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Theology in the Eastern Christian Tradition


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#21 Bonita

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 10:54 AM

Mercy is simply justice tempered by that wisdom which grows out of perfection of knowledge and the full recognition of the natural weaknesses and environmental handicaps of finite creatures. "Our God is full of compassion, gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy." Therefore "whosoever calls upon the Lord shall be saved," "for he will abundantly pardon." "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting"; yes, "his mercy endures forever." "I am the Lord who executes loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight." "I do not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men," for I am "the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort." p38:1 2:4.1

The Universal Father is the only personality in all the universe who does actually know the number of the stars and planets of space. All the worlds of every universe are constantly within the consciousness of God. He also says: "I have surely seen the affliction of my people, I have heard their cry, and I know their sorrows." For "the Lord looks from heaven; he beholds all the sons of men; from the place of his habitation he looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth." Every creature child may truly say: "He knows the way I take, and when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold." "God knows our downsittings and our uprisings; he understands our thoughts afar off and is acquainted with all our ways." "All things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do." And it should be a real comfort to every human being to understand that "he knows your frame; he remembers that you are dust." Jesus, speaking of the living God, said, "Your Father knows what you have need of even before you ask him." p49:1 3:3.2

Edited by Bonita, 08 July 2009 - 08:56 AM.


#22 Bill Martin

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 11:33 AM

(adelfo-9-1-08 11:54 AM)
QUOTE:
The notion of transgression comes more or less from a Western Judeo-cultural emphasis on the law. It gives the image of God as a law maker and man as a law breaker, where God sits in judgment with a tally sheet of our offenses




On page 129 #4, of "Bible Study", Dr. William S. Sadler makes the observation:

4. "The Old Testament is the lexicon of the New Testament. Many New Testament words can be understood only by Old Testament usage. Law in Greek means statute-in Old Testament usage it means revelation-God's will."


The Urantia Book (of course) expands further on the extension of the meaning of law...

P.555 - §1 Law is life itself and not the rules of its conduct. Evil is a transgression of law, not a violation of the rules of conduct pertaining to life, which is the law. Falsehood is not a matter of narration technique but something premeditated as a perversion of truth. The creation of new pictures out of old facts, the restatement of parental life in the lives of offspring--these are the artistic triumphs of truth. The shadow of a hair's turning, premeditated for an untrue purpose, the slightest twisting or perversion of that which is principle--these constitute falseness. But the fetish of factualized truth, fossilized truth, the iron band of so-called unchanging truth, holds one blindly in a closed circle of cold fact. One can be technically right as to fact and everlastingly wrong in the truth.

I propose sin is behaviourial illness of the mind brought on by the habitual repetition of error. As we all know, sin is insidious and one can easily slip into a mode of thinking, a self-justification of wrongful thoughts and acts Our attending angels literally weep for our us as we repeatedly mar our minds by insincerity and sear them with unrighteousness, subject them to animal fear and distort them by useless anxiety.These children of the Infinite Spirit are supremely competent to minister love and to overshadow justice with mercy as they help forge our civilization out between the anvil of necessity and the hammers of fear. Their love extends as far as allowing us to repeatedly make painful self-destructive decisions and even to embrace darkness and self-extinction. It is cosmic natural selection and the decision whether "the sickness is unto death" is ours and ours alone to make. The trial here is brief but brutally intense. It gets better soon. Thank God for small favors!


Each one of us is
Master of their Destiny!
Slowly but surely the Power of Love is overcoming the Love of Power

#23 Bonita

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 01:14 PM

 p1124:4  102:6.2 The gods of primitive men may have been no more than shadows of themselves; the living God is the divine light whose interruptions constitute the creation shadows of all space.

Edited by Bonita, 08 July 2009 - 08:58 AM.


#24 Bill Martin

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 01:44 PM

Dear adelfo


Truth is relative and expanding; it lives always in the present, achieving new expression in each generation of men--even in each human life.

RELATIVITY OF CONCEPT FRAMES

Conceptual frames of the universe are only relatively true; they are serviceable scaffolding which must eventually give way before the expansions of enlarging cosmic comprehension. The understandings of truth, beauty, and goodness, morality, ethics, duty, love, divinity, origin, existence, purpose, destiny, time, space, even Deity, are only relatively true. God is much, much more than a Father, but the Father is man's highest concept of God; nonetheless, the Father-Son portrayal of Creator-creature relationship will be augmented by those supermortal conceptions of Deity which will be attained in Orvonton, in Havona, and on Paradise. Man must think in a mortal universe frame, but that does not mean that he cannot envision other and higher frames within which thought can take place.P.1260 - §3

JACKING OURSELVES UP BY OUR OWN BOOTSTRAPS

Our reach exceeds our grasp- as we reach for more we expand our capacity (our reach)

On every mountaintop of intellectual thought are to be found relaxation for the mind, strength for the soul, and communion for the spirit. From such vantage points of high living, man is able to transcend the material irritations of the lower levels of thinking--worry, jealousy, envy, revenge, and the pride of immature personality. These high-climbing souls deliver themselves from a multitude of the crosscurrent conflicts of the trifles of living, thus becoming free to attain consciousness of the higher currents of spirit concept and celestial communication 1778-3
Slowly but surely the Power of Love is overcoming the Love of Power

#25 Guest_Robert Reno_*

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 02:32 PM

Sin must be redefined as deliberate disloyalty to Deity. There are degrees of disloyalty: the partial loyalty of indecision; the divided loyalty of confliction; the dying loyalty of indifference; and the death of loyalty exhibited in devotion to godless ideals. (984.5)


I tell you that anything short of complete self-forgetfulness can be considered a degree of sin, a transgression of God's will, if you deliberately allow yourself such seemingly insignificant conveniences.


