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10 Weird Religious Practices

Most religions have one or two unusual practices or devices but occasionally you find one which is just completely weird. This list contains ten of the more unusual things found in modern religions.

1. Mormon Temple Garments Wikipedia


In some denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement, the temple garment (or the Garment of the Holy Priesthood, or informally, the garment or garments) is a set of sacred underclothing worn by adult adherents who have taken part in a ritual ceremony known as washing and anointing ordinance, usually in a temple as part of the Endowment ceremony. Adherents consider them to be sacred and may be offended by public discussion of the garments. Anti-Mormon activists have publicly displayed or defaced temple garments to show their opposition to the LDS Church.

According to generally-accepted Mormon doctrine, the marks in the garments are sacred symbols (Buerger 2002, p. 58). One proposed element of the symbolism, according to early Mormon leaders, was a link to the “Compass and the Square”, the symbols of freemasonry (Morgan 1827, pp. 22-23), to which Joseph Smith (creator of Mormonism) had been initiated about seven weeks prior to his introduction of the Endowment ceremony.

2. Scientology E-Meter Wikipedia

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An E-meter is an electronic device manufactured by the Church of Scientology at their Gold Base production facility. It is used as an aid by Dianetics and Scientology counselors and counselors-in-training in some forms of auditing, the application of the techniques of Dianetics and Scientology to another or to oneself for the express purpose of addressing spiritual issues.

E-meter sessions are conducted by church employees known as auditors. Scientology materials traditionally refer to the subject as the “preclear,” although auditors continue to use the meter well beyond the clear level. The preclear holds a pair of cylindrical electrodes (”cans”) connected to the meter while the auditor asks the preclear a series of questions and notes both the verbal response and the activity of the meter. Auditor training describes many types of needle movements, with each having their own special significance.

A 1971 ruling of the United States District Court, District of Columbia (333 F. Supp. 357), specifically stated, “The E-meter has no proven usefulness in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease, nor is it medically or scientifically capable of improving any bodily function.”

3. Exorcism Wikipedia

Exorcism Video

Exorcism is the practice of evicting demons or other evil spiritual entities from a person or place which they are believed to have possessed (taken control of). The practice is quite ancient and still part of the belief system of many religions, though it is seen mostly in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Solemn exorcisms, according to the Canon law of the church, can only be exercised by an ordained priest (or higher prelate), with the express permission of the local bishop, and only after a careful medical examination to exclude the possibility of mental illness. The Catholic Encyclopaedia (1908) enjoined: “Superstition ought not to be confounded with religion, however much their history may be interwoven, nor magic, however white it may be, with a legitimate religious rite”.

To listen to two authentic recordings of exorcisms, visit the Top 10 Incredible Recordings.

4. Jewish Kaparot (כפרות) Wikipedia

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Kaparot is a traditional Jewish religious ritual that takes place around the time of the High Holidays. Classically, it is performed by grasping a live chicken by the sholder blades and moving around one’s head three times, symbolically transferring one’s sins to the chicken. The chicken is then slaughtered and donated to the poor, preferably eaten at the pre-Yom Kippur feast. In modern times, Kapparos is performed in the traditional form mostly in Haredi communities. The ritual is preceded by the reading of Psalms 107:17-20 and Job 33:23-24.

On the eve of Yom Kippur 2005, more than 200 caged chickens were abandoned in rainy weather as part of a Kaparot operation in Brooklyn, NY; some of these starving and dehydrated chickens were subsequently rescued by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Jacob Kalish, an Orthodox Jew from Williamsburg, was charged with animal cruelty for the drowning deaths of 35 of these chickens. In response to such reports of the mistreatment of chickens, animal rights organizations have begun to picket public observances of kaparot, particularly in Israel.

More after this message...


5. Shamanism Wikipedia


Shamanism refers to a range of traditional beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spirit world. There are many variations in shamanism throughout the world, though there are some beliefs that are shared by all forms of shamanism. Its practitioners claim the ability to diagnose and cure human suffering and, in some societies, the ability to cause suffering. This is believed to be accomplished by traversing the axis mundi and forming a special relationship with, or gaining control over, spirits.

Shamans have been credited with the ability to control the weather, divination, the interpretation of dreams, astral projection, and traveling to upper and lower worlds. Shamans were used in Tibetan Buddhism as a form of divination by which the Dalai Lama was given prophesies of the future and advice.

More after this message...

6. Dowry Wikipedia


This is a cultural practice rather than a religious one. The practice of dowry exists across India. Despite laws against it, the practice continues. The girl child’s dowry and wedding expenses often sends her family into a huge debt trap. As consumerism and wealth increase in India, dowry demands are growing. In rural areas, families sell their land holdings, while the urban poor sell their houses.

To curb the practice of dowry, the government of India made several laws detailing severe punishment to anyone demanding dowry and a law in Indian Penal Code (Section 498A) has been introduced. While it gives boost to a woman and her family, it in the same time also put a man and his family in a great disadvantage. Misuse of this law by women in urban India and many incidents of extortion of money from the husband done by the wife and her family (this is called sowry) have come to light.

7. Mormon Baptism of the Dead Wikipedia

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Baptism for the dead, vicarious baptism or proxy baptism is a religious practice of baptising a living person on behalf of an individual who is dead; the living person is acting as the deceased person’s proxy. It has been practiced since 1840 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where it is also called temple baptism because it is performed only in dedicated temples.

In the practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a living person, acting as proxy, is baptized by immersion on behalf of a deceased person of the same gender. The baptism ritual is as follows: after calling the living proxy by name, the person performing the baptism says, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you for and in behalf of [full name of deceased person], who is dead, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” The proxy is then immersed briefly in the water. Baptism for the dead is a distinctive ordinance of the church and is based on the belief that baptism is a required ordinance for entry into the Kingdom of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vicariously baptizes people regardless of race, sex, or creed. This includes both victims and perpetrators of genocide. Some Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and their supporters have objected to this practice.

