The Spiritual Teachings of The Urantia Book: Synopsis, Part 3
The sincere religionist is conscious of universe citizenship and self-worth-a self that has surrendered to an all-encompassing motivation that imposes heightened self-discipline, lessens emotional conflict, and makes mortal life truly worth living.
The morbid recognition of human limitations is changed to the natural consciousness of mortal shortcomings that is associated with moral determination and the spiritual aspiration to attain the highest universe goals. And this intense striving for the attainment of super-mortal ideals is always characterized by increasing patience, forbearance, fortitude, and tolerance.
True religion is living love, a life of service. But the religionist's detachment from much that is purely temporal and trivial never leads to social isolation. Genuine religion takes nothing away from human existence, but it does add new meanings to all of life.
One of the most amazing hallmarks of religious living is that dynamic and sublime peace that passes all understanding, that cosmic poise that betokens the absence of all doubt and turmoil.
Although the average mortal cannot hope to attain the perfection of character reached by Jesus during his sojourn in the flesh, nevertheless it is possible for every mortal believer to develop a strong and unified personality along the perfected lines of Jesus' personality.
The unfailing kindness and stalwart strength of character of Jesus amazed his followers. He was truly sincere, had nothing of the hypocrite in him. He was free from shamming-acting. He lived the truth, even as he taught it. He was the truth. He was reasonable. Approachable, practical, free from all freakish, erratic, and eccentric tendencies. And he was unafraid.
Of Jesus it was truly said, "He trusted God." As a man amongst men, he most sublimely trusted the Father in heaven. He trusted his Father as a little child trusts an earthly parent. His faith was perfect but never presumptuous. He never faltered in his faith. He was immune to disappointment, impervious to persecution, and untouched by apparent failure. He loved people. And he went about doing good.
Jesus was unusually cheerful-though never blind and unreasonable. He was always generous, and never grew weary of stating that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
He controlled his enthusiasm; it never controlled him. He was unreservedly dedicated to "being about his Father's business."
Jesus was a soul of gladness. But when duty required, he was willing to walk courageously through the 'valley of the shadow of death." He was gladsome but at the same time humble.
His courage was equaled only by his patience. He was never in a hurry; his composure was sublime.
Jesus was great because he was good-yet he fraternized with little children. He was gentle and unassuming in his personal life-yet he was the perfected man of a universe. And his associates called him "Master" unbidden.
Jesus was a perfectly unified human personality. Today he continues to unify mortal existence. He enters the human mind to elevate, transform, and transfigure. It is literally true: "If any man has the spirit of Jesus Christ within him, he is a new creature; old things are passing away; behold all things are becoming new." (2 Cor. 5:17)
Religion as human experience ranges from the primitive slavery of the fear of the evolving primitive up to the magnificent liberty of faith of those mortals who are superbly conscious of being members of the family of the eternal God who is love.
Religion is the experiencing of divinity in the consciousness of a moral being of evolutionary origin. It represents true experience with eternal realities in time, the realization of spiritual satisfaction while yet in the flesh.
There really is a true and genuine inner voice, "the true light that lights every man who comes into the world." And this spirit leading is distinct from the ethical prompting of human conscience.
The assurance of religion transcends the reason of mind, even the logic of philosophy. Religion is faith, trust, and assurance.
The Divine Spirit makes contact with mortal beings, not by feelings or emotions, but in the realm of your highest and most spiritualized thinking. It is you thoughts not your feelings that lead you God-ward.
The divine nature may be perceived only with the eyes of the mind. But the mind that really discerns God, hears his indwelling Spirit, is the pure mind. For "Without holiness no man may see the Lord."
Religion is a profoundly deep and actual experience of spiritual communion with the spirit influences resident within the human mind-and in so far as such an experience is definable, it is simply the experiencing of experiencing the reality of believing in God as the reality of such a personal experience.
Religious longings and spiritual urges are of such a nature as lead us to want to believe in God-whence they evolve to the conviction that we ought to believe in God, so that finally we reach that attitude of soul that concludes we do not have the right not to believe in God.
And so we come to conclude that to even doubt God or to distrust his perfect goodness would amount to being untrue to the realest and deepest thing within the human mind and soul-the indwelling Spirit of the Father.
