Damien Marsic (2015)Star Trek Interdisciplinary perspectives

The Raelian hypothesis: Star Trek-like origin and spread of intelligent life in the galaxy

Star Trek: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Theory and Practice

Edited by Victor E. Grech, David J. Zammit and Mariella Scerri; SciFi Malta and HUMS, The Humanities, Medicine and Science Programme at the University of Malta, 2015, pp. 126-147


Stefano Bigliardi (2015)


Zygon, vol. 50, no. 1, March 2015, pp. 64–83.


François Xavier Bauduin (2013)

The "Happiness Academy": Relaxing Holiday, Religious Pilgrimage and Development Strategy of a New Religious Movement in a Mediterranean Country

MEDITERRANEAN REVIEW Vol. 6, No. 2, December 2013, pp. 189~205.

Erik A. W. Östling (2013)Erik Ostling

Those Who Came From The Sky: Ancient Astronauts And Creationism In The Raëlian Religion

Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review, Volume 4, Number 2 / September 2013


This essay will discuss the religious creation of the Frenchman Claude Vorilhon, currently known as his holiness Raël. Following an alleged encounter with an extraterrestrial in 1973 he founded the Raëlian religion. The main tenets of his religion are the notions that humankind is the creation of a group of extraterrestrial scientists; that bodily sensuality and sexuality is something positive; that immortality can be achieved through scientific means; and that if we prove ourselves worthy and rid our world of all destructive tendencies we will inherit the knowledge of our creators and become able to continue the creative cycle by creating life elsewhere in the cosmos. The present article will situate this religion within the context of ancient astronaut theories.

Stephen E. Gregg (2012)

Poking fun at the Pope: Anti-Catholic Dialogue, Performance and the ‘Symbolic Construction’ of Identity in the International Raelian Movement

International Journal for the Study of New Religions, Vol 3, No 1 (2012)


The International Raelian Movement is the world’s largest UFO-centred religion, claiming over 60,000 followers worldwide. Founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon, now known as the prophet Rael, the movement centres its cosmology on a reinterpretation of the Genesis creation myth. The figure of Jesus is also central to Raelian understanding of Prophethood and the ‘scientific’ non-supernatural world view of the movement. Proudly atheistic and supportive of diverse adult sexualities, the movement has in recent years increased protests against the Catholic Church in the form of website literature, online videos, and physical marches. Using Cohen’s understanding of relational aspects of community identity and the notion of ‘Reversal’ in identity construction (Cohen, 2007), the Raelian Movement’s anti-Catholic discourse and dialogue is interpreted as a ‘symbolic construction’ of identity which requires a ‘religious other’ – namely the Catholic Church. Further, Raelian claims to ‘correct’ Catholic teaching on the person of Jesus, cosmology, theism and sexual ethics are explored, as examples of the relational construction of Raelian worldviews. Lastly, Raelian protests against the Catholic Church are understood using Bell’s category of ‘Political Ritual’ (Bell, 1997), wherein it is argued that Raelian protests are a form of a ritual performance of protest to construct, reinforce and project symbolic constructions of Raelian identity.

Benjamin E. Zeller (2011

At the Nexus of Science and Religion: UFO Religions

Religion Compass Vol 5, Issue 11, pp. 666–674, November 2011


The modern period has witnessed a rise of religious interest in extraterrestrial life and visitations, which although dating back to the 18th century, culminated during the 20th century in the emergence of the ‘UFO religions’. This article highlights the manner in which the founders and members of unidentified flying object (UFO) religions have sought to operate at the nexus of science and religion in the modern world. The article first considers definitional questions and explains the origin of the concept of UFOs, ufology, and UFO religions. The article then traces the history of the development and rise of several of these religions, providing case studies of the major UFO religions and religious movements. Finally, the article considers recent scholarship and research issues involving UFO religions.


ThomasPaul Brian Thomas (2010)

Bible Lessons with Raël: On Religious Appropriation in ET-Inspired Religions

Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions

Vol. 14, No. 2 (November 2010), pp. 6-13


As an introduction to Nova Religio's special issue on ET-inspired (UFO) religions, this article maintains that despite less media attention since the furor surrounding the Heaven's Gate suicides, ET-inspired religions are still active. Moreover, increasing speculation linking extraterrestrials to 2012 apocalyptic scenarios, coupled with a significant percentage of the population who believe in extraterrestrial visitation, seems to indicate that purveyors of ET-inspired religious perspectives will continue to have a market. Rather than focusing upon the "strange" and seemingly "bizarre" nature of these religious groups, the articles in this special issue endeavor to demonstrate how members of ET-inspired religions appropriate materials and theological ideas from widely-accepted mainstream religious traditions. This article maintains that the value of such an approach lies in bridging the gulf between normalized religious perspectives and the marginalized religious "other."

Religions Of ModernityCarly Machado (2010)


Religions of Modernity: Relocating the Sacred to the Self and the Digital

Edited by Stef Aupers & Dick Houtman, Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2010, pp. 187-204

Eugene V. Gallagher (2010)

Extraterrestrial exegesis: The Raëlian movement as a biblical religion

Nova Religio A. 2010, vol. 14, n° 2, pp. 14-33


Gallagher ProfileInterpretation of the Bible has played a central role in the origins and development of the Raëlian movement. Claude Vorilhon's first encounter with the "Elohim" was immediately followed by an intensive week of Bible study that gave him a new identity as the messianic prophet "Raël," a new direction for his life as the earthly ambassador of the Elohim, and a new doctrine that would serve as the intellectual foundation of a new religious movement. The Raëlian movement and other new religions in which interpretation of the Bible figure prominently do not originate one-sidedly in a "cultic milieu" or "occulture" that is divorced from the broad biblical tradition. Rather, they represent creative blendings of biblical and other sources. Part of the attractiveness of the Bible for new religions is that it contains and legitimizes multiple examples of successful religious innovation.

