20 Weirdest Religious Beliefs


The 20 Weirdest Religious Beliefs

Test your knowledge of which strange belief belongs to which religion.


We find it easy to dismiss the fantastical beliefs of people in other times and places, but those that we’ve been exposed to since childhood seem not so far out. Virgin birth? Water turning into wine? A fig tree shriveling on the spot? Dead people getting up out of their graves and walking around?

All of the following beliefs are found in respected religions today. They have been long taught by religions that either are considered part of the American mainstream or are home grown, made in the U.S.A., produced here and exported. Some of these beliefs are ensconced in sacred texts. Others are simply traditional. All, at one time or another, have had the sanction of the highest church authorities, and many still do.

How many of them can you match up with a familiar religious tradition? (The answers are at the bottom.)

1.      The foreskin of [a holy one] may lie safeguarded in reliquaries made of gold and crystal and inlayed with gems--or it may have ascended into the heavens all by itself. (2)

2.      A race of giants once roamed the earth, the result of women and demi-gods interbreeding. (1, 6). They lived at the same time as fire breathing dragons. (1)

3.      Evil spirits can take control of pigs. (1)

4.      A talking donkey scolded a prophet. (1, 3)

5.      A righteous man can control his wife’s access to eternal paradise. (6)

6.      Brown skin is a punishment for disobeying God. (6)

7.      A prophet once traveled between two cities on a miniature flying horse with the face of a woman and the tail of a peacock. (4)

8.      [The Holy One] forbids a cat or dog receiving a blood transfusion and forbids blood meal being used as garden fertilizer. (7)

9.      Sacred underwear protects believers from spiritual contamination and, according to some adherents, from fire and speeding bullets (6)

10.  When certain rites are performed beforehand, bread turns into human flesh after it is chewed and swallowed. (2)

11.  Invisible supernatural beings reveal themselves in mundane objects like oozing paint or cooking food. (2)

12.  In the end times, [the Holy One’s] chosen people will be gathered together in Jackson County, Missouri. (6)

13.  Believers can drink poison or get bit by snakes without being harmed. (1)

14.  Sprinkling water on a newborn, if done correctly, can keep the baby from eons of suffering should he or she die prematurely. (2)

15.  Waving a chicken over your head can take away your sins. (3)

16.  [A holy one] climbed a mountain and could see the whole earth from the mountain peak. (1, 2)

17.  Putting a dirty milk glass and a plate from a roast beef sandwich in the same dishwasher can contaminate your soul. (3)

18.  There will be an afterlife in which exactly 144,000 people get to live eternally in Paradise. (8)

19.  Each human being contains many alien spirits that were trapped in volcanos by hydrogen bombs. (5)

20.  [A supernatural being] cares tremendously what you do with your penis. 1,2,3,4,6,7,8.


Key:  1-Evangelical or “Bible Believing” Christianity, 2-Catholic Christianity, 3-Judaism, 4-Islam, 5-Scientology, 6-Mormonism 7-Christian Science 8-Jehovah’s Witness

Each of these beliefs is remarkable in its own way. But the composite goes beyond remarkable to revealing. What it reveals is an underlying belief that is something like this:

The process that produced this world and human life is best unveiled not by the scientific method but by the musings of iron age herdsmen (1,2,3,4,7,8) or science fiction writers (5), or con artists (6) whose theories are best judged by examining only assertions that cannot be falsified.

Underlying that belief is a sort of rational swiss cheese that is going to keep cognitive scientists investigating and arguing for decades.

We humans are astoundingly susceptible to handed down nonsense. Human children are dependent on their parents for a decade or even two, which is why nature made children credulous. When parents say, eat your peas, they’re good for you, kids may argue about the eat your peas part but they don’t usually question the factual assertion about nutrition. When parents sayNoah put all of the animals into the ark, it is the rare child who asks, Why didn’t the lion eat the guinea pigs?

Even as adults, we simply can’t afford to research everything we hear and read, and so, unless something isn’t working for us, we tend to accept what we are told by trusted authority figures. We go with the flow. Religion exploits this tendency by, among other things, establishing hierarchy and by ensuring that believers are in a certain mindset when they encounter religious ideas. A friend once gave me a button that said, Don’t pray in my school and I won’t think in your church. I didn’t really want to wear a button that said “I’m an arrogant jerk,” but the reality is that even the best of churches aren’t optimized for critical thinking. Quite the opposite. The pacing, the music, the lighting—all are designed for assent and emotion, for a right brain aesthetic experience, for the dominance of what Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman has called System 1 thinking, meaning intuition and gut feel rather than rational, slow, linear analysis.

