Teacher-Brother Dave's Compilation of
TOPICAL STUDIES from
THE NEW EPOCHAL REVELATION OF TRUTH.
Topical Study number 114
"Prayer, Meditation, Reflection, Worship", Part 10
Part 1 - on of Study 106 on "Worship" starts about 30% down this page; click this link:
Topical Study 106
Topical Study number 114, Part 10
The Urantia Book
PAPER 98. The Melchizedek Teachings in the Occident, Cont.
5. The Cult of Mithras
98:5.1 The Phrygian and Egyptian mysteries eventually gave way before the greatest of all the mystery cults, the worship of Mithras. The Mithraic cult made its appeal to a wide range of human nature and gradually supplanted both of its predecessors. Mithraism spread over the Roman Empire through the propagandizing of Roman legions recruited in the Levant, where this religion was the vogue, for they carried this belief wherever they went. And this new religious ritual was a great improvement over the earlier mystery cults.
98:5.4 The adherents of this cult worshiped in caves and other secret places, chanting hymns, mumbling magic, eating the flesh of the sacrificial animals, and drinking the blood. Three times a day they worshiped, with special weekly ceremonials on the day of the sun-god and with the most elaborate observance of all on the annual festival of Mithras, December twenty-fifth. It was believed that the partaking of the sacrament ensured eternal life, the immediate passing, after death, to the bosom of Mithras, there to tarry in bliss until the judgment day. On the judgment day the Mithraic keys of heaven would unlock the gates of Paradise for the reception of the faithful; whereupon all the unbaptized of the living and the dead would be annihilated upon the return of Mithras to earth. It was taught that, when a man died, he went before Mithras for judgment, and that at the end of the world Mithras would summon all the dead from their graves to face the last judgment. The wicked would be destroyed by fire, and the righteous would reign with Mithras forever. [Much of those primitive beliefs were added to early Christianity ! God's perfect judgment-justice is Eternal Now; not off into the future ! Your sins are forgiven and you are still alive because God's judgment always includes His unconditional love and lavish mercy Ministry to you and to all ! Amen ! Accept Divine Forgiveness Now, and keep trying to become a little more Godlike - a little more as Jesus Christ IS ...]
6. Mithraism and Christianity
98:6.1 Prior to the coming of the mystery cults and Christianity, personal religion hardly developed as an independent institution in the civilized lands of North Africa and Europe; it was more of a family, city-state, political, and imperial affair. The Hellenic Greeks never evolved a centralized worship system; the ritual was local; they had no priesthood and no “sacred book.” Much as the Romans, their religious institutions lacked a powerful driving agency for the preservation of higher moral and spiritual values. While it is true that the institutionalization of religion has usually detracted from its spiritual quality, it is also a fact that no religion has thus far [as of A.D. 1935] succeeded in surviving without the aid of institutional organization of some degree, greater or lesser. [Priest-free, church-free, personal God-consciousness at all times and in all places is now coming on stronger ! For too long, True Living Spirit Christianity has been replaced with churchianity and bookianity. But this oncoming greatest Spiritual Renaissance ever will certainly succeed in our Sovereign Creator Son of God Jesus Christ Michael living here with us always in His Guiding Spirit of All Truth !]
98:6.3 During the third century after Christ, Mithraic and Christian churches were very similar both in appearance and in the character of their ritual. A majority of such places of worship were underground, and both contained altars whose backgrounds variously depicted the sufferings of the savior who had brought salvation to a sin-cursed human race. [Today, the blasphemous "blood-atonement" doctrine of Paul still persists. Jesus is (falsely) called a "sacrificial Lamb of God" to "appease the terrible deadly WRATH of God". GOD is all-perfect Unchanging Deity, always unconditionally loving, lavishly merciful and fatherly friendly the SAME as JESUS IS !! They are Eternally One in Spirit and will Union !]
98:6.4 Always had it been the practice of Mithraic worshipers, on entering the temple, to dip their fingers in holy water. And since in some districts there were those who at one time belonged to both religions, they introduced this custom into the majority of the Christian churches in the vicinity of Rome. Both religions employed baptism and partook of the sacrament of bread and wine. The one great difference between Mithraism and Christianity, aside from the characters of Mithras and Jesus, was that the one encouraged militarism while the other was ultrapacific. Mithraism’s tolerance for other religions (except later Christianity) led to its final undoing. But the deciding factor in the struggle between the two was the admission of women into the full fellowship of the Christian faith. [Some churches today do not allow women in the clergy. "Priesthood of all believers in Jesus" at all times and in all places, and mainly Home-Family-Fellowship based, is coming in this Great Spiritual Renaissance here worldwide !]
