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Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

PENTECOST CHRISTIANITY TRUTH

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#1 Rick Warren

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 07:04 PM

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today’s Presentation

 

Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

 

 

[INTRODUCTION]

 

   THE results of Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost were such as to decide the future policies, and to determine the plans, of the majority of the apostles in their efforts to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. Peter was the real founder of the Christian church; Paul carried the Christian message to the gentiles, and the Greek believers carried it to the whole Roman Empire.

 

(2069.2)195:0.2 Although the tradition-bound and priest-ridden Hebrews, as a people, refused to accept either Jesus’ gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man or Peter’s and Paul’s proclamation of the resurrection and ascension of Christ (subsequent Christianity), the rest of the Roman Empire was found to be receptive to the evolving Christian teachings. Western civilization was at this time intellectual, war weary, and thoroughly skeptical of all existing religions and universe philosophies. The peoples of the Western world, the beneficiaries of Greek culture, had a revered tradition of a great past. They could contemplate the inheritance of great accomplishments in philosophy, art, literature, and political progress. But with all these achievements they had no soul-satisfying religion. Their spiritual longings remained unsatisfied.

 

(2069.3)195:0.3 Upon such a stage of human society the teachings of Jesus, embraced in the Christian message, were suddenly thrust. A new order of living was thus presented to the hungry hearts of these Western peoples. This situation meant immediate conflict between the older religious practices and the new Christianized version of Jesus’ message to the world. Such a conflict must result in either decided victory for the new or for the old or in some degree of compromise. History shows that the struggle ended in compromise. Christianity presumed to embrace too much for any one people to assimilate in one or two generations. It was not a simple spiritual appeal, such as Jesus had presented to the souls of men; it early struck a decided attitude on religious rituals, education, magic, medicine, art, literature, law, government, morals, sex regulation, polygamy, and, in limited degree, even slavery. Christianity came not merely as a new religion — something all the Roman Empire and all the Orient were waiting for — but as a new order of human society. And as such a pretension it quickly precipitated the social-moral clash of the ages. The ideals of Jesus, as they were reinterpreted by Greek philosophy and socialized in Christianity, now boldly challenged the traditions of the human race embodied in the ethics, morality, and religions of Western civilization.

 

(2069.4)195:0.4 At first, Christianity won as converts only the lower social and economic strata. But by the beginning of the second century the very best of Greco-Roman culture was increasingly turning to this new order of Christian belief, this new concept of the purpose of living and the goal of existence.

 

(2070.1)195:0.5 How did this new message of Jewish origin, which had almost failed in the land of its birth, so quickly and effectively capture the very best minds of the Roman Empire? The triumph of Christianity over the philosophic religions and the mystery cults was due to:

 

1. Organization. Paul was a great organizer and his successors kept up the pace he set.

 

2. Christianity was thoroughly Hellenized. It embraced the best in Greek philosophy as well as the cream of Hebrew theology.

 

3. But best of all, it contained a new and great ideal, the echo of the life bestowal of Jesus and the reflection of his message of salvation for all mankind.

 

4. The Christian leaders were willing to make such compromises with Mithraism that the better half of its adherents were won over to the Antioch cult.

 

5. Likewise did the next and later generations of Christian leaders make such further compromises with paganism that even the Roman emperor Constantine was won to the new religion.


 

(2070.7)195:0.11 But the Christians made a shrewd bargain with the pagans in that they adopted the ritualistic pageantry of the pagan while compelling the pagan to accept the Hellenized version of Pauline Christianity. They made a better bargain with the pagans than they did with the Mithraic cult, but even in that earlier compromise they came off more than conquerors in that they succeeded in eliminating the gross immoralities and also numerous other reprehensible practices of the Persian mystery.

 

(2070.8)195:0.12 Wisely or unwisely, these early leaders of Christianity deliberately compromised the ideals of Jesus in an effort to save and further many of his ideas. And they were eminently successful. But mistake not! these compromised ideals of the Master are still latent in his gospel, and they will eventually assert their full power upon the world.

 

(2070.9)195:0.13 By this paganization of Christianity the old order won many minor victories of a ritualistic nature, but the Christians gained the ascendancy in that:

 


1. A new and enormously higher note in human morals was struck.

 

2. A new and greatly enlarged concept of God was given to the world.

 

3. The hope of immortality became a part of the assurance of a recognized religion.


4. Jesus of Nazareth was given to man’s hungry soul.

 

(2070.14)195:0.18 Many of the great truths taught by Jesus were almost lost in these early compromises, but they yet slumber in this religion of paganized Christianity, which was in turn the Pauline version of the life and teachings of the Son of Man. And Christianity, even before it was paganized, was first thoroughly Hellenized. Christianity owes much, very much, to the Greeks. It was a Greek, from Egypt, who so bravely stood up at Nicaea and so fearlessly challenged this assembly that it dared not so obscure the concept of the nature of Jesus that the real truth of his bestowal might have been in danger of being lost to the world. This Greek’s name was Athanasius, and but for the eloquence and the logic of this believer, the persuasions of Arius would have triumphed.

 

 

 

***

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#2 Rick Warren

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 07:39 PM

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Greetings Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors!

 

WELCOME to the OPAD presentation of Paper 195. This Paper is one of the longest, it has 18 pages and ten Sections. It presents a compelling and remarkable history of the aftermath of the bestowal of the Spirit of Truth. The "Christian Era" has begun, time has been restarted and 'anchored' to Jesus' birth.

 

Overview of Paper 195 - After Pentecost

 

1. Influence of the Greeks
2. The Roman Influence
3. Under the Roman Empire
4. The European Dark Ages
5. The Modern Problem
6. Materialism
7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
8. Secular Totalitarianism
9. Christianity's Problem
10. The Future

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

 

Synopsis of Paper 195:

 

The Roman Empire was receptive to the spread of Christianity. Conflicts between older religions and the budding new religion were solved through compromise. A revised version of Jesus' teachings blended with Greek and Hebrew philosophy, Mithraism, and paganism to become Christianity.

 

Christianity started growing primarily in the lower classes. After the first century, the best members of the Greco-Roman culture were increasingly drawn in. Early leaders deliberately compromised the ideals of Jesus in the attempt to preserve his ideas. The eastern form of Christianity remained more true to the original teachings of Jesus, but was eventually lost in the rise of Islam. But someday the ideals of the Master will assert their power throughout the world.

 

The Roman empire was tolerant of strange peoples, languages, and religions; Christianity was opposed only when it seemed to be in competition with the state. The Romans were successful in governing the western world because of their honesty, devotion, and self-control, and these same qualities provided ideal soil for the spread of Christianity. Although the new religion came too late to save the Roman empire from its eventual moral decline, the empire did last long enough to insure the survival of Christianity.

 

Today Christianity faces a struggle more difficult than any it has known throughout history. The rise of science and materialism challenges religion. The higher a civilization evolves, the more necessary it becomes that people seek spiritual reality to help stabilize society and solve material problems. Religion helps us develop faith, trust and assurance. Society without a morality based on spiritual reality cannot survive.

 

Science has destroyed childlike interpretations of life. True science has no conflict with true religion; but the change from an age of miracles to an age of machines has been upsetting to modern man. Religious leaders are mistaken when they try to lure people to spiritual practice with methods that were used in the middle ages. Religion must renew itself and find new ways to approach modern people.

 

Modern secularism sprang from two influences: atheistic science and the protest against the domination of western civilization by the medieval Christian church. For hundreds of years Western thinking has been progressively secularized; most professed Christians are actually secularists. Secularism is barren of spiritual values and satisfactions. It freed humankind from ecclesiastical slavery only to lead them into political and economic slavery. This philosophy leads to unrest, unhappiness, and disaster. The blessings of secularism-tolerance, social service, democracy, and civil liberty-can be had without sacrificing faith in God. 

 

Christianity stands in need of the teachings of Jesus. "Urantia is now quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment." Religion needs leaders who will depend solely on Jesus and his teachings. The world must see Jesus living again in the experience of spirit-born mortals who reveal the Master to all people.

 

The true Church is invisible, spiritual, and characterized by unity rather than uniformity. If the Christian church would follow the Master, young people would not hesitate to enlist in his great spiritual adventure. It is not duty that will transform our world, but the "second mile" of freely-given service and devotion by followers of Jesus who truly live and love as he taught.

 

Christianity suffers a handicap because it is identified with western civilization-a society burdened with science without idealism, politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without restraint, knowledge without character, power without conscience, and industry without morality.

 

SYNOPSIS SOURCE

 

 

***

 

Compromise seemed to be the rule of the day as regards the establishment of the Christian religion. You have to wonder if Peter and Paul realized their trade-offs would still be influencing the church they founded. And would the religion have survived if the early leaders had not made compromises? Whichever the case, the Midwayers assure us nothing was lost forever. From the introduction:
 

...But mistake not! these compromised ideals of the Master are still latent in his gospel, and they will eventually assert their full power upon the world.... (2070.8)195:0.12
 

 

We have several people to thank for the Christianity that survived and brought us to the point where we can receive this new super-revelation with its 2097 pages of pure teaching from the government of Michael who once incarnated on little, lost Urantia. There was Constantine, and Athanasius.

 

...Constantine was visited by a dream the night before the battle, wherein he was advised "to mark the heavenly sign of God on the shields of his soldiers ... by means of a slanted letter X with the top of its head bent round, he marked Christ on their shields." Eusebius describes another version, where, while marching at midday, "he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message, In Hoc Signo Vinces or "with this sign, you will conquer"; in Eusebius's account, Constantine had a dream the following night, in which Christ appeared with the same heavenly sign, and told him to make a standard, the labarum, for his army in that form. Eusebius is vague about when and where these events took place, but it enters his narrative before the war against Maxentius begins. Eusebius describes the sign as Chi (Χ) traversed by Rho (Ρ): ☧, a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling of the word Christos or Christ. In 315 a medallion was issued at Ticinum showing Constantine wearing a helmet emblazoned with the Chi Rho, and coins issued at Siscia in 317/18 repeat the image. The figure was otherwise rare, however, and is uncommon in imperial iconography and propaganda before the 320s.

 

There is much more about Constantine "the Great" HERE.

 

 

About Athanasius (also "Great"), cited in the introduction:
 

...This Greek’s name was Athanasius, and but for the eloquence and the logic of this believer, the persuasions of Arius would have triumphed.... (2070.14)195:0.18
 

From Wikipedia:
 

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296–298 – 2 May 373), also called Athanasius the Great...was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria...Athanasius is a renowned Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.

 

Conflict with Arius and Arianism as well as successive Roman emperors shaped Athanasius' career. In 325, at the age of 27, Athanasius began his leading role against the Arians as his bishop's assistant during the First Council of Nicaea. Roman emperor Constantine the Great had convened the council in May–August 325 to address the Arian position that the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, is of a distinct substance from the Father. Three years after that council, Athanasius succeeded his mentor as archbishop of Alexandria. In addition to the conflict with the Arians (including powerful and influential Arian churchmen led by Eusebius of Nicomedia), he struggled against the Emperors Constantine, Constantius II, Julian the Apostate and Valens. He was known as "Athanasius Contra Mundum".

 

Nonetheless, within a few years of his departure, St. Gregory of Nazianzus called him the "Pillar of the Church". His writings were well regarded by all Church fathers who followed, in both the West and the East, who noted their rich devotion the Word-become-man, great pastoral concern, and profound interest in monasticism. Athanasius is counted as one of the four great Eastern Doctors of the Church in the Roman Catholic Church.[2] In Eastern Orthodoxy, he is labeled the "Father of Orthodoxy". Some Protestants label him "Father of The Canon". Athanasius is venerated as a Christian saint, whose feast day is 2 May in Western Christianity, 15 May in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and 18 January in the other Eastern Orthodox Churches. He is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church, Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches, the Lutherans, and the Anglican Communion.

 

200px-Ikone_Athanasius_von_Alexandria.jp

Icon of St Athanasius
 

 

***

 

Mithraism began its decline as Christianity rose. From Wikipedia:

 

The end of Roman Mithraism

 

It is difficult to trace when the cult of Mithras came to an end. Beck states that "Quite early in the [fourth]

century the religion was as good as dead throughout the empire." Inscriptions from the 4th century are few. Clauss states that inscriptions show Mithras as one of the cults listed on inscriptions by Roman senators who had not converted to Christianity, as part of the "pagan revival" among the elite. Ulansey holds that "Mithraism declined with the rise to power of Christianity, until the beginning of the fifth century, when Christianity became strong enough to exterminate by force rival religions such as Mithraism." According to Speidel, Christians fought fiercely with this feared enemy and suppressed it during the 4th century. Some Mithraic sanctuaries were destroyed and religion was no longer a matter of personal choice. According to Luther H. Martin, Roman Mithraism came to an end with the anti-pagan decrees of the Christian emperor Theodosius during the last decade of the 4th century.


 

Paganism is still around today. From Wikipedia:

 

Paganism is a broad group of indigenous and historical polytheistic religious traditions—primarily those of cultures known to the classical world. In a wider sense, paganism has also been understood to include any non-Abrahamic, folk, or ethnic religion.

 

Contemporary or modern paganism, also known as neopaganism, is a group of new religious movements influenced by, or claiming to be derived from, the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe.

 

...Paganism came to be equated by Christians with a sense of hedonism, representing those who are sensual, materialistic, self-indulgent, unconcerned with the future, and uninterested in sophisticated religion. Pagans were usually described within this worldly stereotype, especially among those drawing attention to what they perceived as the limitations of paganism. Thus G. K. Chesterton wrote: "The Pagan set out, with admirable sense, to enjoy himself. By the end of his civilization he had discovered that a man cannot enjoy himself and continue to enjoy anything else." In sharp contrast, Swinburne the poet would comment on this same theme: "Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath; We have drunken of things Lethean, and fed on the fullness of death."

 

 

***

 

The_Urantia_Book_Word_Cloud_195_375.jpg

 

WORD CLOUD OF PAPER 195

 

 

***

 

In tomorrow’s reading, Section 1. Influence of the Greeks, the Midwayers discuss Paul's distorted version of Jesus' message, his ministry to the Greek people, their decline, and the beginning of the spread of Christianity to the Roman empire.

