Religion has been around for the duration of recorded history. Though the religions of the world have shifted and changed dramatically over the course of thousands of years, many remain some of the most important belief systems found on the planet. Many religions have dropped practices over the years that no longer make sense. This sometimes creates splits within the religion, which is why there are so many different subsets of Christianity. Despite how much religion changes, some beliefs and religious practices stick around regardless of how odd they seem.
Calling the beliefs of another “odd” can be dangerous territory to walk. While all religions have a couple of rituals that don’t quite add up, there are some that can raise eyebrows more easily than others. Instead of writing these beliefs off as bizarre, it can be interesting to learn more. Taking a closer look at these practices can help you to better understand the different religions of the world and the strong beliefs held by those who practice each. Here are some of the more interesting religious practices that are still in effect today.
Religious Practice of Exorcism
Perhaps the most widely known of odd religious beliefs, the exorcism has been a popular ritual in Christianity for a long time. An exorcism is a practice where a bad spirit, demon, or messenger of the devil is removed from a living person through various means. Although it is not a widely accepted belief among most modern Catholics, there is still a very large number of people who believe that exorcisms are important practices that must be performed under specific circumstances.
The problem with a practice like exorcism is that there have been many hoaxes. It is hard for most people to accept possession as a threat because of the large number of men and women who have faked possession over the years. Still, there are some unexplained events surrounding a handful of exorcisms. Deep research can uncover stories about priests who encountered all kinds of bizarre and terrifying visions while attempting to exorcise a bad spirit from an innocent soul.
There are some religious beliefs that originated in more modern times and have evolved in confusing ways over the years. Jehovah’s Witnesses follow some very strict rules. Those who practice this religion do not celebrate holidays and often do not engage in any kind of drinking of any variety. These facts are not that surprising, and most people know this about Jehovah’s Witnesses. What fewer people outside of the medical community know is that Jehovah’s Witnesses follow a very specific belief that prevents them from having blood transfusions for any reason.
This belief stems from a very specific reading of the Bible and the idea that it is unholy to consume or store blood that is not your own. The belief first came about in the early 1940s and became even more strict since then. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not even allowed to receive a blood transfusion in a time of emergency. This has led to some compromising situations for medical professionals, who must do everything in their power to save a life. Despite the harm it can cause to an individual’s health, the practice continues to this day.
Strange and Familiar
Religion is interesting because it can all seem bizarre to an outside eye. What is completely normal and rational to the follower of one religion can seem entirely ridiculous to another. In order for the world to become a more open and productive place, it is crucial that people begin to learn about and attempt to understand one another’s beliefs. The more that humanity reaches out to each other, the easier it will be to bridge gaps and turn the planet into a functional and happy place.