Episode:Evolutionary Religion—Ghost Cults (Part 1)

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February 6, 2018 [Paper 87:0.1-2.3, p. 958]

Man has had a long and bitter struggle with the ghost cult, living in abject slavery to ghost-spirit fear. Early religious rites were designed to avoid, expel, or coerce ghosts. But with the birth of this very fear mankind started on the upgrade of religious evolution, and we will eventually arrive at the concept of a true Deity—a real God.

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Keywords: Urantia, Religion, Ghost Fear, Death Ceremonies, Funeral Rituals



Summary by Kermit

Commentary on the Review

Modern man is very confused about his inner and outer life. The ubiquity of philosophical materialism fosters the practice of turning one’s self inside out in the pursuit of ideals, such that they are erroneously believed to be characterized by material manifestation in the outer life (material idealism). Philosophical materialism therefore ends up denying an inner life. To be clear the materialism referred to here is not to be confused with an emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations. Materialism is the philosophic view that the universe is composed of one substance, matter. Add to this a natural bias towards spiritual consciousness plus the energetic urges of the sixth adjutant and the inner life naturally becomes focused on feelings about the outer life, rather than a quest for God, and inner life activity. Keep in mind the admonition that it is your thoughts not your feelings that lead you Godward. Lest you become too enamored of your thoughts, further remember that the mind is not the seat of the spiritual but the gateway thereto. Turning yourself inside out moves you away from the potential for spiritual insight. The 5th ER is powerless to remedy this confusion when it continues to be poured into and served from old wineskins. We are masters of and responsible for our wineskins (philosophic frame). The revelation is dependent on our being true vessels.

A caller inquired concerning how to avoid this inner outer life confusion around the issue of loving service. In response, those who would serve their fellows are encouraged to begin small. Examining the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it, we are reminded that he learned the art of loving service first with his family, then moved outward in his service activities. The inner and outer aspects of life reciprocate one with the other. Sincere humble efforts to serve are rewarded with acquired wisdom and inner growth. Observe how with the progressive conquest of the psychic circles individuals manifest a more harmonious balance between the inner and outer life.


Paper 87 The Ghost Cults

We now take a closer look at the ghost-spirit world introduced in the previous paper. This is not simply history, but a reminder that man has made little progress in the development of genuine religion. As long as the foundations of religion as it is practiced on our world so largely consist in fear based responses to our environment the 5th ER’s full impact on man’s progress must await the discovery of the personal living philosophy in the spiritualized minds of courageous and independent cosmic thinkers.

The ghost cult practices had little to do with recognition of Deity. They were defensive measures aimed at avoiding, expelling or coercing ghosts. Their fear of death was more a fear of the dead, the ghosts resulting therefrom. But as we read, this fear marked an upgrade of man’s religious evolution. “Human imagination cast off from the shores of self and will not again find anchor until it arrive at the concept of a true Deity, a real God.” How ironic that our quest for a God of love is initiated through the mechanism of fear, by design. The developmental path toward genuine religion is ordained and must be tread by each individual as well as by the collective.


87:1. Ghost Fear

Death meant another ghost was liberated from it physical body and thus free to torment the living. Early man devised numerous measures for inducing the ghost to depart for deadland posthaste. The ghost homeland represented a vague and primitive concept of pseudo heaven, an augmentation of the dream world. Present day religion still maintains a focus on self in the measures devised for ensuring one’s salvation.

Interestingly, ghosts were thought to have supernatural powers but not supernatural intelligence, hence the puerile practices crafted to confuse and hoodwink them. Even today an outward show of piety is hoped to deceive even an omniscient Deity.

This recital of the earliest religious practices and traditions of the ancients, and the fact that they persist in many forms today should cause us to humbly recognize the evolutionary conceptual framework into which we are born. The revelation is showing us the horizontal plane of our existence. A positive response to this recognition is found in the cultivation of a philosophic life. Our task as students of the 5th ER is not to change the evolutionary stream in some horizontal fashion, but to move up vertically into the rarely explored territory of cosmic consciousness.