This sounds pretty sever, almost ascetic, adelfo. On what basis do you make such a authoritarian claim? Your conscience? Personal revelation? Your reading of the Philokalia?

While the Philokalia is one of the most significant sources of Orthodox spirituality, it is a fact that this eighteenth-century collection of ascetic and mystical writings composed in the fourth through the fifteenth centuries (Fairbairn 2002: 37-38) contains much that is simply inconsistent with the teachings of the Urantia Book. There are beautiful similarities and wonderful insights, even inspirational verse, but also there are real differences and no shortage of confused metaphysics born of various ascetic disciplines, mystic meditations, and isolated contemplations (1105.2), such as the teaching that with regards to sin, there is both unconscious sin as well as conscious sin. "Compiled by the Greek monk Nikodimos and by Markarios, the bishop of Corinth, the Philokalia was first published in Venice in 1782 and gathered the unpublished writings of all major Hesychasts (hermits) of the Christian East, from Evagrius Ponticus to Gregory Palamas." (Encyclopedia Britannica Online) The ascetic monks that wrote the Philokalia practiced a form of asceticism consisting of withdrawal from the world for the purpose of fasting and for the affliction of the soul and denial of the flesh while they engaged in mystic meditations and isolated contemplations.

Ironically, along with confusing evil and sin the Philokalia itself refers to sin as the transgression of divine law. Apprently you have overlooked the varied ways in which sin is described in these ascetic mystical writings.

Jesus did not go into retirement for the purpose of fasting and for the affliction of his soul. He was not an ascetic, and he came forever to destroy all such notions regarding the approach to God. (1512.7)


Mysticism, as the technique of the cultivation of the consciousness of the presence of God, is altogether praiseworthy, but when such practices lead to social isolation and culminate in religious fanaticism, they are all but reprehensible. (1000.2)


While religion is not the product of the rationalistic speculations of a material cosmology, it is, nonetheless, the creation of a wholly rational insight which originates in man's mind-experience. Religion is born neither of mystic meditations nor of isolated contemplations, albeit it is ever more or less mysterious and always indefinable and inexplicable in terms of purely intellectual reason and philosophic logic. The germs of true religion originate in the domain of man's moral consciousness, and they are revealed in the growth of man's spiritual insight, that faculty of human personality which accrues as a consequence of the presence of the God-revealing Thought Adjuster in the God-hungry mortal mind. (1105.2)


Religion has at one time or another sanctioned all sorts of contrary and inconsistent behavior, has at some time approved of practically all that is now regarded as immoral or sinful. Conscience, untaught by experience and unaided by reason, never has been, and never can be, a safe and unerring guide to human conduct. Conscience is not a divine voice speaking to the human soul. It is merely the sum total of the moral and ethical content of the mores of any current stage of existence; it simply represents the humanly conceived ideal of reaction in any given set of circumstances. (1005.2)


Man tends to identify the urge to be self-serving with his ego--himself. In contrast he is inclined to identify the will to be altruistic with some influence outside himself--God. And indeed is such a judgment right, for all such nonself desires do actually have their origin in the leadings of the indwelling Thought Adjuster, and this Adjuster is a fragment of God. The impulse of the spirit Monitor is realized in human consciousness as the urge to be altruistic, fellow-creature minded. At least this is the early and fundamental experience of the child mind. When the growing child fails of personality unification, the altruistic drive may become so overdeveloped as to work serious injury to the welfare of the self. A misguided conscience can become responsible for much conflict, worry, sorrow, and no end of human unhappiness. (1131.9)


But man's interpretation of these early conflicts between the ego-will and the other-than-self-will is not always dependable. Only a fairly well unified personality can arbitrate the multiform contentions of the ego cravings and the budding social consciousness. The self has rights as well as one's neighbors. Neither has exclusive claims upon the attention and service of the individual. Failure to resolve this problem gives origin to the earliest type of human guilt feelings. (1134.2)


I don’t think that the revelators are referring to "insignificant conveniences" when they are were referring to disloyalty to divine values; not all "ego cravings" are issues of eternal import and as we are told, the "self has rights as well as one's neighbors." I don't think this kind of self-introspective self-effacement was what Jesus meant by living a life of superb self-forgetfulness. Balance comes to mind here.

The all-consuming and indomitable spiritual faith of Jesus never became fanatical, for it never attempted to run away with his well-balanced intellectual judgments concerning the proportional values of practical and commonplace social, economic, and moral life situations. (2088.2)


The pictures of Jesus have been most unfortunate. These paintings of the Christ have exerted a deleterious influence on youth; the temple merchants would hardly have fled before Jesus if he had been such a man as your artists usually have depicted. His was a dignified manhood; he was good, but natural. Jesus did not pose as a mild, sweet, gentle, and kindly mystic. His teaching was thrillingly dynamic. He not only meant well, but he went about actually doing good. (1590.1)


Edited by Robert Reno, 03 September 2008 - 01:00 PM.


#26 Bonita

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 08:36 PM

Man can never wisely decide temporal issues or transcend the selfishness of personal interests unless he meditates in the presence of the sovereignty of God and reckons with the realities of divine meanings and spiritual values. 1093:01-02

The atmosphere of the communion provides a refreshing and comforting period of truce in the conflict of the self-seeking ego with the altruistic urge of the indwelling spirit Monitor. And this is the prelude to true worship--the practice of the presence of God which eventuates in the emergence of the brotherhood of man."1133:01

Edited by Bonita, 08 July 2009 - 08:59 AM.


