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Brent, just to clarify, "good grief" as in, first, amusement, second, as in, what matter just how many worlds when those in THIS world are unable to live in empathy with each other, even those who profess to love each other.

 

All in all, just reducing things to the perspective from which I live.

 

i.e. Great things are seen from the valleys, only small things from the peaks. (Chesterton)

 

All the best

 

:)

 

P.S. I fail to see the "autorevelation" - as I understand it - as being included within such "epochal" revelations as I see the UP's to be, or what they attempt to be. But I'm happy to let it drop. Each to their own, and what do I know anyway?

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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 vo

Brent,   Maybe a way of presenting the UP is in the context of other discussions in addition to making them the topic of discussion. That might demonstrate the quality of the writings and the releva

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.

Friends,

 

Though the purported authors’ controversial categorization of the Urantia Papers as epochal revelation of superhuman origin should not be taken lightly, I found that by postponing judgmental determination I was able to evaluate the context and benefit by actually studying the content.

 

These recent discussions have stirred me to link other material into this ongoing thread. We obviously share some religious interests, and tonight I’m wondering whether some of you might find value in UP 100: RELIGION IN HUMAN EXPERIENCE, the subsections of which are entitled: Religious Growth, Spiritual Growth, Concepts of Supreme Value, Problems of Growth, Conversion and Mysticism, Marks of Religious Living, and The Acme of Religious Living (Jesus).

 

Perhaps a selection of excerpts from each subsection, for example, might serve to encourage some here to invest a deeper look for value and lead to fruitful discussion? I'm pretty busy at work lately, but I'll try to keep up...

 

 

100:0.2 Spiritual growth is mutually stimulated by intimate association with other religionists. Love supplies the soil for religious growth—an objective lure in the place of subjective gratification—yet it yields the supreme subjective satisfaction. And religion ennobles the commonplace drudgery of daily living.

 

100:1.8 Religious habits of thinking and acting are contributory to the economy of spiritual growth. One can develop religious predispositions toward favorable reaction to spiritual stimuli, a sort of conditioned spiritual reflex. Habits which favor religious growth embrace cultivated sensitivity to divine values, recognition of religious living in others, reflective meditation on cosmic meanings, worshipful problem solving, sharing one's spiritual life with one's fellows, avoidance of selfishness, refusal to presume on divine mercy, living as in the presence of God. The factors of religious growth may be intentional, but the growth itself is unvaryingly unconscious.

 

100:2.2 Spiritual growth is first an awakening to needs, next a discernment of meanings, and then a discovery of values. The evidence of true spiritual development consists in the exhibition of a human personality motivated by love, activated by unselfish ministry, and dominated by the wholehearted worship of the perfection ideals of divinity. And this entire experience constitutes the reality of religion as contrasted with mere theological beliefs.

 

100:3.1 Religion is not a technique for attaining a static and blissful peace of mind; it is an impulse for organizing the soul for dynamic service. It is the enlistment of the totality of selfhood in the loyal service of loving God and serving man. Religion pays any price essential to the attainment of the supreme goal, the eternal prize. There is a consecrated completeness in religious loyalty which is superbly sublime. And these loyalties are socially effective and spiritually progressive.

 

100:4.3 But the great problem of religious living consists in the task of unifying the soul powers of the personality by the dominance of LOVE. Health, mental efficiency, and happiness arise from the unification of physical systems, mind systems, and spirit systems. Of health and sanity man understands much, but of happiness he has truly realized very little. The highest happiness is indissolubly linked with spiritual progress. Spiritual growth yields lasting joy, peace which passes all understanding.

 

100:5.2 The progression of religious growth leads from stagnation through conflict to co-ordination, from insecurity to undoubting faith, from confusion of cosmic consciousness to unification of personality, from the temporal objective to the eternal, from the bondage of fear to the liberty of divine sonship.

 

100:6.5 But true religion is a living love, a life of service. The religionist's detachment from much that is purely temporal and trivial never leads to social isolation, and it should not destroy the sense of humor. Genuine religion takes nothing away from human existence, but it does add new meanings to all of life; it generates new types of enthusiasm, zeal, and courage. It may even engender the spirit of the crusader, which is more than dangerous if not controlled by spiritual insight and loyal devotion to the commonplace social obligations of human loyalties.

