Smart Religion

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Mo Siegel

By Mo Siegel, president, Urantia Foundation, Boulder, Colorado, United States

Today, August 21, 2013, I am sitting at my computer thinking about the Master’s birthday. Ironically, 2.5 billion Christians celebrate Jesus’ birthday in December while only a small group of Urantia Book readers celebrate it in August. Since Bible and Urantia Book readers believe in Jesus, do people really need The Urantia Book or is it just one more religious text among many? And if The Urantia Book is valuable, what sets it apart from all the other religious books?

By now many of you are having an allergic reaction to my categorizing The Urantia Book as a religious text. No offense intended, but to most people, a book that begins with God and ends with Jesus is a religious book. I agree. While the Urantia Revelation teaches philosophy, history, and science, many other books probe these subjects in much greater depth. But The Urantia Book presents the most dynamic, hands on, elevated, complete, and smartest religious teachings in the world! The Urantia Book, like none other, leads your mind and soul directly to a loving, intelligent, and personal God. The Urantia Book is the most religious book in the world and is absolutely unique compared to all the other religious texts.

A few days ago I finished reading a book titled Contagious-Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger. This book challenged me to think about what makes The Urantia Book unique and different from all other books. If you had to lean across a fence and tell your neighbor why the Urantia Revelation is “one of a kind”, relevant, and worth their reading, what would you say? If you’re like me, you’re never quite sure how to adequately describe the book in a compelling way that gets someone interested.

For 44 years I’ve attempted to explain why I read The Urantia Book and why others would benefit from reading it. It feels like I’ve tried at least 20 different approaches with none of them being particularly effective. At times I’ve gone off on bold and endless stories about seven trillion inhabitable worlds, a loving God, higher beings, dinosaurs, and Jesus. Other times I’ve tried simple narratives about the life of Jesus, the Trinity, a personal God, or even the evolution of the species. Looking back, very few of my descriptions have been catchy, relevant, or inspirational to the listener.

After reading Jonah Berger’s book, I’m trying a new tact to explain The Urantia Book to interested people. But first I had to answer what makes it compellingly different from all other religious books. To me, the answer is “smart religion.” In truth and in fact, The Urantia Book contains the smartest religious teachings in the world. While many of the world’s sacred texts promise salvation, life in the hereafter, peace on earth, Jesus, and contact with God, The Urantia Book gives the details. The book is filled with uncommonly smart religious teachings that provide answers found nowhere else. It promotes a religion that needs to be felt and intelligently understood. It answers life’s deepest questions in a thoughtful, rational, and spiritual way. This book is smart, really smart. And who doesn’t want to feel smart?

Last week I started testing this new approach. A few months ago I spent an hour explaining The Urantia Book to my friend Steve. After our conversation I sent him a book, and we didn’t see each other again until the other night. Steve thanked me for the book and said he was interested but got lost after trying to read the Foreword. So I said something like this: “Steve, The Urantia Book is smart religion. You have to think your way through this book. It’s not easy because it’s so smart. People are going to be pondering these teachings for the next 1,000 years. Just plow ahead. If you don’t understand everything, keep reading. You’ll get the big picture by the end. When you’re finished reading, you’ll never think the same way again, and you’ll be glad about that.” I gave Steve no apologies because parts of the book are written at a Ph.D. reading level. I challenged him to step up to smart religion. Steve’s response: “I like to think of myself as smart. I can read that book, and I’m going to. Thanks.”

I’m not sure if this new approach works, but it sounds probable; so I’ll give it a try. In the 20th century entire nations of people turned against God because the religion they were brought up with didn’t make sense in the modern world. Maybe they need a new smart religion commensurate with their intellectual and cultural development.

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