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Howard509

Preparing for Scholarly Evaluation of The Urantia Book

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I have posted this article on the forum several times in several different threads. I have yet to see anyone point out where they have a disagreement with what the article actually says:

 

Preparing for Scholarly Evaluation of The Urantia Book

http://urantia-book....ers/doc590.html

 

If you can tell me where the article is wrong, perhaps I will be able to take your view of inerrancy seriously. Every time that someone claims inerrancy for the Urantia Book, I will post this article until its specific points are refuted.

 

Nowhere does the Urantia Book claim to be infallible. Instead, it claims to be a means to a relationship with the Univeral Father, rather than an end unto itself. It says that divine revelation is limited in the sense that it has to be expressed through human language using human tools. Jesus says in the Urantia Book that revelation is the goal post to spiritual progress, rather than the goal itself.

 

I don't think we should be fault finders, actively looking for holes that can be poked in the book as a revelation. I simply think that we should not make any claims for the inerrancy of the Urantia Book that it doesn't claim for itself.

 

I tolerate a wide variety of opinions as to the origin and reliability of the Urantia Papers. Please have the same tolerance and brotherly love for believers who may not agree with you on every fine detail.

Edited by Howard509
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I think it's a very well written and fair article that takes neither a fundamentalist nor a reductionist view of the Urantia Book as a revelation. Even the authorship of the Urantia Book, whether it be celestial or human, is beside the point when considering the spiritual truths contained therein. No one is really sure who wrote the New Testament Gospels and yet they've been an important source of truth for two thousand years.

Edited by Howard509
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The article is well written and objective.

Edited by brooklyn_born

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Yes, Meredith will long be remembered as a champion of truth....and a believer in the Revelation. No one can (or should) accept the Revelation as revelation until a thorough study is completed by both mind and experience. During this educational process, many pre-existing truths will be confirmed, new truths will come forth, and some will conflict with the student's preconceptions, while still others will remain obtuse or confusing for a time. The whole emerges from this process...and not in any other way. Each mind will have a different discovery and truth expansion experience based on the personal position of context and perspective. There will and can never be a uniform and objective measure of its truth content for agreement by mortal mind. This IMO is by design. Truth is not true until it changes motives, priorities, and choices within experience. The truths of the Revelation are to be experienced more than understood or agreed upon. This does not suggest the authors didn't have an objective, experiential, knowledgeable, and uniform perspective and presentation....but they know that the inexperienced and clouded mortal mind would have to individualize the text for it to have any meaning or effect.

 

From the paper posted:

 

"An individual can make the judgment that The Urantia Book is revelatory now. But this evaluation is a personal decision and an act of faith--hopefully after thorough intellectual and experiential analysis has been made. For all practical purposes, it makes little difference whether a person classifies The Urantia Book as revelation or not. "A rose by any other name smells the same." I usually advise people when starting to read the book not to view it as revelation. Read it critically like any other book. Truth either speaks to us personally or it does not. Much later we can decide whether or not we think the spirit of God speaks through the book."

 

No one will ever prove to another any truth by word or argument. One may live truth....one may even know truth by living it....but one mortal mind (or book) cannot deliver truth to another, except as the believer experiences and realizes truth by the many gifts of mind and spirit we have each been given. This is one of the "inerrencies" within...that each are empowered and each are responsible for the choices we make in time and space, within a friendly universe, as Father's children, who are asked to love one another. None need believe it Revelation and none should....until by experience they must. All truth that is not "absolute" is relative truth, incremental truth, incomplete truth....which we increase as we progress in the spirit, over time, one greater truth by another, to become greater in truth and faith and impact as progressing souls in the family of God. So each must scrutinize and discover on their own and for themselves....only. What we do here is share that discovery and the discovered truths therein and thereby as we each progress in truth.

Edited by Bradly aka/fanofVan
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Hi Folks,

 

I think it is a good article.

 

I also think that those of us who feel the UB is credible, tend to ponder the facts (reconcile the conflicts with current science etc.). Those who consider it just an interesting book, pick and choose the parts that help them through life (mota, seven adjutants etc.). Those that are entrenched in a traditional belief, dismiss the book as a fabrication designed to detract from the comforts of their organized religion.

 

When I first read the book I needed to share it with it with eveyrone. Now I prefer to just live its teachings and reference it only when pressed.

 

We can debate the books origin, content and purpose but the real question for me is; What is the role for those of us who are learning to understand the details and facts contained in the UB?

