Dear Urantia Book students and friends,
Have you had the experience of studying a portion of one of the Papers, and you suddenly find yourself startled?
Do you think perhaps, "I've never seen that before! How could I have overlooked that?"
Even students of the UB who have many years of experience reading Paper after Paper may make a surprising discovery, once in a while. The text is quite large, as we know. It is really no wonder we occasionally find a surprise. It only "whets your appetite" for more, I hope.
I mention all this because I recently came across some paragraphs that seemed to me to be "unfamiliar territory."
Although I know the following Section of this Paper rather well, these previous remarks startled me with their prescience and appropriate commentary on our contemporary social and religious evolution, and the quandaries of our 21st Century civilization. The familiar Section is titled The Gift Of Revelation (PAPER 92, Section 4). Most of us have learned much from this concise overview of the five Epochal Revelations to planet Urantia.
What intrigued me was the final five paragraphs of Part 3 - The Nature of Evolutionary Religion. The Melchizedek who wrote this Paper spares us not at all in looking frankly and candidly at our planetary religious history.
We are evolving, no doubt. We have this marvelous gift of revealed cosmic scope and divine wisdom. Yet, we are clearly struggling to put our faith and transformations into our social, business, and political worlds successfully. There is the "slothful human mind" to contend with, and there are strong traditions and mores involved in religion and culture. We find folks who are not religionists, who move through their daily lives without concern for "worship and wisdom."
Yes, possibly we are able at certain times to drop a "pearl of great price" into a conversation, or a discussion. It is a thrill to be able to shift thinking and concepts upward, away from despairing and frightened habits of cogitation. I know many UB students who are watchful for an opportunity to perform "as we pass by" ministry.
But, what about shifting someone's entire cosmic concept frame? That's what happened to me when I was able to really study the Urantia Book and apply its ascended thinking to my own life. Possibly you have also downloaded an upgrade to your whole way of life?
I invite you to delve into the following paragraphs from PAPER 92, the end of Section 3. It can only be tough love that is teaching these ideas to us. It may be genuine food for thought as we enter into a New Year with its potentials and possibilities.
92:3.6 Religion has handicapped social development in many ways, but without religion there would have been no enduring morality nor ethics, no worth-while civilization. Religion enmothered much nonreligious culture: Sculpture originated in idol making, architecture in temple building, poetry in incantations, music in worship chants, drama in the acting for spirit guidance, and dancing in the seasonal worship festivals.
92:3.7 But while calling attention to the fact that religion was essential to the development and preservation of civilization, it should be recorded that natural religion has also done much to cripple and handicap the very civilization which it otherwise fostered and maintained. Religion has hampered industrial activities and economic development; it has been wasteful of labor and has squandered capital; it has not always been helpful to the family; it has not adequately fostered peace and good will; it has sometimes neglected education and retarded science; it has unduly impoverished life for the pretended enrichment of death. Evolutionary religion, human religion, has indeed been guilty of all these and many more mistakes, errors, and blunders; nevertheless, it did maintain cultural ethics, civilized morality, and social coherence, and made it possible for later revealed religion to compensate for these many evolutionary shortcomings.
92:3.8 Evolutionary religion has been man’s most expensive but incomparably effective institution. Human religion can be justified only in the light of evolutionary civilization. If man were not the ascendant product of animal evolution, then would such a course of religious development stand without justification.
92:3.9 Religion facilitated the accumulation of capital; it fostered work of certain kinds; the leisure of the priests promoted art and knowledge; the race, in the end, gained much as a result of all these early errors in ethical technique. The shamans, honest and dishonest, were terribly expensive, but they were worth all they cost. The learned professions and science itself emerged from the parasitical priesthoods. Religion fostered civilization and provided societal continuity; it has been the moral police force of all time. Religion provided that human discipline and self-control which made wisdom possible. Religion is the efficient scourge of evolution which ruthlessly drives indolent and suffering humanity from its natural state of intellectual inertia forward and upward to the higher levels of reason and wisdom.
92:3.10 And this sacred heritage of animal ascent, evolutionary religion, must ever continue to be refined and ennobled by the continuous censorship of revealed religion and by the fiery furnace of genuine science.
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