The faith of Jesus pointed the way to the ultimate of mortal attainment in that it provided for salvation from material fetters, intellectual bondage, spiritual blindness, time, and incompleteness of self-the finite.
These factors involve personal realization that we are children of the Father who are aware of the universality of the family of God, the goodness of spiritual values, and the necessity for spirit levels of harmony with others-plus achievement of an eternal life of progression in God-recognition, God-consciousness, and God-service.
Jesus made the discovery, in human experience, of the Final Father-and we, his brothers and sisters in the flesh, can follow him in this same experience of Father-discovery of the absolute goodness of God. Mortal beings, ourselves, can even attain, as we are, the same satisfaction in this experience of Father-discovery as did Jesus, as he was.
Jesus was and is the new and living way whereby mankind can come into the divine inheritance which the Father has decreed will be theirs for the asking.
Philosophy transforms primitive religion, largely a fairy-tale of conscience, into a living experience-thereby freeing the individual who dares to think, act, and live honestly, loyally, fearlessly, and truthfully from all the traditional handicaps imposed by convention.
Belief has attained the level of faith when it motivates life and shapes the mode of living. The acceptance of a teaching as true is not faith; that is mere belief. Neither is certainty or conviction faith. A state of mind attains to faith levels only when it dominates the mode of living.
Faith is a living attribute of genuine personal religious experience. One believes truth, admires beauty, and reverences goodness-but does not worship them. Saving faith is centered on God alone who is all of these personified and infinitely more.
The enlightened spiritual consciousness is not concerned so much with some intellectual belief or any particular mode of living as with discovering the truth of living, the good and right technique of reacting to the ever recurring situations of mortal existence.
Belief is always limiting and binding; faith is expanding and releasing. Belief fixates, faith liberates.
Religious faith is a living experience concerned with spiritual meanings, divine ideals, and supreme values; it is God-knowing and mankind-serving. It vitalizes religion and constrains the religionist to heroically live the golden rule.
Though religion is imperfect, there are at least two practical manifestations of its nature and function-firstly, the spiritual urge to cause religious persons to project their moral values directly outward into the affairs of their fellows (the ethical reaction of religion) and secondly, religion creates for the human mind a spiritualized consciousness of divine reality derived from moral values and coordinated with superimposed spiritual values.
Religion thus provides an avenue of escape from the mutual limitations of the finite world to the supernal realities of the eternal and spiritual world.
Never can there be scientific or logical proofs of divinity. Reason alone can never validate the value and goodness of religious experience. But it will always remain true: 'Whosoever wills to do the will of God shall comprehend the validity of spiritual value.' This is the nearest approach that can be made on the mortal level to offering proof of the reality of religious experience. It is the only passport to the completion of reality and to the eternity of life in a universal creation of love, law, unity, and progressive deity attainment.
By following the gleam of righteousness discernible in our soul, we can identify ourselves with the plan of the Infinite and the purpose of the Eternal. When we experience such a transformation of faith, we are no longer a slavish part of the mathematical cosmos but rather a liberated volitional child of the Universal Father.
Perfection hunger in our hearts is necessary to ensure capacity for comprehending the faith pathways to supreme attainment.
It is literally true, "Human things must be known in order to be loved, but divine things must be loved in order to be known."
The indwelling Father-Spirit unfailingly arouses in our souls a true and searching hunger for perfection, together with a far reaching curiosity that can only be satisfied by communion with God.
God is so real and so absolute that no material sign of proof and no demonstration through so-called miracle may be offered in testimony of his reality. Always will we know God because we trust him-and our belief in him is wholly based on our personal participation in the divine manifestations of his infinite reality.
The hungry soul of man refuses to be satisfied with anything less than the personal realization of the living God. Whatever more God may be than a higher moral personality, God cannot, in our hungry and finite concept, be anything less.
One of the characteristic peculiarities of genuine religious assurance is that, despite the absoluteness of its affirmations and staunchness of attitude, the spirit of its expression is so poised and tempered that it never conveys the slightest impression of self- assertion or egoistic exaltation.
The wisdom of religious experience is something of a paradox in that it is, at the same time, humanly original yet a derivative of the influence of the Divine Spirit-Within.