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I have posted this article on the forum several times in several different threads. I have yet to see anyone point out where they have a disagreement with what the article actually says:

 

Preparing for Scholarly Evaluation of The Urantia Book

http://urantia-book....ers/doc590.html

 

If you can tell me where the article is wrong, perhaps I will be able to take your view of inerrancy seriously. Every time that someone claims inerrancy for the Urantia Book, I will post this article until its specific points are refuted.

 

I am surprised that you would encounter conceptions of inerrancy given the text is written for an audience acutely conscious of the nature of language and the unavoidable limits historical context places upon a written work. Of course, we do live in a world where popular concepts of deity and divinity are associated with absolute perfection rather than an evolving framework of progressive stages of relative attainment. For this reason, what the author hoped could be avoided e.g. "this difficult lesson (that) has already been experientially learned by mainline Christianity...will not have to be relearned by students of the fifth epochal revelation" has, in fact proven necessary.

Edited by Lev Schoonhoven
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I would add that the paper given is nearly 30 years old which brings up an interesting point: first, Howard's point would infer that there has been no such empirical evaluation while quoting one of some time ago. There are many well read students and believers in TUB who are either professionals or amateurs in many sciences here and at truthbook who, for many years and countless threads and posts, have critically and objectively and even skeptically examined the text for accuracies and conflicts. This has been true for over 5 decades...and is no more nor less true today. Indeed, any who are not a fool, approach the text as a truth seeker, and all such of any experience, approach truth somewhere between skeptical and cynical, eh? Now there are "truth butterflies" who merely roam from one concept to another with no unifying philosophy or personal perspective to truly apply critical thinking to their "endeavors". This is too bad for them, as we must each do our own heavy lifting in the Kingdom, eh? None here I know of just became believers without such a personal journey of discovery, discernment, and change by experience. None I know "blindly" accept anything....least of all our Revelation.

 

The trouble with objective, empirical analysis is that the real truths within must be individually experienced and that is the only evidence of truth of any quality. It is interesting to evaluate history and science, but that which is transformative cannot thusly be discovered....while not irrelevant, facts are nearly so and facts do not equal truths and truths do not equal The Truth. And it is the transcending ascension of each soul that is the real point of the Revelation. It will never be either proven or disproven by mortals. And, if one believes the Revelation, there is nothing therein that is "inspired", but rather "transcribed" by witness, participant, and contermporary personalities that lived during the events described, lived during the transcription, and live still today, and will be there when we survive to teach us further these and many additional facts and truths as we need to know and can know.

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I disagree with "it doesn't matter if you think its a revelation or not". You won't digest the book nearly as much if you think its a book written by human beings. Or if you think its corrupted by humans.

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I disagree with "it doesn't matter if you think its a revelation or not". You won't digest the book nearly as much if you think its a book written by human beings. Or if you think its corrupted by humans.

 

Scott, don't you think if it contains a kernel of truth, be it of divine or human origin, it would still be worth internalizing?

Edited by brooklyn_born
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Of course, we do live in a world where popular concepts of deity and divinity are associated with absolute perfection rather than an evolving framework of progressive stages of relative attainment.

 

So true! humanity with its various religious beliefs ignores or denies an evolving component to deity; the ever expanding and evolving Supreme Being.

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Scott, don't you think if it contains a kernel of truth, be it of divine or human origin, it would still be worth internalizing?

 

Well there is another way to view the book and that is knowing that is written by deity. Once you know its from deity you can form a much much stronger relationship with the papers than if you just believe that its written by deity. If people thinks its written by humans they will just cherry pick parts that they like. The difference between just reading it as some channeled work and an actual revelation from deity is huge. The book will begin to help you access the cosmic mind and cosmic intuitons and with those you will be able to know its a reveelation. Chris talks about this to. Its important to see it for what it is because it is a revelation lol. Look at the TMErs they are a mess as a result of viewing the u.b as a channelled book.

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The book will begin to help you access the cosmic mind and cosmic intuitons and with those you will be able to know its a reveelation.

 

Okay . . . The book does not help people access the cosmic mind. The book has no such power.

 

Scott, I know that you thoroughly enamored with Chris' interpretation of the cosmic mind, but neither the book or the cosmic mind are responsible for the ability to experience revelation. Revelation is the purview of the Thought Adjuster and interpretation of revelation is the purview of the Spirit of Truth. Nowhere in the following quote about the revelation is the cosmic mind mentioned.

