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Hi Everyone ! :biggrin: I have been enjoying some very interesting conversations with some people on a "religious" forum (dominated by materialists and fundementalists). Here is a recent excerpt:

David wrote:
“From the way you describe "true religion" it sounds admirable. Where does one find this "true religion?" I do not believe I have ever encountered religious groups or individual with this philosophy. Other than for the worship of a deity, it sounds much like secular humanism.”

Hi David:
First off, please allow me to express my thanks for an excellent and non-confrontational discussion here! This has been a real pleasure. And you are correct; it does sound a lot like secular humanism.

Secular humanism is a rational, noble and uplifting answer to the ecclesiastical totalatarism which has blighted the human religious experience for centuries. Secular humanism was a necessary evolutionary adjustment required to fight the blatant superstitions of evolutionary religion; superstitions, which continue to pollute all established thought streams of religious philosophy.

The “true religion” I am talking about is not a part of any established cult (Christianity, Hinduism, Islam etc…). It is a religion I have found for myself, thru my personal experience, situational endowment and reading from one particular book, the Urantia Book.

The Urantia Book is a series of papers, wherein which the authors attempt to explain many ideas which are absent in the formal and “named” religions of the world. The concept of “true religion” as I have put out here at this forum is my personal and experiential interpretation of some of the concepts put forth by this document.

About the best thing I can say for the Urantia Book is that it is NOT a so-called “sacred” book. You can burn it, pee on it, or heap verbal abuse upon it all you wish without any fear of retribution from some supposedly stern god or heavenly judge. Indeed, the authors go thru great lengths to inform the reader that they are not the keepers of all knowledge. It is quite refreshing to find in a theological text, honest admissions of ignorance, and admittance to this or that particular concept being merely the best guess of the authors.

Thru this document I have been able to build a life philosophy which embraces both the advances of science and the love of god, indeed of all mankind.

This being said, please do not think that there are not all kinds of Urantia Book inspired wackos running around out there! Like any philosophic thought stream , the situational endowment, mental and emotional capacity and past life experiences of any reader will shape that readers understanding of the significance and meaning of any given passage. I have run into a number of ex-Christians who have brought all their emotional baggage of sin, sacrifice and atonement right along with them and incorporated it neatly into their new “Urantia” philosophy. Me, I come from a secular humanist background. Mentally, and to some extent professionally, I am a scientist. So it is natural that I see the world in a completely different light than many other religionists.

David:
Not knowing you personally, I can only conceptualize your personality thru your writings. To me, you also seem to have the inquisitive mind of a scientist. A lot of times if I am to direct anyone to a Urantia Book website, I will ask them to look at a place called “TruthBook”. It is a nice fluffy little place, with little angles fluttering about. Very cute. Just the kind of place which might make a religionist feel safe and at home. But rather out of place for a scientist. Instead, IF YOU WANT TO, you might find it interesting to visit the formal Urantia website and look at one of my favorite papers, Paper 85, the Origins of Worship. Here is the link:
http://www.urantia.org/papers/paper85.html

But please remember, no one is trying to make you do this. You asked, I answered. A long and tedious answer to be sure, but sadly such is my style of communication. Please feel free to completely reject anything I have said here, because, between you and me… it really does not matter in the big picture of things. Because that is another of the great things about “true religion”… True religion understands that everyone is walking his or her own path thru life and the universe. True religion understands that no being has the right to push his or her theological persuasions upon anyone else.

Al

To my TruthBook friends:
This is a lot of fun. Later in this thread someone asked me to "show them god". I found this very stimulating and am currently working on a response.
8)


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Hello Al,From your eloquent statement I do believe the materialist has been disarmed.


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Very well written response, Al!

It's also a very succinct and pleasant intro to the Urantia Book!

In His Light,
Russ


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Hi Al...very interesting that you found this blog where questions are asked and subject discussed with folks not familiar with the UB...I think I would like, if I were involved, to respond with quotes and see what kind of response that gets...It would blow them away... :wink:

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Al -- another method of relating to non-believers to whom The Urantia Book has already been mentioned is to say that every free-thinking, free-willed individual is entitled to believe or disbelieve, but that just as you too would reject the kind of kindergarten version of God and religion that most of them have seen fit to reject, there's a majestic reality behind it all waiting to be uncovered and discovered -- that in effect we're all seeing only through a glass darkly. To call oneself truly an unbeliever one needs to deal with the best that can offered and form the best informed decision possible. The test is simple, non-threatening, educational -- read (and listen to too) 5 relatively short chapters in the book, Papers 1-5, beginning here... http://www.truthbook.com/index.cfm?linkID=1001 and then assume their non-believer status with pride -- they may be interested in starting their own blog or website for those who've enhanced their unbelief by having passed this mensa test for non-believers.

