The Urantia Book
195:0.1 THE results of Peter's preaching on the
day of Pentecost were such as to decide the future policies, and
to determine the plans, of the majority of the apostles in their
efforts to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. Peter was the real
founder of the Christian church; Paul carried the Christian
message to the gentiles, and the Greek believers carried it to the
whole Roman Empire.
195:0.2 Although the tradition-bound and
priest-ridden Hebrews, as a people, refused to accept either
Jesus' gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man
or Peter's and Paul's proclamation of the resurrection and
ascension of Christ (subsequent Christianity), the rest of the
Roman Empire was found to be receptive to the evolving Christian
teachings. Western civilization was at this time intellectual, war
weary, and thoroughly skeptical of all existing religions and
universe philosophies. The peoples of the Western world, the
beneficiaries of Greek culture, had a revered tradition of a great
past. They could contemplate the inheritance of great
accomplishments in philosophy, art, literature, and political
progress. But with all these achievements they had no
soul-satisfying religion. Their spiritual longings remained
Upon such a stage of human society the teachings of Jesus,
embraced in the Christian message, were suddenly thrust. A new
order of living was thus presented to the hungry hearts of these
Western peoples. This situation meant immediate conflict between
the older religious practices and the new Christianized version of
Jesus' message to the world. Such a conflict must result in either
decided victory for the new or for the old or in some degree of
compromise. History shows that the struggle ended in
compromise. Christianity presumed to embrace too much for any one
people to assimilate in one or two generations. It was not a
simple spiritual appeal, such as Jesus had presented to the souls
of men; it early struck a decided attitude on religious rituals,
education, magic, medicine, art, literature, law, government,
morals, sex regulation, polygamy, and, in limited degree, even
slavery. Christianity came not merely as a new religion --
something all the Roman Empire and all the Orient were waiting for
-- but as a new order of human society. And as such a
pretension it quickly precipitated the social-moral clash of the
ages. The ideals of Jesus, as they were reinterpreted by Greek
philosophy and socialized in Christianity, now boldly challenged
the traditions of the human race embodied in the ethics, morality,
and religions of Western civilization.
195:0.4 At first, Christianity won as converts
only the lower social and economic strata. But by the beginning of
the second century the very best of Greco-Roman culture was
increasingly turning to this new order of Christian belief, this
new concept of the purpose of living and the goal of existence.
195:0.5 How did this new message of Jewish
origin, which had almost failed in the land of its birth, so
quickly and effectively capture the very best minds of the Roman
Empire? The triumph of Christianity over the philosophic religions
and the mystery cults was due to:
195:0.6 1. Organization. Paul was a great
organizer and his successors kept up the pace he set.
195:0.7 2. Christianity was thoroughly
Hellenized. It embraced the best in Greek philosophy as well as
the cream of Hebrew theology.
195:0.8 3. But best of all, it contained a new
and great ideal, the echo of the life bestowal of Jesus and
the reflection of his message of salvation for all mankind.
195:0.9 4. The Christian leaders were willing to
make such compromises with Mithraism that the better half of its
adherents were won over to the Antioch cult.
195:0.10 5. Likewise did the next and later
generations of Christian leaders make such further compromises
with paganism that even the Roman emperor Constantine was won to
the new religion.
195:0.11 But the Christians made a shrewd
bargain with the pagans in that they adopted the ritualistic
pageantry of the pagan while compelling the pagan to accept the
Hellenized version of Pauline Christianity. They made a better
bargain with the pagans than they did with the Mithraic cult, but
even in that earlier compromise they came off more than conquerors
in that they succeeded in eliminating the gross immoralities and
also numerous other reprehensible practices of the Persian
195:0.12 Wisely or unwisely, these early leaders
of Christianity deliberately compromised the ideals of
Jesus in an effort to save and further many of his ideas.
And they were eminently successful. But mistake not! these
compromised ideals of the Master are still latent in his gospel,
and they will eventually assert their full power upon the world.
195:0.13 By this paganization of Christianity
the old order won many minor victories of a ritualistic nature,
but the Christians gained the ascendancy in that:
195:0.14 1. A new and enormously higher note in
human morals was struck.
195:0.15 2. A new and greatly enlarged concept
of God was given to the world.
195:0.16 3. The hope of immortality became a
part of the assurance of a recognized religion.
195:0.17 4. Jesus of Nazareth was given to man's
195:0.18 Many of the great truths taught by
Jesus were almost lost in these early compromises, but they yet
slumber in this religion of paganized Christianity, which was in
turn the Pauline version of the life and teachings of the Son of
Man. And Christianity, even before it was paganized, was first
thoroughly Hellenized. Christianity owes much, very much, to the
Greeks. It was a Greek, from Egypt, who so bravely stood up at
Nicaea and so fearlessly challenged this assembly that it dared
not so obscure the concept of the nature of Jesus that the real
truth of his bestowal might have been in danger of being lost to
the world. This Greek's name was Athanasius, and but for the
eloquence and the logic of this believer, the persuasions of Arius
would have triumphed.
1. INFLUENCE OF THE GREEKS
195:1.1 The Hellenization of Christianity
started in earnest on that eventful day when the Apostle Paul
stood before the council of the Areopagus in Athens and told the
Athenians about "the Unknown God." There, under the shadow of the
Acropolis, this Roman citizen proclaimed to these Greeks his
version of the new religion which had taken origin in the Jewish
land of Galilee. And there was something strangely alike in Greek
philosophy and many of the teachings of Jesus. They had a common
goal -- both aimed at the emergence of the individual. The
Greek, at social and political emergence; Jesus, at moral and
spiritual emergence. The Greek taught intellectual liberalism
leading to political freedom; Jesus taught spiritual liberalism
leading to religious liberty. These two ideas put together
constituted a new and mighty charter for human freedom; they
presaged man's social, political, and spiritual liberty.
195:1.2 Christianity came into existence and
triumphed over all contending religions primarily because of two
195:1.3 1. The Greek mind was willing to borrow
new and good ideas even from the Jews.
