THE FOUNDATIONS OF RELIGIOUS FAITH
102:0.1 TO THE unbelieving materialist, man is
simply an evolutionary accident. His hopes of survival are strung on a figment
of mortal imagination; his fears, loves, longings, and beliefs are but the
reaction of the incidental juxtaposition of certain lifeless atoms of matter.
No display of energy nor expression of trust can carry him beyond the grave.
The devotional labors and inspirational genius of the best of men are doomed
to be extinguished by death, the long and lonely night of eternal oblivion and
soul extinction. Nameless despair is man's only reward for living and toiling
under the temporal sun of mortal existence. Each day of life slowly and surely
tightens the grasp of a pitiless doom which a hostile and relentless universe
of matter has decreed shall be the crowning insult to everything in human
desire which is beautiful, noble, lofty, and good.
102:0.2 But such is not man's end and eternal
destiny; such a vision is but the cry of despair uttered by some wandering
soul who has become lost in spiritual darkness, and who bravely struggles on
in the face of the mechanistic sophistries of a material philosophy, blinded
by the confusion and distortion of a complex learning. And all this doom of
darkness and all this destiny of despair are forever dispelled by one brave
stretch of faith on the part of the most humble and unlearned of God's
children on earth.
102:0.3 This saving faith has its birth in the human
heart when the moral consciousness of man realizes that human values may be
translated in mortal experience from the material to the spiritual, from the
human to the divine, from time to eternity.
1. ASSURANCES OF FAITH
102:1.1 The work of the Thought Adjuster constitutes
the explanation of the translation of man's primitive and evolutionary sense
of duty into that higher and more certain faith in the eternal realities of
revelation. There must be perfection hunger in man's heart to insure capacity
for comprehending the faith paths to supreme attainment. If any man chooses to
do the divine will, he shall know the way of truth. It is literally true,
"Human things must be known in order to be loved, but divine things must be
loved in order to be known." But honest doubts and sincere questionings are
not sin; such attitudes merely spell delay in the progressive journey toward
perfection attainment. Childlike trust secures man's entrance into the kingdom
of heavenly ascent, but progress is wholly dependent on the vigorous exercise
of the robust and confident faith of the full-grown man.
102:1.2 The reason of science is based on the
observable facts of time; the faith of religion argues from the spirit program
of eternity. What knowledge and reason cannot do for us, true wisdom
admonishes us to allow faith to accomplish through religious insight and
102:1.3 Owing to the isolation of rebellion, the
revelation of truth on Urantia has all too often been mixed up with the
statements of partial and transient cosmologies. Truth remains unchanged from
generation to generation, but the associated teachings about the physical
world vary from day to day and from year to year. Eternal truth should not be
slighted because it chances to be found in company with obsolete ideas
regarding the material world. The more of science you know, the less sure you
can be; the more of religion you have, the more certain you
102:1.4 The certainties of science proceed entirely
from the intellect; the certitudes of religion spring from the very
foundations of the entire personality. Science appeals to the
understanding of the mind; religion appeals to the loyalty and devotion of the
body, mind, and spirit, even to the whole personality.
102:1.5 God is so all real and absolute that no
material sign of proof or no demonstration of so-called miracle may be offered
in testimony of his reality. Always will we know him because we trust him, and
our belief in him is wholly based on our personal participation in the divine
manifestations of his infinite reality.
102:1.6 The indwelling Thought Adjuster unfailingly
arouses in man's soul a true and searching hunger for perfection together with
a far-reaching curiosity which can be adequately satisfied only by communion
with God, the divine source of that Adjuster. The hungry soul of man refuses
to be satisfied with anything less than the personal realization of the living
God. Whatever more God may be than a high and perfect moral personality, he
cannot, in our hungry and finite concept, be anything less.
2. RELIGION AND REALITY
102:2.1 Observing minds and discriminating souls
know religion when they find it in the lives of their fellows. Religion
requires no definition; we all know its social, intellectual, moral, and
spiritual fruits. And this all grows out of the fact that religion is the
property of the human race; it is not a child of culture. True, one's
perception of religion is still human and therefore subject to the bondage of
ignorance, the slavery of superstition, the deceptions of sophistication, and
the delusions of false philosophy.