#27 Bill Urantia

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 10:37 PM

Adelfo,

This is 1229:07


The material self, the ego-entity of human identity, is dependent during the physical life on the continuing function of the material life vehicle, on the continued existence of the unbalanced equilibrium of energies and intellect which, on Urantia, has been given the name life. But selfhood of survival value, selfhood that can transcend the experience of death, is only evolved by establishing a potential transfer of the seat of the identity of the evolving personality from the transient life vehicle--the material body--to the more enduring and immortal nature of the morontia soul and on beyond to those levels whereon the soul becomes infused with, and eventually attains the status of, spirit reality. This actual transfer from material association to morontia identification is effected by the sincerity, persistence, and steadfastness of the God-seeking decisions of the human creature.




Bill,
Faith son

Edited by Bill Urantia, 02 September 2008 - 05:33 PM.

Read the Urantia Papers. Read them again.

#28 Bonita

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 07:33 AM

141:5.1 One of the most eventful of all the evening conferences at Amathus was the session having to do with the discussion of spiritual unity. James Zebedee had asked, “Master, how shall we learn to see alike and thereby enjoy more harmony among ourselves? ”When Jesus heard this question, he was stirred within his spirit, so much so that he replied: “James, James, when did I teach you that you should all see alike? I have come into the world to proclaim spiritual liberty to the end that mortals may be empowered to live individual lives of originality and freedom before God. I do not desire that social harmony and fraternal peace shall be purchased by the sacrifice of free personality and spiritual originality. What I require of you, my apostles, is spirit unity—and that you can experience in the joy of your united dedication to the wholehearted doing of the will of my Father in heaven. You do not have to see alike or feel alike or even think alike in order spiritually to be alike. Spiritual unity is derived from the consciousness that each of you is indwelt, and increasingly dominated, by the spirit gift of the heavenly Father. Your apostolic harmony must grow out of the fact that the spirit hope of each of you is identical in origin, nature, and destiny.

Edited by Bonita, 08 July 2009 - 09:01 AM.


#29 Bill Urantia

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:38 AM

adelfo,

The Philokalia is a product of this Dark Age mysticism.


2074:07 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.


If we accept the Urantia Papers as the bar, how do these ideas presented in the Philokalia agree with the revelation? The Papers define sin as:

1660:04 "Sin is the conscious, knowing, and deliberate transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Sin is the measure of unwillingness to be divinely led and spiritually directed.


It is not spoken of as an illness. It would seem to be a perogative of free will in the Papers definition. Therefore there is some personal responsibility in the embrace of sin. That would preclude it being defined as an illness, which is generally accepted to be involuntary.

Bill,
Faith son
Read the Urantia Papers. Read them again.

#30 Bonita

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 12:08 AM

67:1.4 There are many ways of looking at sin, but from the universe philosophic viewpoint sin is the attitude of a personality who is knowingly resisting cosmic reality. Error might be regarded as a misconception or distortion of reality. Evil is a partial realization of, or maladjustment to, universe realities. But sin is a purposeful resistance to divine reality—a conscious choosing to oppose spiritual progress—while iniquity consists in an open and persistent defiance of recognized reality and signifies such a degree of personality disintegration as to border on cosmic insanity.

Edited by Bonita, 08 July 2009 - 09:03 AM.


#31 Joe DiMaggio

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 06:57 AM

It seems to me that many have completely missed the point of this topic. And, because there is so much covert vitriol present here, I suggest that the thread be deleted. It was opened with hesitancy in the first place.


This is a thread that has great value and I would like for it to remain available for all to read. There is much valuable information here from very well-read personalities who posses material minds that I could only wish for.

Allow me to suggest that it would help matters greatly if we kept The Uranita Book teachings as the standard against which these human-sourced writings are compared. If sin is defined as "X" in The Urantia Book, then, on this forum, "X" is the unadulterated truth. It may be productive to say that "Y" is simiar to "X" in this way or that way however, on this forum, to say that "Y" is somehow an equally adequate way of defining "X" is not only inaccurate, but it confuses readers of the thread who may get the idea that human-sourced texts and evolutionary religion play an equal role in revealing cosmic truth to the mortals of Uranita.

Do not mistake these posts for vitriolic ruminations of fanatic UB devotees. We simply require that The Urantia Book be given the reverence it deserves as the overriding source of truth due to its unique origin and content. It serves a beautiful purpose in enlarging and calling attention to truths in other human, evolutionary religions or religious texts.

The opening post set the topic as a discussion of similarites between The Urantia Book and Easter Orthodox Christianity. Perhaps a better way to launch this topic would have been to title it: "How Eastern Orthodox Christianity accurately reflects the teachings of Jesus and of The Urantia Book". That would give The Urantia Book the respectful recoginition it deserves as the highest source of truth currently present on Urantia while also giving due respect to the revelators for giving us such a profound gift to help us and our world along the evolutionary path.

Joe

#32 Guest_Robert Reno_*

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 09:09 AM

Adelfo,

The full quote in context does not imply sin is an "illness":

. . . iniquity consists in an open and persistent defiance of recognized reality and signifies such a degree of personality disintegration as to border on cosmic insanity.


There are many ways of looking at sin, but from the universe philosophic viewpoint sin is the attitude of a personality who is knowingly resisting cosmic reality. Error might be regarded as a misconception or distortion of reality. Evil is a partial realization of, or maladjustment to, universe realities. But sin is a purposeful resistance to divine reality--a conscious choosing to oppose spiritual progress--while iniquity consists in an open and persistent defiance of recognized reality and signifies such a degree of personality disintegration as to border on cosmic insanity. (754.5)


Clearly, the revelators differentiate error, evil, and sin. I don't see these important distinctions being made, mentioned, or appreciated in your interpretations of the Philokalia adelfo, and that leaves an unbalanced presentation in my view. If your stated goal is to discuss the "similarities in Eastern Orthodoxy and Jesus' teachings as we know them in the UB," then why are you arguing for an interpretation of sin that is counter to the teachings of Jesus and the Urantia Book, while igoring Jesus' own teachings:

Make clear in your mind these different attitudes toward the Father and his universe. Never forget these laws of relation to the Father's will:

Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfectness of obedience to the Father's will. (1660.2)

Sin is the conscious, knowing, and deliberate transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Sin is the measure of unwillingness to be divinely led and spiritually directed. (1660.3)

Iniquity is the willful, determined, and persistent transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Iniquity is the measure of the continued rejection of the Father's loving plan of personality survival and the Sons' merciful ministry of salvation. (1660.4)

By nature, before the rebirth of the spirit, mortal man is subject to inherent evil tendencies, but such natural imperfections of behavior are neither sin nor iniquity. Mortal man is just beginning his long ascent to the perfection of the Father in Paradise. To be imperfect or partial in natural endowment is not sinful. Man is indeed subject to evil, but he is in no sense the child of the evil one unless he has knowingly and deliberately chosen the paths of sin and the life of iniquity. Evil is inherent in the natural order of this world, but sin is an attitude of conscious rebellion which was brought to this world by those who fell from spiritual light into gross darkness. (1660.5)

Men are, indeed, by nature evil, but not necessarily sinful. The new birth--the baptism of the spirit--is essential to deliverance from evil and necessary for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, but none of this detracts from the fact that man is the son of God. Neither does this inherent presence of potential evil mean that man is in some mysterious way estranged from the Father in heaven so that, as an alien, foreigner, or stepchild, he must in some manner seek for legal adoption by the Father. All such notions are born, first, of your misunderstanding of the Father and, second, of your ignorance of the origin, nature, and destiny of man. (1660.7)


Yet, the Philokalia states:

Evil does not exist by nature, nor is there any man naturally evil. (Vol.I.253.3) Evil is foreign to our nature; but given admittance by us through the transgression of the first man [Adam], it has with time become as though natural to us. (Vol.III.315.68)


It also teaches one should confess their "involuntary sins" (Vol.I.295.100) and there are "sins that occur through ignorance" (Vol.III.84), that "Satan is expelled from the soul by Holy Baptism," (Vol.I.280.79) our soul is "imprinted" with Adam's fall, and is therefore "befouled" (Vol.I.280.78), and animals other than humans have souls (Vol.I.354.166). On the other hand, there are some statements that would fit with the philosophy of the Urantia Book as well, such as "What takes place according to nature is not sinful; sin always involves man's deliberate choice" (Vol.I.338.60) or that evil is a "misuse of free-will" (Vol.I.343) and that "sin is not a part of human nature," but men "deliberately transgress divine" law. (Vol.II.167.11) But then, as an eclectic collection of the contemplative musings of hermit monks, why would one expect anything different. For after all, the Philokalia is not meant to provide "a consistent and logical universe philosophy" or a "co-ordinated and unbroken explanation of both science and religion"; it is not epochal revelation, even though it may contain an admixture of human wisdom, confused metaphysics, and some autorevelation:

The fact of religion consists wholly in the religious experience of rational and average human beings. And this is the only sense in which religion can ever be regarded as scientific or even psychological. The proof that revelation is revelation is this same fact of human experience: the fact that revelation does synthesize the apparently divergent sciences of nature and the theology of religion into a consistent and logical universe philosophy, a co-ordinated and unbroken explanation of both science and religion, thus creating a harmony of mind and satisfaction of spirit which answers in human experience those questionings of the mortal mind which craves to know how the Infinite works out his will and plans in matter, with minds, and on spirit. (1105)


It is one thing to present two different views of sin for comparison, and another thing to argue as you have been that sin should be redefined as "imperfection, a form of illness, deficiency or weakness," as you continue doing when you say "The word illness does not necessarily imply a lack of responsibility. There are many human illnesses which are clearly the result of a lack of personal responsibility. Example: If you smoke, you will most likely die from a tobacco related disease." This is a philosophical assertion open to rational examination and reasonable differences of opinion. Logically and philosophically speaking, there is a difference between cause and effect; i.e., the conscious act of choosing to smoke even when one knows full well the natural consequences of smoking vs. the natural consequences (i.e., the disease itself). Cancer, the "illness" is not responsible for its own cause; it is the conscious choice to engage in the behavior of smoking that is rationally associated with responsibility. The conscious choice to smoke and the natural consequence of the act are different things: The "illness" -- cancer -- is not personally responsible for its existence; it is not a personal reality, but rather the natural consequence of the choices made by the person who chooses to smoke.

The fact that the Father loves us even when we make poor choices is simply not relevant to the question of whether or not sin can be redefined as an "imperfection, a form of illness, deficiency or weakness." They are different questions; like apples and oranges.

The Philokalia is the most important collection of Orthodox religious texts and deserves respect.


While the Philokalia is one of the most significant sources of Orthodox spirituality, it is a fact that this eighteenth-century collection of ascetic and mystical writings composed in the fourth through the fifteenth centuries (Fairbairn 2002: 37-38) contains much that is simply inconsistent with the teachings of the Urantia Book. There are beautiful similarities and wonderful insights, even inspirational verse, but also there are real differences and no shortage of confused metaphysics born of various ascetic disciplines, mystic meditations, and isolated contemplations (1105.2), such as the teaching that with regards to sin, there is both unconscious sin as well as conscious sin. "Compiled by the Greek monk Nikodimos and by Markarios, the bishop of Corinth, the Philokalia was first published in Venice in 1782 and gathered the unpublished writings of all major Hesychasts (hermits) of the Christian East, from Evagrius Ponticus to Gregory Palamas." (Encyclopedia Britannica Online) The ascetic monks that wrote the Philokalia practiced a form of asceticism consisting of withdrawal from the world for the purpose of fasting and for the affliction of the soul and denial of the flesh while they engaged in mystic meditations and isolated contemplations.

Balance requires that the full context of the texts be respected, including their very real differences in philosophical viewpoints regarding evil, sin, and iniquity.

