Raelians, Catholics and the Clone Age
By Deacon Keith Fournier
(c) Third Millennium, LLC
"When men cease to believe in God," said G. K. Chesterton, "they do not believe in nothing; they believe in anything!"
On the day after Christmas, the world watched in shock as "Brigitte" an alleged "Bishop" of the "Raelian" movement, announced that "Clonaid", a for profit outreach of the same movement, had "successfully" cloned a baby girl whom they had named "Eve".
I was reminded of a phrase used by an editorialist I read years ago when he warned of a new "Clone Age."
Amidst the cries of "hoax" and the justified international uproar against the "ethics' of this macabre claim (and even more importantly, the disastrous path of "cloning" human beings at all) there is a bigger struggle unfolding. It is a struggle for the heart, mind and soul of the human race at the threshold of the Third Millennium. At risk is nothing less than the future of civilization
In years past I probably would have thought that this (up until recently) obscure, esoteric sect was only one of many examples of the timeless truth of the maxim of the great Catholic writer, G.K. Chesterton, "When men cease to believe in God, they do not believe in nothing; they believe in anything!"
However, these last few days have opened my eyes. I have read much about these people, their philosophy, their claims, their plans and their founder. The ideas behind their actions may reveal the next great struggle in the continuing battle for the future and the soul of human civilization, especially if we do not act quickly to stop this insane movement toward a new "Clone Age".
This "Bishop" ( a woman dressed in skin tight black clothing) is a follower of Claude Vorhilon (a.k.a."Rael"). This new Pied Piper of the U.F.O. jet set claims to have been given both a revelation and a new name by a visiting space alien named "Yahweh Elohim" (two of the names given to God in the Hebrew Scriptures) on a volcano in 1973. In that encounter he also claims to have been given a mission to prepare this manufactured race for the return of their masters in 2035.
In this "new" teaching, the manufacturers of the human race were not "gods" at all but simply a master race of aliens. The technology they used is now being revealed and by harnessing it we can become like them. We can create our own future and "make" new humans.
The preparation that "Rael" preaches, that must precede their return, is to encourage his followers to live a life of complete and total self centeredness and self worship and bring others to do the same. "Liberation" in this new "way" is simply licentiousness dressed up in a science fiction soup of bizarre esoteric pseudo-spiritual mumbo jumbo. They claim that they can "free" the inhabitants of this planet from their restrictive morals and world view by bringing them into this new "way".
The group has an open hatred for Catholics in particular. They regularly disturb Catholic schools in Canada by handing out condoms to children in order that they may begin to adopt the way of his new Raelian definition of freedom. I think their hatred of Catholic Christianity is actually quite understandable. If, as I do, one believes that Catholic faith is the fullness of Christianity and that what the Catholic Church teaches about human sexuality, dignity and destiny are true, it is the opposite of what they teach. No wonder it is therefore their great enemy!
The seed of the profane dogma proclaimed by the words and deeds of the Raelians is set forth in its seed form in Rael's book entitled "Extra Terrestrials Took me To Their Planet." It extols a form of sexual "liberation" including teaching children to engage in sexual activity as early as possible "purely for pleasure without any commitment to the sexual partner."
Additionally, the "liberation" message includes directions to women to "have sex with one or more individuals of either sex as long as the individuals agree, since contraception has freed women from fear of pregnancy..." Thus the group promotes regular orgies and has completely separated sexual activity from marriage, love, reproduction or any connection whatsoever and simply made it one more "thing" that one does to gratify self.
In the final act of desecration, this bizarre new way of "living" promises a form of eternal "life". This is to be gained by adherents following the instruction that all "Raelians" are to "arrange on their death, (that) one square centimeter of the bone from their forehead, 33 millimeters above the middle axis between their pupils , is sent to the (Raelian) embassy for re-creation purposes"
You see, they have a new method of "creation" of the future enlightened "human" race, cloning-which is the scientific "manufacture" of new beings with no real mother or father, no family. In their new account of the beginnings of our race, they maintain that were manufactured by a race of aliens - not created out of love by a loving God.
