Episode:Melchizedek Gospel—Response in the Occident (Part 2)
The evolution of religious philosophy among the Hellenic and Hebrew peoples affords a contrastive illustration of cultural progress. In Greece, believing was subordinated to thinking; in Palestine, thinking was held subject to believing. In Palestine, human thought was priest-controlled and scripture-directed; in Greece, the almost complete absence of priests and scriptures resulted in a startling development in depth of thought.
Summary by Kermit
Commentary on Review
"With such diversity of religious thought today, how are we to go forward?"
Of the inner and outer sides of life today, the outer is based on the more or less reliable scientific advances of the past two centuries, while the inner lags behind in the self-centered religious desires for a God who hears our prayers and promises salvation after death. Thus the opportunity for the development of a living personal philosophy—the superadditive consequence of a sound science and true religion—is crippled. The inner life of religionists must be liberated from the focus of self to the worship of God that leads to service to our fellows in the outer life, if our civilization is to progress.
Can a book move us forward? All previous revelations to our world have come in the form of persons. The fifth epochal revelation (5th ER) has the potential to clarify one’s inner life, provided it is engaged as a revelation and not an affirmation of a particular world view. But for most individuals who aren’t “self-initiating”, new leaders are required. And while The Urantia Book (an outer life phenomena) can provide a solid anchor and reliable reference—a touchstone, it will not lead us into the future. Leaders with a relationship to truth in the inner life can lead us forward.
2. Greek Philosophic Thought
The Olympian religion of the Greeks was doomed to perish because it failed to promise salvation or quench the spiritual thirst of its believers. Lacking a priesthood to provide religious forms and inspire fear and awe in the hearts of its believers, this lightly regarded and superficial religion nearly vanished, leaving the Greeks without a national religion. Notwithstanding all the evils of priesthoods and priestcraft referred to elsewhere in the revelation, in this particular case we can see that priests do have an evolutionary value.
The oft cited 6th century B.C. revival of spiritual consciousness and new awakening to the recognition of monotheism occurred in the Levant and the Orient. It did not find its way to Europe or northern Africa. But the Greeks did participate in a magnificent intellectual advancement. Through the pursuit of philosophy and metaphysics, the Greeks turned from the quest of salvation to self-realization and self-understanding encompassed in the phrase “know thyself.” We speculate what would have happened had the Greeks not developed philosophy and science to compliment the contemporaneous religious achievements of the Hebrews. Without this contribution of the Greeks, the Christian theologians of later centuries would never have been able to develop their different ideas of God. The 6th century B.C. phenomenon witnessed a cosmic awakening, not just a spiritual awakening. The quickening of the logical acumen and moral discrimination added to spiritual insight i.e. all three cosmic intuitions provided for the philosophical recognition of monotheism.
Through rigorous philosophic discipline the Greeks attempted to reach a consciousness of security as a substitute for belief in survival, but failed. Only the more intelligent of the higher classes had the capacity for comprehending the new philosophy. We had an interesting discussion regarding the difference between nature and nurture, i.e. capacity (inherent) and education (external). Further that with the universal bestowal of Thought Adjusters, their ability to spiritualize the minds of those with diminished capacity must be seriously restricted.
Even though the philosophers disdained all forms of worship, they held loosely to a vague monotheism, on the basis of logic, giving little or no recognition to the Olympian gods and goddesses.
The Greeks’ attempted to reform their religion as artists rather than religionists, elevating its ideals, but failing to provide for fostering and conserving supreme values. While not overtly developing new religious ideas, the Greek philosophical pursuits did enable the recognition of something apart from matter—mind. This in turn enabled the development of ideas of God that were less material and anthropomorphic. For the first time in human history these Greeks are developing a true objective consciousness.
The complimentary nature of the evolution of Hellenic and Hebrew religious philosophy is noteworthy in elucidating the role of the function of the church as an institution in the shaping of cultural progress. Among the Hebrews, philosophic thinking was stifled by the controlling priests. Among the Greeks, the lack of a priesthood and sacred scriptures left the mind free, enabling a marked development in depth of thought. But such intellectual progress was not matched in the realm of personal religious experience. The strength of Christianity is derived from the contributions of Hebrew morality and Greek thought. Note how this synergistic interaction of the Greek cultivation of the first cosmic intuition (logical acumen), combined with the Hebrew development the second cosmic intuition (moral discrimination), to provide a pathway to access the third cosmic intuition (spiritual insight).
It was also mentioned that an important factor in the Greek intellectual advances consists in their development of humanity’s initial progress in scientific discovery. As we’ve said many times previously, true philosophy is the superadditive consequence of true science and true religion. Without a valid science and a true religion, a full and true philosophy is impossible to attain.
The individual evolutionary threads of the Hebrews and the Greeks each failed to grow on their own. Hebrew religion crystallized, and Greek thought was not comprehended by the average men of the day. The primitive religious desires of the common folk were for the promise of salvation and a God who could hear their prayers. This led the Greeks to exile the philosophers and persecute the remnants of the Salem cult, as they began their “terrible orgiastic plunge” into the follies of the mystery cults. As we are reminded, “No nation ever attained such heights of artistic philosophy in so short a time; none ever created such an advanced system of ethics practically without Deity and entirely devoid of the promise of human salvation; no nation ever plunged so quickly, deeply, and violently into such depths of intellectual stagnation, moral depravity, and spiritual poverty as these same Greek peoples when they flung themselves into the mad whirl of the mystery cults.” [98:2.11] As we will see in this weeks text, the mystery cults were founded upon a mystical story of a savior hero who is killed, and resurrects from the dead. The Christian story embodies the same theme without the orgies and blood rituals.
The revelators tell us elsewhere in [121:4] that the Greek philosophies were semi-religious. But they were above the common people and save for the Cynics, appealed to the strong and the wise, not the weak and the poor. Now, it is well and good preach of a God who comes “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives.” However the 5th ER is challenging us to move beyond coming to God as the weak and poor. Our revelation is waiting for those who put courage forward, stand upon solid ground and trust God, and take salvation for granted.
“Religions have long endured without philosophical support, but few philosophies, as such, have long persisted without some identification with religion. Philosophy is to religion as conception is to action. But the ideal human estate is that in which philosophy, religion, and science are welded into a meaningful unity by the conjoined action of wisdom, faith, and experience.” [98:2.12]