Some of our ancestors were doing the best they could to understand the world around them but had a very limited set of tools at their disposal. It would appear that others were simply making stuff up. Mormonism and Scientology appear to fall in the latter camp.  But when it comes to religious credulity, the difference matters surprisingly little. For example, Mormonism is more easily debunked than most other religions, both because of its recency and because it makes so many historically or scientifically wild claims, and yet it is also one of the fastest growing religions in the world proportional to its membership. Wild claims matter less than whether a religion has certain viral characteristics.  


Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington and the founder of Wisdom Commons. She is the author of "Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light" and "Deas and Other Imaginings." Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.

This list is quite funny to think about how many people believe these things without any evidence whatsoever and attribute it to blind faith.  I like to think that I have faith, but I also believe that I should keep my eyes wide open.


It can be frustrating when seeing all of these people believe bold faced lies throughout the world when it comes to religion, politics, and everyday life.  I don't understand how all of these sheep could be happy or even believe that they are.


The worst part is that when you try to even hint to the fact that they are not conscious, a brick wall is put up and they no longer have the ability to listen to facts and decide the truth for themselves.  Too many people depend on some greater being to save them and tell them the truth.


When will people realize their own truth?  How will it happen?  Dr. David Hawkins has an interesting theory about the consciousness of humanity.  According to him, there is a scale that can determine how conscious a human being actually is that can go up to 1,000 I think.


However, he believes that when the weighted average of the planet reaches a conscious level of 200, there will be a huge shift.  He also believes that we are hovering somewhere around the 200 level at the current moment. 


However, he also believes that 85% of the world population is below the 200 level.  Given his specific methods though, the 15% that are above that level (with specfic weighting methods) are able to raise the level towards 200.


So, hopefully the 15% will grow exponentially and begin to wake up their counterparts.  Maybe they will finally get the ability to listen, think, and understand for themselves what is taking place.  If you are part of the 15%, I hope you can continue to grow and shed light in this crazy world.


Good luck and be blessed by whoever or whatever you believe to be your Truth!

Noa's picture

Interesting stuff, Nick.  Below is some information I found that referenced Dr. Hawkins material.  I'm not sure if it's the same work you sited or not.

Along those lines, Santos Bonacci talks about how few people are really conscious.  Most of us are stuck in our lower chakras.  He says that functioning below the heart chakra is living unconsciously.  Consuming things like fluoride, artificial sweeteners, mercury, and an acidic diet (to name a few) keep the "oil" from rising up our spines to the pineal gland.  I think it's no accident that so much of our environmental input works directly against our awakening our consciousness.

Dr. Hawkins says, "Check out TLC yoga, it may help with your spiritual practice."



17 Levels of Consciousness

Description of Each Level of Consciousness

I will provide a description of each level, starting with the bottom-most level. As you read this, think about which level resonates the most with you:

1) Shame (1-20): Someone at this level feels humiliated, has low self esteem, is paranoid. Common expressions where one vibrates at this level would be when one feels like he/she has “lost face”, wishes he/she is invisible, feels worthless. Some individuals at shame react by becoming overly rigid and/or neurotic perfectionists. Vibrating in this level for prolonged periods leads to elimination (of self and others), such as suicide, turning into serial killers, rapists, moral extremists who apply self righteous judgment onto others. The person’s view of life at this state is misery.

2) Guilt (30): Feelings of blame and remorse hover here. Used to consciously or subconsciously manipulate conformance to certain forms of thinking and behaviors. Commonly melded by our society with public punishment and finger-pointing culture, by religious institutions with preoccupation of “sin” and “salvation”, acts of ritual killing to “appease” higher entities, etc. This level cultivates destruction. Hawkins cites the life-view as evil, which I disagree and feel condemnation is more adept.

3) Apathy (50): A state of despair and helplessness. Someone here is needy and dependent on others for help, such as the homeless, the poor, the aged population. Because this level feels “heavy” and is seen as a burden to others around, many people usually avoid those who are vibrating at these levels. For example, we see how the poor and unfortunate have come to be shielded away from the mainstream society. We also frequently see situations where the aged is abandoned by their own kin because they are seen as a liability. This level is associated with abdication, which means to give up one’s power to others. The life-view here is hopelessness.