 

Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#3 Rick Warren

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 03:38 PM


Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today’s Presentation

 

Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

 

1. Influence of the Greeks

 

   The Hellenization of Christianity started in earnest on that eventful day when the Apostle Paul stood before the council of the Areopagus in Athens and told the Athenians about “the Unknown God.” There, under the shadow of the Acropolis, this Roman citizen proclaimed to these Greeks his version of the new religion which had taken origin in the Jewish land of Galilee. And there was something strangely alike in Greek philosophy and many of the teachings of Jesus. They had a common goal — both aimed at the emergence of the individual. The Greek, at social and political emergence; Jesus, at moral and spiritual emergence. The Greek taught intellectual liberalism leading to political freedom; Jesus taught spiritual liberalism leading to religious liberty. These two ideas put together constituted a new and mighty charter for human freedom; they presaged man’s social, political, and spiritual liberty.

 

(2071.2)195:1.2 Christianity came into existence and triumphed over all contending religions primarily because of two things:

 

1. The Greek mind was willing to borrow new and good ideas even from the Jews.

 

2. Paul and his successors were willing but shrewd and sagacious compromisers; they were keen theologic traders.

 

(2071.5)195:1.5 At the time Paul stood up in Athens preaching “Christ and Him Crucified,” the Greeks were spiritually hungry; they were inquiring, interested, and actually looking for spiritual truth. Never forget that at first the Romans fought Christianity, while the Greeks embraced it, and that it was the Greeks who literally forced the Romans subsequently to accept this new religion, as then modified, as a part of Greek culture.

 

(2071.6)195:1.6 The Greek revered beauty, the Jew holiness, but both peoples loved truth. For centuries the Greek had seriously thought and earnestly debated about all human problems — social, economic, political, and philosophic — except religion. Few Greeks had paid much attention to religion; they did not take even their own religion very seriously. For centuries the Jews had neglected these other fields of thought while they devoted their minds to religion. They took their religion very seriously, too seriously. As illuminated by the content of Jesus’ message, the united product of the centuries of the thought of these two peoples now became the driving power of a new order of human society and, to a certain extent, of a new order of human religious belief and practice.

 

(2071.7)195:1.7 The influence of Greek culture had already penetrated the lands of the western Mediterranean when Alexander spread Hellenistic civilization over the near-Eastern world. The Greeks did very well with their religion and their politics as long as they lived in small city-states, but when the Macedonian king dared to expand Greece into an empire, stretching from the Adriatic to the Indus, trouble began. The art and philosophy of Greece were fully equal to the task of imperial expansion, but not so with Greek political administration or religion. After the city-states of Greece had expanded into empire, their rather parochial gods seemed a little queer. The Greeks were really searching for one God, a greater and better God, when the Christianized version of the older Jewish religion came to them.

 

(2072.1)195:1.8 The Hellenistic Empire, as such, could not endure. Its cultural sway continued on, but it endured only after securing from the West the Roman political genius for empire administration and after obtaining from the East a religion whose one God possessed empire dignity.

 

(2072.2)195:1.9 In the first century after Christ, Hellenistic culture had already attained its highest levels; its retrogression had begun; learning was advancing but genius was declining. It was at this very time that the ideas and ideals of Jesus, which were partially embodied in Christianity, became a part of the salvage of Greek culture and learning.

 

(2072.3)195:1.10 Alexander had charged on the East with the cultural gift of the civilization of Greece; Paul assaulted the West with the Christian version of the gospel of Jesus. And wherever the Greek culture prevailed throughout the West, there Hellenized Christianity took root.

 

(2072.4)195:1.11 The Eastern version of the message of Jesus, notwithstanding that it remained more true to his teachings, continued to follow the uncompromising attitude of Abner. It never progressed as did the Hellenized version and was eventually lost in the Islamic movement.

 

 

***

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#4 Rick Warren

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 03:41 PM


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Good day Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

 

Greek philosophy still permeates and advises humanity, especially in the West. It slumbered for 14 centuries, and was revived at the beginning of the European Renaissance, by Catholics working for the De Medici family in Florence Italy.

 

From Wikipedia:
 

At the beginning of the medieval period the philosophy of Aristotle became preeminent in the West, having been kept alive in particular by the Arabic philosophers.

 

...In the fifteenth century in Florence, Italy, Marsilio Ficino was instrumental in reviving an interest in Plato and translating some of Plato's rediscovered texts.

 

 

***

 

From today's reading:
 

 ...The Hellenization of Christianity started in earnest on that eventful day when the Apostle Paul stood before the council of the Areopagus in Athens and told the Athenians about “the Unknown God...." (2071.1)195:1.1


The Areopagus sermon is well known to historians. From Wikipedia:
 

The Areopagus sermon refers to a sermon delivered by Apostle Paul in Athens, at the Areopagus, and described in Acts 17:16-34. The Areopagus sermon is the most dramatic and fullest speech of the missionary career of Saint Paul and followed a shorter address in Lystra Acts 14:15-17.
 

HISTORY

 

The background to the sermon is that Paul was distressed to see Athens full of idols and so went to the synagogue and the marketplace to preach about the resurrection of Jesus. Some Greeks took him to a meeting at the Areopagus, the high court in Athens, to explain himself. The Areopagus literally meant the rock of Ares in the city and was a center of temples, cultural facilities, and a high court. It was illegal to preach a foreign deity in Athens, so Paul's sermon was in fact a combination of a "guest lecture" and a trial.

 

The sermon addresses five main issues:

  • Introduction: Discussion of the ignorance of pagan worship. (23-24)

  • The one Creator God being the object of worship. (25-26)

  • God's relationship to humanity. (26-27)

  • Idols of gold, silver and stone as objects of false worship. (28-29)

  • Conclusion: Time to end the ignorance. (30-31)

 

This sermon illustrates the beginnings of the attempts to explain the nature of Christ and an early step on the path that led to the development of Christology.

 

Paul begins his address by emphasizing the need to know God, rather than worshiping the unknown:

Paul then explained concepts such as the resurrection of the dead and salvation, in effect a prelude to the future discussions of Christology.

 

According to the Acts of the Apostles, after the sermon, a number of people became followers of Paul. These included a woman named Damaris, and Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus. This latter has at times been suggested as Dionysius the Areopagite, but that may be a historical confusion.

 

In the 20th century, Pope John Paul II likened the modern media to the New Areopagus, where Christian ideas needed to be explained and defended anew, against disbelief and the idols of gold and silver.

 

V%26A_-_Raphael%2C_St_Paul_Preaching_in_

 

Saint Paul delivering the Areopagus Sermon in Athens, by Raphael, 1515.

 

Ariospagos.jpg

Engraved plaque containing Apostle Paul's sermon, at the Areopagus, Athens, Greece

 

IMAGES/TEXT SOURCE

 

 

From today's reading:

 

...Paul stood before the council of the Areopagus in Athens and told the Athenians about “the Unknown God...." (2071.1)195:1.1

 

From the New Testament book of Acts, chapter 17, Paul speaking:

 

23 For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. What therefore ye worship in ignorance, this I set forth unto you.

24 The God that made the world and all things therein, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

25 neither is he served by men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

26 and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined [their] appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation;

27 that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us:

28 for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain even of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

29 Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and device of man.

30 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent:

31 inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, We will hear thee concerning this yet again.

33 Thus Paul went out from among them.

34 But certain men clave unto him, and believed: among whom also was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.


***

 

 

So, it was a marriage made in heaven, Jewish spirituality and Greek philosophy, with Jesus as matchmaker. The marriage worked and Christianity was born, with terrible labor pains of course, and the baby was scarred for life. But it survived and led to the presentation of our new revelation that we here today study and embrace.

 

From today's text:
 

...As illuminated by the content of Jesus’ message, the united product of the centuries of the thought of these two peoples now became the driving power of a new order of human society and, to a certain extent, of a new order of human religious belief and practice.... (2071.6)195:1.6
 

The king the Midwayers cite in today's reading:
 

...when the Macedonian king dared to expand Greece into an empire, stretching from the Adriatic to the Indus, trouble began.... (2071.7)195:1.7
 

...is Phillip II. From Wikipedia:
 

The most devastating intra-Greek war in classical antiquity was the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), which was won by Sparta and marked the demise of the Athenian Empire as the leading power in ancient Greece. Both Athens and Sparta were later overshadowed by Thebes (led by the prominent Greek General Epaminondas, a tactical genius and innovative military strategist) and eventually Macedon, with the latter uniting the Greek world in the League of Corinth (also known as the Hellenic League or Greek League) under the guidance of Phillip II, who was elected leader of the first unified Greek state in history.

 

Following the assassination of Phillip II, his son Alexander III ("The Great") assumed the leadership of the League of Corinth and launched an invasion of the Persian Empire with the combined forces of all Greek states in 334 BC. Following Greek victories in the battles of Granicus, Issus and Gaugamela, the Greeks marched on Susa and Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of Persia, in 330 BC. The Empire created by Alexander the Great stretched from Greece in the west to Pakistan in the east, and Egypt in the south.

 

Before his sudden death in 323 BC, Alexander was also planning an invasion of Arabia. His death marked the collapse of the vast empire, which was split into several kingdoms, the most famous of which were the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemaic Egypt.



Secular history records Christian and Grecian religious interaction. From Wikipedia:
 

The first Christians were essentially all ethnically Jewish or Jewish Proselytes. In other words, Jesus preached to the Jewish people and called from them his first disciples, see for example Matthew 10. However, the Great Commission is specifically directed at "all nations," and an early difficulty arose concerning the matter of Gentile (non-Jewish) converts as to whether they had to "become Jewish" (usually referring to circumcision and adherence to dietary law), as part of becoming Christian. Circumcision in particular was considered repulsive by Greeks and Hellenists while circumcision advocates were labelled Judaisers, see Jewish background to the circumcision controversy for details. The actions of Peter, at the conversion of Cornelius the Centurion, seemed to indicate that circumcision and food laws did not apply to gentiles, and this was agreed to at the apostolic Council of Jerusalem. Related issues are still debated today.
 

 

***

 

There is more than one way to interpret this at the end of today's reading:

 

...The Eastern version of the message of Jesus...never progressed as did the Hellenized version and was eventually lost in the Islamic movement.... (2072.4)195:1.11

 

Is Abner to be blamed for NOT compromising? What do the Midwayers mean by "lost"? How is Islam viewed from above? The UB authors make other statements about this religion that was born in the 7th century. From Paper 95

 

...The strength of Islam has been its clear-cut and well-defined presentation of Allah as the one and only Deity; its weakness, the association of military force with its promulgation, together with its degradation of woman. But it has steadfastly held to its presentation of the One Universal Deity of all, “who knows the invisible and the visible. He is the merciful and the compassionate.” “Truly God is plenteous in goodness to all men.” “And when I am sick, it is he who heals me.” “For whenever as many as three speak together, God is present as a fourth,” for is he not “the first and the last, also the seen and the hidden”? (1051.4)95:7.6

 

 

***

 

Tomorrow’s reading, Section 2. The Roman Influence, has fascinating details about Christianity's expansion into the whole Roman empire, the early persecutions, and the eventual acceptance and embrace--thanks largely to the translation of Hebrew scripture and the New Testament into Greek.

 

Overview of Paper 195 - After Pentecost

 

1. Influence of the Greeks
2. The Roman Influence
3. Under the Roman Empire
4. The European Dark Ages
5. The Modern Problem
6. Materialism
7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
8. Secular Totalitarianism
9. Christianity's Problem
10. The Future

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#5 Rick Warren

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 08:43 PM


Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today’s Presentation

 

Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

 

2. The Roman Influence

 

   The Romans bodily took over Greek culture, putting representative government in the place of government by lot. And presently this change favored Christianity in that Rome brought into the whole Western world a new tolerance for strange languages, peoples, and even religions.

 

(2072.6)195:2.2 Much of the early persecution of Christians in Rome was due solely to their unfortunate use of the term “kingdom” in their preaching. The Romans were tolerant of any and all religions but very resentful of anything that savored of political rivalry. And so, when these early persecutions, due so largely to misunderstanding, died out, the field for religious propaganda was wide open. The Roman was interested in political administration; he cared little for either art or religion, but he was unusually tolerant of both.

 

(2072.7)195:2.3 Oriental law was stern and arbitrary; Greek law was fluid and artistic; Roman law was dignified and respect-breeding. Roman education bred an unheard-of and stolid loyalty. The early Romans were politically devoted and sublimely consecrated individuals. They were honest, zealous, and dedicated to their ideals, but without a religion worthy of the name. Small wonder that their Greek teachers were able to persuade them to accept Paul’s Christianity.

 

(2072.8)195:2.4 And these Romans were a great people. They could govern the Occident because they did govern themselves. Such unparalleled honesty, devotion, and stalwart self-control was ideal soil for the reception and growth of Christianity.

 

(2072.9)195:2.5 It was easy for these Greco-Romans to become just as spiritually devoted to an institutional church as they were politically devoted to the state. The Romans fought the church only when they feared it as a competitor of the state. Rome, having little national philosophy or native culture, took over Greek culture for its own and boldly adopted Christ as its moral philosophy. Christianity became the moral culture of Rome but hardly its religion in the sense of being the individual experience in spiritual growth of those who embraced the new religion in such a wholesale manner. True, indeed, many individuals did penetrate beneath the surface of all this state religion and found for the nourishment of their souls the real values of the hidden meanings held within the latent truths of Hellenized and paganized Christianity.

 

(2073.1)195:2.6 The Stoic and his sturdy appeal to “nature and conscience” had only the better prepared all Rome to receive Christ, at least in an intellectual sense. The Roman was by nature and training a lawyer; he revered even the laws of nature. And now, in Christianity, he discerned in the laws of nature the laws of God. A people that could produce Cicero and Vergil were ripe for Paul’s Hellenized Christianity.