8. Jainist Digambaras Wikipedia

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Digambar also spelled Digambara is one of the two main sects of Jainism. Senior Digambar monks wear no clothes, following the practice of Lord Mahavira. They do not consider themselves to be nude — they are wearing the environment. Digambaras believe that this practice represents a refusal to give in to the body’s demands for comfort and private property — only Digambara ascetics are required to forsake clothing. Digambara ascetics have only two possessions: a peacock feather broom and a water gourd.

The native Jain communities of Maharashta, Bundelkhand (MP/UP), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu are all Digambaras. In north India, the Saravagis and the Agrawals are also Digambaras. In Gujarat and Southern Rajasthan, the majority of Jains follow the Svetambara tradition, although some Jain communities of these regions like the Humad are also Digambaras.

9. Islamic Niqab (نِقاب) Wikipedia


A niqab is a veil which covers the face, worn by some Muslim women as a part of sartorial hijab. It is popular in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf but it can also be found in North Africa, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

The niqab is regarded differently by the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence known as madhahab. Some see it as obligatory, or fard , while others see it as recommended, or mustahab, and a few see it as forbidden. The majority of scholars believe hijab is required, but only a few see niqab as required, although this is not the common perception among the general population.

10. Jehovah’s Witnesses Refusal of Blood Transfusions Wikipedia


A fundamental doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses teaches that the Bible prohibits consumption, storage and transfusion of blood, including in cases of emergency. This doctrine was introduced in 1945, and has been elaborated upon since then. Although accepted by a majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses, evidence indicates a minority does not wholly endorse this doctrine. Facets of the doctrine have drawn praise and criticism from both members of the medical community and Jehovah’s Witnesses alike.

In 1964, Jehovah’s Witnesses were prohibited from obtaining transfusions for pets, from using fertilizer containing blood, and were even encouraged to write to dog food manufacturers to verify that their products were blood-free. Later that year, Jehovah’s Witnesses doctors and nurses were instructed to withhold blood transfusions from fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses. As to administering transfusions to non-members, The Watchtower stated that such a decision is “left to the Christian doctor’s own conscience.”

149 Responses to “10 Weird Religious Practices”

1.      1. Chris -

How about Christians symbolically eating Jesus’ body and and drinking his blood? Thats always seemed weird to me, why would they want to do that?

2.      2. Michael -

No circumcision?

3.      3. you are a dumbass -

Indian dowry is not religious ceremony. Do damn research before posting it.

4.      4. Sagefool -

The practice that Chris is referring to is known as communion. You can get a full breakdown on WikiPedia. It was a commandment of Jesus at the last supper, and it is to commemorate the manner in which Jesus would die.

He said as often as they met, they should take communion in remembrance of Him.

There is some difference between Protestants and Catholics on this issue: Catholics believe that communion is transformed in the hands of the priest to the literal body and blood of Christ, while Protestants take it to be a symbolic gesture.

5.      5. jfrater -

Chris: It was toss up between that and Exorcism; exorcism won.

6.      6. jfrater -

“you are a fool” - it is included because the majority of practitioners are Hindu. For the same reason we can add the Burka of the Muslims - it is not an obligation of the religion specifically but is a traditional practice predominant in Islam.

7.      7. Inaccurate -

As a Hindu, listing ‘dowry’ as a ‘religious’ practice makes me laugh!

8.      8. Daniel -

With regard to baptism for the dead, check 1 Corinthians 15:29, where, in a discussion regarding resurrection for all as a result of Christ’s victory over death, Paul explains that all must be resurrected. In support of his position, he asks: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” This is a reflection of Mormon belief that baptism is essential for salvation (as Jesus explained to Nicodemus), and that God is merciful and allows all people the opportunity to receive baptism, even if not given the opportunity in this life (i.e., and including, those who have lived in parts of the world where there was never an opportunity to gain knowledge of Christ’s atonement for sin). This is really a manifestation of Mormon belief in God’s justice and mercy.

With regard to Mormon garments from the temple, stating that they are weird is oversimplistic. Rather than wearing a cross necklace or Christian T-shirts, Mormons wear the garments as a reminder to them of certain covenants they have made with God, including covenants to be honest in their dealings with their fellow men and to maintain fidelity in marriage. I’m not sure whether you think that is weird simply because they are worn under the clothes rather than outside for all to see.

9.      9. jfrater -

Daniel: Thanks for the comment. Regarding Baptism of the Dead, I think that the fact that no Christian group practised this until the LDS Church was created by Smith puts a real shadow of doubt on the doctrine. Additionally, the Biblical verse itself when read in the context of the whole Epistle does not support the view. Let me quote Reed and Farkas:

From verse 1 and throughout the whole chapter Paul addresses “brethren” in the Lord and speaks in terms of you, we, and us, with one exception. Only in verse 29 are they mentioned: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” From this it would be reasonable to conclude that that Paul talks in verse 29 about a group outside the Christian community.

10.  10. Howard Brownfield -

In regard to people being baptized for the dead (I Cor. 15:29), the verse is a question regarding their line of reasoning. If they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, they weren’t being consistent in their reasoning. The verse does not condone the practice. This doctrine of baptizing for the dead violates many other verses in the Bible. Apparently, even though they didn’t believe in the resurrection, they were erroneously baptizing for the dead. Heb. 9:27 states “Just as man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment …” No more chances!

11.  11. John Waters -

Hello one and all,

I feel that it is worth adding that exorcism is also common to Islam. What’s more there are a whole subset of supplications (du’a) intended to guard one’s property and/or self from the influences of the unseen (Jinn, Shaitan (plural)) (which may or may not be evil.).

I recall seeing a clip of an alleged exorcism carried out in indonesia. If you are curious you might want to try to find it on youtube.

Allah hafiz,

12.  12. thedude -

what about taoist practices?

