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Well, I am sure she was a virgin when she and Joseph got married, but they were married for nine months before Jesus was conceived...? They were married in March, and Gabriel appeared to Mary in November - Jesus was born in August the next year.

I think this is one of those points where we can be of use. It is such a small concession, really, when you consider the fact that Jesus was truly human. If he was conceived of a virgin, it would somehow make him less human than the average person. This is one wonderful thing about the UBook - it reveals the human Jesus to us, and makes him so much more accessible. Only the UBook gives us this kind of insight into Jesus and his human life.

I have tried this logic on my sisters, but they are not very interested...

MaryJo


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(2093.3) 196:2.9 "Jesus led men to feel at home in the world; he delivered them from the slavery of taboo and taught them that the world was not fundamentally evil. He did not long to escape from his earthly life; he mastered a technique of acceptably doing the Father’s will while in the flesh. He attained an idealistic religious life in the very midst of a realistic world. Jesus did not share Paul’s pessimistic view of humankind. The Master looked upon men as the sons of God and foresaw a magnificent and eternal future for those who chose survival. He was not a moral skeptic; he viewed man positively, not negatively. He saw most men as weak rather than wicked, more distraught than depraved. But no matter what their status, they were all God’s children and his brethren."

This paragraph is very much the teachings of the catholic faith concerning mankind and our weaknesses and how we are taught to view our fellow humans. Not to look down on them but embrace them as children of God and show mercy and kindness. I believe the social justice view in catholic teaching hits home on this idea from the Urantia book "they were all God’s children and his brethren." Catholics strive to bring social justice to all of mankind and do as Christ would have done and think as Christ would have thought. It is not easy but that is the focus.

Also look at the praying style of the contemplatives such as St. John of the Cross, who viewed the use of physical religious trinkets as a distraction from focusing on Christ centered contemplation. In other words don't let the material world get in the way of traveling spiritually to God.


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I appreciate that you mention the social justice tradition of the Catholic faith, something which is missing in conservative Protestantism.

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Yoder777 wrote:
Transubstantiation really is a medieval way of explaining the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Why not, like the Urantia Book, just accept that Christ is truly present and leave it at that? And about mysticism, I can think of no greater mystical experience than consuming the body, soul, and divinity of Christ in the Eucharist. Again, I choose not to go into speculation about how that is possible. I simply leave that up to God.
maryjo606 wrote:
I am very pleased to see this topic here. I too, am a born-and-bred Catholic, raised in the Catholic faith through high school. I too, had - and still have - an aversion to the transubstantiation doctrine (it's the ICK! factor for me). However, I am so grateful for the truth about the remembrance supper as we learn it in TUB, and because of that, I feel much more comfortable taking communion on the rare occasions when I do go to Mass.
Hello Yoder, MaryJo,

It might be that I am more comfortable "explaining away" certain doctrines because they deal with the abstract-- for instance at this point, atonement is pure theology. But the eucharist, it's right there in front of you, and as the Church explained it to me, this is not a case of figurative language. The Church is very adamant that you accept the unleavened bread and wine as the ACTUAL body and blood of Christ. Yoder, I commend you for being able to mentally shelve this idea among all the other things that are "wrong on the surface." But, for me, when I am faced with a group of people insisting that no, no, this isn't just a medieval way of explaining things, no, this is no longer bread, this is truly body and blood, well.... that can be a turn off. It just seems like there's no wiggle room in the Church for this one.

maryjo606 wrote:
Unfortunately, my family know I am a UBer, and I feel their judgment of me when I attend Mass with them. I know Jesus welcomes me, so I can hold my head up with a clear conscience, but still there's a wall of misunderstanding there that I have yet to scale effectively.

These are the hardest sticking points as I see them: Mary worship (and all the associated beliefs about her), the transubstantiation, and the atonement doctrine
Amen, sister. I don't mean to offend either, but the emphasis on Mary really does seem to a non-engaged Catholic as borderline worship. The emphasis on the virgin birth being an appeal to the baser sentiments to bolster recruitment efforts and glorify mystical aspects having not much to do with the actual religion of Jesus. In other words, noise. Also, it may be unfortunate that your family judges you, but I bet in the end it will be a good thing that they know you read the UB.

maryjo606 wrote:
in the end, I consider myself a member of the (small c) catholic church - "catholic" meaning universal...NOT the (capital C) Catholic Church, which I consider to be basically a man-made, evolutionary religion. However, I often wonder whether the Catholic Church might just be the "river bed" through which the river of truth may someday flow...
I like your emphasis on the small-c catholic church. I had grown used to joking that I am a "recovering Catholic" but I might just adopt that more positive, inclusive mentality instead. :)

Thank you both,
- quil


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I believe that after the consecration, the bread and wine remain bread and wine. What matters is whether Christ is spiritually present in the sharing of the Eucharist. It's a mystical truth that cannot be defined or contained by human terms.

