Spreading The Urantia Book

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I want to be useful in the teaching of this book, or–what's even more important– useful to your fellow man in the service of God. And this book is only a part of it, by no means all of it.

Show people that you like them. Be kind to them. Be expressive of your feelings of friendship.I think it is almost immoral to conceal affection. There's so little of it in the world. Sure, you need to be gracious in your expression, or you could give offence. But if you like people, show them that you like them. Tell them that you like them. If you have love, don't make a secret out of it. What did Jesus say about the city that's set upon a hill? It's difficult to camouflage. If you've got feelings, broadcast them.

And then, if you want to use this book in helping your fellow men, you really ought to know what's in it, shouldn't you? You really ought to know what's in it.

This book is not religion. This book is a cosmology, a philosophy, a metaphysics, a theology. Anything which is in written language is not religion. It's intellectual. That should be very, very clear.

But this book is attempting to make an intellectual approach, a philosophic approach, to the religious nature of man. And if you encounter a person who is not philosophical, don't rub his nose in Part One of this book, and the Foreword, and everything else. Give him the spiritual heart of this book. I don't think he has to know anything about the Trinity of Trinities to qualify for the first mansion world. It says you have to accept sonship with God, that's all.

But there are a lot of people who are curious. I am. As the papers point out, one of the things that's wrong with Christianity is that–from a philosophical standpoint–it's a pretty sterile religion. Pretty sterile. You want to know something? Mahayana Buddhism offers a great deal to a thinking God-seeker which Christianity does not offer. It's a much broader religion, with a richer philosophy.

Arnold Toynbee well says that the two best religions on earth today are Christianity and the Mahayana form of Buddhism. And I think he's very discerning when he further says, in his judgment, neither of them are good enough.

If you find a person who is hungry to understand more about the universe, to take the findings of science and attempt to reconcile them with the spiritual longings of his heart–and this is the function of philosophy–then you better either know this book and be able to discuss it with him, or pass him on to one of your philosophic-minded colleagues who can do this. Everybody does not have to do all of these things.

You know, if I catch someone who wants to be exhorted and labored with, I'll pass him onto someone who's a good exhorter, a good preacher, because this character is not my pigeon. You know? This sort of presentation is not in me.

This is my idea of how to teach this book, how to present this book. But please, all of our work for this book is merely a part of a larger work. Don't ever let the service of the book take precedence over the service of the Boss. And don't ever let the presentation of the book interfere with your service of the Boss' children and with your enhancement of the relationship between the Boss' children and the Boss.

This book is a tool. Use it when you need it, but if you don't need it, in heaven's name, don't bring it into the picture. It's sort of like the guy that's using a pitchfork, and he finds it such a handy tool that he takes it with him wherever he goes, including to a tea party. Do you follow me? Don't drag the blue book into the situation by main force and sheer awkwardness. I many times discuss God with men, and I seldom mention The Urantia Book, unless I sense that this tool is needed to complete this job. And then I get it going with everything I have. In presenting this book, have patience. There is a time interval between seed-sowing and harvest. Don't dragoon people, you know? Plant seeds, and wait. Wait for the sprouting. If you plant in the fall, I guess they don't come up until springtime, do they?

In presenting this book, be philosophical. Jesus told a parable of the sower, which Peter interpreted as an allegory. Peter's interpretation is in the Bible. And then Nathaniel interpreted the parable differently, also as an allegory. And the twelve got into quite a rhubarb choosing up sides and vigorously debating as to was Peter right or was Nathaniel right.

And as I recall, Jesus waited until the controversy had passed its peak–no use trying to shut one of these off until some steam has come out–then he called for silence.

And he said, "Does anyone else have an interpretation?"

And if my memory serves me, it was Thomas who spoke up, and said, "Yes, I think they're both wrong. This is not an allegory. This is a parable."

And Jesus said, "What's your interpretation?"

And Thomas said, "The parable of the sower simply means this: Those who work in the spreading of the gospel are going to discover that the results of their efforts vary largely because of circumstances beyond their control."

So given diligence, given patience, then I would recommend a philosophic attitude. There was a sower who went forth to sow, and as he sowed, some of his seed fell on barren ground, and did not gather root. And still other seed was snatched by the birds of heaven, who carried it away, and some seed fell on shallow ground, and sprung up, but in the heat of the day, it withered and died. But still other seed fell on rich ground, and yielded fruit, some bearing thirty fold, some sixty fold, and some a hundred fold. And he who has an ear to hear, let him hear.