102:2.2 One of the characteristic peculiarities of
genuine religious assurance is that, notwithstanding the absoluteness of its
affirmations and the stanchness of its attitude, the spirit of its expression
is so poised and tempered that it never conveys the slightest impression of
self-assertion or egoistic exaltation. The wisdom of religious experience is
something of a paradox in that it is both humanly original and Adjuster
derivative. Religious force is not the product of the individual's personal
prerogatives but rather the outworking of that sublime partnership of man and
the everlasting source of all wisdom. Thus do the words and acts of true and
undefiled religion become compellingly authoritative for all enlightened
102:2.3 It is difficult to identify and analyze the
factors of a religious experience, but it is not difficult to observe that
such religious practitioners live and carry on as if already in the presence
of the Eternal. Believers react to this temporal life as if immortality
already were within their grasp. In the lives of such mortals there is a valid
originality and a spontaneity of expression that forever segregate them from
those of their fellows who have imbibed only the wisdom of the world.
Religionists seem to live in effective emancipation from harrying haste and
the painful stress of the vicissitudes inherent in the temporal currents of
time; they exhibit a stabilization of personality and a tranquillity of
character not explained by the laws of physiology, psychology, and
102:2.4 Time is an invariable element in the
attainment of knowledge; religion makes its endowments immediately available,
albeit there is the important factor of growth in grace, definite advancement
in all phases of religious experience. Knowledge is an eternal quest; always
are you learning, but never are you able to arrive at the full knowledge of
absolute truth. In knowledge alone there can never be absolute certainty, only
increasing probability of approximation; but the religious soul of spiritual
illumination knows, and knows now. And yet this profound and
positive certitude does not lead such a sound-minded religionist to take any
less interest in the ups and downs of the progress of human wisdom, which is
bound up on its material end with the developments of slow-moving
102:2.5 Even the discoveries of science are not
truly real in the consciousness of human experience until they are
unraveled and correlated, until their relevant facts actually become
meaning through encircuitment in the thought streams of mind. Mortal
man views even his physical environment from the mind level, from the
perspective of its psychological registry. It is not, therefore, strange that
man should place a highly unified interpretation upon the universe and then
seek to identify this energy unity of his science with the spirit unity of his
religious experience. Mind is unity; mortal consciousness lives on the mind
level and perceives the universal realities through the eyes of the mind
endowment. The mind perspective will not yield the existential unity of the
source of reality, the First Source and Center, but it can and sometime will
portray to man the experiential synthesis of energy, mind, and spirit in and
as the Supreme Being. But mind can never succeed in this unification of the
diversity of reality unless such mind is firmly aware of material things,
intellectual meanings, and spiritual values; only in the harmony of the
triunity of functional reality is there unity, and only in unity is there the
personality satisfaction of the realization of cosmic constancy and
102:2.6 Unity is best found in human experience
through philosophy. And while the body of philosophic thought must ever be
founded on material facts, the soul and energy of true philosophic dynamics is
mortal spiritual insight.
102:2.7 Evolutionary man does not naturally relish
hard work. To keep pace in his life experience with the impelling demands and
the compelling urges of a growing religious experience means incessant
activity in spiritual growth, intellectual expansion, factual enlargement, and
social service. There is no real religion apart from a highly active
personality. Therefore do the more indolent of men often seek to escape the
rigors of truly religious activities by a species of ingenious self-deception
through resorting to a retreat to the false shelter of stereotyped religious
doctrines and dogmas. But true religion is alive. Intellectual crystallization
of religious concepts is the equivalent of spiritual death. You cannot
conceive of religion without ideas, but when religion once becomes reduced
only to an idea, it is no longer religion; it has become merely a
species of human philosophy.
102:2.8 Again, there are other types of unstable and
poorly disciplined souls who would use the sentimental ideas of religion as an
avenue of escape from the irritating demands of living. When certain
vacillating and timid mortals attempt to escape from the incessant pressure of
evolutionary life, religion, as they conceive it, seems to present the nearest
refuge, the best avenue of escape. But it is the mission of religion to
prepare man for bravely, even heroically, facing the vicissitudes of life.
