1. Iglesia Maradoniana
Have you ever heard someone say ‘Sport is my religion’? Didn’t it seem like a joke? Well, lol, it isn’t. Some people are super serious about this. Case in point right here. Iglesia Maradoniana was set up on October 30th 1998, also known as the 38th birthday of football legend Diego Maradona. With goals like his, it is easy to see why some people see him as a god. Though, some Argentines have not responded so kindly to Maradona’s praise, especially since, you know, the whole drug thing. The church’s 10 commandments are as follows.
The ball is never soiled.
Love football above all else.
Declare unconditional love for Diego and the beauty of football.
Defend the Argentina shirt.
Spread the news of Diego's miracles throughout the universe.
Honour the temples where he played and his sacred shirts.
Don't proclaim Diego as a member of any single team.
Preach and spread the principles of the Church of Maradona.
Make Diego your middle name.
Name your first son Diego.
Honestly, solid rules to live by. Sign us up.
But Star Wars is fiction, we hear you cry. Have you read the bible? Technically this is more of a philosophy than a religion. In 2007, 23-year-old Daniel Jones founded The Church of Jediism with his brother Barney, he thought that the 2001 UK census recognised Jediism as a religion, but they didn’t, and that there were "more Jedi than Scientologists in Britain". In 2009, Jones was removed from a Tesco in North Wales, for refusing to remove his hood on a religious basis. Your religion could never.
This is a social movement that promotes a light-hearted view of religion. Oh, and get this, they worship The Flying Spaghetti Monster. So there you have it. Food is a religion. It is legally recognized as a religion in the Netherlands and New Zealand – where Pastafarian representatives have been authorized to celebrate weddings and where the first legally recognised Pastafarian wedding was performed in April 2016. We’d like to believe that everyone dresses as their favourite pasta shape with the bride wearing a dress of Spaghetti and the groom coming as a Meatball. Think about it, you’d have the most memorable wedding snaps to show your kids.
French former automobile journalist and race car driver Claude Vorilhon, started up this religion in 1974 because he had an alien encounter, with a race called Elohim, that allowed him to understand all religions. The aliens aren’t coming, because they already came and created the world, but they will return once we accept they are real and are ok with living with them. Pretty chill, right? In 2010, Elohim wished to have an embassy built to welcome them home. No word on that yet.
5. Prince Philip Movement
When Prince Philip married the Queen, he would always play second fiddle, but no worries Phil, because some people think you are a god. The Kastom people in the Yaohnanen village of Tanna, are mad about Philip. According to ancient Yaohnanen tales, the son of a mountain spirit travelled over the seas to a distant land. There, he married a powerful woman and in time would return to them. Naturally, Philip fit the bill. Prince Philip kindly sends them signed photographs of himself. It’s nice to give back to your fans.
6. Church of Euthanasia
“Save the Planet, Kill Yourself.” The slogan of the church that advocates for the world to stop reproducing because you know, we are killing the planet. And while you may agree with that, like any other religion, it has some ‘interesting’ beliefs. Their four pillars include Suicide, Cannibalism (of dead bodies), Abortion and Sodomy. They are staunch believers in urine therapy and their website gives you tips on how to correctly cut up a body. Too spooks for me.
7. Banana Cult
Religion and sex, not always are the two paired together, but sexual activity has often been tied to the fertility of crops. A religious leader in Papua New Guinea has taken it to a new level. Promising that if people had sex in public, the banana harvest would increase. Look, it ain’t a phallic fruit for no reason.
Need we even say anything about this? There is just some strange shit going on behind those extravagant buildings and the hush hush nature is super weird. Take the whole Xenu thing for example, you only are let in on the secret of the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy that trapped people in volcanos, and that how their spirit (Thetans) lives on in humans causing them harm, hence the whole Dianetic thing. The fact that they actively threaten people when they try to leave is spooks enough. Don’t join this religion. No.
9. John Frum
Vanuatu, a small island in the Pacific Ocean, is the happiest place on earth (with a happy planet index score of 40.6) and is also home to the cargo cult of John Frum, an American World War II service man. The worship of John Frum (John from America) started in the 30s and is still going strong. February 15th is John Frum day where its followers gather together and celebrate at the top of a mountain where they have created an airstrip that they hope will bring John Frum back. According to them, John Frum is promised to return with radios, TVs, trucks, boats, watches, iceboxes, medicine, Coca-Cola and many other wonderful things.
10. Universe People
Founded in the 1990s we have another group of people who believe in UFOs. According to Ivo. A. Benda (the founder), extraterrestrial civilizations operate a fleet of spaceships, led by Ashtar Galactic Command, orbiting the Earth. They closely watch and help the good. They are waiting to transport their followers into another dimension. They don’t believe in technology and want to get rid of money. So that’s fun.
Photography by Calvin Freeman