Be philosophical. And always remember, if you find yourself defending your presentation, what do we know about argumentative defense? It's inversely proportional to the truth contained. If you discover that you're arguing about this book, you are not presenting truth to your prospect. There's something wrong with your presentation, or there's something wrong with his condition of ripeness, with his level of receptivity.

Be yourself, first of all. Be good-humored. Know what the devil you're doing. Be diligent. Be patient. Be philosophical. This is my concept of how to work–not only in the propagation of this book–but this is how I think any of us should work for the Boss in the service of the Boss' kids.

Let's talk about how people approach religion. To an awful lot of minds in this world–and mine happens to be one–the Christian religion is completely lacking in any intellectual stimulus.

I think this book has been written to appeal to a person who finds difficulty separating philosophy and religion. I have great difficulty in separating the two, because when I think religion, I'm trying to think truth, and the paper just defined philosophy as, "thinking truth."

These papers are written, I think, to appeal universally to mankind on earth. In a group like this, and as you look inside your own heart, you set up an ideal, and then you fall short of it. And it's dismaying. And if you'll study the twelve apostles, we have somewhere here on tape my inventory of the twelve apostles as lousy guys, but I'm quoting from the blue book. All we did was take inventory of all their weaknesses. And they were richly human in all areas, you know? And this is something we have to live with–the fact that we can imagine (can't understand a couple of words) a much better person than we're probably going to be in this lifetime. In other words, our ideals grow geometrically, and our achievement progresses arithmetically. And if we loose our sense of humor, we could easily slice our little throats from ear to ear out of sheer discouragement.

But I think that's real stupid, too, because while we're an amazing emulsion of good and evil–with, I hope, the good growing and the evil diminishing–the fact remains that the evil is still there. And we can make beautiful fools of ourselves.

The only way I know to get wiser is to extend my memory. And that's why I read history so much, because I'd like to be a Midwayer. You know? These people have been around for 37 thousand years. Well, I can at least find out what happened, as far as it's been recorded. I can push my memory back 4 or 5 thousand years by really carefully studying.

The thing that glorifies people is the distance of time. You see, we idealize, and that's how we create myths. Because, if a guy came out net good, then we want him to be all good. We want his hat to be lily white.

We do this to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and the whole ge-smear, you know? We do this–that's why the paper on the twelve apostles is such a wonderful document, because they're not debunking the twelve apostles, they're just telling the truth about them.

Audience: De-sainting them.

They're de-sainting them, yes. This should be done to all people. I read back about Augustine, Polycarp, Ambrose, Crysostum, all those old joes that are supposed to be the founding fathers of the Christian church, and I hate to refer to the church, but what else am I going to study but a religious organization–it's the only thing that goes back there. There was no Jesus brotherhood that I could study. The Jesus brotherhood became a church. And near as I can see, these characters were pretty human. They made an awful lot of mistakes. Some of them were wishy-washy. Galileo had all the spine of custard when they really clamped down on him.

Audience: Capernicus?

You see, I think this: we've got a problem of attempting tolerance and retaining conviction. If you're not interested in something, it's so easy to be tolerant. Now, how can you go about being really tolerant and still have burning convictions?

Audience: Yes!

Here, I think, we've got to look at Jesus in order to get a pattern. Do you recall at Pella, at the encampment, he never told the apostles how to teach. He let them teach, each one, as he saw the gospel. And then, in the evening, he harmonized their teachings.

Jesus had, in the twelve apostles, a twelve-faceted lens, which could take the white light of his teaching and come out with a chromatic spectrum.

And I think he set value on each one of those hues. As I look at the twelve apostles, they break Jesus up into twelve different hues, and many times in the papers–not many times, but several times in the papers they tell us what each one thought of him, what they made of a certain episode.

There's a great inventory of apostolic reaction on the day they went into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Audience: Oh, yes.

All sorts of reactions from a guy that was simply bemused to good old Simon Zelotes, who said, "Today is the day we overturn the government–"

Audience: Der Tod.

Yes, yes is der Tod.

Audience: Bill, they give us so much of Rodan. Don't you think that's because Rodan really knew what Jesus was talking about?

That was one facet, yes. Rodan got the full philosophic impact of the gospel. And you notice that Jesus didn't detail John and Peter to talk to Rodan. He detailed the philosopher among the twelve and the scientist among the twelve.

