Christopher Schaeffer is the newest town councilman in Pomfret, N.Y., but what sets him apart from the other members is the fact that he’s a Pastafarian. Sound like a fictional, made-up religion that was devised by pasta-loving children? We thought so too, until we discovered that it is an actual church. In addition, there are a lot of other unusual religions that people actually practice. They almost make Scientology look normal.
Church of All Worlds – Also known as CAW, this neo-pagan religion is based out of Cotati, California and aims to awaken the powers of Mother Earth, uniting her with all of her children via a small tribal community. They base their mythology in ancient Greek myths, fairies, angels and other beings, and their latest development includes The Grey School of Wizardry, inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School.
Happy Science Religion – Sounds like something you’d see in cute font on the outside of a Japanese lunchbox or pencil case: adorable but makes no sense. This religion was founded by Ryuho Okawa who believes that his mission in life is to bring happiness to all of humanity. Some of his claims include the belief that the angel Gabriel will show up in Bangkok after half a century, and aliens will pay visit to earthlings in the next three to four centuries. Just as Tom Cruise is seen as the face of Scientology, we’re guessing that Hello Kitty will ultimately sign on as the celebrity representative for this random religion.
Jediism – Star Wars fans, rejoice. This religion is a blend of Buddhism and Taoism principles that places great emphasis on medieval chivalry. Followers of this religion, also known as Jedis, believe in the Force – the energy that holds the Universe together and flows through all material things. Committed to a strict moral code, Jedis are supposedly capable of using and controlling the Force.
Pastafarianism – If images of a guy with dreadlocks eating pasta from a bowl are coming to mind, think again. Schaeffer actually is a minister for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which was founded by an atheist back in 2005. Just like the Christians are represented by the cross and Jews have their Star of David, Pastafarians have their own representative symbol: the colander, which they wear on their heads. Schaeffer wore his colander as he was sworn into office, and Bobby Henderson, the founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, claimed that Schaefer “may be the first openly Pastafarian sworn into office.” While many people question the sincerity of the religion, Henderson points out that it’s more of a statement regarding religious freedom that argues that the philosophic burden of proof rests on the shoulders of those who make unfalsifiable claims. He refers to it as “a religion without any dogma.”