Aug 27, 2014

Raelians not a dangerous cult

August 26, 2014
Montreal Gazette

There has been some talk recently about the Raelians. Some have referred to them as a cult, and as such called into question the motivation behind their sponsorship of the Go Topless events held around the world. The Raelians, for their part, have asked people to separate their beliefs from the cause of topless freedom for women, saying they are speaking up for all women, not just Raelian women.

The whole thing got me to do some research into cults in general, and I came across an interesting piece by Catherine Bayer that asks the question: Are the Raelians a Dangerous Cult? Note the word “Dangerous.” The article also provides a link to guidelines for determining a dangerous cult.

I am not going to keep you in suspense: While the Raelians may be a cult, they are NOT a dangerous cult, according to Catherine and the guidelines. Here’s why, according to the article:

They do not exercise control over the life and death of their members. They do not encourage members to commit illegal acts. They do not exercise strict control over members’ lives; there are no lifestyle requirements. They are not forced to keep away from contacts outside the group. They are not taught to have a polarized view, i.e. to be exclusionary. They are not asked to live in communal isolation. And they are not asked for large donations.

And, I might add, they don’t try to stop same-sex couples from getting married. They don’t try to deny equal rights to transgender people. They don’t call for the imprisonment and/or stoning of LGBT people. And they don’t behead people who won’t convert to their belief system.

In fact, the Raelians are pacifists. They’re peace-loving people who happen to believe what the ancient Sumerians believed: that man was created on Earth — cloned — by humans from another planet, made in their image.

Who knows? Maybe the Sumerians and the Raelians are right. Maybe they’re not. It doesn’t really matter. As long as they spread the essential message of love and oneness, the rest is really irrelevant — we can’t prove or disprove anyone’s belief about creation and life after death, especially the latter.

But you don’t have to look very far these days to see examples of dangerous cults, do you . . .

Exhibit A: ISIS. Some call them militants and terrorists, but they are a cult of the most dangerous kind. It would be an insult to Islam to call ISIS members Muslims, but they do refer to themselves as the “Islamic State.”

Exhibit B: Many Christian religions, which still persecute LGBT people, even in the United States where they lobby to deny equal rights and to dictate the parameters of the general population’s personal lives. Yes, they are dangerous because through their actions they are hurting people and inciting hatred and violence against them, and even driving some to commit suicide.

I suppose I could go on and on, but you get the idea. When you examine the kingdom of the cults, the Raelians are among the most harmless of them all.

Disclosure: I am not a Raelian and have no personal interest in their belief system. I’m a Theosophist who believes in reincarnation and karma, in brotherly/sisterly love, and the essential oneness of all beings.

Theosophy, for those who might not know, is not a religion and is described this way by The Theosophical Society in Pasadena, California: “The word is derived from the Greek theos (god, divinity) and sophia (wisdom). Its philosophy is a contemporary presentation of the perennial wisdom underlying the world’s religions, sciences, and philosophies.”

Here is some perennial wisdom:

Confucius said: Love
– Jillian