Finally, why do you call the desire to make these important distinctions clear, which you apparently view in a different philosophical light, vitriolic? Are you saying that no one should ask questions? You are making clear philosophical assertions adelfo, and these are open to rational and reasonable philosophical examination in light of the teachings of the UB. Are you saying that it is somehow wrong to question your philosophical interpretations?

The experience of God-consciousness remains the same from generation to generation, but with each advancing epoch in human knowledge the philosophic concept and the theologic definitions of God must change. God-knowingness, religious consciousness, is a universe reality, but no matter how valid (real) religious experience is, it must be willing to subject itself to intelligent criticism and reasonable philosophic interpretation; it must not seek to be a thing apart in the totality of human experience. (69.7)


It is one thing to interpret sin in the light of the Philokalia rather than in the light of the Urantia Book; another to interpret sin in light of Fifth Epochal Revelation and the teachings of Jesus therein. A balanced comparison notes both the differences and similarities, without attempting to redefine or explain away clear differences.

There are some wonderful concepts that are amazingly consistent with the UB's teachings which you have already shared, such as for example the idea of theosis. I greatly enjoy your sharing these insights and encourage you to continue to do so.

Adelfo, I am really hoping you will explore a little more the relationship between sin and the so-called fall of man within the Western and Eastern traditions. I really think your point about sin being viewed differently is more fully revealed in the two views, which differer in some important respects.

Edited by Robert Reno, 05 September 2008 - 08:55 AM.


#33 nameless until fused

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 01:40 PM

Of course there is personal responsibility in choosing to sin or not to sin. I am not denying that. But, that is not what is being discussed here. Please read the first post in the thread and refresh your memory as to the purpose of this topic. This is about similarities in Eastern Orthodoxy and Jesus' teachings as we know them in the UB. There has been no intention on my part at any time to say that they are identical to UB teachings.

. . . iniquity consists in an open and persistent defiance of recognized reality and signifies such a degree of personality disintegration as to border on cosmic insanity. 67:1.4

Oxford American Dictionary
Insanity- the state of being seriously mentally ill

The word illness does not necessarily imply a lack of responsibility. There are many human illnesses which are clearly the result of a lack of personal responsibility. Example: If you smoke, you will most likely die from a tobacco related disease.

The Father loves every person even if they make irresponsible choices bordering on cosmic insanity. The personality and Thought Adjuster are eternal even if an individual defaults.

The Philokalia is the most important collection of Orthodox religious texts and deserves respect. It literally means "love of the beautiful".

It seems to me that many have completely missed the point of this topic. And, because there is so much covert vitriol present here, I suggest that the thread be deleted. It was opened with hesitancy in the first place.


Hi Adelfo,

You did mention that you wanted to take things one step at a time, so can we take a couple of steps back...? I am sincerely interested in learning more about what you know about Eastern Christian Tradition - and I hope it eventually extends to insights that concern the real nature of God.

The very existence of cigarettes - why do cigarettes even exist? - is a PERFECT common day example to use on this thread, especially because there is even more universal agreement about what a "sin" they are in today's culture when compared to the less universal agreement present today in the same culture when it comes to the world's oldest "sin" - prostitution.

To be clear - I am using the 2nd most common use of the word "prostitution" - 2. The act of offering or devoting one's talents to an unworthy use or cause.

There existed a conversational phrase in the vernacular among my peers (circa 1970s) who attended 12 years of Catholic schooling in New Jersey, USA - "...that's just sick...." which we used when we were confronted with iniquity. We knew it when we "saw" it ;)

Sin, on the other hand, was categorized into "venal" and "mortal" and smoking, drinking, gluttony, etc. - these were considered "venal" sins of the flesh because they were begun in error, made MORE evil by advertisement, advanced to "sin" because of addictive chemical qualities and a psychological weakness present in some sensitive souls to find occasional escape from unrelenting iniquity - but according to the Catholic SOPs (standard operating procedures ;) ) - all that was what defined a "venal" sin. Your immortal soul was never in danger of being "lost" through venal sins.

"Mortal" sins, again according to Catholc school (circa 1970s) SOPs were willful acts of iniquity. To keep it simple for young minds - it was stressed that the surest way to recognize a "mortal" sin was observe how MERCILESS it was in execution and in its impact on another personality's overall well-being (physical and spiritual).

For the vast majority of people originally involved in creating cigarettes, there is probably the same lineage of "sickness", if you will, as has been assigned to smokers, alcoholics, over-eaters, etc....error and evil being the genesis. Still - "venal sins"...

Now, bad enough that all this venality DID become full-blown, merciless iniquity over time once data was available for spinning, but the "mortal" sinning - iniquity - continues to exist now in the merciless ploy to project whatever historical iniquity there exists surrounding the existence of cigarettes on to the people who are NOT guilty of iniquity.

"....that's just sick...." ;)

So, Adlefo, is there a differentiation in Eastern tradition between "venal" and "mortal" sins? I really would like to know...no sarcasm or reading between the lines - the question is as stated...

As for the UPapers - here's what Jesus had to say on the topic - Page 1908 - "Woe upon you, scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites! for you are scrupulous to cleanse the outside of the cup and the platter, but within there remains the filth of extortion, excesses, and deception. You are spiritually blind. Do you not recognize how much better it would be to first cleanse the inside of the cup, and then that which spills over would of itself cleanse the outside? You wicked reprobates! you make the outward performances of your religion to conform with the letter of your interpretation of Moses' law while your souls are steeped in iniquity and filled with murder."

Yikes - huh? No wonder he got crucified.

But this rant of Jesus could still serve in the "healing" of smokers, alcoholics, over-eaters, etc. - "Do you not recognize how much better it would be to first cleanse the inside of the cup, and then that which spills over would of itself cleanse the outside?"