Larry


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Hey Al,

Nice post. I have always thought of God as a humanist as far as the humanist desire to do right and advance progressively goes. Never seen too much of humanism though. It might not be a bad idea to see what common grounds there are in humanism and TUB religious philosophy. We definitely need to find areas that unite instead of divide.

Is all of the debate on this other website so congenial and respectful?

Peace,

RB

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Hi everyone!

Thank you all for the great input!

The responses on the other side are generally respectful EXCEPT when they come from a few fundemenatalist Christians. Then they are often quite rude and offensive. Sad, really...


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bro.alwilliam,

thnxs for the wonderful sharing.
thats exactly the problem we face with these religionist fundamentalist over there and here too.
God and religion is within onself. 'even angels cannot do anything if a person refused to act upon his light of truth'.
while truth is subjective in accordance with life as mortals, there still is an eternal truth and the nearest, to me, is TUB- according to my light and temporal situation, of course.

who to say that i am right and they are wrong? and likewise who to say that i am wrong and they are rigth?; or else the eternal contxet of the divine gift of free agency contradict itself; the very essence of his creation and intelligent and prerequisite for the ascending mortals to be with Him.

humanising God and his ways of doing things prove the very fact that we are the still evolving evolutionary ascending mortals possessing all the weaknesses and follies of the flesh. the consequences of our choices, 'good or bad' (if there is such thing in the eternal scheme of thing) is ours to bear; materially and spiritually; choose to interprete religion/God thru the materialistic perspective, than it will manifested likewise, nothwithstanding of its results and consequences and the same if we choose to see with our spirits /Adjuster within.

we do not know whether the prohets and gurus of old see and teaches these religions as we are today. it is made even more harder for modern man; surrounded by science and technology, another causes and light of temporal truth; to discern between the divine and the temporal; between the spiritual and the material reality. if the intelligent and science driven minds of mortal man of today is given the choice between the guidance of the spiritual/ divine and science/matreial, their choice is obvious; material body only finds and experience satisfaction in the likewise material and tangible materila substances.

the UB clearly stated the function of Science, philosophy and religion in the plan of uplifting these ascending mortal and ultimately their salvation unto Him. allow the extremes of any of these three to subjuget the mind, it will surely clouded our spiritual eyes to see and be intune with the eternal truth; creating a condition which says ' my truth is not your truth.' how could a man be perfect and perfection be demanded of him when he is put to live in an imperfect world. the UB again explained that surely our Universal Father is no experimenter and thus does not and never will contradict himself; for he is perfect. it is clearly told in TUB that Jesus was talking a about our perfection when in spirit form, never while in this cloth of flesh and bones. he even warn in the Bible that his teachings must be understood spiritually and not literally or temporally; even then, and still his Apostles, who eat and live with him failed to see; and what more for mortals of today whose creed is of complete freedom and self-liberty; of the mind and exitence. freedom of the minds and liberty of the souls gave rise to the birth of of new tools for the upliftment of these mortal creatures; but is unbridled liberty and complete freedom and unguided self-pride good and true? only those who believe in their continual existence after death and the existence of a perfect and loving being in the form of God, could see beyond this material veil; or else life and existence is nothing more than just a cosmic experimental biological accidents in the worlds of chaos and irregularity; but the revolutioinary path of the atoms and our solar system prove otherwise.

so how can i not believe, at least in my own light. nothing is wrong and nothing is right for everything is right and everything is wrong.


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Let me also tell you some thing in this context.

Recently I introduced the UB to two of my friends. One Hindu, living in Australia and the other devout Christian living in the US.

With due apologies to them, I am reproducing their initial response and my reply to them. I hope it may help us to understand this better.

First the Hindu friend's response:

Dear Mathew,

I have read your message. I am a free man and I have searched for the Truth. There is no religion as Hinduism. Its actual name is Sanatana Dharma (eternal religion). I have learned about all religions in this world and wrote summaries as well. I have love for everyone and all religious faiths. I have love for you as I love myself.

Religion is not just a bit of worship or following a way of life. It is more importantly everything in your life including your material knowledge because material is born from spirit.

Every religion teaches the fundamentals, but the Vedic philosophy is much beyond that. Your faith is good and I have no objections and I don't want to change it but my intention is to bring all together than saying, I am different than him!!!"

The Vedas teach all souls as part of the Supreme Spirit (God). The God is everything, the creator, maintainer and destroyer of all and everything. The God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. The Vedas teach you equal to all others. The Vedas foretell who all the religious preceptors are and the course of the world and what your identit is.

The Vedic texts predicts the purpose of religiosity. My intention is not to divide as Hindus, Christians, Muslims, of Buddhists teach, but to unite. Mind is the most difficult to control, but the mind understands right and wrong.