13.  13. jfrater -

John Waters: I have seen an Islamic exorcism on youtube so it is definitely there.

thedude: Want to name some odd ones for us?

14.  14. John Waters -

jfrater: Thanks, I was not sure and I can’t hit youtube from work. I am also unwilling to use a proxy or torpark ;).

15.  15. jfrater -

John: no prob :)

16.  16. icanseeyourhousefromhere -

Good post!
Makes we wanna be a Digambaras, and less like “dumbass” …who cares if dowry isn’t a religion? The rest was info that more people should learn more about. Keeps us from becoming ignorant.

17.  17. ajmiel -

Dowry is not particular to Hindus, it is common in Sikh families and Muslim families in India and Pakistan. It is not Hindu but more a preponderance of the people of the Indian subcontinent.

18.  18. Retarded Caste System -

it still seems to me to be the most retarded inhumane thing on earth…the hindu caste system has to be number 1 …

untouchables? ..really ????

19.  19. John Waters -

There are some notable differences in dowery in muslims from the subcontinent.

1) The dowery is paid from the husband to the wife. Not the wife’s family. The bride’s family has no right to her dowery. If a muslim or muslim family disagrees with this, they are in error. :)

2) Contrary to practice among american muslims (I, being an american muslim married to a desi woman, have no experience with other groups of muslims), the dowery can be prohibativly expensive. Payment is frequently postponed partially or in full, rendering the husband in debt to his wife.

3) It is also common for the sisters and unmarried female cousins to bribe the husband on the night of the wedding and “mehndi” (kind-of a pre wedding shower for both families) by either stealing his shoes or grabbing his finger. In my case it was both…


They also cram super dense desi sweets down your throat. I swear to this day I get physically ill when I see a laddoo. Desis of other faiths also engage in this pancreas-destroying practice.

As for the Jains, I was studying religion for years before converting to Islam. My less than objective conclusions of their faith is that it seemed intriguing but ultimately it was just too much of a sausage fest for my tastes… :)

20.  20. Harshal Vaidya -

John Waters - Converting from one religion to other only shows that you never knew any religion to begin with and hence will never know any other!

I laugh on you.

21.  21. jfrater -

Harshal: gee - that was a bit mean.

22.  22. John Waters -

Another satisfied customer!

Seriously, though, our intrepid H1-B in waiting needs to brush up on his ESL a bit more before attempting such ad hominem attacks on folks.

I must add that my jibe on the Digambaray was:
1) intended to be in jest and was friendly in nature.
2) based on the (in hindsight dubious) assumption that they would not get their non-existant panties in a bunch over such a statement.

23.  23. Chui -

Hindus - body piercing on Deepavali
Shias and Catholics - self-flaggelation
Catholics in Philipines - ritual crucifixion
Chinese - Food offering to the dead, burning hell money, paper TV, houses

Western observer: how do you really expect the dearly-departed to receive all these money, TV and houses that you burn?
Chinese: The same way you expect your dead to smell flowers

24.  24. Nik -

Here’s something Hindus are happy not to talk about anymore:

And to all the Hindu zealots here, what about Devadasis and failed attempts to mitigate the abominable practice?

Sure, stand up for your belief… but also acknowledge what’s fucked up.

And “body piercing on Deepavali”…? WTF? SOME of us only do that on Kali-related festivals… :P

25.  25. jerusalemexporthouse -

Those are all sorts of weird, though what does that scientologist’s machine really do?

26.  26. Fredrick -

Dowry has nothing to do with those hindus or their religion. It is an Indian thing and a community thing. In our community (Syrian Christian) this is also common practice. My muslim bretheren also have this.

27.  27. Jennifer Nolan -

The scientology machines measure the number of dead alien souls you are dragging around with you, I believe.

28.  28. jfrater -

Jennifer: I believe you are right. Utterly crazy. I think the aliens are called Body Thetans.

29.  29. J -

anyone else like the jainist picture? hahahaha j/p

30.  30. John Waters -


The E-Meter is really a simplified polygraph (I suppose it can be considered a monograph). It measures skin conductivity. In other words, it detects sweaty palms. The idea is that the “auditor” asks the scientology candidte (”the mark”) questions and records the value of resistance from the e-meter. In theory (their theory) your “thetan level”, or the amount of influece the brainwashed alien soul inhabiting your body influences you, can be determined and you can be scheduled to purge this influence for a “nominal fee”.

There is a southpark episode that covers all of this and more, you should see if you can find a copy either online or on your p2p network of choice.

Also, check out for more information regarding scientologies dubious practices/beliefs.

31.  31. John Waters -

One more thing about the E-Meter:

Write William S. Burroughs was a big fan of early scientology and wrote at length about the e-meter concept. He later recanted his position regarding scietology once he realized that L. Ron Hubbard was a grifter. He continued to experiment with the E-Meter on his own. I believe that Brion Gyson also shared some of this enthusiasm.

For the record I think that the whole thing is a sham, and am in no way supportive of the “church” of scientology. A’udhu billah

32.  32. jfrater -

John: In one of the Burroughs’ short films he makes mention of auditing. It must have been produced at that time. Burroughs was definitely interested in some weird stuff in his lifetime. He is one of my all time favourite authors and I own all of his novels.

33.  33. John Waters -

“Burroughs was definitely intersted in some weird stuff in his lifetime.” is quite possibly the biggest understatement that I have ever seen on a web forum. :)

Have you bought his boxed set of CD’s from Giordano Poetry Systems? It’s amazing. The last disc has a few hours of his experimental “cut up” recordings. People talk about negativeland or EBN being revolutionary… Burroughs was doing it almost half a century prior.

34.  34. jfrater -

John: no - I didn’t know it was about actually. I have only seen his videos on youtube and read his novels. I will have to add it to my wishlist!

