Clonaid and Eternity

Want to live forever?

Got big bucks?

Clonaid founder Claude Vorilhon, who goes by “Rael,” says you’ll be able to gain eternal life through cloning, but it will cost you plenty. Debates surrounding Clonaid sometimes overlook his stated goal.

“The long-term implication, and this is my mission,” Rael told CNN, “is to give humanity eternal life. Cloning is the key to give us eternal life and to cure all disease on Earth, but eternal life is the ultimate goal.”

Rael says cloning babies is only the first step. Next, he speculates, will come “accelerated growth,” bringing a cloned infant to maturity over a few hours. Phase three transfers the data in your brain to your adult clone.

Your memory and personality then inhabit a new body. Your old body can die while you live on. When your cloned body wears out, presumably you can repeat the process and thus live forever. Hopes of connecting with eternity, of course, touch deep human longings.

Rael, who founded the Raelian religion, says he won’t profit directly from the cloning. Clonaid and the Raelian religion seem to be close philosophically but separate financially. Clonaid’s website features Rael quite prominently. Rael says he won’t shun donations from Clonaid.

Referring to Clonaid president Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, Rael says, “It’s a commercial company and her goal is to make as much money as possible, and I hope she will make as much as possible.”

Hmmm. A religious leader; big money; questionable promises. Sound fishy?

Rael says he encountered a space alien in 1973 in France who told him that extraterrestrials had created life on Earth through cloning. Rael’s mission became to spread the aliens’ message and help earthlings live forever.

Rael claims the alien told him he (Rael) was the brother of Jesus. Jesus, of course, said some significant things about eternal life. Among them: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish.”

Jesus also said that his own bodily resurrection — one of the best-attested facts in history — would validate his claims. Raelians say that aliens using “an advanced cloning technique” raised Jesus from the dead. One problem with this theory involves Jesus’ wounds. To convince his doubting disciple Thomas he had really risen, Jesus showed him the wounds in his hands and side. Thomas believed. Presumably cloning, involving genetic copying, does not reproduce physical wounds.

Jesus and his followers charged nothing for eternal life. It was a “free gift” to all who believed, made possible by his sacrificial death.

Beware of religious leaders promising eternity for a fee.