It was quite a surprise for the American Raelians to learn a few days ago about the suicides of Daniel Boli-Gbagra, his wife and her daughter in Miami.
It was quite a surprise for the American Raelians to learn a few days ago about the suicides of Daniel Boli-Gbagra, his wife and her daughter in Miami. According to the reports they died from starvation while praying the Elohim to bring them food.
It is always disturbing to learn that someone decided to give up this incredible gift that is life. We all feel responsible when it happens to someone close as we all wish we had known and had been able to help one way or another. Daniel has been close to the Raelians in New York where he lived before moving to Florida. He however left the Movement about 7 years ago and no one heard from him since then.
Another disturbing part of this news was to read that while starving, they were hoping to get help from the Elohim, the human beings from another planet who created us and all forms of life on Earth. For us Raelians, it is very clear that everyone is responsible for everything that happens to him or her. In other words, there are no divine intervention ever. Those who created us are human beings who suggested us some rules to make our life better and happier but they will not intervene in our lives for any reason. This is one of the major tenets of the Raelian philosophy and one of the main disagreements expressed by Daniel when he left the Movement. According to some members, he had mystical perception and thought that the Elohim were involved in our life just like Christians or Muslims believe that their god is involved.
In a recent address, Rael was referring to the Elohim saying that we should never make the mistake to see them like gods. “They are not gods they are human beings like us, we must never forget that. We must not replace god by Elohim. They are just teachers, men and women, human beings, like us. It is very important to remember. They created us equal to them not inferior. So to be Raelian is beautiful because we respect and love human beings who are equal to us instead of feeling inferior and praying a god.”
As a tribute to our creators, it is also important for Raelians to derive pleasure from every aspect of life and suicide is in clear opposition to the Raelian values except in extreme circumstances, such as a person suffering from a physical illness that science cannot cure. Raelians don't believe in a mystical afterlife. We believe there is nothing after death unless science intervenes. So suicide is very much against our values of living lives full of pleasure and happiness. This is another one of the core values we try to bring to current society - that there is no heaven, no hell, no soul. This life is the only one we are sure to have.
This being said, the story had another disturbing angle that we wish to outline using the words of Susan Palmer, Sociologist at the Department of Religion Dawson College in Montreal who has studied the Raelian Movement for more than 15 years, and who commented about the story:
"... another case where a fringe member performs a violent act that is quite unrelated to the group's beliefs or the leaders' directives, and the media takes it up and broadcasts it as another example of "cult violence".
As Gordon Melton says, you never hear about a Unitarian or a Catholic who commits suicide - but when a Scientologist does its big news.
When a wife-beater or child molester is Jewish, the story never mentions his religious affiliation.
Remember the case of the Washington sniper who had been a peripheral member of the Nation of Islam, like many African Americans, and the NOI had to issue a statement saying they didn't tell their members to shoot passers with rifles by from