195:1.4 2. Paul and his successors were willing
but shrewd and sagacious compromisers; they were keen theologic
195:1.5 At the time Paul stood up in Athens
preaching "Christ and Him Crucified," the Greeks were spiritually
hungry; they were inquiring, interested, and actually looking for
spiritual truth. Never forget that at first the Romans fought
Christianity, while the Greeks embraced it, and that it was the
Greeks who literally forced the Romans subsequently to accept this
new religion, as then modified, as a part of Greek culture.
195:1.6 The Greek revered beauty, the Jew
holiness, but both peoples loved truth. For centuries the Greek
had seriously thought and earnestly debated about all human
problems -- social, economic, political, and philosophic -- except
religion. Few Greeks had paid much attention to religion; they did
not take even their own religion very seriously. For centuries the
Jews had neglected these other fields of thought while they
devoted their minds to religion. They took their religion very
seriously, too seriously. As illuminated by the content of Jesus'
message, the united product of the centuries of the thought of
these two peoples now became the driving power of a new order of
human society and, to a certain extent, of a new order of human
religious belief and practice.
195:1.7 The influence of Greek culture had
already penetrated the lands of the western Mediterranean when
Alexander spread Hellenistic civilization over the near-Eastern
world. The Greeks did very well with their religion and their
politics as long as they lived in small city-states, but when the
Macedonian king dared to expand Greece into an empire, stretching
from the Adriatic to the Indus, trouble began. The art and
philosophy of Greece were fully equal to the task of imperial
expansion, but not so with Greek political administration or
religion. After the city-states of Greece had expanded into
empire, their rather parochial gods seemed a little queer. The
Greeks were really searching for one God, a greater and
better God, when the Christianized version of the older Jewish
religion came to them.
195:1.8 The Hellenistic Empire, as such, could
not endure. Its cultural sway continued on, but it endured only
after securing from the West the Roman political genius for empire
administration and after obtaining from the East a religion whose
one God possessed empire dignity.
195:1.9 In the first century after Christ,
Hellenistic culture had already attained its highest levels; its
retrogression had begun; learning was advancing but genius was
declining. It was at this very time that the ideas and ideals of
Jesus, which were partially embodied in Christianity, became a
part of the salvage of Greek culture and learning.
195:1.10 Alexander had charged on the East with
the cultural gift of the civilization of Greece; Paul assaulted
the West with the Christian version of the gospel of Jesus. And
wherever the Greek culture prevailed throughout the West, there
Hellenized Christianity took root.
195:1.11 The Eastern version of the message of
Jesus, notwithstanding that it remained more true to his
teachings, continued to follow the uncompromising attitude of
Abner. It never progressed as did the Hellenized version and was
eventually lost in the Islamic movement.
2. THE ROMAN INFLUENCE
195:2.1 The Romans bodily took over Greek
culture, putting representative government in the place of
government by lot. And presently this change favored Christianity
in that Rome brought into the whole Western world a new tolerance
for strange languages, peoples, and even religions.
195:2.2 Much of the early persecution of
Christians in Rome was due solely to their unfortunate use of the
term "kingdom" in their preaching. The Romans were tolerant of any
and all religions but very resentful of anything that savored of
political rivalry. And so, when these early persecutions, due so
largely to misunderstanding, died out, the field for religious
propaganda was wide open. The Roman was interested in political
administration; he cared little for either art or religion, but he
was unusually tolerant of both.
195:2.3 Oriental law was stern and arbitrary;
Greek law was fluid and artistic; Roman law was dignified and
respect-breeding. Roman education bred an unheard-of and stolid
loyalty. The early Romans were politically devoted and sublimely
consecrated individuals. They were honest, zealous, and dedicated
to their ideals, but without a religion worthy of the name. Small
wonder that their Greek teachers were able to persuade them to
accept Paul's Christianity.
195:2.4 And these Romans were a great people.
They could govern the Occident because they did govern themselves.
Such unparalleled honesty, devotion, and stalwart self-control was
ideal soil for the reception and growth of Christianity.
195:2.5 It was easy for these Greco-Romans to
become just as spiritually devoted to an institutional church as
they were politically devoted to the state. The Romans fought the
church only when they feared it as a competitor of the state.
Rome, having little national philosophy or native culture, took
over Greek culture for its own and boldly adopted Christ as its
moral philosophy. Christianity became the moral culture of Rome
but hardly its religion in the sense of being the individual
experience in spiritual growth of those who embraced the new
religion in such a wholesale manner. True, indeed, many
individuals did penetrate beneath the surface of all this state
religion and found for the nourishment of their souls the real
values of the hidden meanings held within the latent truths of
Hellenized and paganized Christianity.
195:2.6 The Stoic and his sturdy appeal to
"nature and conscience" had only the better prepared all Rome to
receive Christ, at least in an intellectual sense. The Roman was
by nature and training a lawyer; he revered even the laws of
nature. And now, in Christianity, he discerned in the laws of
nature the laws of God. A people that could produce Cicero and
Vergil were ripe for Paul's Hellenized Christianity.
195:2.7 And so did these Romanized Greeks force
both Jews and Christians to philosophize their religion, to
co-ordinate its ideas and systematize its ideals, to adapt
religious practices to the existing current of life. And all this
was enormously helped by translation of the Hebrew scriptures into
Greek and by the later recording of the New Testament in the Greek
195:2.8 The Greeks, in contrast with the Jews
and many other peoples, had long provisionally believed in
immortality, some sort of survival after death, and since this was
the very heart of Jesus' teaching, it was certain that
Christianity would make a strong appeal to them.
195:2.9 A succession of Greek-cultural and
Roman-political victories had consolidated the Mediterranean lands
into one empire, with one language and one culture, and had made
the Western world ready for one God. Judaism provided this God,
but Judaism was not acceptable as a religion to these Romanized
Greeks. Philo helped some to mitigate their objections, but
Christianity revealed to them an even better concept of one God,
and they embraced it readily.
3. UNDER THE ROMAN EMPIRE
195:3.1 After the consolidation of Roman
political rule and after the dissemination of Christianity, the
Christians found themselves with one God, a great religious
concept, but without empire. The Greco-Romans found themselves
with a great empire but without a God to serve as the suitable
religious concept for empire worship and spiritual unification.
The Christians accepted the empire; the empire adopted
Christianity. The Roman provided a unity of political rule; the
Greek, a unity of culture and learning; Christianity, a unity of
religious thought and practice.