35.  35. Fruckert -

My step dad indirectly gave me an explanation of scientology…that religion makes absolutely no sense at all…

36.  36. John Waters -

Fruckert: Frequently such is the case with cults that feature secret or protected doctrines.

37.  37. LB -

Do some more research on the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their views of blood transfusions. The dog food and fertilizer thing actually made me laugh out loud. Actually the whole second paragraph is untrue.

38.  38. jfrater -

LB: how well do you know your religion? The second paragraph comes from The JW magazine The Watchtower, February 15, 1964, p. 127-128.

39.  39. Chipper -

Personally I find suicide bombing that kills civilians kinda weird. Maybe that’s just me.

40.  40. jfrater -

Chipper: suicide bombing is not specifically a religious practice. It is an evil thing, I agree, but is not specifically a traditional aspect of any religion. And I think to label it “weird” degrades the true horror of what it is.

41.  41. kitchenrat -

#5 is interesting. a shaman getting a blowjob!

42.  42. jfrater -

kitchenrat: haha I didn’t notice that.

43.  43. iremon -

Only 10 weird religious practices?? How about ALL religious practices. Every one invented by man, and every one totally nuts. Every. Stinkin’. One.

44.  44. nonbeliever -

Mormon Theology the whole religion is weird.

I’ll second iremon “Only 10 weird religious practices??”

45.  45. Steve -

It’s all loony.
At least pagans have more fun.

46.  46. jfrater -

Steve: unless you are on the receiving end of a human sacrifice :)

47.  47. laf -

Someone above mentioned weird Taoist religious practices. While I do know that they exist,

I’ve always seen Taoism as more a philosophical thing, rather than as something more religiously prescriptive. While it can be used religiously, I don’t think it has to be in order for one to get benefit from it. I think one can adopt some measure of Taoism into one’s life, and be completely free of religion at the same time.

I’m a passive atheist, for example, but I embrace some Taoist thinking as I find it directly in the Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing).

I see a lot of people expressing anger over the general concept of any sort of religious practice, and I wonder why it is they do so. While some are certainly frustrating, especially from the perspective of an outsider or uninformed person, all the vitriol doesn’t do anyone any favours whatever. If, for example, you are throwing off the mantle of Catholicism, and spend your time griping about the Church, what that says to me is that you are allowing the Church to remain in control of you. Hardly logical for something you say you aren’t a part of anymore.

If you’re letting something go, just let it go. Go on to the next thing.

Sorry for the novel. It’s a topic near and dear to my heart. I spend a lot of time trying my best to emphasize to people that atheism isn’t about hatred, though many who hate call themselves such. And, to label an entire section of human culture as useless, weird, wrong, or otherwise, is more than a little juvenile and narrow of vision.

48.  48. jfrater -

laf: thanks for that well written comment. It is a good contribution to the topic!

49.  49. jfrater -

John Waters: can you send me an email ( please?

50.  50. Konputer -



51.  51. jfrater -

arandaphobic: wow - that is interesting.

52.  52. Ben -

The refusal to accept blood is scripturally sound and is hardly “weird.” Witnesses have encouraged entire hospital programs to examine bloodless surgery and blood alternatives, which is medically superior to surgery and procedures involving blood, and is safer. I can understand why some may see that as strange, since it often casts the impression that Witnesses don’t care about their health or wellbeing. But, that’s far from the truth. Abstaining from blood is a scriptural point, since blood is sacred to God, and it represents life.

53.  53. warren -

Weird (horrible) religious practice #1:

Hindu ritual of Sati. Ritual suicide or murder of a widow on her husband’s funeral pyre. Outlawed completely many years ago, but from time to time, one still hears of it.

See wikipedia:


54.  54. jfrater -

Ben: “It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, in all your dwelling places, that you eat neither fat nor blood” (Lev. 3:17) - why do JW’s eat fat? If the anti-blood laws in the Bible are what the JWs think, surely fat is the same then?

Also, even the most orthodox Jews who follow all of the old dietary laws do not consider the law against eating blood (it refers to animal blood incidentally, not human) to prohibit blood transfusions.

Also, the Old Testament dietary laws simply don’t apply to Christians today (cf. Col. 2:16–17, 22), and the ones given at the Council of Jerusalem passed into disuse as Jewish conversions to Christianity became uncommon toward the end of the first century and the Church became mainly Gentile. They weren’t immutable doctrines, but disciplinary rules. Remember, Christ said that it is not what goes into the mouth that is dirty, but that which comes out. He abolished the traditional Jewish dietary laws.

55.  55. jfrater -

warren: Sati is mentioned in the Top 10 Bizarre Traditions :)

56.  56. Emily -

jfrater, while witnesses do adhere to principles in the mosaic law, they are not strict followers of the mosaic law. In the christian greek scriptures (new testament) there are many mentions of not using blood ( including acts 15:20)

57.  57. jfrater -

Emily: sure - though I think the entire Christian world (except Witnesses) seems to regard those verses as relating to consumption of animal blood (which, incidentally, is not forbidden - it was (like the old testament command) a disciplinary rule - that is why black pudding has long been a staple food of Western Christendom) and not to the transfusion of human blood. I just can’t be convinced that Russell had a clue when he was “interpreting” the bible - he lied on the stand about his knowledge of Greek and the wheat scandal doesn’t help either. I own a copy of the Russell version of the bible and some of the translations from Greek are quite horrifically wrong.

58.  58. Aaron -

Considering the variety of diseases that are transmittable by blood, but too expensive to screen for, not taking blood transfusions doesn’t sound so weird. More and more hospitals around the country are developing bloodless surgery units, and not for just JWs. But because they think it is good medicine and more and more people are requesting it. Jackson Memorial and Baptist Health Systems are just two examples in the South Florida area. And as for Russell, if he did lie, so did the Apostle Peter when he denied Christ. Don’t hold a person’s mistakes over the entire body of good work that they did. We all lie.