98:6.5 In the end the nominal Christian faith dominated the Occident. Greek philosophy supplied the concepts of ethical value; Mithraism, the ritual of worship observance; and [Pauline Compromised] Christianity, as such, the technique for the conservation of moral and social values.
7. The Christian Religion
98:7.1 A Creator Son did not incarnate in the likeness of mortal flesh and bestow himself upon the humanity of Urantia to reconcile an angry God but rather to win all mankind to the recognition of the Father’s love and to the realization of their sonship with God. After all, even the great advocate of the atonement doctrine [Paul] realized something of this truth, for he declared that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.”
98:7.3 The Christian religion, as a Urantian [Earth] system of belief, arose through the compounding of the following teachings, influences, beliefs, cults, and personal individual attitudes:
98:7.4 #1. The Melchizedek teachings, [the Third Epochal Revelation of Truth to Urantia] which are a basic factor in all the religions of Occident and Orient that have arisen in the last four thousand years.
98:7.5 #2. The Hebraic system of morality, ethics, theology, and belief in both Providence and the supreme Yahweh.
98:7.6 #3. The Zoroastrian conception of the struggle between cosmic good and evil, which had already left its imprint on both Judaism and Mithraism. Through prolonged contact attendant upon the struggles between Mithraism and Christianity, the doctrines of the Iranian prophet became a potent factor in determining the theologic and philosophic cast and structure of the dogmas, tenets, and cosmology of the Hellenized and Latinized versions of the teachings of Jesus.
98:7.7 #4. The mystery cults, especially Mithraism but also the worship of the Great Mother in the Phrygian cult. Even the legends of the birth of Jesus on Urantia [Earth] became tainted with the Roman version of the miraculous birth of the Iranian savior-hero, Mithras, whose advent on earth was supposed to have been witnessed by only a handful of gift-bearing shepherds who had been informed of this impending event by angels.
98:7.8 #5. The historic fact of the human life of Joshua ben Joseph, the reality of Jesus of Nazareth as the glorified Christ, the Son of God. [True]
98:7.9 #6. The personal viewpoint of Paul of Tarsus. And it should be recorded that Mithraism was the dominant religion of Tarsus during his adolescence. Paul little dreamed that his well-intentioned letters to his converts would someday be regarded by still later Christians as the “word of God.” Such well-meaning teachers must not be held accountable for the use made of their writings by later-day successors. [Far more words in the New Testament are from Paul than from Jesus ! Follow only Jesus Who is fully here with us as The Father-Son Union Spirit of All Truth !!]
98:7.10 #7. The philosophic thought of the Hellenistic peoples, from Alexandria and Antioch through Greece to Syracuse and Rome. The philosophy of the Greeks was more in harmony with Paul’s version of Christianity than with any other current religious system and became an important factor in the success of Christianity in the Occident. Greek philosophy, coupled with Paul’s theology, still forms the basis of European ethics.
98:7.11 As the original teachings of Jesus penetrated the Occident, they became Occidentalized, and as they became Occidentalized, they began to lose their potentially universal appeal to all races and kinds of men. Christianity, today, has become a religion well adapted to the social, economic, and political mores of the white races. It has long since ceased to be the religion of Jesus, although it still valiantly portrays a beautiful religion about Jesus to such individuals as sincerely seek to follow in the way of its teaching. It has [somewhat] glorified Jesus as the Christ, the "Messianic anointed" one from God, but has largely forgotten the Master’s personal gospel: the Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of all men. [Jesus Christ Michael is the fullness of God the Universal Father to all humans and beings in Jesus' large local universe of Nebadon that He Created; and He is continuously Spirit-perfecting his humans and others !]
98:7.12 And this is the long story of the teachings of Machiventa Melchizedek on Urantia. It is nearly four thousand years since this emergency Son of Nebadon bestowed himself on Urantia, and in that time the teachings of the “priest of El Elyon, the Most High God,” have penetrated to all races and peoples. And Machiventa was successful in achieving the purpose of his unusual bestowal; when [Christ] Michael made ready to appear on Urantia, the God concept was existent in the hearts of men and women, the same God concept that still flames anew in the living spiritual experience of the manifold children of the Universal Father as they live their intriguing temporal lives on the whirling planets of space.