195:3.2 Rome overcame the tradition of
nationalism by imperial universalism and for the first time in
history made it possible for different races and nations at least
nominally to accept one religion.
195:3.3 Christianity came into favor in Rome at
a time when there was great contention between the vigorous
teachings of the Stoics and the salvation promises of the mystery
cults. Christianity came with refreshing comfort and liberating
power to a spiritually hungry people whose language had no word
195:3.4 That which gave greatest power to
Christianity was the way its believers lived lives of service and
even the way they died for their faith during the earlier times of
195:3.5 The teaching regarding Christ's love for
children soon put an end to the widespread practice of exposing
children to death when they were not wanted, particularly girl
195:3.6 The early plan of Christian worship was
largely taken over from the Jewish synagogue, modified by the
Mithraic ritual; later on, much pagan pageantry was added. The
backbone of the early Christian church consisted of Christianized
Greek proselytes to Judaism.
195:3.7 The second century after Christ was the
best time in all the world's history for a good religion to make
progress in the Western world. During the first century
Christianity had prepared itself, by struggle and compromise, to
take root and rapidly spread. Christianity adopted the emperor;
later, he adopted Christianity. This was a great age for the
spread of a new religion. There was religious liberty; travel was
universal and thought was untrammeled.
195:3.8 The spiritual impetus of nominally
accepting Hellenized Christianity came to Rome too late to prevent
the well-started moral decline or to compensate for the already
well-established and increasing racial deterioration. This new
religion was a cultural necessity for imperial Rome, and it is
exceedingly unfortunate that it did not become a means of
spiritual salvation in a larger sense.
195:3.9 Even a good religion could not save a
great empire from the sure results of lack of individual
participation in the affairs of government, from overmuch
paternalism, overtaxation and gross collection abuses, unbalanced
trade with the Levant which drained away the gold, amusement
madness, Roman standardization, the degradation of woman, slavery
and race decadence, physical plagues, and a state church which
became institutionalized nearly to the point of spiritual
195:3.10 Conditions, however, were not so bad at
Alexandria. The early schools continued to hold much of Jesus'
teachings free from compromise. Poutaenus taught Clement and then
went on to follow Nathaniel in proclaiming Christ in India. While
some of the ideals of Jesus were sacrificed in the building of
Christianity, it should in all fairness be recorded that, by the
end of the second century, practically all the great minds of the
Greco-Roman world had become Christian. The triumph was
195:3.11 And this Roman Empire lasted
sufficiently long to insure the survival of Christianity even
after the empire collapsed. But we have often conjectured what
would have happened in Rome and in the world if it had been the
gospel of the kingdom which had been accepted in the place of
4. THE EUROPEAN DARK AGES
195:4.1 The church, being an adjunct to society
and the ally of politics, was doomed to share in the intellectual
and spiritual decline of the so-called European "dark ages."
During this time, religion became more and more monasticized,
asceticized, and legalized. In a spiritual sense, Christianity was
hibernating. Throughout this period there existed, alongside this
slumbering and secularized religion, a continuous stream of
mysticism, a fantastic spiritual experience bordering on unreality
and philosophically akin to pantheism.
195:4.2 During these dark and despairing
centuries, religion became virtually secondhanded again. The
individual was almost lost before the overshadowing authority,
tradition, and dictation of the church. A new spiritual menace
arose in the creation of a galaxy of "saints" who were assumed to
have special influence at the divine courts, and who, therefore,
if effectively appealed to, would be able to intercede in man's
behalf before the Gods.
195:4.3 But Christianity was sufficiently
socialized and paganized that, while it was impotent to stay the
oncoming dark ages, it was the better prepared to survive this
long period of moral darkness and spiritual stagnation. And it did
persist on through the long night of Western civilization and was
still functioning as a moral influence in the world when the
renaissance dawned. The rehabilitation of Christianity, following
the passing of the dark ages, resulted in bringing into existence
numerous sects of the Christian teachings, beliefs suited to
special intellectual, emotional, and spiritual types of human
personality. And many of these special Christian groups, or
religious families, still persist at the time of the making of
195:4.4 Christianity exhibits a history of
having originated out of the unintended transformation of the
religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus. It further presents
the history of having experienced Hellenization, paganization,
secularization, institutionalization, intellectual deterioration,
spiritual decadence, moral hibernation, threatened extinction,
later rejuvenation, fragmentation, and more recent relative
rehabilitation. Such a pedigree is indicative of inherent vitality
and the possession of vast recuperative resources. And this same
Christianity is now present in the civilized world of Occidental
peoples and stands face to face with a struggle for existence
which is even more ominous than those eventful crises which have
characterized its past battles for dominance.
195:4.5 Religion is now confronted by the
challenge of a new age of scientific minds and materialistic
tendencies. In this gigantic struggle between the secular and the
spiritual, the religion of Jesus will eventually triumph.
5. THE MODERN PROBLEM
195:5.1 The twentieth century has brought new
problems for Christianity and all other religions to solve. The
higher a civilization climbs, the more necessitous becomes the
duty to "seek first the realities of heaven" in all of man's
efforts to stabilize society and facilitate the solution of its
195:5.2 Truth often becomes confusing and even
misleading when it is dismembered, segregated, isolated, and too
much analyzed. Living truth teaches the truth seeker aright only
when it is embraced in wholeness and as a living spiritual
reality, not as a fact of material science or an inspiration of
195:5.3 Religion is the revelation to man of his
divine and eternal destiny. Religion is a purely personal and
spiritual experience and must forever be distinguished from man's
other high forms of thought, such as:
195:5.4 1. Man's logical attitude toward the
things of material reality.
195:5.5 2. Man's aesthetic appreciation of
beauty contrasted with ugliness.
195:5.6 3. Man's ethical recognition of social
obligations and political duty.
195:5.7 4. Even man's sense of human morality is
not, in and of itself, religious.
195:5.8 Religion is designed to find those
values in the universe which call forth faith, trust, and
assurance; religion culminates in worship. Religion discovers for
the soul those supreme values which are in contrast with the
relative values discovered by the mind. Such superhuman insight
can be had only through genuine religious experience.
195:5.9 A lasting social system without a
morality predicated on spiritual realities can no more be
maintained than could the solar system without gravity.
