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Old 10-03-2010, 05:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
Eat your vegetables
genuinegirly's Avatar
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Location: Arabidopsis-ville
Off the Beaten Path

What is the most obscure religion you can think of?
Tell me all you know about it. I want to hear any layman's understanding of it, or scholarly.
Feel free to correct what you perceive as errors by the previous poster.
What do you see as some common misconceptions about that belief system?
Have you spent any time formally studying an odd religion?

Here are a few to get you started:

Any and all cults

I took a course entitled Religions of the World at BYU about a decade ago that was fascinating. Naturally it compared every religion covered to Mormonism, which in itself was interesting, now that I look back on it. My favorite religion from that course was Jain. Their focus on respecting all life. Their vegetarian lifestyle seemed novel to me, and the morality encouraged by the faith honorable. I found out later that one of my best friends' mothers was/is Jain. It made me respect it all the more.

Last edited by genuinegirly; 10-03-2010 at 07:54 AM..
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
Une petite chou
noodle's Avatar
Location: With All Your Base
My father's family is Mennonite. It's a less stringent division of the Amish.
The basic social "laws" of the Mennonites include the demure dress, women wearing coverings after age 12 ( I think) and girls in braids. Women in traditional Mennonite homes rarely work outside the home, if they do, it's in a helping profession or something related to building a stronger community (e.g. selling goods made or grown in the home). Children are encouraged to take part in all of the chores and responsibilities that occur in the home first and foremost, with school important, but second. Men typically also work in a position that contributes to a stronger community, like building, farming, vehicle repair, etc. Older Mennonites often stick to some of the more Amish-like "rules" including riding tricycles instead of driving cars, using candles after dark, and the like. Men and boys also wear more demure clothing as well. Legs are covered after a certain age, never exposed above the knee for either gender at any age. Men do not have to wear beards any more in traditional homes, but some do anyway.

From what I've learned, the religious aspects of the Mennonite culture center around building stronger communities (like the Amish), respect for God, and the traditional patriarchial society. Women are allowed to use birth control now, but it isn't really talked about. Traditional families are large, the children share in the burden of work and the belief is often that God wouldn't give them more than they could handle. My father's aunt had 17 children... 14 lived, I think. The women are expected to hold the household together, raise the children, and teach the Biblical laws and when the men come home, they are the Teachers, disciplinarians, and sometimes the "ruler" of the home.

Everything to me just feels very typical of most Christian-based cultures, but these followers are in what I view as almost "recovery" from the Amish beliefs. Strong community, strong churches, helping each other, demure dress and covering the body, protecting children from negative influences... but allowing for electricity, television (to a point), cars, modern conveniences, as long as they are still Christian. The cuisine is very German-based, heavy down-to-earth meals, lots of carbs, meat, and vegetables. Much is home-grown where able. Again, that focus on community... trading for what you don't have or selling it. And they have no qualms about interacting with those outside the Mennonite community. Best grocers in the town where I grew up.
And let me tell you, NOTHING beats a Mennonite pie of any kind.

Is that sorta what you're looking for, GG?
(By the way... when I was 12, I did a family tree. At that point, I had 225 first and second cousins. I can't count now, it was up to four hundred something and third cousins in my 20s)
Here's how life works: you either get to ask for an apology or you get to shoot people. Not both. House

Originally Posted by Plan9
Just realize that you're armed with smart but heavily outnumbered.
The question isnít who is going to let me; itís who is going to stop me. Ayn Rand
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
Eat your vegetables
genuinegirly's Avatar
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Location: Arabidopsis-ville
Perfect, Noodle! Thanks for kicking off the thread with a fascinating faith. I knew nothing about them.

There are some Mennonites that come to sell flowers and produce at the farmers market in town, they are always the first to arrive, the last to leave, and their flowers are so colorful.

Last edited by genuinegirly; 10-03-2010 at 07:06 AM..
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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While I have no knowledge of Druidry, I did notice that Britain just recognized it as an established religion recently.

Britain recognizes Druidry as religion for first time, gives it charitable status – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs

The only thing I know about it previous to reading the above was the religion's connection to Stonehenge. I would have guessed Druidry would have disappeared by now, but obviously not.