Jesus is talking about a SPIRITUAL cleanse, not a colonic...

Considering that ALL of everything (yes, ALL of everything - think about it, that means NO relief from "temptation") here on earth could become a "fetish" for holier than thou games ("....that's just sick...."), it seems to me we'd all be wise to show mercy to venal sinners while we cleanse our cups of the mortal sins that endanger our immortal souls.

No one is perfect :P

Oh, and a "science" moment here - I thought it was already common knowledge that it is the way a person's genetics are programmed to metabolize Vitamin A that is the real cause of lung cancer...? That's not to say that smokers won't get other chronic lung/heart diseases, they will. But alcohol - a sure bet the liver is going to go...and overeating - LONG list of chronic conditions from that venal sin....there's just so much opportunity to show mercy to each other here on Urantia - quite the unintended consequence of venal sins :P

Edited by nameless until fused, 04 September 2008 - 03:28 PM.


#34 Guest_Robert Reno_*

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 09:10 PM

When the question of "original sin" (i.e., the origin of sin) within the Eastern and Western traditions is placed in a wider context then many of the excellent points adelfo is making become easier to appreciate.

Generally, within traditional Western Christianity man is pictured as having been created in a state of perfection, a state of perfect fellowship with God. When Adam chose to disobey God's command the "original sin" was committed, and mankind fell into a new state of sin and death that did not exist before. This sin was inherited by all mankind, and all mankind existed under a state of guilt and separation from God. Within the Western tradition sin is often confused with evil, just as it is in the Eastern tradition. Man was created in perfection and already possessed immortality, but due to disobedience fell from grace into sin and death.

Another view, the one common with in Eastern Christianity, is that man was not created in a state of perfection and perfect union with God, but was created in a state of immaturity, and was meant to grow into the likeness of God through the process of deification of the created order -- theosis. But Adam departed from this path, he failed the test of growing from immaturity to maturity, and therefore mankind was left in a state of lapsus -- departure from the path. Adam's sin did not bring about a new state, the fall from perfection into sin and death, as he was already mortal, but rather was a revealing and actualizing of the limitations and potential dangers inherent in creaturehood when creation is left to itself.

In the first case mankind fell from height of perfection into sin and death, while in the later case he diverged from the path of deification because of inherent tendencies, and should therefore not be judged too harshly for his error. (Fairbairn 2002: 73-77)

With these two views in mind, it is much easier to then place them within the larger context of the teachings of the Urantia Book. It also makes the following insight by adelfo more understandable:

The notion of transgression comes more or less from a Western Judeo-cultural emphasis on the law. It gives the image of God as a law maker and man as a law breaker, where God sits in judgment with a tally sheet of our offenses. A penal consciousness of guilt is what results. The Eastern idea of sin as mortal weakness, illness, infirmity or disloyalty portrays God more as an affectionate parent, compassionate healer and gentle lover filled with divine mercy, rather than simply the upholder of laws.


The difference is found less in the definition of sin itself, for that is actually very similar in both Western and Eastern traditions in that they both confuse evil and sin, and more in the story of how sin entered the world -- original sin -- and what the nature of that event was and how it affected mankind. Indeed, the Easter Orthodox view leads to a view of God that is more Fatherly and less judgmental, and it is this insight I appreciate adelfo's sharing.

Edited by Robert Reno, 04 September 2008 - 11:00 PM.


#35 nameless until fused

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 09:29 PM

When the question of "original sin" (i.e., the origin of sin) within the Eastern and Western traditions are placed in a wider context then many of the excellent points adelfo is making become easier to appreciate.





I'm not sure who dreamed up the "original sin" concept to begin with, Mr. Reno - do you? Melchizedek? It comes into the stream of "christianity" via the Old Testament, right?

Edited by Joe DiMaggio, 05 September 2008 - 06:29 AM.
inserted end quote tag


#36 Guest_Robert Reno_*

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 10:53 PM

I'm not sure who dreamed up the "original sin" concept to begin with, Mr. Reno - do you? Melchizedek? It comes into the stream of "christianity" via the Old Testament, right?


I think you are correct when you say "it comes into the stream of 'chrisitianty' via the Old Testament." Various Jewish myths were worked and re-worked over the centuries, some mixing the confused legends of the Dalamatia and the rebellion into the story of Adam an Eve, and then these were reworked by Paul, and from there Augustine and the early church Fathers, and of course there were different interpretations in the Wester vs. Eastern traditions, and so here we are today ;-)

Since Melchizedek was a materialized divine being on an emergency mission, I don't think he was the origin of this myth as he would have known the real history of Urantia. John Hick traces the history of the idea of "original sin" in classic work, Evil and a God of Love. This document only represents the Western Augustinian tradition though, as the Eastern Orthodox tradition takes a different view, but they both share the part about the Jewish developement of the idea.

I have updated Hick's outline of the evolution of the concept of original sin in the Jewish and Western Christian tradition and added three views of atonement. For a very interesting discussion of the atonement doctrine, see Heim on Death of Christ.

Due to the different interpretations of the origin of sin in the world, the Western and Eastern traditions have slightly different philosophical approaches to theology:

1. Western Starting in Perfection/Original Sin/Fall/Atonement-Reconciliation (Guilt/Fear/Indebtedness) vs. Eastern Starting in Immaturity/Original Sin/Fall/Gradual Deification/Redeeming Savior (Humility/Love/Gratitude)
2. Western Atonement (Sacrifice/Appeasement) vs. At-Onement (Willing Gift of Father and Son/Savior Seeking Lost Sheep/Revealing the Way, the Truth, and the Life)

These in turn determine how 3 & 4 are viewed:

3. Repentance & Forgiveness
4. Salvation

Edited by Robert Reno, 06 September 2008 - 09:54 PM.