And the command to abstain from blood, was given to Noah after the leaving the ark. To the Israelite nation, as well as to the early Christian congregation as recorded in Acts. With all of the symbolism attached to blood in the Bible, even Jesus speaks of his blood in symbolic terms, it is safe to make the conclusion that more than dietary rules were being commanded. Blood had sin-atoning value. Hence its preciousness. And its use in sacrifice. Life itself is in the blood.

59.  59. jfrater -

Aaron: in all western hospitals blood is checked before being used for transfusions. Also, the biblical laws against taking blood were against animal blood - not transfusions. As I said in a comment above, even the most orthodox Jews allow transfusions. And St. Peter’s denial of Christ is quite different from what Russell did - he lied for profit - St Peter lied to save his life.

Also, as I also said above (you should read the comments - they are quite interesting) Christ said that it is not what goes into the mouth which is dirty but that which comes out - the early Christians considered this to be the eradication of dietary laws - hence it is now okay to eat blood. The first time any group splitting from Christianity decided otherwise was with Russell.

Thanks for posting as debate is good, but I do think we can all benefit from some research in to what the original groups believed about these commandments rather than trying to make up our own doctrines later without sufficient knowledge of the past.

60.  60. Aaron -

Acts 15:28,29 says to ‘abstain … from blood’. That would include eating animal blood. Christians are not free to eat blood. And yes, blood is checked. But they don’t check for everything. They can’t. There are plenty of non-blood alternatives and techniques. Also respected medical institutions have non-blood surgery units. So the refusals of blood transfusions are really a non-issue. Doctors are more and more becoming confident in using the latest blood saving techniques to reduce blood loss such as the cell saver, which captures lost blood and recirculates it back into the body.

King David was an adulterer and murderer. But God forgave him. Is the alleged lying worse than that? God doesn’t hold sins against a person if they are repentant. It isn’t the nature of the sin that is as deadly as the person’s attitude about that sin. If all God saw was sin, none of us would be approved.

And that “lying for profit” accusation is totally unsubstantiated. He was running a non-profit Bible publishing organization. This is also outside the criticism of this weird religion list.

Funny how it’s alway the other guy who doesn’t really understand things? Please refrain from unprovoked attacks, false accusations, hearsay, libel, innuendo, and philosophizing in general.

61.  61. Aaron -

jfrater: Acts 15:28,29 says ‘abstain … from blood’. That includes animal blood. If you misunderstand that, then the transfusion topic is definitely beyond your grasp. The attacks on Russell are unsubstantiated and off topic. Adultery and murder are more serious sins than lying for profit. And yet God forgave King David after he repented. Russell, as a Bible publisher, was not in the profit business anyways. Judging people by their flaws, real or imagined, doesn’t follow the model of Christ.

62.  62. jfrater -

Aaron: we obviously disagree so there is no point in debating to the death :)If you are happy being a Jehovah’s witness that is good. But we must all remember that while these subjects do cause disagreement, we must be fair on others. I am not trying to convert you, so don’t try to convert me :)I am sure you agree that the JW transfusion law is strange to non-JWs, therefore it does have a place on the list because the majority of people are not JWs.

63.  63. Aaron -

jfrater: There is nothing ambiguous about Acts 15:28,29. Sounds like back-pedaling in light of YOUR unfair comments. So why did you bring up all that other unrelated stuff? I’ll agree it is strange, because anybody that actually believes the Bible is strange in popular opinion. Blood transfusions are old technology. Better options are available. Nothing weird about seeking the best health care you can get.

64.  64. jfrater -

Aaron: I raised the issues of Charles Taze Russell because the doctrines against blood transfusion come from his interpretations and translations of the Greek Bible - and he lied about knowing Greek. If he lied about that, how do you know he didn’t lie about other aspects of the religion? I am not going to say anything further in this thread as I don’t think it is useful to either of us to keep on.

65.  65. Aaron -

jfrater: How do you know he lied about anything? Your accusations are still unsubstantiated. Russell died in 1916. Long before any understanding about blood transfusions was communicated to any Jehovah’s Witness. And the Bibles back then were crude compared to the better translations available now in modern English. And we don’t even reference any literature that he wrote. He was just a man in the stream of time who worshiped to the best of his knowledge. Any Bible will state the abstaining of blood in Acts 15: 28,29. Nobody alive today looks to him for religious direction. Seems like you are stuck in the past. Anyone can make a mistake or even self-deceive themselves. The question is: What will you do once you’ve been corrected?

66.  66. jfrater -

Aaron: I have presented my views and I am not going to do so again - if you really need to argue, read my previous comments and reply to those again - I am not adding any more fuel to this fire :)

67.  67. Ronald -

Charles Taze Russell wrote nothing about blood transfusions. What Russell wrote was: “To the Jew it was forbidden, and under his covenant it was made a symbol of life–to partake of it would imply responsibility for the life taken.” (Watch Tower, April 15, 1909, page 117 - Reprints page 4374) Regardless, the idea of forbidding blood transfusions did not come from Charles Taze Russell.

Scripturally, the eating of blood is forbidden because life, the soul, is represented by the blood, which life [soul] belongs to God. If a life is taken away, respect is shown to God for that life by not eating the blood. Normally, no life is taken away in the process of a blood transfusion. The scriptures do not forbid blood transfusions.
[url removed]

There is no such thing as a “Russell version of the Bible.” Russell never produced such a version. There is no such version.
[url removed]

The accusation that Russell lied in court is false, and twists what was actually said.
[urls removed]

Christian love,

68.  68. jfrater -

Ronald: Thank you for your comments. You are correct about the Bible used by JWs - it was not created by Russell but by a group of five men (one of whom had formal education in biblical languages).

As I have said in previous comments, Christ abrogated the laws against the consumption of animal blood - which is why there is no Christian religion that refuses to eat blood. I know many consider the JWs to not be Christian so perhaps that is not relevant.

