Eugenics, Race, and The Urantia Book
Return to Table of Contents: click here.
Eugenics, Race, and Morality
Moral issues are central to discussions about eugenics and race. For this reason, along with the quotes about eugenics and race, an essential part of this review requires presenting The Urantia Book’s moral framework. Though the authors of The Urantia Book teach moral standards that address a variety of contexts, but the underlying foundation is clear and uncomplicated—threat all people like family. The Urantia Book’s complex cosmology and unique assertions regarding humanity’s genetic history do not complicate the fundamental moral issues, notwithstanding that a degree of familiarity with these broader subjects is necessary for a full appreciation of the concerns the authors have for our genetic and spiritual wellbeing.
Progressing beyond the Stone Age stage of “civilization” creates new moral dilemmas, specifically, slavery and then “modified industrial servitude.” The Urantia Book indicates that human genetics are designed to handle the inevitable moral challenges that attend the development of a more advanced civilization. According to The Urantia Book, human genetics are designed to develop both a normal and subnormal population suited for synergistic cooperation. But no matter what one believes about how human genetics are designed, whether they are intentionally designed, or exactly how we got to this point in human history, humanity nonetheless must face certain moral challenges. Modern civilization creates “lower levels of industry, those tasks requiring intelligence above the animal level but making such low-grade demands as to prove veritable slavery and bondage for the higher types of mankind.”(1) This, in turn, creates circumstances that significantly disadvantage those with less intelligence, making it increasingly difficult for them to provide themselves and their families.
With respect to humanity’s more disadvantaged individuals, the morality of The Urantia Book is clear.
Jesus never taught that it was wrong to have wealth. He required only the twelve and the seventy [evangelists] to dedicate all of their worldly possessions to the common cause. . . . Jesus never personally had anything to do with the apostolic finances except in the disbursement of alms. But there was one economic abuse which he many times condemned [emphasis added], and that was the unfair exploitation of the weak, unlearned, and less fortunate of men by their strong, keen, and more intelligent fellows. Jesus declared that such inhuman treatment of men, women, and children was incompatible with the ideals of the brotherhood of the kingdom of heaven.(2)
The morality of The Urantia Book is the highest and most universally accepted standard. Treat everybody like family and with the attitude of a loving parent.
Supernormal, Subnormal, and “the worst of the worst”
The Urantia Book suggests that human genetics are designed and should be managed in such a way as to provide for a subnormal population that plateaus in a range of intelligence above the animal level and but below what it takes to reasonably function independently in an increasingly complex and sophisticated world. Without this model, certain moral standards cannot be readily realized. When a subnormal population is not acknowledged as such and identified, civilization cannot enforce moral standards for the treatment of significantly disadvantaged individuals. The moral problems associated with placing subnormal individuals in unrestricted, competitive economic environments are self-evident.
The Urantia Book depicts the development of a subnormal population as inherent in our evolutionary/mutative genetic nature. But one does not have to believe this in order to recognize that there are significant differences in intellectual endowment, differences that our court systems must manage on an ongoing basis make determinations about competency. The willingness to identify a segment of the human population as significantly disadvantaged intellectually (subnormal) means that we can envision morally progressing civilization to the point where subnormal human beings are protected from exploitation, enjoy the benefits of advanced civilization without the responsibility of creating and maintain it, and get assistance those areas of life where they need it. As well, those who can maintain and progress advanced civilization are liberated from “lower levels of industry, those tasks requiring intelligence above the animal level but making such low-grade demands as to prove veritable slavery and bondage for the higher types of mankind.” In this type of symbiotic scenario, everyone wins on both material and spiritual levels.
In contrast to managing the reproduction of the subnormal population consistent with the needs of an advanced civilization, the authors of The Urantia Book teach that the supernormal population should not be a focus of eugenics policies.
Will Urantia rulers have the insight and courage to foster the multiplication of the average or stabilized human being instead of the extremes of the supernormal and the enormously increasing groups of the subnormal? The normal man should be fostered; he is the backbone of civilization and the source of the mutant geniuses of the race. (3)
By rejecting the theory that focusing on our supernormal population is the way to advance human genetics, The Urantia Book avoids the type of the moral dilemmas for making eugenic progress that occur if supernormal individuals are the focus.
The Urantia Book encourages us to grow beyond what might be called “the morality of sentimentality” and “the morality of individual liberty.” And the authors identify specific areas where we need to upgrade and reprioritize the expression of our values.
The church, because of overmuch false sentiment, has long ministered to the underprivileged and the unfortunate, and this has all been well, but this same sentiment has led to the unwise perpetuation of racially degenerate stocks which have tremendously retarded the progress of civilization.(4)
No society has progressed very far when it permits idleness or tolerates poverty. But poverty and dependence can never be eliminated if the defective and degenerate stocks are freely supported and permitted to reproduce without restraint.(5)
The authors call upon us to be both individually and collectively accountable for our behavior. Procreation is both a private and public issue. As members of the human family, we are encouraged in The Urantia Book to look at the morality of eugenics from the perspective of our collective duty to future generations. At the end of each day, the average genetic quality of humanity is getting better or worse (and perhaps intelligently stabilized in a subnormal population, if we so chose). Whenever humanity’s average genetic wellbeing is getting worse, this indicates that we are making choices that undo the eugenic balance that is otherwise provided by nature.
An idiot does not have much chance of survival in a primitive and warring tribal social organization. It is the false sentiment of your partially perfected civilizations that fosters, protects, and perpetuates the hopelessly defective strains of evolutionary human stocks.
. . . There is abundant opportunity for the exercise of tolerance and the function of altruism in behalf of those unfortunate and needy individuals who have not irretrievably lost their moral heritage and forever destroyed their spiritual birthright.(6)
The authors encourage us to stop practices that are hurting humanity and to have the social and moral courage to take the necessary corrective measures.
In distinguishing “the worst of the worst” from subnormal human beings, who have limited capacities but are otherwise healthy, the authors suggest that we “ought to be able to agree upon the biologic disfellowshiping of” our “more markedly [emphasis added] unfit, defective, degenerate, and antisocial stocks.” “Sound and normal mind resting securely on sound and normal heredity” is contrasted with “abnormal and defective strains,” “hopelessly defective strains,” and “mentally defective and socially unfit individuals.” We are encouraged to “disfellowship” the most genetically problematic segment of our population. We are not encouraged to treat them badly; we are encouraged to care for future generations by not reproducing with them.
Racial Differences and Racial Blending
The Urantia Book provides a positive perspective on the value of diversity and racial blending.
Differences in status of the races and of groups within each race are essential to the development of human tolerance and altruism.(7)
Hybridization of superior and dissimilar stocks is the secret of the creation of new and more vigorous strains. And this is true of plants, animals, and the human species. . . . Race mixtures of the average or superior strata of various peoples greatly increase creative potential, as is shown in the present population of the United States of North America. When such matings take place between the lower or inferior strata, creativity is diminished, as is shown by the present-day peoples of southern India.(8)
The above quote highlights the crux of the issue. Racial blending is good, but it is not enough. If humanity’s “more markedly unfit, defective, degenerate, and antisocial stocks” are allowed to reproduce and the subnormal population is not kept intelligently balanced with the normal population, then civilization is in jeopardy. The Urantia Book does not support the ideology that everyone’s genetics are of equal quality; it supports the science of eugenics applied in a moral manner.
The authors of The Urantia Book portray “master race” ideologies as the misdirected remnants of humanity’s long forgotten and much misunderstood genetic history. They use the original meaning of the word “Aryan”—identifying the group that migrated from Iran to northern India thousands of years ago—and describe them as now “obliterated.” The description of the “white races” emphasizes that diverse and extensive blending makes the use of the singular problematic.
Terminology for the indigo (black) race is used in a way that emphasizes their status as one of the original Sangik races. This mutative upstepping of our genetic foundation places blacks on an equal footing with the other five Sangik races in the evolutionary leap (mutation) to civilizable man. The Urantia Book’s cosmology could be looked at as giving blacks a more dignified place in history than the “out of Africa” theory, which trades off the “dignity” of being “the cradle of civilization” for the indignity of being more associated with primitive man than humanity’s other races.
The Urantia Book asserts that each of the original colored races embodied genetic qualities that are beneficial to humanity and that intelligent blending of the races will provide the best genetic foundation for future generations. They also indicate that we do not sufficiently recognize the wisdom of fostering “superior strains of human heredity.”
Biologically considered, the secondary Sangiks were in some respects superior to the primary races.(9)
It often requires ages upon ages to recoup the damage occasioned by the loss of a single superior strain of human heredity. These selected and superior strains of living protoplasm should be jealously and intelligently guarded when once they make their appearance. And on most of the inhabited worlds these superior potentials of life are valued much more highly than on Urantia.(10)
The Urantia Book asserts that mating between humans and subhumans was possible during the early part of our evolutionary development.(11) Given this framework, logical implications extend from it. Stimulating environments require more “action, invention, and resourcefulness.” Less progressive individuals will “drift” toward an easier environment. This creates a self-reinforcing feedback loop between nature and nurture, encouraging progressive and retrogressive tendencies to become more pronounced over time.
Advantaged/disadvantaged, superior/inferior, and progressive/backwards—the context of these terms is always moving and increasingly complex. Some parts of the world, both genetically and culturally, show progress. Others do not. This process creates an ever-widening differential.
Originally, according to The Urantia Book, the overall endowment of the average indigo man, physically, intellectually, and spiritually, was superior to the average Andonite. It also describes the indigo (black) race as physically superior in some regards to the primary Sangiks. But just as the early Andonites faced the choice to mate in progressive or retrogressive ways, the Sangik races also experienced both uplifting and downgrading of their original genetic endowment. This occurred in variety of ways: war, mating practices, environment, religious beliefs and practices, etc.
Though The Urantia Book characterizes Pygmies, Bushman, and Australian natives as the “miserable remnants of the nonsocial peoples of ancient times,” the authors do not indicate that these are the only groups that have developed an especially inferior and antisocial genetic make up over the ages. The authors are pointing to a problem that can and does exists on our world, a problem that ideologies of cultural and genetic relativism cannot solve. Given contemporary tendencies to romanticize today’s primitive peoples, the authors wisely warn us against the folly of considering these groups to have some “special unique contribution” to make to our future gene pool.
The modern phrase, “back to nature,” is a delusion of ignorance, a belief in the reality of the onetime fictitious “golden age.”(12)
That contemporary cultural society is a rather recent phenomenon is well shown by the present-day [1934 is The Urantia Book reference date.] survival of such primitive social conditions as characterize the Australian natives and the Bushmen and Pygmies of Africa. Among these backward peoples may be observed something of the early group hostility, personal suspicion, and other highly antisocial traits which were so characteristic of all primitive races. These miserable remnants of the nonsocial peoples of ancient times bear eloquent testimony to the fact that the natural individualistic tendency of man cannot successfully compete with the more potent and powerful organizations and associations of social progression. These backward and suspicious antisocial races that speak a different dialect every forty or fifty miles illustrate what a world you might now be living in but for the combined teaching of the . . . staff of the Planetary Prince and the later labors of the Adamic group of racial uplifters.(13)
The Urantia Book encourages us to consistently live a morality based on treating all of humanity like family. It teaches, “The family is the fundamental unit of fraternity in which parents and children learn those lessons of patience, altruism, tolerance, and forbearance which are so essential to the realization of brotherhood among all men.”(14) While parental love loves every child the same, parental wisdom must treat every child with respect to individual differences and in deference to group interests. Pointing out the obvious interrelationship between genetics and culture over extended periods of human history and with respect to climate and other considerations is not a moral issue. This aspect of The Urantia Book becomes controversial based on whether a person considers monogamous pair marriages, in general, to be the best way to raise children and whether a person recognizes the value in becoming culturally unified with all of humanity.
The real moral issues are turning a blind eye toward the unchecked exploitation of the disadvantaged by the advantaged and refusing to discuss and address obvious problems that threaten the progress of civilization.
Eugenics and The Urantia Book
The word eugenics is found just once in The Urantia Book:
It is only the inner life that is truly creative. Civilization can hardly progress when the majority of the youth of any generation devote their interests and energies to the materialistic pursuits of the sensory or outer world.
The inner and the outer worlds have a different set of values. Any civilization is in jeopardy when three quarters of its youth enter materialistic professions and devote themselves to the pursuit of the sensory activities of the outer world. Civilization is in danger when youth neglect to interest themselves in ethics, sociology, eugenics, philosophy, the fine arts, religion, and cosmology.
