Top 10 Most Outlandish Religious Figuresby Cristina Trujillo
at University of London, Queen Mary 14th February 2013 12:50:42
With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI being discussed in the media internationally, one’s mind may wander to the long list of ridiculous, fascinating, corrupt or otherwise inappropriate religious figures that have permeated popular culture since the dawn of time. TNS offers a roundup of a few of the most outlandish...
King is the founder of the UFO religion the Aetherius Society, which combines UFO claims, yoga, and ideas from various world religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Theosophy. The society is named after Aetherius, a being King claims to have telepathically contacted and channelled. Aetherius is believed to be a "Cosmic Master" from Venus, along with Buddha and Jesus. The society’s membership consists of approximately 650 members as of 1993.
The leader of Japanese cult Aum Shinri Kyo, Asahara is currently under sentence of death from the Japanese court. He was convicted of masterminding the cult’s 1995 sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway, a crime as of yet unexplained although speculated carried out due to conspiratorial aims of going to war on the Japanese state. The group carry out dangerous and often lethal purification rites - such as bathing in scalding water.
Roberts is the creator of a religious movement formed in the 1970s which is known as The Garbage Eaters. The group roam the streets of the USA and Europe eating rubbish out of bins to communicate their message of anti-materialism.
Diogenes of Sinope
Ancient Greek Diogenes of Sinope was one of the most famous proponents of the Cynic philosophy, which preached the natural life and rejected with contempt the customs and conventions of their contemporary society. He became known as ‘the dog’ because of his unusual lifestyle, which involved carrying a lantern around Athens ‘looking for an honest man’. He begged for a living and slept in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace.
Originally a member of the Worldwide Church of God, Hawkins now masterminds the cult the House of Yahweh who believe that Satan is a woman, the Pope is her prophet and the world was due to end in the year 2000. Hawkins used to be a rockabilly singer.
Joaquim of Fiore
Italian mystic Joaquim of Fiore spent years studying the Book of Revelation in the late-twelfth century to declare that he’d uncovered a hidden message stating that the Third Age, during which the whole world would live in peace and idleness, would begin sometime between 1200 and 1260. His huge following rapidly diminished post-1260.
The prophecy of Neo, Keanu Reeves’ character in the Matrix, is the gospel of Matrixism, a religion that started off as a joke but now has more than 500 genuine followers worldwide. Neo’s word involves acceptance that reality is semi-subjective and may be simulated.
Patricia, self-appointed messiah, was the leader of cult Morningland, founded in 1973. Morningland used to charge people to cure them of AIDS although now it focuses on angels and New Age spirituality. Patricia claimed she could change people’s DNA with a wave of her hand.
Crowley was an English occultist, mystic, ceremonial magician, poet and mountaineer, who was responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. He saw himself as a prophet and went by many names, including ‘the wickedest man in the world’ and ‘The Beast 666’, courtesy of his own mother.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster
The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism. Pastafarians believe that this divine being composed of spaghetti and meatballs created the universe. Bobby Henderson, the founder of the religion, said: “The Church of the FSM is widely considered a legitimate religion, even by its opponents—mostly fundamentalist Christians, who have accepted that our God has larger balls than theirs.”
Are you aware of any religious figures that beat this lot in the absurdity stakes?