Religion is evolutionary man's supreme endowment, the one thing which enables
him to carry on and "endure as seeing Him who is invisible." Mysticism,
however, is often something of a retreat from life which is embraced by those
humans who do not relish the more robust activities of living a religious life
in the open arenas of human society and commerce. True religion must act. Conduct will be the result of religion when man actually has it,
or rather when religion is permitted truly to possess the man. Never will
religion be content with mere thinking or unacting feeling.
102:2.9 We are not blind to the fact that religion
often acts unwisely, even irreligiously, but it acts. Aberrations of
religious conviction have led to bloody persecutions, but always and ever
religion does something; it is dynamic!
3. KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, AND
102:3.1 Intellectual deficiency or educational
poverty unavoidably handicaps higher religious attainment because such an
impoverished environment of the spiritual nature robs religion of its chief
channel of philosophic contact with the world of scientific knowledge. The
intellectual factors of religion are important, but their overdevelopment is
likewise sometimes very handicapping and embarrassing. Religion must
continually labor under a paradoxical necessity: the necessity of making
effective use of thought while at the same time discounting the spiritual
serviceableness of all thinking.
102:3.2 Religious speculation is inevitable but
always detrimental; speculation invariably falsifies its object. Speculation
tends to translate religion into something material or humanistic, and thus,
while directly interfering with the clarity of logical thought, it indirectly
causes religion to appear as a function of the temporal world, the very world
with which it should everlastingly stand in contrast. Therefore will religion
always be characterized by paradoxes, the paradoxes resulting from the absence
of the experiential connection between the material and the spiritual levels
of the universe -- morontia mota, the superphilosophic sensitivity for truth
discernment and unity perception.
102:3.3 Material feelings, human emotions, lead
directly to material actions, selfish acts. Religious insights, spiritual
motivations, lead directly to religious actions, unselfish acts of social
service and altruistic benevolence.
102:3.4 Religious desire is the hunger quest for
divine reality. Religious experience is the realization of the consciousness
of having found God. And when a human being does find God, there is
experienced within the soul of that being such an indescribable restlessness
of triumph in discovery that he is impelled to seek loving service-contact
with his less illuminated fellows, not to disclose that he has found God, but
rather to allow the overflow of the welling-up of eternal goodness within his
own soul to refresh and ennoble his fellows. Real religion leads to increased
102:3.5 Science, knowledge, leads to fact
consciousness; religion, experience, leads to value consciousness;
philosophy, wisdom, leads to co-ordinate consciousness; revelation (the
substitute for morontia mota) leads to the consciousness of true
reality; while the co-ordination of the consciousness of fact, value, and
true reality constitutes awareness of personality reality, maximum of being,
together with the belief in the possibility of the survival of that very
102:3.6 Knowledge leads to placing men, to
originating social strata and castes. Religion leads to serving men, thus
creating ethics and altruism. Wisdom leads to the higher and better fellowship
of both ideas and one's fellows. Revelation liberates men and starts them out
on the eternal adventure.
102:3.7 Science sorts men; religion loves men, even
as yourself; wisdom does justice to differing men; but revelation glorifies
man and discloses his capacity for partnership with God.
102:3.8 Science vainly strives to create the
brotherhood of culture; religion brings into being the brotherhood of the
spirit. Philosophy strives for the brotherhood of wisdom; revelation portrays
the eternal brotherhood, the Paradise Corps of the Finality.
102:3.9 Knowledge yields pride in the fact of
personality; wisdom is the consciousness of the meaning of personality;
religion is the experience of cognizance of the value of personality;
revelation is the assurance of personality survival.
102:3.10 Science seeks to identify, analyze, and
classify the segmented parts of the limitless cosmos. Religion grasps the
idea-of-the-whole, the entire cosmos. Philosophy attempts the identification
of the material segments of science with the spiritual-insight concept of the
whole. Wherein philosophy fails in this attempt, revelation succeeds,
affirming that the cosmic circle is universal, eternal, absolute, and
infinite. This cosmos of the Infinite I AM is therefore endless, limitless,
and all-inclusive -- timeless, spaceless, and unqualified. And we bear
testimony that the Infinite I AM is also the Father of Michael of Nebadon and
the God of human salvation.