195:5.10 Do not try to satisfy the curiosity or
gratify all the latent adventure surging within the soul in one
short life in the flesh. Be patient! be not tempted to indulge in
a lawless plunge into cheap and sordid adventure. Harness your
energies and bridle your passions; be calm while you await the
majestic unfolding of an endless career of progressive adventure
and thrilling discovery.
195:5.11 In confusion over man's origin, do not
lose sight of his eternal destiny. Forget not that Jesus loved
even little children, and that he forever made clear the great
worth of human personality.
195:5.12 As you view the world, remember that
the black patches of evil which you see are shown against a white
background of ultimate good. You do not view merely white patches
of good which show up miserably against a black background of
195:5.13 When there is so much good truth to
publish and proclaim, why should men dwell so much upon the evil
in the world just because it appears to be a fact? The beauties of
the spiritual values of truth are more pleasurable and uplifting
than is the phenomenon of evil.
195:5.14 In religion, Jesus advocated and
followed the method of experience, even as modern science pursues
the technique of experiment. We find God through the leadings of
spiritual insight, but we approach this insight of the soul
through the love of the beautiful, the pursuit of truth, loyalty
to duty, and the worship of divine goodness. But of all these
values, love is the true guide to real insight.
195:6.1 Scientists have unintentionally
precipitated mankind into a materialistic panic; they have started
an unthinking run on the moral bank of the ages, but this bank of
human experience has vast spiritual resources; it can stand the
demands being made upon it. Only unthinking men become panicky
about the spiritual assets of the human race. When the
materialistic-secular panic is over, the religion of Jesus will
not be found bankrupt. The spiritual bank of the kingdom of heaven
will be paying out faith, hope, and moral security to all who draw
upon it "in His name."
195:6.2 No matter what the apparent conflict
between materialism and the teachings of Jesus may be, you can
rest assured that, in the ages to come, the teachings of the
Master will fully triumph. In reality, true religion cannot become
involved in any controversy with science; it is in no way
concerned with material things. Religion is simply indifferent to,
but sympathetic with, science, while it supremely concerns itself
with the scientist.
195:6.3 The pursuit of mere knowledge, without
the attendant interpretation of wisdom and the spiritual insight
of religious experience, eventually leads to pessimism and human
despair. A little knowledge is truly disconcerting.
195:6.4 At the time of this writing the worst of
the materialistic age is over; the day of a better understanding
is already beginning to dawn. The higher minds of the scientific
world are no longer wholly materialistic in their philosophy, but
the rank and file of the people still lean in that direction as a
result of former teachings. But this age of physical realism is
only a passing episode in man's life on earth. Modern science has
left true religion -- the teachings of Jesus as translated in the
lives of his believers -- untouched. All science has done is to
destroy the childlike illusions of the misinterpretations of life.
195:6.5 Science is a quantitative experience,
religion a qualitative experience, as regards man's life on earth.
Science deals with phenomena; religion, with origins, values, and
goals. To assign causes as an explanation of physical
phenomena is to confess ignorance of ultimates and in the end only
leads the scientist straight back to the first great cause -- the
Universal Father of Paradise.
195:6.6 The violent swing from an age of
miracles to an age of machines has proved altogether upsetting to
man. The cleverness and dexterity of the false philosophies of
mechanism belie their very mechanistic contentions. The fatalistic
agility of the mind of a materialist forever disproves his
assertions that the universe is a blind and purposeless energy
195:6.7 The mechanistic naturalism of some
supposedly educated men and the thoughtless secularism of the man
in the street are both exclusively concerned with things;
they are barren of all real values, sanctions, and satisfactions
of a spiritual nature, as well as being devoid of faith, hope, and
eternal assurances. One of the great troubles with modern life is
that man thinks he is too busy to find time for spiritual
meditation and religious devotion.
195:6.8 Materialism reduces man to a soulless
automaton and constitutes him merely an arithmetical symbol
finding a helpless place in the mathematical formula of an
unromantic and mechanistic universe. But whence comes all this
vast universe of mathematics without a Master Mathematician?
Science may expatiate on the conservation of matter, but religion
validates the conservation of men's souls -- it concerns their
experience with spiritual realities and eternal values.
195:6.9 The materialistic sociologist of today
surveys a community, makes a report thereon, and leaves the people
as he found them. Nineteen hundred years ago, unlearned Galileans
surveyed Jesus giving his life as a spiritual contribution to
man's inner experience and then went out and turned the whole
Roman Empire upside down.
195:6.10 But religious leaders are making a
great mistake when they try to call modern man to spiritual battle
with the trumpet blasts of the Middle Ages. Religion must provide
itself with new and up-to-date slogans. Neither democracy nor any
other political panacea will take the place of spiritual progress.
False religions may represent an evasion of reality, but Jesus in
his gospel introduced mortal man to the very entrance upon an
eternal reality of spiritual progression.
195:6.11 To say that mind "emerged" from matter
explains nothing. If the universe were merely a mechanism and mind
were unapart from matter, we would never have two differing
interpretations of any observed phenomenon. The concepts of truth,
beauty, and goodness are not inherent in either physics or
chemistry. A machine cannot know, much less know truth,
hunger for righteousness, and cherish goodness.
195:6.12 Science may be physical, but the mind
of the truth-discerning scientist is at once supermaterial. Matter
knows not truth, neither can it love mercy nor delight in
spiritual realities. Moral convictions based on spiritual
enlightenment and rooted in human experience are just as real and
certain as mathematical deductions based on physical observations,
but on another and higher level.
195:6.13 If men were only machines, they would
react more or less uniformly to a material universe.
Individuality, much less personality, would be nonexistent.
195:6.14 The fact of the absolute mechanism of
Paradise at the center of the universe of universes, in the
presence of the unqualified volition of the Second Source and
Center, makes forever certain that determiners are not the
exclusive law of the cosmos. Materialism is there, but it is not
exclusive; mechanism is there, but it is not unqualified;
determinism is there, but it is not alone.
195:6.15 The finite universe of matter would
eventually become uniform and deterministic but for the combined
presence of mind and spirit. The influence of the cosmic mind
constantly injects spontaneity into even the material worlds.
