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The imagination knows no limits. People will search for meaning in very odd places (not to say mainstream religions aren’t odd in their own ways).

Now I’m not expressing any real value judgment as to the merits of these “religions” (I guess the quotes aren’t a good start). I’m simply highlighting some of the more unusual (often hilarious) belief systems out there… but again… I make no judgment.

1. Jediism – The Jedi Religion

Little did George Lucas realize what he was starting. With his Star Wars movies, he set in motion a religious movement that has inspired generations of fake-light-saber waving, nylon-cloak-wearing warrior-nerds.

Adherents, or “real world” Jedis believe the Force actually exists.

According to the Star Wars mythology, the Force is the energy that holds the Universe together and flows through every material thing (obviously borrowing some concepts from Eastern religions).

Jedis are monks/knights capable of controlling and using the Force, and bound by a code of morality and justice.

So you can see the appeal to every mathlete hoping to use a light saber to bore a hole in to the forehead of an evil bully.

Jediism has been referred to as a blend of Taoism and Buddhism that also incorporates elements of medieval chivalry. While there’s no formal central doctrine, all this is loosely referred to as the “Jedi Code”.

Though I haven’t confirmed it, there’s a rumor that the Jedi elders force anyone wanting to join to sit in a dark room and watch the original trilogy 16 times in a row (the first trilogy ONLY, as the newer films are widely considered an abomination).

2. The Church of Ed Wood

Ed Wood is famously known in Hollywood as one of the worst (if not the worst) directors of all time (hear that Paul Verhoeven? You and your classic Showgirls are off the hook.)

Since his death he’s gained quite the cult status, and his off-camera exploits were brought to life by Johnny Depp in the 1994 film Ed Wood (directed by Tim Burton).

Ed Wood’s most celebrated picture is Plan 9 from Outer Space, which was in fact the last film of Bela Lugosi (a bit of a trainwreck himself).

So the Church of Ed Wood (or “Woodism”) labels itself a pop-culture religion that hopes to bring spirituality to those people who don’t find it in more mainstream religions. A “punk-libertarian religion” if you will. They look upon Ed Wood as a savior (but as the church notes, not the savior.)

Tenets include upholding the morals and ideals of Edward D. Wood and preaching Ed’s message of total understanding and acceptance, regardless of what modern society may say.

Wood was also a transvestite in 1950s America… probably not a fun time to have a sexual identity crisis.

The church claims there are over 3000 legal “Woodites” worldwide.

3. Aetherius Society

What do you do if you’re stuck as a cab driver, but also have a passion for Yoga? The answer is obvious… you start your own religion.

On an uneventful day in 1954, George King was sitting alone in his London apartment when suddenly, out of the blue, Alf (well not really Alf… but “Aetherius”) shouted:

“Prepare yourself! You are to become the voice of Interplanetary Parliament.”

So he did just that.

King started the Aetherius Society which hopes to combine alien wisdom of the “Cosmic Masters” and Yoga into something useful that will bring balance to humanity.

They believe Jesus, Buddha and Krishna are in fact aliens (yes… plausible), and one of their claims to fame is that the aliens alerted them to the imminent Chernobyl disaster a good 4 hours before it melted down. Well… I’m convinced. Why lie?

They claim about 650 adherents.

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Religion

 

About The Author

Alex Andrei

Follow on Twitter @AlexAndrei. Alex Andrei is founder of SpiritualMind. He lives in NYC where his daily encounters with colorful and aromatic characters have prompted his interest in exploring the meaning of life. Along with writing, he enjoys long walks on the beach and has a keen sense of smell (which, as you may have guessed, he developed in NY).

  • Reginald

    These Ed Wood-ites are kidding, right? I’m all for acceptance, but couldn’t they find a better messiah than Ed Wood?

    • http://www.twitter.com/alexandrei Alex Andrei

      You could try praying to another horrible director like M. Night Shamalama…

  • http://travelerahoy.wordpress.com Alouise

    I’ve heard of the first two. The Church of Ed Wood movement is kind of interesting to me. And like many religious works no one can come to a general consensus on what Ed Wood’s body of work means. Like Plan 9, does anyone really understand what it’s about? I’ve seen it several times and I’m still confused at the end)

    A common thing for many new religions is either; pop culture, divine experience with alien or a religious figure (you’re right no one does get some spiritual message from Ned). I quite like the Big Dealism movement. If people doubt your religion just tell them ’60% of the time it works every time.’

  • Bill H

    Let’s not forget about the First United Church of the Fonz. The Fonz be with you. (And also with you)

    • http://www.twitter.com/alexandrei Alex Andrei

      I bet someone is turning that into a real thing.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alexandrei Alex Andrei

    Big Dealism is going to get its own facebook page, and you can be among the first to join. LOL

  • Mal

    Discordianism is pretty weird, but there’s no doomsday stuff to make it interesting for a list like this.

    hail eris, ect.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alexandrei Alex Andrei

      Also, I was trying to avoid possible parody religions which Discordionism seems to be acussed of.

