Episode:Evolutionary Religion—Ghost Cults (Part 2)

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February 13, 2018 [Paper 87:2.4-3.5, p. 959]

It was a great advance in civilization when inheritance replaced the burning and burying of property; ancient funeral wastes were enormous. Modern man is not supposed to fear ghosts, but custom is strong, and much terrestrial wealth is still consumed on funeral rituals and death ceremonies.

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Keywords: Urantia, Religion, Ghost Fear, Superstition, Ancestor Worship


Summary by Kermit

Commentary on the Review

Through examination of the text in the transition from Paper 86 to Paper 87, we noticed that the revelators draw a strong parallel between the words “ghost” and “god”. Implying that our religious practices and traditions are not that far removed from those of the ancient ghost cults. Are these not more old wineskins into which we can pour the new revelation? Are not countless prayers offered every Sunday in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Our religious roots may begin in the fear soil of our animal-origin nature, but we are called to accept genuine sonship with our Heavenly Father.

A caller sparked our discussion of the difference between rational and logical. Rationality, derived from the 2nd Adjutant is below feelings on the 1st LoM, whereas, logic is far transcendent of feelings. Jesus reference to the peace which passes all human understanding is not understandable to rational thought. Yet this statement becomes logically self-evident in the realm of cosmic intuition.


87:2.4 Ghost Placation (cont.)

Mourning practices involving self-inflicted wounds invite a comparison with the wounds of Christ. Self-denial in many forms performed following death were common (noting that we are on the eve of lent in the Christian calendar). These present-day practices find a natural resonance with those of ancient times. But remember, genuine religion is unnatural. The ghost dream is as natural a phenomenon today as it was way back in these days and testifies to the complex nature of our mind endowment.

Stop to consider that mourning in these early days was not an expression of bereavement, but a fear-based ritual intended to placate the ghost. The long and frequent periods of non-productive and wasteful inactivity spent in mourning were significant enough to seriously hinder civilization’s advancement.

Reflecting on the evolutionary march toward advancing civilization, we find it slow and wasteful. But, recognize it is proceeding as ordained. Rather than view its meanderings as inherently in need of remedy, we are encouraged to rise up, vertically, to observe its achievements and leverage them in reinforcing the path to individual citizenship. Enhanced cosmic citizenship fosters improved earthly citizenship, thereby uplifting the entire evolutionary stream.

The evolutionary outworking of the fear-based customs of the ghost cults regarding the disposition of the dead took a toll on language development with prohibitions against speaking the name of the dead. No small quantities of assets and resources, both material and human were offered to the ghost at interment to induce rapid departure to ghostland. Stop to ponder that life for these ancients was so harsh that the spouses, slaves, and others sacrificed to accompany the ghost to the great beyond usually gave their lives willingly rather than anger the ghosts and suffer even harsher consequences by violating custom.

The ghosts were thought to need and use the ghosts of their favorite objects, resulting in enormous loss of these goods by burying or burning. Civilization advanced greatly when the inheritance of kin replaced this wasteful custom. The Iroquois became the most powerful of the red men as a result of their reforms in funeral waste. Later races began to think more abstractly and substituted pictorial representations and model facsimiles of the persons and property to be sacrificed. Modern man is not supposed to fear ghosts, but custom is strong and much terrestrial wealth is still consumed on funeral rituals and death ceremonies.


87:3. Ancestor Worship

Advances in the ghost cult led inevitably to ancestor worship. Here we see ghost dread giving way to reverence and veneration as the ancestors became a connecting link between run of the mill ghosts and higher spirits, the evolving gods. As we recall from Paper 85 departed leaders were often deified.

A good example of the creativity encompassed in the evolutionary process can be seen in the origins of child adoption. Done initially to ensure that someone would make offerings after death and provide for the peace and progress of the child's soul, such adoption eventually became a positive practice for higher reasons.

As with the deleterious influence of the inactivity and non-productiveness of protracted mourning practices, the feasts and ceremonies devoted to the ancient cults came to occupy half of their days, such that one Roman emperor attempted reform. Note today, the proliferation of special days and celebrations for the ever more numerous sub sets of human groupings.

The ghost cults continued to evolve, and ghosts were envisioned as advancing in the afterlife to the point of worshiping spirits and even gods. But all tribes and races once believed in ghosts.

Remember, the evolutionary pathway is ordained and therefor good. Don’t simply reject these primitive practices on their face, recognize the threads of truth in the old practices and beliefs and follow them up!


Notes by Brad

  • If you don't master your feelings, they will dominate and someday eventually overwhelm you.
    • You cannot build a place above feelings. You can supply favorable conditions to be grown into that space.
    • The good news? A small part of you was constructed by God, and given to you by grace. And that better you is is a true child of God. Enter the kingdom as a little child and master your feelings.
    • The fictional Vulcan thinks he can build a place above feelings. But instead they are repressing feelings, and then they come rushing back usually in some cleverly written episode.
    • The Vulcan is, more precisely, rational, not logical.
      • God is not ruled by feelings. God is not a big blob of fear and feelings. Neither is the true child of God.
      • The animal is ruled by feelings
    • Dare to defy popular convention. Dare to be Godlike, not animal-like.
    • And dare to do even better than be a true child of God (who can only master small amounts of emotion). Dare to be an adult of God!


  • The ghost dream is not to be despised. Just don't falsely exalt it.
    • It's actually a wonderful, brilliant way to work through death: playing out a very realistic scene on the stage of your mind. Much more direct than reading someone else's platitudes about death. Very immediate, even tactile.
    • How blessed are we? For God to have given us this sophisticated material mind energy system for our own use (albeit on loan)?


  • Ghost placation might even explain Christianity's obsession over the wounds Jesus suffered during his death.
    • Can you keep Jesus out of the ghost cult? And where he more properly belongs, outside of it as a revelation?
    • So, note the philosophic frame (wineskin) that endures long after we left the old notions (wine) behind around which it initially was built.
  • The words nonproductive and useless are linked to the word ritual here. Ouch.
  • When you unreflectively call some part of your life "religion," you've inadvertently existentialised it--preserved it--instead of remaining in dynamic conservation mode with respect to it.
  • You can't see ghosts. You can't see bacteria and viruses. Is your inordinate fear of bacteria contacting your children just repackaged ghost fear?
    • Remember: ghost simply means "that which terrifies you"
  • Why is there an emergency today? It isn't that were languishing in a primitive state. It's that we're showing pre-primitive signs, going all the way back to before the 1st epochal revelation.
  • Is your religion naturally derived? Then you can know it's false.


  • Does your family mumble a prayer at the dinner table, per tradition? Well, that's only natural--"mumbling magic formulas." Can you do better?
  • Does it seem silly to bury a drawing of a sword instead of the sword itself? Well, sure. But it sure is materially pragmatic.
  • Do you cover your mouth when you yawn to be polite? You're acting out something very old: keeping ghost from entering your body.
  • Are you scared of abandoned, haunted orphanages? Sure, who isn't! That's very old: adoption as a way of avoiding a malevolent ghost of a child who dies and wasn't given offerings.
    • But it's a grand conspiracy. In time adoption became a noble, tender, sentimental affair.
  • Do you want more and more national holidays, to honor many cultures? That's very old: the ancient Romans devoted over half the days of the year to some kind of ghost-cult-associated feast.
  • Believing in ghosts is inescapably natural.


  • Evolution naturally evolves the ghost cult to the God cult. But after that, it's up to us humans and our unnatural civilization and unnatural choices to take it higher. Hence the emergency. We need unnatural choices, and instead are willing ourselves back into a natural, pre-primitive estate.