Non-Religious Experiences Infused with Sacred Significance

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We've long been warned to beware of false idols, but nowadays, some things are worshipped as if they are religions. From the latest reality star to a new technology fad, these lifestyles and moral codes can feel like cults, though they're not technically hailed as such. 

1. Veganism

Woman wearing Go Vegan shirt
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Yes, vegans can be a little preachy. Can we blame them? They view their lifestyle, which is usually more a moral code than a diet preference, as highly important and want to share it with others. Of course, there's a time and a place to begin singing the praises of being a vegan.

2. Law of Attraction

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Look at the Law of Attraction – you'll be surprised to see how many people you know use some of its terms and practices, sometimes without realizing it. While The Law of Attraction will have its supporters, it feels a bit culty. 

3. Pets

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We all love our pets, but do we take things too far? Some people take it too far when treating their animals like humans.

4. College Football

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There is a strange aura around college football. The NFL is one thing, but watching many students who also happen to be athletes is a little odd. These kids (yes, kids, the youngest players on the field are around 18) have lives outside of football, and elevating them to celebrity status for an extracurricular activity they participate in isn't healthy. 

5. Golf

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From watching sports, we come to the act of playing sports. Golf is set up like a church: the club captain is in charge and makes the rules, so there is a central figure to worship. Golf widows might also agree that there is a religious feeling among golf’s followers.

6. Theme Parks

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Castle
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Some theological scholars believe Disney and other theme parks serve the same purpose as a religion. It's hard to argue when people relocate their entire lives to live near the parks. Plus, think of all the families who make a pilgrimage to the Mouse once a year. 

7. Multi-Level Marketing

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MLMs have many of the elements of a religion. You join for the promise of friends and some cool products, then you wind up staying because you've spent thousands to become a member. Eventually, your social circle is entirely tied to other members, and you're attending sermons and seminars with thousands of others and seeking others to transform into new members.

8. Celebrity Culture

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While Taylor Swift and K-pop fans are singled out, all celebrity worship is strange. Fanbases establish idols and treat them as above humanity. In reality, celebrities have human flaws like all of us.

9. Doctor Who

Doctor Who 2005
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I hadn’t expected to see this, and as a fan, I’m starting to question my beliefs. I wouldn't be surprised to get a knock on the door with two fans asking if I have a few minutes to spare to discuss our Lord and Saviour, Doctor Who.

10. Coffee Shops

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This is cited as a pseudo-religion, but not in the way you might think. Places like Starbucks have cult followings around certain seasonal beverages (pumpkin spice latte, anyone?), and some people go rabid for the different mug styles offered in stores. 

11. Tea Drinkers

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You’re either a tea or coffee person, and each drink's devotees believe you can’t be both. Tea drinking has an odd batch of followers, and some are convinced that you’re a heretic if you use tea bags rather than loose leaves.

12. Political Parties

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It’s been impossible to keep US politics out of the global news headlines since 2016. Politics has always been important, and we all hold different beliefs, but have those beliefs crossed a line?

13. Astrology

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One counter-argument to this suggestion is that astrology has its roots in Paganism. The theory of astrology will test those with logical minds, but I’m an Aries, so I like a challenge.

14. Climate Change

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Anyone who wishes to trigger a bitter debate right now should mention climate change before sitting back and watching the sparks fly. Some feel very strongly that climate change is a pressing issue. Others think it's a brainwashing attempt for scientists to attract funding to their comfortable academic lives.

15. Cryptocurrency

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Religion is about faith, and that’s why the new world of cryptocurrency is likened to a religion. Stocks and shares involve information, while crypto is like rolling a die and hoping for the best.

16. Tupperware

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The world may have moved on from Tupperware, but I remember the craze in the 80s. People had entire parties devoted to the buying and trading of plastic containers. 

17. Atheism

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The official American Atheists website states this is not a religion or a belief system, but many would disagree. Some celebrity atheists, in particular, delight in telling everyone who believes in a deity that they are wrong. For those who are genuine atheists, there’s an awful lot of preaching involved.

18. YouTubers

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While the top YouTube creators cross into the cult of celebrity, it's still a religion in its own right. Viewers even pay money to their favorite channels, treating the people behind them like televangelists. 

19. CrossFit

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Fitness and lifestyle are broad topics, but CrossFit often comes under fire. It’s strange how one fitness branch seems to have attracted criticism- it must attract people with unique personalities. 

20. Sobriety

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with sobriety: it has so many health benefits, and it can stop us from making bad choices in life. However, some feel that there is a “preachy” element to those who have given up alcohol. They are ideally placed to help, but do they tend to claim that they’re better than others?

21. Essential Oils

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This seems harmless, but is there a sinister side to essential oils? Because of its cult following, some believe in the health elements of oils like they may worship a faith healer.

22. Apple Products

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While each big tech producer will have loyal followers, Apple buyers take things too far. They're often evangelical and refuse to accept that other technology may be as good.

23. Homeowners Associations

10 States The Average Buyer Can Still Afford a House
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HOAs claim they offer a close-knit community, but everybody on the block secretly hates each other. Plus, the rules are a little insane. You bought property; you should be able to live on it how you want. 

24. Fad Diets

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All fad diets contain the critical elements of religion. They have loyal followers who preach to the non-believers; some even have a divine head who tells us all what to do. 

25. Social Media

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As someone who once found themselves scrolling mindlessly through posts, I can empathize with those who compare social media to those religions that apply brainwashing. 

Author: Matt Harris

Title: Writer

Expertise: Sports, music, travel, food, trending topics