The continuation of creation does not come about through the mutual gift of self, a free expression and exchange of committed love between a married man and a woman who give themselves to the other, always open to life, as is the claim of the Jewish and Christian Revelation. Rather, both the propagation and the perpetuation of this race are actually all about chemical manipulation and manufacture. Humans can be re-made by genetic manipulation. In a sense, in a profane reverse of the Christian creed, they claim that we are made and not begotten.
Conjugal love therefore has no real meaning to these folks, it is outdated and restrictive. They are about only unrestricted copulation - no, actually just unrestricted libertine sexual license and the degradation of another person who becomes an object to be used in a vain attempt at sexual self satisfaction.
It is no accident that their first claimed "clone" of the new "master race" is named "Eve." It is a part of their plan. She was the first to be made by their technology. Apparently from her a "new world" and "new race" will be manufactured.
It is easy to see how cloning is such a "fit" in the Raelian worldview, involving as it does the making of a replica of the mother by taking DNA from one cell, implanting it in egg that has been emptied out and making a replica with no need for sperm from a father at all. The family is no longer necessary.
Allegedly, after all, this kind of "manufacture" is how it all began. The alien who revealed himself to the founder of the group, who is their new "Messiah" of sorts, claimed to have made all of us through genetic manipulation of D.N.A. molecules.
Now, admittedly, this is the stuff of a bad science fiction novel, right? Well, let's be careful not to dismiss the underlying concepts in our rush to write off the kookiness of their claims.
When one examines some of the underlying philosophical tenets of their teachings and their lifestyles, you must ask some questions. Are their teachings and practices really all that different than what has masqueraded as "freedom" in many circles for the last fifty years?
Oh, I know, Raelianism has space aliens, kooky "bishops" and strange characters out of a bad Star Trek episode. However, as it relates to their view of the human person, human sexual activity and "liberation, is it not eerily familiar?
In a culture that has turned persons into objects, separated sexual acts from conjugal love and sought to "liberate" itself from both nature and the God who created it , isn't it actually just one more, albeit more bizarre, sad expression of the "culture of death" and the utilitarian narcissism of the age?
Is it not one more promised "enlightenment" that, if left unchallenged and unchecked, will lead the gullible to empty despair? However, the only difference is that the technology that can be used by its proponents can and will open the proverbial "Pandora's box" if we do not act quickly. What they claim will lead to the "enlightenment" of the human race, could lead to the end of civilization and civility.
Blaise Pascal was one of the "fathers"of what has been called the modern "enlightenment". Born in 1623, he was a French philosopher, mathematician and chemist. He was followed in birth by another mathematician and Frenchman, Rene DesCartes who also championed a new 'way", called the "scientific method".
Descartes is known for the oft quoted (and misquoted) maxim, the "cogito ergo sum" (I think therefore I am). Both men sought to find a 'deeper" meaning to life and promised that science could liberate a waiting world.
DesCartes "threw off" what he perceived to be the "old way" of religious faith. His "method" of discovering knowledge involved a process of breaking everything into smaller parts and, in a sense, putting them on a rack for examination. Perhaps it is not a bad approach if you are dealing with science, math and maybe frogs, but not human persons. It has all too often led to devastating results.
We are not machines. Nor are we simply an amalgam of chemicals to be manipulated.
The classical world view that Descartes rejected actually had it right when it claimed a special place for the human person in the order of the universe precisely because of a special relationship between all human persons and God. We were made "Imago Dei" in the "image of God."
In mid-life, unlike Descartes, at least Pascal became interested in religion and wrote the phrase now so often attributed to him "Within each one of us there is a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill."
In fact, the phrase is probably better attributed to an early Church father named Ambrose. It is a great summary of the existential angst revealed throughout all of human history. That hunger, found within every human person, cries out for a deeper meaning to our life. Beginning to search for this deeper meaning is the prelude to authentic religious conversion and the path to becoming fully human.
