32. Prayer and Worship

   
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32. PRAYER AND WORSHIP


I. Nature Worship
II. Chance and Luck
III. The Ghost Cult
IV. Death Fear
V. Fetishes
VI. Magic and Charms
VII. Redemption and Sacraments
VIII. Priests and Rituals
IX. Mysticism and Ecstasy
X. Evolving Prayer
XI. Province of Prayer
XII. Conditions of Effective Prayer
XIII. True Worship
XIV. Real Religion
XV. Religion and Civilization
XVI. Revelation

32. PRAYER AND WORSHIP

1. NATURE WORSHIP

1. Proposition. Primitive religion had a biologic origin. Man creates religion out of fear plus illusions.
"Primitive religion had a biologic origin, a natural evolutionary development, aside from moral associations and apart from all spiritual influences. The higher animals have fears but no illusions, hence no religion. Man creates his primitive religions out of his fears and by means of his illusions." "Primitive religion had a biologic origin, a natural evolutionary development, aside from moral associations and apart from all spiritual influences. The higher animals have fears but no illusions, hence no religion. Man creates his primitive religions out of his fears and by means of his illusions." (944.1) 85:0.1
2. Proposition. Early worship was suggested by nature objects close at hand.
"In the evolution of the human species, worship in its primitive manifestations appears long before the mind of man is capable of formulating the more complex concepts of life now and in the hereafter which deserve to be called religion. Early religion was wholly intellectual in nature and was entirely predicated on associational circumstances. The objects of worship were altogether suggestive; they consisted of the things of nature which were close at hand, or which loomed large in the commonplace experience of the simple-minded primitive Urantians." (944.2) 85:0.2
3. Proposition. Man has worshiped everything on the face of the earth - including himself.
"At one time or another mortal man has worshiped everything on the face of the earth, including himself. He has also worshiped about everything imaginable in the sky and beneath the surface of the earth." (944.4) 85:0.4
4. Proposition. The first object of worship was a stone.
"The first object to be worshiped by evolving man was a stone. Today the Kateri people of southern India still worship a stone, as do numerous tribes in northern India. Jacob slept on a stone because he venerated it; he even anointed it. Rachel concealed a number of sacred stones in her tent." (944.5) 85:1.1
5. Proposition. Tombstones are a surviving symbol of stone worship.
"In fact, among all backward tribes and peoples stones are still held in superstitious veneration. Stone worship is even now widespread over the world. The tombstone is a surviving symbol of images and idols which were carved in stone in connection with beliefs in ghosts and the spirits of departed fellow beings." (945.2) 85:1.4
6. Proposition. Hills and mountains were early worshiped; gods lived on mountains, demons in caves.
"Hill worship followed stone worship, and the first hills to be venerated were large stone formations. It presently became the custom to believe that the gods inhabited the mountains, so that high elevations of land were worshiped for this additional reason. As time passed, certain mountains were associated with certain gods and therefore became holy. The ignorant and superstitious aborigines believed that caves led to the underworld, with its evil spirits and demons, in contrast with the mountains, which were identified with the later evolving concepts of good spirits and deities." (945.3) 85:1.5
7. Proposition. Plants were first feared, then worshiped. Intoxicating liquors fascinated primitive man.
"Plants were first feared and then worshiped because of the intoxicating liquors which were derived therefrom. Primitive man believed that intoxication rendered one divine. There was supposed to be something unusual and sacred about such an experience. Even in modern times alcohol is known as "spirits."

"Early man looked upon sprouting grain with dread and superstitious awe. The Apostle Paul was not the first to draw profound spiritual lessons from, and predicate religious beliefs on, the sprouting grain." (945.4) 85:2.1
8. Proposition. The cults of tree worship are among the oldest religions.
"The cults of tree worship are among the oldest religious groups. All early marriages were held under the trees, and when women desired children, they would sometimes be found out in the forest affectionately embracing a sturdy oak. Many plants and trees were venerated because of their real or fancied medicinal powers. The savage believed that all chemical effects were due to the direct activity of supernatural forces." (945.6) 85:2.3
9. Proposition. The divining rod and "rapping on wood" are relics of the ancient tree cults.
"The belief that water or precious metals beneath the earth's surface can be detected by a wooden divining rod is a relic of the ancient tree cults. The Maypole, the Christmas tree, and the superstitious practice of rapping on wood perpetuate certain of the ancient customs of tree worship and the later-day tree cults." (946.1) 85:2.5
10. Proposition. Primitive man had a fellow feeling for the higher animals - he even revered and worshiped them.
"Primitive man had a peculiar and fellow feeling for the higher animals. His ancestors had lived with them and even mated with them. In southern Asia it was early believed that the souls of men came back to earth in animal form. This belief was a survival of the still earlier practice of worshiping animals.

"Early men revered the animals for their power and their cunning. They thought the keen scent and the farseeing eyes of certain creatures betokened spirit guidance. The animals have all been worshiped by one race or another at one time or another. Among such objects of worship were creatures that were regarded as half human and half animal, such as centaurs and mermaids.

"The Hebrews worshiped serpents down to the days of King Hezekiah, and the Hindus still maintain friendly relations with their house snakes. The Chinese worship of the dragon is a survival of the snake cults." (946.3) 85:3.1
11. Proposition. Early man saw spirits in bubbling springs and raging torrents. Baptism became a religious ceremonial.
"Mankind has worshiped earth, air, water, and fire. The primitive races venerated springs and worshiped rivers. Even now in Mongolia there flourishes an influential river cult. Baptism became a religious ceremonial in Babylon, and the Creeks practiced the annual ritual bath. It was easy for the ancients to imagine that the spirits dwelt in the bubbling springs, gushing fountains, flowing rivers, and raging torrents. Moving waters vividly impressed these simple minds with beliefs of spirit animation and supernatural power. Sometimes a drowning man would be refused succor for fear of offending some river god." (946.8) 85:4.1
12. Proposition. Clouds, hail, windstorms, thunder and lightning overawed early man.
"Clouds, rain, and hail have all been feared and worshiped by numerous primitive tribes and by many of the early nature cults. Windstorms with thunder and lightning overawed early man. He was so impressed with these elemental disturbances that thunder was regarded as the voice of an angry god. The worship of fire and the fear of lightning were linked together and were widespread among many early groups." (947.2) 85:4.3
13. Proposition. Nature worship led to the deification of sun, moon, and stars.
"The worship of rocks, hills, trees, and animals naturally developed up through fearful veneration of the elements to the deification of the sun, moon, and stars. In India and elsewhere the stars were regarded as the glorified souls of great men who had departed from the life in the flesh. The Chaldean star cultists considered themselves to be the children of the sky father and the earth mother." (947.4) 85:5.1
14. Proposition. The sun god was the mystic father of the virgin-born savior sons.
"The sun god was supposed to be the mystic father of the virgin-born sons of destiny who ever and anon were thought to be bestowed as saviors upon favored races. These supernatural infants were always put adrift upon some sacred river to be rescued in an extraordinary manner, after which they would grow up to become miraculous personalities and the deliverers of their peoples." (947.6) 85:5.3
15. Proposition. Fire was long worshiped, reaching its height in Persia.
"Fire was mixed up with magic in the minds of primitive fear-ridden mortals. A devotee of magic will vividly remember one positive chance result in the practice of his magic formulas, while he nonchalantly forgets a score of negative results, out-and-out failures. Fire reverence reached its height in Persia, where it long persisted. Some tribes worshiped fire as a deity itself; others revered it as the flaming symbol of the purifying and purging spirit of their venerated deities. Vestal virgins were charged with the duty of watching sacred fires, and in the twentieth century candles still burn as a part of the ritual of many religious services." (947.3) 85:4.4
16. Proposition. Man worshiped himself - including lunatics, epileptics, and the feeble-minded.
"Having worshiped everything else on the face of the earth and in the heavens above, man has not hesitated to honor himself with such adoration. The simple-minded savage makes no clear distinction between beasts, men, and gods.