Do not let yourself to be discomfited by the recognition that so much of what we initially consider religious turns out to rest on these primitive and fearful foundations. Commence to develop reflective contemplation and you will be grown.


87:2. Ghost Placation

Ghost placation long preceded spirit coercion and supplication (prayer). Man’s initial religious posture was defensive aimed at securing insurance against bad luck. Rituals and traditions around dealing with the dead initially focused on efforts to induce the ghost to depart as quickly as possible.

Reflect on how these passages read when substituting the word God for ghost.


Notes by Brad

  • Philosophic materialism necessarily denies the existence of a true inner life.
    • Material idealism is false. It's predicated on philosophic materialism.
    • Materialism isn't consumerism, wealth, etc. Those are developmental steps of our material-comfort era. Philosophic materialism is far more corrosive.
  • Unmastered feelings defining you will get you turned inside out and fixated on matter and outer life matters.
    • It's your thoughts, not your feelings, that lead you Godward.
    • Are your feelings your nucleus? You are your own nucleus instead of God.
    • Stop turning yourself inside out!
  • Want to help people in the world? Start small. Start with your family, for example.
    • Can you be a truly positive influence in your family, not just a contributor to a family soap opera worthy of the 8th grade schoolyard?
    • The whole point of being spiritual isn't for your own gain or returns. It's for the universe. Can you be selfless and humble?


  • The authors continue the insurance analogy in [Paper 87].
    • Could this be playing off the early arising of the profit motive, which is something we should not despite. It's part of evolution.
    • Insurance and investment are not so different in the material world.
  • Why are they doubling back and focusing an entire paper on ghost cults? Gee, isn't this all in the past?
    • Well, as usual, there must be something about this "past" stuff that still is affecting us, most likely unconsciously, is affecting us today.


  • Early on, it isn't fear of death, but fear of the dead!
    • Worth reflecting to see if you have some of this going on in your life, too.


  • Have you truly "cast off from the shores of self," or is your so-called religious experience self-centered? For example, is it all about your salvation and your feelings?
    • And even if your civilization were in some advanced state, your individual development still has to go through this "cast off from the shores" phase.


  • The root of pity is piety. Keep that in mind as you read the intro to Paper 87.


  • This paper isn't just empty history. Read it that way, and miss the truth flowing through it. First be a truth seeker, not a fact finder.
  • A lot of people try to cast off from the shores of self by helping others in the outer life.
    • But is it true altruism? Or is it more about yourself, building up mercy credits?
    • How do you know the difference? Well, don't count on prayer--that's self reminding. Aspire to worship--self-forgetting.
    • And be okay with failing at this as you start slow at trying. You have to be grown through tribulation.
    • And the "incessant clamoring of self for recognition" is not evil, is not of the devil. It was put there by God, by design, for a purpose.


  • Don't just think about the contents. Think about the framework.
    • That's reflective thinking.
    • That's considering the predicate of your thoughts instead of just your thoughts.
    • That's responding to the 7th adjutant, the philosophic urge.


  • This writer notes old wineskins in his thinking. At his father's funeral, he knew ghosts weren't watching, he knew God didn't care about the quality of his "mourning costume." But he remembers thinking, "Won't my father be pleased at my mourning when he looks it up in the archives on the mansion world?" Hmm.
    • And it's okay to be a tadpole. God designed us to naturally have thoughts like this.
    • But can you stay hungry and thirsty, my friends? Start here, perhaps yes, but don't end here.
  • Instead of a ghost cult today, we have a God cult. People don't buy (tithe) ghost insurance these days, but God insurance. But it's in truth the same primitive phenomena in play.
    • It's fear-based. It's dread.
    • And do you see televangelists--religious leaders--further ingraining this today? Sure. But it's evolutionary. Don't fret about it. Can you, as in individual stand on your own two feet, apart from that?


  • Subtle pun in [87:2.2]: The opposite of lay is suggested to be delay. Not exactly obvious 2-drink-minimum lounge humor. It's humor for a reflective reader.
  • Do our funeral services and hymnals today still show the old wineskin of instructing the ghost how to get to deadland?