 

100:7.18 Jesus was the perfectly unified human personality. And today, as in Galilee, he continues to unify mortal experience and to co-ordinate human endeavors. He unifies life, ennobles character, and simplifies experience. He enters the human mind to elevate, transform, and transfigure it. It is literally true: " If any man has Christ Jesus within him, he is a new creature; old things are passing away; behold, all things are becoming new. "

 

All the best,

Brent

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That made me smile. Years ago in a Presbyterian Church I heard the word enculturation to mean a kind of evangelism. Enculturation is was happens however one comes to attend a church and the first part here describes it very well in a language unique to my ear.

 

I recently learned a little about Unity which was founded in 1889. They sound a lot like this this, how they position Jesus, how they describe spiritual growth, etc.

 

Just some observations.

 

Dutch

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Dutch,

 

Speaking of enculturation, would you be interested in having another thread related to this quite rich subject? If so, I’d be very interested in what PC forum members think about a chapter from Henry and Regina Wieman’s work (The Normative Psychology of Religion) titled “The Cultus and Its Emotional Accompaniments”. Some folks may have heard of Weiman, a prominent theologian of the last century (Henry Nelson Wieman (1884–1975) was an American philosopher and theologian. He became the most famous proponent of theocentric naturalism and the empirical method in American theology and catalyzed the emergence of Religious Naturalism in the latter part of the 20th century.).

 

If it would serve a purpose here, I might offer some of my own observations regarding differences between Unity and the teachings of the Urantia Papers in another thread also, having been regularly and then intermittently involved with that group from the late 1980’s thru 2005 or so.

 

Best wishes,

Brent

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I don't know how much interest a topic on enculturation would draw. A significant number of us are "Believers in Exile", deculturated?.

 

I guess I was wondering about the common era that both arose from but I don't know how long my interest would last. However . . . let's wait and see.

 

Dutch

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Dutch,

 

I imagine “Believers in Exile” also sense a need for the advancement, ennoblement, and preservation of human culture in the midst of multi-level disorienting (albeit essential) change. Cultural disintegration is still a real possibility. Not surprisingly, socio-religious culture is confronted with the challenge to develop new symbolisms adequate to unify and carry the spiritual assets of our forebears forward. Even professed “deculturated” Progressive Christians are playing a part in this transition, it seems to me.

 

Anyhow, I find the subject of enculturation to be largely misunderstood and would enjoy participating in an intelligent discussion thread, depending on forum interest.

 

Peace,

Brent

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Brent,

 

I have no idea if enculturation as a topic will get more than 5 replies. It would seem to involve 'faith formation', discipleship, knowing where the church building is, knowing what to expect in worship, perhaps knowing when it is safe to say something outrageous or not. Does my short list fall into your understanding?

 

Dutch

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Dutch,

Sure, those would fall into a short list...

As an seasoned hand here, you're probably spot on regarding the likely distance such a conversation would reach.

Be well blessed,

Brent

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PC Friends,

 

Skeptical concern regarding the authors’ claims of authority may have temporarily abated. What’s helpful to grasp, imo, is that there’s no need to accept the Urantia Papers as divine revelation in order to profit from reading them.

 

A question arose on another thread regarding God’s omnipotence. Brother George W suggested that a quote from UP 3:2 - “Within the bounds of that which is consistent with the divine nature, it is literally true that ‘with God all things are possible.’.” says nothing unless the bounds are defined. To me, it’s simply another way of saying that God can do anything Che chooses – which rules out un-Godlike actions.

 

Does this therefore beg the question: What actions are “consistent with the divine nature” – Godlike?

 

3:2.11 The divine omnipotence is perfectly co-ordinated with the other attributes of the personality of God. The power of God is, ordinarily, only limited in its universe spiritual manifestation by three conditions or situations:

 

1. By the nature of God, especially by his infinite love, by truth, beauty, and goodness.

2. By the will of God, by his mercy ministry and fatherly relationship with the personalities of the universe.

3. By the law of God, by the righteousness and justice of the eternal Paradise Trinity.

 

3:2.12 God is unlimited in power, divine in nature, final in will, infinite in attributes, eternal in wisdom, and absolute in reality.

 

 

In loving service,

Brent

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What’s helpful to grasp, imo, is that there’s no need to accept the Urantia Papers as divine revelation in order to profit from reading them.