98:7.13 [Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.]
PAPER 99. The Social Problems of Religion
4. Transition Difficulties
99:4.4 No matter what upheavals may attend the social and economic growth of civilization, religion is genuine and worth while if it fosters in the individual an experience in which the sovereignty of truth, beauty, and goodness prevails, for such is the true spiritual concept of supreme reality. And through love and worship this becomes meaningful as fellowship with man and sonship with God.
6. Institutional Religion
99:6.2 There is a real purpose in the socialization of religion. It is the purpose of group religious activities to dramatize the loyalties of religion; to magnify the lures of truth, beauty, and goodness; to foster the attractions of supreme values; to enhance the service of unselfish fellowship; to glorify the potentials of family life; to promote religious education; to provide wise counsel and spiritual guidance; and to encourage group worship. And all live religions encourage human friendship, conserve morality, promote neighborhood welfare, and facilitate the spread of the essential gospel of their respective messages of eternal salvation.
99:6.3 But as religion becomes institutionalized, its power for good is curtailed, while the possibilities for evil are greatly multiplied. The dangers of formalized religion are: fixation of beliefs and crystallization of sentiments; accumulation of vested interests with increase of secularization; tendency to standardize and fossilize truth; diversion of religion from the service of God to the service of the church; inclination of leaders to become administrators instead of ministers; tendency to form sects and competitive divisions; establishment of oppressive ecclesiastical authority; creation of the aristocratic “chosen-people” attitude; fostering of false and exaggerated ideas of sacredness; the routinizing of religion and the petrification of worship; tendency to venerate the past while ignoring present demands; failure to make up-to-date interpretations of religion; entanglement with functions of secular institutions; it creates the evil discrimination of religious castes; it becomes an intolerant judge of orthodoxy; it fails to hold the interest of adventurous youth and gradually loses the saving message of the gospel of eternal salvation.
7. Religion’s Contribution
99:7.4 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.
PAPER 100. Religion in Human Experience
1. Religious Growth
100:1.8 Religious habits of thinking and acting are contributory to the economy of spiritual growth. One can develop religious predispositions toward favorable reaction to spiritual stimuli, a sort of conditioned spiritual reflex. Habits which favor religious growth embrace cultivated sensitivity to divine values, recognition of religious living in others, reflective meditation on cosmic meanings, worshipful problem solving, sharing one’s spiritual life with one’s fellows, avoidance of selfishness, refusal to presume on divine mercy, living as in the presence of God. The factors of religious growth may be intentional, but the growth itself is unvaryingly unconscious.
2. Spiritual Growth
100:2.2 Spiritual growth is first an awakening to needs, next a discernment of meanings, and then a discovery of values. [Spiritual values are: Love, mercy, service ministry, truth, beauty, and goodness.] The evidence of true spiritual development consists in the exhibition of a human personality motivated by love, activated by unselfish ministry, and dominated by the wholehearted worship of the perfection ideals of divinity. And this entire experience constitutes the reality of religion as contrasted with mere theological beliefs.
5. Conversion and Mysticism
100:5.7 In contrast with conversion-seeking, the better approach to the morontia [soul reality] zones of possible contact with the Thought Adjuster [God' pure Spirit Essence within your mind and soul -- the will of God] would be through living faith and sincere worship, wholehearted and unselfish prayer. Altogether too much of the uprush of the memories of the unconscious levels of the human mind has been mistaken for divine revelations and spirit leadings.
100:5.10 The more healthful attitude of spiritual meditation is to be found in reflective worship and in the prayer of thanksgiving. The direct communion with one’s Thought Adjuster, such as occurred in the later years of Jesus’ life in the flesh, should not be confused with these so-called mystical experiences. The factors which contribute to the initiation of mystic communion are indicative of the danger of such psychic states. The mystic status is favored by such things as: physical fatigue, fasting, psychic [soul] dissociation, profound aesthetic experiences, vivid sex impulses, fear, anxiety, rage, and wild dancing. Much of the material arising as a result of such preliminary preparation has its origin in the subconscious mind.
7. The Acme of Religious Living [is Jesus Christ !]
100:7.16 The Master was a pattern of reverence. The prayer of even his youth began, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name.” He was even respectful of the faulty worship of his fellows. But this did not deter him from making attacks on religious traditions or assaulting errors of human belief. He was reverential of true holiness, and yet he could justly appeal to his fellows, saying, “Who among you convicts me of sin?”
