Episode:Evolutionary Religion—Sin and Atonement (Part 4)

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May 1, 2018 [Paper 89:5, p. 978]

Cannibalism was once well-nigh universal among the evolving races. While cannibalism is traditionally horrible to modern civilization, it was a part of the social and religious structure of primitive society. Cannibalism grew up through the urge of necessity and persisted because of the slavery of superstition and ignorance. It was a social, economic, religious, and military custom.

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Keywords: Urantia, Religion, Sacrament, Cannibalism, Blood Drinking



Summary by Kermit

Commentary on the Review

The first twenty minutes following the summary was given to responding to a caller’s inquiry concerning, among other things, the imperative for the existence of hell and the validation criteria of divine revelation. SoS responded with evolutionary explanations for the notions of hell and a challenge to verify purported revelatory truths through personal experiential testing and examination of the initial assumptions underlying one’s intellectual, philosophical, and religious viewpoints.

We talked about the distinctions between self-denial and self-control. Confusion between the two phenomena stem from limitations of viewing our human nature as a two-fold interaction between body and mind. Such confusion can be resolved when the third element of our nature, spirit is included in our consideration. Personal superimposition of spirit influence over mind thence over body makes the reformation of self-control a more positive movement than the potentially harmful process of self-denial.

Another caller occasioned a short discussion about the problems arising from the incorrect application of the words right and wrong, which signify a relation to genuine morality. Most often the appropriate words to use are correct and incorrect. So much of our difficulty stems from confounding material issues and religious impulses.


89:5. Sacrifices and Cannibalism

The revelators begin this section with the sentence, “Modern ideas of early cannibalism are entirely wrong.” One of modern civilization’s most firmly established taboos is against cannibalism. Keeping in mind the earlier discussion about right and wrong, we might recognize that applying current mores to ancient practices i.e., cannibalism, has moral implications for us. As horrible as cannibalism is regarded by modern civilization, we are being asked to take an objective view of the practice and recognize its meaningful place in the path of evolutionary progress toward higher civilization. At various times among different peoples cannibalism was a social, economic, religious, and military custom. More specifically we will see in cannibalism going forward the roots of religious ceremony, even the sacrament instituted by the Master himself.

In the revelation’s high level broad sweep across man’s history cannibalism is portrayed as a natural part of early man’s more system. Among the evolving races the eating of human flesh was well-nigh universal. Interestingly, among the pre-blended Andonites and among the Adamites and Nodites, cannibalism was not initially part of their customs, but it increasingly appeared with the admixture of these races with the Sangik races.

Originating from hunger, friendship, revenge, and religious ritual, man increasingly enjoyed the taste of human flesh to the point of habituation. It was sustained as a practice through manifold rationalization schemes. These various rationales for cannibalism underscored man’s increasing capacity for abstraction as well as his disregard for consistency of behavior or thought as evinced by the many contradictory narratives supporting the practice. Some groups ate only members of their own tribe to strengthen tribal solidarity, while at the same time eating enemies for revenge. In some groups aged parents sought to be eaten by their children, and other groups refrained from eating family members.

Our author presents seven influences responsible for the gradual decline in cannibalism. Initially a group sanctioned individual activity, cannibalism sometimes became a communal ceremony. As a religious ritual the frequency and quantity of flesh eating declined. Further decline was favored by restricting the parts or organs designated for consumption to those which were supposed to contain the soul or portions of the spirit. Later the cannibalistic guest lists were shortened to include only men, then the more elite of the tribe, the chiefs, priests, and shamans. Among the higher tribes cannibalism eventually became taboo, starting with the Planetary Prince’s staff in Dalamatia. Human sacrifice replaced cannibalism as those permitted to so indulge became restricted to superior spirits and the gods, with man allowed to eat but a small ceremonial bit, a sacrament. Finally animals came into general use as substitutes for sacrificial purposes.


Notes by Brad

  • Body, mind, and spirit, and the consequent spirit over mind, is the way to fine genuine self-control. Not just self denial.
    • Form is key in this. That's a large other topic.
    • In an analogous way to way the mind purposes the body, the spirit can purpose mind.
    • Move your hand in front of your face. How do it do this? Physics. But why? Maxwell's equation cannot answer that.
    • Mind superimposes form over the body. The form directs. It purposes.
    • Threefold nature! Open up to this.


  • Wrong is a strong word. When used in the 5th ER, take heed.
    • They're accusing we moderns of being wrong in our ideas of cannibalism. This is a strong indictment, invoking spirit!
    • Your thoughts above those primitives has nothing to do with morality.
    • Are the superstitious and primitive? YES. So they'll design a primitive more system. But that isn't morality.
    • They aren't the ones with the problem. You are the one failing to conform to the cosmos--to EVOLUTION. So you are the one who is wrong.
    • The primitive cannibals weren't wrong. They weren't immoral.
    • "Can I be a cannibal now?" Well, no. They were sincere. You wouldn't be if you did this today. Evolution has occurred.
    • A child of God will feel tension reading about cannibalism. A child of God will think in existential terms.


  • Morality is conformity with the cosmos. And the cosmos is an evolutionary fact.
    • Genuine morality is a subtle, difficult concept.
    • Separating morality from the more system? Difficult. Especially where sex is involved.


  • Why in the world would there be a natural affinity for the taste of human flesh? Perhaps it's because our mind is so linked to our body.


  • This writer reports that, based upon the above, he would read "Early man was a cannibal" quite differently. Not a harsh, judgey, tsk-tsk way. It's a matter of cosmic fact.
    • Plain old hunger seldom originated from hunger. Wow. Instead, it demonstrated a basic form of abstraction, or rationalization. "I must devise a convoluted scheme to make it OK to eat my friend."
    • Abstraction. Cannibalism begat abstraction.
    • Sacrament. Cannibalism begat sacrament.
    • And the unity consciousness--primitive spiritual consciousness--is mightily stirred by the idea of fusing another's ghost with your own ("fusion" is usually a special verb in the 5th ER.


  • Does your mind have pretensions about being consistent? If not, your material mind might be... well... savage.
    • So called-political discourse is filled with this.


  • Hansel and Gretl. Fe-fi-fo-fum. Children do recapitulate this.