Eugenics, Race, and The Urantia Book
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Purpose and Parameters
The primary purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive review of statements in The Urantia Book related to eugenics and race and, in particular, to focus on aspects of this topic that are more likely to be misinterpreted and/or cause concern.
The UBtheNEWS project documents how new discoveries and scientific advances increasingly support The Urantia Book’s account of planetary history as well as some of its other statements. Some UBtheNEWS reports involve sections from The Urantia Book that address eugenics and race. As the field of genetics continues to make advances, reports in this category also continue to increase. UBtheNEWS is primarily for people who are unfamiliar with The Urantia Book. For people unfamiliar with the fuller context of the book’s statements about eugenics and race, the limited selections quoted in UBtheNEWS reports, naturally, raise more questions about The Urantia Book than provide answers. This problem led to the preparation of this paper.
People, of course, have legitimate concerns and strongly held beliefs and opinions on eugenics and race. Perhaps because of the size and complexity of the undertaking, this is the first effort in over fifty years to create a comprehensive review of what The Urantia Book says about eugenics and race. Because UBtheNEWS is responsible for leading people to these easily misunderstood sections of the book, the importance of creating the Eugenics, Race, and The Urantia Book paper became self-evident.
The authors of The Urantia Book integrate the material on eugenics and race with theological and cosmological statements that are outside the scope of this paper. However, in order to provide readers with the benefit of reading direct quotes, to a certain extent, some of this material needs to be explained.
Even among those who consider themselves scholars of The Urantia Book and accept it as an authentic revelation, there is ongoing debate and a wide variety of opinion on the book’s statements about eugenics and race.(1) Because this subject is controversial within the community of Urantia Book “reader-believers,” a secondary purpose of this paper is to contribute to progressive appreciation of the topic amongst reader-believers.
The following wisdom from The Urantia Book guided the preparation of the paper:
True and genuine inward certainty does not in the least fear outward analysis, nor does truth resent honest criticism. You should never forget that intolerance is the mask covering up the entertainment of secret doubts as to the trueness of one's belief. No man is at any time disturbed by his neighbor's attitude when he has perfect confidence in the truth of that which he wholeheartedly believes. Courage is the confidence of thoroughgoing honesty about those things which one professes to believe. Sincere men are unafraid of the critical examination of their true convictions and noble ideals.(2)
But logic can never succeed in harmonizing the findings of science and the insights of religion unless both the scientific and the religious aspects of a personality are truth dominated, sincerely desirous of following the truth wherever it may lead regardless of the conclusions which it may reach.
. . .
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.(3)
Organization of the paper
Jumping ahead to the later chapters is discouraged because issues about race are in many ways a subcategory of eugenic. After all, many issues involving eugenics arise even if everyone had the same color skin. Additionally, quotes from The Urantia Book used in later chapters presume familiarity with concepts that were explained in earlier chapters.
Chapter 2, “Setting the Standard,” presents the moral and ethical framework of The Urantia Book along with its commentary on the integration of an individual’s personal beliefs and values with social and political activities. Chapter 3: “Terminology” addresses issues related to semantics and physiology, how the word eugenics is used (and avoided) in contemporary culture, and how it is used in The Urantia Book. And Chapter 4 reviews what the authors say about human rights.
Collectively, Chapters 2, 3, and 4 provide a general context for the review of The Urantia Book’s depiction of our genetic history. This history necessarily involves quoting sections from the book that contain theological and cosmological statements. This general perspective on The Urantia Book’s moral and philosophical foundation allows for a more efficient presentation of the theological and cosmological references that are integrated into its statements about eugenics and race.
Chapter 5: “When Genetic Differences Occurred” presents The Urantia Book’s account of humanity’s genetic history. When selecting quotes for this chapter, preference was given to descriptions that also mention that there are no pure races left.
The next three chapters present some of the overarching issues related to eugenics and race. Chapter 6: “The Value of Variety and Racial Vitality” explains why life is intentionally designed to evolve into various colored races that eventually blend into a superior hybrid, ideally including a balanced mixture. Chapter 7: “Cultural Progress, Overpopulation, and Subnormal Human Beings” explores the eugenics issues faced by humanity independent of race. Chapter 8: “Modern Peoples and Slavery” provides a perspective on the implications of going through all the steps in a gradual evolutionary process—from barely being more than animals to perfecting an advanced civilization.
The next two chapters focus on inherent difficulties involved with deciphering the fossil records and some of the problems scholars have created by misinterpreting these records. Chapter 9: “Skull Shapes and Skeletal Types” reviews The Urantia Book’s statements about our physical evolution; it shows how the authors are trying to provide us with a better set of initial assumptions as we try to piece together the fossil record and integrate these discoveries with insights gleaned from other fields, like genetics. Chapter 10: “Aryans and Whites” focuses on how The Urantia Book uses these terms.
Chapter 11: “Differences Between the Colored Races” and Chapter 12: “Racial Blending” review The Urantia Book’s statements about racial differences and its commentary about blending of the various races.
The final chapter, “Eugenics, Race, and Morality,” reviews The Urantia Book’s statements about eugenics and race covered in the later chapters and integrates this with the philosophic foundation and moral standards covered in the earlier chapters.
1) The Urantia Book describes many orders of “angels” that exist “between” mortals and God and asserts that various orders of these celestial beings contributed to the authorship the book. No human being claims to have written the book. The process of getting the text from them to us apparently involved animating a person while he was asleep. Little information was revealed about this process and the person involved chose to remain anonymous. All persons directly associated with this process are now deceased. The generally accepted wisdom for the secrecy is to allow this revelatory gift to humanity to be as unencumbered as possible by association with any particular individual(s).
2) The Urantia Book 146:3.2
3) The Urantia Book 103:7.5,7
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
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