The URL you included about Russell not lying in court has been removed because it is really more of an attack on the author of a booklet against Russell.

The other URLs have been removed because this website is not an avenue for proselytisation as I have said before on some of the other topics.

Please let this be the end of the debate - if it is not I will be forced to close the comments on this page and I do not want to do that.

69.  69. Wardrich -

Hmm, that Jewish chicken thing… I wonder if that’s where the phrase “choking the chicken” came from, considering that masturbation is a sin, and that they “choked” the chicken in order to transfer their sins to it?

70.  70. jfrater -

Wardrich: a curious observation :)I actually don’t know the origins of that term so it is possible I guess.

71.  71. Aman -

An interesting topic on Islam to talk about, more interesting than the burqa wearing in my opinion, is the Shiite practice of self flagellation. Its quite impressive seeing hundreds of men walking down the street beating themselves in a sort of synchronized rhythmic dance.

72.  72. more than you’d ever know -

There are many seemingly strange religious practices…here are a few more I think should be added to the list.
-female circumcision aka female genital mutilation(common practice in Sudan and parts of Egypt, most commonly by Muslims, although it should be noted that well over 80% of the Muslim tradition do NOT practice this cruel ritual.

-the more common male circumcision

-serpent handling

-speaking in tongues

-the European Witchcraze

-sky burial (offering the dead to vultures)

- and many many more…

73.  73. jfrater -

more than you’d ever know: Sky burial can be found here

74.  74. Özhan -

Why male circumcision is weird? None doctors say it’s bad, but some doctors say it’s good for the body.

75.  75. jfrater -

Özhan: It is quite a controversial practice. I think the main arguments against it are that it has religious roots, and that there is no need to remove a part of the body unless it is causing ill health - which, for the majority of uncircumcised men, is not the case. In a way it is like tonsils - in the old days many doctors would suggest that a child have his tonsils removed even if he wasn’t sick.

76.  76. Sonny -

what ever… i believe in jesus christ and he is my saviour.. thats it.. you guys just go ahead with what ever..

77.  77. wowzer -

Sonny: Um… okay, you do that. Not really the point of this list or the comment board. I don’t believe that anyone here was trying to convert you with pictures of e-meters and discussion of dowrys.

Hey, whatever happened to Orgone? That’s still considered a religion, and the orgonists have some questionable practices (including sitting naked in a box for hours on end trying to cure everything with the power of the orgasm.) I thought it was worth an honorable mention. The temple garments made me smile, though. :)

78.  78. jfrater -

wowzer: I have written so many lists already that I sometimes forget what I have mentioned, but something makes me think I mentioned Orgone on one of the lists. William Burroughs was a fan and owned one of the orgone collecting boxes that I believe he used right up to his death. At any rate, I was reading about it recently. Very weird.

79.  79. jmh -

please double check your information about Jehovah’s Witnesses’ refusal of blood transfusions. the information listed is not only rife with inaccuracy but contains many misleading statements.

80.  80. Ambuj -

Dowry is not a Hindu Custom.
Please do research before.

81.  81. no no no -

what about tortures?

what about money request? !!!!!!

82.  82. jfrater -

no no no: Torture is not a dogmatic aspect of any religion that I know of, and money request is hardly bizarre — it is also done by poor people and charities. The only one I can think of where the money aspect is bizarre is Scientology and they are already on this list :)

83.  83. Bjesomar -

There are disputes over this and that list number, but nobody complained about why Shamanism is on the list??
Most of the religions recognise existance of spirits in the world in form of angels/demons/aliens/nameit, but when there is a practice that tries to make some use of spirits, it is considered weird??

84.  84. jfrater -

Bjesomar: have you seen the Tibetan shaman in action? It is a very bizarre thing to witness; that is why it is on the list.

85.  85. Bjesomar -

Well, have you seen spiritist in action? Talking to the dead? Channeling? Possesion? Voddoo?All are basically the same thing. That’s what i had in mind. ;)

86.  86. Jews Against Circumcision -

Please add the idiotic mutilation practice of circumcision.

87.  87. jfrater -

Jews: It is included on Top 10 bizarre religious procedures.

88.  88. Jews Against Circumcision -

When a moyel circumcizes a baby, he sucks the blood off the penis with his mouth. To came to light a few years ago when a moyel gave herpes to about 8 baby boys in NYC. Do a search on it.

89.  89. jfrater -

Jews against circumcision: I have deleted your advertising post - please read the list I posted in comment 87 - it mentions the herpes case. Don’t be lazy - if you want to debate the practice, do it on the right list and don’t just post a link to your website - we all want to be in on the debate :)

90.  90. Anitireligion -

All religious parctices are bizarre! We live in the 21st centery people there’s no need for any backward indocranating religions! religions were designed to explain why unexplained things happened in the world now there’s science. All religions really need to get over them selves!

91.  91. andy -

yeah, stop mucking about. i really have no clue, other than tradition why seemingly sane people go to extreme lengths to make such asses of themselves. i have a healthy interest in theology, metaphysics etc. just not pathological. yet. think of your children people. overt displays of god fearing ways cannot but produce stereotypes and an altogether weakened race. pray in silence to whatever YOU may believe

92.  92. u idoit! -

Dowry is not part of the religion.
Please do research before putting this crap together.

93.  93. jfrater -

The irony is palpable :)

94.  94. Juggz -

Jamie: HAHAHA!

From the post itself:
“This is a cultural practice rather than religious.”

They say ignorance is bliss!

95.  95. dettinger -

Weird is relative here. As a long time practicing Christian, I don’t look down on other religions. I live in Salt Lake but I’m not a Mormon. I’ve known many Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans and so on. I don’t view their practices as weird, just different. Real Christians know our religion is an invitation, not a mandate. Freedom of religion is also a right here. Regardless whether they try to baptize the dead or go naked in the street, they have a right to believe as they choose.

