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Faith and Reason

Faith and Reason

My friends made a big fuss when their Mom predicted her death. Well, it’s not everyday Mom says she is going to die. Their Mom did succumb to lung cancer later that day. We sat and they talked about what a great person she was and reminisced on old times long gone. But they kept coming back to Mom’s recent prediction. They found great meaning in this event. Much of it seems to have come from their faith in Mom’s organizational abilities. Planning her end was consistent with the way she lived her life. Thus in their minds the prediction was an extension of who she was and not some random expressed thought that just happened to come true.

The faith of many in God is also connected to this process of finding meaning in the seemingly random events of life. The current emotional explosion in Muslim dominated countries reflects this search for meaning through the connection of theology and random events. The Danish consulate in Lebanon was burned to the ground by a mob because of a cartoon in a Danish newspaper. There doesn’t seem to be a way of rationalizing this event. There is no obvious connection between the newspaper and the government of Denmark. There is no obvious connection between a worldwide religious movement and some guy doodling on a piece of paper. And yet the protestors define the meaning of the event as being an “insult to our faith”. Despite the difficulty in rationalizing violence as a religious faith response, the protestors put all of the pieces together and went on the attack. The problem is that many faith responses – and this one in particular – appear to be functioning outside of the bounds of reason.

The Urantia Book says that religion is “wholly rational insight which originates in man’s mind-experience” (1105.2). When the book speaks of insight it is talking about that learning which comes from the spiritual forces which are influencing us to be more Godlike. When the book speaks of rationality it is talking about the reasoning abilities inherent within the human mind. In other words – true religious experience involves both spiritual guidance and human reasoning. The book says that religion is reasonable, rational and logical. It also says that even though spiritual truth is beyond reason, reason is an important part of our growing experience of God’s presence. And so, religious concepts should always be able to withstand the scrutiny of human reason. God wants us to use our minds as well as our hearts when developing the highest human concepts of our Father in Heaven.

The continuing world-wide violence in the name of religion shows that our world needs to reject religious ideas which do not stand up to reasonable examination. The search for meaning cannot be held hostage by the mixing of random events with age old traditions. Too many people are locked into belief systems which make no logical sense in our quickly advancing world culture. The ideas of The Urantia Book, which I believe are the most reasonable and logical of any and all religious concepts to date, need to be promoted to the fullest extent. It isn’t enough to urge someone to read the book. The concepts within the book need to be promoted as much as the book itself. Unquestioned belief systems need to be replaced by the reasonable concepts that were given to us through revealed truth. It is these truth concepts stimulating the inherent logic of our minds in concert with the always present spiritual forces that will move the search for meaning ever higher.

God bless you,

William Whitehead

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