#37 PHIL

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 12:40 PM

http://www.christusr...N/visible4.html

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

BRIEF VERSION[much more in depth at site I linked]


413 "God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil's envy that death entered the world" (Wis 1:13; 2:24).

414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.

415 "Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him" (GS 13 # 1).

416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called "original sin".

418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called "concupiscence").

419 "We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, "by propagation, not by imitation" and that it is. . . 'proper to each'" (Paul VI, CPG # 16).

420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Rom 5:20).

421 Christians believe that "the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator's love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one. . ." (GS 2 # 2).

Their are a few "theories" about original sin but none backed by any scripture its all MAN MADE.


CATHOLIC BOY

PHIL














Well, I know I am old ;-), but its been around a bit longer than than I have ... John Hick traces the history of the idea of "original sin" in classic work, Evil and a God of Love. This document only represents the Western Augustinian tradition though, as the Eastern Orthodox tradition takes a different view, but they both share the part about the Jewish developement of the idea.

I think you are correct when you say "it comes into the stream of 'chrisitianty' via the Old Testament." Various Jewish myths were worked and re-worked over the centuries, some mixing the confused legends of the Dalamatia and the rebellion into the story of Adam an Eve, and then these were reworked by Paul, and from there Augustine and the early church Fathers, and of course there were different interpretations in the Wester vs. Eastern traditions, and so here we are today ;-)

I have updated Hick's outline of the evolution of the concept of original sin in the Jewish and Western Christian tradition.

Due to the different interpretations of the origin of sin in the world, the Western and Eastern traditions have slightly different philosophical approaches to theology:

1. Western Starting in Perfection/Original Sin/Fall/Atonement-Reconciliation (Guilt/Fear/Indebtedness) vs. Eastern Starting in Immaturity/Original Sin/Fall/Gradual Deification/Redeeming Savior (Humility/Love/Gratitude)
2. Western Atonement (Sacrifice/Appeasement) vs. At-Onement (Willing Gift of Father and Son/Savior Seeking Lost Sheep/Revealing the Way, the Truth, and the Life)

These in turn determine how 3 & 4 are viewed:

3. Repentance & Forgiveness
4. Salvation



#38 nameless until fused

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 02:49 PM

Their are a few "theories" about original sin but none backed by any scripture its all MAN MADE.


CATHOLIC BOY

PHIL



Hiya Phil,

Being as you are a Catholic boy, this should be familiar to you - a correction to your grammar ;)

It should be "there" and not "their".

USA Catholics lost their focus thanks to the evangelicals turning mortal into venal sins and vice versa and everyone wanting the property the Church holds in USA and the Mormon "machine" (Pink Floyd song- welcome to the machine) - hardly examples of "religious" progress on anyone's part but certainly examples of MAN-MADE! "stuff" ;)

I was relieved to find this link:

www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents where you can brush the dust off of the "mission" of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and their Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Being as how I am NOT a human being capable of understanding "God" but just a legislated body part these days - I doubt I'll be able to fugure out who is secretly "evaluating" The Urantia Book in the Vatican. My bet is it's the cabal that frightened away the Eastern Orthodox Church from uniting with the Roman Catholic church - a great disappointment to JPII - but in the end JPII completely agreed with the reasons why the combo SHOULD not happen - can't throw a rotten fruit into a basket of healthy fruit....

I feel the need to re-introduce an aspect of myself as a UB reader - I did not get "stuck" on ANY of the "religious" information presented in the UPapers. It was all so wonderfully LUCID compared to the Mount Evrest load of other religious "tomes" that I could never finish reading because the cognitive dissonance of so much error and truth was too loud. So I hope the people who have spent a lifetime learning at each other's feet about "God" understand the variety of backgrounds people will be coming from and not start any proceedings for "crucify" as "atonement" for the FACT that we come here as children with God as our SPIRITUAL SOVEREIGN.

So, Phil, you must remember the whole "venal" vs. "mortal" sin distinctions, yes? Or is the Catholic Church so fractured in USA that no one is on the same page when it come to "sin" - never mind "original sin"...?

Personally, I got stuck with the mapping of the night sky after reading the UB - too much previous astronomy information in my head that was ERROR, so it's taking longer to SEE the spot - "you are here"... ;)

peace and love, Bro.

Edited by nameless until fused, 05 September 2008 - 02:52 PM.


#39 PHIL

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 03:17 PM

You didn't mention the SEVEN CARDINAL SINS.

Yes at one time I knew by memory the Venal and Mortal sins

I don't pay much attention anymore.

I do remember spending a longer time than most doing my
penance after Saturday confession ;)

The last Catholic Priest I dealt with[actually last 2]

kinda 'winked' at the whole dogma/ritual thing and just
helped all they could with an open heart and spirit.

I was stunned at first but grateful for the surprise.

Those 2 Priest made a significant difference in my Spiritual progress
at the time.


PHIL


PS;

I still can't get the Immaculate conception and Virgin Birth right













Hiya Phil,

Being as you are a Catholic boy, this should be familiar to you - a correction to your grammar ;)

It should be "there" and not "their".

USA Catholics lost their focus thanks to the evangelicals turning mortal into venal sins and vice versa and everyone wanting the property the Church holds in USA and the Mormon "machine" (Pink Floyd song- welcome to the machine) - hardly examples of "religious" progress on anyone's part but certainly examples of MAN-MADE! "stuff" :P

I was relieved to find this link:

www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents where you can brush the dust off of the "mission" of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and their Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Being as how I am NOT a human being capable of understanding "God" but just a legislated body part these days - I doubt I'll be able to fugure out who is secretly "evaluating" The Urantia Book in the Vatican. My bet is it's the cabal that frightened away the Eastern Orthodox Church from uniting with the Roman Catholic church - a great disappointment to JPII - but in the end JPII completely agreed with the reasons why the combo SHOULD not happen - can't throw a rotten fruit into a basket of healthy fruit....

