PRESENTED AT ESTONIA, KAREPA, 1999
Webster gives the following definition of religion: "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs" (Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 1996).
The Urantia Book offers many definitions for religion. Let's consider the following three definitions:
1. True religion is a wholehearted devotion to some reality which the religionist deems to be of supreme value to himself and for all mankind. And the outstanding characteristics of all religions are: unquestioning loyalty and wholehearted devotion to supreme values. [1100:3]
Because of the unquestioned loyalty and wholehearted devotion religionists have at times become fanatical and even radical. It is for this reason that religionists should pursue a healthy, balanced religious experience. Without it there is the risk of radicalism on the one hand or asceticism on the other.
2. The next definition addresses this issue by indicating that true religion is a living love, a life of service [1100:7]. Service to others engages the entire personality. It requires accurate perception of another's needs. To be effective it must consider the best interest on the one being served. This involves value judgments. It may lead one into new and unfamiliar experiences. Sometimes it requires a trial-and-error approach. Most important, real service is based on love and leads to greater love. Sincere love mobilizes the entire personality. There is no better means of maintaining a healthy balance in life than being actively engaged in serving one's fellow man.
3. Religion is the experiencing of divinity in the consciousness of a moral being of evolutionary origin; it represents true experience with eternal realities in time, the realization of spiritual satisfactions while yet in the
Unfettered religious growth projects the personality far into the future because it is a response to the inner urgings of a fragment of God himself. Although it occurs in a setting of time and space, it transcends them, enabling the personality to experience eternal realities through the activity and contacts of the expanding soul. Thus religion engages the human personality on the intellectual, moral, social and spiritual levels.
The importance of a well-balanced personality in religious growth cannot be overemphasized. The entire breath and depth of human experience provides the soil. The following statements from these papers indicate that religious growth requires co-ordination and unification of all aspects of the human personality.
The soil essential for religious growth presupposes a progressive life of self-realization, the co-ordination of natural propensities, the exercise of curiosity and the enjoyment of reasonable adventure, the experiencing of
feelings of satisfaction, the functioning of the fear stimulus of attention and awareness, the wonder-lure, and a normal consciousness of smallness, humility. Growth is also predicated on the discovery of selfhood accompanied by self-criticism. . . [1094:7]
Man's sole contribution to growth is the mobilization of the total powers of his personality-living faith. [1097:4]
But the great problem of religious living consists in the task of unifying the soul powers of the personality by dominance of LOVE. Health, mental efficiency, and happiness arise from the unification of physical systems, mind systems, and spirit systems. [1097:7]
The progression of religious growth leads from stagnation through conflict to co-ordination, from insecurity to undoubting faith, confusion of cosmic consciousness to unification of personality, from the temporal objective to the eternal, from the bondage of fear to the liberty of divine sonship. [1098:5]
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. [1088:8]
For this discussion we accept the basic assumption that mortal experience involves interaction on the following three levels:
1. The material body.
2. The supermaterial phase of the human being, the soul or even the indwelling spirit.
3. The human mind, the mechanism for intercommunication and interassociation between spirit and matter,
between the material and spiritual. [1110:9-11]
We begin life mainly centered on the material body. Gradually an awareness develops of surrounding material things beyond our bodies. We then begin to perceive other beings as we become socially aware. With the interaction with others there is opportunity for growth of moral character. Those of you who have experienced parenthood have observed firsthand this early development of selfhood.
It is the first moral choice by the child which results in the Thought Adjuster being sent forth to indwell its mind. This occurs just prior to the sixth birthday on average. Such a child is in possession of the full spiritual potential to initiate soul growth, achieve Adjuster fusion, complete the ascension career and enter the Corps of Mortal Finaliters.
The challenge we all face is to transform these potentials into actuals. There are two specific ways to help achieve our potential mentioned in these papers on religion: first is to utilize the assistance revelation can provide to achieve intellectual unification of the material and spiritual realities, and second to gain a thorough knowledge of Jesus' life as he lived it on our own native world. As we seek to learn from Him, he continues to unify mortal experience and co-ordinate human endeavors [1103:6].
To consider the importance of revelation, let us recall the experience of the expanding awareness of a young person. As we view the universe from the outside, we observe the material-physical reality which is both predictable and measurable. For example, the gravitation attractions between physical bodies remains constant and mathematically defined. We can observe the electromagnetic spectrum ranging from high energy cosmic short wavelength radiation to low energy long wavelength radio waves. We are fully aware of that segment of the spectrum consisting of visible light. This is actually an inherent spectrum ranging from the shorter wavelength of violet to the longer wavelength of red light. The wavelengths of visible light range from 400-700 nanometers. As we move on the spectrum beyond red to longer wavelengths we encounter infrared which we sense as heat. If we go in the opposite direction toward shorter wavelengths we encounter ultra violet and subsequently x-rays.
