Good day Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,
Wonder if the Midwayers coined the term "secular totalitarianism"? It's a ringing indictment of Godlessness all by itself.
Totalitarianism was a fairly common word during the "cold war" of the mid 20th century, when atheistic Soviet communism was being tried on a grand scale by a leading nation.
Totalitarianism or totalitarian state is a concept used by some political scientists in which the state holds total authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life wherever possible.
The concept of totalitarianism was first developed in the 1920s by the Weimar German jurist, and later Nazi academic, Carl Schmitt and Italian fascists. Schmitt used the term, Totalstaat in his influential work on the legal basis of an all-powerful state, The Concept of the Political (1927). The concept became prominent in Western anti-communist political discourse during the Cold War era, in order to highlight perceived similarities between Nazi Germany and other Fascist states on the one hand, and Soviet Communist Party states on the other.
Other movements and governments have also been described as totalitarian. The leader of the historic Spanish reactionary conservative movement called the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right declared his intention to "give Spain a true unity, a new spirit, a totalitarian polity..." and went on to say "Democracy is not an end but a means to the conquest of the new state. When the time comes, either parliament submits or we will eliminate it."
It should be noted the Soviet union collapsed in 1989.
The first line of today's reading is not especially positive or inspirational:
...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.... (2081.1)195:8.1
In the second paragraph they name the parents of 20th century secularism: Godless science, the father, and the Catholic church is the mother, the very institution charged with carrying the gospel message forward.
In the third paragraph the Midwayers unreservedly state the crushing truth of the matter:
...The majority of professed Christians of Western civilization are unwittingly actual secularists.... (2081.3)195:8.3
Stunning isn't is? But quite typical of Urantia, where things are so often backward, misleading and out of step with reality. How tragic that THE church somehow twisted itself into the role of devil's advocate, and became a mere shell that truth left behind.
So Godless science and a corrupt church paved the way for modern secularism. What then did secularism do for humanity? From today's reading:
...Secularism frees man from ecclesiastical slavery only to betray him into the tyranny of political and economic slavery.... (2081.4)195:8.4
Secularism is not a new idea. From Wikipedia:
Secularism draws its intellectual roots from Greek and Roman philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius and Epicurus; from Enlightenment thinkers such as Denis Diderot, Voltaire, Baruch Spinoza, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine; and from more recent freethinkers and atheists such as Robert Ingersoll and Bertrand Russell.
The purposes and arguments in support of secularism vary widely. In European laicism, it has been argued that secularism is a movement toward modernization, and away from traditional religious values (also known as secularization). This type of secularism, on a social or philosophical level, has often occurred while maintaining an official state church or other state support of religion. In the United States, some argue that state secularism has served to a greater extent to protect religion and the religious from governmental interference, while secularism on a social level is less prevalent. Within countries as well, differing political movements support secularism for varying reasons.
...In political terms, secularism is a movement towards the separation of religion and government (often termed the separation of church and state). This can refer to reducing ties between a government and a state religion, replacing laws based on scripture (such as the Torah and Sharia law) with civil laws, and eliminating discrimination on the basis of religion. This is said to add to democracy by protecting the rights of religious minorities.
In today's reading the Midwayers warn us. They name the consequences of ignoring and/or denying God's primacy:
...But beware! this godless philosophy of human society will lead only to unrest, animosity, unhappiness, war, and world-wide disaster.... (2081.5)195:8.5
States and nations may declare they are atheistic, but individuals do not always follow the dictates of the state. Spirituality always persists in humans because we have personal and genuine spiritual experiences, contact with the indwelling influences of the Adjuster and the Spirit of Truth. And since secularism always leads to disunity, it cannot last. The drift of the cosmos is toward unity, and though it may be delayed, no thing, person, or group can stop it. God will prevail, and 'do all his pleasures'.
So, how is modern secularism viewed by modern scholars? From Wikipedia:
Positive Ideals behind the secular society:
Deep respect for individuals and the small groups of which they are a part.
Equality of all people.
Each person should be helped to realize their particular excellence.
Breaking down of the barriers of class and caste.
Compare with this in today's OPAD:
...the blessings of the modern secularistic revolt: tolerance, social service, democratic government, and civil liberties.... (2081.8)195:8.8
But then the Midwayers say, and without equivocation, that secularism isn't reliable:
...This secularistic human society, notwithstanding its unparalleled materialistic achievement, is slowly disintegrating.... (2082.2)195:8.10
However, we have reason for hope:
...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.... (2082.1)195:8.9
Secularism did its job in releasing us from the totalitarianism of the church, but then became another kind of morass:
...Secularism can never bring peace to mankind. Nothing can take the place of God in human society.... (2081.6)195:8.6
This book will help us recognize and acknowledge those workings. It already has in some measure since you and I are here studying it. But it will take considerable time for Urantia to find global peace. Still does nationalism rule many hearts and minds in the place of God and Michael. Widespread peace and brotherhood still elude us:
...nationalism is the chief barrier to world peace.... (2082.2)195:8.10
The UB was finished before World War II, but the Midwayers didn't have any difficulty predicting it. From today's reading:
...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.... (2082.5)195:8.13
They are referring to the first World War in which a mere 17 million were killed. In World War II an estimated 80 million died. A 'dire harvest' indeed.
In tomorrow’s reading, Section 9. Christianity's Problem, we are given a look at the evolved church, founded on Peter the rock, from the celestial point of view. Not only do the Midwayers cite the problems, they present the solutions.
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
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.
Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.
Much love, Rick/OPAD host.