The great western Church father Augustine spent his youth dabbling in his centuries versions of libertinism. He succumbed to an earlier set of Raelian- like teachings from a group called the Manichees. They taught that matter was 'evil" and promoted sexual libertinism, abortion, contraception as a path to a promised "liberation."
This empty way also failed to liberate. In fact it enslaved. After years of degradation, Augustine came back to the Christian faith of his mother. In his reflections on the journey called "the Confessions", he wrote the now famous insight that: "Our hearts were made for Thee, O Lord, and will not rest until they rest in Thee."
Ambrose (and Pascal) aptly referred to that restlessness, that hole in the soul, as a vacuum. It has a force behind it and it will suck up anything to fill it. That is partly why the bizarre teachings of this esoteric sect filling our news since Christmas, actually find receptive listeners, at least fifty thousand of them, who have "itching ears" in this "clone age". People are hungry for meaning. The problem is that these bizarre claims are not true and, they are dangerous.
The Christian claim is that we can all "know the truth and the truth will set us free". Only Truth can fill that hole - that vacuum- in every soul. The Christian claim is that Truth is a person, who can be known, the God who became man, Jesus Christ.
In his encyclical letter entitled "The Gospel of Life", John Paul II speaks of a "profound crisis of culture" which permeates the contemporary age.The disturbing claim of the Raelians that they have manufactured a new "Eve" certainly confirms that this crisis is getting worse.
We live in an age of scientism and utilitarianism wherein we are losing the sense of any respect for human dignity, a holy and healthy view of human sexuality and the sanctity of the human body. We have also lost our sense of the true deeper meaning to human existence and the higher destiny of every human person.
The contemporary void of authentic spirituality has produced a cultural vacuum. It is into the empty culture that contemporary Christians are now sent on mission of evangelization. We must understand the cultural climate in order to effect its transformation.
The Raelian ideas are not really unusual in a world where the dignity of the sexual act has been completely undermined by the separation of the "unitive" and the "procreative" dimensions of the conjugal act. That great "prophet", Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical letter, "On Human Life" (Humanae Vitae) warned of the trajectory that would follow the acceptance of abortion, contraception and the rejection of the fundamental Christian teaching concerning human life and dignity.
The "new" form of hedonism evidenced in our contemporary culture is not that different than the old forms of hedonism and paganism that the Christian message both confronted and transformed in both the first and the second millennium. We think that abortion, contraception and the "culture of death" are a new malady. They are not. The early Christian church entered a world where all of these, along with 'exposure" (leaving unwanted fully born children on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey) were practiced.
This post "Humanae Vitae" world has again devolved into accepting a view of the body as an object to be used. The fractured relationships, that always accompany the breakdown of the family, have led to the real loss of the beauty of faithful married love as the only proper environment for sexual activity. It has always been the Christian claim that the complete gift of self sexually belongs within the marriage relationship. It is in the "marriage bed", that the couple participates in the full beauty of the nuptial mystery.
There also where their love unites and, in their gift of self to the other, they participate in a wonderful way in the nuptial mystery of God's love. There also where pro-creation occurs, where mere mortals are invited to participate with the God who created us in the continuing work of His creation. It is in that sacred relationship that the wonderful mystery of the fruit of love, a child, is, in a sense "begotten not made" when conceived. There also, in the beauty and stability of a family where that child learns to live and to love in the first society, the domestic church.
Rather than being 'antiquated" these are the very teachings that have liberated barbarians throughout the ages and the only ones that can lead us to a future of authentic freedom.
Yet, the new barbarians abound as we enter the Third Millennium. Though they may not look like their forbears, they are cut from the same stock. Their lies are old hat and all symptomatic of both the loss of a Christian (in fact a Judeo-Christian) worldview and the lack of a Christian influence in the 'world".