      • Mal

        I wouldn’t consider it a parody, not nearly as much as the Subgenious stuff. I consider myself Discordian, but depending on who I’m with, I’ll say I’m agnostic, which is also true. It’s a religion without being a religion(which is nothing more than a philosophy).

        So I guess it still doesn’t fit on your list, but it does have some great catchy humour! The Principia Discordia is a great read, even just for the laughs.

        • http://www.twitter.com/alexandrei Alex Andrei

          Cool, I’ll check it out in more detail. Sounds very interesting.

  • http://www.takenbythewind.com Reannon

    Pana Wave has got to be the weirdest one on that list…I wish I had known about it when I lived in Japan, I would have gone to check it out. Ha.

    But I guess when you think about, Christianity (and Hinduism and Islam, too, for that matter) are just as odd but they’ve just been around longer so they’re more easily accepted. I bet if Christianity never existed and someone today stepped forward and said: “Okay guys, here’s the deal. God’s spoken to me and told me that I’m his son and yeah, my mother is a virgin…And I have all sorts of super-powers, like I can walk on water and heal the sick and stuff” we’d all think he was nuts, too.

    I’m wiling to bet one of those religions on that lists is still around in a few hundred years. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll all be Pan Wavers and then have arguments about whether or not it’s okay for the public schools to teach our children about Chino and the benefits of wearing white. : )

    Just sayin’…

    • http://www.twitter.com/alexandrei Alex Andrei

      It’s true. Who know whats going to stick in a few hundred years. People will be fighting wars over differing interpretations of Ed Wood’s Plan 9 (blessings be upon him – LOL)

  • http://unfetterednomad.blogspot.com Rebekah

    I completely agree with Reannon. Although these religions are odd, the more I look into the religion I was raised on (non-denominational Christianity), the more I realize the majority of religions are absurd. So many of them claim to preach peace, but the majority of them don’t truly practice it.

  • http://twitter.com/miguel_k miguel k

    I was hoping to see the curch of Maradona http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iglesia_Maradoniana

    It’s also pretty out there

    P.S: This remind me of the Festivus for the rest of us…

    • http://www.spiritualmind.com Alex Andrei

      Yep, saw those. But I was going for religions that were actually fairly serious about their beliefs. The are probably 50 parody religions that are pretty hilarious.

  • http://dreamyhalfcockedgreenhorn.blogspot.com/ Andreas

    Well actually jediism is based on the Templar Knights.

  • http://awakeanddreaming.org/ Roshan

    The 4 weirdest are:
    1. Hindusim
    2. Islam
    3. Christianity
    4. Judaism

    • http://twitter.com/alexandrei Alex Andrei

      LOL – why in that order?

  • Fay

    Spiritism, growing in Brazil, where people believe in reincarnation and talking to the spirits of dead people. Utterly crazy.

    • http://twitter.com/alexandrei Alex Andrei

      There’s a strong tradition of that in upstate NY, where it grew in the late 19th century. It’s a good one that could make it one the list.

  • o4hara

    Cool…I loved the article though….’Big Dealism’ now that’s where you lose me :D And 100+ on your ‘like’…Well this world is some place to live, huh :D

  • Schrubbins

    I think you forgot to mention the Frisbeeterians…
    They believe that when you die your soul just gets stuck on the roof like a Frisbee…until someone knocks it down with a long pole and your new life begins…

  • Maya

    I think you’re forgetting the Pastafarians.

    • Brandon Roberts

      yeah but that was the atheists mocking christians because they didn’t get their way yeah they are that childish

  • Robert Hollander

    Are people still praying to Joe Pesci?
    (as suggested by George Carlin)

  • Aarg

    Pastafarianism.

    How could you possibly leave out Pastafarianism?

    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”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster

  • foozlesprite

    Meditation?Mediation

  • http://ninth-nebula.com Rob G

    Please join my comic book worshipping religion and buy from me. We worship comics that were originally printed at a sacred printing plant once known as Sparta. (1960′s to mid 1990′s). I even have a stain glass window (for real).

  • Amanda R

    I grew up in the Swedenborgian religion. Its not exactly ridiculously bizarre like some of the ones above but everyone who hears about it says its the weirdest religion they’ve ever heard of.

  • Bk

    Christians believe that God impregnated a virgin with himself so that he could sacrifice himself to himself in order to convince himself to change laws that he himself made to begin with. Do you not realize how strange that sounds to people that didn’t grow up being brainwashed into it? Are you making fun of the little guys to forget how weird you are?

  • http://rloneeagle@earthlink.net Ramon Alviso Mendoza

    if science considers Gravity to be the glue that binds the electrical universe as one, and if Gravity is 95% of the energy and Matter (Electrical Plasma) only 5% of all the energy that it… then the “Force” is gravity.

    Regarding real weird, stay with those whose acts are genuine and loving and stay away from those who only talk about Love, Temperance and Compassion.