The best pairing, I thought–the one I that remember best–is up on the sea of Galilee, where he talked to them two by two. And there, I think, he choose those who were somewhat more similar to each other than to the others, because to each, he asked the same question: "Do you love me, Do you trust me, Do you serve me, Do you obey me?"

Listen, let me tell you folks something. I'm drawing on everything I know from history, and I'm drawing on everything I know from this book, including many, many things that I can't say, but I can give you my distillate:

Progress, be it cultural, or be it religious, has always been a nip and tuck, and very precarious thing. Progress is like walking. And when you walk, you are always off balance. You are always vulnerable.

Progress involves such things as needing communist Russia to whip Fascist Germany. And then you have to cope with the problem of Communist Russia. Progress is a succession of Thermopylaes, of last ditch stands. Of Thermopylaes that failed, of marathons that come through. Progress involves the tactical duplicity of Thucydides, who gets the Greek fleet so damned penned up at Salamis that they have to fight. This is no great noble thing. Thucydides cornered the Greeks. They were like rats. They had to conquer the Persians.

Progress is a whole series of nip and tuck things that somehow came through. Progress is also a whole series of nip and tuck things that didn't come through. Witness the slow, fighting fall of Rome, and how those Romans fought–and I'm with them, because they were civilized, fighting barbarians. Progress is a little group like this, that doesn't look like very much, but it's a beginning. Progress is all of you people, with your different personalities, and having to put up with me, and I'm a salty character that's not too easy to live with. And I don't know–this group goes forward or it doesn't go forward. And if it doesn't, something else will take your place.

This is progress. This is an uphill climb, and an uphill fight, that's fun, because it's so uncertain as concerns the details, and so tremendously certain as concerns the whole.

Listen, do you think for one minute that at the level of seraphic planetary government they don't have their arguments?

Audience: I'll bet they do.

Audience: They tell us one right in here.

Let me read you. Let me read you the residuum of an argument I know a good deal about. And it was a doozie. This is a matter of record. But I know of one argument that was even stronger than this.

"When we, the Midwayers, first prepared the summary of Jesus' teachings at Urmia, there arose a disagreement between the seraphim of the churches and the seraphim of progress as to the wisdom of including these teachings in the Urantia Revelation."

This is like a big hassle between the Treasury Department and the Department of Commerce.

"Conditions of the twentieth century, prevailing in both religion and human governments, are so different from those prevailing in Jesus' day that it was indeed difficult to adapt the Master's teachings at Urmia to the problems of the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of men as these world functions are existent in the twentieth century. We were never able to formulate a statement of the Master's teachings which was acceptable to both groups of these seraphim of planetary government."

Now, are these two by four bickering angels? No, these are angels who have made the Paradise ascent, have found the Universal Father, have entered the Seraphic Corps of Completion, are the equals of finaliters, and have returned.

Audience: And they still argue like this!

They have been commissioned to argue this way. They are doing their duty. These seraphim, one group–I bet you they could function interchangeably. The religious guardians have been commissioned to guard religion. And the seraphim of progress have been commissioned to foment progress. And they are the official antagonists, Promethean and Epimethian. It says somewhere in this book that you don't get stability by statics. You get stability by contending forces which work out into a resultant.

Audience: With their background, it couldn't be exactly burning conviction, then, you mean. They are looking just primarily at one side, and–

Of course, of course. Like two honest attorneys debating in court, who are friends outside of court. I'll bet you they drink beer together on the side.

Audience: But when one's holding up a church and the other's swinging this book around, it sure–

Sure. Right.

"We were never able to formulate a statement of the Master's teachings which was acceptable to both groups of these seraphim of planetary government. Finally, the Melchizedek chairman of the revelatory commission appointed a commission of three of our number to prepare our view of the Master's Urmia teachings as adapted to twentieth-century religious and political conditions on Urantia. Accordingly, we three secondary Midwayers completed such an adaptation of Jesus' teachings, restating his pronouncements as we would apply them to present-day world conditions, and we now present these statements as they stand after having been edited by the Melchizedek chairman of the revelatory commission."

This is not what Jesus said, but this is what they think he would have said had he said it now.

And again, on the next page:

"While the Master's teachings concerning the sovereignty of God is a truth–only complicated by the subsequent appearance of the religion about him among the world's religions–his presentations concerning political sovereignty are vastly complicated by the political evolution of nation life during the last nineteen hundred years and more. In the times of Jesus there were only two great world powers–the Roman Empire in the West and the Han Empire in the East–and these were widely separated by the Parthian kingdom and other intervening lands of the Caspian and Turkestan regions. We have, therefore, in the following presentation departed more widely from the substance of the Master's teachings at Urmia concerning political sovereignty, at the same time attempting to depict the import of such teachings as they are applicable to the peculiarly critical stage of the evolution of political sovereignty in the twentieth century after Christ."