As in times past, what is needed most is a new generation of "missionaries, but this time sent into our universities, our marketplaces and our laboratories. We need authentically Christian scientists, artists, statesmen and women, poets, artists and artisans. When Christians leave science, commerce and other vital fields of endeavor to barbarians, they make a huge mistake!
In their feigned promises of liberation, all these modern Manichees proclaim a message that always leads to slavery. In claiming to liberate they lead human beings down the path to slavery.
For example, our bodies are not merely a carrying case. We are created as "body persons". Our bodies actually talk. The real question is what are we saying through them? What are we saying when we speak the bizarre acts and practices that the raelians advocate?
Pope John Paul II coined a phrase in his extraordinary teachings on the "Theology of the Body." He speaks of the "language of the body." In so doing he reminds us that our bodies are meant to be the vehicle through which we speak the language of love.
Serious mission- minded Christians need to understand that we are now sent to articulate the profound truth of the Christian revelation concerning the dignity and wonder of the human body and human sexuality to a world that has produced such oddities as the Raelian movement.
We need to be in the forefront of teaching the dignity of every human person, the dignity of sexuality, the beauty and destiny of the human body and the entire human race. We need to be demonstrating what we proclaim and leading humanity on the path "back to the future" by proclaiming a message of authentic freedom and asserting that true love is cultivated in the garden of married love and authentically human persons are begotten not made.
Manicheeism was only one of several heresies that infiltrated the early Christian Church. Manichees viewed the body, indeed all matter, as actually evil! Unfortunately, if we were to ask many contemporary folks what Christians believe about the body and human sexuality, they would probably say we Christians do as well.
Christians do not believe that matter and the human body are evil. Nor do we believe that sex is sin. To the contrary, Christians proclaim that the body is an expression of the "Imago Dei", the image of God. The Christian faith proclaims that our bodies will be raised from the dead and that we will live in a new heaven and new earth.
Because we value the beauty, purpose and dignity of sexuality we also proclaim that its fullness is designed to be expressed in the committed, indeed sacramental, relationship of married love. In the conjugal act, always open to life, husband and wife fully give themselves to the other and in the very act express symbolically the deeper meaning of all of life. We were all created to give ourselves away in love to God and to one another. It is in this gift of self that we become fully human.
The unitive and procreative dimension of the conjugal act must never be separated. The bad fruit of this effort to separate the two always leads to the kind of insanity revealed in the Raelian worldview and its resultant horrors. Though an extreme version, the Raelian worldview is simply one more expression of a culture of selfishness, death and sexual activity as use of another.
In an insightful document entitled "Toward a pastoral Approach to Culture", the Pontifical Council for Culture (A Vatican Missions Council) speaks to the challenges faced in efforts geared toward the evangelization of cultures:
"From the time the Gospel was first preached, the Church has known the process of encounter and engagement with cultures, (Fides et ratio n.70), for it is one of the properties of the human person, that he can achieve true and full humanity, only by means of culture (Gaudium et Spes, n. 53).
In this way, the Good News, which is Christ's Gospel for all men and the whole human person, both child and parent of the culture in which they are immersed, (Fides et ratio, n.71), reaches them in their own culture, which absorbs their manner of living the faith and is in turn gradually shaped by it.
Today as the Gospel gradually comes into contact with cultural worlds, which once lay beyond Christian influence, there are new tasks of inculturation (Ibid. 72). At the same time, some traditionally Christian cultures, or cultures imbued with thousand-year-old religious traditions are being shattered.
Thus, it is not only a question of grafting the faith onto these cultures, but of revitalizing a de-Christianized world whose only Christian references are of a cultural nature. On the threshold of the third Millennium, the Church throughout the world is faced with new cultural situations, new fields of evangelization"
This lengthy excerpt from this theologically dense document sets the framework for the task that we face in our missionary work in a de-Christianized America and western culture. We need a form of "inculturation" that will help us to re-Christianize the contemporary culture.