 

(2073.2)195:2.7 And so did these Romanized Greeks force both Jews and Christians to philosophize their religion, to co-ordinate its ideas and systematize its ideals, to adapt religious practices to the existing current of life. And all this was enormously helped by translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek and by the later recording of the New Testament in the Greek tongue.

 

(2073.3)195:2.8 The Greeks, in contrast with the Jews and many other peoples, had long provisionally believed in immortality, some sort of survival after death, and since this was the very heart of Jesus’ teaching, it was certain that Christianity would make a strong appeal to them.

 

(2073.4)195:2.9 A succession of Greek-cultural and Roman-political victories had consolidated the Mediterranean lands into one empire, with one language and one culture, and had made the Western world ready for one God. Judaism provided this God, but Judaism was not acceptable as a religion to these Romanized Greeks. Philo helped some to mitigate their objections, but Christianity revealed to them an even better concept of one God, and they embraced it readily.

 

 

***

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#6 Rick Warren

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 08:45 PM


.

 

Greetings Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,


The first line of today's reading refers to the lottery method of governance:

 

   ...The Romans bodily took over Greek culture, putting representative government in the place of government by lot.... (2072.5)195:2.1

 

From Wikipedia:
 

In politics, sortition (also known as allotment or the drawing of lots) is the selection of decision makers by lottery. The decision-makers are chosen as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates.

 

In ancient Athenian democracy, selecting officials by chance was the primary method for appointing officials, but this is not sortition as long as those officials were not decision-makers, they did not decide the law, they were only responsible to strictly apply the law decided by others (the citizens).

 

The use of chance in selecting officials is widely regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy. It is often used today in forming citizen groups (e.g. citizens' juries, citizens' assemblies) to provide input to policy makers and is commonly used to select prospective jurors in common law-based legal systems.

 

 

***

 

The second paragraph of today's text begins with:

 

...Much of the early persecution of Christians in Rome was due solely to their unfortunate use of the term “kingdom” in their preaching.... (2072.6)195:2.2

 

John Zebedee finally got wise. Recall this in Paper 170:

 

...By the time the Apostle John began to write the story of Jesus’ life and teachings, the early Christians had experienced so much trouble with the kingdom-of-God idea as a breeder of persecution that they had largely abandoned the use of the term.... (1861.6)170:2.24

 

***

 

That the Romans were a great people is reflected in the longevity of the Roman empire. From today's OPAD:

 

 ...Such unparalleled honesty, devotion, and stalwart self-control was ideal soil for the reception and growth of Christianity.... (2072.8)195:2.4
 

From Wikipedia:
 

Ancient Roman society has contributed to modern government, law, politics, engineering, art, literature, architecture, technology, warfare, religion, language and society. A civilization highly developed for its time, Rome professionalized and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France. It achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as large monuments, palaces, and public facilities.

 

...Beginning with Emperor Nero in the 1st century AD, Roman official policy towards Christianity was negative, and at some points, simply being a Christian could be punishable by death. Under Emperor Diocletian, the persecution of Christians reached its peak. However, it became an officially supported religion in the Roman state under Diocletian's successor, Constantine I, with the signing of the Edict of Milan in 313, and quickly became dominant. All religions except Christianity were prohibited in 391 AD by an edict of Emperor Theodosius I.
 

...Constantine assumed the empire as a tetrarch in 306. He conducted many wars against the other tetrarchs. Firstly he defeated Maxentius in 312. In 313, he issued the Edict of Milan, which granted liberty for Christians to profess their religion. Constantine was converted to Christianity, enforcing the Christian faith. Therefore, he began the Christianization of the Empire and of Europe – a process concluded by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.

 

***

 

The Midwayers mention the Stoics in today's reading:
 

...The Stoic and his sturdy appeal to “nature and conscience” had only the better prepared all Rome to receive Christ, at least in an intellectual sense.... (2073.1)195:2.6

 

This is from Paper 121:
 

...The Stoic. Stoicism was the superior philosophy of the better classes. The Stoics believed that a controlling Reason-Fate dominated all nature. They taught that the soul of man was divine; that it was imprisoned in the evil body of physical nature. Man’s soul achieved liberty by living in harmony with nature, with God; thus virtue came to be its own reward. Stoicism ascended to a sublime morality, ideals never since transcended by any purely human system of philosophy. While the Stoics professed to be the “offspring of God,” they failed to know him and therefore failed to find him. Stoicism remained a philosophy; it never became a religion. Its followers sought to attune their minds to the harmony of the Universal Mind, but they failed to envisage themselves as the children of a loving Father. Paul leaned heavily toward Stoicism when he wrote, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content....” (1336.1)121:4.3

 

 

***

 

Cicero and Vergil receive lauds in today's reading:
 

...A people that could produce Cicero and Vergil were ripe for Paul’s Hellenized Christianity.... (2073.1)195:2.6
 

From Wikipedia:
 

Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC), was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul and constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.

 

His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. According to Michael Grant, "the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language". Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary (with neologisms such as humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia) distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher.

 

...The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, David Hume, and Montesquieu was substantial. His works rank among the most influential in European culture, and today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history, especially the last days of the Roman Republic. Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement.

 

220px-Cicero_-_Musei_Capitolini.JPG

A mid-first century AD bust of Cicero in the Capitoline Museums, Rome

 

IMAGE SOURCE

 

About Vergil, from Wikipedia:

 

Publius Vergilius Maro (October 15, 70 BC – September 21, 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues (or Bucolics), the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him.

 

Virgil is traditionally ranked as one of Rome's greatest poets. His Aeneid has been considered the national epic of ancient Rome from the time of its composition to the present day. Modeled after Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid follows the Trojan refugee Aeneas as he struggles to fulfill his destiny and arrive on the shores of Italy—in Roman mythology the founding act of Rome. Virgil's work has had wide and deep influence on Western literature, most notably the Divine Comedy of Dante, in which Virgil appears as Dante's guide through hell and purgatory.

 

...In the Middle Ages, Virgil's reputation was such that it inspired legends associating him with magic and prophecy. From at least the 3rd century, Christian thinkers interpreted Eclogues 4, which describes the birth of a boy ushering in a golden age, as a prediction of Jesus' birth. As such, Virgil came to be seen on a similar level as the Hebrew prophets of the Bible as one who had heralded Christianity.

 

640px-Publius_Vergilius_Maro1.jpg

A bust of Virgil in Naples

 

IMAGE SOURCE



And Philo is cited in the last paragraph:
 

...Philo helped some to mitigate their objections.... (2073.4)195:2.9

 

From Wikipedia:
 

Philo of Alexandria (c. 25 BCE – c. 50 CE), also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt.

 

Philo used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy. His method followed the practices of both Jewish exegesis and Stoic philosophy. His allegorical exegesis was important for several Christian Church Fathers, but he has barely any reception history within Judaism. He believed that literal interpretations of the Hebrew Bible would stifle humanity's view and perception of a God too complex and marvelous to be understood in literal human terms.

 

Some scholars hold that his concept of the Logos as God's creative principle influenced early Christology. Other scholars, however, deny direct influence but say both Philo and Early Christianity borrow from a common source.

 

...Philo represents the apex of Jewish-Hellenistic syncretism. His work attempts to combine Plato and Moses into one philosophical system.

 


***

 

In tomorrow’s reading, Section 3. Under the Roman Empire, the Midwayers discourse on its long march to an end, and the survival of Christianity after Rome's fall.

 

Overview of Paper 195 - After Pentecost

 

1. Influence of the Greeks
2. The Roman Influence
3. Under the Roman Empire
4. The European Dark Ages
5. The Modern Problem
6. Materialism
7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
8. Secular Totalitarianism
9. Christianity's Problem
10. The Future

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#7 Rick Warren

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 05:09 AM


Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today’s Presentation

 

Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

 

3. Under the Roman Empire

 

   After the consolidation of Roman political rule and after the dissemination of Christianity, the Christians found themselves with one God, a great religious concept, but without empire. The Greco-Romans found themselves with a great empire but without a God to serve as the suitable religious concept for empire worship and spiritual unification. The Christians accepted the empire; the empire adopted Christianity. The Roman provided a unity of political rule; the Greek, a unity of culture and learning; Christianity, a unity of religious thought and practice.

 

(2073.6)195:3.2 Rome overcame the tradition of nationalism by imperial universalism and for the first time in history made it possible for different races and nations at least nominally to accept one religion.

 

(2073.7)195:3.3 Christianity came into favor in Rome at a time when there was great contention between the vigorous teachings of the Stoics and the salvation promises of the mystery cults. Christianity came with refreshing comfort and liberating power to a spiritually hungry people whose language had no word for “unselfishness.”

 

(2073.8)195:3.4 That which gave greatest power to Christianity was the way its believers lived lives of service and even the way they died for their faith during the earlier times of drastic persecution.

 

(2073.9)195:3.5 The teaching regarding Christ’s love for children soon put an end to the widespread practice of exposing children to death when they were not wanted, particularly girl babies.

 

(2074.1)195:3.6 The early plan of Christian worship was largely taken over from the Jewish synagogue, modified by the Mithraic ritual; later on, much pagan pageantry was added. The backbone of the early Christian church consisted of Christianized Greek proselytes to Judaism.

 

(2074.2)195:3.7 The second century after Christ was the best time in all the world’s history for a good religion to make progress in the Western world. During the first century Christianity had prepared itself, by struggle and compromise, to take root and rapidly spread. Christianity adopted the emperor; later, he adopted Christianity. This was a great age for the spread of a new religion. There was religious liberty; travel was universal and thought was untrammeled.

 

(2074.3)195:3.8 The spiritual impetus of nominally accepting Hellenized Christianity came to Rome too late to prevent the well-started moral decline or to compensate for the already well-established and increasing racial deterioration. This new religion was a cultural necessity for imperial Rome, and it is exceedingly unfortunate that it did not become a means of spiritual salvation in a larger sense.

 

(2074.4)195:3.9 Even a good religion could not save a great empire from the sure results of lack of individual participation in the affairs of government, from overmuch paternalism, overtaxation and gross collection abuses, unbalanced trade with the Levant which drained away the gold, amusement madness, Roman standardization, the degradation of woman, slavery and race decadence, physical plagues, and a state church which became institutionalized nearly to the point of spiritual barrenness.

 

(2074.5)195:3.10 Conditions, however, were not so bad at Alexandria. The early schools continued to hold much of Jesus’ teachings free from compromise. Pantaenus taught Clement and then went on to follow Nathaniel in proclaiming Christ in India. While some of the ideals of Jesus were sacrificed in the building of Christianity, it should in all fairness be recorded that, by the end of the second century, practically all the great minds of the Greco-Roman world had become Christian. The triumph was approaching completion.*

 

(2074.6)195:3.11 And this Roman Empire lasted sufficiently long to insure the survival of Christianity even after the empire collapsed. But we have often conjectured what would have happened in Rome and in the world if it had been the gospel of the kingdom which had been accepted in the place of Greek Christianity.

 

 

***

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#8 Rick Warren

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Posted 22 November 2014 - 05:41 AM


.

 

Good day Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

 

Such a fortuitous alignment of state, school, and spirituality!

 

...The Roman provided a unity of political rule; the Greek, a unity of culture and learning; Christianity, a unity of religious thought and practice.... (2073.5)195:3.1

 

Without any one of the three we would not have made the progress we did over the last two thousand years. Truly, in unity there is strength.

 

From today's text:
 

...Christianity came into favor in Rome at a time when there was great contention between the vigorous teachings of the Stoics and the salvation promises of the mystery cults.... (2073.7)195:3.3

 

About Stoicism. From Wikipedia: (bolded, underlined text corresponds with this in today's reading: ...its believers lived lives of service.... (2073.8)195:3.4)

 

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century B.C.E. The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection", would not suffer such emotions.

 

Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how that person behaved.

 

...From its founding, Stoic doctrine was popular with a following in Roman Greece and throughout the Roman Empire — including the Emperor Marcus Aurelius — until the closing of all pagan philosophy schools in 529 CE by order of the Emperor Justinian I, who perceived their pagan character as being at odds with the Christian faith.

 

220px-Zeno_of_Citium_pushkin.jpg

Zeno of Citium, cast in Pushkin Museum in Moscow from original in Naples.

 

 

 

Stoicism in Paper 121

 


About the Mystery Cults, from Wikipedia:

 

Mystery religions, sacred mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious schools of the Greco-Roman world for which participation was reserved to initiates (mystai). The main characterization of this religion is the secrecy associated with the particulars of the initiation and the ritual practice, which may not be revealed to outsiders. The most famous mysteries of Greco-Roman antiquity were the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were of considerable antiquity and predated the Greek Dark Ages. The mystery schools flourished in Late Antiquity; Julian the Apostate in the mid 4th century is known to have been initiated into three distinct mystery schools — most notably the Mithraic Mysteries. Due to the secret nature of the school, and because the mystery religions of Late Antiquity were persecuted by the Christian Roman Empire from the 4th century, the details of these religious practices are derived from descriptions, imagery and cross-cultural studies. "Because of this element of secrecy, we are ill-informed as to the beliefs and practices of the various mystery faiths. We know that they had a general likeness to one another".

 

...Through the 1st to 4th century, Christianity stood in direct competition for adherents with the mystery schools...

 

List of mystery schools

 

 

 

***

 

This statement in today's reading makes one wonder how much the Midwayers and angels suffered having to watch innocent babes slowly die from neglect and not be able to do anything about it:
 

...The teaching regarding Christ’s love for children soon put an end to the widespread practice of exposing children to death when they were not wanted, particularly girl babies.... (2073.9)195:3.5

 

 

***

 

...Christianity adopted the emperor; later, he adopted Christianity....  (2074.2)195:3.7

 

That would be Constantine, presumably. From Wikipedia:
 

Constantine—as the first Christian emperor—is a significant figure in the history of Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem, became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by Eastern Orthodox Christians, Byzantine Catholics, and Anglicans. The Eastern churches hold his memory in particular esteem, regarding Constantine as isapostolos ("equal to an apostle").
 

