The Urantia Book
THE LATER EVOLUTION OF RELIGION
Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.
92:0.1 MAN possessed a religion of natural
origin as a part of his evolutionary experience long before any
systematic revelations were made on Urantia. But this religion
of natural origin was, in itself, the product of man's
superanimal endowments. Evolutionary religion arose slowly
throughout the millenniums of mankind's experiential career
through the ministry of the following influences operating
within, and impinging upon, savage, barbarian, and civilized
92:0.2 1. The adjutant of worship --
the appearance in animal consciousness of superanimal potentials
for reality perception. This might be termed the primordial
human instinct for Deity.
92:0.3 2. The adjutant of wisdom -- the
manifestation in a worshipful mind of the tendency to direct its
adoration in higher channels of expression and toward
ever-expanding concepts of Deity reality.
92:0.4 3. The Holy Spirit -- this is
the initial supermind bestowal, and it unfailingly appears in
all bona fide human personalities. This ministry to a
worship-craving and wisdom-desiring mind creates the capacity to
self-realize the postulate of human survival, both in theologic
concept and as an actual and factual personality experience.
92:0.5 The co-ordinate functioning of these
three divine ministrations is quite sufficient to initiate and
prosecute the growth of evolutionary religion. These influences
are later augmented by Thought Adjusters, seraphim, and the
Spirit of Truth, all of which accelerate the rate of religious
development. These agencies have long functioned on Urantia, and
they will continue here as long as this planet remains an
inhabited sphere. Much of the potential of these divine agencies
has never yet had opportunity for expression; much will be
revealed in the ages to come as mortal religion ascends, level
by level, toward the supernal heights of morontia value and
1. THE EVOLUTIONARY NATURE OF RELIGION
92:1.1 The evolution of religion has been
traced from early fear and ghosts down through many successive
stages of development, including those efforts first to coerce
and then to cajole the spirits. Tribal fetishes grew into totems
and tribal gods; magic formulas became modern prayers.
Circumcision, at first a sacrifice, became a hygienic procedure.
92:1.2 Religion progressed from nature worship
up through ghost worship to fetishism throughout the savage
childhood of the races. With the dawn of civilization the human
race espoused the more mystic and symbolic beliefs, while now,
with approaching maturity, mankind is ripening for the
appreciation of real religion, even a beginning of the
revelation of truth itself.
92:1.3 Religion arises as a biologic reaction
of mind to spiritual beliefs and the environment; it is the last
thing to perish or change in a race. Religion is society's
adjustment, in any age, to that which is mysterious. As a social
institution it embraces rites, symbols, cults, scriptures,
altars, shrines, and temples. Holy water, relics, fetishes,
charms, vestments, bells, drums, and priesthoods are common to
all religions. And it is impossible entirely to divorce purely
evolved religion from either magic or sorcery.
92:1.4 Mystery and power have always
stimulated religious feelings and fears, while emotion has ever
functioned as a powerful conditioning factor in their
development. Fear has always been the basic religious stimulus.
Fear fashions the gods of evolutionary religion and motivates
the religious ritual of the primitive believers. As civilization
advances, fear becomes modified by reverence, admiration,
respect, and sympathy and is then further conditioned by remorse
92:1.5 One Asiatic people taught that "God is
a great fear"; that is the outgrowth of purely evolutionary
religion. Jesus, the revelation of the highest type of religious
living, proclaimed that "God is love."
2. RELIGION AND THE MORES
92:2.1 Religion is the most rigid and
unyielding of all human institutions, but it does tardily adjust
to changing society. Eventually, evolutionary religion does
reflect the changing mores, which, in turn, may have been
affected by revealed religion. Slowly, surely, but grudgingly,
does religion (worship) follow in the wake of wisdom --
knowledge directed by experiential reason and illuminated by
92:2.2 Religion clings to the mores; that
which was is ancient and supposedly sacred. For this
reason and no other, stone implements persisted long into the
age of bronze and iron. This statement is of record: "And if you
will make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn
stone, for, if you use your tools in making it, you have
polluted it." Even today, the Hindus kindle their altar fires by
using a primitive fire drill. In the course of evolutionary
religion, novelty has always been regarded as sacrilege. The
sacrament must consist, not of new and manufactured food, but of
the most primitive of viands: "The flesh roasted with fire and
unleavened bread served with bitter herbs." All types of social
usage and even legal procedures cling to the old forms.