 

0:12.13 We are fully cognizant of the difficulties of our assignment; we recognize the impossibility of fully translating the language of the concepts of divinity and eternity into the symbols of the language of the finite concepts of the mortal mind. But we know that there dwells within the human mind a fragment of God, and that there sojourns with the human soul the Spirit of Truth; and we further know that these spirit forces conspire to enable material man to grasp the reality of spiritual values and to comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings. But even more certainly we know that these spirits of the Divine Presence are able to assist man in the spiritual appropriation of all truth contributory to the enhancement of the ever-progressing reality of personal religious experience — God-consciousness.

 

As you can see, it is not the book or the cosmic mind which allow us to grasp the reality of meanings and values. Our helpers are the Thought Adjuster and the Spirit of Truth working within a cosmically endowed mind.

 

101:3.2 Faith-insight, or spiritual intuition, is the endowment of the cosmic mind in association with the Thought Adjuster, which is the Father's gift to man. Spiritual reason, soul intelligence, is the endowment of the Holy Spirit, the Creative Spirit's gift to man. Spiritual philosophy, the wisdom of spirit realities, is the endowment of the Spirit of Truth, the combined gift of the bestowal Sons to the children of men. And the co-ordination and interassociation of these spirit endowments constitute man a spirit personality in potential destiny.

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And there is the rub - " Once you know its from deity...". That can be quite a journey, no? Took me more than 10 years and 3 full readings (and dozens of readings of some text) to conclude that TUB is revelation. Until then? More from Meredith's paper:

 

 

"An individual can make the judgment that The Urantia Book is revelatory now. But this evaluation is a personal decision and an act of faith--hopefully after thorough intellectual and experiential analysis has been made. For all practical purposes, it makes little difference whether a person classifies The Urantia Book as revelation or not. "A rose by any other name smells the same." I usually advise people when starting to read the book not to view it as revelation. Read it critically like any other book. Truth either speaks to us personally or it does not. Much later we can decide whether or not we think the spirit of God speaks through the book."

 

I do not believe the Revelation is "inspired" but a text of facts and reality patterns and truths by authors with contemporaneous knowledge presenting that within the editor's guidelines and constraints. It is the only such volume ever presented to Urantians. We do have many "inspired" works....from God mind and personal revelation in mind. So no mortal mind approaching the Revelation has ANY context to believe it is what it claims. No thinking mortal could possibly "accept" such a claim until and unless they have discovered and discerned sufficient truths within to determine for themselves the reality of the claim of divine gift of revelation, gift of our Master Son.

 

So Boom - while I agree that believers have an advantage within text once they believe IN the text, the catch22 is that the process of becoming a believer must be accomplished without being one first. But you are right. Many claim belief and then prostitute text to support their prejudices, misconceptions, fallacies, and manipulations of others. And it is these that annoy me the most...how can one claim belief and act so contrary to that they claim to believe?? Puzzeling. But for the new reader and ernest student, the Revelation must "prove" itself to each....and will only do so based on the changes experienced therein and thereby. I do not criticize doubt, debate, disagreement, or misunderstanding of the text by sincere seekers of God and His truth. And I am gratified by the truth that each believer will still have individualized context and perspective of reality and truth....even in shared revelation text.

 

So to BB's question - Yes, the truths discovered within text are worthy of learning and many truths already held will be confirmed. And, over time, the number of truths and the weight of those truths will collide into an appreciation of the whole text containing all those truths discovered and held into a unifying and over-arching belief in the divine revelation. No one must or even can believe first. Exuberence may be no vice....but neither is patience. We grow. Enjoy being a tadpole...I know I do!! B)

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If someone reads the jesus papers and they think that they are humans channeling something they won't form a relationship with the messages in the same way as someone who knows for a fact that these are jesus words. Knowing it is a revelation is differrent from believing it is one as well. Once you know its a revelation you can form an even deeper relationship with the concepts within it. It has nothing to do with arrogance or judgment either. The u.b does not magically grant us spiritual fruit. But the human mind needs an innitial set of facts to work with. Once we set that starting point of innitial assumptions in our mind we can begin to provide favorable conditions for our t.a and s.o.t.

Edited by -Scott-
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I dont even know how i want to respond to all this. Or any other thread for that matter, but i will try best to get my point across as i mean it. Seem to be having trouble writing what im thinking.

