Episode:Evolutionary Religion—Sin and Atonement (Part 3)

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April 24, 2018 [Paper 89:4, p. 977]

Early in the evolution of religion, there existed two conceptions of sacrifice: the idea of gift sacrifice, which connoted the attitude of thanksgiving; and the idea of debt sacrifice, which embraced the notion of redemption. But in either case, primitive man gauged the value of his sacrifice by the pain which he suffered; no offering was contemplated which was not productive of pain.

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Keywords: Urantia, Religion, Sacrifice, Original Sin, Atonement



Summary by Kermit

Commentary on the Review

We pursued the issue of the current day religionists’ perception of separation from God and an overemphasis on our partiality and so-called sinful nature. Worship practices which have their roots in the renunciation, humiliation, and self-denial of the ancients are observable today in efforts to “die to the self” and a rejection of things material. The major problem with this path is that it does not lead toward self-control, but instead to the identification of material things being bad and spiritual things being good. The self-aware self in actuality is the meaning-interface between the inner life discovery of values and the external world of things.

We re-read the final two paragraphs of section three, Renunciation and Humiliation. The ancient continence cult of which the Apostle Paul was devotee has continued to adversely influence many of the world’s great religions, none more markedly than Christianity, notwithstanding Paul’s admission that his statements deriding women and marriage were his personal beliefs and not part of Jesus’ gospel. The consequences of following Paul’s recommendations in these matters are patently obvious, the elimination of marriage and the home, and of course the end of the human race. The author ends the section encouraging self-control as a better approach to behavior regulation than extreme self-denial.


89:4. Origins of Sacrifice

To begin with think of sacrifice as a sacred act rather than the idea of the loss of something valuable. The worship impulse of the sixth adjutant led directly to the savages’ acts of sacrifice, the value of which was measured by the degree of pain he endured. Two conceptions of sacrifice early emerged, the gift sacrifice connoting thanksgiving and the debt sacrifice involving redemption. Even today it can be argued the tendency of humans is to feel a need for redemption more acutely than a spirit of thanksgiving. And even in thanksgiving the emphasis tends to be focused on material issues instead of the gratitude for the infinite potentiality of an ascending cosmic citizen. Religious evolution witnessed the replacement of older methods of controlling and compelling the spirits, ghosts, and gods with more nuanced coaxing, cajoling, and persuading.

The traditions of the Planetary Prince and Adam filtering down through time gave rise to the concepts of sin and original sin. Sacrifice for individual sin evolved into sacrifice for the atonement of racial sin. Thus, was every individual entering the world in serious debt to the spirits.

Renunciation represents a negative form of propitiation and sacrifice a positive form. The modern forms of worship including praise, glorification, flattery, and entertainment are remnants of positive propitiation. Is this not a far cry from the declaration of the 5th ER that man’s choicest gift to God is the dedication of his will to the doing of God’s will?

Man evinced some degree of genuine material pragmatism, hence budding cosmic consciousness, when he stopped sacrificing the best of everything. Although the author’s enumeration and itemization of the sacrifices of an Egyptian ruler testifies to the zeal of the sixth adjutant. Necessity eventually forced the ancients to consume the material part of their sacrifices, foreshadowing the modern communion service.


Notes by Brad

  • More on mortification. Self-regard, etc.
    • "Dying to self" and other such terms religionists use in an extreme form.
    • But if you do these things, you actually cannot achieve self-control, much less self-mastery. For self-mastery, a self is required!
    • Perforce we serve two masters in this life.
    • But also, seek first the inner life. It isn't about the animal-origin self.
    • If your inner life is just feelings about the outer life, you'll be deceived. It will seem mortification, self-denial is called for.
    • And again we say the value is in the potentiality, not the actuality. Don't look for value in the actuality of the material self.
    • Don't kill or "mortify" your material self. Transcend yourself.
    • And avoid the problematic, primitive language. Avoid more and more rationalization schemes on the olden primitive concepts.
      • This is why the revelators review history for us. To point out the baggage, the old wineskins. The same old room, repainted over and over again.
    • Can you be born again in a true sense?
      • While avoiding denigrating those who are still in the evolutionary mainstream? This revelation need not be for them.
    • Don't try to build your better self. Plant your feet in the cosmos, and the self will be grown.


  • Concerning turning inward to find the religion of the spirit, don't be deceived and mistake "fancy mind" for spirit.


  • Being humble does not mean you have to be humiliated. Sure, the etymologies could be similar. But just know that humiliation is not necessary.
    • The antidote to pride is humility, not humiliation.


  • Why is "self-containment" (continence) so problematic long term?
    • Well, The self is an associating mechanism. Isolation sounds like a recipe for disaster.
    • The solution isn't "no association," its "better association." For that, you need wisdom, borne of tribulation.
    • Sexual desire may be beyond animal control, but not beyond human control. [34:7] for more on this.


  • Don't worry. A 17-yer-old will use their budding spiritual consciousness as an error and evil detector.
    • Step 1: Improve the way I think about Paul of Tarsus. Not to improve the way someone else thinks of him. Fix yourself.


  • Why is extreme self-denial unreasonable (without reason)? Because in this life perforce you serve two masters. You cannot wish the self away.
    • "We should outlaw liberty, because it always leads to license. We should outlaws food because it leads to gluttony."
      • Only if you're an animal. Philosophic materialism demands this reduction in status.
      • And don't think that the world finds these ideas absurd. They are proposed constantly.


  • What does sacrifice mean? "Sacred doing." ("facere," to do)
    • So at least sacrifice is doing something, not just being something.
    • But the 5th ER tells us that all of these motions i the outer life have nothing to do with true religion.
    • SO sacrifice isn't about losing something. It's doing. There may also be loss (even in the secular "he sacrificed his job ambition for his family"), but first it's about doing.
  • What about thanksgiving?
    • If your definition of this is about food on the table (outer life, material concerns), you've short circuited your attempt to move from worship, to thanksgiving, to worship.
    • Thanksgiving is thankful for that indellible presence of infinite positive potential.
    • But don't try to fake it. That's just repression. You must be grown into this. Transcend, don't repress. Don't be a Vulcan about this.


  • Sacrifice is an evolution in that it's less about control of the gods, more like coaxing the gods.
    • Propitation is about God being inclined in your favor. Not about exorcising a god--controlling it.
    • Conciliation is about an influence working with you, bound to you. A sort of cooperation.


  • When it comes right down to it "philosophizing" is "thinking truth." Which is.... worship. This is why worship is taught far off in our ascendant careers.