"Early man regarded all unusual persons as superhuman, and he so feared such beings as to hold them in reverential awe; to some degree he literally worshiped them. Even having twins was regarded as being either very lucky or very unlucky. Lunatics, epileptics, and the feeble-minded were often worshiped by their normal-minded fellows, who believed that such abnormal beings were indwelt by the gods. Priests, kings, and prophets were worshiped; the holy men of old were looked upon as inspired by the deities." (948.1) 85:6.1
17. Proposition. While nature worship arose naturally, it was augmented by the action of the sixth adjutant mind-spirit.
"Nature worship may seem to have arisen naturally and spontaneously in the minds of primitive men and women, and so it did; but there was operating all this time in these same primitive minds the sixth adjutant spirit, which had been bestowed upon these peoples as a directing influence of this phase of human evolution. And this spirit was constantly stimulating the worship urge of the human species, no matter how primitive its first manifestations might be. The spirit of worship gave definite origin to the human impulse to worship, notwithstanding that animal fear motivated the expression of worshipfulness, and that its early practice became centered upon objects of nature."
" (948.6) 85:7.1
18. Proposition. Early man failed to differentiate fearing, shunning, honoring, and worshiping. Wisdom developed all of this into a real religion.
"You must remember that feeling, not thinking, was the guiding and controlling influence in all evolutionary development. To the primitive mind there is little difference between fearing, shunning, honoring, and worshiping.

"When the worship urge is admonished and directed by wisdom — meditative and experiential thinking — it then begins to develop into the phenomenon of real religion." (948.7) 85:7.2
19. Proposition. Man's early fear became religious as nature became personalized, spiritized, and eventually deified.
"The evolution of religion from the preceding and primitive worship urge is not dependent on revelation. The normal functioning of the human mind under the directive influence of the sixth and seventh mind-adjutants of universal spirit bestowal is wholly sufficient to insure such development.

"Man's earliest prereligious fear of the forces of nature gradually became religious as nature became personalized, spiritized, and eventually deified in human consciousness. Religion of a primitive type was therefore a natural biologic consequence of the psychologic inertia of evolving animal minds after such minds had once entertained concepts of the supernatural."
" (950.1) 86:0.1


1. Proposition. Early man lived in fear of chance - existence was a gamble.
"Early man lived in uncertainty and in constant fear of chance — bad luck. Life was an exciting game of chance; existence was a gamble. It is no wonder that partially civilized people still believe in chance and evince lingering predispositions to gambling. Primitive man alternated between two potent interests: the passion of getting something for nothing and the fear of getting nothing for something. And this gamble of existence was the main interest and the supreme fascination of the early savage mind." (950.6) 86:1.4
2. Proposition. Even the wise man said: "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong."
"This notion of chance and luck strongly pervaded the philosophy of all ancient peoples. Even in recent times in the Wisdom of Solomon it is said: "I returned and saw that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but fate and chance befall them all. For man knows not his fate; as fishes are taken in an evil net, and as birds are caught in a snare, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time when it falls suddenly upon them.'" (951.2) 86:1.6
3. Proposition. Early religion was concerned with chance - good luck and bad luck.
"Aside from the natural worship urge, early evolutionary religion had its roots of origin in the human experiences of chance — so-called luck, commonplace happenings. Primitive man was a food hunter. The results of hunting must ever vary, and this gives certain origin to those experiences which man interprets as good luck and bad luck."(950.3) 86:1.1
4. Proposition. Primitive men believed that life's torments were spirit caused.
"The struggle for life is so painful that certain backward tribes even yet howl and lament over each new sunrise. Primitive man constantly asked, "Who is tormenting me?" Not finding a material source for his miseries, he settled upon a spirit explanation. And so was religion born of the fear of the mysterious, the awe of the unseen, and the dread of the unknown. Nature fear thus became a factor in the struggle for existence first because of chance and then because of mystery." (951.4) 86:2.2
5. Proposition. The savage personalized everything-—both nature and chance.
"The savage strives to personalize everything intangible and abstract, and thus both nature and chance become personalized as ghosts — spirits — and later on as gods." (951.5) 86:2.3
6. Proposition. Chance is a word signifying that man is either too ignorant or indolent to determine causes.
"Chance is a word which signifies that man is too ignorant or too indolent to determine causes. Men regard a natural occurrence as an accident or as bad luck only when they are destitute of curiosity and imagination, when the races lack initiative and adventure." (951.7) 86:2.5
7. Proposition. Presently, good luck was associated with good spirits - bad luck with bad spirits.
"As evolution progressed, good luck became associated with good spirits and bad luck with bad spirits. The discomfort of enforced adaptation to a changing environment was regarded as ill luck, the displeasure of the spirit ghosts. Primitive man slowly evolved religion out of his innate worship urge and his misconception of chance. Civilized man provides schemes of insurance to overcome these chance occurrences; modern science puts an actuary with mathematical reckoning in the place of fictitious spirits and whimsical gods." (955.9) 86:6.4
8. Proposition. The savage willingly paid the premiums of fear, dread, and priest gifts toward his magic insurance against bad luck.
"The savage felt the need of insurance, and he therefore willingly paid his burdensome premiums of fear, superstition, dread, and priest gifts toward his policy of magic insurance against ill luck. Primitive religion was simply the payment of premiums on insurance against the perils of the forests; civilized man pays material premiums against the accidents of industry and the exigencies of modern modes of living." (956.4) 86:7.1
9. Proposition. Modern man has removed the insurance business from the realm of priests to the domain of economics.
"Modern society is removing the business of insurance from the realm of priests and religion, placing it in the domain of economics. Religion is concerning itself increasingly with the insurance of life beyond the grave. Modern men, at least those who think, no longer pay wasteful premiums to control luck. Religion is slowly ascending to higher philosophic levels in contrast with its former function as a scheme of insurance against bad luck." (956.5) 86:7.2
10. Proposition. Religion was man's adjustment to his illusions of fear and chance; worship was insurance against misfortune.
"Religion represents man's adjustment to his illusions of the mystery of chance. Spirit fear and subsequent worship were adopted as insurance against misfortune, as prosperity policies." (962.3) 87:5.2

l. Proposition. Ghost fear was the fountainhead of world religion.
"Ghost fear was the fountainhead of all world religion; and for ages many tribes clung to the old belief in one class of ghosts. They taught that man had good luck when the ghost was pleased, bad luck when he was angered." (961.2) 87:4.1
2. Proposition. Presently the idea of good spirits - glorified ghosts - developed. The notion of two kinds of ghosts become widespread.
"As the cult of ghost fear expanded, there came about the recognition of higher types of spirits, spirits not definitely identifiable with any individual human. They were graduate or glorified ghosts who had progressed beyond the domain of ghostland to the higher realms of spiritland.

"The notion of two kinds of spirit ghosts made slow but sure progress throughout the world. This new dual spiritism did not have to spread from tribe to tribe; it sprang up independently all over the world. In influencing the expanding evolutionary mind, the power of an idea lies not in its reality or reasonableness but rather in its vividness and the universality of its ready and simple application." (961.3) 87:4.2
3. Proposition. This dual ghost concept accounted for both good luck and bad luck.
"When the doctrine of good and bad spirits finally matured, it became the most widespread and persistent of all religious beliefs. This dualism represented a great religio-philosophic advance because it enabled man to account for both good luck and bad luck while at the same time believing in supermortal beings who were to some extent consistent in their behavior."
" (961.6) 87:4.5
4. Proposition. Men viewed the ghosts as having unlimited rights but no duties.
"Primitive man viewed the spirits and ghosts as having almost unlimited rights but no duties; the spirits were thought to regard man as having manifold duties but no rights. The spirits were believed to look down upon man as constantly failing in the discharge of his spiritual duties." (962.2) 87:5.1
5. Proposition. Self-deprecation was an effort to avoid ghost jealousy. All this led to civilized modesty and restraint.
"The method adopted to prevent the spirits from becoming jealous of human prosperity was to heap vituperation upon some lucky or much loved thing or person. The custom of depreciating complimentary remarks regarding oneself or family had its origin in this way, and it eventually evolved into civilized modesty, restraint, and courtesy. In keeping with the same motive, it became the fashion to look ugly. Beauty aroused the envy of spirits; it betokened sinful human pride. The savage sought for an ugly name. This feature of the cult was a great handicap to the advancement of art, and it long kept the world somber and ugly." (963.2) 87:5.7
6. Proposition. The effort to placate ghosts and bribe the spirits led to a world philosophy.
"The intention and will of the spirits were studied by means of omens, oracles, and signs. And these spirit messages were interpreted by divination, soothsaying, magic, ordeals, and astrology. The whole cult was a scheme designed to placate, satisfy, and buy off the spirits through this disguised bribery.

