Episode:Religion in Depth—Reality of Experience (Part 2)

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May 23, 2017 (Paper 103:1-2)

The evolutionary soil in the mind of man, in which the seed of revealed religion germinates, is the moral nature that so early gives origin to a social consciousness. When a moral being chooses to be unselfish when confronted by the urge to be selfish, that is primitive religious experience.

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Summary by Brad

(Kermit is out this week)

Commentary on Review

We discussed how the 6th adjutant mind spirit--the Spirit of Worship--has two modes of function:

  • Bottom-up mode, the energy of zeal, an urge.
  • Top-down mode, the spirit of worship, the religious impulse.

The 6th adjutant first expresses in our lives in the bottom-up mode, often in the late teen years in a profoundly zealous way. But we shouldn't be satisfied with this initial bottom-up experience; left unbridled, it leads to fanaticism and militancy. It is better to take personal control of the 6th adjutant and get it operating in its superior top-down mode. In this top-down mode, the 6th adjutant can bring us genuine enthusiasm, far superior to mere zeal. As with all 7 adjutant mind spirits, the proper name “Spirit of Worship” connotes a goal for us to reach, not something that comes to us naturally without effort. And remember: even if you get the top-down spirit of worship functioning, the bottom-up zeal is still there with you throughout this mortal life, suggesting a lifetime of ongoing self-control and self-mastery is warranted.

We clarified that the term "philosophy of religion" is about theology--the philosophic examination of the domain of religion. This is different from [101:7] where "religious philosophy" is used in a more holistic mode (this isn't usually the case in the 5th ER). This clarification helps us properly interpret the 4 types of religion listed in the preface of Paper 103.

We were struck by the word wrong in Section 1. Why such a strong word suggestive of evil? Well, religion is founded on the recognition of values. So if rationalism starts out by dismissing the very recognition of values, unity, and spirit substance, then rationalism fundamentally is oriented against the cosmos. Starting down such a path opens the door to more and more corrosive lines of thought; the Lucifer manifesto has some things to say about this. Such a path is therefore fraught with evil and is certainly the wrong direction. The revelators are trying to break us of our mundane and watered down use of terms like "right and wrong." It’s a hard habit to break!

So, is the 5th ER preaching "hellfire and brimstone??" Well, no, at least not insofar as the 5th ER doesn't want to see us be fearful. But it does call us to be courageous. There is much grace for children of God, but children of God are expected to someday become adults of God. And adults of God must be personally responsible for choosing righteousness and avoiding wrong paths.


103:1.6

The final paragraph of Section 1 sets the stage for Section 2 by summarizing the high, high concept of God-consciousness. Remember that true God consciousness awaits us on the Idle of Paradise!

We contrasted the rare word infrahuman with subhuman. An animal is subhuman: there's a gap between the top of an animal and the bottom of a human. An infrahuman would be higher than subhuman but under being a full human. An infrahuman uses the adjutant mind spirits only in their bottom-up mode, and doesn’t use the seventh adjutant much at all. An infrahuman could only conceive of God as an anthropomorphic infrahuman concept.


103:2. Religion and the Individual

Being born again means genuine religious consciousness has appeared in one's conscious mind (it was present in the unconscious mind long before). So many people confuse this with the delightful emotions associated with being "born of the 6th adjutant." It's unfortunate so many settle for this emotional experience and arrest their progress at this low level. See [100:5] for detail on so-called conversion experiences that are merely full of feelings. We should seek higher.

We remembered Paul's conversion experience, but noted that it was not merely an emotional experience. Being truly born again through some upheaval is acceptable, and some people’s nature and nurture may all but require it. But Jesus’ experience of being born of the spirit was not an upheaval, it was entirely gradual. Read [196:0] for a summary of this gradual experience Jesus had.

Take care interpreting paragraph 4, "the first experience of God-consciousness." The word of has a lot of meanings. Here, it does not mean "an equal sign,” it’s more akin to "related to”, much as we say "Paul of Tarsus." The reason we can experience something "related to" God-consciousness in this mortal life is only because God consciousness can cast a faint shadow onto the floor of God knowingness we can stand on. But reaching that floor of God knowingness in and of itself is quite a journey, and does not come naturally.

We read several times how the natural inclination of a child is to have a positive moral nature. It is only through negative and repressive nurturing that a child's moral nature gets turned into a negative modality. But don't overplay this and think children have no need to be grown. Even a child’s natural positive responses of justice, fairness, and kindness need to be nurtured and matured. An adult with an immature sense of justice, for example, will be self-righteous. After all, humans are called on to be artificial; the use of personality, personal religious experiences, these all are unnatural--artificial!

And remember that the egoistic nature is not bad--don't think in dichotomies--it's just not enough in and of itself to reach the true heights of personal religious experience. The last sentences of Section 2 remind us of this curious fact: even the "good" altruistic impulse can be taken to an extreme and become bad. If you're overly altruistic, you leave no space for individuality and for your personality to realize.


Looking back over the study, a theme was how easily humans falsely exalt some early, lower, initial experience as if it were something much higher, and become satisfied and stop being hungry. This applies to conversion experiences, experiences of God-consciousness, and many other things under the sun. Remember that your first true God consciousness isn't until the Isle of Paradise, and that's a long way off. You must hunger and thirst for righteousness forever. Stay hungry and thirsty, my friends.

Notes by Brad

  • "Wrong" is a strong word in the 5ER.
  • See [5:5.11] for the foundational paragraph in the 5ER about God-consciousness
  • God-consciousness is vastly above God-knowingness. Don't be fooled into thinking God-consciousness is some mundane or trivial concept.
    • That said, by grace all of us post-Pentecost have some little bit of this accessible to us. Up at the sublime, the ceiling of the entire upper domain of mind.
    • Meanwhile God-knowingness is a fine floor to stand on. And God-consciousness casts a shadow onto this floor (but no lower)
  • Genuine religious consciousness is not on the level of the feelings. It's the 6th level of meaning. But so many people are contented by the delights of the level of feelings.
    • Very easy to falsely exalt feeling-ful things into something they are not.
  • A "thou shalt not" negative approach to morals tends to be repressive, and things start to get bottled up, perhaps culminating in some upheaval.
  • In paragraph 3 of Section 1, don't be confused by "experience of God-consciousness". The word "of" does not necessarily mean "that is" or an equal time. In this case, it is more akin to "related to, or in the shadow of God-consciousness"
  • The word "of" has so many meanings, and it sometimes changes mid-sentence in the 5ER.
  • Moral conflict in the child mind isn't about taboos and other things of man. It's a conflict between altruism and egoism.
  • The final sentence of section 2 echoes a similar sentiment in [Paper 34] about overly conscientious individuals.
  • It's intriguing that, given how superconscious the Thought Adjuster is explained to be in a human's mind, they nevertheless explain that it is the source of those positive moral impulses we observe in the young child.