From a certain perspective (and some would say the logical one), all the religions of the world are a teeny tiny little bit batshit crazy. Whether you’re eating the ‘sacrificed body’ of a half man-god on a Sunday morning, or slowly killing each other for a small patch of dry sand that you think has magical powers reserved especially for people with similar genes to you, you’re probably just about on the other side of sane. But here, in list form finally, are some of the lesser known cray cray doctrines of the world to brighten up a rainy week.
The Prince Philip Movement
Any religious belief that thinks a racist, cantankerous old soldier is a god deserves a prime place on this list. On the Pacific island of Vanuatu, where Philip and Queen Elizabeth visited in 1974, the locals believe that ol’ Phil isn’t just a person of royal lineage, they straight up think that he’s the reincarnated spirit of one of their local myths and worship him accordingly. Prophesy contends that in 2016, Philip will return to Vanuatu causing a great cataclysm of the sort the world has never seen… Maybe him and Liz are lizard people after all?
We have a lot to thank the cultural and youth movements of the 60s for. Great music, a more liberal attitude towards drugs and sex, and of course, strange New Age religions founded by interesting characters who believe, like Raelists, that life on Earth was created by aliens named Elohim. Thankfully, these Elohim appear human, which is handy, and some of them you’d probably know of, like Christ and Buddha! All of this is actually real of course, and not a shameless attempt to piggyback onto other religions to add legitimacy to your own. Although to be honest, despite believing that aliens walk among us, in comparison to other religions they’re propagating some progressive ideas about world peace, sexuality and morality. Sort of like the Movementarians from The Simpsons except real. Or rael.
What is it about slightly touched New Age religions and aliens? It’s almost as if with the collapse of belief in traditional religions after the unconscionable horror of World War Two, people needed some new spiritual schtick to throw their time and cash at. Enter the Aetherius Society. Like Scientology and the Raelists, these lads believe that the founder, Dr George King, was visited by an alien voice who told him to make way for the coming of some kind of interplanetary UN. Members of the religion typically do this by promoting peaceful cooperation between people and aliens through the use of yoga and meditation. Unfortunately for sceptics hoping to catch a glimpse of these aliens, they’re handily explained to be spiritual beings who are vibrating at a higher frequency than humanity rendering them invisible to us. Damn.
The Nuwaubian Nation, an organisation founded and led by Malachi York, was initially started as a black Muslim, Nation of Islam-type group which, probably because of the bad rep Muslims were about to get in America’s oil wars, switched focus to… you guessed it… alien and Ancient Egyptian themes. Probably saw a spec script to 90s blockbuster Stargate and thought, yeah, this could well be the word of God. Sweet.
I’m no Carol Vorderman, but I think I’m spotting a few common themes here – these New Age atomic era religions, they all have supposed charismatic leaders (who I think most people would actually find a bit intense and weird) who telepathically communicate with an alien race, who will either direct the affairs of mankind towards peace, or reward the good by taking them to a paradisal planet conveniently situated in another dimension. Founded by Ivo Benda in the 90s, the Universe People’s teachings are a kind of hodgepodge of UFO belief, superstition, and Christianity. These are actually exactly like The Movementarians, but without the laughs.
Church Of All Worlds
The Church of all Worlds isn’t a plot point from the new Avengers movie, it’s a pan pagan organisation based in America who’s actually admirable cause is to save Gaia, Mother Earth. Started by the brilliantly named, and surprisingly not a character from an RPG videogame, Oberin Zell-Ravenheart, as a sort of postmodern religion whose only belief was that there are no beliefs, it has evolved into a sort of druidic version of Greenpeace with cooler costumes and unicorns. They claimed to have rediscovered how to create unicorns. Excellent.