102:3.11 Science indicates Deity as a fact;
philosophy presents the idea of an Absolute; religion envisions God as
a loving spiritual personality. Revelation affirms the unity of
the fact of Deity, the idea of the Absolute, and the spiritual personality of
God and, further, presents this concept as our Father -- the universal fact of
existence, the eternal idea of mind, and the infinite spirit of
102:3.12 The pursuit of knowledge constitutes
science; the search for wisdom is philosophy; the love for God is religion;
the hunger for truth is a revelation. But it is the indwelling Thought
Adjuster that attaches the feeling of reality to man's spiritual insight into
102:3.13 In science, the idea precedes the
expression of its realization; in religion, the experience of realization
precedes the expression of the idea. There is a vast difference between the
evolutionary will-to-believe and the product of enlightened reason, religious
insight, and revelation -- the will that believes.
102:3.14 In evolution, religion often leads to man's
creating his concepts of God; revelation exhibits the phenomenon of God's
evolving man himself, while in the earth life of Christ Michael we behold the
phenomenon of God's revealing himself to man. Evolution tends to make God
manlike; revelation tends to make man Godlike.
102:3.15 Science is only satisfied with first
causes, religion with supreme personality, and philosophy with unity.
Revelation affirms that these three are one, and that all are good. The
eternal real is the good of the universe and not the time illusions of
space evil. In the spiritual experience of all personalities, always is it
true that the real is the good and the good is the real.
4. THE FACT OF EXPERIENCE
102:4.1 Because of the presence in your minds of the
Thought Adjuster, it is no more of a mystery for you to know the mind of God
than for you to be sure of the consciousness of knowing any other mind, human
or superhuman. Religion and social consciousness have this in common: They are
predicated on the consciousness of other-mindness. The technique whereby you
can accept another's idea as yours is the same whereby you may "let the mind
which was in Christ be also in you."
102:4.2 What is human experience? It is simply any
interplay between an active and questioning self and any other active and
external reality. The mass of experience is determined by depth of concept
plus totality of recognition of the reality of the external. The motion of
experience equals the force of expectant imagination plus the keenness of the
sensory discovery of the external qualities of contacted reality. The fact of
experience is found in self-consciousness plus other-existences --
other-thingness, other-mindness, and other-spiritness.
102:4.3 Man very early becomes conscious that he is
not alone in the world or the universe. There develops a natural spontaneous
self-consciousness of other-mindness in the environment of selfhood. Faith
translates this natural experience into religion, the recognition of God as
the reality -- source, nature, and destiny -- of other-mindness. But
such a knowledge of God is ever and always a reality of personal experience.
If God were not a personality, he could not become a living part of the real
religious experience of a human personality.
102:4.4 The element of error present in human
religious experience is directly proportional to the content of materialism
which contaminates the spiritual concept of the Universal Father. Man's
prespirit progression in the universe consists in the experience of divesting
himself of these erroneous ideas of the nature of God and of the reality of
pure and true spirit. Deity is more than spirit, but the spiritual approach is
the only one possible to ascending man.
102:4.5 Prayer is indeed a part of religious
experience, but it has been wrongly emphasized by modern religions, much to
the neglect of the more essential communion of worship. The reflective powers
of the mind are deepened and broadened by worship. Prayer may enrich the life,
but worship illuminates destiny.
102:4.6 Revealed religion is the unifying element of
human existence. Revelation unifies history, co-ordinates geology, astronomy,
physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, and psychology. Spiritual experience
is the real soul of man's cosmos.