"And thus there grew up a new and expanded world philosophy consisting in:

"1. Duty— those things which must be done to keep the spirits favorably disposed, at least neutral.

"2. Right— the correct conduct and ceremonies designed to win the spirits actively to one's interests.

"3. Truth— the correct understanding of, and attitude toward, spirits, and hence toward life and death." (963.4) 87:5.9
7. Proposition. Man first sought to bribe the ghosts, then by ceremonials he would compel spirit assistance.
"In the early days of the cult, man's efforts to influence ghost action were confined to propitiation, attempts by bribery to buy off ill luck. As the evolution of the ghost cult progressed to the concept of good as well as bad spirits, these ceremonies turned toward attempts of a more positive nature, efforts to win good luck. Man's religion no longer was completely negativistic, nor did he stop with the effort to win good luck; he shortly began to devise schemes whereby he could compel spirit co-operation. No longer does the religionist stand defenseless before the unceasing demands of the spirit phantasms of his own devising; the savage is beginning to invent weapons wherewith he may coerce spirit action and compel spirit assistance." (964.1) 87:6.2
8. Proposition. The ghost cult rendered ancestor worship inevitable.
"The advancing ghost cult made ancestor worship inevitable since it became the connecting link between common ghosts and the higher spirits, the evolving gods. The early gods were simply glorified departed humans.

"Ancestor worship was originally more of a fear than a worship, but such beliefs did definitely contribute to the further spread of ghost fear and worship. Devotees of the early ancestor-ghost cults even feared to yawn lest a malignant ghost enter their bodies at such a time." (960.5) 87:3.1
9. Proposition. Evolutionary religion was born of man's fear of the unknown, the inexplicable, and the incomprehensible. Through intercessors it attained the concept of a God who is love.
"Evolutionary religion is born of a simple and all-powerful fear, the fear which surges through the human mind when confronted with the unknown, the inexplicable, and the incomprehensible. Religion eventually achieves the profoundly simple realization of an all-powerful love, the love which sweeps irresistibly through the human soul when awakened to the conception of the limitless affection of the Universal Father for the sons of the universe. But in between the beginning and the consummation of religious evolution, there intervene the long ages of the shamans, who presume to stand between man and God as intermediaries, interpreters, and intercessors." (986.3) 90:0.3


l. Proposition. To primitive man, death was a shocking combination of chance and mystery. Nonviolent death was a fearful visitation.
"Death was the supreme shock to evolving man, the most perplexing combination of chance and mystery. Not the sanctity of life but the shock of death inspired fear and thus effectively fostered religion. Among savage peoples death was ordinarily due to violence, so that nonviolent death became increasingly mysterious. Death as a natural and expected end of life was not clear to the consciousness of primitive people, and it has required age upon age for man to realize its inevitability.

"Early man accepted life as a fact, while he regarded death as a visitation of some sort." "Early man accepted life as a fact, while he regarded death as a visitation of some sort." (952.3) 86:3.1
2. Proposition. Dreams were very real to the savage.
"The concept of a supermaterial phase of mortal personality was born of the unconscious and purely accidental association of the occurrences of everyday life plus the ghost dream. The simultaneous dreaming about a departed chief by several members of his tribe seemed to constitute convincing evidence that the old chief had really returned in some form. It was all very real to the savage who would awaken from such dreams reeking with sweat, trembling, and screaming." (952.7) 86:4.1
3. Proposition. Dreams gave origin to the belief in a future life.
"The dream origin of the belief in a future existence explains the tendency always to imagine unseen things in the terms of things seen. And presently this new dream-ghost-future-life concept began effectively to antidote the death fear associated with the biologic instinct of self-preservation." (953.1) 86:4.2
4. Proposition. The "breath of life" was regarded as the difference between the living and the dead.
"Early man was also much concerned about his breath, especially in cold climates, where it appeared as a cloud when exhaled. The breath of life was regarded as the one phenomenon which differentiated the living and the dead. He knew the breath could leave the body, and his dreams of doing all sorts of queer things while asleep convinced him that there was something immaterial about a human being. The most primitive idea of the human soul, the ghost, was derived from the breath-dream idea-system." (953.2) 86:4.3
5. Proposition. The ghost cult led to the belief in recurring incarnations.
"The primitive doctrine of survival after death was not necessarily a belief in immortality. Beings who could not count over twenty could hardly conceive of infinity and eternity; they rather thought of recurring incarnations." (953.4) 86:4.5
6. Proposition. Man's dream double has been called ghost, spirit, shade, phantom, and latterly soul.
"The nonmaterial part of man has been variously termed ghost, spirit, shade, phantom, specter, and latterly soul. The soul was early man's dream double; it was in every way exactly like the mortal himself except that it was not responsive to touch. The belief in dream doubles led directly to the notion that all things animate and inanimate had souls as well as men. This concept tended long to perpetuate the nature-spirit beliefs; the Eskimos still conceive that everything in nature has a spirit." (953.8) 86:5.1
7. Proposition. Death was feared, because it released another ghost to be contended with.
"Death was feared because death meant the liberation of another ghost from its physical body. The ancients did their best to prevent death, to avoid the trouble of having to contend with a new ghost. They were always anxious to induce the ghost to leave the scene of death, to embark on the journey to deadland. The ghost was feared most of all during the supposed transition period between its emergence at the time of death and its later departure for the ghost homeland, a vague and primitive concept of pseudo heaven." (958.3) 87:1.1
8. Proposition. Ghost-fear started man's evolutionary religion and he will not find anchor until he attains Deity.
"Man has had a long and bitter struggle with the ghost cult. Nothing in human history is designed to excite more pity than this picture of man's abject slavery to ghost-spirit fear. With the birth of this very fear mankind started on the upgrade of religious evolution. Human imagination cast off from the shores of self and will not again find anchor until it arrives at the concept of a true Deity, a real God." (958.2) 87:0.2
9. Proposition. Dead bodies were never left in the dark. We still burn candles.
"The ancients believed that light must be provided for a corpse; a dead body was never permitted to remain in the dark. In the twentieth century, candles are still burned in death chambers, and men still sit up with the dead. So-called civilized man has hardly yet completely eliminated the fear of dead bodies from his philosophy of life." (958.6) 87:1.4
10. Proposition. The funeral service was an effort to get rid of the ghost.
"The funeral service originated in man's effort to induce the ghost soul to depart for its future home, and the funeral sermon was originally designed to instruct the new ghost how to get there. It was the custom to provide food and clothes for the ghost's journey, these articles being placed in or near the grave. The savage believed that it required from three days to a year to "lay the ghost" — to get it away from the vicinity of the grave. The Eskimos still believe that the soul stays with the body three days."(959.4) 87:2.3
11. Proposition. Ghost placation preceded spirit supplication; the first worship was defense, not reverence.
"In religion the negative program of ghost placation long preceded the positive program of spirit coercion and supplication. The first acts of human worship were phenomena of defense, not reverence. Modern man deems it wise to insure against fire; so the savage thought it the better part of wisdom to provide insurance against ghost bad luck. The effort to secure this protection constituted the techniques and rituals of the ghost cult." (959.2) 87:2.1
12. Proposition. Man inherited a natural environment, acquired a social environment, and imagined a ghost environment. The state is his reaction to the natural environment, home to the social, church to the illusory ghost.
"Man inherited a natural environment, acquired a social environment, and imagined a ghost environment. The state is man's reaction to his natural environment, the home to his social environment, the church to his illusory ghost environment." (955.6) 86:6.1