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What if we see Jesus not being offered up to appease the wrath of an angry God but as God in the flesh offering up himself to the world? That would get at the original meaning of atonement, which is at-one-ment or attunement.

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P437:5, 39:5.6 In the more advanced epochs of planetary evolution these seraphim are instrumental in supplanting the atonement idea by the concept of divine attunement as a philosophy of mortal survival.
http://urantiabook.org/newbook/ub/ppr03 ... l#P039_5_6

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Hi yoder,

Yes, I agree. This is what I would like to see...a simple tweaking of the "jealous God" atonement scenario to this more uplifting perspective (bolding is mine):

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188:5.9 The cross is that high symbol of sacred service, the devotion of one’s life to the welfare and salvation of one’s fellows. The cross is not the symbol of the sacrifice of the innocent Son of God in the place of guilty sinners and in order to appease the wrath of an offended God, but it does stand forever, on earth and throughout a vast universe, as a sacred symbol of the good bestowing themselves upon the evil and thereby saving them by this very devotion of love. The cross does stand as the token of the highest form of unselfish service, the supreme devotion of the full bestowal of a righteous life in the service of wholehearted ministry, even in death, the death of the cross. And the very sight of this great symbol of the bestowal life of Jesus truly inspires all of us to want to go and do likewise.


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188:4.7 Though it is hardly proper to speak of Jesus as a sacrificer, a ransomer, or a redeemer, it is wholly correct to refer to him as a savior. He forever made the way of salvation (survival) more clear and certain; he did better and more surely show the way of salvation for all the mortals of all the worlds of the universe of Nebadon.


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188:5.2 The cross forever shows that the attitude of Jesus toward sinners was neither condemnation nor condonation, but rather eternal and loving salvation. Jesus is truly a savior in the sense that his life and death do win men over to goodness and righteous survival. Jesus loves men so much that his love awakens the response of love in the human heart.


These truths really resonated with me when I first read the book. If people need to feel that Jesus sacrificed for us, they are not far wrong. But it was his sacrifice, not God's wrath, that made it all possible. It's our job to bring this new, good news to our churches, if that's where we feel called to serve...

MaryJo


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In the Catholic Church, I was taught that Jesus died for our sins, but I don't remember it being framed in such a way as to appease the Father's wrath. I think that Catholic theologians today are shying away from such language.

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http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mischedj/ca_lewisatone.html

Lewis had some insightful things to say about atonement.

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Yoder, I was taught the same thing...but the reason that he died for our sins all had to do with the idea that mankind is basically born bad with original sin on his soul. Jesus was needed to atone for the sins of Adam, that supposedly tainted every human being since the "fall." This idea also needs cleaning up. I no longer believe in original sin, or the fall of man...

And, I also see where the idea of the angry, vengeful God is nowhere near as prominent as it once was - both in Catholicism and in mainstream Christianity. Halleluia!!!

When I was a new reader of the UB, I once asked a priest (who was a UB reader) "What about the Immaculate Conception?" He said, "MaryJo, we are all immaculate conceptions." It immediately resonated as Truth...and that really helped me put Mary into perspective, too...

MaryJo


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Todd, that is a wonderful article you posted. THANKS!!!


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maryjo606 wrote:

When I was a new reader of the UB, I once asked a priest (who was a UB reader) "What about the Immaculate Conception?" He said, "MaryJo, we are all immaculate conceptions." It immediately resonated as Truth...and that really helped me put Mary into perspective, too...

MaryJo


I like it when clergymen aren't so hung up on the idea of original sin so that they can see our original innocence as well.

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maryjo606 wrote:
And, I also see where the idea of the angry, vengeful God is nowhere near as prominent as it once was - both in Catholicism and in mainstream Christianity. Halleluia!!!


If you read On the Incarnation by Athanasius, for example, you'll see that instead of arguing that Jesus was offered to appease the wrath of an angry God, Jesus willingly died so that in rising, he could conquer death for all humanity. The early Christians did not see Jesus' death and resurrection as two separate events. Rather, they saw the wages of sin as death and that, in order to restore life to sinful humanity, Jesus died and rose again.

It perhaps wasn't until the Reformation that Jesus' death was seen as having a special meaning apart from his resurrection. Protestants often say that Jesus only rose in order to prove that he had the power to die for our sins, which is really quite backward. Jesus died instead in order to demonstrate his power over death in the resurrection.

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An Anglican church recently moved near my apartment. They're one of those more conservative Anglican churches that broke off of the Episcopal church over its ordination of gays, etc. Since they practice open communion, I am thinking about paying them a visit. I basically see Anglican as another form of Catholic. I've long struggled with doctrines like papal infallibility and papal supremacy, so it's nice to know there's a form of Catholic that doesn't require belief in these doctrines. Anglicans are liturgical and sacramental, so I might feel at home there.

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That sounds promising...and right in your neighborhood, too!

Maryjo


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