Here's an article that jumped out at me: What would Jesus do where religious unity is concerned? Why not ask him? By Kevin Leininger
Jesus and religious unity? How could a Urantia Book reader ignore this opportunity to shed spiritual light? See our blog below...
But first, let's have a look at how even the concept of "one God" cannot seem to unify believers who insist on uniformity of belief - otherwise known as DOGMA.
From this very interesting article:
"Dr. Larycia Hawkins, a Christian professor at Wheaton College in Illinois, probably could have gotten away with donning a headscarf during Advent as a show of support for Muslims she believes have been unfairly maligned by Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and others as potentially violent. But when she justified her gesture of religious solidarity by insisting that Christians and Muslims 'worship the same god,' her bosses at the Christian school responded by putting her on paid leave for contradicting Wheaton's 'statement of faith and educational purpose.' "
"What would Jesus do? He's already told us: Love your neighbor as yourself. It can be hard, but if more people tried, regardless of their faith, we might not be so desperate to recreate God -- or each other -- in our own image."
Click to read the article in full
What a tragic missed opportunity!
Christianity and Islam are two examples of what The Urantia Book calls "religions of authority," but both worship one God; is there such a thing as the "wrong God?" Even Christians acknowledge that Jesus was the earthly revelation of this one God ... there IS only one!
Again, from this most interesting article:
"The Council on American-Islamic Relations, meanwhile, noted that, "from an Islamic perspective, there is only one deity worshiped by Muslims, Christians and Jews ... Throughout history, rigid -- and inaccurate -- theological positions on the nature of God and on beliefs of other faiths resulted in conflict and lost opportunities for mutual understanding. We see such extremism today in the anti-Islamic actions and beliefs of ISIS and its ilk."
Conversely, some in mainstream Christianity seem intent upon highlighting our differences, instead of our commonalities:
Evangelist Franklin Graham, whose famous father Billy attended Wheaton, correctly noted that only Christians believe in a Triune God -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Muslims, he said, "deny that Jesus is God . . . Islam and Christianity clearly do not worship the same God.
In The Urantia Book, spiritual unity vs uniformity is a compelling and recurring theme. About it, Jesus said:
155:6.9 The religions of authority can only divide men and set them in conscientious array against each other; the religion of the spirit will progressively draw men together and cause them to become understandingly sympathetic with one another. The religions of authority require of men uniformity in belief, but this is impossible of realization in the present state of the world. The religion of the spirit requires only unity of experience—uniformity of destiny—making full allowance for diversity of belief. The religion of the spirit requires only uniformity of insight, not uniformity of viewpoint and outlook. The religion of the spirit does not demand uniformity of intellectual views, only unity of spirit feeling. The religions of authority crystallize into lifeless creeds; the religion of the spirit grows into the increasing joy and liberty of ennobling deeds of loving service and merciful ministration.
Click to read this amazing discourse of Jesus regarding religion
But, CAN there really be religious unity in this world?
In The Urantia Book, we discover the reasons why there definitely CAN be spiritual unity among ALL religions that worship the ONE God; that reason is that all of mankind - Muslim, Jew, Christian, Buddhist... and even the unchurched ...have one amazing thing in common. That one thing is the spark of God that indwells the minds of all human beings. And recognition of, and experience with, that indwelling Spirit can bring about spiritual unity as more and more believers and pactitioners of the religion of spiritual experience with God realize that this transcendent religion can be enjoyed by everyone - with or without belongng to a "traditonal" church, or mosque, or temple. As Jesus said above:
"The religion of the spirit does not demand uniformity of intellectual views, only unity of spirit feeling."
Elsewhere in The Urantia Book, we learn:
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.
103:1.1 The unity of religious experience among a social or racial group derives from the identical nature of the God fragment indwelling the individual. It is this divine in man that gives origin to his unselfish interest in the welfare of other men. But since personality is unique—no two mortals being alike—it inevitably follows that no two human beings can similarly interpret the leadings and urges of the spirit of divinity which lives within their minds. A group of mortals can experience spiritual unity, but they can never attain philosophic uniformity. And this diversity of the interpretation of religious thought and experience is shown by the fact that twentieth-century theologians and philosophers have formulated upward of five hundred different definitions of religion. In reality, every human being defines religion in the terms of his own experiential interpretation of the divine impulses emanating from the God spirit that indwells him, and therefore must such an interpretation be unique and wholly different from the religious philosophy of all other human beings.
134:4.3 If different religions recognize the spirit sovereignty of God the Father, then will all such religions remain at peace. Only when one religion assumes that it is in some way superior to all others, and that it possesses exclusive authority over other religions, will such a religion presume to be intolerant of other religions or dare to persecute other religious believers.
Religious peace—brotherhood—can never exist unless all religions are willing to completely divest themselves of all ecclesiastical authority and fully surrender all concept of spiritual sovereignty. God alone is spirit sovereign.
You cannot have equality among religions (religious liberty) without having religious wars unless all religions consent to the transfer of all religious sovereignty to some superhuman level, to God himself.
Jesus came to this earth to do a number of things, but one of the primary goals of his mission was to establish the Kingdom of heaven in the hearts of all mankind - to let mankind know that they are children of God and that his Kingdom wihin them IS the influence that will unite them all.
134:4.6 The kingdom of heaven in the hearts of men will create religious unity (not necessarily uniformity) because any and all religious groups composed of such religious believers will be free from all notions of ecclesiastical authority—religious sovereignty.
Click to read abour Sovereignty - Divine and Human
Click to read about the Philosophy of Religion
The Teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book Show the Way!
One of the most remarkable things that we discover as Urantia Book reader/students is that no matter what flavor of religion we may have been raised in, or that our family or friends belong to, or that the loudest voices claim is the only one ... our personal spiritual experience with the God-fragment that indwells our minds allows us to safely navigate all of these religions without ever having to feel that we must subscribe to any of them. Why? because Jesus has taught us the very best religion of all - the religion of personal spiritual experience, whch provides us with all we need. AND - if we do decide to belong to a particular religion, we will be all the better in that religion when we can just relax and worship God with others without having to worry whether we have picked the "wrong" one or the "right" one. All religions are good, just to the extent that they bring God closer to us and us closer to God. But the personal religion of experience with God can inform all religious participation in a positive way.
So, we feel sorry that this message about religion and about God has been missed in the experiences of the teacher who was fired and the response of the authorities who might have built a bridge instead of tearing the bridge down; nevertheless, we hope that through this little blog piece, someone, somewhere may find a new bridge through the matchless teachings of The Urantia Book. We hope that someone, somewhere will be willing to explore their gift of God-within and start to enjoy the thrilling religion of the spirit, which will unify as nothing else can.