New religious movements and science: Rael's progressive patronizing parasitism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The article examines the concoction of religion and science contained in the revelation that substantiates a new religion: Raelianism, founded and led by the prophet Claude Vorilhon/Rael after having received a revelation in 1974. After a detailed examination both of Rael's prophetic message and his/the Raelians' interpretative practices, an ad hoc model is presented to describe such concoction (progressive patronizing parasitism), and it is compared to other models. It is in particular claimed that Rael, while seemingly talking about science, is actually constructing a science-fictional and even pseudoscientific narrative. The article finally raises the question whether the discussion of the science-religion interaction from the viewpoint of traditional religions can be considered to be immune to the usage of such rhetorical devices.


  • Stefano Bigliardi
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Social Sciences


  • new religious movements, pseudoscience, Rael, Raelianism, science, fiction, UFO religions, Claude Vorilhon
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-83
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch