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The Urantia Papers


Brent
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Progressive Christians,

 

With sincere friendship, I would like to share glimpses of an underutilized yet bountiful resource. Predictably, the teachings presented in the Urantia Papers (link to online study edition) have encountered deep resistance from fundamental attachments to biblical authority as well as natural suspicions regarding their unusual origins. The striking complexity of this masterpiece may appear intimidating on the surface, yet its underlying tenets are most reasonable, congruent, and compatible with progressive Christian understanding.

 

Although (as a long-time student well-acquainted with the historical events and some of the individuals involved) I may be able to answer some of the questions which will undoubtedly arise, my sense is that discussions under this heading will result in positive advancements if related to the substance of the text itself. I am at your service regarding peripheral issues either privately or possibly under the “Debate and Dialogue” heading.

 

Self-described as an “epochal revelation” (see UPaper 92: The Later Evolution of Religion and UP 101: The Real Nature of Religion), the teachings cover a vast range of cosmology, history, science, philosophy, and theology. I personally find the revelations related to the pre-bestowal and bestowal life and teachings of our Creator Son (and his Creative Daughter equal) to be of greatest value.

 

Of possible interest to begin with may be this quote from UPaper 32: The Evolution of Local Universes, Section 3: The Evolutionary Idea,Para 6: (note: audio version of UP32:3 can be easily downloaded) – –

 

“The farther down the scale of life we go, the more difficult it becomes to locate, with the eye of faith, the invisible Father. The lower creatures--and sometimes even the higher personalities--find it difficult always to envisage the Universal Father in his Creator Sons. And so, pending the time of their spiritual exaltation, when perfection of development will enable them to see God in person, they grow weary in progression, entertain spiritual doubts, stumble into confusion, and thus isolate themselves from the progressive spiritual aims of their time and universe. In this way they lose the ability to see the Father when beholding the Creator Son. The surest safeguard for the creature throughout the long struggle to attain the Father, during this time when inherent conditions make such attainment impossible, is tenaciously to hold on to the truth-fact of the Father's presence in his Sons. Literally and figuratively, spiritually and personally, the Father and the Sons are one. It is a fact: He who has seen a Creator Son has seen the Father.”

 

May we all be blessed.

A Dios,

 

Brent

 

Note from Moderator:- The edit was only to make this first post comform to a second that was posted in error, which has now been deleted.

Edited by tariki
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Friends,

 

An acquaintance once wrote an interesting paper suggesting the use of these coined non-gender pronouns - Che, Ches, and Chem - for the existential Trinity God(s) of eternal Paradise. Any thoughts?

 

Being cognizant of individual sensitivities regarding (intended or unintended) attributions of anthropomorphic gender to the Paradise Sources and Centers, I proffer two different versions of the "Believer's Prayer" that were reportedly used by Jesus for illustrative value.

 

From Paper 144 (At Gilboa and the Decapolis) wherein is found "The Discourse on Prayer" (144:2) and additional prayers from other inhabited planets (144:5):

 

Our creative Parent, who is in the center of the universe,

 

Bestow upon us your nature and give to us your character.

 

Make us sons and daughters of yours by grace

 

And glorify your name through our eternal achievement.

 

Your adjusting and controlling spirit give to live and dwell within us

 

That we may do your will on this sphere as angels do your bidding in light.

 

Sustain us this day in our progress along the path of truth.

 

Deliver us from inertia, evil, and all sinful transgression.

 

Be patient with us as we show loving-kindness to our fellows.

 

Shed abroad the spirit of your mercy in our creature hearts.

 

Lead us by your own hand, step by step, through the uncertain maze of life,

 

And when our end shall come, receive into your own bosom our faithful spirits.

 

Even so, not our desires but your will be done.

Glorious Father and Mother, in one parent combined,

 

Loyal would we be to your divine nature.

 

Your own self to live again in and through us

 

By the gift and bestowal of your divine spirit,

 

Thus reproducing you imperfectly in this sphere

 

As you are perfectly and majestically shown on high.

 

Give us day by day your sweet ministry of brotherhood

 

And lead us moment by moment in the pathway of loving service.

 

Be you ever and unfailingly patient with us

 

Even as we show forth your patience to our children.

 

Give us the divine wisdom that does all things well

 

And the infinite love that is gracious to every creature.

 

Bestow upon us your patience and loving-kindness

 

That our charity may enfold the weak of the realm.

 

And when our career is finished, make it an honor to your name,

 

A pleasure to your good spirit, and a satisfaction to our soul helpers.

 

Not as we wish, our loving Father, but as you desire the eternal good of your mortal children,

 

Even so may it be.

note: the Urantia Papers are uncopyrighted in the "public domain"

 

Enjoy and A Dios,

Brent

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Brent, just put of interest, a short excerpt from D.T.Suzuki's book "Buddha of Infinite Light". He is speaking of a title that is often used for Amida (the Buddha in question) by devotees......OYA-SAMA

 

We believe in Amida Buddha as our Oya-sama, or Oya-san, as it is sometimes called. It is the term used to express love and compassion. Oya means parent, but not either parent, rather both mother and father; not separate personalities, but both fatherly and motherly qualities united in one personality. The honorific san is the familiar form of sama. The latter, Oya-sama, is the standard form. In Christianity, God is adressed as the Father - "Our Father who art in heaven" - but Oya-sama is not in heaven, nor is Oya-sama Father. It is incorrect to say "he" or "she," for no gender distinction is found. I don't like to say "it," so I don't know what to say. Oya-sama is a unique word, deeply endearing and at the same time rich with religious significance and warmth.

 

So we don't know what to say, which perhaps is best in some ways.... :)

 

Perhaps it is the internalisation of this that prompted Suzuki to translate the givingof grace - and of being grace for us - by Amida (Reality-as-is) by the homely English word "favour".......as in...

 

Doubts have all been taken away,

I know not how and when!

How to be thankful for the favour - I know not!

"Namu-amida-butsu"!

 

(Saichi)

 

I know that when I developed an interest in Christology, I found there were "high" and "low" versions. Some began at the top (with God the Father) and worked their way down, while others began at the bottom (with the pure humanity of Jesus) and worked their way up. To be honest, at the time, I was inclined to begin at the bottom and stay there...............which, I suppose, is why I find the word "favour" so endearing, the kind of word I would use for the lend of a lawnmower by my neighbour. My experience is that we then see the favours done by others all day and everyday, and come to see how grace is part and parcel of our world. And not something bestowed from on high by "Him up there".

 

All the best

Derek

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Greetings Derek and friends,

 

I appreciate the info. Do you now, or have you resided in Japan? A fellow student of the Urantia Papers and friend of mine, Robert Reno, lived there for some years, developing very close relationships with Buddist scholars and monks and being deeply versed in Amida Buddism. Curiously, it was Robert who linked me to TCPC several years ago. Another friend and scholar of the UPapers, Dr. Jeff Wattles, professor of philosophy and world religions at Kent State has close ties with the Japanese, as well.

 

I also find the term “oya-sama” endearing and “favourable”. Regarding this grace, I would note that the same UPaper 144 from Part IV: The Life and Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth which was referenced in my last post includes the following:

 

In all praying, remember that sonship is a gift. No child has aught to do with earning the status of son or daughter. The earth child comes into being by the will of its parents. Even so, the child of God comes into grace and the new life of the spirit by the will of the Father in heaven. Therefore must the kingdom of heaven -- divine sonship -- be received as by a little child. You earn righteousness -- progressive character development -- but you receive sonship by grace and through faith. (144:4:3)

 

Part III of the UPapers: The History of Urantia, includes several papers devoted to a presentation of information regarding the emergency bestowal mission of a local universe Melchezidek Son which occurred at Salem (Jerusalem) 1,973 years before the birth of Jesus. From among his disciples, some travelled as far as Japan. UPaper 94: The Melchezidek Teachings in the Orient includes a section titled: The God Concept in Buddism, wherein is found these words:

 

94:12:2 Gradually the concept of God, as contrasted with the Absolute, began to appear in Buddhism. Its sources are back in the early days of this differentiation of the followers of the Lesser Road and the Greater Road. It was among the latter division of Buddhism that the dual conception of God and the Absolute finally matured. Step by step, century by century, the God concept has evolved until, with the teachings of Ryonin, Honen Shonin, and Shinran in Japan, this concept finally came to fruit in the belief in Amida Buddha.

 

94:12:3 Among these believers it is taught that the soul, upon experiencing death, may elect to enjoy a sojourn in Paradise prior to entering Nirvana, the ultimate of existence. It is proclaimed that this new salvation is attained by faith in the divine mercies and loving care of Amida, God of the Paradise in the west. In their philosophy, the Amidists hold to an Infinite Reality which is beyond all finite mortal comprehension; in their religion, they cling to faith in the all-merciful Amida, who so loves the world that he will not suffer one mortal who calls on his name in true faith and with a pure heart to fail in the attainment of the supernal happiness of Paradise.

Finite concepts regarding a location for our Paradise Parent seem so inadequate, and perhaps further exploration and discussion of the subject would be fruitful.

 

Many blessings my friends,

Brent

Edited by Brent
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Do you now, or have you resided in Japan?

 

No, I think the closest I ever came was when I was bobbing about on top of a little cargo ship crossing from Sumatra to Penang, this in my wayward and ill spent youth. Maybe it is my distance from an actual Pure Land congregation that enables me to have a possibly idealised view................maybe if I saw a devotee picking their nose - or worse - I would reel away in distaste.

 

:D

 

But, picking up a few points, I would say that as far as my reading and understanding goes, there is a very wide spectrum within the Pure Land tradition, certainly there is now, when the likes of Thich Nhat Hanh and D.T Suzuki - who have both lived more within the zen path - have versed their understanding. A spectrum that ranges from Amida "up there", who will welcome devotees to the Pure Land "out west" upon death, to Amida as "myth", as personification of Reality-as-is, and the Pure Land is NOW, this world, even this moment. (Possibly a realisation easier to come to when one does not have toothache.. :D )

 

There was an interesting story in Jeff Wilsons book "Buddhism of the Heart" where he spoke of two different "believers" who sought confirmation of their views from the local "reverend". So the question was put....."Amida Buddha - is he real or a myth?" "Amida is a metaphor." One man jumped up with joy, his personal view confirmed. Seeking further confirmation he asked again......"So Amida is purely metaphor?" "Oh no" came the reply, "Amida is very real." As Jeff Wilson comments...."Each man got a teaching that shook up his fossilized views, forcing him to consider other ways of approaching the tradition, and thus notice the way even notions of Amida are used to reinforce our egoistic desires. This kind of skilful means is an expression of the compassion valued by Shin Buddhists, which both meets you where you are, and, when you are ready, challenges you to go further."

 

As far as how the Pure Land way - even Mahayana in general - evolved from the earliest forms of Buddhism, Shinran (13th century, founder of Jodo Shinshu, and a particular mentor of mine) turned what I suppose are our modern notions of history on their head. He understood the reality of the Vow (that Reality - "being" - is Unjudgemental, Infinite in Compassion, and is ever "working" in infinite ways to bring all to enlightenment) as fundamental. Therefore intuitions of such, and expressions of such, can be found within all things, at any time......prior to the historical Buddha, as inferred by his teaching, as coming to the fore within the Mahayana.

 

Saichi says it more simply.....

 

O Saichi! What is your joy?

This world of delusion is my joy!

It contains the seeds

Of relishing the Dharma.

Namu-amida-butsu is blooming everywhere!

 

:)

 

(I was interested that the Urantia Papers actually referred to the "lesser" and "greater" roads (of Buddhism) as I had never heard these terms mentioned before they were spoken of by Thomas Cleary in his commentary to the Dhammapada. Still, greater or lesser, "many that are first shall be last" etc etc. Perhaps better not to think too deeply about which we are "on"?

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Lovely friends,

 

Who wouldn't agree that discovering kindred truth hunger is always a welcome experience? If anyone has yet sallied forth upon the UPapers, my own experience would suggest perhaps an experience of incredulity combined with inner insight/recognition of a startling revelation.

 

While the (17 page) Foreward is admittedly difficult reading for many progressive religionists, who wouldn’t be challenged to learn about the subjects introduced under these headings?:

 

I. Deity and Divinity

II. God

III. The First Source and Center

IV. Universe Reality

V. Personality Realities

VI. Energy and Pattern

VII. The Supreme Being

VIII. God the Sevenfold

IX. God the Ultimate

X. God the Absolute

XI. The Three Absolutes

XII. The Trinities

 

This week, as is often my habit when I have finished a reading of Part IV: The Life and Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, I have returned to Part I: The Central and Superuniverses.

 

After the Foreward, this Part begins with 11 informative papers on the Persons of Trinity and the Isle of Paradise, which I find packed with logically coherent, yet astounding, advanced, and quite glorious concepts unequaled in any human library. Imo, assessment should be based on the actual quality of content.

 

Is it possible to withhold judgment until the last of 2,097 pages has been read, when we find statements such as this one concluding the very first Paper?

 

[Presented by a Divine Counselor, a member of a group of celestial personalities assigned by the Ancients of Days on Uversa, the headquarters of the seventh superuniverse, to supervise those portions of this forthcoming revelation which have to do with affairs beyond the borders of the local universe of Nebadon. I am commissioned to sponsor those papers portraying the nature and attributes of God because I represent the highest source of information available for such a purpose on any inhabited world. I have served as a Divine Counselor in all seven of the superuniverses and have long resided at the Paradise center of all things. Many times have I enjoyed the supreme pleasure of a sojourn in the immediate personal presence of the Universal Father. I portray the reality and truth of the Father's nature and attributes with unchallengeable authority; I know whereof I speak.] (1:7:9)

 

After reading the Foreward and those first Papers, nothing would deter me from a thorough study of the full text. Perhaps someone here will also derive a measure of satisfaction therefrom.

 

In good spirit,

Brent

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear PC friends,

 

Anyone tackled the Foreward yet? I know, that's quite a bit to chew, but for some it'll whet an appetite for more...

 

There may be little doubt as to the veracity of the observation (in another thread) of our sister Jenell:

“I think the reality is that there have never been nor is there a large portion of the population with intellectual capacity and/or interest in delving into the "deeper" things, intellectual thought, so for the majority of people, their thinking tends toward being simple and superficial. They want, or only have capacity for (and I'm trying very hard not to sound arrogant or condescending) easy, clearly laid out sets of behaviors and beliefs. The very same reason most of us here have difficulty in religious settings where we feel one is required to check your brain at the door is for others the reason they are so receptive to that kind of religion. They WANT to check their brain at the door, whether it is for lack of capacity, or by choice toward lazy thinking.”

Yet, I've found that there are even additional rationales given for sometimes deep reluctance to investigating the Urantia Papers. For me, it took a conscious decision to withhold judgment in spite of my arrogance, to set aside preconceptions and biases until the very last page. In this way I was able to refrain (even when inclined) from stereotyping and pigeonholing until I could honestly make an informed assessment of the work as a whole. Now, 30 + years later, I am still even more grateful.

 

That said, I realize the UPapers are not a particularly easy read, but who would expect an epochal revelation to our world - commissioned by the Ancients of Days (Superuniverse Divine administrators) - to be superficial?

 

From Part I – The Central and Superuniverses

Paper 001 – The Universal Father

:1 – The Father’s Name; :2 – The Reality of God; :3 – God is a Universal Spirit; :4 – The Mystery of God;

 

:5 – Personality of the Universal Father:

001:5:1 Do not permit the magnitude of God, his infinity, either to obscure or eclipse his personality. "He who planned the ear, shall he not hear? He who formed the eye, shall he not see?" The Universal Father is the acme of divine personality; he is the origin and destiny of personality throughout all creation. God is both infinite and personal; he is an infinite personality. The Father is truly a personality, notwithstanding that the infinity of his person places him forever beyond the full comprehension of material and finite beings.

 

001:5:2 God is much more than a personality as personality is understood by the human mind; he is even far more than any possible concept of a superpersonality. But it is utterly futile to discuss such incomprehensible concepts of divine personality with the minds of material creatures whose maximum concept of the reality of being consists in the idea and ideal of personality. The material creature's highest possible concept of the Universal Creator is embraced within the spiritual ideals of the exalted idea of divine personality. Therefore, although you may know that God must be much more than the human conception of personality, you equally well know that the Universal Father cannot possibly be anything less than an eternal, infinite, true, good, and beautiful personality.

 

001:5:7 Without God and except for his great and central person, there would be no personality throughout all the vast universe of universes. God is personality.

 

001:5:8 Notwithstanding that God is an eternal power, a majestic presence, a transcendent ideal, and a glorious spirit, though he is all these and infinitely more, nonetheless, he is truly and everlastingly a perfect Creator personality, a person who can "know and be known," who can "love and be loved," and one who can befriend us; while you can be known, as other humans have been known, as the friend of God. He is a real spirit and a spiritual reality.

 

001:5:11 Primitive religion had many personal gods, and they were fashioned in the image of man. Revelation affirms the validity of the personality concept of God which is merely possible in the scientific postulate of a First Cause and is only provisionally suggested in the philosophic idea of Universal Unity. Only by personality approach can any person begin to comprehend the unity of God. To deny the personality of the First Source and Center leaves one only the choice of two philosophic dilemmas: materialism or pantheism.

 

001:5:12 In the contemplation of Deity, the concept of personality must be divested of the idea of corporeality. A material body is not indispensable to personality in either man or God. The corporeality error is shown in both extremes of human philosophy. In materialism, since man loses his body at death, he ceases to exist as a personality; in pantheism, since God has no body, he is not, therefore, a person. The superhuman type of progressing personality functions in a union of mind and spirit.

 

:6 – Personality in the Universe;

:7 – Spiritual Value of the Personality Concept

001:7:2 Man does not achieve union with God as a drop of water might find unity with the ocean. Man attains divine union by progressive reciprocal spiritual communion, by personality intercourse with the personal God, by increasingly attaining the divine nature through wholehearted and intelligent conformity to the divine will. Such a sublime relationship can exist only between personalities.

 

001:7:3 The concept of truth might possibly be entertained apart from personality, the concept of beauty may exist without personality, but the concept of divine goodness is understandable only in relation to personality. Only a person can love and be loved. Even beauty and truth would be divorced from survival hope if they were not attributes of a personal God, a loving Father.

 

In loving service,

Brent

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear friends,

 

In the first post on this thread, I expressed my sense that progressive comprehension would be best served by focusing on the text of the UPapers rather than peripheral issues.

 

After considering that some discussion of these subjects are of genuine interest as well as unavoidable, I’d like to reverse myself and be open to a more free-flowing thread, to the best of my ability and resources.

 

GeorgeW wrote: “… there is a question I have had since you joined the forum. You obviously consider the Urantia Papers to be special. Do you also consider them to be authoritative? If so, what do you propose is the basis for their authority? If not, what is it that makes them special?”

 

Yes George, imo, the UPapers are special and I consider them authoritative. As the basis for this authority I would submit the qualitative evidence their own declarations and statements.

 

I’m sure Dr. Meredith Sprunger (ordained UCC minister in early 1950’s, 35 years senior pastor Fort Wayne, past professor of psychology, head of psychology dept, Dean of College of Liberal Arts, President of Indiana Institute of Technology) won’t mind my quoting from his 1979 essay “The Origin of The Urantia Book”:

 

“Years of experience reveal that the first thing people wish to know about The Urantia Book is who wrote it. What are the circumstances of its origin? It does little good to tell them the book should be judged by its content, not by claims of authorship. Because of the conditioning of our culture, we are naturally inclined to depend on sources and authority when evaluating publications. Religious literature, in particular, is appraised in this way.

 

The authenticity of individuals, religious groups, or literature which claim revelatory authority is always open to question. Authority is never a philosophical criterion of truth. There are only two ways this question can be approached with credibility. First, a personal judgment can be made based on the quality of the material being evaluated. The other way revelatory authenticity is established is by the judgment of society over years of historical experience… There are, presently, no social traditions associated with The Urantia Book. It must be analyzed and evaluated on the quality of its content.”

 

For anyone with the interest and time to investigate, you may enjoy various of Dr. Sprunger’s essays which are archived on the Urantia Book Fellowship website under : "Christianity and the Urantia Book"

 

For those who are inclined to further investigation, I highly recommend A History of the Urantia Papers, by Larry Mullins (Amazon paperback)

 

If I am able to help in any way, I am at your service.

That’s it for now, friends.

 

Until later, be blessed,

Brent

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There are, presently, no social traditions associated with The Urantia Book. It must be analyzed and evaluated on the quality of its content.”

 

 

 

I think that is fair enough. So i take it you believe it is authoritative from your own exhaustive analysis of the content? If so, to me, that seems like a wise approach to any book. or papers. I'll have to read a bit to see if i have any questions or challenges for you.

Joseph

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Well after an hour...... here are my questions?

 

Brent ,

 

I started reading the foreword and I couldn't get past the first 3 versus without questions of verifiability and then skimmed through some sections. First of all i find authoritative declaration statements such as ....

 

1:0.3 The enlightened worlds all recognize and worship the Universal Father, the eternal maker and infinite upholder of all creation.

 

1:0.2The myriads of planetary systems were all made to be eventually inhabited by many different types of intelligent creatures, beings who could know God, receive the divine affection, and love him in return.

 

All of which sound good but none of which i can verify as true.

How does one know that all planetary systems were made to be inhabited by different types of intelligent creatures? Could not some be there for other purposes? Is it verifiable or must i just believe it?

 

How do we know the enlightened worlds all recognize and worship the Universal Father? Can we even verify that there are more enlightened worlds (which there may be) or is it just an assumption or authoritative claim of the author or the beings that supposedly passed the information to the author?

 

How then can one verify the authoritative nature of the book except to accept it by its subjective claims on an individual after reading which is no different than any other religious book making claims?

 

It sounds good so far but how is its claims of origin and statements any more authoritative, valid or its claims more believable than the book of Mormons?

I'm trying to address George's initial concern that you answered i think very well but after reading a bit i am surprised to find little that my analysis can validate. Must i read the whole papers or practice it as a religion or tradition to prove its authoritative nature to be valid? Remember, with me, at least, you are communicating with an individual who doesn't even believe the Bible is authoritative. Yes i find many of its words inspirational and teachings of personal value and much that rings true and many things that are verifiable along with some that my experience and research indicates is most probably invalid, but am persuaded no more-so than some other religious books .

 

Sincerely with questions that speak to me and no disrespect meant for the papers or your personal beliefs,

Joseph

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Yes George, imo, the UPapers are special and I consider them authoritative. As the basis for this authority I would submit the qualitative evidence their own declarations and statements.

Brent,

 

Do you consider any other religious writing to be authoritative as well. If not, why not?

 

George

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Friends,

 

Although I find the UPapers to be qualitatively authoritative and precisely as claimed by the authors listed at the end of each paper, I have no need to persuade one person that they should also be so inclined. That “revelatory authority is always open to question” is a very good thing, I’m sure.

 

Again, authority is not a criterion of truth; and, uniquely “personal judgment can be made based on the quality of the material being evaluated.”

 

After browsing through the book at a bookstore in 1979, I conjectured that a friend of Timothy Leary had swallowed enough LSD to fry every rational circuit in their mind, soon to be a resident of a mental health facility. About 1 year later I was asked how I could be so sure of my evaluation, since I had not read the book. I made a determined decision to read the entire work from first word to last, quite sure that I would then have unquestionable evidence to refute it as fraudulent.

 

These days, because I greatly value their content, I enjoy study and discussion of the UPapers among open-minded and righteous truth-hungry friends. After 30 years of my own reading, I’m confident that some folks will discover something valuable in them. Of course, it’s not for me to decide how anyone judges their quality and value.

 

I’ve read and continue to read many other religious works, but haven’t found any which supersede what I consider the greatest masterpiece in human literature.

 

Many of you will have some very good questions. I doubt that I have the ability or resources to answer and settle all these that will naturally arise, again and again . Therefore I appreciate the sincerity, honesty, patience and kind friendliness that I’ve found among folks here.

 

Blessings,

Brent

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Brent,

 

FWIW, although I don't consider the Qur'an to be authoritative, I do think that the power of the language is part of the explanation for the spread of Islam. And, in part, the authority is maintained through teaching that it is authoritative and in part by the language of the writing itself. (However, this gets lost to a large degree in translation).

 

I would surmise from what you have said that the content of the UPapers is the 'qualitative' feature that convinces you as opposed to (in addition to?) the skilled use of language.

 

George

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Brent,

 

Thanks for your response.To be fair, i should mention that in spite of my surface findings concerning authority and to me, some strange authoritative statements, which i cannot easily verify, i do agree that a more complete look at the papers might well prove items of value as you say. However, i don't read very much in the way of books anymore but have in the past found value and truth in many if not all of the books i have read.

 

While i appreciate the presence of such writings as you have introduced, i am at the stage of my journey where i am no longer looking for a book with answers to questions or seeking Truth through intellectual study. So in all honesty i will probably not open the Upapers again. Having said that, that is just a personal thing for me. That the Upapers might be very beneficial in value for some or all and perhaps even necessary for some in their journey i would not refute.

 

So thank you for sharing and i will now bow out unless a specific item comes up in this thread that specifically interests me or i have something related to share.

 

Thanks for your kindness and the manner in which you have responded.

Joseph

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1:1. But this is the name of our own choosing, and it grows out of the recognition of our personal relationship with the First Source and Center.

 

I am reminded of Michael Dowd's recognition that we have a need to personify our relationship with ultimate reality. The mystical language about God I like.

 

1:0.3 In love and mercy the messengers of Paradise have carried this divine exhortation down through the ages and out through the universes, even to such lowly animal-origin creatures as the human races of Urantia.

 

Probably this science fiction aspect would be a significant barrier for me. I am reminded of the work of Orson Scott Card of Enders' fame whose planets have other than human inhabitants - one spends part of its life cycle as a tree.

 

1:0.1 The truth about the Universal Father had begun to dawn upon mankind when the prophet said: " You, God, are alone; there is none beside you. You have created the heaven and the heaven of heavens, with all their hosts; you preserve and control them. By the Sons of God were the universes made.

 

The evolution of a monotheistic belief was a major attainment of the Israelites but the writer seems to want it both ways, which is what Yahweh evolved from--no more need for a wife or a Divine Council which then became Sons of God. Upapers seems to present a complex family structure.

 

Like teilhard de chardin there is the idea that we are evolving toward complexity and perfection.

 

Jakob boehme would feel he had found a kindred soul I think. Once he had his epiphany of the process nature of the relationship of God and creation he went on to elaborate conceptualizations. Mysticism and theosophy. This complexifying impulse also overcomes me sometimes when I try to understand integral theory and spiral dynamics. Too many pieces

 

 

By Decius at de.wikipedia [Public domain], http://commons.wikim...Boehme-Werk.jpg

 

I don't worry too much about the authoritative issue. That is resolved by 1) the inspiration one experiences and/or 2) the degree to which there is consensus about the nature of the work. I find The Shack by Wm. Paul Young inspiring and, were I a preacher, would reference it often.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

Edited by glintofpewter
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I don't worry too much about the authoritative issue. That is resolved by 1) the inspiration one experiences and/or 2) the degree to which there is consensus about the nature of the work. I find The Shack by Wm. Paul Young inspiring and, were I a preacher, would reference it often.

Dutch,

 

There are a number of books and authors that many of us could point to as profound, enlightening, insightful, inspiring, etc. But, we don't view them as 'authoritative' in the sense of uniquely divinely inspired.

 

MLK's speeches are particularly inspiring to many of us, but not many people (anybody?) assert them as 'authoritative' like the Bible, the Qur'an, The Book of Mormon, maybe the UPapers, etc.

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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assert them as 'authoritative' like the Bible, the Qur'an, The Book of Mormon, maybe the UPapers, etc.

I think we do an awful lot of work maintaining the 'authoritative' voice of the Bible. We do that work to keep our identity. We, all of the Christian world, disagree wildly about the 'authoritative voice' of the Bible but we keep talking about the Bible and not some other books - which maintains our identity and a fragile sense of unity. Networking, particularly , business networking was a positive factor in the growth of the early church. A traveling 'Christian' business man knew when he got to Philippi there was someone trustworthy, a Christian, he could connect with - Lydia. Perhaps he was even bringing a circulating epistle.

 

Our identity is not confirmed by a fish drawn in the sand but by our behaviors: going to church, talking about God, and some kind of reference to the Bible. The book has an 'authoritative voice' because we give it one. And that, perhaps. is part of the problem with the decline of mainstream and liberals wings of the church. For many the Bible is losing its 'authoritative voice'.

 

I am going to back away a little bit about claiming we support the Bible's voice as if it had nothing to do with its own viability. There has to be something of substance for us to keep talking about it. As we also talk about Plato, Greek tragedies, Shakespearean plays, and Star Trek :lol: .

 

On reading a little of the Upapers, once past a positive reaction to some of the mystical language about God, I feel like a stranger in a strange land - rather - strange multiple universes.

 

Dutch

 

 

PS

Whenever I get momentum going in a discussion, reasoning for my point, I am reminded of recent studies that suggest that we don't use reason to solve problems, evolutionarily we developed reason to win arguments.

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I can't figure out how evolution and perfection are related. What am I missing?

 

Myron, I agree.

 

But some influenced by Integral thought and Evolutionary Christianity come close. Teilhard de Chardin's Omega Point would be an example. No claims of perfection but certainly a threshold of cosmic proportions is crossed in the super-transcendent and terminal event. That's my first impression.

 

Dutch

Edited by glintofpewter
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Friends,

 

I imagine that many folks will experience some sense of bewilderment as they become acquainted with the UPapers. Beginning with the Foreward we are presented with quite an edifice of alien concepts. When Dutch mentioned science-fiction, I’m reminded of my own approach to withholding judgment while in reading the book.

 

As I’m about to leave for work, I would like to bring notice to a line from UPaper 2:0:2

“The nature of God can be studied in a revelation of supreme ideas, the divine character can be envisaged as a portrayal of supernal ideals, but the most enlightening and spiritually edifying of all revelations of the divine nature is to be found in the comprehension of the religious life of Jesus of Nazareth, both before and after his attainment of full consciousness of divinity.”

 

From this statement, and others like it throughout Parts I, II, & III, we begin to get an idea of the value of Part IV of the book.

 

I enjoy 'hearing' your thoughts...

 

All the best,

Brent

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I have not read these sections but this I why would question the claim of monotheism. Looks like monolatry and gnosticism to me with its demiurges and other family members. I am a strict monotheist in the sense that it all comes from God; no devil, no demiurges, etc. While I appreciate language that parallels the Bible it is this spider web multiple" family members" that feels like the Greek pantheon - which itself was valuable in a literary way because their human plot lines were understood when used in theater. (The Great Transformation, Armstrong). In the case of Urantia a modern sci-fi setting for the ages old Christian message.

 

17. The Seven Supreme Spirit Groups

18. The Supreme Trinity Personalities

19. The Co-ordinate Trinity-Origin Beings

20. The Paradise Sons of God

21. The Paradise Creator Sons

22. The Trinitized Sons of God

23. The Solitary Messengers

24. Higher Personalities of the Infinite Spirit

25. The Messenger Hosts of Space

26. Ministering Spirits of the Central Universe

27. Ministry of the Primary Supernaphim

28. Ministering Spirits of the Superuniverses

29. The Universe Power Directors

30. Personalities of the Grand Universe

 

 

Part IV

Should be labelled commentary and a fictional account. An imaginative rewrite that is way to wordy and puts too many preachy words in Jesus's mouth.

 

156.1 is a worthy rewrite. I personally disagree with its interpretation of the story.

 

I collect various ideas about religion, its development and and manifestations so I will copy 155:5.2 - 155:5.5 as one of many descriptions. Faith found by reason versus faith by revelation. In this case revelatory religion is considered the sole true religion. This would find agreement with Sam Keen and others

 

In Sam Keen's Five Stages of Religion a mystical or primal religious experience is central or foundational.

 

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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Myron, I agree.

 

But some influenced by Integral thought and Evolutionary Christianity come close. Teilhard de Chardin's Omega Point would be an example. No claims of perfection but certainly a threshold of cosmic proportions is crossed in the super-transcendent and terminal event. That's my first impression.

 

Dutch

 

Dutch,

 

I see now where my confusion originated. The omega point I am familiar with derives from the Third Law of Thermodynamics, which was wriiten to define what kind of mater could reach a state of absolute zero (no energy). Attempts have been made to generalize this law in order to describe how a closed system reaches a state of entropy, a process of devolution rather than evolution.

 

Myron

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Guest billmc

Hi Brent,

 

I have listened to mp3’s of the first five chapters of the Urantia Papers and have found them very interesting. It seems to me that the author(s) of the Papers knew the Bible very well. Before I share what my initial impressions are of the Papers, I thought it might be helpful to very briefly reference my own experience as context.

 

Around 2004, after having been a Bible-believing Christian for 32 years, I became very frustrated with Christianity as I had been taught it and as I had known it. Perhaps due to my own limited mental abilities and experiences, I thought (or hoped) that God was fair and wouldn’t have made himself that hard to find and that difficult to understand. All the various doctrines, creeds, dogmas, theologies, and statements of faith seemed to be so complicated and, at times, either so contrary to one another or so nonsensical that they just didn’t seem to jibe well with the notion that God is not the author of confusion. Granted, this is subjective, but something in me told me that Christianity and/or religion shouldn’t be this hard. Add to this that I found the Bible itself, a book I had always revered as God’s revelation of himself to the world, to contain a substantial amount of superstition, contradiction, nonsense, and even God-sanctioned immorality, my faith reached a breaking or turning point. It seemed that I had three paths before me.

 

The first path, the path I took for a couple of years, was to chuck it all as ancient superstition. After all, the Bible was written from about 4000 to 2000 years ago and what could these people really know compared to what we know today? Is the world flat? Do the sun and stars really go around the earth? Does blood really wash away sin? If God was just, would he really punish the innocent in place of the guilty? Do people really fly up through the air? Would a God who is said to be love really kill almost all the people on the planet or burn most of humanity in endless torment? Would God destine people for heaven or hell without any say-so on their part? I simply found the “belief system” unbelievable. I chucked it.

 

The second path, which I had really been trying to do all along, was to continue constructing a larger “belief system” or paradigm that could account 100% for all of the data. I could continue my “apologetic” endeavors to try to account for all of the contradictions, nonsense, immoral or absurd doctrines I found in the faith and in the Bible, try to come up with a grand panorama where there was a place for everything and everything was in its place. But, as I said, I had been working on this all along and found it increasing impossible to do the more I studied the Bible and considered all the beliefs of Christianity.

 

The third way, the way that appealed to me the most given my makeup, was to look for the lowest common denominator, to seek out what might be the central truth behind it all. I was (and still am) a big KISS fan – Keep It Simple, Stupid. This doesn’t mean that I think God is simple, just that if God was fair and loving, he would make relating to him simple enough that our simian brains and human hearts could do it. And, for me, I found the KISS approach manifested in Jesus’ two instructions to love God and love others to be key. Fairly plain and simple to understand. Often difficult to do, given our selfishness. This is the path that, at this point, works for me. It comes down to loving God and loving others i.e. relationships.

 

There was, of course, another path open to me – that of blind faith. I could ascribe everything to “mystery” or “God’s ways are not our ways” and say that I was not suppose to understand, that I was required to “only believe.” But that just didn’t seem like an honest path to me. It didn’t make sense to me that God would give me a brain and then forbid me to use it. It would be like God giving us race cars to drive and then telling us to use only first gear.

 

After listening to the first few chapters of the Urantia Papers, it seems to me that the author(s) has taken the second path. While, yes, I do find some things in there that ring true with me, it is because they are constructing a belief system that tries to account for 100% of the data. The author(s) blend ideas in the Bible with some elements of pyschology, some hypothetical science (scifi) and, imo, a great deal of conjecture. And doing so results in a paradigm that is extremely complicated so as to “cover all the bases.” Just being honest, it is WAY too complicated for me. As I said, I’m a KISS fan. Some anthropologists would consider me to be the "missing link"...if I were smarter.

 

But I’m also a pragmatist. For me, loving God and loving others is not about how I feel, it is about what I *do*. I show my love for God and for others by how I treat his creation and other people.

 

So what I would like to know is, how has the Papers affected your life in pragmatic ways? What do you do now that you didn’t do before the Papers became central to you? Or, conversely, what do you not do now that you used to do? Although I am no longer a Bible-believer in the literalist sense, I like the scripture that says that wisdom is proven right by her children i.e. a belief system that claims to be true or right or wise should result in wise followers. How has the UP made you wiser about life?

 

Regards,

billmc

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