It is a funny thing that society often condemns that which is not normalised in our traditional view of the world. In respect to religion, judgement can often be thrown over that which seems laudable and insane, particularly when they are not associated with the Abrahamic religions that have been intertwined in human perceptions of God for centuries. We have to remember, though, that the foundations of these religions are based on those who, in that particular time, were seen as just that: mad and ridiculous. Jesus in Christianity was punished for claiming to be the Son of God and was consequently crucified. Mohammed in Islam has been been castigated in academic criticism for possibly suffering psychiatric delusions or psychosis (according to Sujit Das: Islam Dismantled: The Mental Illness of Prophet Muhammad).
As we can see, no religious claims go unscathed from analytical criticism. There is the ever underlying fear that mental instability could be associated with particular religious figures that make claims to the presence of a God. Researching into this is an academic journal in itself. But it certainly has bearings on the religion of the Aetherius Society which has undergone criticism for its seemingly ridiculous claims. The reason why I make reference to critiques of Christianity and Islam is that these religions share a continual struggle to make unbelievers believe. Unlike the factual world around us, claims of God are abstract and intangible, rendering claims hard for the individual to fathom. In respect to the Aetherius Society and their believe in UFO’s truth claims become infused with peoples disregard of the existence of such beings in the Universe.
I interviewed Richard Lawrence who explained to me the belief system of the Aetherius Society. The society was founded by Dr. George King in 1956 after he claimed to have had an experience with an extraterrestrial being named ‘Aetherius’ from Venus. Lawrence explains that the statement was a physical voice, not something King had heard inside of his head. It said to him:
‘Prepare yourself. You are to become the voice of interplanetary parliament.’
King then founded the society in London. Essentially, the religion believes in the existence of intelligence beyond our planet. These extraterrestrial beings have a certain mastery over us and, by practising yoga and spiritual healing, we are able to connect to these alien masters and have a relationship with them in order to improve the well-being of us all on this planet.
This is a very brief summary of their beliefs. In terms of the interview itself, however, I found Richard Lawrence to be a very well-spoken individual. He said such things as:
‘People are seeking a spiritual dimension to their lives and the Aetherius Society really offers that. What we do but we go even further than that. We try to provide people an opportunity to change the world as a whole.’
He further states:
‘We are not out to convert anybody. We’re not saying this is the one and only way, if your not in the Aetherius Society you’re finished, you’re going to hell. What we are saying is the Aetherius Soceity is the most interesting and significant spiritual origination that we know of. It wasn’t we’d be somewhere else, but it is important for people to investigate and form their own conclusions.’
Lawrence exemplifies the importance of investigating beliefs instead of blindly following any religious system whatsoever. Such an aphorism is true of all individuals in our society.
Their prayer service was a truly wonderful experience which I will not explain in detail here. I would encourage you to tune in to our ‘Religion Special’ in order to see how they practice and what methods they use to spread this spiritual healing to our world.
We were very privileged to be given access, and London360 is grateful for their open and welcoming arms.
It is unfair to ever ridicule a religion. Those in the society are very well-meaning and loving people. It vexes me when people put down those who have faith. Those who do have faith should always respect that we all want the same thing in life: a better world and an after world. All religions practice this and all, ultimately, share in the same belief: something must exist beyond the material world we know.