There's also Rastafari, which is known for its use of weed in its ceremonies.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
Eat your vegetables
genuinegirly's Avatar
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Location: Arabidopsis-ville
Thanks for the article, Craven. I didn't realize that Druids were still around, either.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
comfortably numb...
uncle phil's Avatar
Super Moderator
Location: upstate
i don't have a lot of firsthand knowledge about the coptic church, but there is a wealth of information here:

CopticChurch.Net - Coptic Orthodox Church Network

and here:

Encyclopedia Coptica: The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church Of Egypt
"We were wrong, terribly wrong. (We) should not have tried to fight a guerrilla war with conventional military tactics against a foe willing to absorb enormous casualties...in a country lacking the fundamental political stability necessary to conduct effective military and pacification operations. It could not be done and it was not done."
- Robert S. McNamara
"We will take our napalm and flame throwers out of the land that scarcely knows the use of matches...
We will leave you your small joys and smaller troubles."
- Eugene McCarthy in "Vietnam Message"
never wrestle with a pig.
you both get dirty;
the pig likes it.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
Pearl Trade's Avatar
Location: Houston, Texas
What about the Jim Jones gang? They drank the Kool-Aid, that's all I know. I'm sure he had some whacky religious ideas. Same to the Waco people.

I think the Amish are fascinating. It requires a strong faith to get by the way they do in this ever increasing technological world. And how they get the choice as teenagers to either stay with the faith or leave is extraordinary. All of the emotions and longings that come with that choice is something I could never deal with.
Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.
Give me convenience or give me death!
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
G~man's Avatar
Location: Here there and everywhere.
I am an ordained "Dudist" minister. Read all about it here:

The Church Of The Latter Day Dude
☻/ G~man.........
/▌ "Life may not be the party we hoped for----
/ \ but while we're here, we might as well dance ! ! ! "
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Old 10-03-2010, 01:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
Location: My head.
Originally Posted by G~man View Post
I am an ordained "Dudist" minister. Read all about it here:

The Church Of The Latter Day Dude
AWESOME!! I always thought I'd be without religion ... I have found one now!
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Old 10-03-2010, 08:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
Young Crumudgeon
Martian's Avatar
Location: Canada
A quick aside on the Mennonite -- the way that I understand it is that levels of tolerance towards modern modes of dress and/or technology vary based on the specific community and sometime amongst families. My understanding of it is that the elders of the community are collectively responsible for deciding what sorts of technologies and conveniences the community are going to allow and disallow. The ultimate concerns are humility and togetherness; anything that encourages vanity or threatens the close-knit nature of the community is generally decided against, unless there's a very good reason for it.

This is why some Mennonite communities will make use of cars, for example, while others will not. There's a Mennonite community near my home town, and they have posts out behind the hardware store for them to tie their horse buggies to.

Note that almost all of this is based on my own reading which was to satisfy my curiosity, and therefore comes with the very large caveat that it's not firsthand and may not be one hundred percent accurate. Despite having seen Mennonites around town on a nearly daily basis while growing up, I never really had an opportunity to learn about them from themselves. It turns out that, while polite, they tend to be somewhat withdrawn and keep to themselves. Mostly, I gather, they just want to be left alone.

I did go to high school with a girl who was a Hare Krishna and was happy to explain her faith. No, she didn't shave her head or dress funny. She was vegan, believed in the sanctity of all life, and believed in Godhead -- which by my (again, quite possibly flawed) understanding was basically a way of saying that all living things are interconnected, spiritually speaking. I know that her family participated in meditation and chants and so forth, though I never saw any of it first hand. They were quite open and if I'd been braver then I probably could've asked to sit in and learn, but alas I wasn't the same guy then as I am now.

She was kind of a hippie, in retrospect. I wish I could remember more about her faith, but this is going back a good ten years now since I last saw her.
I wake up in the morning more tired than before I slept
I get through cryin' and I'm sadder than before I wept
I get through thinkin' now, and the thoughts have left my head
I get through speakin' and I can't remember, not a word that I said

- Ben Harper, Show Me A Little Shame
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