195:6.16 Freedom or initiative in any realm of
existence is directly proportional to the degree of spiritual
influence and cosmic-mind control; that is, in human experience,
the degree of the actuality of doing "the Father's will." And so,
when you once start out to find God, that is the conclusive proof
that God has already found you.
195:6.17 The sincere pursuit of goodness,
beauty, and truth leads to God. And every scientific discovery
demonstrates the existence of both freedom and uniformity in the
universe. The discoverer was free to make the discovery. The thing
discovered is real and apparently uniform, or else it could not
have become known as a thing.
7. THE VULNERABILITY OF MATERIALISM
195:7.1 How foolish it is for material-minded
man to allow such vulnerable theories as those of a mechanistic
universe to deprive him of the vast spiritual resources of the
personal experience of true religion. Facts never quarrel with
real spiritual faith; theories may. Better that science should be
devoted to the destruction of superstition rather than attempting
the overthrow of religious faith -- human belief in spiritual
realities and divine values.
195:7.2 Science should do for man materially
what religion does for him spiritually: extend the horizon of life
and enlarge his personality. True science can have no lasting
quarrel with true religion. The "scientific method" is merely an
intellectual yardstick wherewith to measure material adventures
and physical achievements. But being material and wholly
intellectual, it is utterly useless in the evaluation of spiritual
realities and religious experiences.
195:7.3 The inconsistency of the modern
mechanist is: If this were merely a material universe and man only
a machine, such a man would be wholly unable to recognize himself
as such a machine, and likewise would such a machine-man be wholly
unconscious of the fact of the existence of such a material
universe. The materialistic dismay and despair of a mechanistic
science has failed to recognize the fact of the spirit-indwelt
mind of the scientist whose very supermaterial insight formulates
these mistaken and self-contradictory concepts of a
195:7.4 Paradise values of eternity and
infinity, of truth, beauty, and goodness, are concealed within the
facts of the phenomena of the universes of time and space. But it
requires the eye of faith in a spirit-born mortal to detect and
discern these spiritual values.
195:7.5 The realities and values of spiritual
progress are not a "psychologic projection" -- a mere glorified
daydream of the material mind. Such things are the spiritual
forecasts of the indwelling Adjuster, the spirit of God living in
the mind of man. And let not your dabblings with the faintly
glimpsed findings of "relativity" disturb your concepts of the
eternity and infinity of God. And in all your solicitation
concerning the necessity for self-expression do not make
the mistake of failing to provide for Adjuster-expression,
the manifestation of your real and better self.
195:7.6 If this were only a material universe,
material man would never be able to arrive at the concept of the
mechanistic character of such an exclusively material existence.
This very mechanistic concept of the universe is in itself
a nonmaterial phenomenon of mind, and all mind is of nonmaterial
origin, no matter how thoroughly it may appear to be materially
conditioned and mechanistically controlled.
195:7.7 The partially evolved mental mechanism
of mortal man is not overendowed with consistency and wisdom.
Man's conceit often outruns his reason and eludes his logic.
195:7.8 The very pessimism of the most
pessimistic materialist is, in and of itself, sufficient proof
that the universe of the pessimist is not wholly material. Both
optimism and pessimism are concept reactions in a mind conscious
of values as well as of facts. If the universe were
truly what the materialist regards it to be, man as a human
machine would then be devoid of all conscious recognition of that
very fact. Without the consciousness of the concept of
values within the spirit-born mind, the fact of universe
materialism and the mechanistic phenomena of universe operation
would be wholly unrecognized by man. One machine cannot be
conscious of the nature or value of another machine.
195:7.9 A mechanistic philosophy of life and the
universe cannot be scientific because science recognizes and deals
only with materials and facts. Philosophy is inevitably
superscientific. Man is a material fact of nature, but his life
is a phenomenon which transcends the material levels of nature in
that it exhibits the control attributes of mind and the creative
qualities of spirit.
195:7.10 The sincere effort of man to become a
mechanist represents the tragic phenomenon of that man's futile
effort to commit intellectual and moral suicide. But he cannot do
195:7.11 If the universe were only material and
man only a machine, there would be no science to embolden the
scientist to postulate this mechanization of the universe.
Machines cannot measure, classify, nor evaluate themselves. Such a
scientific piece of work could be executed only by some entity of
195:7.12 If universe reality is only one vast
machine, then man must be outside of the universe and apart from
it in order to recognize such a fact and become conscious
of the insight of such an evaluation.
195:7.13 If man is only a machine, by what
technique does this man come to believe or claim to know
that he is only a machine? The experience of self-conscious
evaluation of one's self is never an attribute of a mere machine.
A self-conscious and avowed mechanist is the best possible answer
to mechanism. If materialism were a fact, there could be no
self-conscious mechanist. It is also true that one must first be a
moral person before one can perform immoral acts.
195:7.14 The very claim of materialism implies a
supermaterial consciousness of the mindwhich presumes to assert
such dogmas. A mechanism might deteriorate, but it could never
progress. Machines do not think, create, dream, aspire, idealize,
hunger for truth, or thirst for righteousness. They do not
motivate their lives with the passion to serve other machines and
to choose as their goal of eternal progression the sublime task of
finding God and striving to be like him. Machines are never
intellectual, emotional, aesthetic, ethical, moral, or spiritual.
195:7.15 Art proves that man is not mechanistic,
but it does not prove that he is spiritually immortal. Art is
mortal morontia, the intervening field between man, the material,
and man, the spiritual. Poetry is an effort to escape from
material realities to spiritual values.
195:7.16 In a high civilization, art humanizes
science, while in turn it is spiritualized by true religion --
insight into spiritual and eternal values. Art represents the
human and time-space evaluation of reality. Religion is the
divine embrace of cosmic values and connotes eternal progression
in spiritual ascension and expansion. The art of time is dangerous
only when it becomes blind to the spirit standards of the divine
patterns which eternity reflects as the reality shadows of time.
True art is the effective manipulation of the material things of
life; religion is the ennobling transformation of the material
facts of life, and it never ceases in its spiritual evaluation of
195:7.17 How foolish to presume that an
automaton could conceive a philosophy of automatism, and how
ridiculous that it should presume to form such a concept of other
and fellow automatons!