How can I be a friend if you say, "I am different, my God is different, my life is different and my relations are different?" Is that friendship real? Only Sanskrit can bring people together negating all their fictitious identities.

This is very essential in India now because of its vast population with no equanimity and fraternity. What is going to happen is the country may disintegrate very shortly according to the whims and fancies of some selfish leaders.

I never write anything against any religion or people. According to the Vedas, Bible is just an introduction to spirituality. What is told in the Bible is not wrong. Nevertheless, can you ask a master's student to attend a primary class? You will be astonished to see this vast difference. That is why I speak to those who are intelligent, although I know that there is none unintelligent than me.

The Hindu (Sanatana Dharma) religion is a closed door religion. Once you are out, you can't get in. If so, how can I call you a friend and the vice-versa? Internally you hate me, don't you? If the God is one and humanity is one, how why we keep this madness?

There are two philosophies in the Vedas-- the Vedic philosophy and the Vedanta. I speak only Vedanta because I am lower than a chandala and not a brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, or shudra. An introduction to Vedanta is the Bible. Are you not interested to know more about the message of Jesus?

Regards

Your friend.


My response to him:

My message was not about Bible. But something else, probably something which could have enlightened your currernt way of thought further. You are any way right. Once you have crossed the Ph D level of religious knowledge there is absolutely no need to go to class one. But I did not tell you about religion at all. But about a marvelous superhuman revelation.

I find this attitude among 99.999% people including those in my home. If a voluminous book about Hitler or Occultism or some other thing is given to a person, they are interested in atleast going through it out of curiosity. But if you say the book is some thing conncected with religion or spiritualism, a bit changed from their own prevailing conviction, no curiosity at all. Only fear. Fear of getting diverted from the already attained divine path.

Any way I do not want you change any of your beliefs, knowledge or convictions. I am not interested in getting people to my way of thinking as every man is a will creature of God capable of using his intellect for his purposes, good or bad or both.

I thought it fit to communicate to you a non religious book which I found truly admirable and which could substantially answer many of my curiosities.

A few of the most important thing I learnt from this book are:

1. Acquiring all the knowledge in this book and may be from all other sources do not give me any special status or privilege.
2. I used to think I knew better than many, but now I am convinced that my knowledge is too little or insignificant.
3. I am learning to love God and the ' Gift of God' that is inside all humans, and thereby leaning to shed hate, anger, anxiety and fear.
4. I am understanding that science, philosophy and religion as developed by human society and human mind cannot guage God and His Intellignece ( How can a creature judge his Creator unless the latter permits it?)

Please forget it if it appeared to you as a religious canvassing!

Yours with Love

Rajan


Now the response from the devout Christian from the US:

" Glad to hear from you after a long time. My emotions moved to amusement and then to shock as I finished the email, as you can well understand.

Well, that was then. I am over the shock now. But a lot of questions still linger. I hope you can help shed some light on some of my questions.

I hope you wont mind me having an email conversation with you about your new belief system. I acknowledge that I am as guilty as any one else in not finding the time to nourish our family ties and relationships. We don't talk to each other unless something grave has happened. Hopefully, this event will change that indifference.

I don't want to pretend that my motives in asking you these questions are purely academical or due to an inquisitive mind. I am earnestly hoping that my questions will spur in you some questioning of yourself. If that doesn't happen, at least your answers will provide me the satisfaction that you have made a thought out decision, even if I may not agree with that thought pattern.

So here are my initial questions:

1. What is your definition of God and why do you feel that you need to know Him or Love Him? In other words, cant we just forget all about this God stuff and live our own life? Acknowledging the existence of God doesn't necessitates that you need to have a relationship with Him. There are many folks who acknowledges that I exist, but don't really feel that they need to have some kind of relationship with me. Isnt it the same way with God?

2. From your writing in Truthbook, it appears that you have looked at Christianity with a very critical and logical eye. Have you given Urantia the same kind of critical look? Without the benefit of detailed information, it appears to me that you did not. Let me explain why I say that: Here is an example - the discrepancy that you have pointed out in the Bible about the Character of God in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament is one of the more easily explained theological questions in the Bible. Apparently you haven't heard that explanation or if you did, haven't believed that explanation. At the same time, you seem to be very unquestioning about some of the outrageous claims of Urantia. If you take the claims of Christianity and the claims of Urantia to an atheist, which one do you think will the atheist label as outrageous and unbelievable?

3. You said that you had difficulty accepting that Bible is the word of God, verbatim. What do you believe about Urantia?