96.  96. Richard -

How bout the muzzies doing their fast that is pretty fukin stupid

97.  97. Joseph S. -

Baptism for the dead was practised by the early catholic church. Take a tour of the midevil cathedrals in Europe sometime and you’ll see that I’m right. Mormons weren’t the first. . .

98.  98. Emily -

Jainists don’t eat animals or plants.

99.  99. Dane -

Aaron, given what Acts 15 28:29 says, and how devoted you seem to be to it’s strict interpretation, can I assume that you are a strict vegetarian?

100.                      100. Drogo -

Probably the best, if not the only, benefits of organized religion is that it can deter criminal behavior in some people if they feel they will have to answer to a higher power. It also gives some people hope. Unfortunately there are those people who believe in killing in the name of god.

101.                      101. muslimah -

As a muslim woman who wears the niqab, of course in my opinion it is not weird. In islam we firmly believe in modesty, from our behavior to our way of dress. I can understand that those who are not muslim believe a woman covering her face is weird since there are so many women who are naked while being dressed. I started to wear niqab this summer and i very much enjoy it. I believe that it is important for a muslim woman to cover herself as so, because of the lack of modesty and the prevalence of indecency today. I am not a victim to the fashion industry, nor a victim to what society believes is beauty. When i wear my niwab, i am identified as a muslim woman. i am not oppressed, im happily married, a college student has great friends and a mind of my own. As any woman i want to be known for my character and intellect, not my exterior.

Also to those who believe religion is stupid…People will believe whatever they believe. Ive knows many wiccans, christians, muslim, jews, and so on who firmly believe in thier way of life. If you dont understand the concept of something greater then yourself, then thats your business. But to say that religion (way of life) is stupid because we live in the 21st century now thats stupid. But then again your going to believe in what your going to believe, because thats your business and not mine.

102.                      102. jfrater -

muslimah: thanks for your comment - it is interesting to hear from someone that wears the niqab :)

103.                      103. Cezary Szyperek -

This article was poorly written.

104.                      104. jfrater -

Cezary: what would you have done differently?

105.                      105. seefith -

the worst thing God ever did was to tell the world that he exists

106.                      106. muslimah -

Your welcome. I have a question, why are some people atheist? Most atheist i know are depressed.

107.                      107. jfrater -

muslimah: the Pope released a document yesterday that said that Athiests have no hope - and so I guess that would be the reason according to him anyway :)

108.                      108. ThePenguinator -

@muslimah: I’m an atheist and I’m not depressed. :)
Why I’m an atheist? Well basically I don’t believe in any kind of ‘greater’ existence or any purpose to our existence. My believe is once were dead, we’re finished, it’s done, fini, no afterlife or what-so-ever.

Religion in my eyes is just a way to handle this unescapable moment and make it bearable to live with. I personally have no problem with this projected end of my life, so I really have no need for a religion. What’s done is done :)

109.                      109. Tuar -

What I find ammusing about all religious discussions and sects is that each interprets the Bible or other Holy Books to say what they want it to say. The Bible for instance has been translated hundreds of times and yet each translation is different. Why? Because we only have the knowledge of what we are told the words mean.

Language is a living breathing thing and it changes day to day. Words are added and forgoten, meanings change.

To think that it is possible for modern man could acurately interprete even the early english translations of the Bible is crazy. The reality is that all religion is a matter of opinion and subject to change according to the wishes of it’s believers. How many laws in early religion (any religion) have been changed to suit modern believers.

Basically all I’m saying is that we really don’t know what the original Bible or any or the other various religious books actually say. All we have now are flawed human translations of what we think they say.

Also for a reality check, religions in general were simple ways to keep order in a time when laws and law enforcement were non existant. What better way to keep people from murdering one another than to make them fear some unseen all knowing being that will punish them in the after life. After all, once some one dies who can prove they were or weren’t punished? Fear is a powerful motivator, create enough of it and you can make people do anything you want.

110.                      110. aplspud -

Tuar: I agree.

111.                      111. Tuar -

Oh, and to clarify, I am not bashing any religion nor am I condoning any particular belief. I simply wish that people would open their minds to the possibilty that maybe just maybe, there is more than just one answer.

More deaths, wars and other atrocities have been caused thru out history because of religion than by anything else. It simply usually breaks down to the fact that we get so rapped up in our own individual religion we just can’t accept the fact that it’s possible we aren’t the only ones who are right.

Religion, like anything else in life is a numbers game. The more people you convince to believe what you believe the more powerful you become. History, and religion goes to those who are still strong enough to be standing when the dust settles.

112.                      112. Michelle -

dude u should really look up what Kaporot is before you publish it as weird….it actually has a meaning behind unlike drinking jesus’s blood (thank you chris) LOOK UP THE FACTS

113.                      113. aplspud -

Michelle: Communion has a reason, its just strange to people who don’t follow that faith. Just as Kaporot has a reason, but that doesn’t make it any less strange to people who don’t observe it.

114.                      114. Jon -

Ok… first and foremost…
DOWRY was listed as NOT BEING A RELIGIOUS practice on the list. So all of you that just like to look at the bold words and the pretty pictures… you’re stupid.

And second, why does anyone care WHAT any of these “religious” practices are for? Religion is a farce and not worthy of serious concern.

115.                      115. wardrich -

Michelle: And the meaning behind it is…?

116.                      116. muslimah -

Thats what I also wanted to quote. That most atheists believe that once we’re dead thats it. Could you perhaps clarify to me why you believe this is?

117.                      117. Ricardo -

In answer to the lady who posted about the niqab I agree that people should not label what they do not understand as weird. Understanding before condemnation is a good idea.
I do think that people who wear things for a religious purpose or do things for a religious reason should understand why they do it though and not just go through the motions.
I observed last summer an Islamic teenage young woman wearing the headscarf to cover her hair but wearing the tightest pair of jeans which left nothing to the imagination at all…she certainly wasn’t being very modest; but she did have her head covered!