It has been my experience that those involved in the task of evangelization often fail to see the depth of the loss of even an echo of Christian influence in America. The current morass surrounding the area of human sexuality is only one more bad fruit of this corruption and loss.
Some Christians face all of this and pine for the past, others fear the future. Neither response is the proper one. Rather, what is needed is revealed in the now popular phrase coined again by John Paul II, a "New Evangelization."
In his apostolic letter "The Light Of The East" John Paul synthesizes his teaching on the theology of the body:
"Christianity does not reject matter. Rather, "bodiliness" is considered in all its value in the liturgical act, whereby the human body is disclosed in its inner nature as a temple of the Spirit and is united with the Lord Jesus, who Himself took a body for the world's salvation.... With the rejection of all dualism and every cult of pleasure as an end in itself, the body becomes a place made luminous by grace and thus fully human." (n.11)
The Raelian worldview is actually not new at all. It is simply one more expression of a return to a pagan worldview precipitated by the vacuum of authentic spirituality in our age. "Modern" men and women are still "restless", they still have a "God shaped vacuum" deep inside.
The Raelian worldview and so many other contemporary expressions of the new paganism offer the same old counterfeit promise of freedom. They also offer a false anthropology - the study of the nature and destiny of the human person. They are dualistic, completely separating the physical and the "spiritual."
It is the Christian worldview that proclaims that we are called to live a unity of life. Though the new paganism, like the old, promises liberation it actually promotes slavery to unbridled passion. In its misguided sensuality it has lost the sense of the beauty and dignity of the human person in his/her fullness as a "body person." It is completely at odds with a Christian anthropology and view of life.
We do not "have a body"- we are a body. The truth of the Christian revelation is that we will one day have resurrected bodies! We are en-souled bodies or em-bodied souls. The two cannot and must not be separated.
The body is not evil. It is beautiful! It is a part of how we image the God who created us! The mystery and marvel of the Incarnation is that God the Son took a Body and is at the right hand of the Father even now in a resurrected Body!
Pope John Paul II has done us a great service by re-presenting a classical Christian view of the body right at a critical time in history where the human race is being led into new forms of old heresies regarding the body and the entirety of creation. Understanding it, proclaiming it and living it is the only way we can expose and counter the insanity so fully obvious in the Raelian claim
I began with a quote from one of my favorite Catholic thinkers, G.K. Chesterton. It is fitting that I end with one:
"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."
Part of the blame for the confusion that actually opened the door to the "Raelians" and other bizarre contemporary ideologies is the very weakness of the Christian church. The philosophical errors at the root of these contemporary pagan claims have found a hearing, all too often, because we have been silent or have not lived what we profess.
We are still reeling from a year in which our Church has been rocked by scandal. The root of that scandal is the infidelity of a small minority of clergy. However, the actual sinful activities engaged in by these members of the clergy, their participation in what Pope John Paul rightly called the "Mystery of iniquity", are rooted in the same misguided notion of human sexuality that gives room for the use of persons as objects.
The way out of the horrors that will result from the "clone age" lies at the feet of the Christian Church. We who are members of that Church must rise up, reclaim the truth and proclaim it afresh in both word and deed to a culture desperately in need of true freedom.
Rev. Mr. Keith A Fournier, the founder and president of "Common Good", is a constitutional lawyer. He is a pro-life and pro-family lobbyist. He was the first Executive Director of the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice). He also served as an advisor to the presidential campaign of Steve Forbes. Fournier holds a Bachelors degree (B.A.) from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Philosophy and Theology, a Masters Degree (M.T.S.) in Sacred Theology from the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Pittsburgh and an Honorary Doctor of Laws (L.L.D.) from St. Thomas University. Fournier is the author of seven books on issues concerning life, faith, evangelization, ecumenism, family, political participation, public policy and cultural issues. He is a features editor for Catholic Online and the Co-Director of "Your Catholic Voice"
http://www.commongoodonline.com VA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - President/founder, 757 546-9580
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