Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
It’s difficult to make this shit up:
As the beachgoers of Long Island soaked up the sun last month, their attention was caught by a light aircraft flying above with a flag trailing behind it. On it was a huge swastika and the web address "proswastika.org". People were outraged. Who was responsible for publicly flaunting this ugly symbol of hate? Neo-Nazis? Pranksters? Neither, apparently.
The Long Island swastika actually belonged to the Raelians – the world's largest "UFO religion" – and the stunt was part of their pro-swastika campaign aimed at rehabilitating the symbol. Not because the Raelians are far-right extremists, they believe the Nazis' hijacking of the ancient Sanskrit peace symbol has been allowed to stand for long enough.
Before Hitler adopted it as the Nazi logo in 1920, variations of the swastika had been used by civilizations in China, Africa and South Asia since the bronze age.
"As long as we associate the swastika with Hitler and the horrors of the Nazi regime, they own it," argues Thomas Kaenzig, head of the pro-swastika movement. "We want to take it back. The swastika is an ancient symbol of good luck and harmony. It can be found all over the world.
Swastikas may have been depicted by ancient cultures since as far back as 2000 BC, but surely the pro-swastika movement recognizes that what it represents today still offends millions of people? ""If somebody associates the swastika with something negative, then I feel offended," says Kaenzig. "It's part of our official symbol. What about our feelings? When we flew the flag on the East Coast it wasn't to incite hatred, but to educate."
Have we discussed the Raelians before? Well, the wiki entry states that:
Raëlism (also Raelianism or the Raëlian Movement) is a UFO religion that was founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon, now known as Raël. It is numerically the world's largest UFO religion. An adherent of Raelism is a Raelian.
The Raëlian Movement teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials, which they call the Elohim. Members of this species appeared human and when having personal contacts with the descendants of the humans they made, they previously misinformed (on purpose) early humanity that they were angels, cherubim or gods. Raëlians believe messengers, or prophets, of the Elohim include Buddha, Jesus, and others who informed humans of each era. The founder of Raëlism, members claim, received the final message of the Elohim and that its purpose is to inform the world about Elohim and that if humans become aware and peaceful enough, they wish to be welcomed by them.
Great story, isn’t it? At least it tries to be scientific – but it reeks of the panspermia.
But there’s much to like about this particular religion. For instance:
Raelian ethics include striving for world peace, sharing, democracy and nonviolence. Sexuality is also an important part of the Raëlian doctrine. The Raëlian Church has attracted some of its priests and bishops from other religions despite having liberal views of sexuality.
Raëlians believe that sex is a normal, natural and healthy part of life and encourages people to be true to their natural sexuality. They promote healing from damaging messages from strict puritanical belief systems and social stigmas that stifle one's natural sexuality. Acceptance of masturbation, homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, naturism and any legal, safe and consensual adult activity is promoted as part of a healthy and long life, and this is used to attract young converts to the religion. Raelians believe that sexuality is a gift of pleasure to mankind from the Elohim. The Raëlian book Let's Welcome our Fathers From Space says that new advanced extraterrestrial civilizations will ultimately practice a final religion or "religion of the infinite" that involves ubiquitous practice of Sensual Meditation.
Aside from the little green men from Mars weirdness, this sounds a little bit of all right.
They’re pro-cloning too:
As opposed to the scientific definition of reproductive cloning which is simply the creation of a genetically identical living thing, Raëlians seek to both genetically clone individuals, rapidly accelerate growth of the clone to adulthood through a process like guided self-assembly of rapidly expanded cells or even nanotechnology. and then transfer the mind and personality of the donor into the clone. Raëlians believe humanity can attain eternal life through the science of cloning.
In the final stages of development, hitherto unknown information contained within undamaged DNA would be enough to bring others back from the dead including their memories and personality. This would be done by taking a small sample from someone's body and preserving it at the time when the level of the brain's efficiency and knowledge is highest. On the day of death, a cell would be taken from the sample for the cloning to take place, and the memories and personality would be restored to their peak level.
Claude Vorilhon told lawmakers that banning the development of human cloning was comparable to outlawing medical advances such "antibiotics, blood transfusions, and vaccines."
Wow. Coupled with the topless rights of women, sounds kinda cool, no?
Problem is, their cosmological views are inconsistent with the evidence:
Raëlian cosmology as proposed in 1973 by Raël states that the observable universe has no creator and is infinite in time and finite in size and surrounded by infinite space.
In Raëlian cosmology, our observable universe is an "atom" of a much larger level of matter (and possibly organism) and subatomic particles in our bodies also possess universes like our own, but on a much smaller scale. This pattern, atom within universe within atom, is believed to be infinitely repetitive, from the infinitely small, to the infinitely large. The Raëlian Messages by Raël state that humanoid extraterrestrials, who were originally called under the name Elohim (singular: Eloha), verified this cosmology scientifically.
Because of the difference of mass, the activity of life inside in a living thing's atoms would undergo many millennia before enough time passes for that living thing to take a single step. Raëlians believe the universe is infinite in time and space and lacks a center. Because of this, one could not imagine where an ethereal soul would go.
The universe is most definitely not infinite. This is fact. As far as I’m concerned, infinity is an abstract placeholder, a way of stating a numberless number that has no measurable limit. But everything is finite, and can be counted.
What really dampers my enthusiasm for this cult (and yes, it fits the parameters), is that there’s a lone individual claiming extraterrestrial contact, a charismatic individual who is the messianic center of it all, and yet nobody anywhere else has seen heard or spoken with these alleged ‘Elohim’.
Definitely a deal-breaker for the hard-core skeptic.
Till the next post then.