Episode:Evolutionary Religion—Early Evolution (Part 1)

From Symmetry of Soul

The evolution of religion from the preceding and primitive worship urge is not dependent on revelation. Religion of a primitive type was a natural biologic consequence of the psychologic inertia of evolving animal minds after such minds had once entertained concepts of the supernatural. 

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Keywords: Urantia, Religion, Superstition, Luck, Fate

Summary by Kermit

Commentary on the Review

Shared experience from the Christmas season regarding candles provided a basis for our discussing the present day difficult challenge of abstracting mind from matter and spirit from mind. The inescapable feelings associated with religious symbolism (e.g., candles in a worship service) must not be allowed to constitute the apex of our spiritual experiences. Allow the buoyancy of the feeling of the sacred to carry you up to a transcendent realm of sublime thinking.

Feeling not thinking has been the guiding and controlling influence in evolutionary development. Can we transcend the naturalness of evolution and cultivate the unnatural? This unnatural thinking is what attains to genuine worship. Paper 85 impressed upon us that present day humans are still in the stage of discovering the natural precursors to worship. All of this is not to say that by going up levels of meaning we abandon the lower levels for the higher ones, rather their expression and experience is elevated with the journey up and encompassed in the worship state. Feeling isn’t worship but worship implies feeling. So it is with worship, adoration and the born-again experience, sublime feelings are a concomitant therewith but hardly the core thereof. As part of this discussion we explored the analogy of heat and light in considering feelings and transcendent thinking. We also completed the discussion on the significance of the Brilliant Evening Star’s authorship of these papers.

Paper 86. Early Evolution of Religion

We discussed rather extensively the “physics” and technical aspects of early mans’ development of religion as a natural outgrowth of the function of the sixth and seventh mind adjutants absent the involvement of revelation. Keep in mind that adjutant mind is a mind energy ministry based upon a spirit foundation. The early function of the mind adjutants in the lower domains of mind the revelators describe as urges. These urges are primarily horizontal movements in the lower domain. Upon their acquiring an upward directionality the urge becomes an impulse with spiritual potential. The 7th Adjutant is key to this change from urges to impulse. The upward direction into the higher mind domain establishes a connection to the time-transcendent realm which characterizes actual religion, thus is the religious impulse of the 6th Adjutant supervened by the philosophic impulse of the 7th Adjutant. Fostering and cultivating the upward religious and philosophic impulses requires a willingness to release attachment to the warm feelings associated with these urges and follow upward the lure of the light of truth. The revelators describe the technical interplay of the elements of the upper domain of mind-spirit interface in [5:3.8, p. 66] as part of a section entitled True Worship, the culmination of the realization of religious experience.

The pre-religious fear of natural forces became religious with the help of the 7th Adjutant and enabled by man’s entertainment of concepts of the supernatural. The elevation of these primitive concepts gave rise to very confused religious notions and practices. To prevent the over contamination of the higher mind with these primitive forms the logical acumen is available to separate fact from figment. The early epochal revelations are sent to further aid in this process.

86:1. Chance: Good Luck and Bad Luck

The operation of chance was seized upon by primitive man as the agency of the supernatural in his life. The circumstances of existence which afflicted or benefited man in his struggle to survive were readily labeled bad luck or good luck. The limited intellectual horizon of primitives led to their focused attention on chance as a dominant factor in their lives. Their fear of bad luck hung as a cloud of despair over these early humans eclipsing their every pleasure. Their failure to appreciate causes and effects of commonplace phenomena led to their reducing everything to mystery. Such a fixation leads to the view of God as unknowable. We noted in the revelators’ use of the term “savage” is to be interpreted as subordinate to “primitive.” Savage can also be seen to refer to humans living in the first two stages of progressive evolution, the nutrition epoch and the security age, and short of the material comfort era.

With the dominance of the role of chance in the primitives’ lives it is no wonder that we find present day men and women predisposed to gambling, the promise of getting something for nothing.

