Episode:Evolutionary Religion—Worship (Part 1)

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December 5, 2017 [Paper 85:0-1, p. 944]

Primitive religion had a biologic origin, a natural evolutionary development.  It was wholly intellectual—aside from moral associations and apart from all spiritual influences—and was entirely predicated on associational circumstances.  When religion once evolved beyond nature worship, it acquired roots of spirit origin but was nevertheless always conditioned by the social environment.

Listen to the broadcast

Keywords: Urantia, Religion, Reverence, Sacred Stones, Tree Spirits



Summary by Kermit

Commentary on the Review

Before sharing some reflections on our recently completed arc Jesus the Tutor we attempted to clarify some of the details involving the oft’ referenced hourglass analogy of the human mind. In light of the utility of this analogy and the frequency with which we refer to it, the serious student may want to revisit the archive for full details.

To understand the meaning of Jesus’ life on our world we must be mindful of the motivation of the Michael bestowal and the purpose of his life. He came to reveal the Father to his universe children and he purposed to live his life ever in conformity with the will of the Paradise Father. He was careful not to build up an overattractive and attention-consuming personal career as would lead to the veneration of his person rather than the truth of his teachings. This task was made more difficult inasmuch as his bestowal was performed without the benefit of the philosophic foundations of civilization achieved on an evolutionary world as the result of a Magisterial mission. Jesus’ bestowal was atypical. Thus he let himself be known by different appellations, as the Scribe of Damascus, the Jewish Tutor, etc. in his attempt to discourage the development of Jesusism--stories and traditions about him rather than highlighting the truth of his life and teachings. But alas, this is much of what comes down to us, and still constitutes a risk for students of the 5th ER.

We also responded to a caller’s question about the particulars of a mortal’s going to iniquity while in the flesh, such that there is no resurrection on the Mansion worlds. These details are to be found in the archive of the broadcast.


Paper 85—The Origins of Worship

The origins of primitive religion are to be found in biology—an evolutionary development, aside from moral associations and spiritual influences. We employed the hourglass analogy of the human mind in conjunction with the levels of meaning to illustrate this bottom up process. The foundation of primitive religion is fear. Examining descriptors of primitive religious states as anguish, dread, awe, and reverence, we see they are all derived from some flavor of fear. So it is that Jesus finds first century mankind topping out at reverence and declares that he would lead us up levels of meaning from reverence through recognition, realization, and appreciation to love.

It is important to note here that this material in the revelation is not presented to us that we might find amusement in the primitive ways of our ancient ancestors. To begin with, careful observation today of what passes for worship amongst the leading edge of the civilized peoples of the world is a just reverence for unity. This is where the 5th ER finds us. Keeping in mind the principle that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” we are encouraged to infer that these historical facts as they apply to mankind are actually to be taken personally as a map of our individual path of spiritual growth in the attainment of real religion and true worship.

Essentially, anything and everything early man could not comprehend, including himself, became an object of worship. Even today the inexplicable things of life are often referred to as “acts of God.”


85:1. Worship of Stones and Hills

The first objects worshiped were stones. This practice persists today. Hill worship followed stone worship. Meteoric stones held a particular fascination for the primitives. The author provides numerous examples of the various ways in which stones were employed in ritual and religious practice. Even so, simple mortals did not always identify Deity with their objects of worship. Many times these “sacred objects” were merely symbols of that which was worshiped.

Throughout this narrative we do notice that limited logical acumen was available to these ancients. Yet with all of our advances in the arts of civilization we still continues to embrace reverence of unity as the worship of God.


Notes by Brad

  • In the hourglass analogy, it's all mind energy in there. Below it is physical matter-energy. Above it is spirit.


  • One of the hallmarks of a philosophic quality is consistency. Foundational elements you start with as you read any paragraph of any text anywhere.


  • In truth Paper 85 is "The Origins of Worship." But in fact this paper appears to be "The Nature of Exalted Fear."
    • 0th level of meaning: fear
    • 1st level of meaning: fear exalted becomes anguish (individuality), dread (unity)
    • 2nd level of meaning: fear further exalted become awe (individuality), reverence (unity). Reverence is new and improved fear.
  • See [149:6] "The Fear of the Lord" for more on this.


  • Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.
    • Each of us starts with pure fear. The world tells we are "worshiping" when we actually are "reverencing" so often.
    • We all stand on the shoulders of giants, but don't take that too far. We all have a journey to take.
    • Don't be content.
    • Be courageous and independent. In your own inner domain, find God. Not theories about God. Not fancy feelings about God.
    • Don't let the upper domain inadvertently wreak havoc on your life. Don't allow a false framework to be established in it, a framework predicated on fears.
    • Don't let false junk be dragged into your upper domain of mind. Once there, it will affect (pollute) everything in the outer life you see.
    • So this paper is also something of the history of you. Can you lift yourself out of the lowly estate described in this paper? Can you be discontented with old-time religion? With mere reverence?


  • This author remembers feelings of awe and reverence in his back yard in his young ages, say 7, 8, and 9. The creek was not a scientific object, it had something of an awesome "aura" about it. I understood very little about it. My parents helped me.
    • To say nothing of the supposed "meteorite" (iron concretion) in his grandmother's yard, placed in a central place. Years later, as a geologist he cracked it open and found the facts did not support a meteorite.
  • The reverence of unity is not the worship of God.
  • Worshiping a stone? It's an OK beginning. It isn't bad. But it's only a beginning.
  • Reverence and veneration are nearly synonyms, just slightly different emphases. Reverence is exalted fear, for sure. Veneration (from "Venus") at least is about a celestial object, which is more evolved.
  • Do you have false illusions of continued success? [160:4.14] Do you think you've achieved full-on, unadulterated worship? Hmm. Quite likely not. But never be satisfied in any case. Transcendence never ends.