 

***

 

 

This (from today's text) well explains the downfall of Rome, and perhaps even predicts the fate of today's empires:

 

...lack of individual participation in the affairs of government, from overmuch paternalism, overtaxation and gross collection abuses, unbalanced trade with the Levant which drained away the gold, amusement madness, Roman standardization, the degradation of woman, slavery and race decadence, physical plagues, and a state church which became institutionalized nearly to the point of spiritual barrenness.... (2074.4)195:3.9

 


 

***

 

About Pantaenus and Clement, cited in today's OPAD:
 

...Pantaenus taught Clement and then went on to follow Nathaniel in proclaiming Christ in India.... (2074.5)195:3.10
 

From Wikipedia:

 

Saint Pantaenus the Philosopher was a Greek theologian and a significant figure in the Catechetical School of Alexandria from around AD 180. This school was the earliest catechetical school, and became influential in the development of Christian theology.

 

Pantaenus was a Stoic philosopher teaching in Alexandria. He converted to the Christian faith, and sought to reconcile his new faith with Greek philosophy. His most famous student, Clement, who was his successor as head of the Catechetical School, described Pantaenus as "the Sicilian bee".

 

Although no writings by Pantaenus are extant, his legacy is known by the influence of the Catechetical

School on the development of Christian theology, in particular in the early debates on the interpretation of the Bible, the Trinity, and Christology. He was the main supporter of Serapion of Antioch for acting against the influence of Gnosticism.

 

In addition to his work as a teacher, Eusebius of Caesarea reports that Pantaenus was for a time a missionary, traveling as far as India where, according to Eusebius, he found Christian communities using the Gospel of Matthew written in "Hebrew letters", supposedly left them by the apostle Bartholemew (and which might have been the Gospel of the Hebrews). This may indicate that Syrian Christians, using a Syriac version of the New Testament, had already evangelized parts of India by late 2nd century. However, some writers have suggested that having difficulty with the language of Saint Thomas Christians, Pantaenus misinterpreted their reference to Mar Thoma (Bishop Thomas), who is currently credited with an evangelization mission to India by the Syrian churches, as Bar Tolmai (the Hebrew name of Bartholomew). Others say Eusebius may have confused India with Arabia or Ethiopia as was done by some other Greek writers. St. Thomas Christians themselves have always maintained that Thomas the Apostle himself was the first to bring Christianity to India.

 

Saint Jerome, apparently relying entirely on Eusebius' evidence from Historia Ecclesiastica, wrote that Pantaenus visited India, “to preach Christ to the Brahmans and philosophers there. ” It is unlikely that Jerome has any information about Pantaenus' mission to India that is independent of Eusebius. On the other hand, his claim that "many" of Pantaenus' Biblical commentaries were still extant is probably based on Jerome's own knowledge.

 

 

In fact "the apostle Bartholomew" was Nathaniel's father. And it was not Bartholomew, rather Nathaniel, who served and died in India. From Paper 139:
 

...Nathaniel’s father (Bartholomew) died shortly after Pentecost, after which this apostle went into Mesopotamia and India proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom and baptizing believers. His brethren never knew what became of their onetime philosopher, poet, and humorist. But he also was a great man in the kingdom and did much to spread his Master’s teachings, even though he did not participate in the organization of the subsequent Christian church. Nathaniel died in India.... (1559.4)139:6.9

 

 

***

 

Lastly, the Midwayers give us insight into their speculations:

 

 ...we have often conjectured what would have happened in Rome and in the world if it had been the gospel of the kingdom which had been accepted in the place of Greek Christianity.... (2074.6)195:3.11

 

What would have happened to Urantia in that case? Would we be on the brink of the age of light and life about now?

 

***

 

In tomorrow’s reading, Section 4. The European Dark Ages, the Midwayers discuss the hibernation and survival of Christianity during long, terrible centuries when religion became "second-hand", something that rested in the custody of a handful of saints and priests, and left the individual out in the barren cold.

 

Overview of Paper 195 - After Pentecost

 

1. Influence of the Greeks
2. The Roman Influence
3. Under the Roman Empire
4. The European Dark Ages
5. The Modern Problem
6. Materialism
7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
8. Secular Totalitarianism
9. Christianity's Problem
10. The Future

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#9 Rick Warren

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 05:11 AM


Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today’s Presentation

 

Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

 

4. The European Dark Ages

 

   The church, being an adjunct to society and the ally of politics, was doomed to share in the intellectual and spiritual decline of the so-called European “dark ages.” During this time, religion became more and more monasticized, asceticized, and legalized. In a spiritual sense, Christianity was hibernating. Throughout this period there existed, alongside this slumbering and secularized religion, a continuous stream of mysticism, a fantastic spiritual experience bordering on unreality and philosophically akin to pantheism.

 

(2074.8)195:4.2 During these dark and despairing centuries, religion became virtually secondhanded again. The individual was almost lost before the overshadowing authority, tradition, and dictation of the church. A new spiritual menace arose in the creation of a galaxy of “saints” who were assumed to have special influence at the divine courts, and who, therefore, if effectively appealed to, would be able to intercede in man’s behalf before the Gods.

 

(2075.1)195:4.3 But Christianity was sufficiently socialized and paganized that, while it was impotent to stay the oncoming dark ages, it was the better prepared to survive this long period of moral darkness and spiritual stagnation. And it did persist on through the long night of Western civilization and was still functioning as a moral influence in the world when the renaissance dawned. The rehabilitation of Christianity, following the passing of the dark ages, resulted in bringing into existence numerous sects of the Christian teachings, beliefs suited to special intellectual, emotional, and spiritual types of human personality. And many of these special Christian groups, or religious families, still persist at the time of the making of this presentation.

 

(2075.2)195:4.4 Christianity exhibits a history of having originated out of the unintended transformation of the religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus. It further presents the history of having experienced Hellenization, paganization, secularization, institutionalization, intellectual deterioration, spiritual decadence, moral hibernation, threatened extinction, later rejuvenation, fragmentation, and more recent relative rehabilitation. Such a pedigree is indicative of inherent vitality and the possession of vast recuperative resources. And this same Christianity is now present in the civilized world of Occidental peoples and stands face to face with a struggle for existence which is even more ominous than those eventful crises which have characterized its past battles for dominance.

 

(2075.3)195:4.5 Religion is now confronted by the challenge of a new age of scientific minds and materialistic tendencies. In this gigantic struggle between the secular and the spiritual, the religion of Jesus will eventually triumph.

 

***

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#10 Rick Warren

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 05:53 AM


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Greetings Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

 

Wonder if the Midwayers, Melchizedeks and angels were worried that the religion about Jesus was doomed after the fall of the Roman empire? The prospects for religious progress surely must have appeared rather bleak from the 6th to 14th centuries. That Christianity survived and revived is indeed a testament to its inherent vitality.

 

From Wikipedia:
 

...The concept of a Dark Age originated with the Italian scholar Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) in the 1330s, and was originally intended as a sweeping criticism of the character of Late Latin literature. Petrarch regarded the post-Roman centuries as "dark" compared to the light of classical antiquity. Later historians expanded the term to refer to the transitional period between Roman times and the High Middle Ages (c. 11th–13th century), including the lack of Latin literature, and a lack of contemporary written history, general demographic decline, limited building activity and material cultural achievements in general. Later historians and writers picked up the concept, and popular culture has further expanded on it as a vehicle to depict the early Middle Ages as a time of backwardness, extending its pejorative use and expanding its scope.

 

From today's text:

 

...In a spiritual sense, Christianity was hibernating.... (2074.7)195:4.1

 

Interesting that Petrarch also used a sleeping metaphor:
 

"...This sleep of forgetfulness will not last for ever. When the darkness has been dispersed, our descendants can come again in the former pure radiance."

 

...As an Italian, Petrarch saw the Roman Empire and the classical period as expressions of Italian greatness. He spent much of his time travelling through Europe rediscovering and republishing classic Latin and Greek texts. He wanted to restore the classical Latin language to its former purity. Humanists saw the preceding 900-year period as a time of stagnation. They saw history unfolding, not along the religious outline of Saint Augustine's Six Ages of the World, but in cultural (or secular) terms through the progressive developments of classical ideals, literature, and art.

 

Francesco_Petrarca00.jpg

PETRARCH

IMAGE/TEXT SOURCE/MORE

 

 

About the making of saints cited in today's reading:
 

...A new spiritual menace arose in the creation of a galaxy of “saints” who were assumed to have special influence at the divine courts, and who, therefore, if effectively appealed to, would be able to intercede in man’s behalf before the Gods.... (2074.8)195:4.2
 

That "menace" still abides. The eastern and western church anoints more "saints" every year. Adherents are taught to pray to this saint or that saint, depending on the particular bent or specialty of the saint being prayed to. But all religions have their venerated ones. We humans are not slow to sanctify ourselves.

 

From Wikipedia:
 

A saint is one who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness. While the English term "saint" originated in Christianity, historians of religion now use the term "in a more general way to refer to the state of special holiness that many religions attribute to certain people," with the Jewish Tzadik, the Islamic Mu'min, the Hindu rishi or guru, and the Buddhist arhat or bodhisattva also referred to as saints. Depending on the religion, saints are recognized either through official church recognition or by popular acclaim (see folk saints).

 

In Christianity, "saint" has a wide variety of meanings, depending on its usage and the denomination. The original Christian usage referred to any believer who is "in Christ" and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth. In Orthodox and Catholic teachings, all Christians in heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered to be worthy of higher honor, emulation, or veneration, with official church recognition given to some saints through canonization or glorification.

 

 

 

 

One of the most influential "saints" of the whole Catholic pantheon was Augustine. From Wikipedia:

 

Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine or Saint Austin, was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, Algeria) located in the Roman province of Africa. He is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in the Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Era. Among his most important works are City of God and Confessions.

 

According to his contemporary, Jerome, Augustine "established anew the ancient Faith." In his early years, he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the Neo-Platonism of Plotinus. After his baptism and conversion to Christianity in 387, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped formulate the doctrine of original sin and made seminal contributions to the development of just war theory.

 

When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Catholic Church as a spiritual City of God (in a book of the same name), distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. The segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople closely identified with Augustine's City of God.

 

In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint, a pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinians. His memorial is celebrated on 28 August, the day of his death. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of the Protestant Reformation due to his teachings on salvation and divine grace.

 

In the East, many of his teachings are not accepted. The most important doctrinal controversy surrounding his name is the filioque. Other possibly unacceptable doctrines include his views on original sin, the doctrine of grace, and predestination. Nonetheless, though considered to be mistaken on some points, he is still considered a saint, and his feast day is celebrated on 15 June. He carries the additional title of Blessed as opposed to Saint among the Orthodox Church, due to his teachings controversial with the doctrine.

 

 

220px-Augustinus_1.jpg

Saint Augustine

Born 13 November 354
Thagaste, Numidia (modern-day Souk Ahras, Algeria) Died 28 August 430 (aged 75)
Hippo Regius, Numidia (modern-day Annaba, Algeria) Notable work(s) Confessions
City of God
On Christian Doctrine


 

At the other end of the dark ages was Aquinas:
 

Thomas Aquinas, OP (1225 – 7 March 1274), also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican friar and priest and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is also known as the "Doctor Angelicus" and "Doctor Communis". "Aquinas" is from the county of Aquino, an area in which his family held land until 1137. He was born in Roccasecca, Italy.

 

He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of Thomism. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or opposition of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory. Unlike many currents in the Church of the time, Thomas embraced several ideas put forward by Aristotle — whom he referred to as "the Philosopher" — and attempted to synthesize Aristotelian philosophy with the principles of Christianity. The works for which he is best known are the Summa Theologica and the Summa contra Gentiles. His commentaries on Sacred Scripture and on Aristotle are an important part of his body of work. Furthermore, Thomas is distinguished for his eucharistic hymns, which form a part of the Church's liturgy.

 

Thomas is honored as a saint by the Catholic Church and is held to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood, and indeed the highest expression of both natural reason and speculative theology. In modern times, under papal directives, the study of his works was long used as a core of the required program of study for those seeking ordination as priests or deacons, as well as for those in religious formation and for other students of the sacred disciplines (philosophy, Catholic theology, church history, liturgy, canon law).

 

Also honored as a Doctor of the Church, Thomas is considered the Church's greatest theologian and philosopher. Pope Benedict XV declared: "This (Dominican) Order ... acquired new luster when the Church declared the teaching of Thomas to be her own and that Doctor, honored with the special praises of the Pontiffs, the master and patron of Catholic schools."



***

 

About the sectarian fragmentation of Christianity at the end of the dark period, noted in today's reading:

 

 ...The rehabilitation of Christianity, following the passing of the dark ages, resulted in bringing into existence numerous sects of the Christian teachings.... (2075.1)195:4.3

 

...was brought about by men like Martin Luther. Luther became the father of sectarian divides when he took the church to task for granting "indulgences", bribes to forgive sins and enter heaven. The Lutheran church branched off and became the first sect of Christianity.

 

From Wikipedia:
 

Martin Luther, OSA, (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German friar, Catholic priest, professor of theology and seminal figure of the 16th-century movement in Christianity known later as the Protestant Reformation. Initially an Augustinian friar, Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar, with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the Pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor.

 

220px-Lucas_Cranach_d.%C3%84._-_Martin_L

                  Luther (1533) by Lucas Cranach the Elder


 

Some estimates of the number of Christian sects today run into the tens of thousands. From the website, About Christianity:
 

Number of Christian Denominations:

 

According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world. This statistic takes into consideration cultural distinctions of denominations in different countries, so there is overlapping of many denominations. Center for the Study of Global Christianity (2011)

 

 

***

 

Reformation is a term that has been attached to the resurrection of Jesus' adulterated religion after it was entombed in the womb of the Catholic church for so many centuries. The Midwayers seem to think it has not run its course. This is from Paper 196:
 

...Some day a reformation in the Christian church may strike deep enough to get back to the unadulterated religious teachings of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.... (2091.10)196:2.1

 

From the last line of today's OPAD:

 

...In this gigantic struggle between the secular and the spiritual, the religion of Jesus will eventually triumph.... (2075.3)195:4.5
 

As bad as things are, and may become over the next millennium, it will end well. The old gamblers' axiom: "the house always wins" applies even more so with regard to things spiritual.

