The Potential of the Raëlian Movement through Humanism
The Raëlian Movement, which began in late 1973, is a relative newcomer to the scene of world religions. While its late arrival has presented some difficulty in drawing followers, the movement has significant promise. The Raëlian Movement is overtly optimistic in its belief of the innate ability of humans to live prosperous lives. The Raëlian Movement combines principles of secular humanism effectively with scientific accounts of religious events to create a philosophy that has significant potential.
On December 13, 1973, a French man named Claude Vorilhon claimed that he encountered an extraterrestrial being. The alien, called Yahweh, explained that he was a representative of an advanced race of beings, the Elohim, who created humankind is their image via cloning techniques. As an experiment, humanity failed to achieve equilibrium within itself and the world it lived in. Throughout history, the Elohim sent prophets to Earth to guide people’s way of life based on that of the superior race. A primary reason that people failed to achieve that peace is that the prophets, “whose teachings, actually scientific and not religiously oriented, had been misunderstood.” (Laderman 248) Religions thus misinterpreted the Elohim’s teachings, and their different understandings of them separated humanity.
Shortly following his encounter with Yahweh, Vorilhon changed his name to Raël, “The Messenger.” The Elohim told him that he is the 40th and final prophet. On August 6, 1945, America dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, representing the apocalypse. In this sense, ‘apocalypse’ refers to humanity’s revelation that, in the age of nuclear weapons, people have the choices either to destroy themselves or to realize their true potential. Raël, as the final prophet, leads the members of the Raëlian Movement to advance their lives through science and technology, which can allow them to live as the Elohim do.
The Raëlian Movement is a philosophy more than it is a religion in the traditional sense. The movement describes its followers as staunch Atheists who are “destroying the myth of god.” (www.rael.org) The movement doesn’t deny simply the Christian or Hebrew God, but all supernatural deities. Yahweh, referring to people, says, “You mistook us for gods and distorted our teachings of love / we now reveal how to realize your potential and achieve global peace.” (www.rael.org) Rather than pursue converts from theistic religions, however, the Raëlian Movement is open to people’s right to choose what to believe and what to practice based on that.
As part of its appeal to modern generations, the Raëlian Movement emphasizes the importance of scientific advances. Humanity has shown that its scientific achievements and potential to continue them is great. Now that we have technologies that can be used to harm and to help,...