What if the extraterrestrials were religious

Cloning like the 'astronaut gods'



With the adoption of the astronaut god mythologem in the form of a detailed protology (doctrine of the origins), the Raelist religion presents itself as a "missing link" between manifest religious forms of esoteric contact ufology, which is based on apocalyptic interventions by extraterrestrials, an eschatological transfer extraterrestrial "cargos", higher forms of spirituality and technologically inducible expansion of consciousness, paranormal abilities and much more hope, and the forms of pre-astronautics or paleo-SETI, which are more soberly rational and with a scientific claim. In contrast to the loose research groups of pre-astronautics, more concrete forms of religious community building and individual ritual or sacramental acts (such as the telepathic transfer of the DNA code to extraterrestrial computers for the purpose of later replication to eternal life) are allowed in the Raelist religion that allow a clear characterization as a religious community - which is usually not the case for the representatives of pre-astronautics, although they represent a similar euhemeristic neo-mythology in their worldview. Sometimes, however, the latter can also process their worldview into forms of esoteric religiosity; Analogies to Rael's idea of ​​telepathic contact with extraterrestrials can also be found e.g. in E.v.Däniken's 'most religious' book "Apparitions" (1974).


Disenchanted anthropology and "scientific reincarnation" through cloning

According to Raelistic anthropology, humans do not have a soul, but are themselves only an artificial genetic engineering product of extraterrestrial manipulation: " We are nothing more than a computer, a machine, so to speak, the performance of which is relatively modest compared with those of certain human-made objects, "writes Rael in his book" The Sensual Mediation "la meditation sensuelle). But if humans are "nothing more than a self-programming and self-reproducing biological computer", then according to this rationalistic anthropology they can also manipulate their own shape and future, because what should prevent them from doing so? - "What is the creation of life in a mother's womb really? Well, quite simply the creation of a new genetic code. ... There is nothing magical or mysterious in all of this. when creation takes place and the combination of two ready-made controls when reproduction takes place. " According to Rael, the technique of cloning can therefore be compared "with propagation by cuttings" without any problems.

But the real utopia of the Raelist religion (www.rael.org) consists in the hope of a "scientific reincarnation", the "eternal life"made possible in a technological way: In addition to genetic engineering by cloning, it should be possible to produce clones with accelerated growth and then transfer individual memory and personality to this clone. On the planet of the Elohim, the Rael after another encounter and a flight in the Wants to have visited the spaceship, this has long been possible, although through selection and "geniocracy" not everyone can be granted access to eternal life equally, including genetically engineered human "robots" that provide people with all possible services and for erotic pleasure Such prospects, which Rael himself described in the form of a 'men's paradise' on the planet of the Elohim, are not only scientist utopias of the religious community as such, but also the company Rael founded in 1997 " Clonaid "goes in all seriousness from d his possibility of transferring personality and consciousness to artificial clones, as you can read on their homepage: "After death you will wake up in a brand new body like after a good night's sleep." In Rael's opinion, the "resurrection" was already there. Jesus is nothing more than a process of extraterrestrial cloning, and during his visit to the home planet of the Elohim he had the opportunity to get to know the other prophets of the earth.


Fantastic Science: The Plausibility of the Raelist Religion

In this sometimes callous approach to human cloning as an important milestone on the way to "scientific reincarnation", the Raelic religion proves to be typical variant of ufological religiosity in the context of western industrial societies: The amalgamation of technological utopias and neo-mythological historical constructions à la Däniken, possibly with additional apocalyptic images of the imminent end of the previous world and humanity, which oscillate between the disenchantment and re-enchantment of traditional religious ideas, seem to many contemporaries to be the painful rift between the scientific and technological To be able to heal the worldview and traditional religious elements or hopes of salvation in a "modern" way without having to use traditional religious terminology. At least members of such UFO belief movements value the ufological-technological component of this new religiosity according to their own information as an important plausibility factor in the context of the modern world. The longing for a new "unity of reality", which unites the religious and the scientific in the style of a "fantastic science" (cf. also the relevant talk of a "religious technology" in Scientology), runs through all traditions of the UFO- Belief; at the same time, however, it continues the optimism of progress and the feasibility fantasies of western industrial societies.