1. Proposition. For ages the "breath of life" was a fetish.
"Primitive men thought that the soul was associated with the breath, and that its qualities could be imparted or transferred by the breath. The brave chief would breathe upon the newborn child, thereby imparting courage. Among early Christians the ceremony of bestowing the Holy Spirit was accompanied by breathing on the candidates. Said the Psalmist: 'By the word of the Lord were the heavens made and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.' It was long the custom of the eldest son to try to catch the last breath of his dying father." (955.1) 86:5.13
2. Proposition. The shadow and reflection in water were regarded with superstition.
"The shadow came, later on, to be feared and revered equally with the breath. The reflection of oneself in the water was also sometimes looked upon as proof of the double self, and mirrors were regarded with superstitious awe. Even now many civilized persons turn the mirror to the wall in the event of death. Some backward tribes still believe that the making of pictures, drawings, models, or images removes all or a part of the soul from the body; hence such are forbidden."(955.2) 86:5.14
3. Proposition. The doctrine of spirit possession is fetishism.
"The concept of a spirit's entering into an inanimate object, an animal, or a human being, is a very ancient and honorable belief, having prevailed since the beginning of the evolution of religion. This doctrine of spirit possession is nothing more nor less than fetishism. The savage does not necessarily worship the fetish; he very logically worships and reverences the spirit resident therein."(967.1) 88:0.1
4. Proposition. Cripples, lunatics, epileptics, and idiots were fetish personalities. Hysteria was associated with witchcraft.
"Hunchbacked and crippled children were regarded as fetishes; lunatics were believed to be moon-struck. Primitive man could not distinguish between genius and insanity; idiots were either beaten to death or revered as fetish personalities. Hysteria increasingly confirmed the popular belief in witchcraft; epileptics often were priests and medicine men. Drunkenness was looked upon as a form of spirit possession; when a savage went on a spree, he put a leaf in his hair for the purpose of disavowing responsibility for his acts. Poisons and intoxicants became fetishes; they were deemed to be possessed." (968.4) 88:1.9
5. Proposition. Belief in relics is an outgrowth of the fetish cult.
"Belief in relics is an outgrowth of the ancient fetish cult. The relics of modern religions represent an attempt to rationalize the fetish of the savage and thus elevate it to a place of dignity and respectability in the modern religious systems. It is heathenish to believe in fetishes and magic but supposedly all right to accept relics and miracles." (968.7) 88:2.2


1. Proposition. Modern man attacks his problem with science, the savage relied on magic. The purpose of magic was twofold.
"Civilized man attacks the problems of a real environment through his science; savage man attempted to solve the real problems of an illusory ghost environment by magic. Magic was the technique of manipulating the conjectured spirit environment whose machinations endlessly explained the inexplicable; it was the art of obtaining voluntary spirit co-operation and of coercing involuntary spirit aid through the use of fetishes or other and more powerful spirits.

"The object of magic, sorcery, and necromancy was twofold:

"1. To secure insight into the future.

"2. Favorably to influence environment." (970.6) 88:4.1
2. Proposition. Men had a common name and a magic name which was withheld from strangers.
"Primitive man believed that names must be treated with respect, especially names of the gods. The name was regarded as an entity, an influence distinct from the physical personality; it was esteemed equally with the soul and the shadow. Names were pawned for loans; a man could not use his name until it had been redeemed by payment of the loan. Nowadays one signs his name to a note. An individual's name soon became important in magic. The savage had two names; the important one was regarded as too sacred to use on ordinary occasions, hence the second or everyday name — a nickname. He never told his real name to strangers. Any experience of an unusual nature caused him to change his name; sometimes it was in an effort to cure disease or to stop bad luck. The savage could get a new name by buying it from the tribal chief; men still invest in titles and degrees. But among the most primitive tribes, such as the African Bushmen, individual names do not exist." (971.7) 88:5.5
3. Proposition. Magic developed science; astrology led to astronomy; magic numbers to mathematics.
"Magic was the branch off the evolutionary religious tree which eventually bore the fruit of a scientific age. Belief in astrology led to the development of astronomy; belief in a philosopher's stone led to the mastery of metals, while belief in magic numbers founded the science of mathematics." (972.5) 88:6.5
4. Proposition. Magic still lingers - many fossil words afford evidence - spellbound, entrancing, and astonished. we still have the evil eye and astrology.
"Gradually science is removing the gambling element from life. But if modern methods of education should fail, there would be an almost immediate reversion to the primitive beliefs in magic. These superstitions still linger in the minds of many so-called civilized people. Language contains many fossils which testify that the race has long been steeped in magical superstition, such words as spellbound, ill-starred, possessions, inspiration, spirit away, ingenuity, entrancing, thunderstruck, and astonished. And intelligent human beings still believe in good luck, evil eye, and astrology." (972.7) 88:6.7
5. Proposition. Ancient magic was the cocoon of modern science.
"Ancient magic was the cocoon of modern science, indispensable in its time but now no longer useful. And so the phantasms of ignorant superstition agitated the primitive minds of men until the concepts of science could be born. Today, Urantia is in the twilight zone of this intellectual evolution. One half the world is grasping eagerly for the light of truth and the facts of scientific discovery, while the other half languishes in the arms of ancient superstition and but thinly disguised magic."
" (973.1) 88:6.8


1. Proposition. Salvation depended on vows, oaths, pledges, fasting, and prayer. Then came self—denial, suffering, and deprivation.
"Next came the practice of ritual vows, soon to be followed by religious pledges and sacred oaths. Most of these oaths were accompanied by self-torture and self-mutilation; later on, by fasting and prayer. Self-denial was subsequently looked upon as being a sure coercive; this was especially true in the matter of sex suppression. And so primitive man early developed a decided austerity in his religious practices, a belief in the efficacy of self-torture and self-denial as rituals capable of coercing the unwilling spirits to react favorably toward all such suffering and deprivation." (965.3) 87:6.16
2. Proposition. There were two kinds of sacrifices: gift sacrifice and debt offerings.
"Early in the evolution of religion there existed two conceptions of the sacrifice: the idea of the gift sacrifice, which connoted the attitude of thanksgiving, and the debt sacrifice, which embraced the idea of redemption. Later there developed the notion of substitution." (977.4) 89:4.2
3. Proposition. The cult of sacrifice evolved into the cult of sacrament.
"And so, after long ages the cult of the sacrifice has evolved into the cult of the sacrament. Thus are the sacraments of modern religions the legitimate successors of those shocking early ceremonies of human sacrifice and the still earlier cannibalistic rituals. Many still depend upon blood for salvation, but it has at least become figurative, symbolic, and mystic." (984.3) 89:9.4
4. Proposition. Man still bargains with God, knocks on wood, and indulges in other rituals.
"Modern man no longer attempts openly to coerce the spirits, though he still evinces a disposition to bargain with Deity. And he still swears, knocks on wood, crosses his fingers, and follows expectoration with some trite phrase; once it was a magical formula." (965.4) 87:6.17
5. Proposition. Religion clings to the mores. The sacrament consists, not of the new, but of the old.
"Religion clings to the mores; that which was is ancient and supposedly sacred. For this reason and no other, stone implements persisted long into the age of bronze and iron. This statement is of record: 'And if you will make me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone, for, if you use your tools in making it, you have polluted it.' Even today, the Hindus kindle their altar fires by using a primitive fire drill. In the course of evolutionary religion, novelty has always been regarded as sacrilege. The sacrament must consist, not of new and manufactured food, but of the most primitive of viands: 'The flesh roasted with fire and unleavened bread served with bitter herbs.' All types of social usage and even legal procedures cling to the old forms."
" (1004.5) 92:2.2


1. Proposition. Religious observances evolved through placation, avoidance, exorcism, coercion, conciliation, and propitiation to sacrifice, atonement, and redemption. Ritual went through fetishes to magic and miracles and was dominated by medicine men and priests.
"The evolution of religious observances progressed from placation, avoidance, exorcism, coercion, conciliation, and propitiation to sacrifice, atonement, and redemption. The technique of religious ritual passed from the forms of the primitive cult through fetishes to magic and miracles; and as ritual became more complex in response to man's increasingly complex concept of the supermaterial realms, it was inevitably dominated by medicine men, shamans, and priests."The evolution of religious observances progressed from placation, avoidance, exorcism, coercion, conciliation, and propitiation to sacrifice, atonement, and redemption. The technique of religious ritual passed from the forms of the primitive cult through fetishes to magic and miracles; and as ritual became more complex in response to man's increasingly complex concept of the supermaterial realms, it was inevitably dominated by medicine men, shamans, and priests." (986.1) 90:0.1
2. Proposition. Ritual sanctifies custom and perpetuates myths. At first social, it acquires the sanctity of religious ceremonial.
"Ritual is the technique of sanctifying custom; ritual creates and perpetuates myths as well as contributing to the preservation of social and religious customs. Again, ritual itself has been fathered by myths. Rituals are often at first social, later becoming economic and finally acquiring the sanctity and dignity of religious ceremonial. Ritual may be personal or group in practice — or both — as illustrated by prayer, dancing, and drama." (992.3) 90:5.2
3. Proposition. Ritual evolves through ceremonies of purification and sanctification to worship embracing prayer, song, and responsive reading.
"Words become a part of ritual, such as the use of terms like amen and selah. The habit of swearing, profanity, represents a prostitution of former ritualistic repetition of holy names. The making of pilgrimages to sacred shrines is a very ancient ritual. The ritual next grew into elaborate ceremonies of purification, cleansing, and sanctification. The initiation ceremonies of the primitive tribal secret societies were in reality a crude religious rite. The worship technique of the olden mystery cults was just one long performance of accumulated religious ritual. Ritual finally developed into the modern types of social ceremonials and religious worship, services embracing prayer, song, responsive reading, and other individual and group spiritual devotions." (992.4) 90:5.3
4. Proposition. Enduring religion quenches spiritual thirst and provides salvation.
"A lightly regarded and superficial religion cannot endure, especially when it has no priesthood to foster its forms and to fill the hearts of the devotees with fear and awe. The Olympian religion did not promise salvation, nor did it quench the spiritual thirst of its believers; therefore was it doomed to perish. Within a millennium of its inception it had nearly vanished, and the Greeks were without a national religion, the gods of Olympus having lost their hold upon the better minds." (1078.5) 98:2.1


