For decades, Americans have been turning toward spirituality as a protest vote against conventional religion. In the last dozen years, American religious institutions have undergone a myriad of crises--abuse scandals, conflicts, schism, and partisan political entanglement, to name a few--resulting in a great religious recession. Poll after poll reveals that organized religions --mainline Protestant, evangelical, Roman Catholic, and Jewish --are in varying states of disarray and decline. Sadness, even doom, has gripped many congregations, as the formerly faithful disaffiliate, and those who remain struggle to pay clergy and fix leaky roofs.
...What the world needs is better religion, new forms of old faiths, religion reborn on the basis of deep spiritual connection--these things need to be explored instead of ditching religion completely. We need religion imbued with the spirit of shared humanity and hope, not religions that divide and further fracture the future.
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Here are some pertinent thoughts from the teachings of The Urantia Book:
The truth, beauty, and goodness of man's world are unified by the increasing spirituality of the experience of mortals ascending toward Paradise realities. The unity of truth, beauty, and goodness can only be realized in the spiritual experience of the God-knowing personality. ~ The Urantia Book, (196:3.24)
34:6.6 The dead theory of even the highest religious doctrines is powerless to transform human character or to control mortal behavior. What the world of today needs is the truth which your teacher of old declared: “Not in word only but also in power and in the Holy Spirit.” The seed of theoretical truth is dead, the highest moral concepts without effect, unless and until the divine Spirit breathes upon the forms of truth and quickens the formulas of righteousness.
The progressive program of an expanding civilization embraces:
- Preservation of individual liberties.
- Protection of the home.
- Promotion of economic security.
- Prevention of disease.
- Compulsory education.
- Compulsory employment.
- Profitable utilization of leisure.
- Care of the unfortunate.
- Race improvement.
- Promotion of science and art.
- Promotion of philosophy—wisdom.
- Augmentation of cosmic insight—spirituality. ~ The Urantia Book, (71:4.2)