195:7.18 Any scientific interpretation of the
material universe is valueless unless it provides due recognition
for the scientist. No appreciation of art is genuine unless
it accords recognition to the artist. No evaluation of
morals is worth while unless it includes the moralist. No
recognition of philosophy is edifying if it ignores the
philosopher, and religion cannot exist without the real
experience of the religionist who, in and through this very
experience, is seeking to find God and to know him. Likewise is
the universe of universes without significance apart from the I
AM, the infinite God who made it and unceasingly manages it.
195:7.19 Mechanists -- humanists -- tend to
drift with the material currents. Idealists and spiritists dare
to use their oars with intelligence and vigor in order to modify
the apparently purely material course of the energy streams.
195:7.20 Science lives by the mathematics of the
mind; music expresses the tempo of the emotions. Religion is the
spiritual rhythm of the soul in time-space harmony with the higher
and eternal melody measurements of Infinity. Religious experience
is something in human life which is truly supermathematical.
195:7.21 In language, an alphabet represents the
mechanism of materialism, while the words expressive of the
meaning of a thousand thoughts, grand ideas, and noble ideals --
of love and hate, of cowardice and courage -- represent the
performances of mind within the scope defined by both material and
spiritual law, directed by the assertion of the will of
personality, and limited by the inherent situational endowment.
195:7.22 The universe is not like the laws,
mechanisms, and the uniformities which the scientist discovers,
and which he comes to regard as science, but rather like the
curious, thinking, choosing, creative, combining, and
discriminating scientist who thus observes universe
phenomena and classifies the mathematical facts inherent in the
mechanistic phases of the material side of creation. Neither is
the universe like the art of the artist, but rather like the
striving, dreaming, aspiring, and advancing artist who
seeks to transcend the world of material things in an effort to
achieve a spiritual goal.
195:7.23 The scientist, not science, perceives
the reality of an evolving and advancing universe of energy and
matter. The artist, not art, demonstrates the existence of the
transient morontia world intervening between material existence
and spiritual liberty. The religionist, not religion, proves the
existence of the spirit realities and divine values which are to
be encountered in the progress of eternity.
8. SECULAR TOTALITARIANISM
195:8.1 But even after materialism and mechanism
have been more or less vanquished, the devastating influence of
twentieth-century secularism will still blight the spiritual
experience of millions of unsuspecting souls.
195:8.2 Modern secularism has been fostered by
two world-wide influences. The father of secularism was the
narrow-minded and godless attitude of nineteenth- and
twentieth-century so-called science -- atheistic science. The
mother of modern secularism was the totalitarian medieval
Christian church. Secularism had its inception as a rising protest
against the almost complete domination of Western civilization by
the institutionalized Christian church.
195:8.3 At the time of this revelation, the
prevailing intellectual and philosophical climate of both European
and American life is decidedly secular -- humanistic. For three
hundred years Western thinking has been progressively secularized.
Religion has become more and more a nominal influence, largely a
ritualistic exercise. The majority of professed Christians of
Western civilization are unwittingly actual secularists.
195:8.4 It required a great power, a mighty
influence, to free the thinking and living of the Western peoples
from the withering grasp of a totalitarian ecclesiastical
domination. Secularism did break the bonds of church control, and
now in turn it threatens to establish a new and godless type of
mastery over the hearts and minds of modern man. The tyrannical
and dictatorial political state is the direct offspring of
scientific materialism and philosophic secularism. Secularism no
sooner frees man from the domination of the institutionalized
church than it sells him into slavish bondage to the totalitarian
state. Secularism frees man from ecclesiastical slavery only to
betray him into the tyranny of political and economic slavery.
Materialism denies God, secularism
simply ignores him; at least that was the earlier attitude. More
recently, secularism has assumed a more militant attitude,
assuming to take the place of the religion whose totalitarian
bondage it onetime resisted. Twentieth-century secularism tends to
affirm that man does not need God. But beware! this godless
philosophy of human society will lead only to unrest, animosity,
unhappiness, war, and world-wide disaster.
195:8.6 Secularism can never bring peace to
mankind. Nothing can take the place of God in human society. But
mark you well! do not be quick to surrender the beneficent gains
of the secular revolt from ecclesiastical totalitarianism. Western
civilization today enjoys many liberties and satisfactions as a
result of the secular revolt. The great mistake of secularism was
this: In revolting against the almost total control of life by
religious authority, and after attaining the liberation from such
ecclesiastical tyranny, the secularists went on to institute a
revolt against God himself, sometimes tacitly and sometimes
195:8.7 To the secularistic revolt you owe the
amazing creativity of American industrialism and the unprecedented
material progress of Western civilization. And because the
secularistic revolt went too far and lost sight of God and true
religion, there also followed the unlooked-for harvest of world
wars and international unsettledness.
195:8.8 It is not necessary to sacrifice faith
in God in order to enjoy the blessings of the modern secularistic
revolt: tolerance, social service, democratic government, and
civil liberties. It was not necessary for the secularists to
antagonize true religion in order to promote science and to
195:8.9 But secularism is not the sole parent of
all these recent gains in the enlargement of living. Behind the
gains of the twentieth century are not only science and secularism
but also the unrecognized and unacknowledged spiritual workings of
the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.
195:8.10 Without God, without religion,
scientific secularism can never co-ordinate its forces, harmonize
its divergent and rivalrous interests, races, and nationalisms.
This secularistic human society, notwithstanding its unparalleled
materialistic achievement, is slowly disintegrating. The chief
cohesive force resisting this disintegration of antagonism is
nationalism. And nationalism is the chief barrier to world peace.
195:8.11 The inherent weakness of secularism is
that it discards ethics and religion for politics and power. You
simply cannot establish the brotherhood of men while ignoring or
denying the fatherhood of God.
195:8.12 Secular social and political optimism
is an illusion. Without God, neither freedom and liberty, nor
property and wealth will lead to peace.
195:8.13 The complete secularization of science,
education, industry, and society can lead only to disaster. During
the first third of the twentieth century Urantians killed more
human beings than were killed during the whole of the Christian
dispensation up to that time. And this is only the beginning of
the dire harvest of materialism and secularism; still more
terrible destruction is yet to come.