 

 

***

 

In tomorrow’s reading, Section 5. The Modern Problem, the Midwayers speak directly to us, declaring religion must rise over and above logic, beauty, politics, even morality. The love value of religion trumps all other pursuits, ideas and ideals.

 

 

Overview of Paper 195 - After Pentecost

 

1. Influence of the Greeks
2. The Roman Influence
3. Under the Roman Empire
4. The European Dark Ages
5. The Modern Problem
6. Materialism
7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
8. Secular Totalitarianism
9. Christianity's Problem
10. The Future

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#11 Rick Warren

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 03:51 PM


Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today’s Presentation

 

Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

 

5. The Modern Problem

 

   The twentieth century has brought new problems for Christianity and all other religions to solve. The higher a civilization climbs, the more necessitous becomes the duty to “seek first the realities of heaven” in all of man’s efforts to stabilize society and facilitate the solution of its material problems.

 

(2075.5)195:5.2 Truth often becomes confusing and even misleading when it is dismembered, segregated, isolated, and too much analyzed. Living truth teaches the truth seeker aright only when it is embraced in wholeness and as a living spiritual reality, not as a fact of material science or an inspiration of intervening art.

 

(2075.6)195:5.3 Religion is the revelation to man of his divine and eternal destiny. Religion is a purely personal and spiritual experience and must forever be distinguished from man’s other high forms of thought, such as:

 

1. Man’s logical attitude toward the things of material reality.


2. Man’s aesthetic appreciation of beauty contrasted with ugliness.

 

3. Man’s ethical recognition of social obligations and political duty.

 

4. Even man’s sense of human morality is not, in and of itself, religious.

 

(2075.11)195:5.8 Religion is designed to find those values in the universe which call forth faith, trust, and assurance; religion culminates in worship. Religion discovers for the soul those supreme values which are in contrast with the relative values discovered by the mind. Such superhuman insight can be had only through genuine religious experience.

 

(2075.12)195:5.9 A lasting social system without a morality predicated on spiritual realities can no more be maintained than could the solar system without gravity.

 

(2076.1)195:5.10 Do not try to satisfy the curiosity or gratify all the latent adventure surging within the soul in one short life in the flesh. Be patient! be not tempted to indulge in a lawless plunge into cheap and sordid adventure. Harness your energies and bridle your passions; be calm while you await the majestic unfolding of an endless career of progressive adventure and thrilling discovery.

 

(2076.2)195:5.11 In confusion over man’s origin, do not lose sight of his eternal destiny. Forget not that Jesus loved even little children, and that he forever made clear the great worth of human personality.

 

(2076.3)195:5.12 As you view the world, remember that the black patches of evil which you see are shown against a white background of ultimate good. You do not view merely white patches of good which show up miserably against a black background of evil.

 

(2076.4)195:5.13 When there is so much good truth to publish and proclaim, why should men dwell so much upon the evil in the world just because it appears to be a fact? The beauties of the spiritual values of truth are more pleasurable and uplifting than is the phenomenon of evil.

 

(2076.5)195:5.14 In religion, Jesus advocated and followed the method of experience, even as modern science pursues the technique of experiment. We find God through the leadings of spiritual insight, but we approach this insight of the soul through the love of the beautiful, the pursuit of truth, loyalty to duty, and the worship of divine goodness. But of all these values, love is the true guide to real insight.

 

 

***

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#12 Rick Warren

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Posted 23 November 2014 - 03:54 PM


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Good day Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

 

Already our new revelation is showing its age. From the first line of today's OPAD:
 

...The twentieth century has brought new problems for Christianity and all other religions to solve.... (2075.4)195:5.1


We can ask: Does 21st century Christianity still have the same problems? Are they bigger? Are they different? Are they being solved in any measure?

 

The words in quotes in the second sentence of today's reading:


"...seek first the realities of heaven” in all of man’s efforts to stabilize society and facilitate the solution of its material problems....(2075.5)195:5.2


...were borrowed and paraphrased from Matthew 6:
 

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

...or possibly taken from Luke 12:
 

31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
 

 

***

 

So many times the authors refer to "living truth". From today's reading:
 

...Living truth teaches the truth seeker aright only when it is embraced in wholeness and as a living spiritual reality, not as a fact of material science or an inspiration of intervening art....(2075.5)195:5.2

 

Other references to living truth:
 

...Man rejoices in the goodness of God, Havoners exult in the divine beauty, while you both enjoy the ministry of the liberty of living truth.... (157.5) 14:4.13

 

...I am the hope of all who know the living truth.... (1965.17) 182:1.23

 

...In the Trinity Teacher Sons the love, mercy, and ministry of the three Paradise Deities are co-ordinated on the highest time-space value-levels and are presented to the universes as living truth, divine goodness, and true spiritual beauty.... (232:6) 20:10.4

 

...The seed of theoretical truth is dead, the highest moral concepts without effect, unless and until the divine Spirit breathes upon the forms of truth and quickens the formulas of righteousness.... (380:7) 34:6.6

 

...Static truth is dead truth, and only dead truth can be held as a theory. Living truth is dynamic and can enjoy only an experiential existence in the human mind.... (1949:4) 180:5.2

 

...Truth, fact, and relationship are intellectually inseparable and associated with the philosophic concepts of beauty. Goodness, righteousness, and justice are philosophically interrelated and spiritually bound up together with living truth and divine beauty.... (507:3) 44:7.2

 

...The unity of truth, beauty, and goodness can only be realized in the spiritual experience of the God-knowing personality.... (2095-8) 196:3.24

 

...Humor also functions to lessen the shock of the unexpected impact of fact or of truth, rigid unyielding fact and flexible ever-living truth. The mortal personality, never sure as to which will next be encountered, through humor swiftly grasps--sees the point and achieves insight--the unexpected nature of the situation be it fact or be it truth.... (549:5) 48:4.18

 

"...Be not deceived by their show of much learning and by their profound loyalty to the forms of religion. Be only concerned with the spirit of living truth and the power of true religion...." (1745:1) 157:2.2

 

"...If you would guide others into the kingdom, you must yourselves walk in the clear light of living truth...." (1571:5) 140:3.18

 

...Although both science and philosophy may assume the probability of God by their reason and logic, only the personal religious experience of a spirit-led man can affirm the certainty of such a supreme and personal Deity. By the technique of such an incarnation of living truth the philosophic hypothesis of the probability of God becomes a religious reality.... (1140:1) 103:8.1

 

...All static, dead, concepts are potentially evil. The finite shadow of relative and living truth is continually moving.... (1436:1) 130:4.15

 

"...In your lives overthrow error and overcome evil by the love of the living truth. In all your relations with men do good for evil...." (1443:3) 131:1.7

 

"...Lead men into the kingdom, and the great and living truths of the kingdom will presently drive out all serious error. When you have presented to mortal man the good news that God is his Father, you can the easier persuade him that he is in reality a son of God...." (1592:4) 141:6.2

 

...This gospel of the kingdom is a living truth.... (1931:6) 178:1.15

 

"...I have brought the kingdom of heaven to you here on earth, but I declare that all of you who by faith enter therein and remain therein by the living service of truth, shall surely ascend to the worlds on high and sit with me in the spirit kingdom of our Father.... (1934:6) 178:3.4

 

"...I have revealed God as your Father in heaven; I have revealed you as the sons of God on earth. It is a fact that God loves you, his sons. By faith in my word this fact becomes an eternal and living truth in your hearts...." (2052:3) 193:0.3

 

"...And when the Father shall approve, I will pour out the Spirit of Truth upon all flesh. Already is my Father's spirit in your hearts, and when this day shall come, you will also have me with you even as you now have the Father. This new gift is the spirit of living truth...." (1948:2) 180:4.1

 

...The God-knowing individual is constantly elevating wisdom to the living-truth levels of divine attainment; the spiritually unprogressive soul is all the while dragging the living truth down to the dead levels of wisdom and to the domain of mere exalted knowledge.... (1949:6) 180:5.4

 

...Knowledge pertains to things observed, but truth transcends such purely material levels in that it consorts with wisdom and embraces such imponderables as human experience, even spiritual and living realities.... (1459:2) 132:3.2

 

"...Dedicate your life to the great work of showing how the critical material mind of man can triumph over the inertia of intellectual doubting when faced by the demonstration of the manifestation of living truth as it operates in the experience of spirit-born men and women who yield the fruits of the spirit in their lives, and who love one another, even as I have loved you...." (1961:5) 181:2.26

 

"...You will serve mankind with a new and amazing devotion, even as I have served you. And when men see you so love them, and when they behold how fervently you serve them, they will perceive that you have become faith-fellows of the kingdom of heaven, and they will follow after the Spirit of Truth which they see in your lives, to the finding of eternal salvation...." (2044:3) 191:6.2

 

 
 
***
 
One of Christianity's problems is its failure to grasp and live out the meaning of true religion. The Midwayers suggest real religion is above and beyond mere logic, even though religious thought and philosophical evolution is logical. It may involve beauty, but beauty is not necessarily religious. Religion may inspire the highest social and political ideals, but they are not its main focus. And morals do not a religion make, albeit real religion fosters the highest type of morality.
 
The Midwayers define religion several ways in today's text:
 
...Religion is designed to find those values in the universe which call forth faith, trust, and assurance; religion culminates in worship.... (2075.11)195:5.8
 
There are many other statements about evolved and true religion:
 
...True religion--the religion of revelation. The revelation of supernatural values, a partial insight into eternal realities, a glimpse of the goodness and beauty of the infinite character of the Father in heaven--the religion of the spirit as demonstrated in human experience.... (1728:7) 155:5.5
 
...Evolutionary religion pictures the circuitous gropings of humanity in quest of truth; revelatory religion is that very truth.... (1007:3) 92:4.3
 
"...It is not the purpose of true religion merely to bring peace but rather to insure progress. And there can be no peace in the heart or progress in the mind unless you fall wholeheartedly in love with truth, the ideals of eternal realities...." (1745:1) 157:2.2
 
...True religion must ever be, at one and the same time, the eternal foundation and the guiding star of all enduring civilizations.... (1013:10) 92:7.15
 
...True religion has reference to destiny and reality of attainment as well as to the reality and idealism of that which is wholeheartedly faith-accepted. And all of this must be made personal to us by the revelation of the Spirit of Truth.... (1782:4) 160:5.13
 
...Religion reaches out for undiscovered ideals, unexplored realities, superhuman values, divine wisdom, and true spirit attainment. True religion does all of this; all other beliefs are not worthy of the name.... (1781.1) 160:5.5
 
...But true religion is alive. Intellectual crystallization of religious concepts is the equivalent of spiritual death. You cannot conceive of religion without ideas, but when religion once becomes reduced only to an idea, it is no longer religion; it has become merely a species of human philosophy.... (1120.4) 102:2.7
 
...But true religion is a living love, a life of service. The religionist's detachment from much that is purely temporal and trivial never leads to social isolation, and it should not destroy the sense of humor.... (1100:7) 100:6.5
 
...Since true religion is a matter of personal spiritual experience, it is inevitable that each individual religionist must have his own and personal interpretation of the realization of that spiritual experience.  (1091:6) 99:5.7
 
...Religion reaches out for undiscovered ideals, unexplored realities, superhuman values, divine wisdom, and true spirit attainment. True religion does all of this; all other beliefs are not worthy of the name.... (1781.1) 160:5.5
 
The UB authors have much more to say about religion. A Melchizedek alone provided us with five Papers on it:

 

***

 

Several times the authors declare morality is a part of religion, but not the central part:
 

...True, many apparently religious traits can grow out of nonreligious roots. Man can, intellectually, deny God and yet be morally good, loyal, filial, honest, and even idealistic.... (1126:4) 102:7.4

 

...Evolutionary religion may become ethical, but only revealed religion becomes truly and spiritually moral.... (40:6) 2:6.2

 

…The overstressed and isolated morality of modern religion, which fails to hold the devotion and loyalty of many twentieth-century men, would rehabilitate itself if, in addition to its moral mandates, it would give equal consideration to the truths of science, philosophy, and spiritual experience, and to the beauties of the physical creation, the charm of intellectual art, and the grandeur of genuine character achievement…. (43.2) 2:7.9
 

...a new and righteous vision of morality will attract all that is good in the mind of man and challenge that which is best in the human soul.... (43.3) 2:7.10
 

...The seed of theoretical truth is dead, the highest moral concepts without effect, unless and until the divine Spirit breathes upon the forms of truth and quickens the formulas of righteousness.... (380:7) 34:6.6

 

 

***

 

The Midwayers reach back to horse and carriage days for this in today's reading:

 

...Harness your energies and bridle your passions; be calm while you await the majestic unfolding of an endless career of progressive adventure and thrilling discovery.... (2076.1)195:5.10

 

Ride on! :)

 

 

They encourage us to see the dominance of goodness:


...You do not view merely white patches of good which show up miserably against a black background of evil.... (2076.3)195:5.12

 

Compare this in today's reading:
 

...When there is so much good truth to publish and proclaim, why should men dwell so much upon the evil in the world just because it appears to be a fact? (2076:4) 195:5.13
 

...with this from Jesus, in Paper 181:
 

"...In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have triumphed in the world and shown you the way to eternal joy and everlasting service...." (1954:3) 181:1.6
 

 

***

 

And finally, compare this from the last paragraph of today's text:

 

...we approach this insight of the soul through the love of the beautiful, the pursuit of truth, loyalty to duty, and the worship of divine goodness. But of all these values, love is the true guide to real insight.... (2076:5) 195:5.14
 

...with this in Paper 192:
 

"...Devote your life to proving that love is the greatest thing in the world. It is the love of God that impels men to seek salvation. Love is the ancestor of all spiritual goodness, the essence of the true and the beautiful...." (2047:5) 192:2.1

 

Love appears in very many of the 84 Truth, Beauty and Goodness quotes:

 
...The God of universal love unfailingly manifests himself to every one of his creatures up to the fullness of that creature's capacity to spiritually grasp the qualities of divine truth, beauty, and goodness.... P.27 - §0

