The Spiritual Teachings of The Urantia Book: Synopsis, Part 2
God in Religion
It requires revelation to show that the First Cause of Science and the self-existent Unity of Philosophy are the God of religion, full of mercy, goodness, and love and pledged to effect the eternal survival of his children on Earth.
God is not only the determiner of destiny-he is our destiny.
God-consciousness is experienced in three stages—first in mind consciousness, the comprehension of the idea of God; second in soul consciousness, the realization of the ideal of God; then last dawns spirit-consciousness, the realization of the spirit reality of God. By unification of these three factors there dawns the realization of the personality of God. In achieving this unification man can thrive in the personal experience of divine companionship and in the spiritual satisfactions of true worship.
All personality, from the lowest mortal creature to the highest creator dignitary of divine status, is centered completely in the Universal Father.
God, the Father, is the bestower and the conservator of every personality. Likewise the Father is the destiny of all those finite personalities who choose to do the divine will, those who love God and long to be like him.
God is personally conscious of, and in personal touch with, all personalities of all levels of self-conscious existence-and this consciousness is independent of the mission of the God-Spirit-Within.
"The nature of God can best be understood by the revelation of the Father which Jesus of Nazareth unfolded in his manifold teachings and in his superb mortal life in the flesh. The divine nature can also be better understood if individuals regard themselves as children of God and look up to the Paradise Creator as their true spiritual Father."
Only the real religion of personal spiritual experience can function helpfully and creatively in the present crisis of civilization.
Religionists must function in society, in industry, and in politics as individuals-not as groups, parties, or institutions.
Religionists are of no more value in the tasks of social reconstruction than non-religionists.
The only proper attitude of organized religion consists in the teaching of non-violence, the doctrine of peaceful evolution in the place of violent revolution-peace on Earth and goodwill amongst all mankind.
The kingdom of heaven on Earth is neither a social nor an economic order; it is an exclusively spiritual family of God-knowing individuals.
No matter what upheavals may attend the growth of a civilization, religion is genuine and worthwhile if it fosters the sovereignty of truth, beauty, and goodness-and through love and worship this becomes meaningful as consciousness of the presence of God and fellowship with all mankind.
Purely factual knowledge exerts very little direct influence upon the personal performance of the individual. It is what one believes rather than what one knows that dominates our attitude to our fellows.
There is no danger in religion becoming more and more a private and personal experience-provided it does not lose its motivation for selfless, loving service.
Mankind's greatest spiritual jeopardy consists in partial progress-unfinished growth-the forsaking of religions of authority and fear without grasping firm hold upon the revelatory religion of love.
In modern times, religious progress is hindered by the incompatibility of primitive and exclusive belief systems such as those that:
- 1. Hold to a God who rewards the good and punishes the bad.
- 2. Cling to humanism while rejecting the gods.
- 3. Deify either nature or a materialistic pseudo-science.
What is now needed is the harmony that can proceed from acceptance of the conjoint existence of God-consciousness, spirit, mind, and energy.
Religion is not a slavish belief in threats of punishment or promises of magical rewards. Rather, true religion is to know God as your Father and mankind as your family.
The religion of Jesus is the most dynamic influence ever to activate the human race. Jesus shattered tradition, destroyed dogma, and called upon mankind to seek to achieve the highest ideals in time and eternity-to be perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect.
The doctrine of the total depravity of man destroyed much of the potential of religion for effecting social repercussions of an uplifting nature and of inspirational value. Jesus sought to restore the dignity of mankind when he declared we are all children of God.
Someday religionists will get together and actually effect cooperation on the basis of unity of ideals and purposes. And it will be goals rather than creeds that will unify religionists.
Because true religion is a matter of personal religious experience, it is inevitable that each individual religionist will have his own personal interpretation of the realization of his own experience.
Future religionists must live out their religion, dedicating themselves to the wholehearted service of God and mankind.
It is high time that men and women should have religious experience so personal and so sublime that it could be realized and expressed only by "feelings that lie to deep for words."
Economic interdependence and social fraternizing will ultimately conduce to the unification of mankind. People, naturally, are dreamers, but science is sobering them so that religion can presently become their activator and with far less danger than previously of precipitating fanatical reactions. Economic necessity ties them to reality and personal religious experience brings them face to face with the eternal realities of cosmic citizenship.
Live loyally each day.
The experience of dynamic religious living can transform the mediocre individual into a personality of idealistic power.
Religion ministers to the progress of all through fostering the progress of each-and the progress of each is augmented by the progress of all.
Children are permanently impressed only by the loyalties of their adult associates. Loyal persons are growing persons-and growth is an impressive and inspiring reality.
Live loyally each day-grow-and tomorrow will look after itself. The quickest way for a tadpole to become a frog is to live each day loyally as a tadpole.
Religion is a personal experience that grows in proportion to the expanding quest for final values.
Religious growth is favored by sensitivity to divine values; sharing one's spiritual life with one's fellows, avoidance of selfishness, refusal to presume on divine mercy, and living as in the presence of God.
Spiritual development depends on maintaining a living spiritual connection with true spiritual forces plus a consequential and continuous bearing of spiritual fruit-thereby yielding the ministry to our fellows of that which has been received from our spiritual benefactors.
Spiritual progress is predicated upon intellectual recognition of our spiritual poverty and self-consciousness of perfection hunger-our desire to know God and be like him, our whole hearted purpose to do the will of the Father in heaven.
Spiritual growth commences with an awakening to needs, followed by the discernment of meanings and the discovery of values.
The evidence for true spiritual development consists in a human personality motivated by love, activated by unselfish ministry, and dominated by the perfect ideals of divinity. This entire experience constitutes the true reality of religion.
Spirituality is the measure of our nearness to God and usefulness to our fellow beings. And it is directly proportional to the elimination of selfish qualities from our love.
Actual spiritual status is a function of deity attainment, attunement to the divine Spirit-Within.
The goal of human self-realization should be spiritual, not material. The only realities worth striving for are divine, spiritual and eternal.
Choose your goals carefully for the immortal personality you are building must transcend space, vanquish time, and achieve our eternal destiny of divine perfection and service.
Religion is not a technique for attaining a blissful peace of mind; it is an impulse for organizing the soul for dynamic service-the dedication of the self in the loyal service of loving God and serving mankind.
The supreme value of human life consists in the growth of values, progress in meanings, and realization of their cosmic interrelatedness. Such experience is the equivalent of God-consciousness.
In the physical life, the senses tell us of the existence of things; mind discovers the reality of meanings; spiritual experience reveals their true values.
If you love your fellows, you must have discovered their value. Jesus loved us so much because he placed such a high value upon each one of us.
If you understand your neighbor, you will become tolerant-and this tolerance will grow into friendship and ripen into love.
You cannot truly love your fellows simply as an act of will. Love is only born of a thorough going understanding of their real motives and sentiments.
It is not so important that you love all mankind today as it is that each day you learn to love one more human being.
Love is infectious, and when human devotion is intelligent and wise, love is more catching than hate.
If each mortal could only become a focus of infection, the benign virus that is love would soon pervade all humanity-and that would be the realization that we all are children in the one family of God.