Gosh, this next section deals with problems arising in the American Civil War. Always remember this, this revelatory commission that produced the Urantia Book is not above the law. If they got into real hot water with these seraphim, these seraphim could walk into a conciliating commission and come up with an injunction. And the revelatory commission would be just as amenable to universe law and the conciliators as anyone else. They could stop them.

Audience: On these low levels, there just isn't any solution to some things.

That's right. Look. Let me appeal to the toughest experience Jesus had. You remember when they wanted him to head up the Zealot movement in Nazareth? There was no answer to that one. None. This is the first time in his life Jesus encountered a situation in which he could not tell the truth. The truth didn't fit.

Audience: I think the same thing is true about (can't understand tape) right now.

Yes. Sure. But analyze that Zealot deal. Now–

Audience: Maybe they expected him to march through Rome or something–

Yes, of course. Now, a person like Jesus, who is so lovable, is never going to be without friends, who can say what they say, thinking it's the truth. This is pretty well symbolized in Jacob, the stonemason's son. When Jesus wouldn't fight, he didn't suffer too much because of it, because Jacob had a sense of fairness, and Jacob had no compunctions. And I hope he'd inherited his old man's muscular development. I think of a stonemason as being a little on the powerful side. And I am with Ganid when he said, I think I would have enjoyed slugging it out with those characters if I'd been around. At the Zealot episode, Jesus was not alone. His old chazan was in there pitching. And what's more, he had James get up and say some things which James could say, and which Jesus couldn't say.

Audience: He was not fighting because he lacked strength-

No. But simply because God doesn't fight back. And even as a youngster, Jesus had some sort of an intuitive realization that he was not to fight back. This was the conviction he couldn't explain.

Audience: Who was that man in his travels with Ganid–what was it–he stopped him from attacking a girl?

That the closest to physical combat he ever came to. He would use force to protect a weaker party. And you know how strong he was, because he never hit this man, but he held him off the ground until he wore himself out beating at the air.

Audience: That's very strong.

Audience: But then, when he started to–oh, no, that was the time he just touched the fella on the shoulder who had beaten his wife up. That was–

He said, "My friend, may I ask you a question?"

Audience: That was amazing.

This guy always had jacks or better. He could open any conversation.

Audience: Laughter.

Oh, gee. Progress is a lot of little things. Progress on earth is like finding the Supreme Being. We don't find the Supreme Being as an earthquake tears chasms in the rocks. We find the Supreme Being as the water quietly, slowly wears away the soil beneath. And, if you want to get any idea of how important that can be when it's done for a long time, just go look at the Grand Canyon. That's been the work of a little river operating for a long time in the same bed.

This water deal is a lot more sure than the earthquake deal. But we're always looking for earthquakes. We're impatient. We want it now.

Audience: "The voice was not in thunder. It's a still, small voice."

Yes. And there's another thing, too. Who was it says that the challenge comes when you're seldom prepared for it. I don't think the twelve apostles were prepared to be apostles; but they became apostles. And Jesus made do with them.

I don't think the people I know who are connected with this blue book are particularly well prepared. But as I look at the rest of my fellow men, I think we're about as well qualified as anybody. When I think of the weaknesses in the twelve apostles, I can live with mine. And such small ones as I see in you folks don't bother me too much. I mean, these twelve weren't very good business risks, I don't think.

At any rate, here we are. Here we are, and we can accept life, or the alternative, which is death. And if we accept life, well, then, we have the free will choice of how we're going to live. And we can either be on the side of progress, or we can ignore the whole ball of wax. And I think it's more fun to live adventurously with something like this blue book.

I think you give more hostages to fate; I think you're much more vulnerable to sorrow and pain–but that's true if you fall in love or have children–you're really giving some hostages to fate. And if you don't do these things, you live poorly. And if you do do these things, you live richly. And I crave to live richly.

Audience: (Can't understand comment)–experience.

Right, Julia. What is it? They say that our civilization is being forged out between the anvils of anguish and the hammers of suffering. And, you know, if they could figure out a better way to forge it out, they would. But this way, works. If we're beat on hard enough, we do move. We do something.

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