 

...Truth, beauty, and goodness are divine realities, and as man ascends the scale of spiritual living, these supreme qualities of the Eternal become increasingly co-ordinated and unified in God, who is love.... P.43 - §3

 

...Truth is coherent, beauty attractive, goodness stabilizing. And when these values of that which is real are co-ordinated in personality experience, the result is a high order of love conditioned by wisdom and qualified by loyalty.... P.43 - §5

 

...The Hebrews based their religion on goodness; the Greeks on beauty; both religions sought truth. Jesus revealed a God of love, and love is all-embracing of truth, beauty, and goodness.... P.67 - §4

 

...In the Trinity Teacher Sons the love, mercy, and ministry of the three Paradise Deities are co-ordinated on the highest time-space value-levels and are presented to the universes as living truth, divine goodness, and true spiritual beauty.... P.233 - §0

 

...Mortal man must, through the recognition of truth, the appreciation of beauty, and the worship of goodness, evolve the recognition of a God of love and then progress through ascending deity levels to the comprehension of the Supreme.... P.641 - §4

 

...To finite man truth, beauty, and goodness embrace the full revelation of divinity reality. As this love-comprehension of Deity finds spiritual expression in the lives of God-knowing mortals, there are yielded the fruits of divinity: intellectual peace, social progress, moral satisfaction, spiritual joy, and cosmic wisdom.... P.648 - §3

 

...religion is genuine and worth while if it fosters in the individual an experience in which the sovereignty of truth, beauty, and goodness prevails, for such is the true spiritual concept of supreme reality. And through love and worship this becomes meaningful as fellowship with man and sonship with God.... P.1089 - §12

 

...Spirituality enhances the ability to discover beauty in things, recognize truth in meanings, and discover goodness in values. Spiritual development is determined by capacity therefor and is directly proportional to the elimination of the selfish qualities of love.... P.1096 - §1

 

...Reason deals with factual knowledge; wisdom, with philosophy and revelation; faith, with living spiritual experience. Through truth man attains beauty and by spiritual love ascends to goodness.... P.1142 - §1

 

...a Father life is one predicated on truth, sensitive to beauty, and dominated by goodness. Such a God-knowing person is inwardly illuminated by worship and outwardly devoted to the wholehearted service of the universal brotherhood of all personalities, a service ministry which is filled with mercy and motivated by love.... P.1175 - §1

 

...The understandings of truth, beauty, and goodness, morality, ethics, duty, love, divinity, origin, existence, purpose, destiny, time, space, even Deity, are only relatively true.... P.1260 - §3

 

...An experience is good when it heightens the appreciation of beauty, augments the moral will, enhances the discernment of truth, enlarges the capacity to love and serve one's fellows, exalts the spiritual ideals, and unifies the supreme human motives of time with the eternal plans of the indwelling Adjuster.... P.1458 - §2

 

...He revealed a goodness equal to God. He exalted love--truth, beauty, and goodness--as the divine ideal and the eternal reality.... P.1583 - §5

 

...God is not a hypothesis formulated to unify the human concepts of truth, beauty, and goodness; he is the personality of love from whom all of these universe manifestations are derived.... P.2095 - §8

 

...Love is the highest motivation which man may utilize in his universe ascent. But love, divested of truth, beauty, and goodness, is only a sentiment, a philosophic distortion, a psychic illusion, a spiritual deception.... P.2096 - §5

 

...This concept of love generates in the soul of man that superanimal effort to find truth, beauty, and goodness; and when he does find them, he is glorified in their embrace; he is consumed with the desire to live them.... P.2096 - §8

 

 

84 Uses of Truth, Beauty & Goodness In 16 Languages

 

 

***

 

In tomorrow’s reading, Section 6. Materialism, the Midwayers discourse on the relative roles of religion and science as they impinge on life as it is lived on Urantia in the wake of two defaults and an incarnation of our universe sovereign, who in his majestic life showed us the way to spiritual progress and eternal existence.

 

 

Overview of Paper 195 - After Pentecost

 

1. Influence of the Greeks
2. The Roman Influence
3. Under the Roman Empire
4. The European Dark Ages
5. The Modern Problem
6. Materialism
7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
8. Secular Totalitarianism
9. Christianity's Problem
10. The Future

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#13 Rick Warren

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 07:39 PM


Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today’s Presentation

 

Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

 

6. Materialism

 

   Scientists have unintentionally precipitated mankind into a materialistic panic; they have started an unthinking run on the moral bank of the ages, but this bank of human experience has vast spiritual resources; it can stand the demands being made upon it. Only unthinking men become panicky about the spiritual assets of the human race. When the materialistic-secular panic is over, the religion of Jesus will not be found bankrupt. The spiritual bank of the kingdom of heaven will be paying out faith, hope, and moral security to all who draw upon it “in His name.”

 

(2076.7)195:6.2 No matter what the apparent conflict between materialism and the teachings of Jesus may be, you can rest assured that, in the ages to come, the teachings of the Master will fully triumph. In reality, true religion cannot become involved in any controversy with science; it is in no way concerned with material things. Religion is simply indifferent to, but sympathetic with, science, while it supremely concerns itself with the scientist.

 

(2076.8)195:6.3 The pursuit of mere knowledge, without the attendant interpretation of wisdom and the spiritual insight of religious experience, eventually leads to pessimism and human despair. A little knowledge is truly disconcerting.

 

(2076.9)195:6.4 At the time of this writing the worst of the materialistic age is over; the day of a better understanding is already beginning to dawn. The higher minds of the scientific world are no longer wholly materialistic in their philosophy, but the rank and file of the people still lean in that direction as a result of former teachings. But this age of physical realism is only a passing episode in man’s life on earth. Modern science has left true religion — the teachings of Jesus as translated in the lives of his believers — untouched. All science has done is to destroy the childlike illusions of the misinterpretations of life.

 

(2077.1)195:6.5 Science is a quantitative experience, religion a qualitative experience, as regards man’s life on earth. Science deals with phenomena; religion, with origins, values, and goals. To assign causes as an explanation of physical phenomena is to confess ignorance of ultimates and in the end only leads the scientist straight back to the first great cause — the Universal Father of Paradise.

 

(2077.2)195:6.6 The violent swing from an age of miracles to an age of machines has proved altogether upsetting to man. The cleverness and dexterity of the false philosophies of mechanism belie their very mechanistic contentions. The fatalistic agility of the mind of a materialist forever disproves his assertions that the universe is a blind and purposeless energy phenomenon.

 

(2077.3)195:6.7 The mechanistic naturalism of some supposedly educated men and the thoughtless secularism of the man in the street are both exclusively concerned with things; they are barren of all real values, sanctions, and satisfactions of a spiritual nature, as well as being devoid of faith, hope, and eternal assurances. One of the great troubles with modern life is that man thinks he is too busy to find time for spiritual meditation and religious devotion.

 

(2077.4)195:6.8 Materialism reduces man to a soulless automaton and constitutes him merely an arithmetical symbol finding a helpless place in the mathematical formula of an unromantic and mechanistic universe. But whence comes all this vast universe of mathematics without a Master Mathematician? Science may expatiate on the conservation of matter, but religion validates the conservation of men’s souls — it concerns their experience with spiritual realities and eternal values.

 

(2077.5)195:6.9 The materialistic sociologist of today surveys a community, makes a report thereon, and leaves the people as he found them. Nineteen hundred years ago, unlearned Galileans surveyed Jesus giving his life as a spiritual contribution to man’s inner experience and then went out and turned the whole Roman Empire upside down.

 

(2077.6)195:6.10 But religious leaders are making a great mistake when they try to call modern man to spiritual battle with the trumpet blasts of the Middle Ages. Religion must provide itself with new and up-to-date slogans. Neither democracy nor any other political panacea will take the place of spiritual progress. False religions may represent an evasion of reality, but Jesus in his gospel introduced mortal man to the very entrance upon an eternal reality of spiritual progression.

 

(2077.7)195:6.11 To say that mind “emerged” from matter explains nothing. If the universe were merely a mechanism and mind were unapart from matter, we would never have two differing interpretations of any observed phenomenon. The concepts of truth, beauty, and goodness are not inherent in either physics or chemistry. A machine cannot know, much less know truth, hunger for righteousness, and cherish goodness.

 

(2077.8)195:6.12 Science may be physical, but the mind of the truth-discerning scientist is at once supermaterial. Matter knows not truth, neither can it love mercy nor delight in spiritual realities. Moral convictions based on spiritual enlightenment and rooted in human experience are just as real and certain as mathematical deductions based on physical observations, but on another and higher level.

 

(2077.9)195:6.13 If men were only machines, they would react more or less uniformly to a material universe. Individuality, much less personality, would be nonexistent.

 

(2077.10)195:6.14 The fact of the absolute mechanism of Paradise at the center of the universe of universes, in the presence of the unqualified volition of the Second Source and Center, makes forever certain that determiners are not the exclusive law of the cosmos. Materialism is there, but it is not exclusive; mechanism is there, but it is not unqualified; determinism is there, but it is not alone.

 

(2078.1)195:6.15 The finite universe of matter would eventually become uniform and deterministic but for the combined presence of mind and spirit. The influence of the cosmic mind constantly injects spontaneity into even the material worlds.

 

(2078.2)195:6.16 Freedom or initiative in any realm of existence is directly proportional to the degree of spiritual influence and cosmic-mind control; that is, in human experience, the degree of the actuality of doing “the Father’s will.” And so, when you once start out to find God, that is the conclusive proof that God has already found you.

 

(2078.3)195:6.17 The sincere pursuit of goodness, beauty, and truth leads to God. And every scientific discovery demonstrates the existence of both freedom and uniformity in the universe. The discoverer was free to make the discovery. The thing discovered is real and apparently uniform, or else it could not have become known as a thing.

 

 

***

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#14 Rick Warren

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Posted 24 November 2014 - 07:40 PM


.

 

Greetings Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

 

Can we blame science for setting off the "materialistic panic"? Science simply did its job and released us from the shackles of superstition, the fear of ghosts, and the shaman's magic. From today's text:
 

...All science has done is to destroy the childlike illusions of the misinterpretations of life.... (2076.9)195:6.4
 


This revelation was being written during "the great depression", a time when banks failed in unprecedented numbers, when bankruptcy was the bane of the day. Good to know the bank of Nebadon can handle any and all runs on it. From today's reading:
 

...The spiritual bank of the kingdom of heaven will be paying out faith, hope, and moral security to all who draw upon it “in His name....” (2076.6)195:6.1

 

About this is a beautiful statement, ending with emphasis on, and concern for, the one attempting to discover truth:

 

...Religion is simply indifferent to, but sympathetic with, science, while it supremely concerns itself with the scientist.... (2076.7)195:6.2

 

 

 

***

 

This in today's reading:
 

...A little knowledge is truly disconcerting.... (2076.8)195:6.3
 

...is reflected in Paper 131, a discourse on Taoism:

 

 “...The wise man universalizes his heart. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing...."(1452.2)131:8.4
 

 

***

 

About this statement in today's reading:
 

...At the time of this writing the worst of the materialistic age is over; the day of a better understanding is already beginning to dawn.... (2076.9)195:6.4
 

The Midwayers wrote that about 80 years ago. Readers still debate it. Are we truly on the downhill side of the peak of materialism? In my experience, people today, in general, do seem to understand the more important things of life are not tangible. They want a good family, love and God. Even unbelievers strive for happiness, knowledge, and the moral high ground rather than for wealth and possessions.

 

...Science deals with phenomena; religion, with origins, values, and goals.... (2077.1)195:6.5

 

And the good and true scientist does eventually find God, or at least the First Cause. From today's reading:
 

...in the end only leads the scientist straight back to the first great cause — the Universal Father of Paradise.... (2077.1)195:6.5

 

We can easily be fooled, but a close and honest inspection reveals that mind itself if a reflection of a goal oriented universe, not a universe that somehow fell together with no one creating or directing it. The Midwayers affirm this in today's reading:


 ...The fatalistic agility of the mind of a materialist forever disproves his assertions that the universe is a blind and purposeless energy phenomenon.... (2077.2)195:6.6

 

This statement is still true:
 

...One of the great troubles with modern life is that man thinks he is too busy to find time for spiritual meditation and religious devotion.... (2077.3)195:6.7


...perhaps even more so with the proliferation of material distractions that recently became available to nearly everyone on the planet.

***

 

Science may be a powerful influence, but spirit is more powerful--IF it is tapped. Even if it is tapped and spread by scientifically ignorant and unlettered humans. From today's reading:
 

 ...Nineteen hundred years ago, unlearned Galileans surveyed Jesus giving his life as a spiritual contribution to man’s inner experience and then went out and turned the whole Roman Empire upside down.... (2077.5)195:6.9


***

 

The Midwayers say we of this new age must find "new slogans". What should they be? Simply 'the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of humanity'? What else? Maybe this one from Paper 102:

 

...the real is the good and the good is the real.... (1122.11)102:3.15

 

 

 

***

 

Compare this in today's reading:

 

...A machine cannot know, much less know truth, hunger for righteousness, and cherish goodness.... (2077:7) 195:6.11

 

...with this in tomorrow's:
 

...Machines do not think, create, dream, aspire, idealize, hunger for truth, or thirst for righteousness.... (2079:9) 195:7.13

 

 

***

 

The Midwayers declare this in today's OPAD:
 

...Science may be physical, but the mind of the truth-discerning scientist is at once supermaterial. Matter knows not truth, neither can it love mercy nor delight in spiritual realities.... (2077:8) 195:6.12
 

In Paper 90, the Melchizedek author says this:
 

...Only facts and truth court the full light of comprehension and rejoice in the illumination and enlightenment of scientific research.... (992:1) 90:4.9

 

***

 

Paradise and the Second Source and Center (the Eternal Son) cited in today's reading were revealed in Part 1 of the UB.