118.                      118. aplspud -

Ricardo: That’s similar to the Orthodox Jewish women who spend a thousand dollars or more on wigs in order to cover their natural hair.
I think the long version of the title to this list should be “Religious Practices that Are Perfectly Normal to the Followers of the Faith but Appear Weird to everyone Outside the Religion”

119.                      119. Max Und Moprrritz -

In the Indian Subcontinent there are tens of millions that believe in the transmigration of the human soul via chicken eggs. They believe that we have 32 souls not just one. Many villages have chickens but the local restaurant will not have eggs on the menu. You thought that “My Mother the Car” had no connection to a real rligion, didn’t you.

120.                      120. jfrater -

Max: seriously? Do you have a name for that?

121.                      121. Hulagu -

Why is it that the civilizations that do the least to ward off evil spirits have the least trouble with evil spirits?

122.                      122. Hulagu -

And if your religion has to conceal any of its doctrines/practices from the general public, what are they unconsciously admitting about it?

123.                      123. Yoshi -

Muslimah: I am a Muslim convert (revert to us believers), however, I was once an atheist. The reason atheist’s believe that your consciousness is lost after death is simply because, scientifically, that’s it. In scientific terms, our consciousness is only our brain’s perception of our senses, and nothing more. As our brain stops functioning when we die, it is the scientific viewpoint that our consciousness also ceases.

Also, I’d like to ask, do you consider the Niqab a religious practice, or one of your own free will? As, religiously, we only need to observe hijab, not anything more…at least, as far as I am aware.

124.                      124. M.S. Goda -

I came late to this party, and 120+ comments is too much to read through entirely, so forgive me if I am simply repeating something. But these last few comments — those about atheism — have drawn me in.

I am an atheist. But I do not ‘believe’ once you are dead, you simply cease to be (referring back to ThePenguinator, comment 108)

That is not to say I ‘believe’ there is something more after death.

I simply do not believe.

My position is thus: God may or may not exist; and there are an infinite number of possible iterations in which he exists, and an infinite number in which he does not; and from our lowly vantage point it is thoroughly impossible to prove any iteration to either effect; and as such, the existence or nonexistence of god is irrelevant.

That is, either God exists and the world is as it is, or God does not exist and the world is as it is; and either way, we can only take the world as it is.

So perhaps there is life after death, and perhaps there isn’t. but I, personally, will always remain more concerned with life before death.

And, for the record, I am not depressed.


125.                      125. Hulagu -

M.S. Goda, you qualify as an agnostic.

126.                      126. Drogo -

Well, I am currently developing a new religion. The dress code of my religion is nothing. Not only should you be naked in church but also at home, at work, on the bus, in the supermarket, everywhere! Wearing clothes is a SIN. REPENT! REPENT! Join my church!

(I don’t expect it to go over too well in cold climates)

127.                      127. Jackie -

Hahaha Drogo, that was really funny.

128.                      128. muslimah -

Asalaamu alakum warahmatullahi wabarakatu Yoshi. I believe that islam should be followed as the way Prophet Muhammad and his companions did it. Since they were there at the time of revelation. the sahabiyyat (the women at the time of muhammad) wore the niqab. Muhammad did not stop them from it. when you pray more it does not hurt you it benefits you, when a woman covers more it does not hurt her it benefits her. Niqab is referenced in authentic hadiths, in the Quran, and I also look for the Ulema for advice regarding it. Ive been wanting to wear it since i was 17, but i didnt don it until this summer at the age of 22. if you look on some other great islamic websites you can find some info about the niqab.

129.                      129. SamIam -

Muslimah: why is it Haram (not “kosher”) to wear niqab to Hajj. Women who wear Niqab, are required to remove the niqab, and show their face while perfoming the Hajj. Also Islam is a religion of moderation, that encourages compromise. Also, there is the princible of preventing innovation, or in arabic “Bid’ah”) in response to your statement that more covering of body is better. Also, I do believe that it was only the prophets wives who covered their faces, and it was due to their special status. I would appreciate your response. Thanx :)

130.                      130. felicia1renee -

M.S. Goda (comment #24): Hulagu is correct, your belief system classifies under Agnosticism.

I am also Agnostic and I simply acknowledge the fact that I do not know and I will not know. I am aware that I cannot support nor deny the existence of a greater power.

Believing in a higher power certainly brings comfort to those who practice religion. They think they have the answer, whatever that may be. To question that answer rocks the foundation of their lives, which is forbidden as it causes mass chaos. I attribute the appeal of religion and the defense of religion to that fact in addition to the “numbers game” theory. The more who believe in “A”, the more that believing in “A” will be accepted.

I was actually raised Catholic and I also find the eating of bread and drinking of wine as Jesus’s body and blood is (for lack of a better term) “odd”.

Great chat and great posting!

131.                      131. Boo -

What about the practice of honor killings?

132.                      132. Ozhan -

They are not religious based…

133.                      133. muslimah -

i have found some websites that can do better explaining than i can…

134.                      134. Swizzle -

Tuar and Jfrater make the best points in here!

135.                      135. Yikkity -

Now I can get down with that Jainist Digambaras. I like the philosophy of it. Im in!

136.                      136. jfrater -

Yikkity: don’t forget to donate your clothes to the St Vincent De Paul society :)

137.                      137. Qabandi -

Actualy the NIQAB from what i know is not mostly said to be required by the majority of the sheiks (the scholars)

Its actually a Choice , what is obligated is the HIJAB which is the covering of the hair, and the HIJAB is not only done by Muslims but even Christians , nuns wear them. and a painting of Mariam peace be upon her was painted with her having the hijab.

so the VAIL is obligated but the covering of the face from what i know is not.

138.                      138. muslimah -

honor killings…i dont know, from what i can remember its practiced in india and pakistan, i dont know their reasons for it.

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