10 Utterly Fascinating Cults

People believe in some very strange things. And a lot of them are about aliens.

wicker man
British Lion Films

The world is a bouquet of diverse and varied beliefs and creeds. And some of them are mental. We define what belief is crazy by holding it against our own standards of sanity and legitimacy, but sometimes throughout the course of human history spiritual organisations have come along that are just inherently weird – and have been considered by the world at large to be cults. And maybe the term cult is like Potter Stewart's famous definition of pornography: “I know it when I see it.” Not something easily defined but obvious on inspection.

The study of religion is a fascinating one: many cultures and people throughout history have subscribed to an extraordinary array of belief systems, and it's not really the job of any one person to define the legitimacy or otherwise of anyone else's faith.

As a general rule we should try and be accepting and understanding as possible to different beliefs. There is too much conflict in the world based around religious disagreement and it's a lack of understanding and patience that fuel these conflicts. Conversely, if your belief system revolves around extraterrestrial beings, extortion, kidnapping, murder or divination through the toes then maybe you should have a good long look at yourself before looking beyond the confines of this world to another dimension where God is on the Jedi council.

10. Raëlism

Raelians Japan

Raëlism was founded by French professional sports car tester and former pop musician, Claude Vorihon. In 1973 after a profound and life-changing meeting with extraterrestrial beings, who during a series of meetings with Vorihon laid out the foundations of the Raëlism movement, Vorihon changed his name to Raël and devoted his life to progressing the aliens' agenda.

Raëlians' beliefs mostly centre around aliens. Specifically the Elohim, a race of angelic alien scientists. (It should be noted that the Elohim prefer the term extraterrestrial, as the term 'alien' carries negative connotations.) What the Elohim want more than anything is an embassy and an invitation to Earth, so they charged Raël with getting that done. The embassy must have a landing pad for spaceships and a swimming pool, so finding the right real estate has proven pretty tricky. In 2010 the Raëlians received word that the Elohim would like the embassy built in China, but they have a deadline of 2035 so the clock is ticking.

Oh, and they're really into cloning.They attribute the resurrection of Jesus to cloning. They wanted to clone Hitler so he could be put on trial for war crimes, claimed to have conceived a human baby through cloning technology, and believe humanity can obtain immortality through cloning. Really, really into cloning.

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