5. THE SUPREMACY OF PURPOSIVE
102:5.1 Although the establishment of the fact of
belief is not equivalent to establishing the fact of that which is believed,
nevertheless, the evolutionary progression of simple life to the status of
personality does demonstrate the fact of the existence of the potential of
personality to start with. And in the time universes, potential is always
supreme over the actual. In the evolving cosmos the potential is what is to
be, and what is to be is the unfolding of the purposive mandates of
102:5.2 This same purposive supremacy is shown in
the evolution of mind ideation when primitive animal fear is transmuted into
the constantly deepening reverence for God and into increasing awe of the
universe. Primitive man had more religious fear than faith, and the supremacy
of spirit potentials over mind actuals is demonstrated when this craven fear
is translated into living faith in spiritual realities.
102:5.3 You can psychologize evolutionary religion
but not the personal-experience religion of spiritual origin. Human morality
may recognize values, but only religion can conserve, exalt, and spiritualize
such values. But notwithstanding such actions, religion is something more than
emotionalized morality. Religion is to morality as love is to duty, as sonship
is to servitude, as essence is to substance. Morality discloses an almighty
Controller, a Deity to be served; religion discloses an all-loving Father, a
God to be worshiped and loved. And again this is because the spiritual
potentiality of religion is dominant over the duty actuality of the morality
6. THE CERTAINTY OF RELIGIOUS
102:6.1 The philosophic elimination of religious
fear and the steady progress of science add greatly to the mortality of false
gods; and even though these casualties of man-made deities may momentarily
befog the spiritual vision, they eventually destroy that ignorance and
superstition which so long obscured the living God of eternal love. The
relation between the creature and the Creator is a living experience, a
dynamic religious faith, which is not subject to precise definition. To
isolate part of life and call it religion is to disintegrate life and to
distort religion. And this is just why the God of worship claims all
allegiance or none.
102:6.2 The gods of primitive men may have been no
more than shadows of themselves; the living God is the divine light whose
interruptions constitute the creation shadows of all space.
102:6.3 The religionist of philosophic attainment
has faith in a personal God of personal salvation, something more than a
reality, a value, a level of achievement, an exalted process, a transmutation,
the ultimate of time-space, an idealization, the personalization of energy,
the entity of gravity, a human projection, the idealization of self, nature's
upthrust, the inclination to goodness, the forward impulse of evolution, or a
sublime hypothesis. The religionist has faith in a God of love. Love is the
essence of religion and the wellspring of superior civilization.
102:6.4 Faith transforms the philosophic God of
probability into the saving God of certainty in the personal religious
experience. Skepticism may challenge the theories of theology, but confidence
in the dependability of personal experience affirms the truth of that belief
which has grown into faith.
102:6.5 Convictions about God may be arrived at
through wise reasoning, but the individual becomes God-knowing only by faith,
through personal experience. In much that pertains to life, probability must
be reckoned with, but when contacting with cosmic reality, certainty may be
experienced when such meanings and values are approached by living faith. The
God-knowing soul dares to say, "I know," even when this knowledge of God is
questioned by the unbeliever who denies such certitude because it is not
wholly supported by intellectual logic. To every such doubter the believer
only replies, "How do you know that I do not know?"
102:6.6 Though reason can always question faith,
faith can always supplement both reason and logic. Reason creates the
probability which faith can transform into a moral certainty, even a spiritual
experience. God is the first truth and the last fact; therefore does all truth
take origin in him, while all facts exist relative to him. God is absolute
truth. As truth one may know God, but to understand -- to explain -- God, one
must explore the fact of the universe of universes. The vast gulf between the
experience of the truth of God and ignorance as to the fact of God can be
bridged only by living faith. Reason alone cannot achieve harmony between
infinite truth and universal fact.
102:6.7 Belief may not be able to resist doubt and
withstand fear, but faith is always triumphant over doubting, for faith is
both positive and living. The positive always has the advantage over the
negative, truth over error, experience over theory, spiritual realities over
the isolated facts of time and space. The convincing evidence of this
spiritual certainty consists in the social fruits of the spirit which such
believers, faithers, yield as a result of this genuine spiritual experience.
Said Jesus: "If you love your fellows as I have loved you, then shall all men
know that you are my disciples."