  • Jerbil

    Where’s the 24-hour Church of Elvis?

    http://www.24hourchurchofelvis.com/

  • Clover

    Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster is a little more political but still a goofy religion

  • Kurt

    When you look into it, the Jehovah’s Witness religion is a bit odd. Their early teaching was that Jesus showed up invisibly in 1874 and was going to come back in 1914 and destroy all the governments and churches. He was a no show and they lost a lot of people, but they soldiered on and published that Jesus would show up in 1925 and this time we are really certain of it. Jesus did not get the memo, and also stood them up again in 1941 and 1975 when they expected the current system to end. Now the story is he came back in 1914, only you see he was invisible and he is ruling things now, only he is allowing more time for people to go knocking on doors so more people can join the salvation club. Current beliefs are that their leaders are the only people on Earth able to channel “Jehovah”, that they also channel teachings from some of their 144,000 special anointed people who have died and gone to heaven, that it is okay to let your child die instead of getting a life saving blood transfusion, and letting your child get a decent college education is a bad idea because they can use that time to knock on doors and get more people to join in the fun. However, anything they currently believe can be suddenly reversed by a notice in their publications and they will all instantly believe the new teaching. They call this “new light”.

    • Blooms Lillies

       Kurt, i appreciate your sentiments ….. but you got it all wrong.  These are not the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, because i have been one for 30 years…. and i am shocked by what you have written.

      Please get in touch with a Jehovah’s Witness near your home area who will explain to you all you need to know.

      I have a university degree, i am a professional in my area of work, i own a business, hold a very good job that allows me to travel, i earn good money, live a good life….have access to the top doctors and hospitals in the country whee i live….but what fulfills me most is knocking peoples doors……and telling them that Jehovah God has a plan for us  and he is not responsible for the suffering that we have on earth and the atrocities  and evil things that have happened…man has ruled man to his injury..we have destroyed the earth…..not God.

      Kurt, many peolpe go through a very hard life everyday and ask themselves many questions like…why does God permit suffering? Please get in touch with a Jehovah’s Witness near your home area who will explain to you all you need to know.

      • Sparkyva

        Blooms dear, I was a JW for over 20 years, and Kurt has got it all right. If you have a university degree, then you either got it before becoming a member or you just basically went against the governing body. They frown upon higher education and specifically free thought. There have been many Watchtower articles to back up these claims.

    • Atreyu

      Yeah, those guys are pretty crazy, but then again… what religion isn’t?

  • http://MaxTheITpro.com Max – The IT Pro

    This was a really good article (opinion) at Serendipity.il.
    However, the author at the site claims that this page is blacklisted by Wikipedia (probably some peeps there don’t like what the author wrote?)

    So, if and when the site is back online, PLEASE read the article. Excellent arguments by the author.

    * “Why I’m Not a Christian, Jew, Muslim or Buddhist…with concluding remarks on Religion”
    source: http://www.serendipity.li/eden/why_i_am_not.htm

  • Jane

    Uhh….whatever floats your boat, I guess.   lol

  • Jesus reincarnate

    Jesus…..back

    and to prove I’m the real deal I explain (in all languages as promised) how I performed 2 miracles feeding the 5000 and the miraculous catch in my key video “the announcement”. More will be revealed in due course over the next few months as the world wakes up slowly to the reality I am back. Of course some will say I am an imposter but the reality is no one will wonder how the miracles were performed anymore as my truth will be embedded in the minds of man and everyone will know it’s the truth even if they deny me intheir hearts. Spread the video (facebook-Jayzus Christo, twitter-@themessiahme, email etc) if you want to speed up the coming of a world free of oppression, violence, paedophilia etc it’s going to happen but you can help speed it up.  to doubt is normal but condemn me at your peril your name shall be noted. Those who muster faith and pass on the video shall be rewarded (perhaps despised by many but cherished by me).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p9lwanuhOM

    Love Jesus

    PS. there is no contradiction between God and science as I explain briefly and succinctly
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sV_K-Lsjw8

  • http://smashingtops.com/weird/top-10-weird-religions-in-the-world/ Michael

    I guess people invent religions because of their need to believe in something. They are weak so they need someone that is said to protect them. As sometimes certain religions do not suit someone’s needs, they start creating other religions. And this is how weird religions come up. 

  • ZacharyMartinez

    I follow the religion of Maratreanism – http://sites.google.com/site/maratreans/ – some people think it is weird, but the truth is, reality is weird.

  • Trygve Andre’ Michelsen

    Dette høres ut som en fin retning for meg.

    • Eva-Elisabeth Michelsen

      Hvem av dem???

  • Georgina Liangbi Su

    In my mind, the theory of organic of species is the only one can explain the origin of human.

  • Chris Dunn

    Jedi as a religion was a result in the UK that if more than a certain amount of people put down the same religion on a 10 year Census Form it would have to be recognised. So word got round and people did so in the thousands as an act of defiance of being told what to do :)

  • Clau

    There is a church of Maradona in Argentina. But things like that happen in Argentina aaaaaall the time.

  • Ghastaroo

    Flying Spaghetti Monster; Pastafarians

  • Brandon Roberts

    the scientology religon is way weirder than this trust me look it up for a laugh

  • Brandon Roberts

    i actually have no problems with jehovahs witnesses

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