4) Grief (75): Feelings of regret, sadness and loss are abound here. Many people vibrate at this level in times of losses – of loved ones, relationships, possessions, jobs, money, etc. Outcomes would be mourning, remorse, being hung up over what has occurred, etc. Someone at grief sees despondency and bleakness all around the world and in life. The life-view is tragic. Grief is a higher level than apathy, because one starts feeling more energy at this level, albeit of sadness and loss.

5) Fear (100): Energy at this level is oriented in anxiety. Common situations of fear at play would be fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of uncertainty, fear of challenges, fear of aging, fear of death, fear of loss, fear of strangers. This emotion is often played on by marketers and politicians to achieve their agendas. Fear leads to paranoia and can turn into an obsession. At this level, one views everything uncertain as fearful and thus undergoes the state of withdrawal. Thus, fear prevents personal growth from taking place. Someone in the level of fear sees the world as frightening.

6) Desire (125): At the level of desire, the emotion of craving becomes dominant. We have people pursuing money and status as end goals for a better life, lonely singles longing to be in romantic relationships believing it will complete themselves, marketers conditioning ‘wants’ in people’s minds through enticing advertisements and promises of happiness with consumption of goods, fashion industry playing on desires for increased attraction, just to name a few.

Addictions are outputs of desire, such as desire for food, video games, fun, sex, shopping, acquisition of money and power, etc. One becomes looped into enslavement at this level, because desire is never-ending emotion. The life-view is disappointing, which ensues when one cannot obtain what one desires. Desire is a higher level than fear because the desire for something propels people forward to action, rather than withdraw to a corner.

7) Anger (150): The emotion at this level is hate. Anger expresses itself as resentment, frustration and even revenge. Common manifestations of anger in the society are activism toward causes (environmental, animal rights, third-world countries, poverty-stricken areas), equality, social movements.

At the individual level, examples include irritable and volatile behavior, short-temper. The upside of anger is it has resulted in liberation and great movements in the society; the downside is dangerous behavior and intentional harm might ensue from it. The process one undergoes is aggression. The life-view here is antagonistic, where one is hostile, unfriendly and acts in opposition/rebellion against others.

8 ) Pride (175): Hawkins cite scorn as the dominant feeling of pride, which I disagree. I feel dignity is an emotion that is more representative of the level; scorn comes a result of this dignity, though it may be too subtle for people to recognize since it is often masked over. At our current society, pride is a level that is encouraged and seen as positive – for example, pride of being part of a group, institution, company, nation, religion, race.

However, this leads to a duality viewpoints, which acts as an invisible force to separate people. For example, nations exist because people identify themselves more with a geographical location rather than the a common, universal identity. Religions exist because people attach themselves to their beliefs of god and values which serve as a separator. On a personal level, people form pride based on possessions and external conditions, and it is vulnerable because such conditions can be removed at any point in time. Pride results in denial and arrogance. At pride, one undergoes inflation (of ego) rather than being able to see things objectively. The life-view here is demanding.

9) Courage (200): Affirmation is the key emotion here. This is the separation point between Power and Force, where one is starts creating change through the use of constructive states of power rather than destructive force. This is the first waking point where one starts to wake from his/her sleepwalker status. At the lower levels before this, the world is seen as hopeless, tragic, frightening, demanding; People from below 200 sees themselves as victims, at the mercy of life and subjected to forces of the external world.

At courage one sees the world as exciting and filled with possibilities. One undergoes empowerment here. This marks the start of active pursuit of growth – where there exists a gap, the person will act to fill it. For example, learning new job skills, embarking on new education, pursuing personal growth. The life-view is feasible – anything is manageable since the person is able to harness power to deal with situations in life. People in the higher levels >200 recognize that their happiness and life lies within them.

10) Neutrality (250): The emotion at this level is trust and safety. Here, people are non-judgmental, objective and able to see things as they truly are. They are not attached to possessions, situations, outcomes and can roll with the punches in life. If they are not able to get something, they are equally happy settling for something else.

This is NOT the same as apathy – the power of neutrality comes from a positive place, where one recognizes his/her inner power and abilities and does not feel the need to prove anything to anyone; apathy is rooted from being forsaken in self and the world, resulting in nonchalance and jadedness toward the external world. The process is one of release (of everything), and the life-view is satisfactory, where anything goes. These people are easy to get along; however they are difficult to engage toward causes and visions because they are detached toward everything.