AestheticCarly Machado (2010)

Prophecy on Stage: Fame and Celebrities in the Context of the Raelian Movement

Aesthetic Formations - Media, Religion, and the Senses

Edited by Birgit Meyer, Palgrave Macmillan, September 2010, pp. 207-224.

Claire S. Gould (2010)

Science Replacing Supernatural: The Raëlian Movement and their Reinterpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible

Religious Studies Honors Papers. Paper 3, Connecticut College, 2010.

AlienworldsChristopher Helland (2007)

The Raelian Creation Myth and the Art of Cloning


Edited by Diana Tumminia. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2007, pp. 275-290.

ET CultureDebbora Battaglia (2006)

"For those who are not afraid of the future" : Raelian clonehood in the public sphere

E.T. Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces

Edited by Debbora Battaglia, Duke University Press, 2006, pp. 149-179.

ControverialSusan J. Palmer (2005)

The Raëlian Movement: Concocting Controversy, Seeking Social Legitimacy

Controversial New Religions

Edited by James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen, Oxford University Press 2005, pp. 371-385


The Raëlian movement appears to be the largest and fastest-growing UFO religion of the decade, claiming to have up to 60,000 members. It is also controversial, like many other successful, evangelistic, and apocalyptic new religions. But closer examination suggests that the source of the notoriety appears to be in their policies regarding the media. Since the early 1990s, the Raëlians have launched a series of publicity campaigns designed to shock, titillate, and capture the media’s imagination. It is argued that by presenting controlled “outrages” with a clear social orientation in publicity campaigns — such as “Operation Condom” in front of Catholic schools and the Baby Eve cloning announcement — they direct the image of the movement in the public space and deflect the more serious charges usually aimed at new religious movements.

Tayah L. Hanson (2005)

THE "RAEL" WORLD: Narratives of the Raelian Movement

Master thesis, Department of Sociology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon


In December of 2002, an organization called Clonaid released the news that the first human clone had been born. This company is the offspring of an emerging religious movement, the Raelian movement. Whether the story is true or not, the emergence and growth of this movement suggest that people are looking beyond major world religions, creating a religious outlook (which is a hybrid of dominant religions) with the tenets of extraterrestrial intelligent design, human consciousness, and scientific and technological development. It is a new spin on science as religion, with components of science fiction.To better understand the significance of this movement in contemporary North American culture, the following research is based upon a narrative analysis of the accounts of five members of the movement. The thesis will elaborate on such topics as the sociology of religion, science, biotechnology, social movements and cults, science fiction, and the role of stories in shaping meaning of our place and relationships in the world. The reason for this study is to ascertain characteristics of those participating in the movement: who is joining, why they are joining, and what they are getting out of it. The research uses narrative analysis to focus on the stories of individual members, to provide the best view of the movement, from the inside-out. What emerges is an elaborate depiction of the significance of the Raelian movement in the world through individual members’ interpretations.

Susan J. Palmer (2004)

Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion

Rutgers University Press

Book description:

AliensadoredAliens Adored is the first full length, in-depth look at the Raëlian movement, a fascinating new religion founded in the 1970s by the charismatic prophet, Raël. Born in France as Claude Vorilhon, the former race-car driver founded the religion after he experienced a visitation from the aliens (the "elohim") who, in his cosmology, created humans by cloning themselves. The millenarian movement awaits the return of the alien creators, and in the meantime seeks to develop the potential of its adherents through free love, sexual experimentation, opposition to nuclear proliferation and war, and the development of the science of cloning.

Sociologist Susan J. Palmer has studied the Raelian movement for more than a decade, observing meetings and rituals and enjoying unprecedented access to the group's leaders as well as to its rank-and-file members. In this pioneering study she provides a thorough analysis of the movement, focusing on issues of sexuality, millenarianism, and the impact of the scientific worldview on religion and the environment. Rael's radical sexual ethics, his gnostic anthropocentrism, and shallow ecotheology offer us a mirror through which we see how our worldview has been shaped by the forces of globalization, postmodernism, and secular humanism.

UforeligionsGeorge D. Chryssides (2003)

SCIENTIFIC CREATIONISM - A study of the Raelian Church

UFO Religions<

Edited by Christopher Partridge. London: Routledge, 2003, pp. 45-61.

Bryan Sentes & Susan J. Palmer (2000)

Presumed Immanent: the Raëlians, UFO Religions, and the Postmodern Condition

Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions

Vol. 4, No. 1 (October 2000), pp. 86-105

John M. Bozeman (1999)

Field Notes: The Raelian Religion—Achieving Human Immortality Through Cloning

Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions

Vol. 3, No. 1 (October 1999), pp. 154-159

ThegodshavelandedSusan J. Palmer (1995)

WOMEN IN THE RAELIAN MOVEMENT: New Religious Experiments in Gender and Authority

The Gods Have Landed: New Religions from Other Worlds

Edited by James R. Lewis. State University of New York Press, 1995

Susan J. Palmer (1994)

Playmates in the Raelian Movement

Moon sisters, Krishna mothers, Rajneesh lovers : women's roles in new religions

Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1994, pp. 105-135.