|Playmobil model of the proposed structure, yesterday|
There are two main schools of thought on the origin of life on Earth. Some people believe that it was created by a divine being, also known as "God", others assert that it arose gradually from the primordial soup and developed by the process of evolution. There is another theory. Aliens designed it, using genetic engineering techniques. This is the belief of members of Raelianism. They also believe that they should be granted a large chunk of land near Jerusalem...
So in arguments about how life arose, common issues always arise. The creationists say that God created life. In their minds, that is the only possible explanation, because it says so in their holy books. Also, with the main alternative being evolutionary theory, it just must be God's work! Life is too complex to have arisen by chance. I mean look at that bacterial motor.
The Darwinists, on the other hand, have many decades of hard biological experiments, demonstrating time and time again the truths within the theory of evolution. No scientific evidence of God has been found anywhere, ever. They haven't proven evolution 100%, and frankly they are way off describing how life could have begun, but they are pretty damn sure they are in the right ball park.
Raelianism is a bit like creationism but does not rely on deities. Instead, the belief is that life on Earth was created about 35000 years ago by a race of aliens called Elohim. They, in turn, were created by some other aliens, and so on ad infinitum. A convenient theory, as you don't have to explain away Gods with supernatural powers, or provide ultimate proof of a fantastic theory like the rise of life from the primordial soup. You just have to believe in aliens, and many people find it easier to believe in aliens than in Gods. In fact, plenty of scientists believe in aliens. In Raelian philosophy, evolution occurs when one species creates the next in a test tube.
See, Elohim is the Hebrew word for "God" or Gods, but according to Vorillhon it has been mistranslated. It actually means, "comedy four foot tall alien, in stereotypical 1960s flying saucer, who exists only in the mind of a delusional racing car driver." He claims that they planned and designed life on Earth. Oh, and Moses, Jesus, Buddha and any other influential religious figure you might happen to think of, were all sent by them. Except Popes. They chose now to come and communicate with us because we have reached a suitable technological level to be able to understand the genetic engineering involved. They didn't appear to the whole world, or even just to world leaders, with these revelations - because they were worried about hostility. Instead, they decided to entrust the whole thing to one slightly neurotic racing car driver, who they nicknamed "Rael". It is his mission to convince the world of the message of the Elohim, and only when most of the world are believers will they truly reveal themselves. Oh, and, when their embassy is created.
|Some crop circles are thought to be made by the Elohim|
Where do they want this? Somewhere remote, where conflict between people is a distant memory, somewhere people will welcome these peaceful newcomers into their lands? No, they want it in Israel, about 5 miles north of Jerusalem. Apparently the Jews are the direct descendants of "the children born of the unions between the sons of Elohim and the daughters of men," as opposed to cloned animals like the rest of humanity, so the Elohim want the Embassy to be in the Promised Land amongst the chosen people. However, if Israel refuses to grant permission for the embassy to be built, then the Jews will be smited forever and the Elohim will just find another chosen people. In any case, when the Elohim arrive, sometime between now and 2035, only the most enthusiastic supporters of Rael will be worthy.
To this end, Vorillhon has officially applied to the State of Israel for this land on many occasions, and made appeals to the chief Rabbis to persuade them that he is the Messiah. (Including a brilliant bit about Hitler starting the holocaust because he had a vision of Vorillhon's coming - he was born in France in 1946). He points out the massive benefits to the local tourist industry if the appeal is granted. He says that if the land is not granted, then the Jews will once again be dispersed, with great suffering.
However, he also chose a swastika emblazoned within a Star of David as the Raelians' official symbol and states in no uncertain terms the Elohim's disgust at the current state of Israel and its stance against Palestine. In separate writings, he states that the Jews were dispersed and punished in the first place, by the Elohim, because they didn't believe in Jesus. So he's not really bending over backwards to win their hearts and minds, frankly. Effectively he's telling the Jews that they need to buck their ideas up.Needless to say the Israeli authorities have been less than forthcoming about granting Vorillhon's request. Meanwhile, terrorist groups worldwide have offered him billions of dollars, and more virgins than you can shake a stick at, should he succeed in getting the land he wants...
Last year it was announced that talks are already underway with China, which has the highest concentration of reported UFO sightings in the world. Israel had better hurry up and grant them what they want, or the Chinese will get all the glory...
His main persuasion technique is rather flimsy. Alongside cheesy soundbites such as:
Be aware that the name "Rael" is the root of the word "Israel" and without roots, the tree cannot live...
...he states that everything the Elohim have told him is backed up by "all the ancient religious writings, legends, traditions, as well as modern science." Naturally, all of these documents are in harmony with each other. I mean, no one could argue that the Bible is at odds with, say, modern Palaeontology, could they? They just different sides of the same coin, needing this final piece of the puzzle so that they make sense together.
"The Raelian philosophy is one of understanding and not believing, that's why Rael himself asks you not to believe him blindly but to do your own research and see if the pieces of the puzzle match for you."
Oh, I see! Its about understanding! Well that's OK then. For a minute there I thought he was asking people to believe in an obscure bunch of people who want their own territory in the Middle East, just on blind faith. I mean, that would be stupid, right?
|The Elohim have hoodies and goaties, but are not thought to be teenagers.|
Over the years he has brought more attention to the Raelian movement with a series of elaborate publicity stunts and deliberate stirring of controversy. Largely because of these acts, membership in the movement has reached more than 80000 worldwidew in the past, though current estimates put the figure at closer to 60000. The most renowned of these publicity stunts was the announcement in 2002 of the first human clone, "Eve", by the company Clonaid which is run by Raelian member Briggitte Boisselier. It came only a few years after scientists announced the birth of Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep. Clonaid's announcement differed from the news about Dolly in two major respects. Firstly, the scientists who created Dolly published an open, peer-reviewed research article on the process, whereas Boissellier published only some insane gibberings in press interviews; secondly, Dolly was there for all to see whereas no one has met Eve. Ever. Even her parents. But obviously, no one questions that Eve is really a cloned human being. I mean, these people are scientists, right? Of course, Vorillhon denies any link between the Raelian movement and Clonaid, which just happens to have been founded by himself and run by one of the senior Bishops, and shares the same scientific goals...
Other stunts have included naked protesting, anti-Catholic demonstrations (such as burning crosses and handing out thousands of condoms in Catholic schools), and promotion of sexual liberty. Which also prompted arguments from the Catholics. In fact, they kind of hate Catholics with a passion, actually, which seems to contradict the Elohim's desire for peace amongst all men, but I'm no expert, I may be misinterpreting.
|'E's not the messiah! He's a very naughty boy! (Sorry, had to get that line in somewhere...)|