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastafarians]

[Credit (first 5 religions): http://www.associatedcontent.com]
[Credit (remaining religions): http://www.weirdworm.com]

And here is the rest of it.

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