4. Finally, what is it that you were missing in Christianity that led you to Urantia? I am not saying that you were not missing anything. On the contrary, I am sure that Christianity was meaningless and not fulfilling the way you have experienced it and witnessed it. If I were in you shoes, I may be looking for alternatives also. There must be something that you wanted out of Christianity which you did not get from the religious experience you had. What is that?

My intention is not to start a debate with you. As you well understand, this is a big step for you. You definitely don't want to be in the wrong. If I earnestly believe that you are taking a wrong step, I have a moral obligation to point that out, even if eventually it turns out that I was wrong.

Love and greetings to all of you.

To this I replied like this:

I am happy to read your rather detailed mail. Happy because atleast you find something so touchy that you became agitated to write this much to question my new found religion (?) and what not (?)

I am not surprised or agitated or angry. Rather right now I am smiling. Guess for what?

Now to make things clear, I have not found any new religion called urantia and joined it. I am a conventional traditional marthomite christian, church goer , church member and shall remain as such as far as my societal and religious affairs of this world are concerned. I do not want to change it and I am not dissatisfied with it. Not dissatisfied because christianity as it stands today is the best possible religion one can have and the scores of denominations it has are serving their individual members aspirations perhaps with exceptions here and there.

I am not a theologian. I would never prefer to be one. I would not ever dream even to make God a matter of study. ..........

Apostle Paul had written something like this in his epistles: ( its not verbatim) " If someone, even if he is an angel from the heavens, teaches you some other gospel than what we have taught you, he would be a cursed one from the church"

There are similar verses in the Quran. The fanatic muslims take refuge in that and kill others for safeguarding that instruction for the sake of their belief. Christians did that some centuries ago.

Upholding the religious belief or creed is very sacred for religious believers. That is good. I dont have any thing against it. But think about it, is it for this purpose that God has given you the intelligent mind? Are you going to be like the one who sealed his ' One talent' ?

Think about this- why did God create the celestials or angels? What do they do? Why did he create humans?

There are many such things. Iike many I too was skeptical about this book- the Urantia Book, initially. But now no more. The book is not a sacred religious book. Yet it tries to give some answers which we have been wondering all the time. You have to read it to know it. To be very frank, I have become religious and a firm believer of God and Jesus after I read the Urantia Book. In fact, Bible also became relevant for me after that."

Any way as I have written to you earlier, I would never be a theologian because I am no body to investigate God and make Him a study subject.

Love and Regards."

I hope these e-mail interactions interesting to note at least for some in this forum.

_________________
Rajan C Mathew, India.
Guide Us Father to Live according to Your Plans !
http://rajan-c-mathew.blogspot.in


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Bro. Rajan, i concur with you,

especially the, ' i am nobody to invetsigate God and make Him a study subject.'

study we never must and never be, but knowing and loving him; that we must.

TUB- the problem is not that we cannot find God because he has already found us, and in us, should i say; the problem is that we do not know God.

we simply could not like or love a person that we do not or cannot know. religions and belief system are just manifestations for the quest of man natural yearning for something eternal, true and complete. truth must grow and progress in accordance with the light and intelligence of the day; only eternal truth can remain fix and unchanged while mortal truth and knowlegde must cater for the needs and understanding / comprehension of this evolving mortals.

it doesn't matter whether we believe or not because it doesn't mean or change anything, which is temporalily real and true, that is.
these celestial beings as well as inspired prophets are giiven revelation and gave revelation because there is something more then this mortal mind assumed to be. religion won't mean anything if it is not lived; while service, charity and compassion towards fellow kind is the soul of any good religion, faith in some higher power ie.God is its capstone.

my two cents worth.


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Rajan -- thank you for sharing your correspondence -- it's most illuminating. I'm surprised, the reply you received from your Hindu friend is what I would have expected more from a Christian and vice versa -- I assumed greater curiosity and acceptance from a Hindu and a more critical attitude from a Christian. But, nevertheless, your emails exhibit what we've all come to experience when we offer our discovery to the scrutiny of those we love or respect.

There's a yearning in the souls of most humans, a yearning to know and a yearning to feel connected with something higher than the self. For many this yearning is easily satisfied simply by disregarding it as foolishness or by idolizing other humans and by accepting the creeds and dogmas that have satisfied throughout the past -- simplicity or keenness of intellect have no bearing here, it's just a matter of the quality that satisfies one's yearning. Those who aren't tempted to settle for less will continue to seek -- they may gravitate toward less traditional belief and religious systems; it takes a seeker for quality to discover The Urantia Book, and again, simplicity or keenness is irrelevant.

It appears that your Hindu friend is content in his beliefs and is not a seeker; he will probably not be open to discovering what you've discovered. Your Christian friend may be more open to new ideas; but nevertheless, the point is we never know who will accept the gift they've been offered and will take a more critical look to make an informed decision for themselves.

Best wishes,
Larry


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