The eye is designed for detection of energy in the light spectrum. In other words the light spectrum is defined as that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum which is detectable by the retina of the eye. The sensory portions of the retina consist of two distinct elements, the cones which are color sensitive and the rods which sense light as white and varying shades of gray. The rods are much more sensitive than the cones which explains why when light fades in the evening, at a certain point, we can no longer see color. At this point the light intensity has dropped below the energy level required to stimulate the visual pigment in the cones and one is then dependent on the rods which detect light as positive or the absence as negative or black. These phenomena are predictable, measurable, and reproducible. One could mention almost an endless array of additional examples of physical reality from chemistry, astronomy, geology, physics, and biology.
On the other hand, when we look at the universe from the inside, we see an entirely different aspect. Now we are aware of the inner urgings which arise from contact with spiritual reality. There is the Thought Adjuster which contacts with the mind through the superconscious level. There is the Spirit of Truth working deeply within the human mind and is particularly concerned with assisting the human mind in recognizing the reality of truth or the conviction of truth [1949:3]. Then there are our Seraphic associates who work with us mainly through manipulating our social environment. As we begin to sense the reality of these inner supermaterial realities, in contrast to material reality, we become aware of the wide gulf or chasm which exists between the material and spiritual realities. There is no logical or philosophical means to connect or bridge the two. A sense of dichotomy or dual nature of universe reality results (1136:2-1137:3).
The solution to this problem is present on the morontial worlds in the form of morontial mota. This is a level of reality which lies between the material and the spiritual, and will effectively enable us to perceive both the material, the spiritual, and the intervening level of reality which is absent on the material worlds.
Until we reach the morontial worlds, we have been provided a solution which comes through revelation. Basically, revelation provides us the testimony of those who have come from the source and center of all things who can verify that the apparently distinctly different realities observed here in the form of the material and spiritual, are in fact divergent expressions of the great God himself. If we can accept by faith that He is the creator of all reality, that these simply represent various aspects of His unfathomable nature, then we can achieve a personal unification of his multiphasic creation here and now.
This is summarized by the following: Thus does revelation successfully bridge the gulf between the material and the spiritual, even between the creature and Creator, between man and God [1106:9]. It should be noted that the unification of these divergent manifestations of God is an ongoing Paradise-ascension experience [1138:2].
It seems appropriate to pause here for a moment to reflect on the unique opportunity you and I have to utilize this most recent epochal revelation, the fifth on our planet, in the unification of our perception of universe reality. We have at our disposal the testimony, the instructions and advice of a host of universe beings. They range from a Divine Counselor who has many times enjoyed the supreme pleasure of a sojourn in the immediate personal presence of the Universal Father [32:1] to the secondary midwayer assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew .
What a privilege, what a challenge, what an opportunity, what an experience is ours as a result of this book!
We have considered the role of revelation in unification of our intellectual view of universe realities. Now let us consider the perfectly balanced, unified, perfected life of the Master. There are no less than ten specific references made to Jesus' life and teachings in these papers on religion. It would appear that the author wishes to convey to us that no serious study of religion is possible without considering Jesus' life and how he lived it. On page 2090:4 we are told, Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.
In the presentation entitled "The Acme of Religious Living" states The unique feature of the Master's personality was not so much its perfection as its symmetry, its exquisite and balanced unification [1101:5].
He was truly sincere, there was nothing of the hypocrite in him. He lived the truth, even as he taught it and He was unquestionably loyal to all truth [1101:6]. He was reasonable, approachable, practical, characterized by sanctified common sense with exquisite discrimination associated with extraordinary sense of propriety. . . He was surcharged with divine enthusiasm, but never became fanatical [1101:6].
He was emotionally active but never flighty, . . . imaginative but always practical [1102:1], courageous but never reckless, prudent but never cowardly, sympathetic but not sentimental, unique but not eccentric, pious but not sanctimonious.
. . . [He] was so well-poised because he was so perfectly unified. . . he was very broad in his outlook. His sympathetic heart embraced all mankind, even a universe [1102:3].
He was unusually cheerful but not a blind optimist. He was candid but always kind, frank, but always friendly. While he was living a life of inspiration to an entire universe, he fraternized with the little children.
Jesus was the perfectly unified human personality. And today, as in Galilee, he continues to unify moral experience and to co-ordinate human endeavors. He unifies life, ennobles character, and simplifies experience. He enters the human mind to elevate, transform, and transfigure it. It is literally true: "If any man has Christ Jesus within him, he is a new creature; old things are passing away; behold, all things are becoming new." [1103:6]