102:6.8 To science God is a possibility, to
psychology a desirability, to philosophy a probability, to religion a
certainty, an actuality of religious experience. Reason demands that a
philosophy which cannot find the God of probability should be very respectful
of that religious faith which can and does find the God of certitude. Neither
should science discount religious experience on grounds of credulity, not so
long as it persists in the assumption that man's intellectual and philosophic
endowments emerged from increasingly lesser intelligences the further back
they go, finally taking origin in primitive life which was utterly devoid of
all thinking and feeling.
102:6.9 The facts of evolution must not be arrayed
against the truth of the reality of the certainty of the spiritual experience
of the religious living of the God-knowing mortal. Intelligent men should
cease to reason like children and should attempt to use the consistent logic
of adulthood, logic which tolerates the concept of truth alongside the
observation of fact. Scientific materialism has gone bankrupt when it
persists, in the face of each recurring universe phenomenon, in refunding its
current objections by referring what is admittedly higher back into that which
is admittedly lower. Consistency demands the recognition of the activities of
a purposive Creator.
102:6.10 Organic evolution is a fact; purposive or
progressive evolution is a truth which makes consistent the otherwise
contradictory phenomena of the ever-ascending achievements of evolution. The
higher any scientist progresses in his chosen science, the more will he
abandon the theories of materialistic fact in favor of the cosmic truth of the
dominance of the Supreme Mind. Materialism cheapens human life; the gospel of
Jesus tremendously enhances and supernally exalts every mortal. Mortal
existence must be visualized as consisting in the intriguing and fascinating
experience of the realization of the reality of the meeting of the human
upreach and the divine and saving downreach.
7. THE CERTITUDE OF THE
102:7.1 The Universal Father, being self-existent,
is also self-explanatory; he actually lives in every rational mortal. But you
cannot be sure about God unless you know him; sonship is the only experience
which makes fatherhood certain. The universe is everywhere undergoing change.
A changing universe is a dependent universe; such a creation cannot be either
final or absolute. A finite universe is wholly dependent on the Ultimate and
the Absolute. The universe and God are not identical; one is cause, the other
effect. The cause is absolute, infinite, eternal, and changeless; the effect,
time-space and transcendental but ever changing, always growing.
102:7.2 God is the one and only self-caused fact in
the universe. He is the secret of the order, plan, and purpose of the whole
creation of things and beings. The everywhere-changing universe is regulated
and stabilized by absolutely unchanging laws, the habits of an unchanging God.
The fact of God, the divine law, is changeless; the truth of God, his relation
to the universe, is a relative revelation which is ever adaptable to the
constantly evolving universe.
102:7.3 Those who would invent a religion without
God are like those who would gather fruit without trees, have children without
parents. You cannot have effects without causes; only the I AM is causeless.
The fact of religious experience implies God, and such a God of personal
experience must be a personal Deity. You cannot pray to a chemical formula,
supplicate a mathematical equation, worship a hypothesis, confide in a
postulate, commune with a process, serve an abstraction, or hold loving
fellowship with a law.
102:7.4 True, many apparently religious traits can
grow out of nonreligious roots. Man can, intellectually, deny God and yet be
morally good, loyal, filial, honest, and even idealistic. Man may graft many
purely humanistic branches onto his basic spiritual nature and thus apparently
prove his contentions in behalf of a godless religion, but such an experience
is devoid of survival values, God-knowingness and God-ascension. In such a
mortal experience only social fruits are forthcoming, not spiritual. The graft
determines the nature of the fruit, notwithstanding that the living sustenance
is drawn from the roots of original divine endowment of both mind and
102:7.5 The intellectual earmark of religion is
certainty; the philosophical characteristic is consistency; the social fruits
are love and service.
102:7.6 The God-knowing individual is not one who is
blind to the difficulties or unmindful of the obstacles which stand in the way
of finding God in the maze of superstition, tradition, and materialistic
tendencies of modern times. He has encountered all these deterrents and
triumphed over them, surmounted them by living faith, and attained the
highlands of spiritual experience in spite of them. But it is true that many
who are inwardly sure about God fear to assert such feelings of certainty
because of the multiplicity and cleverness of those who assemble objections
and magnify difficulties about believing in God. It requires no great depth of
intellect to pick flaws, ask questions, or raise objections. But it does
require brilliance of mind to answer these questions and solve these
difficulties; faith certainty is the greatest technique for dealing with all
such superficial contentions.
