Raelian Movement: Scientists from Space

Cultural theorists observe that traditional forms of spirituality are in a state of crisis. Many people are seeking alternative belief systems, including religious ones. One such concept is the Raelian movement. Its members proclaim that extraterrestrial beings created life on Earth and that Raelians are the custodians of this extraterrestrial message. They are to prepare humanity for their return.

Who are the Raelians?

The Raelian Movement was initiated in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon, a magazine editor focusing on car racing, who during a trip to the French park of Puy de Lassolas claimed to have encountered beings from space. According to him, during six meetings, these beings conveyed a spiritual message for humanity and explained the history of human contact with them. Our species was supposedly conceived through advanced genetic experiments. The process of life evolution on Earth, including humans, was initiated, monitored, and accelerated by these extraterrestrials. The story of creation was then metaphorically included in the Bible, portrayed as a tale adapted to human understanding about the application of sophisticated technology and scientific knowledge by space visitors on our planet.

According to Raelians, humanity’s ancient and traditional beliefs are a naive interpretation of the scientific activities of extraterrestrial beings on Earth. What our ancestors perceived as the workings of supernatural forces was, in reality, the application of advanced science. It was not gods who came from space, but scientists, who instilled in us a cognitive curiosity about the world, so that in the future, Homo sapiens would reach the same level of civilizational development as their creators. Their law of revelation dictates the creation and advancement of science and technology.

Claude Vorilhon was supposedly anointed by these “scientists from space” as their final prophet and evangelist. Since then, he has publicly appeared as Rael Maitreya, proclaiming the extraterrestrial message. He asserts that humanity has matured enough to understand the message of the extraterrestrials. It is mankind’s task to undertake and continue the work of creation. For centuries, these “scientists from space” have been overseeing and nurturing their earthly children, created in their image and likeness. Their envoys have imparted their laws to humanity through Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. In a manner comprehensible to human intellect and as directed by the extraterrestrials, they taught the necessity of living in peace and love. However, not all are satisfied with the achieved results. Among the extraterrestrials, some perceive humans as a threat and aim for their annihilation, considering the entire operation a failed experiment. These “scientists from space” are what the holy books refer to as Satan. The harnessing of atomic energy by humanity has brought our species to a crossroads. We must choose whether to use our scientific knowledge to create a better world and eventually, like our creators, seed life on other worlds, or to destroy ourselves.

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Raelians are tasked not only with verbally preparing humanity for the meeting with the “scientists from space.” Primarily, they must build a place where this ultimate encounter with our creators will occur. They aim to construct what they refer to as an Embassy for the visitors. Of course, everyone can contribute to this grand project, presumably mainly financially. The contributions of Raelians to humanity are not limited to spreading the “good news” but also include social activities. Hence, numerous publications, public appearances, and comments by Rael: on complex meditation techniques that harmonize the mind and body, on the project of intelligent management of our planet’s resources, and on the promotion of human cloning ideas.

Pexels / Stijn Dijkstra

Rael advocates for the love of diversity, encourages the use of condoms among school-age youth, and supports masturbation. He criticizes religious systems, believing their doctrines violate human rights. He promotes genetic engineering technologies, especially cloning and the creation of GMO foods, all in line with the idea of science as a utilitarian tool for liberation.

Three Scenarios of the Relationship Between Science and Faith

Since antiquity, at the dawn of rational contemplation of the world, which eventually evolved into a scientific understanding, there has been a confrontation between this intellectual order and the spiritual dimension of experience, faith, and religion. Fundamentally, three types of relationships between reason and faith can be outlined. In the first, both identified spheres are considered to be in permanent conceptual and worldview conflict. In an extreme interpretation, it is proposed that they mutually exclude each other. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the view that science and faith are not only non-conflicting but actually provide a complementary understanding of the world order. In the third scenario, it is assumed that the scientific and religious worldviews have no common points, thus there is no relationship between them, either positive or negative.

Against this backdrop, the “revelation” of the Raelians attempts to simultaneously realize all three possibilities of the relationship between science and faith. They have constructed an eclectic message, in which “everything fits.” This message is extracted from the scientific triumph of knowledge and spirituality, which, thanks to the progress of technoscience, offers a chance for individual existential solace. At the same time, natural science research is elevated to the status of a mystical tool for insight into the essence of things. It could be said that the Raelian proposition hyperbolizes what constitutes the essence of both the scientific and religious discourses.

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The Gospel from Space Offers Nothing New

The Raelian Movement presents its worldview under the guise of intelligent design for atheists. Leaving aside its relationship to the Intelligent Design Theory, primarily discussed by philosophers, it can be stated that this proposal does not offer a perspective that explains the origin of life. Indeed, they emphasize that our species arose from the process of evolution, but this process was initiated by an intelligent designer. This concept of extraterrestrial genesis of life is contrasted with the biological evolution theory defined by “blind” natural selection. Such an idea, which can be termed directed panspermia, does not answer the question of the beginning of life in the universe, but only on Earth. It is not difficult to see that one can further inquire about the life designer who created human beings, leading to an infinite regression. Some cut this chain short and accept the existence of a first creator: eternal, everlasting, and uncreated.

Similarly, in the ethical dimension, the Raelian view of human relationships does not announce or propose anything that the author of this article does not already know – perhaps except the healing power of masturbation (but is that new?). Tolerance, respect for diversity, and respect for knowledge and reason are ideas that have been with us since antiquity and were expressed through the modern paradigm of scientific knowledge in the Enlightenment. Consequently, the Raelian concept is not a real alternative to the established views in scientific and philosophical discourse regarding the origin of our world.

Translation: Klaudia Tarasiewicz

Published by

Radosław Kazibut


Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy at Adam Mickiewicz University, philosopher of nature and science. Engaged in research on the influence of cultural factors on the processes of recognizing knowledge as cognitively valuable. He is a fan of the works of Umberto Eco, Italian wine, food and culture, ravens, mazes and Polish gray dumplings.

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