1. Proposition. Mysticism leads to social isolation and religious fanaticism.
"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. Altogether too frequently that which the overwrought mystic evaluates as divine inspiration is the uprisings of his own deep mind. The contact of the mortal mind with its indwelling Adjuster, while often favored by devoted meditation, is more frequently facilitated by wholehearted and loving service in unselfish ministry to one's fellow creatures." (1000.2) 91:7.1
2. Proposition. There are seven tests to apply to mysticism, ecstasy, and inspiration.
"The practical test of all these strange religious experiences of mysticism, ecstasy, and inspiration is to observe whether these phenomena cause an individual:

"1. To enjoy better and more complete physical health.

"2. To function more efficiently and practically in his mental life.

"3. More fully and joyfully to socialize his religious experience.

"4. More completely to spiritualize his day-by-day living while faithfully discharging the commonplace duties of routine mortal existence.

"5. To enhance his love for, and appreciation of, truth, beauty, and goodness.

"6. To conserve currently recognized social, moral, ethical, and spiritual values.

"7. To increase his spiritual insight — God-consciousness." (1000.6) 91:7.5
3. Proposition. The common people craved consolation and promises of salvation. The mystery cults supplied these assurances.
"The majority of people in the Graeco-Roman world, having lost their primitive family and state religions and being unable or unwilling to grasp the meaning of Greek philosophy, turned their attention to the spectacular and emotional mystery cults from Egypt and the Levant. The common people craved promises of salvation — religious consolation for today and assurances of hope for immortality after death.

"The three mystery cults which became most popular were:

"1. The Phrygian cult of Cybele and her son Attis.

"2. The Egyptian cult of Osiris and his mother Isis.

"3. The Iranian cult of the worship of Mithras as the savior and redeemer of sinful mankind." (1081.4) 98:4.1


1. Proposition. The first prayers were not addressed to God - they were like saying: "Wish me luck."
"The earliest prayer forms were not addressed to Deity. These expressions were much like what you would say to a friend as you entered upon some important undertaking, 'Wish me luck.'" (994.2) 91:0.2
2. Proposition. With the coming of God-consciousness, these petitions attained the level of prayer.
"When the concepts of ghosts and spirits evolved, these petitions became superhuman in address, and with the consciousness of gods, such expressions attained to the levels of genuine prayer. As an illustration of this, among certain Australian tribes primitive religious prayers antedated their belief in spirits and superhuman personalities."(994.3) 91:0.3
3. Proposition. First prayers were merely verbalized wishes.
"The first prayers were merely verbalized wishes, the expression of sincere desires. Prayer next became a technique of achieving spirit co-operation. And then it attained to the higher function of assisting religion in the conservation of all worth-while values." (995.6) 91:2.1
4. Proposition. Man prayed before he knew God - when in need or when jubilant.
"There is a truly spontaneous aspect to prayer, for primitive man found himself praying long before he had any clear concept of a God. Early man was wont to pray in two diverse situations: When in dire need, he experienced the impulse to reach out for help; and when jubilant, he indulged the impulsive expression of joy." (1001.5) 91:8.1
5. Proposition. At first prayer is a matter of the ego and the alter ego, but it is always socializing, moralizing, and spiritualizing.
"As it is conceived by successive generations of praying mortals, the alter ego evolves up through ghosts, fetishes, and spirits to polytheistic gods, and eventually to the One God, a divine being embodying the highest ideals and the loftiest aspirations of the praying ego. And thus does prayer function as the most potent agency of religion in the conservation of the highest values and ideals of those who pray. From the moment of the conceiving of an alter ego to the appearance of the concept of a divine and heavenly Father, prayer is always a socializing, moralizing, and spiritualizing practice." (997.1) 91:3.3
6. Proposition. Primitive prayer was bargaining, argument, with the gods.
"Primitive forms of prayer were nothing more nor less than bargaining with the spirits, an argument with the gods. It was a kind of bartering in which pleading and persuasion were substituted for something more tangible and costly. The developing commerce of the races had inculcated the spirit of trade and had developed the shrewdness of barter; and now these traits began to appear in man's worship methods. And as some men were better traders than others, so some were regarded as better prayers than others. The prayer of a just man was held in high esteem. A just man was one who had paid all accounts to the spirits, had fully discharged every ritual obligation to the gods." (983.5) 89:8.7
7. Proposition. Early prayer was hardly worship - it sought health, wealth, and life.
"Early prayer was hardly worship; it was a bargaining petition for health, wealth, and life. And in many respects prayers have not much changed with the passing of the ages. They are still read out of books, recited formally, and written out for emplacement on wheels and for hanging on trees, where the blowing of the winds will save man the trouble of expending his own breath." (983.6) 89:8.8
8. Proposition. Most prayers are intercourse with the subconscious, but the more spiritual may attain the superconscious.
"During the earlier times of racial evolution and even at the present time, in the day-by-day experience of the average mortal, prayer is very much a phenomenon of man's intercourse with his own subconscious. But there is also a domain of prayer wherein the intellectually alert and spiritually progressing individual attains more or less contact with the superconscious levels of the human mind, the domain of the indwelling Thought Adjuster. In addition, there is a definite spiritual phase of true prayer which concerns its reception and recognition by the spiritual forces of the universe, and which is entirely distinct from all human and intellectual association." (996.4) 91:2.6
9. Proposition. Prayer motivation varies - it may be joyous praise or a plea for forgiveness.
"Prayer may be a spontaneous expression of God-consciousness or a meaningless recitation of theologic formulas. It may be the ecstatic praise of a God-knowing soul or the slavish obeisance of a fear-ridden mortal. It is sometimes the pathetic expression of spiritual craving and sometimes the blatant shouting of pious phrases. Prayer may be joyous praise or a humble plea for forgiveness." (1001.9) 91:8.5
10. Proposition. Prayer may be either a wholly selfish request or a magnificent gesture toward the realization of brotherhood.
"Prayer may be the childlike plea for the impossible or the mature entreaty for moral growth and spiritual power. A petition may be for daily bread or may embody a wholehearted yearning to find God and to do his will. It may be a wholly selfish request or a true and magnificent gesture toward the realization of unselfish brotherhood." (1001.10) 91:8.6
11. Proposition. Prayer may be an angry cry for vengeance or the joy of a liberated son of God.
"Prayer may be an angry cry for vengeance or a merciful intercession for one's enemies. It may be the expression of a hope of changing God or the powerful technique of changing one's self. It may be the cringing plea of a lost sinner before a supposedly stern Judge or the joyful expression of a liberated son of the living and merciful heavenly Father." (1001.11) 91:8.7