86:2. The Personification of Chance

We ventured two paragraphs into section two. The revelators make an interesting point that when present day men and women fall victims to excessive anxiety they are simply reverting to the natural state of their far distant ancestors. Anxiety inhibits activity and forces evolutionary changes and biologic adaptations. Therefore, are pain and suffering essential to progressive evolution.

As we so often see, the harshness of the early evolutionary struggle for survival plus man’s endowments by grace lead him to look to chance and mystery for sources of his afflictions.

Notes by Brad

  • We are material creatures. We cannot escape having feelings about candles. But are you willing to go further? Can you stand on those feelings as a new foundation to a higher domain of thinking (one largely unexplored).
    • And we're told we must remember that feelings have guided all evolution (macro of the race, micro of one person). The challenge is to recognize there is a higher domain of thought of feelings, largely unexplored.
    • Why is it worth it to seek the higher domain? Because at the top of this domain you find a form of thinking called real worship.
    • Most of what we have called worship are precursors to worship.
    • If feelings are heat, then true love is the light above the heat. Light will have heat, sure, but can you discern the light without heat?
  • This Brilliant Evening Star group (of whom our author is a member) is related to the Old Testament's "the Angel of the Lord" phrase.
  • Urge versus impulse should be borne in mind reading Paper 86. An urge is always more of the lower energy phenomenon, while impulse hints at a more spiritual aspect.
  • See [5:3] for a definition of true worship. It's a soaring, high passage.
    • Would you like to get to that level? Respond to the 7th adjutant impulse of wisdom. Go up (impulse), don't ramble about horizontally (urge). An impulse will be... different somehow than an urge.
    • Let go of the compelling "vivid islands of thought" that appear in the horizontal plane of the urges. Don't be satisfied with those, delightful as they are; trust that greater delight lies at right angles, upward.
    • And the warm heat of urges, of feelings, is comforting like a security blanket. Can you trust, leave the warms behind, trust, and pursue the light without heat?
  • Thus, we see that pure light is a high phrase in the 5th ER.
  • "Religion of a primitive type" is indeed a type of religion, and is resident in the upper domain of mind in the hourglass analogy. But it isn't very advanced. And probably not very conscious.

  • Don't mock chance. The mystery of chance sparks primitives to conceive of something above the natural.
  • Chance versus luck: chance is what's happening. Luck is what befalls you.
  • Dread is the most intense in the moment energy expression of fear.
    • The dread of sprouting grain... what a curious phrase, then, from [Paper 85].
  • The seven developmental epochs of progressive civilization are in [50:5.4]
  • All of this apparent negativity of the savage mind here about chance and luck... don't forget that as a part of early evolution of religion, it is pointing them upward. The flatlander is trying to imagine the 3rd dimension.
  • This Wisdom of Solomon here is in Ecclesiastes, not the apocrypha.
  • Start with chance, onward to luck, then enter fate as being the "script" of the gods.

  • Concerning anxiety
    • We need the tension so that we can respond positively to it.
  • Anxiety is universal in the animal-origin nature. Give an animal an awareness of the future, and you naturally get anxiety.
  • Can your character mitigate that natural and inescapably anxiety in the lower domain of mind?
  • You cannot not have anxiety in the lower domain of one's mind. It's just there, inescapably.
    • Anyone who tells you they've turned off anxiety is delusional, or perhaps over-medicated, and setting themself up for a major issue later.
    • Don't escape anxiety. Take control of it with a bridle. Master yourself. Know thyself.
    • Control your anxiety, don't let it control you. Turn fear into focus.
    • Don't be a helpless victim of its negative actuality. Engage it from the upper domain of mind as a positive potentiality.
  • What about anxiety leading to depression? That's the animal-origin natural state. It takes a human to choose a positive response to this natural negative actuality.
    • [100:4.3]: "...Spiritual growth yields lasting joy, peace which passes all understanding."

  • "Pain and suffering are essential..."
    • Careful: Essential does not mean prerequisite.
    • Pain and suffering is a manifestation of the fact of the machinery of evolution. It's like a voltage (potential) between two points.
    • Don't just sit there and be fried by this negative voltage. Turn it into a positive.
    • It isn't natural to grab hold of these "electric wires."
    • Don't use religion as escapism.