9. CHRISTIANITY'S PROBLEM
195:9.1 Do not overlook the value of your
spiritual heritage, the river of truth running down through the
centuries, even to the barren times of a materialistic and secular
age. In all your worthy efforts to rid yourselves of the
superstitious creeds of past ages, make sure that you hold fast
the eternal truth. But be patient! when the present superstition
revolt is over, the truths of Jesus' gospel will persist
gloriously to illuminate a new and better way.
But paganized and socialized
Christianity stands in need of new contact with the uncompromised
teachings of Jesus; it languishes for lack of a new vision of the
Master's life on earth. A new and fuller revelation of the
religion of Jesus is destined to conquer an empire of
materialistic secularism and to overthrow a world sway of
mechanistic naturalism. Urantia is now quivering on the very brink
of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social
readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment.
195:9.3 The teachings of Jesus, even though
greatly modified, survived the mystery cults of their birthtime,
the ignorance and superstition of the dark ages, and are even now
slowly triumphing over the materialism, mechanism, and secularism
of the twentieth century. And such times of great testing and
threatened defeat are always times of great revelation.
195:9.4 Religion does need new leaders,
spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus
and his incomparable teachings. If Christianity persists in
neglecting its spiritual mission while it continues to busy itself
with social and material problems, the spiritual renaissance must
await the coming of these new teachers of Jesus' religion who will
be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men. And
then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership
and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic, and
political reorganization of the world.
195:9.5 The modern age will refuse to accept a
religion which is inconsistent with facts and out of harmony with
its highest conceptions of truth, beauty, and goodness. The hour
is striking for a rediscovery of the true and original foundations
of present-day distorted and compromised Christianity -- the real
life and teachings of Jesus.
195:9.6 Primitive man lived a life of
superstitious bondage to religious fear. Modern, civilized men
dread the thought of falling under the dominance of strong
religious convictions. Thinking man has always feared to be
held by a religion. When a strong and moving religion
threatens to dominate him, he invariably tries to rationalize,
traditionalize, and institutionalize it, thereby hoping to gain
control of it. By such procedure, even a revealed religion becomes
man-made and man-dominated. Modern men and women of intelligence
evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will
do to them -- and with them. And all such fears are
well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and
transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives
to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and
requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the
unselfish service of the brotherhood of man.
195:9.7 Selfish men and women simply will not
pay such a price for even the greatest spiritual treasure ever
offered mortal man. Only when man has become sufficiently
disillusioned by the sorrowful disappointments attendant upon the
foolish and deceptive pursuits of selfishness, and subsequent to
the discovery of the barrenness of formalized religion, will he be
disposed to turn wholeheartedly to the gospel of the kingdom, the
religion of Jesus of Nazareth.
195:9.8 The world needs more firsthand religion.
Even Christianity -- the best of the religions of the twentieth
century -- is not only a religion about Jesus, but it is so
largely one which men experience secondhand. They take their
religion wholly as handed down by their accepted religious
teachers. What an awakening the world would experience if it could
only see Jesus as he really lived on earth and know, firsthand,
his life-giving teachings! Descriptive words of things beautiful
cannot thrill like the sight thereof, neither can creedal words
inspire men's souls like the experience of knowing the presence of
God. But expectant faith will ever keep the hope-door of man's
soul open for the entrance of the eternal spiritual realities of
the divine values of the worlds beyond.
195:9.9 Christianity has dared to lower its
ideals before the challenge of human greed, war-madness, and the
lust for power; but the religion of Jesus stands as the unsullied
and transcendent spiritual summons, calling to the best there is
in man to rise above all these legacies of animal evolution and,
by grace, attain the moral heights of true human destiny.
195:9.10 Christianity is threatened by slow
death from formalism, overorganization, intellectualism, and other
nonspiritual trends. The modern Christian church is not such a
brotherhood of dynamic believers as Jesus commissioned
continuously to effect the spiritual transformation of successive
generations of mankind.
195:9.11 So-called Christianity has become a
social and cultural movement as well as a religious belief and
practice. The stream of modern Christianity drains many an ancient
pagan swamp and many a barbarian morass; many olden cultural
watersheds drain into this present-day cultural stream as well as
the high Galilean tablelands which are supposed to be its
10. THE FUTURE
195:10.1 Christianity has indeed done a great
service for this world, but what is now most needed is Jesus. The
world needs to see Jesus living again on earth in the experience
of spirit-born mortals who effectively reveal the Master to all
men. It is futile to talk about a revival of primitive
Christianity; you must go forward from where you find yourselves.
Modern culture must become spiritually baptized with a new
revelation of Jesus' life and illuminated with a new understanding
of his gospel of eternal salvation. And when Jesus becomes thus
lifted up, he will draw all men to himself. Jesus' disciples
should be more than conquerors, even overflowing sources of
inspiration and enhanced living to all men. Religion is only an
exalted humanism until it is made divine by the discovery of the
reality of the presence of God in personal experience.
195:10.2 The beauty and sublimity, the humanity
and divinity, the simplicity and uniqueness, of Jesus' life on
earth present such a striking and appealing picture of man-saving
and God-revealing that the theologians and philosophers of all
time should be effectively restrained from daring to form creeds
or create theological systems of spiritual bondage out of such a
transcendental bestowal of God in the form of man. In Jesus the
universe produced a mortal man in whom the spirit of love
triumphed over the material handicaps of time and overcame the
fact of physical origin.
195:10.3 Ever bear in mind -- God and men need
each other. They are mutually necessary to the full and final
attainment of eternal personality experience in the divine destiny
of universe finality.
195:10.4 "The kingdom of God is within you" was
probably the greatest pronouncement Jesus ever made, next to the
declaration that his Father is a living and loving spirit.
In winning souls for the Master, it is
not the first mile of compulsion, duty, or convention that will
transform man and his world, but rather the
second mile of
free service and liberty-loving devotion that betokens the
Jesusonian reaching forth to grasp his brother in love and sweep
him on under spiritual guidance toward the higher and divine goal
of mortal existence. Christianity even now willingly goes the
first mile, but mankind languishes and stumbles along in moral
darkness because there are so few genuine second-milers -- so few
professed followers of Jesus who really live and love as he taught
his disciples to live and love and serve.
