There are a lot of weird religions out there and even more weird religious rituals. TNGG’s Religion Week wouldn’t be complete without a list of wonderfully ridiculous religious ceremonies and traditions.
Disclaimer: Discussions of these rituals are not meant to offend or make anyone angry. So please, don’t think that we are trying to make fun. It’s all in good spirit.
- Catholicism – Hitting the dead pope with a hammer: I first heard this strange tradition during my time at Catholic school. As a freshman, Pope John Paul II passed away and Catholics were on the hunt. My religion teacher actually told me that the dead pope is hit in the head 3 times with a silver hammer to confirm whether or not he is dead. And I’m not joking. However, I didn’t find a whole lot of information about this ritual other than a mention in Wikipedia and an article on Snopes. Whether or not this is true or actually still performed, it’s odd.
- Mormonism – Temple underwear/garments: Yeah I know, ragging on Mormonism has become pretty popular these days especially with the introduction of a musical poking fun at the religion, thanks to the creators of South Park. However, their religious underwear is definitely freaky. Members are required to wear these undergarments at Temple even though they aren’t seen. The men’s version looks like a t-shirt and long shorts with a space for your junk. The female version looks like baggy diapers. Not cute.
- Church of Satan – Satanic Sins: To be honest, you wouldn’t think that the Church of Satan would have a set of rules or sins, but they do. They range from stupidity to “lack of aesthetics.” My favorite, though, is “herd conformity.” I understand trying to be an individual, but they sound like whiny goth kids. In their attempt to not conform with what is “normal,” they conform in their own group.
- Shamanism – Getting high for your beliefs: In the Shaman religion, people get high to enter the spirit world. There are probably some college frat boys or Californians who think that it’s awesome, but it’s definitely weird. Most people do drugs as an escape from their normal life, but not necessarily to enter a more spiritual state.
- Mormonism – Baptisms for the dead: Yep, another Mormon one. In honor of those who have died and didn’t learn about God, Mormons will take in a massive baptism for them. On the one hand, its an interesting ritual with good intentions. But, why not just let the dead rest in peace? Maybe they didn’t want to learn about God or they were happier without it.
- Judaism – Kapparot: On the eve of Yom Kipuur, some Jews practice in a very strange tradition. Basically, you shake a chicken around you while you pray to transfer your sins onto the chicken. Then, the chicken is killed and fed to the poor. I’m not sure if hacking a chicken around will absolve you of all your sins, but in the end, it’s going to charity. Mazel Tov!
- Christian Science – Refusing contemporary medicine: Although its true that not all Christian Scientists refuse modern day medicine, for the most part, they do. They believe that through prayer, anyone can be healed. I can totally understand being hesitant of medicine, but there are times when it has gotten them in trouble. For example, the Twitchells. Their two and a half year old son died from pertitonitis, which could have been prevented with surgery. That’s taking it a bit too far.
- Jedi Church – The force isn’t fictional, it was just brought to public eye by fictional means: A religion based off a popular book and movie series… It must be fictional, right? Not according to its members! The force is “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.” The bottom line: A religion “brought to light” by a very fictional story? I’ll pass.
- Judaism – Circumcision: Circumcision is a very accepted practice in today’s world, and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. But isn’t there something strange that God wants to seal his covenant with the Jews by having them snip the tip? He could have just asked them to wear a bracelet or style their hair a certain way, but instead it involved genitalia. A bit strange, no?
- Scientology – Everything: Scientology is just downright weird. It was created by L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer in Camden, New Jersey. Each member must go through an auditing with e-meters that test theten levels and state of mind. Also, if you didn’t know already, bad feelings are causing my disembodied alien souls. Even though famous people such as John Travolta and Kristie Alley have taken to the religion, the entire thing is strange.