 

Paper 6: The Eternal Son

Paper 11:The Eternal Isle of Paradise

 

 

 

The "cosmic mind", mentioned in today's text:
 

 ...The influence of the cosmic mind constantly injects spontaneity into even the material worlds.... (2078.1)195:6.15

 

...is revealed elsewhere. In fact it is the title of Paper 16:6 It begins:


...The Master Spirits are the sevenfold source of the cosmic mind, the intellectual potential of the grand universe. This cosmic mind is a subabsolute manifestation of the mind of the Third Source and Center.... (191.4)16:6.1
 

***

 

That God has found the ones who seek God, expressed in today's reading:

 

 ...when you once start out to find God, that is the conclusive proof that God has already found you.... (2078.2)195:6.16

 

...also appears in Paper 130, Jesus speaking:


"...If you truly want to find God, that desire is in itself evidence that you have already found him. Your trouble is not that you cannot find God, for the Father has already found you; your trouble is simply that you do not know God...." (1440.2)130:8.2

 

***

 

Twice in today's reading the truth, beauty and goodness trio appear:

 

...The concepts of truth, beauty, and goodness are not inherent in either physics or chemistry....(2077.7)195:6.11

 

 ...The sincere pursuit of goodness, beauty, and truth leads to God.... (2078.3)195:6.17

 

As mentioned in yesterday's OPAD, many are the references to truth, beauty and goodness:

 


84 Uses of Truth, Beauty & Goodness In 16 Languages

 

***

 

The Midwayers end this Section with an italicized word, and a sage philosophical axiom for scientists:
 

...The thing discovered is real and apparently uniform, or else it could not have become known as a thing.... (2078.3)195:6.17

 

***

 

In tomorrow’s reading, part 1 of Section 7. The Vulnerability of Materialism, the Midwayers write about the reality and pursuit of spiritual values, as opposed to amassing wealth, perfecting skills, and seeking pleasure--mechanistic, mental/emotional, and physical pursuits.

 

 

Overview of Paper 195 - After Pentecost

 

1. Influence of the Greeks
2. The Roman Influence
3. Under the Roman Empire
4. The European Dark Ages
5. The Modern Problem
6. Materialism
7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
8. Secular Totalitarianism
9. Christianity's Problem
10. The Future

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#15 Rick Warren

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 04:35 PM


 

 

 

 

PS. Two (somewhat) parallel quotes from the New Testament that appeared in today's OPAD:

 

…Nineteen hundred years ago, unlearned Galileans surveyed Jesus giving his life as a spiritual contribution to man’s inner experience and then went out and turned the whole Roman Empire upside down…. (2077.5)195:6.9

 

From Acts 4:

 

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

 

From Acts 17:

 

6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;



#16 Rick Warren

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 04:46 PM


 

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today’s Presentation

 

Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

 

7. The Vulnerability of Materialism

 

[Part 1 of 2]

 

   How foolish it is for material-minded man to allow such vulnerable theories as those of a mechanistic universe to deprive him of the vast spiritual resources of the personal experience of true religion. Facts never quarrel with real spiritual faith; theories may. Better that science should be devoted to the destruction of superstition rather than attempting the overthrow of religious faith — human belief in spiritual realities and divine values.

 

(2078.5)195:7.2 Science should do for man materially what religion does for him spiritually: extend the horizon of life and enlarge his personality. True science can have no lasting quarrel with true religion. The “scientific method” is merely an intellectual yardstick wherewith to measure material adventures and physical achievements. But being material and wholly intellectual, it is utterly useless in the evaluation of spiritual realities and religious experiences.

 

(2078.6)195:7.3 The inconsistency of the modern mechanist is: If this were merely a material universe and man only a machine, such a man would be wholly unable to recognize himself as such a machine, and likewise would such a machine-man be wholly unconscious of the fact of the existence of such a material universe. The materialistic dismay and despair of a mechanistic science has failed to recognize the fact of the spirit-indwelt mind of the scientist whose very supermaterial insight formulates these mistaken and self-contradictory concepts of a materialistic universe.

 

(2078.7)195:7.4 Paradise values of eternity and infinity, of truth, beauty, and goodness, are concealed within the facts of the phenomena of the universes of time and space. But it requires the eye of faith in a spirit-born mortal to detect and discern these spiritual values.

 

(2078.8)195:7.5 The realities and values of spiritual progress are not a “psychologic projection” — a mere glorified daydream of the material mind. Such things are the spiritual forecasts of the indwelling Adjuster, the spirit of God living in the mind of man. And let not your dabblings with the faintly glimpsed findings of “relativity” disturb your concepts of the eternity and infinity of God. And in all your solicitation concerning the necessity for self-expression do not make the mistake of failing to provide for Adjuster-expression, the manifestation of your real and better self.

 

(2079.1)195:7.6 If this were only a material universe, material man would never be able to arrive at the concept of the mechanistic character of such an exclusively material existence. This very mechanistic concept of the universe is in itself a nonmaterial phenomenon of mind, and all mind is of nonmaterial origin, no matter how thoroughly it may appear to be materially conditioned and mechanistically controlled.

 

(2079.2)195:7.7 The partially evolved mental mechanism of mortal man is not overendowed with consistency and wisdom. Man’s conceit often outruns his reason and eludes his logic.

 

(2079.3)195:7.8 The very pessimism of the most pessimistic materialist is, in and of itself, sufficient proof that the universe of the pessimist is not wholly material. Both optimism and pessimism are concept reactions in a mind conscious of values as well as of facts. If the universe were truly what the materialist regards it to be, man as a human machine would then be devoid of all conscious recognition of that very fact. Without the consciousness of the concept of values within the spirit-born mind, the fact of universe materialism and the mechanistic phenomena of universe operation would be wholly unrecognized by man. One machine cannot be conscious of the nature or value of another machine.

 

(2079.4)195:7.9 A mechanistic philosophy of life and the universe cannot be scientific because science recognizes and deals only with materials and facts. Philosophy is inevitably superscientific. Man is a material fact of nature, but his life is a phenomenon which transcends the material levels of nature in that it exhibits the control attributes of mind and the creative qualities of spirit.

 

(2079.5)195:7.10 The sincere effort of man to become a mechanist represents the tragic phenomenon of that man’s futile effort to commit intellectual and moral suicide. But he cannot do it.

 

(2079.6)195:7.11 If the universe were only material and man only a machine, there would be no science to embolden the scientist to postulate this mechanization of the universe. Machines cannot measure, classify, nor evaluate themselves. Such a scientific piece of work could be executed only by some entity of supermachine status.

 

(2079.7)195:7.12 If universe reality is only one vast machine, then man must be outside of the universe and apart from it in order to recognize such a fact and become conscious of the insight of such an evaluation.

 

(2079.8)195:7.13 If man is only a machine, by what technique does this man come to believe or claim to know that he is only a machine? The experience of self-conscious evaluation of one’s self is never an attribute of a mere machine. A self-conscious and avowed mechanist is the best possible answer to mechanism. If materialism were a fact, there could be no self-conscious mechanist. It is also true that one must first be a moral person before one can perform immoral acts.

 


 

***

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#17 Rick Warren

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 04:48 PM

.

 

Good day Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

 

Always do the authors attempt to distinguish between cold, hard facts and living, flexible truth. This short sentence in the first paragraph of today's reading should inform an age:
 

...Facts never quarrel with real spiritual faith; theories may.... (2078.4)195:7.1

 

Compare it with these other statements from various authors on fact, theory and truth:
 

...The dead theory of even the highest religious doctrines is powerless to transform human character or to control mortal behavior. What the world of today needs is the truth which your teacher of old declared: "Not in word only but also in power and in the Holy Spirit...." (380:7) 34:6.6

...The seed of theoretical truth is dead, the highest moral concepts without effect, unless and until the divine Spirit breathes upon the forms of truth and quickens the formulas of righteousness.... (380:7) 34:6.6

...Static truth is dead truth, and only dead truth can be held as a theory. Living truth is dynamic and can enjoy only an experiential existence in the human mind.... (1949:4) 180:5.2

 

...The higher any scientist progresses in his chosen science, the more will he abandon the theories of materialistic fact in favor of the cosmic truth of the dominance of the Supreme Mind.... (1125:5) 102:6.10

 

...Skepticism may challenge the theories of theology, but confidence in the dependability of personal experience affirms the truth of that belief which has grown into faith.... (1124:6) 102:6.4

 

...The positive always has the advantage over the negative, truth over error, experience over theory, spiritual realities over the isolated facts of time and space.... (1125:2) 102:6.7

 

 

Again, in the second paragraph, the word quarrel appears:
 

 ...True science can have no lasting quarrel with true religion.... (2078.5)195:7.2
 

Compare with these statements on science, religion and truth:


...Only facts and truth court the full light of comprehension and rejoice in the illumination and enlightenment of scientific research.... (992:1) 90:4.9

...A one-eyed person can never hope to visualize depth of perspective. Neither can single-eyed material scientists nor single-eyed spiritual mystics and allegorists correctly visualize and adequately comprehend the true depths of universe reality.... (1434:3) 130:3.4

...Your science is engaged in the agelong contest between truth and error while it fights for deliverance from the bondage of abstraction, the slavery of mathematics, and the relative blindness of mechanistic materialism.... (141.6) 12:9.5

…The overstressed and isolated morality of modern religion, which fails to hold the devotion and loyalty of many twentieth-century men, would rehabilitate itself if, in addition to its moral mandates, it would give equal consideration to the truths of science, philosophy, and spiritual experience, and to the beauties of the physical creation, the charm of intellectual art, and the grandeur of genuine character achievement…. (43.2) 2:7.9

 

...Mathematics, material science, is indispensable to the intelligent discussion of the material aspects of the universe, but such knowledge is not necessarily a part of the higher realization of truth or of the personal appreciation of spiritual realities.... (141.4) 12:9.3

...Truth having to do with spiritual realities and eternal values cannot always be built up by a combination of apparent facts.... (2023.5) 189:2.6

 

...Truth is the basis of science and philosophy, presenting the intellectual foundation of religion.... (647:1) 56:10.10

 

...Man is gradually backing into the truth, beginning in error, progressing in error, and finally attaining the threshold of truth. Only with the arrival of the scientific method has he faced forward.... (970:10) 88:4.5

...The highest attainable philosophy of mortal man must be logically based on the reason of science, the faith of religion, and the truth insight afforded by revelation.... (1137:5) 103:6.15

 

 

***

 

From today's text:

 

...The materialistic dismay and despair of a mechanistic science has failed to recognize the fact of the spirit-indwelt mind of the scientist.... (2078.6)195:7.3

 

A Perfector of Wisdom said this about the Indweller (also known as the Thought Adjuster), in Paper 12:
 

...Mortal man has a spirit nucleus. The mind is a personal-energy system existing around a divine spirit nucleus and functioning in a material environment. Such a living relationship of personal mind and spirit constitutes the universe potential of eternal personality. Real trouble, lasting disappointment, serious defeat, or inescapable death can come only after self-concepts presume fully to displace the governing power of the central spirit nucleus, thereby disrupting the cosmic scheme of personality identity....(142.1)12:9.6
 

Once more the TB&G trio appears, this time with regard to values:

 

...Paradise values of eternity and infinity, of truth, beauty, and goodness, are concealed within the facts of the phenomena of the universes of time and space.... (2078.7)195:7.4

 

84 Uses of Truth, Beauty & Goodness In 16 Languages

 

 

Spirit values are a central theme of the UB. From the Foreword:
 

...Successive planetary revelations of divine truth invariably embrace the highest existing concepts of spiritual values.... (17:1) 0:12.12 

 

From Paper 102:

 

...Science, knowledge, leads to fact consciousness; religion, experience, leads to value consciousness; philosophy, wisdom, leads to co-ordinate consciousness; revelation (the substitute for morontia mota) leads to the consciousness of true reality…. (1122:1) 102:3.5
 

The words value and values appear in over 500 paragraphs.

 

 

***

 

The Midwayers don't use Einstein's name, but they do debunk his theory of relativity in today's reading:

 

 ...let not your dabblings with the faintly glimpsed findings of “relativity” disturb your concepts of the eternity and infinity of God.... (2078.8)195:7.5

 

"Dabblings"! "Faintly glimpsed"!! Many readers have wondered how the famous genius might have reacted to the Urantia revelation. I think he may have been swayed by it. He did, after all, say:
 

"The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth."

 

"The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty."

 

"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives."

 

***

 

From today's OPAD:
 

 ...do not make the mistake of failing to provide for Adjuster-expression, the manifestation of your real and better self.... (2078.8)195:7.5
 

From Paper 110:


...Subsequent to mortal fusion the Adjusters share your destiny and experience; they are you....(1212.5)110:7.4
 

***

 

About the mind and the material, from today's text:

 

...This very mechanistic concept of the universe is in itself a nonmaterial phenomenon of mind, and all mind is of nonmaterial origin.... (2079.1)195:7.6

 

Mind has its origin in the Third Source and Center, the Conjoint Creator. From Paper 9:
 

 ...Because the Third Person is the source of mind, do not presume to reckon that all phenomena of mind are divine. Human intellect is rooted in the material origin of the animal races. Universe intelligence is no more a true revelation of God who is mind than is physical nature a true revelation of the beauty and harmony of Paradise. Perfection is in nature, but nature is not perfect. The Conjoint Creator is the source of mind, but mind is not the Conjoint Creator.... (103.3)9:5.5
 

 

***

 

A stinging quote in today's reading to admonish and guide us away from ego gratification and intellectual pride:

 

...Man’s conceit often outruns his reason and eludes his logic.... (2079.2)195:7.7


Yet another pearl of wisdom in today's text:


...Both optimism and pessimism are concept reactions in a mind conscious of values as well as of facts.... (2079.3)195:7.8
 

 

***

 

Thank God we are not doomed to life as mechanists. Mechanistic belief would deprive us of survival, God, love, creativity, genuine joy, even free will. From today's text:
 

...life is a phenomenon which transcends the material levels of nature in that it exhibits the control attributes of mind and the creative qualities of spirit.... (2079.4)195:7.9

 

 

Finally in today's reading the Midwayers give us this jewel of an unsolvable paradox to confront mechanism:

 

...If materialism were a fact, there could be no self-conscious mechanist.... (2079.8)195:7.13
 

 

 

***

 

In tomorrow’s reading, part 2 of Section 7. The Vulnerability of Materialism, the Midwayers continue to compare the facts of science with the values of religion, the lifeless theories of mechanists with the life giving beliefs of the spirit born.