 

Brent, just to say, such has never been an issue. When I quote.....

 

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 am seeking to speak of "revelation" irrespective of its "origins". As has been said, lets those with eyes to see........

 

:)

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....I am seeking to speak of "revelation" irrespective of its "origins". As has been said, lets those with eyes to see........

 

Well said, and understood, brother Derek.

Brent

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  • 2 weeks later...

PC friends,

 

In Part III - THE HISTORY OF URANTIA (beginning with UPaper 57: THE ORIGIN OF URANTIA), the authors of the UPapers deal quite extensively with the evolutionary history of our beloved home planet. Herein, they also address some aspects of evolutionary socialized religion (as distinct from "personal" faith) and its periodic advancement through epochal revelatory adjustments.

 

As I'm particularly drawn to the enculturation of revealed religion and am involved in some related disussion on other boards, I've thought to post some UP quotes which may find beneficial lodgement here on PC forums.

 

Without any specific agenda, I'll "wing it" so to speak, anticipating progressive participation, perhaps, from friends so inclined.

 

From Paper 92 - THE LATER EVOLUTION OF RELIGION, Section 3: THE NATURE OF EVOLUTIONARY RELIGION

 

92:3.4 Evolutionary religion makes no provision for change or revision; unlike science, it does not provide for its own progressive correction. Evolved religion commands respect because its followers believe it is The Truth; " the faith once delivered to the saints " must, in theory, be both final and infallible. The cult resists development because real progress is certain to modify or destroy the cult itself; therefore must revision always be forced upon it.

 

92:3.5 Only two influences can modify and uplift the dogmas of natural religion: the pressure of the slowly advancing mores and the periodic illumination of epochal revelation. And it is not strange that progress was slow; in ancient days, to be progressive or inventive meant to be killed as a sorcerer. The cult advances slowly in generation epochs and agelong cycles. But it does move forward. Evolutionary belief in ghosts laid the foundation for a philosophy of revealed religion which will eventually destroy the superstition of its origin.

 

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.

 

92:3.10 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.

 

Vaya con Dios,

Brent

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Evolutionary religion makes no provision for change or revision; unlike science, it does not provide for its own progressive correction.

I find in the UP that words sometimes are used in such odd ways as to create obfuscation rather than clarity.

 

How is "evolutionary" an adjective for something which can't change? Wouldn't evolutionary religion recognize that changes will happen, even must happen?

 

But that is not important. Hidden here is fair observation that any institution emphasizes conservative inertia rather than progressive. momentum

 

Evolutionary belief in ghosts laid the foundation for a philosophy of revealed religion which will eventually destroy the superstition of its origin.

I think this is a common error made when one looks at the past - with or without an evolutionary lens-: that we in the present are better and smarter than those of the past and that criteria of today are fair evaluations of the past. God has evolved as God's believers have evolved but that does not eliminate the past. It doesn't bind us to the past either.

 

These selections suggest to me that the writer(s) wanted to be modern, scientific and wanted to reform religion or start a new branch.

 

Dutch

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Dutch,

 

Although I differ with any negative implication, your comment that you find the UP authors’ wording sometimes oddly obfuscating is certainly understandable, if unfortunately common in my experience.

 

In my view, when referring to ‘evolutionary’ religions the authors are not utilizing the term as an adjective defining something which is naturally subject to change, but rather as descriptive of these religions technique of origination as contrasted with ‘revelatory’ religion. Without getting sidetracked further in that semantic, we do agree with their “fair observation” that institutional religions in general “emphasize conservative inertia rather than progressive momentum”.

 

I’m not sure I get your point regarding their statement that primitive evolutionary belief in ghosts has actually contributed to the foundation for a philosophy of revealed religion which will eventually supersede and obviate those same evolutionary superstitions. I don't see any deliberate put-down of the past.

 

Your suggestion that the authors seem (to you) to have intended aiding in the reformation of religion through the “co-ordination and sorting of present day knowledge” may well be valid. That said, it’s my understanding that they are proscribed by the “laws of revelation” from any overt action such as starting “a new branch” of religion. They know that “human wisdom must evolve”, and that any such “a new and appropriate symbolism” “cannot be manufactured, it must grow” in order to be progressively viable in the long term. (UP 101:4.1,2; 87:7.3,6)

 

If time allows, I'd enjoy further exploration of the potential for evolving growth and progressive enculturation of reformed evolutionary religion aided by revelational inspiration.