PAPER 101. The Real Nature of Religion
1. True Religion
101:1.5 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.
3. The Characteristics of Religion
101:3.4 Through religious faith the soul of man reveals itself and demonstrates the potential divinity of its emerging nature by the characteristic manner in which it induces the mortal personality to react to certain trying intellectual and testing social situations. Genuine spiritual faith (true moral consciousness) is revealed in that it:
101:3.16 #12. Goes right on worshiping God in spite of anything and everything. Dares to declare, “Even though he slay me, yet will I serve him.” [The "slaying" is just physical death; if we believe that God and/or Jesus Christ is our loving Father, we should be totally confident of eternal life in our higher soul and then higher Spirit Personality forms as Sons of God in Jesus in Spirit ! All humans - males and females equally -- are spiritually classified as sons of God; the many types of angels are the daughters of God.]
5. Religion Expanded by Revelation
101:5.3 #1. Evolutionary religion. The experience of primitive worship, the religion which is a mind derivative.
101:5.10 Evolutionary religion is the outworking of the endowment of the local universe mind adjutant [of worship from our Creative Mother (Holy) Spirit] charged with the creation and fostering of the worship trait in evolving man. Such primitive religions are directly concerned with ethics and morals, the sense of human duty. Such religions are predicated on the assurance of conscience and result in the stabilization of relatively ethical civilizations.
6. Progressive Religious Experience
101:6.1 The morontia [soul reality] phase of revealed religion has to do with the experience of survival, and its great urge is the attainment of spirit perfection. There also is present the higher urge of worship, associated with an impelling call to increased ethical service. Morontia insight entails an ever-expanding consciousness of [God] the Sevenfold, the Supreme, and even the Ultimate.
8. Faith and Belief
101:8.1 Belief has attained the level of faith when it motivates life and shapes the mode of living. The acceptance of a teaching as true is not faith; that is mere belief. Neither is certainty nor conviction faith. A state of mind attains to faith levels only when it actually dominates the mode of living. Faith is a living attribute of genuine personal religious experience. One believes truth, admires beauty, and reverences goodness, but does not worship them; such an attitude of saving faith is centered on God alone, who is all of these personified and infinitely more.
PAPER 102. The Foundations of Religious Faith
4. The Fact of Experience
102:4.5 Prayer is indeed a part of religious experience, but it has been wrongly emphasized by modern religions, much to the neglect of the more essential communion of worship. The reflective powers of the mind are deepened and broadened by worship. Prayer may enrich the life, but worship illuminates destiny.
5. The Supremacy of Purposive Potential
102:5.3 You can psychologize evolutionary religion but not the personal-experience religion of spiritual origin. Human morality may recognize values, but only religion can conserve, exalt, and spiritualize such values. But notwithstanding such actions, religion is something more than emotionalized morality. Religion is to morality as love is to duty, as sonship is to servitude, as essence is to substance. Morality discloses an almighty Controller, a Deity to be served; religion discloses an all-loving Father, a God to be worshiped and loved. And again this is because the spiritual potentiality of religion is dominant over the duty actuality of the morality of evolution.
6. The Certainty of Religious Faith
102:6.1 The philosophic elimination of religious fear and the steady progress of science add greatly to the mortality of false gods; and even though these casualties of man-made deities may momentarily befog the spiritual vision, they eventually destroy that ignorance and superstition which so long obscured the living God of eternal love. The relation between the creature and the Creator is a living experience, a dynamic religious faith, which is not subject to precise definition. To isolate part of life and call it religion is to disintegrate life and to distort religion. And this is just why the God of worship claims all allegiance or none.
7. The Certitude of the Divine
102:7.3 Those who would invent a religion without God are like those who would gather fruit without trees, have children without parents. You cannot have effects without causes; only the I AM is causeless. The fact of religious experience implies God, and such a God of personal experience must be a personal Deity. You cannot pray to a chemical formula, supplicate a mathematical equation, worship a hypothesis, confide in a postulate, commune with a process, serve an abstraction, or hold loving fellowship with a law.
