Episode:Evolutionary Religion—Shamanism (Part 2)

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May 29, 2018 [Paper 90:2.9-3.10, p. 988]

In many ways and by devious methods the olden shamans established their reputations as voices of God and custodians of providence. But all through the long ages of evolutionary history, many true teachers have appeared to denounce and expose shamanism. And they will ever continue to appear to challenge the shamans or priests of any age who oppose general education and attempt to thwart scientific progress.

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Keywords: Urantia, Religion, Prophets, Shamanic Theories, Disease and Death



Summary by Kermit

Commentary on the Review

SoS shared reflections that modern day religious practices when viewed in light of the 5th ER are highly suggestive of shamanistic practices, e.g., professional mode of dress and mysterious conduct etc. But forget not that the sincerity of the devotee is not lost on God. There is a genuineness in the shadow of spirit cast into the minds of His children. So it is that evolution fosters our progress in spite of ourselves.

At some point the “in spite of ourselves” feature begins to wear thin and further progress demands personal choice for further attainment. The 5th ER calls us to transition from children of God progressing in spite of ourselves to adults of God progressing because of ourselves.


90:2.9

The reference to Tenskwatawa, prophet to the red man, spurred inquiries from two callers and a lengthy discussion about true prophets who according to the 5th ER appeared throughout history to denounce and expose shamanism. Prophets are mortals who are engaged directly by celestials or other superhuman beings for some usually undisclosed purpose pertaining to the whole. By validating the existence of true prophets the 5th ER authors have opened a proverbial can of worms which will provide generations to come with abundant material for speculation and conjecture.

As sincerity gave way to presumption, by hook or crook the shamans of old established themselves as voices of God and custodians of providence. The evolutionary process certainly accommodates the existence of religious pretenders, but hardly needs them. This brings up questions concerning modern day spiritual practitioners in their role as intermediaries and facilitators of spiritual growth for the individual. Today, reliance on a spiritual go between for religious progress and growth amounts to limiting yourself to the ignorance of others.

Shamans attained great prosperity in their tribes often holding greater wealth and influence than the chiefs or kings. Feared rather than loved the shaman represented advanced knowledge and wisdom. The veneration given to shamans does illustrate the premium primitives put on wisdom in the evolution of the race. All of which leaves us to wonder at the myriads of moderns who evince no thirst for knowledge and wisdom.


90:3. The Shamanic theory of Disease and Death

Not unlike today, the ancients’ immediate concern was their material environment, which they understood to be subject to the capricious control of the ghosts and spirits. Therefore in early man’s effort to control his environment he logically made attempts to gain the favor and support of the ghosts, spirits, and gods. More specifically man sought to prolong life and guarantee health. The shamans in their roles as medicine men and priests naturally did the work of doctors and surgeons. Only relatively recently do we have Jesus attempting to teach mankind that God is our spiritual father, not our material parent. Of course, his inadvertent supermaterial demonstrations and healings gave us much material over which we might stumble on the point.

The remainder of the section is given to primitive man’s explanations for death and disease. The author presents five theories of affliction which guided man in his attempt to diagnose and treat man’s ills.

The first idea to explain disease and death was the direct influence of spirits. Extreme fear of the disease causing ghost caused the primitives to isolate the afflicted without food or water. Yet even this seemingly uncaring approach did have a beneficial effect of preventing the spread of contagious conditions.

Violence and other seemingly obvious causes were early eliminated as the results of ghosts, but delayed healing and infections were still laid at the feet of the spirits.

Magic at the hands of enemies, e.g., bewitchment and the evil eye, were given much credit for affliction.

Sin, punishment for transgression of taboo still operates in the minds of reputedly civilized peoples as a cause for morbidity and mortality.

Man’s understanding of the material secrets of the interrelationship of cause and effect in the physical domains of energy, matter, and life has been a very slow acquirement. Science is thus breaking the fetters of ignorance that have held man’s mind captive for so long.

Again the lesson which should be increasingly obvious is that evolution is purposeful and unerringly achieves its end. It arouses man’s superstitious fear of the unknown which is the scaffolding for the God concept. With the aid of revelation, the evolutionary process leads to the destruction of this self-same scaffolding which is no longer necessary.


Notes by Brad

  • Modern day shamans?: Shrewd, clever, and farsighted?
    • Affectation has many flavors in the outer life...
    • The existence of deceptive humans is not a revelation--this is well known.
    • But under that affectation, reality still can work.
      • The inner life doesn't need priests. But if you do gravitate toward them, the whole will try to work with that as much as it can. But still, your growth will be limited and short circuited.
    • To the extent you rely on any external person for your religious experience, it is a boat anchor limiting your potential.
  • The shrewd priests don't want to foster your inner life. They're in conflict with the true outer life practitioners--the scientists.


  • For awhile we progress in spite of ourselves. But there comes a time when progress is predicated on choice.


  • Establish a given level of individuation, then socialize it. Synchronize with the unity of it.
    • And the repeat. Re-individuate anew throughout your life.


  • What is a genuine prophet?
    • Some prophets throughout history were true prophets, not so-called ones. Tenskwatawa was a true prophet.
    • A genuine prophet is being engaged by some supermaterial being. We don't know who or why, or the how (mechanics) of it.
    • How does this play out? Orders coming down from on high. From the ground level it sure looks arbitrary, even whimsical. But the orders come from on high, in view of the whole.
    • Often, in their stories there is no small degree of "in spite of themselves." Some of them struggled a lot in the outer life, or led outer lives we might deem abhorrent today.
  • Do you desire to be a prophet? To have others drawn toward you? Don't be so sure you want that.
    • "I'm special. The future of the planet hinges on me." What does that sound like?
    • No prophet is needed to salvage the outer life.
  • Avoid the old wineshin in these matters.
    • Maybe you don't have all the answers about these matters.
    • Avoid -isms, like... prophetism.
    • The revelation is helping us see how to question the nature of the ancient forms we are born into.


  • And prophecy isn't the same as someone using their true human potential to be farseeing.
    • Farseeing is possible in this life with events are playing out without much personality involved, as mind has a physics just like matter.
    • Wisdom, insight, and foresight. You don't need celestial engagement to have these.


  • Individuals that claim they are producing something--as an intermediate between us and some imagined reality--are not really producing anything.


  • There always needs to be leaders. And there's a realtivity to that statement. Even the foolish, childish leader can have a subtle positive influence on them.
    • Even when it's false or problematic, we seek leaders who appear to have knowledge and wisdom. The key in evolution is to get us to start looking... to be on a quest. There will be many false tangents in that quest.
    • But what happens when we don't even strive to seek knowledge and wisdom in our leaders? Are we modern? No we are primitive, even pre-primitive.


  • Is religion today focused on material affairs? You bet. Moving backward to these primitive conditions described in Section 7.
  • "Fancies of the spirits" is wordplay by the authors, spirits being regarded as "fancy ghosts" as studied earlier.
  • Could scientists become shamans again? You bet.


  • Natural causation for disease--not just for the body. The mind energy systems has a literal physics, too.