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FIRST-PERSON: Science fiction paganism meets modern biotechnology in Raelians

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–On Dec. 27, Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, CEO of Clonaid, claimed that an unidentified woman had given birth to the first-ever human clone. While this claim has yet to be independently verified, the media frenzy surrounding the claim has brought international attention to Clonaid itself and human cloning in general.

Most reports on Clonaid mention that the company is the corporate arm of the Raelian religious sect. What exactly do Raelians believe? The founder is Claude Vorilhon, a French journalist who claims he was taken into an alien spacecraft in 1973. Now known as “Rael,” he claims the aliens revealed to him that all life on earth was actually created by extraterrestrial scientists and placed on earth about 25,000 years ago.

According to the Raelians, these extraterrestrials are named “Elohim,” and this Hebrew word is mistranslated “God” in the Bible. The group believes they will achieve eternal life through human cloning. Their goal is first to produce exact replicas of themselves and then to develop procedures whereby they can transfer their personalities and memories into their cloned brains. In fact, they say, Jesus’ resurrection was really a cloning procedure performed by the Elohim.

The claim that life on earth was seeded by aliens is not unique to the Raelian cult. Francis Crick, who along with James Watson cracked the DNA code, advocated a theory he called “directed panspermia.” He believed that primitive forms of life were actually seeded on earth and that they grew into the many complex forms we now have.

Why this fascination with life seeded here by aliens? Modern evolutionary theories have a major foundational problem because they claim that life arose from non-life, something that has never been observed. In fact, life is only known to arise from previously existing life. Advocates of “alien seeding” essentially transfer this problem somewhere else. Thus, modern stories about extraterrestrials seeding life serve the same function that myths did in pagan creation stories: Cosmology is separated from historical reality.

I also suspect the fascination with aliens may have something to do with the fact that “aliens” make no moral claims on people. Though dressed in the language of science, people who advocate extraterrestrial cosmology actually seem to break the second commandment: They are creating gods and idols. As the apostle Paul comments in Romans 1:21, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

When this type of spiritual confusion is combined with modern cloning techniques, the result is an attempt to deify oneself. Clonaid’s claims about cloning a human may or may not be false. The worldview which provides their motives for cloning is essentially pagan and sadly misguided.
Alan Branch is vice president for student development at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.

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  • Alan Branch