This may or may not be relevant to this thread:

I see many many people have different ways of looking at things. Which is good. But i feel one of the biggest problems is peoples personal bias. Many refuse to atleast ponder what another is saying. Which is one reason why i disagree with those who suggest teachers/ministers are no longer needed (especially when the UB states they exist all the way upto Paradise. Who is anyone to suggest we are better than they of Paradise?) and feel it is in need of not only online study groups but physical study groups / fellowship or whatever else you want to call it. If we cant agree amongst ourselves, explain then how the UB will look enticing for another to pickup? If we stay silent, how will people know it exists? Im sorry, but what im seeing thus far, from the limited contact i may have, that the UB community is going down the road of self-destruction that everyother fellowship of every other text encountered. Ofcourse some lasted longer than others, but that is not the point. Im not sure how exactly to make my point and at the same time make sense. Out of the groups and forums i belong this is the most active and most diverse in understanding, yet seems to be spinning its wheels in the mud. Others come across arrogant, cult-like, and completely absurd. This group i feel has potential as people do not seem to fear expressing their ideas as is the problem in other groups. But i feel we all, myself included, are having the same argument over and over just chamging the context of the argument. If common ground, other than being a UB "reader", can be found and organized surely the UB will make it into every household in the world and we can see this peace we all so highly wish to see. Thats just my thoughts from my experiences so far. Not trying to imply anything, just struggling to express myself is all.

Edited by Rev. Dr. Red
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If someone reads the jesus papers and they think that they are humans channeling something they won't form a relationship with the messages in the same way as someone who knows for a fact that these are jesus words. Knowing it is a revelation is differrent from believing it is one as well. Once you know its a revelation you can form an even deeper relationship with the concepts within it. It has nothing to do with arrogance or judgment either. The u.b does not magically grant us spiritual fruit. But the human mind needs an innitial set of facts to work with. Once we set that starting point of innitial assumptions in our mind we can begin to provide favorable conditions for our t.a and s.o.t.

 

Revealed truth is not knowledge. In other words, accepting the fact (knowledge) that TUB is a revelation before you read it and digest it is not the same as revealed truth. Revealed truth is personally discovered; it cannot be passed along. Revealed truth is part of "discover, recognize, interpret and choose".

 

Likewise, revealed truth and belief are not the same thing. By some form of indoctrination a person might be able to adopt the belief that TUB is a revelation before reading it, but that is not revealed truth because it is not personally discovered.

 

Meredith is correct in that any preconceived notions about TUB should be discarded before reading it in order to personally discover, recognize, interpret and choose revelation for oneself. A critical, unbiased read is paramount to the discovery process.

 

132:3.4 Revealed truth, personally discovered truth, is the supreme delight of the human soul; it is the joint creation of the material mind and the indwelling spirit. 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. There is never conflict between true knowledge and truth. There may be conflict between knowledge and human beliefs, beliefs colored with prejudice, distorted by fear, and dominated by the dread of facing new facts of material discovery or spiritual progress.

 

And by the same logic, individual interpretation must be allowed to take place in order for personal revelation to develop as part of the "discover, recognize, interpret and choose" process.

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@Bonita That is why I said there is a difference between believing it is a revelation and knowing it is a revelation. Once you discover literally in your mind that the urantia book is what it says it is, the entire book takes on a deeper meaning. It is possible to discover the truth of what the urantia book is without any prior belief.

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So to BB's question - Yes, the truths discovered within text are worthy of learning and many truths already held will be confirmed. And, over time, the number of truths and the weight of those truths will collide into an appreciation of the whole text containing all those truths discovered and held into a unifying and over-arching belief in the divine revelation. No one must or even can believe first. Exuberence may be no vice....but neither is patience. We grow. Enjoy being a tadpole...I know I do!! B)

 

I find myself becoming unconcerned with facts as we view them from an academic point of view. I don't know if that is a bad approach to TUB but the yearning for truth is somehow carrying me beyond that sphere of understanding. Weird, ain't it B)

Edited by brooklyn_born
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I disagree with "it doesn't matter if you think its a revelation or not". You won't digest the book nearly as much if you think its a book written by human beings. Or if you think its corrupted by humans.

 

The way I look at that quote is that, regardless of the book's origin, there's a great deal of spiritual truth to learn from it. The Jesus section from the Urantia Book, regardless of whether it has a celestial origin, was obviously written by someone with an extraordinary understanding of church history, first-century Palestine, and the New Testament. Even Martin Gardner, a critic of the Urantia Book, admitted that much.

