"Surely you desire the truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inner most place." Psalm 51:6
by Bill Martin
How would you like to belong to a church with more than 55 thousand members in 84 countries?
There are just a couple of problems though. You have to believe you came from alien's (which is what I tell my children). Believe that there is no soul. Oh and one more thing, you better think about cloning yourself.
The Raelians, a Quebec-based religious cult, have made big news lately with talk of cloning, which now appears to be nothing more than a public relations hoax. This is however, anything but a hoax. It's downright dangerous.
The cult leader "Rael", is actually Claude Vorilhon, a former French automobile journalist born in 1946. He claims that he was taken to the planet Elohim in a flying saucer in 1975 and introduced to such noted earthlings as Jesus, Buddha, Joseph Smith and Confucius.
The Elohim, "X-Files" small human-shaped beings with pale green skin and almond eyes, were apparently the original inspiration for god.
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me." Exodus 20 :2-3
If you haven't guessed, Rael's teachings are undeniably unbiblical, clearly non-Christian and weird. The Raelian Movement is essentially a lifestyle cult, grabbing people whose faith is dead or dying. Therein lies the danger.
The group denies that God is a spirit, as taught in John 4:24. "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
The group denies that man has a soul or spirit, as taught in Matthew 10:28. "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
The group denies that creation was an act of a supernatural God, as taught in Hebrews 11:3. "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
Moreover, Rael espouses liberation from guilt and his message is at odds with basic Christian faith.
According to one cult watchdog group, "we do not have a strong understanding of the phenomenon of cults, nor of the dangers cults pose. Lack of understanding or action persists despite highly publicized cults."
Some of you might remember that more than 60 members of Europe's Solar Temple cult were induced to mass suicide in France and Switzerland in 1994. In 1995, Japan's Aum Shin Rikyo cult released sarin nerve gas in Tokyo subway killing ten and injuring thousands. You may remember 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult including its leader ingested a combination of vodka and drugs resulting in 39 deaths. How about teenage members of a Vampire cult murdered the parents of one of its members. The self-proclaimed lead vampire received the death sentence. While these stories get great media coverage cults continue to grow.
According to some experts, an estimated 5,000 economic, political, and religious groups operate in the United States alone at any given time, with 2.5 million members.
"The cult problem is so prevalent", says Dr. Paul Martin, cult expert and director of Wellspring Retreat & Resource Center in Ohio, "the chances of a family member joining a cult are greater than a family member catching chicken pox, four times greater than contracting AIDS, 90 times greater than contracting measles, and 45,000 times greater than contracting polio."
What can you do? How about start with the truth.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Bill Martin is a multiple winner of Emmy and Associated Press Awards for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. He was also inducted into the Ohio Television/Radio Hall of Fame in 1999.