Thursday, December 26, 2013

Stranger than Fiction

     Many religions have 'wonderous' beliefs or recount stories of important figures performing acts that, if they took place today, would not be believable. Jesus walking on water and Mohammed flying to heaven on a winged horse are just two difficult-to-believe events. But some 'unbelievable' acts were indeed real. In the 11th century, Hasan bin Sabah (see post: Death Cults) declared "Nothing is forbidden. Everything is permitted" and showed his (drugged) followers the magic garden that was 'Heaven on earth'. This Muslim sect would then carry out ritual killings of political foes (while under the influence of hashish).
 Hasan bin Sabah

     Genital mutilation or castration is an act carried out by several groups in religion: The priests of the temple of Astarte in ancient Syria castrated themselves in public and threw their severed genitalia into the throng of on-lookers. Origen, one of the fathers of the early Church, castrated himself so as he could properly teach Christianity to women.
     Russian peasant sects such as the Skoptsky performed mastectomies on their female followers and castrated male followers in 2 stages: first, the testicles were burned off and, at a later date, the penis was removed with a knife or razor. Apparently, this prevented the members from desiring the 'lust and pleasures of the flesh'. The Russian 'Khlysty' recount the story of their founder, Danila Philliopova, being crucified and skinned alive by the authorities and then coming back to life.

     But there are other stranger tales/beliefs that exist among religions today. The 'Cargo Cult' of Vanuatu (and other islands of the South Pacific), relates to Europeans who seemed to avoid work and sit at desks and yet were rewarded with 'cargo' brought in by ship, plane or dropped from the sky. Followers build airstrips and wooden 'radios' in expectation of the 'coming of cargo' and return of the possible initiator of this belief, a man named John Frum.
     Today, the International Raelian Movement teaches its followers that extraterrestrials created life on earth through genetic engineering, human cloning and mind-transfer. Unarians use 'forth dimensional physics' to communicate with beings that exist on a 'higher plane'.

Scientology-Casting Out the Thetans

     The Church of Scientology teaches that thetans (humans), upon death, go to a landing station on Venus, are programmed to forget their previous lives and are then dumped into the ocean off of California.
     *Religious belief: subject of research for the novel  The Tao of the Thirteenth God - Amazon Kindle.

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