Episode:Melchizedek Gospel—Response in the Occident (Part 1)
The Melchizedek teachings entered Europe along many routes, but chiefly they came by way of Egypt; much of the Salem doctrine was spread in Europe by the Jewish mercenary soldiers who fought in so many of the Occidental military struggles. The basic doctrines of Greek philosophy, Jewish theology, and Christian ethics were fundamentally repercussions of the earlier Melchizedek teachings.
Summary by Kermit
Commentary and extended discussion
The show rolled out somewhat differently from our usual format. We spent the first hour and twenty minutes in open discussion sparked by the following three sentences from the previous week’s text.
“It is difficult for religion to survive as the private practice of isolated individuals. This has ever been the error of the religious leaders: Seeing the evils of institutionalized religion, they seek to destroy the technique of group functioning. In place of destroying all ritual, they would do better to reform it.” [97:10.7]
The discussion covered a number of topics. I will not attempt to explicate the content of our discussion in this review. I recommend the eager student of the revelation and our show consult the archive recording for the content and flow of this discussion. Some of the topics touched upon were:
- Differences in requirements for creating satisfying social gatherings and religious gatherings.
- Different characteristics of types of gatherings of Urantia Book readers and the need for a better balance of social and spiritual components
- The Urantia Book as a philosophic text versus a sacred text
- The significance and implications of the dual aspects of genuine religious living, being the inner life with God (spiritual) and the external life among our fellows (love and service).
- The difference between sharing the inner life with God and sharing the inner life with goodness.
- The comparison of cosmic consciousness and spiritual consciousness and their implications for religious living
- Some implications of the statement, “I’m spiritual but not religious.”
- Basing an institutional religious phenomenon on The Urantia Book
- Genuine social justice as a natural consequence of sharing the inner life with God
Paper 98. The Melchizedek Teachings in the Occident
In our arc on the Melchizedek gospel, note that the teachings of Melchizedek were funneled into the Levant (including Egypt and Greece) from the near east, thence to the Occident, (Europe and the West). Thus the Melchizedek teachings entered Europe from Egypt after being Hellenized and later Christianized.
The purest form of the Melchizedek gospel in Europe was found among the Cynics, the Greek philosophy traced back to Diogenes. The Cynics were still functioning in Roman Europe in the first century after Christ, and their teachings of faith and trust in God were later incorporated into early Christianity. Interestingly, in Jesus’ Mediterranean tour, he was thought to be a priest of the Cynics following his counseling of a man who was attacking his wife in public.
Unfortunately, Machiventa’s prohibition of a professional priesthood and his warning against over-organization, was so interpreted by his missionaries as to prevent them from building up a great religious structure among the Greeks.
In terms of the timeline for this phase of the story of the spread of Melchizedek’s teachings, when the authors refer to pre-Hellenic Greece, they are referring to earlier historical times that are not precisely known. So called Hellenic times indicate more accurate historic dating and coincide with the fall of the Hebrew Northern Kingdom to the Assyrians (latter part of the 8th century B.C.). The preaching of the first Isaiah and the Jews going into exile are concurrent with the 6th century B.C. worldwide renaissance, including the Greek philosophic awakening.
The early influence of the Salem teachers was nearly destroyed by the so-called Aryan invasion, who brought their anthropomorphic god concepts that were similar to those carried to India. In Greece, this man god was known as Dyaus-Zeus. We recall that in India the same concept was known as Dyaus pitar. Zeus thus became the head of the whole Greek pantheon of subordinate gods. But for the retention of the concept of the overcontrol of Fate, the Greeks would have progressed from their henotheistic Olympian gods under the dominance of Zeus, to a true monotheism.
So we can see how the lack of a priesthood who might have focused the peoples consciousness upward, led to the Olympian pantheon of gods who were more human than divine. The more intelligent Greeks never took their gods or religion very seriously, neither fearing nor loving these god of their own creation.
The authors throw the Greeks a bone granting that their religion was helpful in portraying the universe governed by a deity group, but their morals, ethics, and philosophy advanced beyond their god concept and this imbalance between intellectual and spiritual growth was as hazardous as it had been in India.
Note that neither the Hebrews, nor the Greeks on their own were able to develop their evolutionary path into a comprehensive cosmic perspective. Yet, the combination of the contributions of each of their evolutionary threads formed a framework that could go forward in developing a budding advancing civilization.
With such diversity of thought today, how do we go forward?
Notes by Ann
- In my opinion, all students of The Urantia Book should listen to the first hour and 15 minutes of this episode, even if they never listen to any other episode.