92:2.3 When modern man wonders at the
presentation of so much in the scriptures of different religions
that may be regarded as obscene, he should pause to consider
that passing generations have feared to eliminate what their
ancestors deemed to be holy and sacred. A great deal that one
generation might look upon as obscene, preceding generations
have considered a part of their accepted mores, even as approved
religious rituals. A considerable amount of religious
controversy has been occasioned by the never-ending attempts to
reconcile olden but reprehensible practices with newly advanced
reason, to find plausible theories in justification of creedal
perpetuation of ancient and outworn customs.
92:2.4 But it is only foolish to attempt the
too sudden acceleration of religious growth. A race or nation
can only assimilate from any advanced religion that which is
reasonably consistent and compatible with its current
evolutionary status, plus its genius for adaptation. Social,
climatic, political, and economic conditions are all influential
in determining the course and progress of religious evolution.
Social morality is not determined by religion, that is, by
evolutionary religion; rather are the forms of religion dictated
by the racial morality.
92:2.5 Races of men only superficially accept
a strange and new religion; they actually adjust it to their
mores and old ways of believing. This is well illustrated by the
example of a certain New Zealand tribe whose priests, after
nominally accepting Christianity, professed to have received
direct revelations from Gabriel to the effect that this selfsame
tribe had become the chosen people of God and directing that
they be permitted freely to indulge in loose sex relations and
numerous other of their olden and reprehensible customs. And
immediately all of the new-made Christians went over to this new
and less exacting version of Christianity.
92:2.6 Religion has at one time or another
sanctioned all sorts of contrary and inconsistent behavior, has
at some time approved of practically all that is now regarded as
immoral or sinful. Conscience, untaught by experience and
unaided by reason, never has been, and never can be, a safe and
unerring guide to human conduct. Conscience is not a divine
voice speaking to the human soul. It is merely the sum total of
the moral and ethical content of the mores of any current stage
of existence; it simply represents the humanly conceived ideal
of reaction in any given set of circumstances.
3. THE NATURE OF EVOLUTIONARY RELIGION
92:3.1 The study of human religion is the
examination of the fossil-bearing social strata of past ages.
The mores of the anthropomorphic gods are a truthful reflection
of the morals of the men who first conceived such deities.
Ancient religions and mythology faithfully portray the beliefs
and traditions of peoples long since lost in obscurity. These
olden cult practices persist alongside newer economic customs
and social evolutions and, of course, appear grossly
inconsistent. The remnants of the cult present a true picture of
the racial religions of the past. Always remember, the cults are
formed, not to discover truth, but rather to promulgate their
92:3.2 Religion has always been largely a
matter of rites, rituals, observances, ceremonies, and dogmas.
It has usually become tainted with that persistently
mischief-making error, the chosen-people delusion. The cardinal
religious ideas of incantation, inspiration, revelation,
propitiation, repentance, atonement, intercession, sacrifice,
prayer, confession, worship, survival after death, sacrament,
ritual, ransom, salvation, redemption, covenant, uncleanness,
purification, prophecy, original sin -- they all go back to the
early times of primordial ghost fear.
92:3.3 Primitive religion is nothing more nor
less than the struggle for material existence extended to
embrace existence beyond the grave. The observances of such a
creed represented the extension of the self-maintenance struggle
into the domain of an imagined ghost-spirit world. But when
tempted to criticize evolutionary religion, be careful.
Remember, that is what happened; it is a historical fact.
And further recall that the power of any idea lies, not in its
certainty or truth, but rather in the vividness of its human
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.
92:3.6 Religion has handicapped social
development in many ways, but without religion there would have
been no enduring morality nor ethics, no worth-while
civilization. Religion enmothered much nonreligious culture:
Sculpture originated in idol making, architecture in temple
building, poetry in incantations, music in worship chants, drama
in the acting for spirit guidance, and dancing in the seasonal
92:3.7 But while calling attention to the fact
that religion was essential to the development and preservation
of civilization, it should be recorded that natural religion has
also done much to cripple and handicap the very civilization
which it otherwise fostered and maintained. Religion has
hampered industrial activities and economic development; it has
been wasteful of labor and has squandered capital; it has not
always been helpful to the family; it has not adequately
fostered peace and good will; it has sometimes neglected
education and retarded science; it has unduly impoverished life
for the pretended enrichment of death. Evolutionary religion,
human religion, has indeed been guilty of all these and many
more mistakes, errors, and blunders; nevertheless, it did
maintain cultural ethics, civilized morality, and social
coherence, and made it possible for later revealed religion to
compensate for these many evolutionary shortcomings.
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.
92:3.9 Religion facilitated the accumulation
of capital; it fostered work of certain kinds; the leisure of
the priests promoted art and knowledge; the race, in the end,
gained much as a result of all these early errors in ethical
technique. The shamans, honest and dishonest, were terribly
expensive, but they were worth all they cost. The learned
professions and science itself emerged from the parasitical
priesthoods. Religion fostered civilization and provided
societal continuity; it has been the moral police force of all
time. Religion provided that human discipline and self-control
which made wisdom possible. Religion is the efficient scourge of
evolution which ruthlessly drives indolent and suffering
humanity from its natural state of intellectual inertia forward
and upward to the higher levels of reason and wisdom.
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.
4. THE GIFT OF REVELATION
92:4.1 Revelation is evolutionary but always
progressive. Down through the ages of a world's history, the
revelations of religion are ever-expanding and successively more
enlightening. It is the mission of revelation to sort and censor
the successive religions of evolution. But if revelation is to
exalt and upstep the religions of evolution, then must such
divine visitations portray teachings which are not too far
removed from the thought and reactions of the age in which they
are presented. Thus must and does revelation always keep in
touch with evolution. Always must the religion of revelation be
limited by man's capacity of receptivity.
92:4.2 But regardless of apparent connection
or derivation, the religions of revelation are always
characterized by a belief in some Deity of final value and in
some concept of the survival of personality identity after
92:4.3 Evolutionary religion is sentimental,
not logical. It is man's reaction to belief in a hypothetical
ghost-spirit world -- the human belief-reflex, excited by the
realization and fear of the unknown. Revelatory religion is
propounded by the real spiritual world; it is the response of
the superintellectual cosmos to the mortal hunger to believe in,
and depend upon, the universal Deities. Evolutionary religion
pictures the circuitous gropings of humanity in quest of truth;
revelatory religion is that very truth.
92:4.4 There have been many events of
but only five of epochal significance.
These were as follows:
92:4.5 1. The Dalamatian teachings. The
true concept of the First Source and Center was first
promulgated on Urantia by the one hundred corporeal members of
Prince Caligastia's staff. This expanding revelation of Deity
went on for more than three hundred thousand years until it was
suddenly terminated by the planetary secession and the
disruption of the teaching regime. Except for the work of Van,
the influence of the Dalamatian revelation was practically lost
to the whole world. Even the Nodites had forgotten this truth by
the time of Adam's arrival. Of all who received the teachings of
the one hundred, the red men held them longest, but the idea of
the Great Spirit was but a hazy concept in Amerindian religion
when contact with Christianity greatly clarified and
92:4.6 2. The Edenic teachings. Adam
and Eve again portrayed the concept of the Father of all to the
evolutionary peoples. The disruption of the first Eden halted
the course of the Adamic revelation before it had ever fully
started. But the aborted teachings of Adam were carried on by
the Sethite priests, and some of these truths have never been
entirely lost to the world. The entire trend of Levantine
religious evolution was modified by the teachings of the
Sethites. But by 2500 B.C. mankind had largely lost sight of the
revelation sponsored in the days of Eden.
92:4.7 3. Melchizedek of Salem. This
emergency Son of Nebadon inaugurated the third revelation of
truth on Urantia. The cardinal precepts of his teachings were
trust and faith. He taught trust in the omnipotent
beneficence of God and proclaimed that faith was the act by
which men earned God's favor. His teachings gradually commingled
with the beliefs and practices of various evolutionary religions
and finally developed into those theologic systems present on
Urantia at the opening of the first millennium after Christ.
92:4.8 4. Jesus of Nazareth. Christ
Michael presented for the fourth time to Urantia the concept of
God as the Universal Father, and this teaching has generally
persisted ever since. The essence of his teaching was love
and service, the loving worship which a creature son
voluntarily gives in recognition of, and response to, the loving
ministry of God his Father; the freewill service which such
creature sons bestow upon their brethren in the joyous
realization that in this service they are likewise serving God
92:4.9 5. The Urantia Papers. The
papers, of which this is one, constitute the most recent
presentation of truth to the mortals of Urantia. These papers
differ from all previous revelations, for they are not the work
of a single universe personality but a composite presentation by
many beings. 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. While
such admissions as this may possibly detract from the immediate
force and authority of all revelations, the time has arrived on
Urantia when it is advisable to make such frank statements, even
at the risk of weakening the future influence and authority of
this, the most recent of the revelations of truth to the mortal
races of Urantia.
5. THE GREAT RELIGIOUS LEADERS
92:5.1 In evolutionary religion, the gods are
conceived to exist in the likeness of man's image; in revelatory
religion, men are taught that they are God's sons -- even
fashioned in the finite image of divinity; in the synthesized
beliefs compounded from the teachings of revelation and the
products of evolution, the God concept is a blend of:
1. The pre-existent ideas of the
2. The sublime ideals of revealed
3. The personal viewpoints of the
great religious leaders, the prophets and teachers of mankind.
92:5.2 Most great religious epochs have been
inaugurated by the life and teachings of some outstanding
personality; leadership has originated a majority of the
worth-while moral movements of history. And men have always
tended to venerate the leader, even at the expense of his
teachings; to revere his personality, even though losing sight
of the truths which he proclaimed. And this is not without
reason; there is an instinctive longing in the heart of
evolutionary man for help from above and beyond. This craving is
designed to anticipate the appearance on earth of the Planetary
Prince and the later Material Sons. On Urantia man has been
deprived of these superhuman leaders and rulers, and therefore
does he constantly seek to make good this loss by enshrouding
his human leaders with legends pertaining to supernatural
origins and miraculous careers.
92:5.3 Many races have conceived of their
leaders as being born of virgins; their careers are liberally
sprinkled with miraculous episodes, and their return is always
expected by their respective groups. In central Asia the
tribesmen still look for the return of Genghis Khan; in Tibet,
China, and India it is Buddha; in Islam it is Mohammed; among
the Amerinds it was Hesunanin Onamonalonton; with the Hebrews it
was, in general, Adam's return as a material ruler. In Babylon
the god Marduk was a perpetuation of the Adam legend, the
son-of-God idea, the connecting link between man and God.
Following the appearance of Adam on earth, so-called sons of God
were common among the world races.
92:5.4 But regardless of the superstitious awe
in which they were often held, it remains a fact that these
teachers were the temporal personality fulcrums on which the
levers of revealed truth depended for the advancement of the
morality, philosophy, and religion of mankind.
92:5.5 There have been hundreds upon hundreds
of religious leaders in the million-year human history of
Urantia from Onagar to Guru Nanak. During this time there have
been many ebbs and flows of the tide of religious truth and
spiritual faith, and each renaissance of Urantian religion has,
in the past, been identified with the life and teachings of some
religious leader. In considering the teachers of recent times,
it may prove helpful to group them into the seven major
religious epochs of post-Adamic Urantia:
92:5.6 1. The Sethite period. The
Sethite priests, as regenerated under the leadership of Amosad,
became the great post-Adamic teachers. They functioned
throughout the lands of the Andites, and their influence
persisted longest among the Greeks, Sumerians, and Hindus. Among
the latter they have continued to the present time as the
Brahmans of the Hindu faith. The Sethites and their followers
never entirely lost the Trinity concept revealed by Adam.
92:5.7 2. Era of the Melchizedek
missionaries. Urantia religion was in no small measure
regenerated by the efforts of those teachers who were
commissioned by Machiventa Melchizedek when he lived and taught
at Salem almost two thousand years before Christ. These
missionaries proclaimed faith as the price of favor with God,
and their teachings, though unproductive of any immediately
appearing religions, nevertheless formed the foundations on
which later teachers of truth were to build the religions of
92:5.8 3. The post-Melchizedek era.
Though Amenemope and Ikhnaton both taught in this period, the
outstanding religious genius of the post-Melchizedek era was the
leader of a group of Levantine Bedouins and the founder of the
Hebrew religion -- Moses. Moses taught monotheism. Said he:
"Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one God." "The Lord he is
God. There is none beside him." He persistently sought to uproot
the remnants of the ghost cult among his people, even
prescribing the death penalty for its practitioners. The
monotheism of Moses was adulterated by his successors, but in
later times they did return to many of his teachings. The
greatness of Moses lies in his wisdom and sagacity. Other men
have had greater concepts of God, but no one man was ever so
successful in inducing large numbers of people to adopt such
92:5.9 4. The sixth century before Christ.
Many men arose to proclaim truth in this, one of the greatest
centuries of religious awakening ever witnessed on Urantia.
Among these should be recorded Gautama, Confucius, Lao-tse,
Zoroaster, and the Jainist teachers. The teachings of Gautama
have become widespread in Asia, and he is revered as the Buddha
by millions. Confucius was to Chinese morality what Plato was to
Greek philosophy, and while there were religious repercussions
to the teachings of both, strictly speaking, neither was a
religious teacher; Lao-tse envisioned more of God in Tao than
did Confucius in humanity or Plato in idealism. Zoroaster, while
much affected by the prevalent concept of dual spiritism, the
good and the bad, at the same time definitely exalted the idea
of one eternal Deity and of the ultimate victory of light over
92:5.10 5. The first century after Christ.
As a religious teacher, Jesus of Nazareth started out with the
cult which had been established by John the Baptist and
progressed as far as he could away from fasts and forms. Aside
from Jesus, Paul of Tarsus and Philo of Alexandria were the
greatest teachers of this era. Their concepts of religion have
played a dominant part in the evolution of that faith which
bears the name of Christ.
92:5.11 6. The sixth century after Christ.
Mohammed founded a religion which was superior to many of the
creeds of his time. His was a protest against the social demands
of the faiths of foreigners and against the incoherence of the
religious life of his own people.
92:5.12 7. The fifteenth century after
Christ. This period witnessed two religious movements: the
disruption of the unity of Christianity in the Occident and the
synthesis of a new religion in the Orient. In Europe
institutionalized Christianity had attained that degree of
inelasticity which rendered further growth incompatible with
unity. In the Orient the combined teachings of Islam, Hinduism,
and Buddhism were synthesized by Nanak and his followers into
Sikhism, one of the most advanced religions of Asia.
92:5.13 The future of Urantia will doubtless
be characterized by the appearance of teachers of religious
truth -- the Fatherhood of God and the fraternity of all
creatures. But it is to be hoped that the ardent and sincere
efforts of these future prophets will be directed less toward
the strengthening of interreligious barriers and more toward the
augmentation of the religious brotherhood of spiritual worship
among the many followers of the differing intellectual
theologies which so characterize Urantia of Satania.
6. THE COMPOSITE RELIGIONS
92:6.1 Twentieth-century Urantia religions
present an interesting study of the social evolution of man's
worship impulse. Many faiths have progressed very little since
the days of the ghost cult. The Pygmies of Africa have no
religious reactions as a class, although some of them believe
slightly in a spirit environment. They are today just where
primitive man was when the evolution of religion began. The
basic belief of primitive religion was survival after death. The
idea of worshiping a personal God indicates advanced
evolutionary development, even the first stage of revelation.
The Dyaks have evolved only the most primitive religious
practices. The comparatively recent Eskimos and Amerinds had
very meager concepts of God; they believed in ghosts and had an
indefinite idea of survival of some sort after death.
Present-day native Australians have only a ghost fear, dread of
the dark, and a crude ancestor veneration. The Zulus are just
evolving a religion of ghost fear and sacrifice. Many African
tribes, except through missionary work of Christians and
Mohammedans, are not yet beyond the fetish stage of religious
evolution. But some groups have long held to the idea of
monotheism, like the onetime Thracians, who also believed in
92:6.2 On Urantia, evolutionary and revelatory
religion are progressing side by side while they blend and
coalesce into the diversified theologic systems found in the
world in the times of the inditement of these papers. These
religions, the religions of twentieth-century Urantia, may be
enumerated as follows:
1. Hinduism -- the most ancient.
2. The Hebrew religion.
4. The Confucian teachings.
5. The Taoist beliefs.
11. Sikhism -- the most recent.
92:6.3 The most advanced religions of ancient
times were Hinduism and Judaism, and each respectively has
greatly influenced the course of religious development in Orient
and Occident. Both Hindus and Hebrews believed that their
religions were inspired and revealed, and they believed all
others to be decadent forms of the one true faith.
92:6.4 India is divided among Hindu, Sikh,
Mohammedan, and Jain, each picturing God, man, and the universe
as these are variously conceived. China follows the Taoist and
the Confucian teachings; Shinto is revered in Japan.
92:6.5 The great international, interracial
faiths are the Hebraic, Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic.
Buddhism stretches from Ceylon and Burma through Tibet and China
to Japan. It has shown an adaptability to the mores of many
peoples that has been equaled only by Christianity.
92:6.6 The Hebrew religion encompasses the
philosophic transition from polytheism to monotheism; it is an
evolutionary link between the religions of evolution and the
religions of revelation. The Hebrews were the only western
people to follow their early evolutionary gods straight through
to the God of revelation. But this truth never became widely
accepted until the days of Isaiah, who once again taught the
blended idea of a racial deity combined with a Universal
Creator: "O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, you are God, even you
alone; you have made heaven and earth." At one time the hope of
the survival of Occidental civilization lay in the sublime
Hebraic concepts of goodness and the advanced Hellenic concepts
92:6.7 The Christian religion is the religion
about the life and teachings of Christ based upon the theology
of Judaism, modified further through the assimilation of certain
Zoroastrian teachings and Greek philosophy, and formulated
primarily by three individuals: Philo, Peter, and Paul. It has
passed through many phases of evolution since the time of Paul
and has become so thoroughly Occidentalized that many
non-European peoples very naturally look upon Christianity as a
strange revelation of a strange God and for strangers.
92:6.8 Islam is the religio-cultural
connective of North Africa, the Levant, and southeastern Asia.
It was Jewish theology in connection with the later Christian
teachings that made Islam monotheistic. The followers of
Mohammed stumbled at the advanced teachings of the Trinity; they
could not comprehend the doctrine of three divine personalities
and one Deity. It is always difficult to induce evolutionary
minds suddenly to accept advanced revealed truth. Man is
an evolutionary creature and in the main must get his religion
by evolutionary techniques.
92:6.9 Ancestor worship onetime constituted a
decided advance in religious evolution, but it is both amazing
and regrettable that this primitive concept persists in China,
Japan, and India amidst so much that is relatively more
advanced, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. In the Occident,
ancestor worship developed into the veneration of national gods
and respect for racial heroes. In the twentieth century this
hero-venerating nationalistic religion makes its appearance in
the various radical and nationalistic secularisms which
characterize many races and nations of the Occident. Much of
this same attitude is also found in the great universities and
the larger industrial communities of the English-speaking
peoples. Not very different from these concepts is the idea that
religion is but "a shared quest of the good life." The "national
religions" are nothing more than a reversion to the early Roman
emperor worship and to Shinto -- worship of the state in the
7. THE FURTHER EVOLUTION OF RELIGION
92:7.1 Religion can never become a scientific
fact. Philosophy may, indeed, rest on a scientific basis, but
religion will ever remain either evolutionary or revelatory, or
a possible combination of both, as it is in the world today.
