Episode:Religion in Depth—Social Problems (Part 2)

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October 11, 2016 (Paper 99:2-3)

Institutional religion is now caught in the stalemate of a vicious circle. It cannot reconstruct society without first reconstructing itself, and it cannot reconstruct itself until society has been radically reconstructed. Only the real religion of personal spiritual experience can function helpfully and creatively in the present crisis of civilization.


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Summary by Kermit

Commentary on Review

Our lengthy post review discussion centered on the notion of progress and the role of religion, in the words of our author, to act as “the cosmic salt which prevents the ferments of progression from destroying the cultural savor of civilization.” We noted that progressing individual religionists, when acting in the aggregate frequently paradoxically produce retrogressive or even destructive outcomes. We referred to Paper 114 Seraphic Planetary Government and the twelve corps of Master Seraphim, in particular the progress angels and the religious guardians. The Angels of Progress labor incessantly to make things what they ought to be, while the Angels of the Churches are the earnest contenders for that which is and has been. The religious guardians are the checkmates of the progress angels in their planetary function. Herein is a clear indication that the role of genuine religion is to conserve ideals in the midst of progression. And Paper 99 clearly states that Urantian society has entered an era of unprecedented progress, requiring the stabilizing and tempering influence of true religion to safeguard civilization from the destructive effects of this progress. Ironically the freewill and unrestrained pursuit of this over rapid progress risks out running the steady and upholding influence of the Supreme with dangerous consequences.

In response to a caller’s question we elucidated the role of the religious aspect of philosophy in conserving ideals. Essentially, it is the religious consciousness on the 6th level of meaning of your mindal self that serves as your interface with the cosmos. The philosophical context of the religious consciousness fosters the wise downstepping of progressive ideals to ideas which can be expressed in the outer life. Remember the meaning of the word religion, to bind back i.e., to bind back to the cosmos not the primitive past.

99:2. Weakness of Institutional Religion

Our author reminds us that we find ourselves in a catch-22, wherein institutional religion is unable to provide the inspiration and leadership needed to courageously and wisely meet the social, political, and economic reconstruction and reorganization that is coming, because it is itself an organic part of that system which is to undergo reconstruction. Only the real religion of personal religious experience can function helpfully and creatively in this present crisis of civilization!

These “religion” papers represent a true definition of genuine religion. Contemporary misunderstanding of religion makes no distinction between “personal” and “individual” and views it as primarily an activity in the outer life. We spent much of our discussion in explanation of the particulars of the phrase personal spiritual experience, paying specific attention to the function of personality as spirit pattern and a purposing faculty. Further, we drew attention to the distinction between matter and spirit in the dynamics of experience. The authentic religionist maintains and strengthens connection with the cosmos via the practice of worship. Reflective thinking applies wisdom to the translation of the ideal into ideas that are helpful in solving the manifold problems inherent in the present crisis of civilization. As has been stated many times on this broadcast, the greatest good you can contribute to the world-wide reconstruction and reorganization in the assorted domains of human activity is a mastered self.

It is not immediately obvious that having a genuine religious consciousness is a precursor to the development of the philosophic mind required for the creative and helpful resolution of the issues surrounding the social reconstruction and economic reorganization that civilization demands. It is the fundamental focus of the religious consciousness on the love of and for God, as well as love for our fellow man, in contrast to the self-focus of a materialistic worldview that transforms the animal-origin individual into a cosmic citizen. Unfortunately today religious collectivism pursues all manner of social, economic and political causes when its sole purpose and function is in the pursuit of religious causes. The practice of the institutionalized church glorifying the established political and economic order spells doom for the institution. The only proper attitude of the church consists in teaching non-violence, the doctrine of peaceful evolution in the place of violent revolution.

To reiterate, modern religion is unable to adjust to the demands of the rapidly shifting social changes because it has allowed itself to become ossified by tradition, dogma, and institutionalization. The personal spiritual experience of the genuine religionist functions effectively as a moral stabilizer, social guide, and spiritual pilot, conserving from one age to another, the wisdom of knowing God and striving to be like him.