8. The Evidences of Religion
102:8.4 Ethics is the external social or racial mirror which faithfully reflects the otherwise unobservable progress of internal spiritual and religious developments. Man has always thought of God in the terms of the best he knew, his deepest ideas and highest ideals. Even historic religion has always created its God conceptions out of its highest recognized values. Every intelligent creature gives the name of God to the best and highest thing he knows. [The highest Infinite Eternal Universal Reality is God our Father-Infinite I AM]
PAPER 103. The Reality of Religious Experience
103:0.1 All of man’s truly religious reactions are sponsored by the early ministry of the adjutant of worship and are censored by the adjutant of wisdom. Man’s first supermind endowment is that of personality encircuitment in the Holy Spirit of the Universe Creative Spirit; and long before either the bestowals of the divine Sons or the universal bestowal of the Adjusters, this influence functions to enlarge man’s viewpoint of ethics, religion, and spirituality. Subsequent to the bestowals of the Paradise Sons the liberated Spirit of Truth [of God and Jesus here with us] makes mighty contributions to the enlargement of the human capacity to perceive religious truths. As evolution advances on an inhabited world, the Thought Adjusters increasingly participate in the development of the higher types of human religious insight. The Thought Adjuster is the cosmic window through which the finite creature may faith-glimpse the certainties and divinities of limitless Deity, the Universal Father.
3. Religion and the Human Race
103:3.5 Man evolved through the superstitions of mana, magic, nature worship, spirit fear, and animal worship to the various ceremonials whereby the religious attitude of the individual became the group reactions of the clan. And then these ceremonies became focalized and crystallized into tribal beliefs, and eventually these fears and faiths became personalized into gods. But in all of this religious evolution the moral element was never wholly absent. The impulse of the God within man was always potent. And these powerful influences — one human and the other divine — insured the survival of religion throughout the vicissitudes of the ages and that notwithstanding it was so often threatened with extinction by a thousand subversive tendencies and hostile antagonisms.
4. Spiritual Communion
103:4.1 The characteristic difference between a social occasion and a religious gathering is that in contrast with the secular the religious is pervaded by the atmosphere of communion. In this way human association generates a feeling of fellowship with the divine, and this is the beginning of group worship. Partaking of a common meal was the earliest type of social communion, and so did early religions provide that some portion of the ceremonial sacrifice should be eaten by the worshipers. Even in Christianity the Lord’s Supper retains this mode of communion. 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.
5. The Origin of Ideals
103:5.5 Human happiness is achieved only when the ego desire of the self and the altruistic urge of the higher self (divine spirit) are co-ordinated and reconciled by the unified will of the integrating and supervising personality. The mind of evolutionary man is ever confronted with the intricate problem of refereeing the contest between the natural expansion of emotional impulses and the moral growth of unselfish urges predicated on spiritual insight — genuine religious reflection.
103:5.12 When a member of a social religious group has complied with the requirements of such a group, he should be encouraged to enjoy religious liberty in the full expression of his own personal interpretation of the truths of religious belief and the facts of religious experience. The security of a religious group depends on spiritual unity, not on theological uniformity. A religious group should be able to enjoy the liberty of freethinking without having to become “freethinkers.” There is great hope for any church that worships the living God, validates the brotherhood of man, and dares to remove all creedal pressure from its members.
PAPER 104. Growth of the Trinity Concept
1. Urantian [Earth humans] Trinity Concepts
104:1.9 The followers of the Islamic faith likewise failed to grasp the idea of the Trinity. It is always difficult for an emerging monotheism to tolerate trinitarianism when confronted by polytheism. The trinity idea takes best hold of those religions which have a firm monotheistic tradition coupled with doctrinal elasticity. The great monotheists, the Hebrews and Mohammedans, found it difficult to distinguish between worshiping three gods, polytheism, and trinitarianism, the worship of one Deity existing in a triune manifestation of divinity and personality. [The Paradise Trinity must first be comprehended as Deity Unity of I AM, and then composed of God the Universal Father Spirit Person, God the Eternal Son Spirit Person. and God the Infinite Spirit Person.]
The next part of this Study will be published here Monday, Jan 20, 2020 at about 8:00 PM CST (new Study material here usually each Mon. Wed. and Fri. at 8:00 PM CST)]
Past TOPICAL STUDIES 93 and 94
Past TOPICAL STUDY 1-on
Spiritual High-Lights of Jesus Christ
Spiritual High-Lights of the Fifth Epochal Revelation
FIFTH EPOCHAL REVELATION (full text and my added comments)
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES (shorter, with some FER)