The Raelic religion even provides one with its neo-mythology of the cloning astronaut gods and their artificial human products mythological (and anthropological) ultimate justification for any human cloning. At the same time, on the individual side of the followers, there is a reconstitution of the identity of being directly involved in the truly significant spearhead of human development and of promoting the necessary enlightenment; for soon humanity will swarm out and in turn cultivate new planets and create new people "in their own image". Nevertheless, the own statements of at least 55,000 followers worldwide are probably to be corrected significantly downwards in the case of the Raelist religion. The members tend to be young adults, white collar workers with college backgrounds. If one follows the empirical studies of the Canadian religious researcher Susan Palmer, then - at least in the important region around Montreal - also members from branches of the erotic trade and people with more unconventional sexuality (homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals) make up a share of the following because they have found an impartial acceptance in this community that would have been denied them elsewhere, because the Raelist religion expressly encourages an experimental approach to one's own sexuality. The clear anti-Catholic affects also create, for example, certain plausibility advantages in Francophone Canada, while the spread in Anglophone Canada is stagnating. Despite the efficient international organizational structure, the Raelist religion is based on a rather loose form of cohesion between the members, which apart from daily individual meditation times and monthly or annual meetings or various workshops is little ritualized. The degree of liability - also with regard to Rael's abstinence regulations (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, coffee) - is more pronounced among active members of the inner circle than among other Raelians. More radical scenarios such as the self-staged apocalypse of Heaven's Gate in 1997 with a collective suicide of 39 followers are hardly conceivable in this context: There is no correspondingly rigid, enforced group cohesion with strategies to avoid the world; In addition, the millenarian component of the Raelist religion is somewhat less dramatically accentuated in comparison to some other UFO belief movements with strong apocalyptic immediate expectations (including cosmological upheavals) - if one disregards the imminent official meeting with the Elohim, for whom the building a special "embassy building" (space embassy) is necessary. Analogous to the Melanesian "cargo" cults, this event - the return of the former cultural heroes - is linked to the expectation of another gigantic technological push for earthly humanity and a new age. But as Erich von Däniken's gigantic "World Mysteries" amusement park in Interlaken, which is due to open its doors in spring this year (www.mysterypark.ch), shows that pre-Astonaut mythologists are still very popular outside of the Raelic religion; occasionally, connections between the "historical" astronaut gods of antiquity and contemporary UFO sightings are also made in the paleo SETI discourses and publications. In the shape of a popular theory of religion, pre-astronautics has also inspired several films such as "Stargate" or "Mission to Mars"; Another adventure film series, "Chariots of the Gods", is currently in the works, with a direct reference to Däniken in the title.

That remains to be the final Ask whether the latest Clonaid press reports are actually just audience-effective productions without truth or not. Since the alleged cloning success of Clonaids seems extremely unlikely, it will continue to be eager to see how the Raelic religion deals with it. According to the latest press reports, Boisselier and Rael have already announced that Eve's parents feel too harassed and no longer agree to an independent review. In this and similar ways, a pending proof can be postponed or its complete absence can be rationalized without having to fundamentally revise the claims of success - including the announcement of further clones. At the same time, you manage to stay in international conversation and attract the attention of potential followers or good faith clone customers. In his most recent book "Yes to Human Cloning", Claude "Raël" Vorilhon announced in 2001 that the almost free media hype about "Clonaid" was as publicity-Strategy for his religious community determined "worth more than 15 million dollars" and for that reason alone it was "a complete success": "I still laugh about that today" (p.97). In a similarly frank interview with Spiegel (January 6, 2003) he commented on the latest reporting: "If one day it should come out that the cloned baby does not even exist, it will still be an event for me that I did I already won today. "

Addendum March 7, 2003: In its latest press releases (beginning of March 2003) the Raelic religion reports on the project of a so-called "artificial womb"; the original quote follows:

    "(...) His Holiness RAEL, the spiritual leader of Brigitte Boisselier, asked you to form a team to start a project called" SURROGAID ", the main aim of which will be to create the first artificial uterus which" BABYTRON. ”BABYTRON will enable parents to have a cloned child without having to worry about the services of a surrogate mother.

    In BABYTRON a child (cloned or not) will be able to grow up in a machine from conception to birth. The machine will provide the fetus with all of the nutritional elements and stimuli necessary for it to grow. As a result, the machine will also make it possible to grow completely new animals and ultimately, completely man-made humans, in the same way as the Elohim when they created the first human. "

At the latest with this "Babytron" project, the scientist technology utopias Clonaids have left the ground of scientifically credible by increasingly orienting themselves towards the "revelations" of Raels (described above). For the religious scholar, an exciting process remains to be noted: the amalgamation of fascination with technology and scientific belief in progress with traditional religious hopes (e.g. post-mortem continued existence), as is characteristic of several new religious movements and world views.

- (January 2003) Status: March 7th, 2003 -

© 2003 - Prof. Dr. Andreas Grünschloß, Univ. Göttingen (Dept. of Religious Studies)


Andreas Grünschloß     

UFO belief as the root of genetic engineering
Feasibility fantasies