11) Willingness (310): Optimism runs high here. At Willingness, the individual is open to do anything and everything – he/she is not bounded by others’ judgments or by limitations. For example, he/she is willing to take on menial jobs if he/she cannot get jobs elsewhere. The marked characteristic between willingness and levels below is the desire to do things well (for the sake of it), rather than just doing things. Someone at Willingness can readily bounce back from set-backs, is easily moldable and genuinely open to everyone. Success follows them easily.

The process one undergoes here is of intention (to do anything). The life-view is hopefulness. At this level you have people who perform extremely well in their careers in corporations, start-ups; however the question then comes as to whether they are investing their energy in the best way.

12) Acceptance (350): In my opinion, this marks the second waking point for an individual and where he/she is fully awake from his/her sleepwalker stance. Here, one finally realizes that he/she is THE creator and source of his/her life, as opposed to having relegated some part of it to someone else or a different entity. He/she is (1) aware of the social constructs present in one’s life, whether by family, society, nation, religion, work (2) able to discern against (limiting) beliefs, viewpoints and conditioning which he/she is surrounded with and (3) able to consciously craft his/her life above and beyond all these social constructs.

Characteristic behavior at this level will be acceptance vs. rejection, seeking for resolutions vs. judging right or wrong, long-term vs. short-term view, engaging on life harmoniously on its terms vs. resisting it, striving for personal excellence and growth. Forgiveness is the dominant emotion. The process one undergoes is transcendence (above what one faces in life). The life-view here is harmonious.

13) Reason (400): The emotion is understanding and rationality. One seeks out huge amounts of information and analyzes them to infinitesimal detail before reaching conclusions. This is where the noble prize winners, leaders of science and medicine and great thinkers of history calibrate. However, Reason falls into the trap of overintellectualization in concepts and theories. Where differing theories clash and each argument is sound on its own, we reach a blockade, leading to the inability to resolve discrepancies. This leads to the process of abstraction or preoccupation with data. The life-view is meaningful.

14) Love (500): This represents unconditional love – love that is pure, unfaltering, unwavering, not subjected to any external conditions. It is not the same love that is commonly portrayed in mass media, which is rooted in lust, desire, pride, control, addiction, attraction, jealousy and possessiveness. While the media often establishes love and hates as opposite poles, hate is actually rooted from pride (desire for control/possessiveness), and not actual love.

Reverence is the main emotion in the level of (unconditional) love. At this level, duality becomes an illusion; the feeling is one of entirety that rises above separation. Unconditional love is inclusive of everyone and expands beyond self. While reason deals with specific data, love deals with entirety, thus giving rise to the capacity for instanteous understanding. This aspect is often linked with intuition. The process one undergoes is revelation. The life-view is benign, there is no separation, fear or negativity. Hawkin claims only 0.4% of the population (1 in every 250 people) ever reaches this level.

15) Joy (540): The dominant emotion is serenity and compassion. This is the inner joy that arises from every moment of existence rather than from an external source. This is the level where saints, advanced spiritual students and healers dwell. At this level, one is characterized by enormous patience and an unwavering positive attitude in the face of harsh adversities. The world is seen as one of perfection and beauty. Individuals are motivated to dedicate themselves to the benefit of life rather than for specific individuals. Here, the process of transfiguration occurs (emanating of radiance from the person). The life-view the individual holds is completeness (of the world). Near death experiences have the effect of temporarily bumping people into this level.

16) Peace (600): The emotion is bliss. At this level, there is no longer any distinction between the observer and the subject. People here become spiritual teachers, great geniuses in their field to effect great contribution for mankind; they typically transcend formal religious structures and replace it with pure spirituality where religions originate from. Perception becomes one of slow motion, suspended in time and space. Everything is perceived as interconnected by an infinite presence. The process one undergoes is illumination; the life-view is perfect. Hawkins claims this level is only attained by 1 out of 10 million people.

17) Enlightenment (700-1000): The emotion is ineffable, in other words – inexpressible. This is the pinnacle of the evolution of consciousness of mankind. The greatest people of history have attained this level, such as Krisna, Buddha, Jesus, Mother Theresa. Here, the body becomes recognized as a tool to project consciousness in. One’s existence becomes all encompassing and transcends time and space. The process is described as pure consciousness. The life-view here is simply ‘Is‘. In achieving our highest potential and embracing our best lives, we should strive for the highest possible level i.e. enlightenment.

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