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BB - Your approach demonstrates great wisdom there fellow tadpole!! For the academics told us for many centuries the fact that the sun rises in the east!! And the evidence is clear...indeed it has risen every day in the east for over 21,000 consecutive days of my life!! And yet this fact is fiction, eh? And it was quite heretical to claim that this fact is fiction for some time. Back when the universe was centered around this little rock. This is what TUB calls prejudice....the certainty clinging to the knowledge in mind making no room for additional knowledge, especially any which contradicts or conflicts with our certainties (prejudices). Your "weirdness" is only the mind aware of the limitations of facts, beliefs, truth, knowledge within itself and its God given ability to transcend itself into new and greater truths and realities...and our universe is endlessly filled with greather truths and realities to be so discovered. Who needs discernment if truth is so universal and static a concept? Truth grows as we grow....or truth stays the same as we choose to cling to that in-hand and dismiss the greater to come as false simply because it is not yet in-hand (mind).

 

This does not dimminish the need for and value of reflection, consideration, weighing and measuring, applying in action, experimentation if you will to test that which is new to mind. While truths may not be THE Truth, there is a consistancy of texture, aroma, flavor, and results from all truths. All truths should fit within a unifying philosophy that is true too. A good point to centralize such a philosophy is "I don't know everything, I don't understand everything I know, and I have absolutely nothing to fear in learning and becoming more today than yesterday and more tomorrow than today." We cannot even conceive of what we can become....if we do not let fear or prejudice steal our future from us. Kudos there BB. ;)

 

Howard - Marty was a disgraced self annointed priest prior to becoming a critic. And the reason the Jesus papers are so replete is the author was there at the time. There are no historical records available to tell that tale friend. You will have to come to believe in celestial authorship or give up your fascination with Part IV, for if it is not a record by a celestial witness, then it is a human hoax of fiction. You will need to cling to one or the other for one cannot serve two masters nor hold two opposing positions. Good luck with that.

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Well there is another way to view the book and that is knowing that is written by deity. Once you know its from deity you can form a much much stronger relationship with the papers than if you just believe that its written by deity. If people thinks its written by humans they will just cherry pick parts that they like. The difference between just reading it as some channeled work and an actual revelation from deity is huge. The book will begin to help you access the cosmic mind and cosmic intuitons and with those you will be able to know its a reveelation. Chris talks about this to. Its important to see it for what it is because it is a revelation lol. Look at the TMErs they are a mess as a result of viewing the u.b as a channelled book.

 

That opens up the question of why choose to believe in the Urantia Book, rather than the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran or the Book of Mormon, as a "book of deity"? We need not get too much into detail on the topic of "channeling," but William S. Sadler originally referred to the sleeping subject as a "channel" for celestial beings, which would leave open the possibility that at least certain passages of the Urantia Book were influenced by the sleeping subject's own unconscious mind.

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I find myself becoming unconcerned with facts as we view them from an academic point of view. I don't know if that is a bad approach to TUB but the yearning for truth is somehow carrying me beyond that sphere of understanding. Weird, ain't it B)

 

When Jesus told his parables, I don't think their spiritual meaning was dependent on their historical accuracy. I think the same is true when we judge a spiritual text. That doesn't make its historical content unimportant, but expecting it to have the same level of accuracy as Encyclopedia Britannica is beside the point.

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That opens up the question of why choose to believe in the Urantia Book, rather than the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran or the Book of Mormon, as a "book of deity"? We need not get too much into detail on the topic of "channeling," but William S. Sadler originally referred to the sleeping subject as a "channel" for celestial beings, which would leave open the possibility that at least certain passages of the Urantia Book were influenced by the sleeping subject's own unconscious mind.

 

I admire your willingness to follow truth wherever it leads, but you are beginning to broach a forbidden line of inquiry. The religion about the Urantia Book, like old moneyed families, disdain the origins of their wealth.

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That opens up the question of why choose to believe in the Urantia Book, rather than the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran or the Book of Mormon, as a "book of deity"? We need not get too much into detail on the topic of "channeling," but William S. Sadler originally referred to the sleeping subject as a "channel" for celestial beings, which would leave open the possibility that at least certain passages of the Urantia Book were influenced by the sleeping subject's own unconscious mind.

 

Channeling and being a channel are two different things. Channeling is done in a trance and taps the subconscious. Being a channel is being an empty conduit. The sleeping subject was sleeping; he was not in a trance. The sleeping subject did not ask to be a channel; channelers ask to be channels. The sleeping subject did not perform extraordinary psychic exercises in order to fall asleep and be a conduit, whereas that is exactly what channelers do in order to channel. Channelers themselves manipulate mind whereas the sleeping subject merely allowed his mind to be utilized, completely unwittingly. There's a huge, huge difference between the two.

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