92:7.2 New religions cannot be invented; they
are either evolved, or else they are suddenly revealed.
All new evolutionary religions are merely advancing expressions
of the old beliefs, new adaptations and adjustments. The old
does not cease to exist; it is merged with the new, even as
Sikhism budded and blossomed out of the soil and forms of
Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and other contemporary cults.
Primitive religion was very democratic; the savage was quick to
borrow or lend. Only with revealed religion did autocratic and
intolerant theologic egotism appear.
92:7.3 The many religions of Urantia are all
good to the extent that they bring man to God and bring the
realization of the Father to man. It is a fallacy for any group
of religionists to conceive of their creed as The Truth;
such attitudes bespeak more of theological arrogance than of
certainty of faith. There is not a Urantia religion that could
not profitably study and assimilate the best of the truths
contained in every other faith, for all contain truth.
Religionists would do better to borrow the best in their
neighbors' living spiritual faith rather than to denounce the
worst in their lingering superstitions and outworn rituals.
92:7.4 All these religions have arisen as a
result of man's variable intellectual response to his identical
spiritual leading. They can never hope to attain a uniformity of
creeds, dogmas, and rituals -- these are intellectual; but they
can, and some day will, realize a unity in true worship of the
Father of all, for this is spiritual, and it is forever true, in
the spirit all men are equal.
92:7.5 Primitive religion was largely a
material-value consciousness, but civilization elevates
religious values, for true religion is the devotion of the self
to the service of meaningful and supreme values. As religion
evolves, ethics becomes the philosophy of morals, and morality
becomes the discipline of self by the standards of highest
meanings and supreme values -- divine and spiritual ideals. And
thus religion becomes a spontaneous and exquisite devotion, the
living experience of the loyalty of love.
92:7.6 The quality of a religion is indicated
1. Level of values -- loyalties.
2. Depth of meanings -- the
sensitization of the individual to the idealistic appreciation
of these highest values.
3. Consecration intensity -- the
degree of devotion to these divine values.
4. The unfettered progress of the
personality in this cosmic path of idealistic spiritual living,
realization of sonship with God and never-ending progressive
citizenship in the universe.
92:7.7 Religious meanings progress in
self-consciousness when the child transfers his ideas of
omnipotence from his parents to God. And the entire religious
experience of such a child is largely dependent on whether fear
or love has dominated the parent-child relationship. Slaves have
always experienced great difficulty in transferring their
master-fear into concepts of God-love. Civilization, science,
and advanced religions must deliver mankind from those fears
born of the dread of natural phenomena. And so should greater
enlightenment deliver educated mortals from all dependence on
intermediaries in communion with Deity.
92:7.8 These intermediate stages of idolatrous
hesitation in the transfer of veneration from the human and the
visible to the divine and invisible are inevitable, but they
should be shortened by the consciousness of the facilitating
ministry of the indwelling divine spirit. Nevertheless, man has
been profoundly influenced, not only by his concepts of Deity,
but also by the character of the heroes whom he has chosen to
honor. It is most unfortunate that those who have come to
venerate the divine and risen Christ should have overlooked the
man -- the valiant and courageous hero -- Joshua ben Joseph.
92:7.9 Modern man is adequately self-conscious
of religion, but his worshipful customs are confused and
discredited by his accelerated social metamorphosis and
unprecedented scientific developments. Thinking men and women
want religion redefined, and this demand will compel religion to
92:7.10 Modern man is confronted with the task
of making more readjustments of human values in one generation
than have been made in two thousand years. And this all
influences the social attitude toward religion, for religion is
a way of living as well as a technique of thinking.
92:7.11 True religion must ever be, at one and
the same time, the eternal foundation and the guiding star of
all enduring civilizations.
Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.