1. Proposition. Dangers of prayer prostitution consist in ignorance, superstition, crystallization, devitalization, materialism, and fanaticism.
"With those mortals who have not been delivered from the primitive bondage of fear, there is a real danger that all prayer may lead to a morbid sense of sin, unjustified convictions of guilt, real or fancied. But in modern times it is not likely that many will spend sufficient time at prayer to lead to this harmful brooding over their unworthiness or sinfulness. The dangers attendant upon the distortion and perversion of prayer consist in ignorance, superstition, crystallization, devitalization, materialism, and fanaticism." (995.5) 91:1.6
2. Proposition. True prayer is communion between man and his Maker.
"When man learned that prayer could not coerce the gods, then it became more of a petition, favor seeking. But the truest prayer is in reality a communion between man and his Maker." (996.1) 91:2.3
3. Proposition. Prayer elevates the ego and reinforces the self for better living.
"Aside from all that is superself in the experience of praying, it should be remembered that ethical prayer is a splendid way to elevate one's ego and reinforce the self for better living and higher attainment. Prayer induces the human ego to look both ways for help: for material aid to the subconscious reservoir of mortal experience, for inspiration and guidance to the superconscious borders of the contact of the material with the spiritual, with the Mystery Monitor." (997.3) 91:3.5
4. Proposition. It is impossible to separate the psychological and spiritual aspects of prayer.
"Prayer ever has been and ever will be a twofold human experience: a psychologic procedure interassociated with a spiritual technique. And these two functions of prayer can never be fully separated." (997.4) 91:3.6
5. Proposition. Prayer can never be ethical when the petitioner seeks selfish advantage over his fellows.
"No prayer can be ethical when the petitioner seeks for selfish advantage over his fellows. Selfish and materialistic praying is incompatible with the ethical religions which are predicated on unselfish and divine love. All such unethical praying reverts to the primitive levels of pseudo magic and is unworthy of advancing civilizations and enlightened religions. Selfish praying transgresses the spirit of all ethics founded on loving justice." (997.6) 91:4.1
6. Proposition. Prayer must not be so prostituted as to become a substitute for action.
"Prayer must never be so prostituted as to become a substitute for action. All ethical prayer is a stimulus to action and a guide to the progressive striving for idealistic goals of superself-attainment." (997.7) 91:4.2
7. Proposition. In all praying be fair - remember, praying can be either egoistic or altruistic.
"In all your praying be fair; do not expect God to show partiality, to love you more than his other children, your friends, neighbors, even enemies. But the prayer of the natural or evolved religions is not at first ethical, as it is in the later revealed religions. All praying, whether individual or communal, may be either egoistic or altruistic. That is, the prayer may be centered upon the self or upon others." (998.1) 91:4.3
8. Proposition. Prayer does not change God, but it may effect great changes in the one who prays.
"Remember, even if prayer does not change God, it very often effects great and lasting changes in the one who prays in faith and confident expectation. Prayer has been the ancestor of much peace of mind, cheerfulness, calmness, courage, self-mastery, and fair-mindedness in the men and women of the evolving races." (998.3) 91:4.5
9. Proposition. Group praying is socializing and leads to effective group efforts.
"But prayer need not always be individual. Group or congregational praying is very effective in that it is highly socializing in its repercussions. When a group engages in community prayer for moral enhancement and spiritual uplift, such devotions are reactive upon the individuals composing the group; they are all made better because of participation. Even a whole city or an entire nation can be helped by such prayer devotions. Confession, repentance, and prayer have led individuals, cities, nations, and whole races to mighty efforts of reform and courageous deeds of valorous achievement." (998.5) 91:5.2
10. Proposition. Prayer is a sure cure for the habit of criticizing others.
"If you truly desire to overcome the habit of criticizing some friend, the quickest and surest way of achieving such a change of attitude is to establish the habit of praying for that person every day of your life. But the social repercussions of such prayers are dependent largely on two conditions:

"1. The person who is prayed for should know that he is being prayed for.

"2. The person who prays should come into intimate social contact with the person for whom he is praying." (998.6) 91:5.3
11. Proposition. We should be tolerant of those who pray in primitive fashion.
"But the minds of greater spiritual illumination should be patient with, and tolerant of, those less endowed intellects that crave symbolism for the mobilization of their feeble spiritual insight. The strong must not look with disdain upon the weak. Those who are God-conscious without symbolism must not deny the grace-ministry of the symbol to those who find it difficult to worship Deity and to revere truth, beauty, and goodness without form and ritual. In prayerful worship, most mortals envision some symbol of the object-goal of their devotions."
" (999.3) 91:5.7
12. Proposition. Prayer is not the cure for organic diseases, but it has turned many an irritable invalid into a paragon of patience.
"Prayer is not a technique for curing real and organic diseases, but it has contributed enormously to the enjoyment of abundant health and to the cure of numerous mental, emotional, and nervous ailments. And even in actual bacterial disease, prayer has many times added to the efficacy of other remedial procedures. Prayer has turned many an irritable and complaining invalid into a paragon of patience and made him an inspiration to all other human sufferers." (999.5) 91:6.2
13. Proposition. It is slothful to ask God to solve our difficulties, but it is proper to pray for wisdom.
"Do not be so slothful as to ask God to solve your difficulties, but never hesitate to ask him for wisdom and spiritual strength to guide and sustain you while you yourself resolutely and courageously attack the problems at hand." (999.8) 91:6.5
14. Proposition. Prayer was an indispensable factor in the progress of religious civilization.
"Prayer has been an indispensable factor in the progress and preservation of religious civilization, and it still has mighty contributions to make to the further enhancement and spiritualization of society if those who pray will only do so in the light of scientific facts, philosophic wisdom, intellectual sincerity, and spiritual faith. Pray as Jesus taught his disciples — honestly, unselfishly, with fairness, and without doubting." (999.9) 91:6.6
15. Proposition. Prayer enriches the life; worship illuminates destiny.
"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." (1123.5) 102:4.5


1. Proposition. Efficacy of prayer is not dependent on culture or education.
"But the efficacy of prayer in the personal spiritual experience of the one who prays is in no way dependent on such a worshiper's intellectual understanding, philosophic acumen, social level, cultural status, or other mortal acquirements. The psychic and spiritual concomitants of the prayer of faith are immediate, personal, and experiential." "But the efficacy of prayer in the personal spiritual experience of the one who prays is in no way dependent on such a worshiper's intellectual understanding, philosophic acumen, social level, cultural status, or other mortal acquirements. The psychic and spiritual concomitants of the prayer of faith are immediate, personal, and experiential." (1000.1) 91:6.7
2. Proposition. Jesus defined effective prayer. Jesus taught that effective prayer must be:
1. Unselfish - not alone for oneself.
2. Believing - according to faith.
3. Sincere - honest of heart.
4. Intelligent - according to light.
5. Trustful - in submission to the Father' s all-wise will.

See" (1620.15) 144:3.17
3. Proposition. Jesus discussed all phases of effective prayer.
See" (1638.1) 146:2.1
4. Proposition. Conditions of effective prayer.
See" (1002.6) 91:9.1

1. Proposition. In the highest sense, we worship only the Universal Father.
"In the highest sense, we worship the Universal Father and him only. True, we can and do worship the Father as he is manifested in his Creator Sons, but it is the Father, directly or indirectly, who is worshiped and adored." (65.3) 5:3.1
2. Proposition. Worship is dispatched over the Father's personality circuit.
"But worship is undoubtedly encircuited and dispatched to the person of the Creator by the function of the Father's personality circuit. We further believe that such registry of the homage of an Adjuster-indwelt creature is facilitated by the Father's spirit presence." (65.4) 5:3.2
3. Proposition. Worship asks nothing and expects nothing for the worshiper.
"Worship is for its own sake; prayer embodies a self- or creature-interest element; that is the great difference between worship and prayer. There is absolutely no self-request or other element of personal interest in true worship; we simply worship God for what we comprehend him to be. Worship asks nothing and expects nothing for the worshiper." (65.5) 5:3.3
4. Proposition. Worship assents to the Adjuster’s attempt to guide the faith son's effort to communicate with his Father.
"The worship experience consists in the sublime attempt of the betrothed Adjuster to communicate to the divine Father the inexpressible longings and the unutterable aspirations of the human soul — the conjoint creation of the God-seeking mortal mind and the God-revealing immortal Adjuster. Worship is, therefore, the act of the material mind's assenting to the attempt of its spiritualizing self, under the guidance of the associated spirit, to communicate with God as a faith son of the Universal Father." (66.4) 5:3.8
5. Proposition. The truly religious person seeks to identify himself with the universe.
"God is not only the determiner of destiny; he is man's eternal destination. All nonreligious human activities seek to bend the universe to the distorting service of self; the truly religious individual seeks to identify the self with the universe and then to dedicate the activities of this unified self to the service of the universe family of fellow beings, human and superhuman." (67.1)5:4.3
6. Proposition. We worship God because he is, and because he is in us.
"We worship God, first, because he is, then, because he is in us, and last, because we are in him." (196.10) 16:9.14
7. Proposition. From the standpoint of worship, God is one - a unified and personal Deity.
"Philosophically, cosmically, and with reference to differential levels and locations of manifestation, you may and perforce must conceive of the functioning of plural Deities and postulate the existence of plural Trinities; but in the worshipful experience of the personal contact of every worshiping personality throughout the master universe, God is one; and that unified and personal Deity is our Paradise parent, God the Father, the bestower, conservator, and Father of all personalities from mortal man on the inhabited worlds to the Eternal Son on the central Isle of Light." (640.4) 56:4.5
8. Proposition. By worship, man aspires to be better, and eventually attains the best.
"True religious worship is not a futile monologue of self-deception. Worship is a personal communion with that which is divinely real, with that which is the very source of reality. Man aspires by worship to be better and thereby eventually attains the best." (2095.6) 196:3.22
9. Proposition. Worship is the highest joy of Paradise existence.