. . .
Since this inner life of man is truly creative, there rests upon each person the responsibility of choosing as to whether this creativity shall be spontaneous and wholly haphazard or controlled, directed, and constructive. How can a creative imagination produce worthy children when the stage whereon it functions is already preoccupied by prejudice, hate, fears, resentments, revenge, and bigotries?
Ideas may take origin in the stimuli of the outer world, but ideals are born only in the creative realms of the inner world. Today the nations of the world are directed by men who have a superabundance of ideas, but they are poverty-stricken in ideals. That is the explanation of poverty, divorce, war, and racial hatreds.
This is the problem: If freewill man is endowed with the powers of creativity in the inner man, then must we recognize that freewill creativity embraces the potential of freewill destructivity. And when creativity is turned to destructivity, you are face to face with the devastation of evil and sin—oppression, war, and destruction.(15)
The authors identify how important eugenics is to civilization and the eventual cost of ignoring retrogressive trends.
Race mixture is always advantageous in that it favors versatility of culture and makes for a progressive civilization, but if the inferior elements of racial stocks predominate, such achievements will be short-lived. A polyglot culture can be preserved only if the superior stocks reproduce themselves in a safe margin over the inferior. Unrestrained multiplication of inferiors, with decreasing reproduction of superiors, is unfailingly suicidal of cultural civilization.(16)
The Urantia Book operates from a moral framework—treat everyone like family—that enjoys broad acceptance and also presents enormous challenges. The Urantia Book is not telling us how to do what we need to do. There is nothing in the text that is prescriptive about methodologies, except that it is the proper place of religions and religionists to advocate for nonviolent social change.
The authors of The Urantia Book suggest:
What both developing science and religion need is more searching and fearless self-criticism, a greater awareness of incompleteness in evolutionary status. The teachers of both science and religion are often altogether too self-confident and dogmatic. Science and religion can only be self-critical of their facts. The moment departure is made from the stage of facts, reason abdicates or else rapidly degenerates into a consort of false logic.(17)
As a text that spans the spectrum of science and religion, asserts superhuman authorship, and offers an account of planetary history that is increasingly supported by new discoveries and scientific advances, The Urantia Book presents a unique challenge to humanity on many levels. Given that eugenics and race are such unsettled and unsettling issues, not surprisingly, The Urantia Book’s contribution to the subject has also been the source of some controversy. Much of this controversy seems to be based on misinterpretations arising from ignorance. The size and complexity of the text exacerbates these unfortunate misunderstandings. Eugenics and race are enormous and enormously important subjects that deserve deep study, sincere reflection, and an ongoing. This paper is the first comprehensive review of The Urantia Book’s statements on the subject. Becoming familiar with what the authors have to say on this subject is just a first step. Making real progress on these issues requires discussing them more AND publically. It will also require us to love each other more and treat each other better.
1) Urantia Book 68:6.11
2) Urantia Book 163:2.11
3) Urantia Book 68:6.11
4) Urantia Book 99:3.5
5) Urantia Book 71:3.5
6) Urantia Book 52:2.11,12
7) Urantia Book 64:6.34
8) Urantia Book 82:6.5
9) Urantia Book 82:6.10
10) Urantia Book 49:1.7
11) See Appendix 1: Urantia Book-based taxonomy.
12) Urantia Book 68:1.7
13) Urantia Book 68:1.6
14) Urantia Book 84:7.28
15) Urantia Book 111:4.3,4,9-11
16) Urantia Book 79:2.7
17) Urantia Book 103:7.7
Table of Contents
Part I: Framing the Conversation
1) Purpose and Parameters
2) Setting the Standard
4) Human Rights
Part II: Racial History, Eugenics, and Civilization
5) History and Destiny
6) The Value of Variety and Racial Vitality
7) Cultural Progress, Overpopulation, and Subnormal Human Beings
8) Modern Peoples and Slavery
Part III: Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight
9) Skull Shapes and Skeletal Types
10) Aryans and Whites
11) Differences Between the Colored Races
12) Racial Blending
13) Eugenics, Race, and Morality
Appendix 1: Urantia Book-based Taxonomy
Back to Top