 

With sincere appreciation,

Brent

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Brent,

 

We've discussed a variety of ideas but you seem to have fit them all into one sentence.

 

If time allows, I'd enjoy further exploration of the potential for evolving growth and progressive enculturation of reformed evolutionary religion aided by revelational inspiration.

Evolutionary and Relevatory religion.

I accept and understand the contrast being made here I think. It seems a simple truth to say that there is a tension between what is known and a novel insight, whether in the arts or religion or science. A novelty which is recognized as revelatory gradually reforms the evolutionary (using it as UP uses it to refer to the conservative value of tradition) arts or science or religion. without recognition of novelty there would be no growth.

 

So are we talking about

potential for the evolving [spiritual] growth [of an individual]

who through her progressive enculturation (loved, taught and grown accustomed) into a religion

may be made ready and open to an epiphany and inspired to evolve to a spiritual religion?

 

 

from squaredcircles

These teachings lead us to the desire to become more spiritual individuals, which will one day spiritualize cultures, then eventually the whole world.

Many are trying to awaken the world similarly.

 

Dutch

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  • 6 months later...

Greetings PC friends,

 

I know it's been a while since I've posted, tho I do stop in occasionally to check the pulse here.

Looks to me like the beat is overall positive, progressively consistent and still searching. :)

 

Just to add to the mix, thought I'd pass on a recent Urantia Papers utube intro for consideration.

 

All the best blessings to All of you who love,

Brent

 

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Hi Brent,

 

I've taken a look at the link. Thanks, but no thanks. As I see it, the last thing humankind - or indeed, any "kind" - need is another book, sacred. holy, authoritative, or whatever. Possibly it can be claimed that this particular book is different and provides relevant answers, answers at this time necessary to the correct progress of humanity. So be it.

 

All the best

Derek

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Brent,

 

There were some wonderful testimonies of readers of the Urantia in that video which led me to read within the book a bit further. It seems to me from reading further to be an amazing book and imo most appealing to intellectuals or those looking for intellectual answers regardless if one deems the book supernatural revelation or not. If ones seeks answers to questions i think from what little additional i have read, the Urantia papers does a most excellent job of such. Perhaps even more accurate or believable than the Bible as it exists today. As in most all religions it embraces love and noble deeds, truths from all religions and seeks to answer in detail in line with science and a more present known time, the deep questions of life. Of that, i think perhaps it does a great job. But it seems to me if one seeks God, rather than the intellectual knowledge and concepts of another lengthy book of answers, which is a more direct approach, i believe all the questions disappear so that there is no need for such answers to realize that which is really beyond the words and their meanings anyway.

 

For myself I would perfer a continued experience over such an intellectual book of answers but that is my own personal view. As Derek, i am not looking for another book.

 

.Joseph

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Hi Joseph,

 

Thanks for the consistently kind way you've expressed your "direct" approach. This is a path which I've also trodden.

 

To which I'll add this quote:

Intellectual deficiency or educational poverty unavoidably handicaps higher religious attainment because such an impoverished environment of the spiritual nature robs religion of its chief channel of philosophic contact with the world of scientific knowledge. The intellectual factors of religion are important, but their overdevelopment is likewise sometimes very handicapping and embarrassing. Religion must continually labor under a paradoxical necessity: the necessity of making effective use of thought while at the same time discounting the spiritual serviceableness of all thinking. (P1121:3, 102:3.1)

 

In good spirit,

Brent

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Hi Derek,

 

Taking liberties to re-order your emphases by transposing two sentences, I find much, if not complete, agreement with the way “(you) see it”.

 

You wrote:

“Possibly it can be claimed that this particular book is different and provides relevant answers, answers at this time necessary to the correct progress of humanity. So be it.”

“revelation does synthesize the apparently divergent sciences of nature and the theology of religion into a consistent and logical universe philosophy, a co-ordinated and unbroken explanation of both science and religion, thus creating a harmony of mind and satisfaction of spirit which answers in human experience those questionings of the mortal mind which craves to know how the Infinite works out his will and plans in matter, with minds, and on spirit. (101:2.1)”
“But no revelation short of the attainment of the Universal Father can ever be complete. All other celestial ministrations are no more than partial, transient, and practically adapted to local conditions in time and space. (92:4.9)”

 

You preceded with:

“As I see it, the last thing humankind - or indeed, any "kind" - need is another book, sacred, holy, authoritative, or whatever.”