I feel the need to re-introduce an aspect of myself as a UB reader - I did not get "stuck" on ANY of the "religious" information presented in the UPapers. It was all so wonderfully LUCID compared to the Mount Evrest load of other religious "tomes" that I could never finish reading because the cognitive dissonance of so much error and truth was too loud. So I hope the people who have spent a lifetime learning at each other's feet about "God" understand the variety of backgrounds people will be coming from and not start any proceedings for "crucify" as "atonement" for the FACT that we come here as children with God as our SPIRITUAL SOVEREIGN.

So, Phil, you must remember the whole "venal" vs. "mortal" sin distinctions, yes? Or is the Catholic Church so fractured in USA that no one is on the same page when it come to "sin" - never mind "original sin"...?

Personally, I got stuck with the mapping of the night sky after reading the UB - too much previous astronomy information in my head that was ERROR, so it's taking longer to SEE the spot - "you are here"... ;)

peace and love, Bro.


Edited by PHIL, 05 September 2008 - 03:24 PM.


#40 Guest_Robert Reno_*

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 10:42 AM

Not having been raised Catholic, or in any other Christian tradition, but having first found the Urantia Book at a young age, I know little to nothing about the difference between mortal and venal sins ;-)

I wonder how the following Eastern Orthodox statement of our “calling” relates to the Catholic tradition?

Our Calling

In the Holy Scriptures, where God himself speaks, we read of a unique call directed to us. God speaks to us human beings clearly and directly: "I said, 'You are gods, sons of the Most High--all of you'" (Ps. 82:6; John 10:34). Do we hear that voice? Do we understand the meaning of this calling? Do we accept that we should in fact be on a journey, a road which leads to theosis? As human beings we each have this one, unique calling, to achieve theosis. In other words, we are each destined to become a god, to be like God himself, to be united with him. The apostle Peter describes with total clarity the purpose of life: we are to become partakers of divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). This is the purpose of life: that we be participants, sharers in the nature of God and in the life of Christ, communicants of divine grace and energy--to become just like God, true gods. Man, according to Basil the Great, is a creature that has received the command to become a god. "He has been ordered to become God," says Gregory of Nazianzus. God is not united except with gods, Simeon the New Theologian noted epigrammatically. (....) This is our calling--theosis. Theosis is achieved little by little, through the step-by-step spiritualization of our human nature. (Clendenin, Daniel B. Eastern Orthodox Theology. Michigan: Baker Academic Press; 2003; pp. 184, 186.)


There is also a different emphasis in the story of the fall of Adam within the Eastern Orthodox tradition:

Theosis after the Fall

Man sinned freely. His sin consisted fundamentally in his disobedience, in the violation of the divine command. Adam ignored the command of God. He took an ungrateful stance before his unique and eternal benefactor, God. He took not the divine, but the demonic road. The immediate consequence of this apostasy was the fall, that is, separation from the living God. Humanity loses the divine gift. Human nature becomes distorted. Death comes. Our subjugation to the tyranny of the devil follows. And thus, we human beings ourselves stand in the way of the divine grace which is poured out upon us. The image of God within us is weakened. We ourselves preclude the possibility of our union with God. We deny the human characteristic and possibility of divinization. The potential of becoming like God disappears and becomes impossible. (Clendenin 2003: 187)

But if Adam did not respond to his calling, and if it be the case that he did not succeed in being united with God, and if his sin divided him and separated him from the living God, this dos not mean that the divine plan for the theosis of humankind was destroyed. No power and no sin is able to overcome the love of God for humanity. In spite of human sin, God's love for all of mankind stands firm. And this is true because man did not conceive of sin by himself. He did not invent it. He was deceived by the father of deceit and sin, the devil. Divine mercy does not overlook the fact that mankind sinned because of deceit, and because of deceit they disobeyed the divine command. Human beings are not the source of sin; they are, however, those who put it into practice. (Clendenin 2003: 187)

(....) This is the basis upon which the re-creation of humanity and their return to the road of theosis will take place. This re-creation was to be realized only with the incarnation of the Divine Logos. "'The vocation of the first Adam was fulfilled by Christ, the second Adam. God became man that man might become god,' to use the words of Irenaeus and Athanasius, echoed by the Fathers and theologians of every age." Thus, the work of the Incarnate Word once again opens the way for us human beings to be the achievement of theosis, which is the ultimate purpose of our life. The divine incarnation brings us again to the Father and presents us with the potential of realizing the likeness of God in our lives. Incarnation-crucifixion-resurrection-ascension bridge the gap which separates us from God. The chasm is death, sin, and fallen nature. The chasm which our fallen nature creates is bridged over by the incarnation of the Divine Word. The chasm which is created by our sin is bridged over by his crucifixion. And the third chasm, death, is filled by his resurrection. (Clendenin 2003: 187-188)

(....) Our union with God, the theosis which is objectively offered to us by the incarnate, crucified, resurrected, and ascended God, can be realized only in the Holy Spirit. Only with the Holy Spirit will we be able to receive and taste redemption and theosis. (Clendenin, Daniel B. Eastern Orthodox Theology. Michigan: Baker Academic Press; 2003; p. 187-188.)


How these views relate to the Uranita Book is also of interest. While the story of the fall of Adam, and the resulting fallen state of mankind exists in both Eastern and Western traditions, they view this mythological event differently, with different emphasis. And of course, the Urantia Book tells us there was no fall at all, but mankind had been evolving gradually from a more primitive state. Which version, the Eastern or the Western, is easier to relate to the Urantia Book? It seems the idea/ideal of theosis is in harmony with the teachings of the Urantia Book that we are to seek through prayer and worship God-consciousness.

Edited by Robert Reno, 06 September 2008 - 10:50 AM.





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