Episode:Religion in Depth—Real Nature (Part 2)

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January 31, 2017 (Paper 101:2)

Reason is the proof of science, faith the proof of religion, logic the proof of philosophy, but revelation is validated only by human experience. Science yields knowledge; religion yields happiness; philosophy yields unity; revelation confirms the experiential harmony of this triune approach to universal reality.


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Summary by Kermit

Commentary on Review

Prior to our evening’s reading we contrasted the three-fold progression of religion being faith, trust, and assurance with its antithetical triplet designating what passes for religion today: assent, credulity, and authority. We stressed that the quest for genuine experience with true religion is not simply an extension or enhancement of these three qualities of second-hand religion. Rather are we to set out on this adventure with the grace faith experience of a child of God, grown into trust through the cultivation and practice of the favorable conditions of which we’ve spoken at length. Upon this experientially acquired trust then can be secured an assurance of divine fellowship.

101:2. The Fact of Religion

In the previous section “True Religion” we are presented with religion in its holistic relation to the three-fold actualities, science, philosophy, religion, or matter, mind, and spirit. This section focuses on the fact of religion in the context of the whole.

The fact of religion consisting wholly in the religious experience of rational and average human beings, is a departure from the perception that religious thought and experience are often associated with atypical or unusual behavior. The foundation of genuine religion is a universal endowment by grace in each of God’s children. Here we are introduced to the role of revelation in the synthesis of science and religion into a logical universe philosophy, and how this synthesis contributes a harmony of mind and a satisfaction of spirit providing experiential answers to our questions regarding how the infinite works out his will and plans in matter, with minds, and on spirit. In this light it is evident that there is no true religion outside of the context of true philosophy. We invoked the spherical analogy of the fullness of philosophy (wisdom) explaining the lower and upper hemisphere contributions of evolutionary thought and revelation respectively. Without revelation, achieving unity in the comprehension of the reality and relationships of matter and spirit by the mediation of mind is beyond the grasp of mortals. As our author states, "...true revelation never renders science unnatural, religion unreasonable, or philosophy illogical."

Reason applied in the domain of science leads back through nature to a First Cause. However, religious faith is required to transform the First Cause of science into a God of salvation, and the validation of this faith (spiritual insight) comes with revelation. But, how is revelation validated? The key to such validation is found in the cultivation of an objective perspective in the place of subjective belief. We depend on insight to discriminate between faith and belief. Genuine faith is part of a triunity, which includes reason and logic. In this context beliefs, to be true, must be predicated on objective reality not subjective desires.

Two basic reasons for believing in a God who fosters human survival include the personal assurance initiated by the indwelling Thought Adjuster (TA) and the revelation of truth as delivered by personal ministry of the Spirit of Truth (SoT), bestowal of divine Sons, or the written word. Avoid the credulous acceptance of apparent revelation until you have made concerted unsuccessful attempts to refute it using your innate intuitive gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Our author continues the discussion of how the activities of science lead to postulating the existence of an Absolute, and the practice of religion fosters an unreserved belief in a God of personality survival. And how revelation affirms that the First Cause and God of salvation are one and the same Deity. Our subsequent discussion concerning the terms Deity and God (who is personalized Deity) cast light on why the revelation is to be understood as a philosophic text rather than a sacred text.

Upon further exploration of the triune approach to comprehending reality we are told: Science yields knowledge, religion yields happiness, philosophy yields unity, and revelation confirms the experiential harmony of this triune approach. We were reminded of our reading in [100:4.3] where we were told of health and sanity man understands much, but of happiness he has truly realized very little. So much for the current state of man’s acquirement of genuine religion.

The revelators address the issue of God in nature and clarify that a religionist who finds God in nature, has already first found the same personal God in his own soul. Contemplation of nature does logically point to the functioning of intelligence and even supervision, but not a personal God. Yet nothing in the study of nature precludes viewing the universe as the handiwork of the God of religion. Interesting to note that philosophic materialists who deny the existence of a creator, must, in their mechanistic musings invoke the equivalent of magic to explain both universe origins and ongoing universe phenomena.

The periodic nature of epochal revelation is well described in The Urantia Book. The continuous nature of personal revelation is described in the functioning of the ministries of the Father in the Thought Adjuster, the Son through the Spirit of Truth, and the Universe Spirit’s Holy Spirit, all of which are unified in human experiential evolution as the ministry of the Supreme.

In our discussion we expanded the description of the ministries of the Father, Son, and Spirit to The Spirit of Goodness, The Spirit of Truth, and The Spirit of Fact respectively. Listen to the archive to see how we did that.

In the second to last paragraph of our reading the author takes another opportunity to distinguish between true religion and its counterfeit, the so-called religion of intellectual assent to a body of dogmatic doctrines (remember assent, credulity, and authority already mentioned).

Our last paragraph reveals that the craving for divine perfection, the hunger and thirst for righteousness is created within us by our divine Adjuster, the seat of our deepest nature.

There remain three more paragraphs in this section before we go on the Section 3.


Notes by Brad

  • [101:2] is rather technical in nature, the "physics" of religion so to speak. The very title "The Fact of Religion" suggests its technical nature.
  • Faith, trust, and assurance build on one another in a vertical sense, reaching up into the place where true religion dwells.
  • We are seeking personal spiritual experience. Belief, tradition, and authority are common, but they stand in the way of a personal spiritual experience.
  • The first sentence of Section 2 flies in the face of conventional wisdom. We often find the most extreme, eccentric, irrational people as examples of so-called religion.
  • We start, by grace, as rational and average beings at age 6. Enter the kingdom "as a child," says Jesus. Enter as a rational and average human being.
  • Don't blow past the precision of in matter, with minds, and on spirit.
  • God is knowable. If God was wholly unknowable (as would-be religionists sometimes say), he could not be a reality.
  • Don't be hasty to label something as faith just because it appears to be faith. Better to assume it's merely belief, and then see if it holds up to scrutiny. Genuine faith is part of a triunity, it goes along with reason and logic. Belief doesn't pair up in this way.
  • Don't merely believe the Urantia Book is revelation. You can believe anything. Instead, put it to the test! Try to refute it.
  • Faith is three-dimensional, belief is two dimensional. Faith can be grasped, belief can merely have a hand laid upon it.
  • Hope and faith are co-equals and often they are the best the humans have (if they get past mere belief). Getting past these to trust and assurance is grand indeed.
  • Deity is a philosophic word. God is a religious word (God is personalized deity). First cause is a scientific phrase. True philosophy is above and out of the plane from science and religion.