195:10.6 The call to the adventure of building a
new and transformed human society by means of the spiritual
rebirth of Jesus' brotherhood of the kingdom should thrill all who
believe in him as men have not been stirred since the days when
they walked about on earth as his companions in the flesh.
195:10.7 No social system or political regime
which denies the reality of God can contribute in any constructive
and lasting manner to the advancement of human civilization. But
Christianity, as it is subdivided and secularized today, presents
the greatest single obstacle to its further advancement;
especially is this true concerning the Orient.
195:10.8 Ecclesiasticism is at once and forever
incompatible with that living faith, growing spirit, and firsthand
experience of the faith-comrades of Jesus in the brotherhood of
man in the spiritual association of the kingdom of heaven. The
praiseworthy desire to preserve traditions of past achievement
often leads to the defense of outgrown systems of worship. The
well-meant desire to foster ancient thought systems effectually
prevents the sponsoring of new and adequate means and methods
designed to satisfy the spiritual longings of the expanding and
advancing minds of modern men. Likewise, the Christian churches of
the twentieth century stand as great, but wholly unconscious,
obstacles to the immediate advance of the real gospel -- the
teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
195:10.9 Many earnest persons who would gladly
yield loyalty to the Christ of the gospel find it very difficult
enthusiastically to support a church which exhibits so little of
the spirit of his life and teachings, and which they have been
erroneously taught he founded. Jesus did not found the so-called
Christian church, but he has, in every manner consistent with his
nature, fostered it as the best existent exponent of his
lifework on earth.
195:10.10 If the Christian church would only
dare to espouse the Master's program, thousands of apparently
indifferent youths would rush forward to enlist in such a
spiritual undertaking, and they would not hesitate to go all the
way through with this great adventure.
195:10.11 Christianity is seriously confronted
with the doom embodied in one of its own slogans: "A house divided
against itself cannot stand." The non-Christian world will hardly
capitulate to a sect-divided Christendom. The living Jesus is the
only hope of a possible unification of Christianity. The true
church -- the Jesus brotherhood -- is invisible, spiritual, and is
characterized by unity, not necessarily by uniformity.
Uniformity is the earmark of the physical world of mechanistic
nature. Spiritual unity is the fruit of faith union with the
living Jesus. The visible church should refuse longer to handicap
the progress of the invisible and spiritual brotherhood of the
kingdom of God. And this brotherhood is destined to become a
living organism in contrast to an institutionalized social
organization. It may well utilize such social organizations, but
it must not be supplanted by them.
195:10.12 But the Christianity of even the
twentieth century must not be despised. It is the product of the
combined moral genius of the God-knowing men of many races during
many ages, and it has truly been one of the greatest powers for
good on earth, and therefore no man should lightly regard it,
notwithstanding its inherent and acquired defects. Christianity
still contrives to move the minds of reflective men with mighty
195:10.13 But there is no excuse for the
involvement of the church in commerce and politics; such unholy
alliances are a flagrant betrayal of the Master. And the genuine
lovers of truth will be slow to forget that this powerful
institutionalized church has often dared to smother newborn faith
and persecute truth bearers who chanced to appear in unorthodox
195:10.14 It is all too true that such a church
would not have survived unless there had been men in the world who
preferred such a style of worship. Many spiritually indolent souls
crave an ancient and authoritative religion of ritual and sacred
traditions. Human evolution and spiritual progress are hardly
sufficient to enable all men to dispense with religious authority.
And the invisible brotherhood of the kingdom may well include
these family groups of various social and temperamental classes if
they are only willing to become truly spirit-led sons of God. But
in this brotherhood of Jesus there is no place for sectarian
rivalry, group bitterness, nor assertions of moral superiority and
195:10.15 These various groupings of Christians
may serve to accommodate numerous different types of would-be
believers among the various peoples of Western civilization, but
such division of Christendom presents a grave weakness when it
attempts to carry the gospel of Jesus to Oriental peoples. These
races do not yet understand that there is a religion of Jesus
separate, and somewhat apart, from Christianity, which has more
and more become a religion about Jesus.
195:10.16 The great hope of Urantia lies in the
possibility of a new revelation of Jesus with a new and enlarged
presentation of his saving message which would spiritually unite
in loving service the numerous families of his present-day
195:10.17 Even secular education could help in
this great spiritual renaissance if it would pay more attention to
the work of teaching youth how to engage in life planning and
character progression. The purpose of all education should be to
foster and further the supreme purpose of life, the development of
a majestic and well-balanced personality. There is great need for
the teaching of moral discipline in the place of so much
self-gratification. Upon such a foundation religion may contribute
its spiritual incentive to the enlargement and enrichment of
mortal life, even to the security and enhancement of life eternal.
195:10.18 Christianity is an extemporized
religion, and therefore must it operate in low gear. High-gear
spiritual performances must await the new revelation and the more
general acceptance of the real religion of Jesus. But Christianity
is a mighty religion, seeing that the commonplace disciples of a
crucified carpenter set in motion those teachings which conquered
the Roman world in three hundred years and then went on to triumph
over the barbarians who overthrew Rome. This same Christianity
conquered -- absorbed and exalted -- the whole stream of Hebrew
theology and Greek philosophy. And then, when this Christian
religion became comatose for more than a thousand years as a
result of an overdose of mysteries and paganism, it resurrected
itself and virtually reconquered the whole Western world.
Christianity contains enough of Jesus' teachings to immortalize
195:10.19 If Christianity could only grasp more
of Jesus' teachings, it could do so much more in helping modern
man to solve his new and increasingly complex problems.
195:10.20 Christianity suffers under a great
handicap because it has become identified in the minds of all the
world as a part of the social system, the industrial life, and the
moral standards of Western civilization; and thus has Christianity
unwittingly seemed to sponsor a society which staggers under the
guilt of tolerating science without idealism, politics without
principles, wealth without work, pleasure without restraint,
knowledge without character, power without conscience, and
industry without morality.
195:10.21 The hope of modern Christianity is
that it should cease to sponsor the social systems and industrial
policies of Western civilization while it humbly bows itself
before the cross it so valiantly extols, there to learn anew from
Jesus of Nazareth the greatest truths mortal man can ever hear --
the living gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of