A Brief History
On November 8, 1837, Mary Lyon founded Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, which later became Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Earlier, Lyon had founded Wheaton Female Seminary, also in Massachusetts. Despite the title word “Seminary” in the colleges founded by Mary Lyon, she was neither a clergy person nor creating a school for future clergy, although she was indeed a devout Christian. Today we take a look at some religious beliefs that are likely to confuse, confound or perhaps totally discombobulate those persons not of that particular set of beliefs. (No value judgements are made or implied here! We are merely pointing out some beliefs that might cause non-believers some serious wonder. No disrespect is intended.) Obviously, this article only scratches the surface of religious beliefs that people from other belief set would find incredible. Feel free to tell us other such beliefs that you find incomprehensible.
Catholic Saints (All quite real, pretty much there is a patron saint for every type of person, occupation, or problem! Non-believers claim the Christian saints are merely a continuation of the pagan gods that previous civilizations had for just about every aspect of life and nature.)
Saint Adrian of Nicomedia, Patron Saint of Arms Dealers (Feast Day 8 September) This worthy Christian was working as a member of the Herculian Guard under Maximinian, Emperor of Rome, head of the praetorium (headquarters) detachment. Given the task of torturing and killing Christians, Adrian became convinced of the Christian faith and converted along with his wife, Natalia, who is venerated by the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church as well as the Catholic Church. Sadly for Adrian, a person who may or may not even be real, he was put to death himself because of his Christian faith, without even being baptized. Cut into little pieces, his wife was only able to salvage one of his hands. Arms Dealers? Who knew they even needed their own saint?
Saint Eligius, Patron Saint of Gas Station Workers (Feast Day 1 December) Since this holy man lived far before the advent of cars and gas stations (born 588, died 660), you may wonder how such an assignment could be attributed to him. Well, he used to be the Patron Saint of horses and harness makers, but his repertoire was expanded when motor vehicles became a thing. In fact, this single individual is a patron of so many different things and persons it is a wonder how he could possibly deal with all the prayers coming his way. Some of those fields under his patronage include: Coin collectors, gilders, jockeys, knife makers, veterinarians, locksmiths, miners, tool makers, engineers, etc, etc! Eligius is notable for removing the leg of a horse in order to reshoe the animal’s hoof, promptly reattaching the severed limb after the new horseshoe was affixed!
Saint Joseph of Cupertino, Patron Saint of Test Takers and Mental Handicaps (Feast Day 18 September) The patron of Students in general and especially those taking a test (examination), and extra especially those students with mental handicaps taking tests, Joseph himself had a serious problem concentrating because he so frequently experienced ecstatic visions, causing him to stop whatever he was doing and stand around gaping in amazement. Also known as “The Flying Saint,” Joseph was known to often levitate and float around during his visions. This tendency to fly also earned Joseph the patronage of Astronauts and Aviators although he lived during the 17th Century.
Planets and Spaceships, Various Religions
Latter Day Saints You may often hear that the LDS (Mormons) believe each believer gets their own personal planet to spend eternity on after Earthly death, but that assertion is denied by the LDS with a bit more context thrown in to explain their beliefs. In fact, the Broadway play, The Book of Mormon, does little to dispel this common perception. On the other hand, the LDS does have a belief in a planet called Kolob where God lives and perhaps is also where heaven is. Previous Mormon teaching included an implication that believers would be able to create their own planet (or something like that) as they assume God-like powers after death. Another controversial teaching of the Church of LDS concerns Black people, previously (until 1978) refusing them admittance to Mormon clergy and claiming such people are “stained,” somehow lesser people in the eyes of God. The Mormon teaching that Jews traveled to the United States and set up a civilization here about 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ may also give non-believers reason to pause, especially since no archaeological evidence has ever been found to support such an assertion.
Nation of Islam Created by a former inmate of San Quentin Prison, Wallace Fard Muhammad, the NOI is a rough take off on the Islamic religion founded by Muhammad. More of an exercise in Black Supremacy, the NOI preaches the general “goodness” of being of black African descent, while White (Caucasian) people are inherently evil, although Fard’s ancestry is unclear as he used numerous aliases and claimed several nationalities during his life. As a religion that believes the end of times is near, the NOI teaches its believers that a Wheel, or Mother Plane, or Mother Ship (space ship) or even a small planet (half mile in diameter) is orbiting the Earth and that Allah and other estimable Nation of Islam adherents occupy this Mother Ship keeping a watchful eye on humans on Earth. The large Mother Ship is also home to numerous Baby Ships, smaller spacecraft, that sometimes visit the Earth’s surface. During the soon to be expected Apocalypse, the Mother Ship and Baby Ships will travel to Earth to plant bombs to kill all the White people, while taking pious Nation of Islam members off the doomed Earth to live in eternal happiness until hundreds of years later, when the destroyed Earth cools down, and these Black survivors of the human race will be transported back to Earth to create and live in a Black Paradise. According to NOI leaders, powerful White people on Earth today are aware of the truth of the preceding prophecy and that all space exploration and research is a secret plan to try to circumvent the inevitable erasure of the White ruling class and creation of Black paradise, especially by finding a way to attack the Mother Ship.
Scientology created by a science fiction writer (L. Ron Hubbard), Scientology is famous for its celebrity adherents, such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Nancy (voice of Bart Simpson) Cartwright, Isaac Hayes (Can you dig it?), and Lisa Marie Presley (former member). The space related part of the religion comes in the form of an ancient intergalactic civilization that largely died out, leaving “body thetans” behind to plague modern humans on Earth. Furthermore, when humans die, their “thetan” or “soul” (essence or whatever) goes to “a landing area on Venus” for further processing, before being returned to Earth. As non-Scientologists will quickly point out, no space exploration has yet shown any evidence of such a landing area on the surface of Venus, although in the 1950’s when Hubbard founded Scientology there was no space exploration of Venus.
Question for students (and subscribers): What hard to believe religious belief would you add to this list? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Mailhiot, Derek. THE WISE WACKY WONDERFUL WORD OF GOD. Self Published, 2019.
Reece, Gregory. Weird Science and Bizarre Beliefs: Mysterious Creatures, Lost Worlds and Amazing Inventions. I.B. Tauris, 2008.
The featured image in this article, Mount Holyoke in 1837, is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer.