THE LATER EVOLUTION OF RELIGION
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 man:
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
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
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 and repentance.
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
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 divine
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
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 creeds.
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 appeal.
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 worship festivals.
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
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
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 death.
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
92:4.4 There have been many events of religious
revelation 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 strengthened it.
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 the Father.
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
1. The pre-existent ideas of the evolutionary
2. The sublime ideals of revealed religion.
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
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
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 Urantia.
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 advanced beliefs.
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 darkness.
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
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 of
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 imperial family.
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
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
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 re-evaluate itself.
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
by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.