“Words eventually became fetishes, more especially those which were regarded as God’s words; in this way the sacred books of many religions have become fetishistic prisons incarcerating the spiritual imagination of man.

 

In olden times the fetish word of authority was a fear-inspiring doctrine, the most terrible of all tyrants which enslave men. A doctrinal fetish will lead mortal man to betray himself into the clutches of bigotry, fanaticism, superstition, intolerance, and the most atrocious of barbarous cruelties. (88:2.6,7)”

 

 

Thanks, and all the best back to you :),

Brent

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Hi Brent,

 

Yes, from my own reading virtually EVERY book that is holy, sacred or authoritative has its own way of speaking against the authority/finality of words. Nevertheless, each seems eventually to become an "authority", to the detriment of humanity and our world.

 

:D

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Derek,

 

Your point that a human weakness for word/book fetishes eventually seeks to establish “authority” with adverse consequences appears quite accurate.

 

Not surprisingly, this same preference for the consolations of authority can be found among less spiritually mature members of the worldwide community of Urantia Book readers. I’m optimistic though, with the lessons of history and the superb teachings found within the text, that notions of “mandatory” authority will never take root among students of the UPapers.

 

Our discussion has led me to reread a powerful denouncement of the religions of authority. From 155:5 & 155:6 – “The Discourse on True Religion” & “The Second Discourse on Religion”, I'll share this more positive excerpt:

 

“I have called upon you to be born again, to be born of the spirit. I have called you out of the darkness of authority and the lethargy of tradition into the transcendent light of the realization of the possibility of making for yourselves the greatest discovery possible for the human soul to make—the supernal experience of finding God for yourself, in yourself, and of yourself, and of doing all this as a fact in your own personal experience. And so may you pass from death to life, from the authority of tradition to the experience of knowing God; thus will you pass from darkness to light, from a racial faith inherited to a personal faith achieved by actual experience; and thereby will you progress from a theology of mind handed down by your ancestors to a true religion of spirit which shall be built up in your souls as an eternal endowment.”

 

 

In good spirit,

Brent

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Derek,

 

It's gratifying to hear you consider that the UPapers may confirm your bless`ed assurance. :D

 

On another note, recently I've had occasion to focus a bit on the UP teachings on evolution.

 

The doings of Michael Dowd et al on Evolutionary Christianity have been worth noting, as some here are aware. A few months ago I got into Carter Phipp's Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science's Greatest Idea, which some here may also have enjoyed reading. This led to Steve McIntosh's (a long-time UPapers reader, by the way) Integral Consciousness & the Future of Evolution and Evolution's Purpose: An Integral Interpretation of the Scientific Story of Our Origins. With Phipp's connection to Andrew Cohen and EnlightenNext magazine/organization as well as Philip Clayton, PhD (Dean of Faculty at Claremont School of Theology) Brian McLaren, and others, I'm becoming more informed of what's being termed "the evolution of enlightenment", or "evolutionary enlightenment" and "emergent" Christianity.

 

What I've found, so far, is how much more advanced and satisfyingly comprehensive are the teachings contained within the UPapers (indited circa early 1930's) than the aforementioned post-modern, integral, avant garde philosophical/theological evolutionary reaches and their preceding scaffolding. Simply amazing how under appreciated and underutilized due to the UP's supposed "esoteric" pedigree...

 

A great wealth of deep insight regarding time-space evolution can be garnered from the UPapers as a whole. Some of the most intriguing, thought-provoking, and admittedly difficult evolutionary concepts for students are found concentrated in the Foreward and 4 papers near the end of Part III. Those being titled:

 

The Supreme Being (UP 115)

The Almighty Supreme (UP 116)

God the Supreme (UP 117)

Supreme and Ultimate: Time and Space (UP 118)

 

Though I'm quite certain of their value, the serious evaluation of the Foreward and these four papers isn't an appetizing prospect for many folks. Even with the amplifying cohesion of related contexts in the entire work, several of the UPapers can be relatively challenging.

 

Anywho, just thought I'd offer those links for any folks inclined to really dig the "evolutionary" Supreme.

 

In good spirit,

Brent

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