Notes by Brad

  • Did the founding fathers understand religion in this way? Was their freedom of religion about this more correct orientation?
    • Yes, in spite of themselves, there was a sublime recognition of the basic truths. A respect for providence. The unseen hand of the whole in play.
  • Wisdom is born in the inner life, borne of tribulation in the outer life.
  • Your religious consciousness is on the 6th level of meaning. It is the ceiling of your mind. It is the spark, the doorway, the interface to the cosmos.
  • We, here, want to have happen in our minds something that has never happened before when we've heard the word religion.
    • People react to "religion" as tying yourself to the primitive past,old mores, old institutions, etc.
    • No! Religion is "tied back" to the downward flow of the cosmos into our inner life.
  • The "emergency" on Earth that precipitated the arrival of the 5th epochal revelation? Here is is described as "the present crisis of civilization."
  • Personal spiritual experience is necessary for this spirit energy to be helpful in the external world. It's an artform. Under natural conditions it will produce retrogressive phenomena. Shaping it with personality is what makes it useful when it manifests outward (instead of being a destructive one).
  • An unmanaged spiritual quickening in your mind (something we all can get these days) will cause you to turn everything in the external world into am -ism.
    • Moreover, you'll find plenty of people out there who will tell you that's a great thing to do.
    • But it isn't! You need personality, so you are in control of its expression in the outer world.
    • And that personality shaping of it is an inner-life phenomenon. Getting your mind synchronized with the cosmos.
  • Religion's job is only to ensure you are striking step internally with the cosmos. And then, in that dynamic state, as an individual, you can go out into the world and influence things.
    • If you're genuinely religious, don't worry... you'll act! But first get the inner life in order. Self mastery in the inner life. And only through a genuine religious consciousness can there be any self-mastery.
  • Think you're naturally synchronized with the cosmos? Think again. If you proceed in that thought, you will act unwisely and cause destruction.
  • The outer life naturally stimulates your mind (unless you close your eyes, sure). But the spiritual influence on your mind? That's entirely a choice.
  • Fear can be turned into focus with personal religious experience, by directing spirit energy constructively.
  • Remember: mind is engaged by two substances (material energy and spirit). It is the superadditive consequence of the interplay between those 2 substances.
  • Spirit energy is very potent. You must control how it acts on your mind.
    • Without this control, you're a fanatic. A spiritually boiling (fermeting) mind going off with no control.
    • A little spirit energy goes a long way. It's a mustard seed.
    • And controlling its usage to alter the outer life in a constructive way? That's quite an artform.
  • Ever since Pentecost, change happens all the time, in all forms. We cannot help ourselves. Spiritual uplift has given us this. But is it constructive or destructive?
    • Is it genuine progress or so-called progress?
  • A religionist in society must function as an individual, not as a part of some collective. We really don't like to do this, even Urantia Book readers try to form groups of religionists.
  • But religionists can form collectives, but only for mutual reinforcment of spritual ideals--nothing to do with matter or the outer life!
    • Kermit said this sounds like the ideal Quaker religious service. Silence, until moved to speak.
    • It is so hard! Naturally, a collective of religionists will want to naturally go out and do something in the outer life as a group. No, resist that natural tendency! Confine your collective religious efforts to the inner life. Even something as innocuous as a bake sale is not a religious cause, it is an outer life thing.
  • Value is a property of spirit substance, as mass is a property of matter.
  • The though adjuster is there to turn the rather liquid forms in your mind into more stable structures.
  • You have three duties:
    • duty to the cosmos (moral duty)
    • duty to the other (God)
    • duty to the other others (ethical relation to fellow mortals)
  • Fourth level of meaning: the level of brotherly love... kindness (KIN, as in next of kin)
    • But careful: don't exalt self-respect to the level of self-esteem (where you esteem yourself one notch above all other selves)
    • And doubly watch out: 6th level pathology is self-admiration, self-love. Here there is only one self.
    • Taking the self up like this is a godless humanitarianism.
    • And watch out: you'll find plenty of people out there who tell you self-love is exactly where you should go. They are exactly wrong.
    • Love God supremely, not "me" supremely.
  • Don't covet material things. Good tried and true wisdom. Old Testament stuff.
    • And these days so-called religionists covert the material wealth of others, want equal wealth distribution. This is not helpful.
    • An uncontrolled spiritual influence on your mind will lead you to believe that all men are born equal. The Lucifer Rebellion told us this, too.