The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book
Paper 98: The Melchizedek Teachings in the Occident
In Palestine, religious dogma stifled rational thinking; in Greece, human thought became so abstract that the concept of God faded. The Salem missionaries failed to build a great religious structure in Greece. Their rigid interpretation of Melchizedek's admonition not to function as priests prevented any priesthood of influence from arising in Greece. The Greeks rejected monotheism because they believed that fate controlled even the gods. Eventually, Greek ethics and philosophy advanced beyond the boundaries of their spirituality.
Intelligent Greeks steeped themselves in philosophy and metaphysics, disdaining all forms of worship. They held loosely to the idea of a Great Source. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle forged Hellenic intellectual advancement. The common people who could not understand deep philosophy rejected both the philosophers and the Salem teachers in favor of the mystery cults.
The Roman state religion, greatly influenced by the Greeks, had a full range of gods and goddesses. Many cults flourished in Rome until the time of Augustus Caesar, who reorganized the state religion and appointed himself supreme god. A small cult of Cynics were the last of the believers in Melchizedek's teachings. The majority of Greco-Romans turned to the spectacular and emotional mystery cults, which offered promises of salvation after death. The most popular mystery cults were the Phrygian cult of Cybele and her son Attis, the Egyptian cult of Osiris and his mother Isis, and the Iranian cult of Mithras, redeemer of all mankind.
Mithraism eventually overshadowed every other cult. By the time it entered Rome, the Mithraic cult had been upstepped by the teachings of Zoroaster. Legends and rituals of this cult included a flood from which one man escaped in a special boat, a last supper after which Mithras ascended into the heavens, and an annual festival on the twenty-fifth of December. Mithraics believed that the unbaptized would be annihilated, the wicked would be destroyed by fire, and the righteous would rule with Mithras forever.
During the third century after Jesus, Mithraic and Christian churches were very similar. Most churches were underground and contained altars depicting the suffering of the savior. Mithraic worshippers dipped their fingers in holy water upon entering the temple. Both religions baptized believers and used the sacrament of bread and wine. The two religions differed in that Mithraism encouraged militarism while Christianity was pacifist. The deciding factor in the struggle between the two faiths was that Christianity allowed full fellowship for women.
The Christian religion is a complex combination of the Melchizedek teachings; Hebrew morality, ethics, and theology; the Zoroastrian concept of the struggle between good and evil; the mystery cults, particularly Mithraism; the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth; the personal beliefs of Paul of Tarsus; and Hellenistic philosophy. Christianity valiantly portrays a beautiful religion about Jesus but has long ceased to be the religion of Jesus. It glorifies Jesus as Christ, but has largely forgotten his personal gospel-the Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of all people.