12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out – And Some That Came Back

Grace
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Religions come and go, just like the tides of the ocean. They find their origins in flourishing civilizations, mark their presence, and then fade into the annals of time, leaving behind a rich tapestry of beliefs, practices, and stories. Our journey today will take us down the forgotten lanes of history, unearthing twelve such fascinating religions that have disappeared. But the tale does not end there.

For some of these spiritual paths, the echoes of their philosophies have whispered through the centuries, inspiring modern revivals.

Catharism

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Canva by Stephane Biduoze

The followers of the religion were known as the ‘Pure Ones,’ a humble people whose beliefs centered around the dualistic nature of good and evil, earthy life, and heavenly existence. This peaceful community’s tenets opposed the Catholic Church’s teachings, leading to relentless persecution, culminating in the Albigensian Crusade.

Yet, their spiritual hymns still resonate, whispering tales of a faith that dared to challenge prevailing norms against overwhelming odds.

Finnish Paganism

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Canva by Nejron

Finnish paganism was a religion intimately tied to nature. Rooted in the ancient boreal forests of Finland, it was a pantheon that revered spirits of earth, sky, and water. This captivating belief system has been reborn in modern times, with echoes of its ancient reverence for the natural world resonating in the hearts of those seeking a deeper connection to the environment. The Finning Church surveyed and discovered that only 23% of the congregation believed in God and its teachings, and 27% believed in God in any other way.

Just as the cycles of the forest are unending, Finnish paganism stands as a testament to the enduring power of tradition and the timeless allure of the natural world.

Manichaeism

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Unknown artist of Yüen Dynasty China via Wikimedia Commons

This illustrious faith, initiated by the prophet Mani in the 3rd century, elegantly weaved together elements from distinct religions, creating a rich tapestry of spiritual enlightenment and dualistic belief.

Manichaeism proposed a cosmic battle between light and darkness, good and evil, a concept that resonated deeply with its followers. Ancient Origins has reviewed this religion as being the most widespread and has posed a threat to Christianity.

Vedism

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
AEO via Wikimedia Commons

Its inception can be traced back to the Bronze Age, a testament to its deep-rooted presence in human history. Rooted in the Vedic texts, the religion offered a rich tapestry of deities, hymns, and rituals, making it a vibrant spiritual landscape where philosophy met divine worship.

There has been a debate on where this religion came from. Many say it is organic and is from the development of Vedic cultures. Some believe the Aryan people brought it.

Genghis Khan

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Canva by Andrey Khrobostov

Genghis Khan commanded an empire across Asia; his spiritual beliefs were as diverse as those of his conquered lands. While he held his traditional Mongolian shamanistic faith close, he also demonstrated an extraordinary openness to the religions of his subjects. From Buddhism to Christianity, Khan allowed his empire to thrive in a melting pot of beliefs.

His reign, although famous for warfare, brought about an unexpected religious renaissance that faded with his dynasty but left an indelible mark on religious history.

Peaceful Minoan Goddess

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Canva by iuliia_n

In the heart of the Aegean Sea, the Minoan civilization, flourishing and serene, worshipped the Great Goddess, a deity of peace, harmony, and fertility. Revered for her nurturing spirit, she was a beacon of tranquility amidst a world often beset by chaos, a symbol of the balance between the natural world and human existence.

Experts have said that the Minoan Goddess symbolized women’s role as healers and midwives and was honored as a goddess of fertility, nature, and birth.

Judaism

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Canva by Welcomia

Judaism, a vibrant religion that has endured the sands of time, is a beacon of resilience and faith. Despite facing numerous challenges over its nearly four-thousand-year history, it has survived and thrived, evolving in its practices and interpretations.

The journey of Judaism is a testament to the enduring power of faith and the human spirit’s unwavering fortitude.

Zoroastrianism

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Canva by FazardFrames

With roots reaching back to the ancient Persian empire over 3,500 years ago, it is one of the oldest monotheistic faiths. Yet, despite its profound influence on later religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Zoroastrianism gradually faded into the hidden corners of history.

Nietzsche, who is a novelist, has been at the forefront of promoting the religion. In his book, he follows the prophet Zarathustra as he travels, where most people found it to be ironic because he was an atheist

Canaanite Polytheism

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Canva by Studio Grand Web

The Canaanites revered numerous gods and goddesses, each presiding over a unique sphere of life, painting a dynamic, colorful cosmology that resonated deeply with their daily experiences. Although the echoes of Canaanite Polytheism have faded over the millennia, they still whisper in humanity’s collective memory. This religion had many gods, including Asherah, Baal, Arstate, and Yahweh.

Druidism

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Canva by Rolling Earth

The Druids, the spiritual leaders, were seers and sages, respected as much for their wisdom as for their harmonious connection with the world around them. With time, the enchanting cadence of Druidism was drowned out by the marching beats of new religions. Yet, much like a seed lying dormant beneath the frosty winter earth, Druidism held the power of resurrection within its core.

A few modern, like the 1912 radical socialists, were responsible for campaigning for peace and fellowship across all faiths. They also were in charge of ceremonies at Stonehenge, which happens even today.

Mithraism

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Canva by Bepslabor

Shrouded in secrecy, this enigmatic faith revolved around worshipping the god Mithras, often depicted slaying a sacred bull. Mithraic rituals, profoundly symbolic and held in underground temples, echoed a profound respect for friendship and cosmic harmony.

However, Mithraism faded into the shadows of history, swallowed whole by the expanding Christian faith. Its motifs and rites might be lost, but the intrigue it sparks in the modern mind is a testament to the power and allure of ancient belief systems.

Japanese Emperor Worship

12 Fascinating Religions That Have Died Out - And Some That Came Back
Canva by BGStock72

Once upon a time in Japan, the Emperor was not just a political figurehead but a divine entity, an intermediary between the earthly realm and the sacred celestial universe. A living symbol of the nation’s unity and continuity, the Emperor commanded a profound and personal reverence.

An Article written by Japan this tours states that this religion was followed until 1945, and the people who lived then were not allowed to call emperors by their names; they used the era names.

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  • Grace

    Grace combines her legal education with her interests in art, travel, history, writing, and nature to produce well-rounded and engaging content.

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