"All the arts of all the beings of the entire universe which are capable of intensifying and exalting the abilities of self-expression and the conveyance of appreciation, are employed to their highest capacity in the worship of the Paradise Deities. Worship is the highest joy of Paradise existence; it is the refreshing play of Paradise."(304.3) 27:7.5
10. Proposition. The philosophic concept of the I AM must always transcend the worshipful concept of God the Father.
"Ever remember that man's comprehension of the Universal Father is a personal experience. God, as your spiritual Father, is comprehensible to you and to all other mortals; but your experiential worshipful concept of the Universal Father must always be less than your philosophic postulate of the infinity of the First Source and Center, the I AM." (1153.3) 105:1.6


1. Proposition. At last the concept of right and wrong evolved and then long and slavish bondage of fear-sacrifices and priesthoods. It was a terrible price to pay for ethics - but it was worth it.
"But at last the mind of primitive man was occupied with thoughts which transcended all of his inherent biologic urges; at last man was about to evolve an art of living based on something more than response to material stimuli. The beginnings of a primitive philosophic life policy were emerging. A supernatural standard of living was about to appear, for, if the spirit ghost in anger visits ill luck and in pleasure good fortune, then must human conduct be regulated accordingly. The concept of right and wrong had at last evolved; and all of this long before the times of any revelation on earth.

"With the emergence of these concepts, there was initiated the long and wasteful struggle to appease the ever-displeased spirits, the slavish bondage to evolutionary religious fear, that long waste of human effort upon tombs, temples, sacrifices, and priesthoods. It was a terrible and frightful price to pay, but it was worth all it cost, for man therein achieved a natural consciousness of relative right and wrong; human ethics was born!" "With the emergence of these concepts, there was initiated the long and wasteful struggle to appease the ever-displeased spirits, the slavish bondage to evolutionary religious fear, that long waste of human effort upon tombs, temples, sacrifices, and priesthoods. It was a terrible and frightful price to pay, but it was worth all it cost, for man therein achieved a natural consciousness of relative right and wrong; human ethics was born!" (956.2) 86:6.6
2. Proposition. Many modern believers, regrettably, have no cult to belong to.
"Notwithstanding that the cult has always retarded social progress, it is regrettable that so many modern believers in moral standards and spiritual ideals have no adequate symbolism — no cult of mutual support — nothing to belong to. But a religious cult cannot be manufactured; it must grow. And those of no two groups will be identical unless their rituals are arbitrarily standardized by authority." (965.7) 87:7.3
3. Proposition. The early Christian cult was most effective, but is today devitalized by the loss of fundamental ideas.
"The early Christian cult was the most effective, appealing, and enduring of any ritual ever conceived or devised, but much of its value has been destroyed in a scientific age by the destruction of so many of its original underlying tenets. The Christian cult has been devitalized by the loss of many fundamental ideas." (965.8) 87:7.4
4. Proposition. To survive, a cult must foster moral growth and spiritual progress.
"No cult can survive if it retards moral growth and fails to foster spiritual progress. The cult is the skeletal structure around which grows the living and dynamic body of personal spiritual experience — true religion." (966.5) 87:7.10
5. Proposition. No cult will survive unless it embodies some masterful mystery.
"No cult can survive unless it embodies some masterful mystery and conceals some worthful unattainable. Again, the new symbolism must not only be significant for the group but also meaningful to the individual. The forms of any serviceable symbolism must be those which the individual can carry out on his own initiative, and which he can also enjoy with his fellows. If the new cult could only be dynamic instead of static, it might really contribute something worth while to the progress of mankind, both temporal and spiritual." (966.4) 87:7.9
6. Proposition. Doctrines may differ, but in worship unity can be realized.
"All these religions have arisen as a result of man's variable intellectual response to his identical spiritual leading. They can never hope to attain a uniformity of creeds, dogmas, and rituals — these are intellectual; but they can, and some day will, realize a unity in true worship of the Father of all, for this is spiritual, and it is forever true, in the spirit all men are equal."
" (1012.5) 92:7.4
7. Proposition. The quality of religion is indicated by four levels of meaning and values.
"The quality of a religion is indicated by:

"1. Level values — loyalties.
"2. Depth of meanings — the sensitization of the individual to the idealistic appreciation of these highest values.
"3. Consecration intensity — the degree of devotion to these divine values.
"4. The unfettered progress of the personality in this cosmic path of idealistic spiritual living, realization of sonship with God and never-ending progressive citizenship in the universe."
" (1013.1) 92:7.6
8. Proposition. Today, in one generation, man must make more readjustments than have been made in two thousand years.
"Modern man is confronted with the task of making more readjustments of human values in one generation than have been made in two thousand years. And this all influences the social attitude toward religion, for religion is a way of living as well as a technique of thinking." (1013.9) 92:7.14
9. Proposition. Religion is the foundation and guiding star of enduring civilizations.
"True religion must ever be, at one and the same time, the eternal foundation and the guiding star of all enduring civilizations." (1013.10) 92:7.15
10. Proposition. Jesus enlarged the neighbor concept to embrace the whole of humanity.
"This idea-ideal of doing good to others — the impulse to deny the ego something for the benefit of one's neighbor — is very circumscribed at first. Primitive man regards as neighbor only those very close to him, those who treat him neighborly; as religious civilization advances, one's neighbor expands in concept to embrace the clan, the tribe, the nation. And then Jesus enlarged the neighbor scope to embrace the whole of humanity, even that we should love our enemies. And there is something inside of every normal human being that tells him this teaching is moral — right. Even those who practice this ideal least, admit that it is right in theory." (1133.7) 103:5.2
11. Proposition. There is great hope for any church that worships God, validates brotherhood, and dares to remove all creedal pressure.
"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."
" (1135.2) 103:5.12
12. Proposition. The great need of both science and religion is fearless self-criticism.
"What both developing science and religion need is more searching and fearless self-criticism, a greater awareness of incompleteness in evolutionary status. The teachers of both science and religion are often altogether too self-confident and dogmatic. Science and religion can only be self-critical of their facts. The moment departure is made from the stage of facts, reason abdicates or else rapidly degenerates into a consort of false logic." (1138.5) 103:7.7
13. Proposition. You cannot physically test spiritual joy, moral values, or worship.
"This profound experience of the reality of the divine indwelling forever transcends the crude materialistic technique of the physical sciences. You cannot put spiritual joy under a microscope; you cannot weigh love in a balance; you cannot measure moral values; neither can you estimate the quality of spiritual worship." (2095.2) 196:3.18
14. Proposition. In religion the Hebrews exalted morals, the Greeks beauty. Paul preached faith, hope, and love. Jesus revealed a religion of love, security, and service.
"The Hebrews had a religion of moral sublimity; the Greeks evolved a religion of beauty; Paul and his conferees founded a religion of faith, hope, and charity. Jesus revealed and exemplified a religion of love: security in the Father's love, with joy and satisfaction consequent upon sharing this love in the service of the human brotherhood." (2095.3) 196:3.19
15. Proposition. To Jesus, prayer was doing the Father's will - a way of religious living.
"Jesus brought to God, as a man of the realm, the greatest of all offerings: the consecration and dedication of his own will to the majestic service of doing the divine will. Jesus always and consistently interpreted religion wholly in terms of the Father's will. When you study the career of the Master, as concerns prayer or any other feature of the religious life, look not so much for what he taught as for what he did. Jesus never prayed as a religious duty. To him prayer was a sincere expression of spiritual attitude, a declaration of soul loyalty, a recital of personal devotion, an expression of thanksgiving, an avoidance of emotional tension, a prevention of conflict, an exaltation of intellection, an ennoblement of desire, a vindication of moral decision, an enrichment of thought, an invigoration of higher inclinations, a consecration of impulse, a clarification of viewpoint, a declaration of faith, a transcendental surrender of will, a sublime assertion of confidence, a revelation of courage, the proclamation of discovery, a confession of supreme devotion, the validation of consecration, a technique for the adjustment of difficulties, and the mighty mobilization of the combined soul powers to withstand all human tendencies toward selfishness, evil, and sin. He lived just such a life of prayerful consecration to the doing of his Father's will and ended his life triumphantly with just such a prayer. The secret of his unparalleled religious life was this consciousness of the presence of God; and he attained it by intelligent prayer and sincere worship — unbroken communion with God — and not by leadings, voices, visions, or extraordinary religious practices."
" (2088.5) 196:0.10