102:7.7 If science, philosophy, or sociology dares
to become dogmatic in contending with the prophets of true religion, then
should God-knowing men reply to such unwarranted dogmatism with that more
farseeing dogmatism of the certainty of personal spiritual experience, "I know
what I have experienced because I am a son of I AM." If the personal
experience of a faither is to be challenged by dogma, then this faith-born son
of the experiencible Father may reply with that unchallengeable dogma, the
statement of his actual sonship with the Universal Father.
102:7.8 Only an unqualified reality, an absolute,
could dare consistently to be dogmatic. Those who assume to be dogmatic must,
if consistent, sooner or later be driven into the arms of the Absolute of
energy, the Universal of truth, and the Infinite of love.
102:7.9 If the nonreligious approaches to cosmic
reality presume to challenge the certainty of faith on the grounds of its
unproved status, then the spirit experiencer can likewise resort to the
dogmatic challenge of the facts of science and the beliefs of philosophy on
the grounds that they are likewise unproved; they are likewise experiences in
the consciousness of the scientist or the philosopher.
102:7.10 Of God, the most inescapable of all
presences, the most real of all facts, the most living of all truths, the most
loving of all friends, and the most divine of all values, we have the right to
be the most certain of all universe experiences.
8. THE EVIDENCES OF
102:8.1 The highest evidence of the reality and
efficacy of religion consists in the fact of human experience; namely,
that man, naturally fearful and suspicious, innately endowed with a strong
instinct of self-preservation and craving survival after death, is willing
fully to trust the deepest interests of his present and future to the keeping
and direction of that power and person designated by his faith as God. That is
the one central truth of all religion. As to what that power or person
requires of man in return for this watchcare and final salvation, no two
religions agree; in fact, they all more or less disagree.
102:8.2 Regarding the status of any religion in the
evolutionary scale, it may best be judged by its moral judgments and its
ethical standards. The higher the type of any religion, the more it encourages
and is encouraged by a constantly improving social morality and ethical
culture. We cannot judge religion by the status of its accompanying
civilization; we had better estimate the real nature of a civilization by the
purity and nobility of its religion. Many of the world's most notable
religious teachers have been virtually unlettered. The wisdom of the world is
not necessary to an exercise of saving faith in eternal realities.
102:8.3 The difference in the religions of various
ages is wholly dependent on the difference in man's comprehension of reality
and on his differing recognition of moral values, ethical relationships, and
102:8.4 Ethics is the eternal social or racial
mirror which faithfully reflects the otherwise unobservable progress of
internal spiritual and religious developments. Man has always thought of God
in the terms of the best he knew, his deepest ideas and highest ideals. Even
historic religion has always created its God conceptions out of its highest
recognized values. Every intelligent creature gives the name of God to the
best and highest thing he knows.
102:8.5 Religion, when reduced to terms of reason
and intellectual expression, has always dared to criticize civilization and
evolutionary progress as judged by its own standards of ethical culture and
102:8.6 While personal religion precedes the
evolution of human morals, it is regretfully recorded that institutional
religion has invariably lagged behind the slowly changing mores of the human
races. Organized religion has proved to be conservatively tardy. The prophets
have usually led the people in religious development; the theologians have
usually held them back. Religion, being a matter of inner or personal
experience, can never develop very far in advance of the intellectual
evolution of the races.
102:8.7 But religion is never enhanced by an appeal
to the so-called miraculous. The quest for miracles is a harking back to the
primitive religions of magic. True religion has nothing to do with alleged
miracles, and never does revealed religion point to miracles as proof of
authority. Religion is ever and always rooted and grounded in personal
experience. And your highest religion, the life of Jesus, was just such a
personal experience: man, mortal man, seeking God and finding him to the
fullness during one short life in the flesh, while in the same human
experience there appeared God seeking man and finding him to the full
satisfaction of the perfect soul of infinite supremacy. And that is religion,
even the highest yet revealed in the universe of Nebadon -- the earth life of
Jesus of Nazareth.
by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.