Faith and Fanaticism: 50 Eye-Opening Facts about Rare Religious Sects

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1 Edenite Adamites: Innocence Reborn

Edenite Adamites: Innocence Reborn

The Adamites were a Christian sect of the 2nd century that aimed to recreate the innocence of the Garden of Eden. They referred to their church as “Paradise” and practiced nudism, rejecting marriage and asserting freedom to act without knowledge of good and evil.


2. The Shakers are a religious group that observes complete celibacy and therefore can’t have children. Consequently, they rely on converting outsiders to gain new members. As of 2020, the last existing Shaker community had only two individuals; however, they welcomed a new member in 2021.


3. On the southern island of Tanna in Vanuatu, the Kastom people adhere to the Prince Philip Movement. It functions as a cargo cult within the Yaohnanen tribe, venerating Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as a divine being, due to their beliefs.


4. The Church of Euthanasia is a religious sect that promotes cannibalism and suicide in order to achieve their objective of “restoring balance between humans and the remaining species on Earth.” The members are strictly prohibited from procreation.


5. A group of middle-aged women known as the “Snapists” believed they were spiritually married to Severus Snape on the “astral plane” and that he controlled their lives. This unique phenomenon was extensively documented by an independent researcher.


6 Joyful Na Nach: Rave Devotion

Joyful Na Nach: Rave Devotion

The Na Nach is a devoted sect of Jews whose spiritual practices include participating in raves, utilizing party vans, and striving to spread happiness to everyone they encounter.


7. The Bishnoi is a Hindu sect whose members have been protecting trees and wildlife as part of their religious responsibility since the 15th century.


8. Male Digambara Jain monks refrain from wearing any clothes, eat with their hands, and sleep on the floor without blankets. Their sole possession is a broom, which they use to sweep away insects from the ground they walk on.


9. In Canada, Freedomites was a group of religious sect whose members believed in anarchy, vegetarianism, and nudity. They even engaged in violent clashes with the government. They resorted to detonating bombs and organizing naked protest parades due to their perceived injustice regarding land ownership and the welfare of their children.


10. There existed a Slavonic sect that widely worshipped Napoleon, firmly believing that he was alive and concealed in Irkutsk, Russia, amassing an army for a future conquest of the world.


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11 Raëlism: Cloning Hitler for Justice

Raëlism: Cloning Hitler for Justice

Raëlism is an UFO religious sect that wants to clone Hitler in order to bring him to justice. They also believe that aliens created life on Earth.


12. Aghori is a Hindu Shaivite monastic order whose practices focus on breaking taboos and rejecting purity. This includes living in cemeteries, smearing cremation ashes on their bodies, making items from bones, meditating on corpses, and eating out of bowls made from human skulls they find on cremation grounds.


13. Tondrakians were members of an Armenian anti-feudal, heretical Christian sect that thrived while advocating for the abolition of the church and denying concepts such as the immortality of the soul, the afterlife, and the feudal rights of the church. They championed property rights for peasants and equality between men and women.


14. The Circumcellions were a Christian sect in the 4th century that believed martyrdom to be the highest virtue. In order to kill their victims, they would therefore attack random people with clubs while praising God.


15. Heaven’s Gate was a religious group that orchestrated a mass suicide involving the coordinated ritual suicides of 39 members. They believed this act would enable them to reach an extraterrestrial spacecraft following Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997.


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16 Modern Hutterites: Traditional Values, Technology

Modern Hutterites: Traditional Values, Technology

The Hutterites, similar to the Amish, are a religious sect that combines traditional values with the use of modern equipment and technology to operate intricate farming and manufacturing operations across numerous colonies in the Western US and Canada.


17. Ervil LeBaron was the leader of a polygamous Mormon sect who commanded the killings of other sect leaders and members of his own family in the name of “blood atonement.” Several of his wives were involved in these murders, resulting in at least 25 victims.


18. The Skoptsy were a Russian religious sect that viewed human genitals as a symbol of original sin. They practiced the removal of sexual organs, considering it a means to restore followers to a state of purity. Male members would undergo castration and emasculation using a red-hot iron known as the “fiery baptism.”


19. The movie “The Matrix” served as inspiration for the religious movement known as matrixism.


20. In Japan, there is a religious group that believes Jesus did not die on the cross, but instead, it was his younger brother Isukiri. According to their beliefs, Jesus lived in Japan until he reached the age of 106. His grave, which attracts thousands of pilgrims and pagans each year, is located in Shingo.


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21 Rulaizong: Taiwan’s Controversial Cult

Rulaizong: Taiwan's Controversial Cult

Rulaizong is a controversial cult originating in Taiwan and classified as a religious group, boasting over 80,000 members. Its founder, a former stuntman, has amassed the equivalent of 72 million NTD through donations, receiving an additional monthly sum of 86 million NTD. Impressively, his followers even purchased two Rolls-Royce cars to fulfill his desires.


22. Druze is a religious sect that considers Jethro of Midian (Moses’ father-in-law) as their ancestor and chief prophet. They integrate teachings from Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and elements from both major and minor religions.


23. The Cathars were a medieval Christian sect known for their belief that the God of the Old Testament, the Creator, is actually evil-perhaps even Satan. In contrast, they worship the New Testament God, whom they regard as the creator of the spiritual world and truly omnibenevolent.


24. Faizrakhman Sattarov founded the Islamic sect known as the Faizrakhmanist in 1966. Sattarov believed himself to be an Allah reincarnation as a result of a mystical experience. His followers resided in the catacombs beneath his house in Kazan, Russia, embracing a secluded and ascetic lifestyle. Blending elements of Sufism, Islamic mysticism, and esoteric teachings, this unique Islamic sect endured in the underground catacombs for over two decades. It was discovered during a raid by Russian authorities that some of the 20 children removed from the compound had never seen daylight.


25. Ho No Hana, often referred to as the “foot reading cult,” is a Japanese religious sect. Its founder, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and Buddha, asserted the ability to diagnose followers’ issues by simply examining their feet.


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