A UFO religion that believes in extraterrestrial origins of human life, promoting a future of harmony and advanced technology.

Religion: New Age
Founder: Raël (Claude Vorilhon)
Founded: 1974
Location: Global (with significant presence in Canada and France)
Other Names: Raelian Movement, International Raelian Movement
Website: rael.org

Raëlism, or the Raëlian Movement, was founded in the 1970s when its founder, Claude Vorilhon, known as Raël, claimed to have encountered extraterrestrial beings, known as the Elohim, who revealed to him that they were the creators of humanity, using advanced technology for genetic engineering. This atheistic religion asserts that throughout history, the Elohim have been mistaken for gods, with Raël declared as their final prophet in a lineage that includes religious figures such as Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad​​.

The movement teaches that since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, humanity has entered an Age of Apocalypse, emphasizing the need for peace and technological advancement to avert self-destruction. Raëlians hold liberal views on sexuality, advocate for physical immortality through cloning, and strive to construct an embassy for welcoming the Elohim back to Earth. The movement, which claims tens of thousands of members globally, has garnered attention and criticism alike for its beliefs and practices, including efforts related to human cloning and rights advocacy​​.

Raelism differentiates itself from other UFO religions by its secular approach, prioritizing science over spirituality and rejecting the existence of the supernatural. It positions itself as a “scientific religion,” where science and technology are seen as the means to solve humanity’s problems and achieve a utopian future. The movement also places significant importance on the Bible, interpreted in the context of extraterrestrial involvement in human history​​.

The founder, Claude Vorilhon, before becoming Raël, was a music and racing car enthusiast. His life changed dramatically in 1973 after his claimed encounter with Yahweh, an extraterrestrial being. Vorilhon then took on the mission to spread the message of the Elohim, aiming to prepare humanity for their return. This preparation includes advocating for a society that embraces freedom in love, global peace, and the perfection of cloning technology, which Raëlians believe could enable physical immortality. The ultimate aim is the establishment of a geniocracy, a form of governance by the intelligent, and the creation of an embassy for the Elohim​​.

Criticism from journalists, former members, and anti-cult groups has not deterred the movement, which remains one of the largest UFO religions. Its beliefs and practices continue to be a subject of study by scholars of religion and have led to public controversies, especially related to its advocacy for cloning and sexual liberation​​.

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