People have been turning to religion for answers to the most difficult questions as long as humanity has existed. However, if you are from the West, and a member of a monotheistic religion, you probably have not paid much attention to numerous religious options other parts of the world have to offer. Due to the popularity Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and other religions have, we seldom think about other, smaller and less popular religions. In truth, there are well over four thousand religions all over the world, each of them important to the followers gathered around it. Many of them may seem odd or unusual to us, but they are nevertheless colorful elements that contribute to the rich cultural heritage of the world. With that in mind, here are five interesting religions that you probably have not heard of.
Cheondoism is a religion that was founded in Korea in the twentieth century, under the influence of Eastern philosophy, but also under the Christian influence from the West. This religion is a blend of the two, consisting of both monotheistic and pantheistic views; they believe that God is within every being, and that all humans have the right and the obligation to make the world a better place for everyone. This positive attitude resonated well with the people of Korea, and it quickly became popular, especially with North Korean people.
This religion was established in Persia (Iran) in the sixth century BC. It became popular because it reduced the significance of formal religious practices, but insisted that a good and religious man should sense and follow the moral laws and principles of the universe. Aside from that, the founder of this religion, a man named Mazdak, also created social programs for poor people; unfortunately this included his followers raiding rich Zoroastrian temples and taking their treasures, as they believed that all people had equal rights to possess it.
Aladura is a religion that is most popular in Nigeria, and it stems from the influence of the Anglican Church in Africa, by combining the Anglican tradition with African customs and rituals. This religion broadens the common Christian topics and focuses mainly on strict moral behavior and spiritual healing, done by special prophets who are chosen by the heavens. It has around a million followers across Africa.
This is a religion which is very eclectic in its character, as it successfully combines elements of Catholicism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Although it was founded in the first half of the twentieth century, it has succeeded in gathering more than four million people around the idea of creating a more tolerant and peaceful world. Many of the rituals used are borrowed from Taoism, and people not only pray in groups but also perform complex ceremonies.
This is another religion that occurred in Korea, where people believe that the founder of the church, Sun Myung Moon is the Messiah, and follow the principle that all nature is divided into masculine and feminine parts, which need to come together and be united in a divine whole, in order to fully enjoy life. One of their goals is also to create “true families”, which is often done by performing weddings in large groups.