 

 

Overview of Paper 195 - After Pentecost

 

1. Influence of the Greeks
2. The Roman Influence
3. Under the Roman Empire
4. The European Dark Ages
5. The Modern Problem
6. Materialism
7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
8. Secular Totalitarianism
9. Christianity's Problem
10. The Future

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#18 Rick Warren

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 04:28 PM


 

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today’s Presentation

 

Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

 

7. The Vulnerability of Materialism

 

[Part 2 of 2]

 

 

The very claim of materialism implies a supermaterial consciousness of the mind which presumes to assert such dogmas. A mechanism might deteriorate, but it could never progress. Machines do not think, create, dream, aspire, idealize, hunger for truth, or thirst for righteousness. They do not motivate their lives with the passion to serve other machines and to choose as their goal of eternal progression the sublime task of finding God and striving to be like him. Machines are never intellectual, emotional, aesthetic, ethical, moral, or spiritual.

 

(2079.10)195:7.15 Art proves that man is not mechanistic, but it does not prove that he is spiritually immortal. Art is mortal morontia, the intervening field between man, the material, and man, the spiritual. Poetry is an effort to escape from material realities to spiritual values.

 

(2080.1)195:7.16 In a high civilization, art humanizes science, while in turn it is spiritualized by true religion — insight into spiritual and eternal values. Art represents the human and time-space evaluation of reality. Religion is the divine embrace of cosmic values and connotes eternal progression in spiritual ascension and expansion. The art of time is dangerous only when it becomes blind to the spirit standards of the divine patterns which eternity reflects as the reality shadows of time. True art is the effective manipulation of the material things of life; religion is the ennobling transformation of the material facts of life, and it never ceases in its spiritual evaluation of art.

 

(2080.2)195:7.17 How foolish to presume that an automaton could conceive a philosophy of automatism, and how ridiculous that it should presume to form such a concept of other and fellow automatons!

 

(2080.3)195:7.18 Any scientific interpretation of the material universe is valueless unless it provides due recognition for the scientist. No appreciation of art is genuine unless it accords recognition to the artist. No evaluation of morals is worth while unless it includes the moralist. No recognition of philosophy is edifying if it ignores the philosopher, and religion cannot exist without the real experience of the religionist who, in and through this very experience, is seeking to find God and to know him. Likewise is the universe of universes without significance apart from the I AM, the infinite God who made it and unceasingly manages it.

 

(2080.4)195:7.19 Mechanists — humanists — tend to drift with the material currents. Idealists and spiritists dare to use their oars with intelligence and vigor in order to modify the apparently purely material course of the energy streams.

 

(2080.5)195:7.20 Science lives by the mathematics of the mind; music expresses the tempo of the emotions. Religion is the spiritual rhythm of the soul in time-space harmony with the higher and eternal melody measurements of Infinity. Religious experience is something in human life which is truly supermathematical.

 

(2080.6)195:7.21 In language, an alphabet represents the mechanism of materialism, while the words expressive of the meaning of a thousand thoughts, grand ideas, and noble ideals — of love and hate, of cowardice and courage — represent the performances of mind within the scope defined by both material and spiritual law, directed by the assertion of the will of personality, and limited by the inherent situational endowment.

 

(2080.7)195:7.22 The universe is not like the laws, mechanisms, and the uniformities which the scientist discovers, and which he comes to regard as science, but rather like the curious, thinking, choosing, creative, combining, and discriminating scientist who thus observes universe phenomena and classifies the mathematical facts inherent in the mechanistic phases of the material side of creation. Neither is the universe like the art of the artist, but rather like the striving, dreaming, aspiring, and advancing artist who seeks to transcend the world of material things in an effort to achieve a spiritual goal.

 

(2080.8)195:7.23 The scientist, not science, perceives the reality of an evolving and advancing universe of energy and matter. The artist, not art, demonstrates the existence of the transient morontia world intervening between material existence and spiritual liberty. The religionist, not religion, proves the existence of the spirit realities and divine values which are to be encountered in the progress of eternity.

 


 

***

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]



#19 Rick Warren

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Posted 26 November 2014 - 04:39 PM


.

 

Greetings Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

 

Mechanistic philosophy is really a sad, shallow, and lonely belief, isn't it?! Our bodies are somewhat machine like, they break down, they are subject to the laws of atrophy and chemistry. But we aren't our bodies or our minds, and we don't have to identify with them, rather with the God who indwells the body/mind, even becoming like the Indweller.

 

From the first paragraph of today's reading:

 

...the sublime task of finding God and striving to be like him.... (2079.9)195:7.14

 

Many are the references to becoming Godlike. Here are four:

 

...An experience is good when it heightens the appreciation of beauty, augments the moral will, enhances the discernment of truth, enlarges the capacity to love and serve one's fellows, exalts the spiritual ideals, and unifies the supreme human motives of time with the eternal plans of the indwelling Adjuster, all of which lead directly to an increased desire to do the Father's will, thereby fostering the divine passion to find God and to be more like him.... (1458.2) 132:2.5 

 

...The eternal salvation of this truth-discerning and beauty-loving soul is assured by that hunger and thirst for goodness which leads this mortal to develop a singleness of purpose to do the Father's will, to find God and to become like him.... (1459.4) 132:3.4

 

...In substance Jesus said: The will of God is the way of God, partnership with the choice of God in the face of any potential alternative. To do the will of God, therefore, is the progressive experience of becoming more and more like God, and God is the source and destiny of all that is good and beautiful and true.... (1431.2) 130:2.7

 

...every God-knowing man or angel possesses the potential of unlimited self-expression on ever-progressive levels of unified self- realization by the technique of the never-ending achievement of Godlikeness--the experiential blending in the evolutionary experience of eternal truth, universal beauty, and divine goodness.... (507.5)44:7.4

 

 

***

 

The arts and religion are, or should be, closely associated. From today's text:
 

 ...religion is the ennobling transformation of the material facts of life, and it never ceases in its spiritual evaluation of art.... (2080.1)195:7.16


The Midwayers put art and poetry in their rightful place in today's reading:

 

...Art is mortal morontia, the intervening field between man, the material, and man, the spiritual. Poetry is an effort to escape from material realities to spiritual values.... (2079.10)195:7.15
 

The authors allude to art and poetry elsewhere. There was this, also from the Midwayers, two Sections back:

 

...Living truth teaches the truth seeker aright only when it is embraced in wholeness and as a living spiritual reality, not as a fact of material science or an inspiration of intervening art.... (2075:5) 195:5.2

 

Other quotes on art:


 ...The high mission of any art is, by its illusions, to foreshadow a higher universe reality, to crystallize the emotions of time into the thought of eternity.... (557.7)48:7.23

 

...The supreme beauty, the height of finite art, is the drama of the unification of the vastness of the cosmic extremes of Creator and creature.... (646.4)56:10.3

 

On poetry:


...Work should alternate with play; religion should be balanced by humor. Profound philosophy should be relieved by rhythmic poetry.... (1616.5)143:7.3

 

...Only a poet can discern poetry in the commonplace prose of routine existence.... (557.6)48:7.22

 

***

 

From today's OPAD:

 

...Likewise is the universe of universes without significance apart from the I AM, the infinite God who made it and unceasingly manages it.... (2080.3)195:7.18
 

There are over 350 paragraphs with the term "I AM". The I AM was first discussed in the Foreword:


 ...The concept of the I AM is a philosophic concession which we make to the time-bound, space-fettered, finite mind of man, to the impossibility of creature comprehension of eternity existences — nonbeginning, nonending realities and relationships. To the time-space creature, all things must have a beginning save only the ONE UNCAUSED — the primeval cause of causes. Therefore do we conceptualize this philosophic value-level as the I AM, at the same time instructing all creatures that the Eternal Son and the Infinite Spirit are coeternal with the I AM; in other words, that there never was a time when the I AM was not the Father of the Son and, with him, of the Spirit.... 6.3) 0:3.23
 

 

***

 

The Midwayers wax philosohical in today's reading, quite beautifully:
 

...Science lives by the mathematics of the mind; music expresses the tempo of the emotions. Religion is the spiritual rhythm of the soul in time-space harmony with the higher and eternal melody measurements of Infinity.... (2080.5)195:7.20
 

Here they tie will and personality together:


...directed by the assertion of the will of personality, and limited by the inherent situational endowment....(2080.6)195:7.21
 

Other authors also tie the two together:
 

...Creature personality is distinguished by two self-manifesting and characteristic phenomena of mortal reactive behavior: self-consciousness and associated relative free will.... (194.5)16:8.5

 

...never is personality manifested without the human will.... (1230.5)112:3.7
 
...There is associated with personality a limited sovereignty of will.... (1220.7)111:4.8

 

***

 

The Midwayers end this illuminating Section with multiple statements about the difference in value between the individual scientist, artist, religionist, and his or her interest, expertise or occupation.

 

From the last sentence of today's reading:
 

...The religionist, not religion, proves the existence of the spirit realities and divine values which are to be encountered in the progress of eternity.... (2080.8)195:7.23
 

 

***
 

In tomorrow’s reading, Section 8. Secular Totalitarianism, the Midwayers discourse on the pitfalls of Godlessness, how peace and progress can never come from atheism, and how the terrible tyranny of selfishness can lead only to disaster, wars, personal and civil devastation.

 

 

Overview of Paper 195 - After Pentecost

 

1. Influence of the Greeks
2. The Roman Influence
3. Under the Roman Empire
4. The European Dark Ages
5. The Modern Problem
6. Materialism
7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
8. Secular Totalitarianism
9. Christianity's Problem
10. The Future

 

This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

 

Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

 

Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

 

Much love, Rick/OPAD host.



#20 Rick Warren

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Posted 27 November 2014 - 05:18 PM


 

Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

 

Today’s Presentation

 

Paper 195 - AFTER PENTECOST

 

8. Secular Totalitarianism

 

   But even after materialism and mechanism have been more or less vanquished, the devastating influence of twentieth-century secularism will still blight the spiritual experience of millions of unsuspecting souls.

 

(2081.2)195:8.2 Modern secularism has been fostered by two world-wide influences. The father of secularism was the narrow-minded and godless attitude of nineteenth- and twentieth-century so-called science — atheistic science. The mother of modern secularism was the totalitarian medieval Christian church. Secularism had its inception as a rising protest against the almost complete domination of Western civilization by the institutionalized Christian church.

 

(2081.3)195:8.3 At the time of this revelation, the prevailing intellectual and philosophical climate of both European and American life is decidedly secular — humanistic. For three hundred years Western thinking has been progressively secularized. Religion has become more and more a nominal influence, largely a ritualistic exercise. The majority of professed Christians of Western civilization are unwittingly actual secularists.

 

(2081.4)195:8.4 It required a great power, a mighty influence, to free the thinking and living of the Western peoples from the withering grasp of a totalitarian ecclesiastical domination. Secularism did break the bonds of church control, and now in turn it threatens to establish a new and godless type of mastery over the hearts and minds of modern man. The tyrannical and dictatorial political state is the direct offspring of scientific materialism and philosophic secularism. Secularism no sooner frees man from the domination of the institutionalized church than it sells him into slavish bondage to the totalitarian state. Secularism frees man from ecclesiastical slavery only to betray him into the tyranny of political and economic slavery.

 

(2081.5)195:8.5 Materialism denies God, secularism simply ignores him; at least that was the earlier attitude. More recently, secularism has assumed a more militant attitude, assuming to take the place of the religion whose totalitarian bondage it onetime resisted. Twentieth-century secularism tends to affirm that man does not need God. But beware! this godless philosophy of human society will lead only to unrest, animosity, unhappiness, war, and world-wide disaster.

 

(2081.6)195:8.6 Secularism can never bring peace to mankind. Nothing can take the place of God in human society. But mark you well! do not be quick to surrender the beneficent gains of the secular revolt from ecclesiastical totalitarianism. Western civilization today enjoys many liberties and satisfactions as a result of the secular revolt. The great mistake of secularism was this: In revolting against the almost total control of life by religious authority, and after attaining the liberation from such ecclesiastical tyranny, the secularists went on to institute a revolt against God himself, sometimes tacitly and sometimes openly.

 

(2081.7)195:8.7 To the secularistic revolt you owe the amazing creativity of American industrialism and the unprecedented material progress of Western civilization. And because the secularistic revolt went too far and lost sight of God and true religion, there also followed the unlooked-for harvest of world wars and international unsettledness.

 

(2081.8)195:8.8 It is not necessary to sacrifice faith in God in order to enjoy the blessings of the modern secularistic revolt: tolerance, social service, democratic government, and civil liberties. It was not necessary for the secularists to antagonize true religion in order to promote science and to advance education.

 

(2082.1)195:8.9 But secularism is not the sole parent of all these recent gains in the enlargement of living. Behind the gains of the twentieth century are not only science and secularism but also the unrecognized and unacknowledged spiritual workings of the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

(2082.2)195:8.10 Without God, without religion, scientific secularism can never co-ordinate its forces, harmonize its divergent and rivalrous interests, races, and nationalisms. This secularistic human society, notwithstanding its unparalleled materialistic achievement, is slowly disintegrating. The chief cohesive force resisting this disintegration of antagonism is nationalism. And nationalism is the chief barrier to world peace.

 

(2082.3)195:8.11 The inherent weakness of secularism is that it discards ethics and religion for politics and power. You simply cannot establish the brotherhood of men while ignoring or denying the fatherhood of God.

 

(2082.4)195:8.12 Secular social and political optimism is an illusion. Without God, neither freedom and liberty, nor property and wealth will lead to peace.

 

(2082.5)195:8.13 The complete secularization of science, education, industry, and society can lead only to disaster. During the first third of the twentieth century Urantians killed more human beings than were killed during the whole of the Christian dispensation up to that time. And this is only the beginning of the dire harvest of materialism and secularism; still more terrible destruction is yet to come.

 


 

***

 

 

[Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]





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