Cognitive scientists of religion argue that religious ideas are widespread because they are minimally counterintuitive. Traditional lab studies have found support for a better memory for minimally counterintuitive concepts. This paper presents an in-depth case study of the spread of a counterintuitive religious idea in the real world. It finds that counterintuitiveness alone is not sufficient to guarantee persistence of a religious belief. Novel religious beliefs have to be painstakingly woven into the cultural fabric of a group’s shared social identity to ensure its survival.