Episode:Evolutionary Religion—Early Evolution (Part 2)

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January 9, 2018 [Paper 86:2.3-3.4, p. 951]

Man naturally tends to believe that which he deems best for him, that which is in his immediate or remote interest; self-interest largely obscures logic. The difference between the minds of savage and civilized men is more one of content than of nature, of degree rather than of quality.

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Keywords: Urantia, Religion, Supernatural, Animism, Death


Summary by Kermit

Commentary on the Review

We further pursued the revelators’ statements about anxiety being a natural state of the savage mind, and likewise present-day men and women. Elsewhere in the revelation, we are enjoined to abandon anxiety due to its distorting effect on our minds. So much for the exaltation of all things “natural” in today’s popular culture. The point of our discussion was to emphasize our need to respond to the trials of existence, the so-called negative circumstances of life by doing something “unnatural.” Self-mastery demands transmuting the fear stimulus of anxiety into focus, thereby changing a negative actuality into a positive potentiality as illustrated in Rodan’s observations of Jesus’ practice of worship as a favorable technique of successfully meeting the problems of living in partnership with divinity. Religion is not a refuge for the fearful, nor a panacea for the slings and arrows of evolutionary life. It is to provide an eternal anchor point from which you can take control of the temporal you, top down.

We attempted provide some clarification to the statement “Pain and suffering are essential to progressive evolution.” That is not to say that pain and suffering are prerequisites in the way tribulation is a prerequisite to wisdom. It is the tension of the potential of pain and suffering that demands dynamic action to prevent. Thus we have the challenge of the 5th ER to answer the call to traverse the path from being a child of God to become an adult of God.


86:2.3 (The Personification of Chance cont.)

The characteristics of the primitive and savage are not far removed from the present-day humans. The difference between the minds of savage and civilized men is more one of content than of nature. The savage is encircuited in the Holy Spirit but lacks the ideational content to achieve much insight. So it is that as we peruse the narration of early evolution of religion we are actually looking in a mirror and being challenged to recognize our state of nature, embrace it and supply the favorable conditions for being grown to the stature of cosmic citizens. Man’s self-interest largely obscured his innate logic.

We note that in paragraph five of this section the revelators subtly take religionists to task for ever ascribing things difficult of comprehension to supernatural causes (magic man). They subsequently poke the scientist for being lazy in failing to penetrate the same puzzling phenomena and invoking chance and luck for their explanation (magic matter). We pointed out that today many of our very complex scientific and mathematical rationalizations for universe phenomena are based on a reality utterly devoid of logic. Only when man’s efforts at observation and reflection begin to disclose a world of cause and effect (logical) can he replace the fear of existence with the joy of living.

The savage saw all nature as alive (animistic) but not necessarily minded, simply alive. Other concepts of the supernatural also led to worship. Interestingly, naturalism arose as a reaction to supernaturalism, thus naturalism can be considered as the offspring of primitive religion.


86:3. Death—The Inexplicable

It was the shock of death and not the sanctity of life that inspired fear and thus religion in savage peoples. The phenomenon of life was taken for granted. Death was mysterious, particularly non-violent death. Death was regarded as a visitation, violence being the primary visitation. One might infer efforts to prevent violent death (peacemaking) as an initial attempt to attain immortality.

The visitations of disease and natural death were laid at the door of spirit influence. Extant today among civilized races the origins of death are attributed to “the enemy.” More complex systems of theology gave us the doctrines of original sin and the fall of man. The realization of man’s helplessness in the face of the forces of nature and the recognition of human weakness before the visitations of sickness and death that impelled the savage to seek help from the supermaterial world, which he vaguely visualized as the source of these mysterious vicissitudes of life.


Notes by Brad

  • Are you anxious? Try true worship [160:1.12]. Not that it's easy to achieve, but it's something to strive for. It can help you master yourself.
    • But this isn't escapism from the lower domain of mind. It's facing it and mastering it.
  • A 4-year old toddler also makes cause-and-effect errors in judgment, just like the savage, out of ignorance. Let's all try to do better than toddlers.
  • The tendency to ascribe everything to a grand, shadow conspiracy? That's primitive. The conspiracy is reality. Even Lucifer made this mistake.
  • Are you startled to see yourself, like in a mirror, in [86:2.3]? To be called a savage? Then don't be satisfied with your natural state.
    • Be courageous and independent. Avoid ideology and just nodding along--"poor man's unity" (which actually is uniformity).


  • Are you courageous? Spirit is a double-edged sword--creativity and destructivity.
    • Many people lumber on playing video games and eating corn puffs in ignorance all life.
    • Before you start willing--wielding spirit--it would be good to have some wisdom. God the Mother is the way by which we slowly obtain this experientially.
    • The Lucifer rebellion said you don't need wisdom for this. Said you just innately have wisdom.
    • The emergency today is people with some genuine spiritual will who are unwisely wielding spirit and destroying things.


  • There is no such thing as magic. The universe is wholly logical, despite what quantum physicists proclaim in ignorance or indolence these days
    • "chance is the fundamental nature of reality," they take as an unassailable assumption


  • Animism is "everything is alive", not so much "everything is minded." Primitive man was not so sophisticated and abstract in thinking.