I'm interested in religions. People call the "religions of the book" Jews, Christians, and Muslims, but there are other religions that are either
offshoots or inter-related somehow, which I find extremely interesting, and wonder why some of them are not as popular.
LDS: Latter-Day Saints, aka Mormonism. Information is easily available on this religion, which I would consider a "religion of the book" as well.
It is a fast-growing religion, and seems to be as legitimate as Islam. Both Islam and LDS have another prophet after Jesus. I won't go into details
on this one yet.
Rastafari: Most people think of dread-locked Jamaicans using all-natural drugs, but this is actually an authentic religion. According to their
beliefs, the former king of Ethiopia WAS/IS Jesus. Now, Ethiopia has had Jews and Christians for thousands of years. When they claim Haille Sallesie
(Ras Tafari) was a descendant of King David, it could very well be true. He could also still be alive. Jesus could have come back, and is here on
earth right now, roaming Ethiopia as a sort of hermit. Although there are people today who claim to be Jesus, or whatever, this religion seems the
most legitimate if Jesus has already returned.
Haitian Vodou: This is not exactly a "religion of the book" but practitioners consider themselves "Catholic" for several reasons, although many
aspects are anti-Catholic. Their religion believes in a Supreme Being, but also many other lesser deities, for example, goddesses of love, god of the
sea, god of war, and so on. It reminds me very much of the old mythology religions, such as in ancient Greece, except Catholic Saints represent the
various deities. What is most interesting about Vodou is the possession of humans by the gods & goddesses themselves. Individuals are possessed by
these deities and communicate with other human beings. That is how the existence of these deities is known, which was also an aspect of ancient Greek
religion, for example, the Oracle of Delphi.
There are many smaller Middle-Eastern-based religions:
Bahai is a fast-growing religion out of Iran. They believe in many prophets, mixing many religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and others.
The only reason this religion is not spreading faster is the persecution of it. Islamic countries find it heretical, and the Iranian government
suppresses it. If there was freedom of religion in the Middle-East, this faith would surely spread. The common belief that, they were all prophets
and all religions have truth, cannot be easily proclaimed in many areas of the world.
Mandeans: This nearly extinct religion in Southern Iraq claims that John the Baptist was the actual Messiah, and Jesus wasn't really that important.
They have their own sort of Bibles, and a very different view on religion compared to the other "religions of the book." They are also being
persecuted in the Middle-East, the few that are left.
Yezidis live mainly in Northern Iraq, and are also persecuted. Their beliefs include a pantheon of deities, angels and archangels, with the main
being represented by a peacock. Many of their beliefs are survivals of pre-Christian religions. They are sometimes called Devil-worshipers, because
they fear & respect Satan, whose name is so powerful they cannot say it out-loud. They also think Jesus was an angel who came to earth as a man.
They think they are descendants of Adam and not Eve, so are therefore never allowed to breed with other populations, never to taint their blood with
Anyone else find all these off-shoot religions interesting?