6 Interesting Religions You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Published May 21, 2014
Updated September 5, 2023
Interesting Religions Falun Gong

Source: Falun Info

Bad news, monotheists: you’re not even close to having a monopoly over the world’s narratives on purpose and morality. At present, it’s estimated that over 4,000 religions exist across the world, ranging from the well-established to the cult-like. Whatever your divine quest, it seems there’s a spiritual niche just for you. Here are six lesser known groups that have larger followings from around the world.

Interesting Religions: Falun Gong

Interesting Religions Meditation

Source: Minghui

Founded in China in 1992, Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline where followers try to obtain renewal and better health through meditation. The three tenets of belief are truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. It combines elements of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, with a dash of Chinese folklore. By the late 1990s, the Communist Party began to view Falun Gong as a threat due to its independence and large size (some estimated that by the late 90s, Falun Gong had over ten million followers), and initiated a massive propaganda campaign to bring it to an end.

Interesting Religions Falun Gong Protest

Source: Minghui

In April 1999, over 10,000 Falun Gong followers gathered peacefully near the government compound to request legal recognition and freedom from harassment by the state. Many see this event as the catalyst to the subsequent suppression movement, where Chinese security forces abducted, tortured, detained and killed thousands of Falun Gong leaders. Since the gathering, Falun Gong adherents have fought to try party leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity.


Interesting Religions Asatru

Source: About

Ásatrú means belief in the gods in Old Norse, and enforces a simple code of noble living while worshipping four main deities. The religion itself is thousands of years old, far older than Christianity. Though it is often lumped together with Neopagan religions, Ásatrú differs from mainstream Neopaganism; it is based firmly on historical Nordic records and embraces polytheistic spiritual beliefs.

Interesting Religions Asatru

Source: Blogspot

No universal “practice” or understanding of Ásatrú really exists, but many groups celebrate with blóts, a communal event held several times a year, and sumbel, wherein mead (honey-wine) or ale is used for making toasts to gods, heroes, or ancestors. The Ásatrú “emblem of belief” was added to the list of approved headstone markers by the U.S. State Department of Veterans Affairs, that emblem being the Hammer of Thor.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Kelly, Erin. "6 Interesting Religions You Probably Haven’t Heard Of." AllThatsInteresting.com, May 21, 2014, https://allthatsinteresting.com/interesting-religions. Accessed June 13, 2024.