Eugenics, Race, and The Urantia Book
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Setting the Standard
Interpreting written work with a mature and positive attitude is especially crucial with subjects that are controversial and complex. In The Urantia Book this issue is addressed directly in a section titled The Rule Of Living:
On the evening of this same Sabbath day, at Bethany, while Jesus, the twelve, and a group of believers were assembled about the fire in Lazarus’s garden, Nathaniel asked Jesus this question: “Master, although you have taught us the positive version of the old rule of life, instructing us that we should do to others as we wish them to do to us, I do not fully discern how we can always abide by such an injunction. Let me illustrate my contention by citing the example of a lustful man who thus wickedly looks upon his intended consort in sin. How can we teach that this evil-intending man should do to others as he would they should do to him?”
When Jesus heard Nathaniel's question, he immediately stood upon his feet and, pointing his finger at the apostle, said: “Nathaniel, Nathaniel! What manner of thinking is going on in your heart? Do you not receive my teachings as one who has been born of the spirit? Do you not hear the truth as men of wisdom and spiritual understanding? When I admonished you to do to others as you would have them do to you, I spoke to men of high ideals, not to those who would be tempted to distort my teaching into a license for the encouragement of evildoing.”
When the Master had spoken, Nathaniel stood up and said: “But, Master, you should not think that I approve of such an interpretation of your teaching. I asked the question because I conjectured that many such men might thus misjudge your admonition, and I hoped you would give us further instruction regarding these matters.” And then when Nathaniel had sat down, Jesus continued speaking: “I well know, Nathaniel, that no such idea of evil is approved in your mind, but I am disappointed in that you all so often fail to put a genuinely spiritual interpretation upon my commonplace teachings, instruction which must be given you in human language and as men must speak. Let me now teach you concerning the differing levels of meaning attached to the interpretation of this rule of living, this admonition to ‘do to others that which you desire others to do to you’:
“1. The level of the flesh. Such a purely selfish and lustful interpretation would be well exemplified by the supposition of your question.
“2. The level of the feelings. This plane is one level higher than that of the flesh and implies that sympathy and pity would enhance one's interpretation of this rule of living.
“3. The level of mind. Now come into action the reason of mind and the intelligence of experience. Good judgment dictates that such a rule of living should be interpreted in consonance with the highest idealism embodied in the nobility of profound self-respect.
“4. The level of brotherly love. Still higher is discovered the level of unselfish devotion to the welfare of one's fellows. On this higher plane of wholehearted social service growing out of the consciousness of the fatherhood of God and the consequent recognition of the brotherhood of man, there is discovered a new and far more beautiful interpretation of this basic rule of life.
“5. The moral level. And then when you attain true philosophic levels of interpretation, when you have real insight into the rightness and wrongness of things, when you perceive the eternal fitness of human relationships, you will begin to view such a problem of interpretation as you would imagine a high-minded, idealistic, wise, and impartial third person would so view and interpret such an injunction as applied to your personal problems of adjustment to your life situations.
“6. The spiritual level. And then last, but greatest of all, we attain the level of spirit insight and spiritual interpretation which impels us to recognize in this rule of life the divine command to treat all men as we conceive God would treat them. That is the universe ideal of human relationships. And this is your attitude toward all such problems when your supreme desire is ever to do the Father's will. I would, therefore, that you should do to all men that which you know I would do to them in like circumstances.”
Nothing Jesus had said to the apostles up to this time had ever more astonished them. They continued to discuss the Master's words long after he had retired. While Nathaniel was slow to recover from his supposition that Jesus had misunderstood the spirit of his question, the others were more than thankful that their philosophic fellow apostle had had the courage to ask such a thought-provoking question.(1)
The Urantia Book encourages embracing a moral model that has gained near universal acceptance amongst religious leaders and humanitarian secularists, alike—treat people like family.
Human families must balance group and individual interests; wise and loving parents appropriately prioritize group interests over individual interests in carrying out their family responsibilities. Similarly, as responsible citizens and civil leaders, we must also prioritize group interests over individual interests. Just as families need to be respected for striking this balance in a variety of ways, on the macro level we also need to respect that reasonably minded people differ on how to strike a balance between our prioritized, but ever competing, group and individual interests.
The Urantia Book can do no more, concerning eugenics and race, than demand the highest moral and ethical standards. And this is exactly what it does by putting the entire discussion within the context of family relations:
Sonship in the kingdom, from the standpoint of advancing civilization, should assist you in becoming the ideal citizens of the kingdoms of this world since brotherhood and service are the cornerstones of the gospel of the kingdom. The love call of the spiritual kingdom should prove to be the effective destroyer of the hate urge of the unbelieving and war-minded citizens of the earthly kingdoms. But these material-minded sons in darkness will never know of your spiritual light of truth unless you draw very near them with that unselfish social service which is the natural outgrowth of the bearing of the fruits of the spirit in the life experience of each individual believer.
. . .
You should be made all the better citizens of the secular government as a result of becoming enlightened sons of the kingdom; so should the rulers of earthly governments become all the better rulers in civil affairs as a result of believing this gospel of the heavenly kingdom. The attitude of unselfish service of man and intelligent worship of God should make all kingdom believers better world citizens, while the attitude of honest citizenship and sincere devotion to one's temporal duty should help to make such a citizen the more easily reached by the spirit call to sonship in the heavenly kingdom.
. . .
When a kingdom believer is called upon to serve the civil government, let him render such service as a temporal citizen of such a government, albeit such a believer should display in his civil service all of the ordinary traits of citizenship as these have been enhanced by the spiritual enlightenment of the ennobling association of the mind of mortal man with the indwelling spirit of the eternal God. If the unbeliever can qualify as a superior civil servant, you should seriously question whether the roots of truth in your heart have not died from the lack of the living waters of combined spiritual communion and social service. The consciousness of sonship with God should quicken the entire life service of every man, woman, and child who has become the possessor of such a mighty stimulus to all the inherent powers of a human personality.(2)
The principles employed for wisely balancing group, subgroup, and individual interests are fundamentally the same on the micro level as on the macro level, for family members and for citizens, for parents and for civil leaders.
Regarding the role of religions and religionists in politics and culture, The Urantia Book teaches:
Religionists must function in society, in industry, and in politics as individuals, not as groups, parties, or institutions. A religious group which presumes to function as such, apart from religious activities, immediately becomes a political party, an economic organization, or a social institution. Religious collectivism must confine its efforts to the furtherance of religious causes.
Religionists are of no more value in the tasks of social reconstruction than nonreligionists except in so far as their religion has conferred upon them enhanced cosmic foresight and endowed them with that superior social wisdom which is born of the sincere desire to love God supremely and to love every man as a brother in the heavenly kingdom. An ideal social order is that in which every man loves his neighbor as he loves himself.(3)
The religionist is not unsympathetic with social suffering, not unmindful of civil injustice, not insulated from economic thinking, neither insensible to political tyranny. Religion influences social reconstruction directly because it spiritualizes and idealizes the individual citizen. Indirectly, cultural civilization is influenced by the attitude of these individual religionists as they become active and influential members of various social, moral, economic, and political groups.
The attainment of a high cultural civilization demands, first, the ideal type of citizen and, then, ideal and adequate social mechanisms wherewith such a citizenry may control the economic and political institutions of such an advanced human society.
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.
Many individual social reconstructionists, while vehemently repudiating institutionalized religion, are, after all, zealously religious in the propagation of their social reforms. And so it is that religious motivation, personal and more or less unrecognized, is playing a great part in the present-day program of social reconstruction.
The great weakness of all this unrecognized and unconscious type of religious activity is that it is unable to profit from open religious criticism and thereby attain to profitable levels of self-correction. It is a fact that religion does not grow unless it is disciplined by constructive criticism, amplified by philosophy, purified by science, and nourished by loyal fellowship. (emphasis added)
There is always the great danger that religion will become distorted and perverted into the pursuit of false goals, as when in times of war each contending nation prostitutes its religion into military propaganda. Loveless zeal is always harmful to religion, while persecution diverts the activities of religion into the achievement of some sociologic or theologic drive.
Religion can be kept free from unholy secular alliances only by:
1. A critically corrective philosophy.
2. Freedom from all social, economic, and political alliances
3. Creative, comforting, and love-expanding fellowships.
4. Progressive enhancement of spiritual insight and the appreciation of cosmic values.
5. Prevention of fanaticism by the compensations of the scientific mental attitude.
Religionists, as a group, must never concern themselves with anything but religion, albeit any one such religionist, as an individual citizen, may become the outstanding leader of some social, economic, or political reconstruction movement.
It is the business of religion to create, sustain, and inspire such a cosmic loyalty in the individual citizen as will direct him to the achievement of success in the advancement of all these difficult but desirable social services.(4)
The institutionalized church may have appeared to serve society in the past by glorifying the established political and economic orders, but it must speedily cease such action if it is to survive. Its only proper attitude consists in the teaching of nonviolence, the doctrine of peaceful evolution in the place of violent revolution—peace on earth and good will among all men.(5)
[R]eligion should not be directly concerned either with the creation of new social orders or with the preservation of old ones. True religion does oppose violence as a technique of social evolution, but it does not oppose the intelligent efforts of society to adapt its usages and adjust its institutions to new economic conditions and cultural requirements.(6)
As a text that integrates theology, cosmology, history, and philosophy, The Urantia Book is direct in addressing the role that religious institutions and religious individuals should play with respect to social and political institutions. The basic principles and values that have become known as “the separation of church and state,” are expanded on and advanced in The Urantia Book. And placing them in the larger context of social service and family relations further uplifts these teachings.
Parental love loves each child the same; parental wisdom treats each child with respect to their individuality. Wise parents give due consideration to the inherent capacities of their children both for the good of the individual child and for the good of the family as a whole. Just as parents have a duty to consider both the individual and the group interests, and to do so with equal love for all their children irrespective of their differences, the authors encourage us, as citizens, to similarly embrace moral and ethical obligations both to individuals as well as to humanity as a whole (and its various subdivisions.) According to The Urantia Book, “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.”(7)
Parents—because they know that they love their children—can speak plainly about the variety of inherent and environmental gifts and challenges that effect the lives of their children. When, as wise and loving parents, we speak about the strengths and weaknesses of our children, this is not a reflection of favoritism. Considering what is best for one’s family collectively does not mean we love our children any less as individuals. Similarly, the authors of The Urantia Book and our civil leaders deserve the same consideration when addressing issues that are critical to our collective wellbeing, like eugenics and race.
As with children, human culture has growth stages, stages that mark major turning points and transitions. We grow both individually and collectively; our cultures are as diverse in their dispositions and maturity levels as are our children. Having an opinion about what it means for children to develop and progress over time is just as important and valid for parents in relationship to children as it is for citizens in relationship to humanity. Having objective standards that are equally applied to all of humanity is just as important and valid for our civil leaders as it is for parents.
1) Urantia Book 147:4.1-10
2) Urantia Book 178:1.4,8,13
3) Urantia Book 99:2.3,4
4) Urantia Book 99:3.3-11
5) Urantia Book 99:2.5
6) Urantia Book 99:0.2
7) Urantia Book 84:7.28
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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