As an atheist, I find it difficult to imagine how people of faith feel. I imagine that they feel all warm and tickly and are strengthened by their sense of community right up until the point that they drink the Kool-Aid. Still, there are some rituals in religion today that seem strangely out of date in the modern world, if not down right creepy.

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Take the Mormons and their magic underpants. The Mormons have a lot of secret ceremonies, but it is difficult to take them seriously when you picture them in their magic underpants. The underpants have the symbols of the freemason embroidered onto them, as well as a small incision in the knee to remind them to kneel before Christ on Judgment Day. The underpants are also said to protect the wearer from bullets and fire, etc..

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Auditing in Scientology involves hooking up the subject or Pre-Clear to an e-machine while an auditor asks questions about the Pre-Clear’s past and personality. The sessions are recorded and kept by church hierarchy and reviewed as one advances in levels in the church.

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In the Hindi religion, a widow is able to volunteer to be burned alive in a ritual called the SATI. The Phuket celebration in Thailand involves piercing your face with rods and swords.

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In Judaism there is a ritual called the Kaparot which takes place just before Yom Kippur. This involves taking a live chicken. circling it around your head 3 times. and then slaughtering the bird. They believe that this act transfers their sins into the chicken and purifies them for their holy day. The sin filled dead chicken is then donated to the poor.