1. Proposition. Religious rites, rituals, ceremonies, and dogmas go back to the ghost cults.
"Religion has always been largely a matter of rites, rituals, observances, ceremonies, and dogmas. It has usually become tainted with that persistently mischief-making error, the chosen-people delusion. The cardinal religious ideas of incantation, inspiration, revelation, propitiation, repentance, atonement, intercession, sacrifice, prayer, confession, worship, survival after death, sacrament, ritual, ransom, salvation, redemption, covenant, uncleanness, purification, prophecy, original sin — they all go back to the early times of primordial ghost fear." (1005.4) 92:3.2
2. Proposition. The power of an idea lies not in its truth, but in its vividness of appeal.
"Primitive religion is nothing more nor less than the struggle for material existence extended to embrace existence beyond the grave. The observances of such a creed represented the extension of the self-maintenance struggle into the domain of an imagined ghost-spirit world. But when tempted to criticize evolutionary religion, be careful. Remember, that is what happened; it is a historical fact. And further recall that the power of any idea lies, not in its certainty or truth, but rather in the vividness of its human appeal." (1005.5) 92:3.3
3. Proposition. Natural religion is uplifted only by advancing mores and revelation. The cult advances only in agelong cycles.
"Only two influences can modify and uplift the dogmas of natural religion: the pressure of the slowly advancing mores and the periodic illumination of epochal revelation. And it is not strange that progress was slow; in ancient days, to be progressive or inventive meant to be killed as a sorcerer. The cult advances slowly in generation epochs and agelong cycles. But it does move forward. Evolutionary belief in ghosts laid the foundation for a philosophy of revealed religion which will eventually destroy the superstition of its origin."(1006.2) 92:3.5
4. Proposition. Religion handicaps social development, but without it, there would be no morals or ethics.
"Religion has handicapped social development in many ways, but without religion there would have been no enduring morality nor ethics, no worth-while civilization. Religion enmothered much nonreligious culture: Sculpture originated in idol making, architecture in temple building, poetry in incantations, music in worship chants, drama in the acting for spirit guidance, and dancing in the seasonal worship festivals."
" (1006.3) 92:3.6
5. Proposition. While religion has been a racial handicap, it did foster ethics, morality, and social coherence.
"But while calling attention to the fact that religion was essential to the development and preservation of civilization, it should be recorded that natural religion has also done much to cripple and handicap the very civilization which it otherwise fostered and maintained. Religion has hampered industrial activities and economic development; it has been wasteful of labor and has squandered capital; it has not always been helpful to the family; it has not adequately fostered peace and good will; it has sometimes neglected education and retarded science; it has unduly impoverished life for the pretended enrichment of death. Evolutionary religion, human religion, has indeed been guilty of all these and many more mistakes, errors, and blunders; nevertheless, it did maintain cultural ethics, civilized morality, and social coherence, and made it possible for later revealed religion to compensate for these many evolutionary shortcomings." (1006.4) 92:3.7
6. Proposition. Religion is man's most expensive but effective institution.
"Evolutionary religion has been man's most expensive but incomparably effective institution. Human religion can be justified only in the light of evolutionary civilization. If man were not the ascendant product of animal evolution, then would such a course of religious development stand without justification." (1006.5) 92:3.8
7. Proposition. The shamans, good and bad, were terribly expensive, but they were worth all they cost.
"Religion facilitated the accumulation of capital; it fostered work of certain kinds; the leisure of the priests promoted art and knowledge; the race, in the end, gained much as a result of all these early errors in ethical technique. The shamans, honest and dishonest, were terribly expensive, but they were worth all they cost. The learned professions and science itself emerged from the parasitical priesthoods. Religion fostered civilization and provided societal continuity; it has been the moral police force of all time." (1006.6) 92:3.9
8. Proposition. Religion is the efficient scourge which drives indolent mankind from inertia forward to levels of reason and wisdom.
"Religion provided that human discipline and self-control which made wisdom possible. Religion is the efficient scourge of evolution which ruthlessly drives indolent and suffering humanity from its natural state of intellectual inertia forward and upward to the higher levels of reason and wisdom." (1006.6) 92:3.9
9. Proposition. The church, in fostering racial degeneracy, has retarded civilization.
"The church, because of overmuch false sentiment, has long ministered to the underprivileged and the unfortunate, and this has all been well, but this same sentiment has led to the unwise perpetuation of racially degenerate stocks which have tremendously retarded the progress of civilization." (1088.6) 99:3.5
10. Proposition. Scientific knowledge, leading to scientific action, is the only cure for accidental ills.
"But while men are giving up the erroneous doctrine of a spirit cause of the vicissitudes of life, they exhibit a surprising willingness to accept an almost equally fallacious teaching which bids them attribute all human inequalities to political misadaptation, social injustice, and industrial competition. But new legislation, increasing philanthropy, and more industrial reorganization, however good in and of themselves, will not remedy the facts of birth and the accidents of living. Only comprehension of facts and wise manipulation within the laws of nature will enable man to get what he wants and to avoid what he does not want. Scientific knowledge, leading to scientific action, is the only antidote for so-called accidental ills." (956.7) 86:7.4
11. Proposition. In these unsettled times, as never before, man needs the stabilization of sound religion.
"During the psychologically unsettled times of the twentieth century, amid the economic upheavals, the moral crosscurrents, and the sociologic rip tides of the cyclonic transitions of a scientific era, thousands upon thousands of men and women have become humanly dislocated; they are anxious, restless, fearful, uncertain, and unsettled; as never before in the world's history they need the consolation and stabilization of sound religion. In the face of unprecedented scientific achievement and mechanical development there is spiritual stagnation and philosophic chaos." (1090.2) 99:4.6
12. Proposition. Man should go forward with his reformation of philosophy and his clarification of religion.
"Though churches and all other religious groups should stand aloof from all secular activities, at the same time religion must do nothing to hinder or retard the social co-ordination of human institutions. Life must continue to grow in meaningfulness; man must go on with his reformation of philosophy and his clarification of religion." (1092.5) 99:7.1


1. Proposition. The cosmology of the Urantia Revelation is not inspired. Let it be made clear that revelations are not necessarily inspired. The cosmology of these revelations "is not inspired."

See" (1109.3) 101:4.2

2. Proposition. Every new revelation gives rise to a new cult - with new and appropriate symbolisms.
"Regardless of the drawbacks and handicaps, every new revelation of truth has given rise to a new cult, and even the restatement of the religion of Jesus must develop a new and appropriate symbolism. Modern man must find some adequate symbolism for his new and expanding ideas, ideals, and loyalties. This enhanced symbol must arise out of religious living, spiritual experience. And this higher symbolism of a higher civilization must be predicated on the concept of the Fatherhood of God and be pregnant with the mighty ideal of the brotherhood of man." (966.1) 87:7.6
3. Proposition. There have been five epochal revelations on Urantia.
"There have been many events of religious revelation but only five of
epochal significance. These were as follows:

"1. The Dalamatian teachings. The true concept of the First Source and Center was first promulgated on Urantia by the one hundred corporeal members of Prince Caligastia's staff. This expanding revelation of Deity went on for more than three hundred thousand years until it was suddenly terminated by the planetary secession and the disruption of the teaching regime...

"2. The Edenic teachings. Adam and Eve again portrayed the concept of the Father of all to the evolutionary peoples. The disruption of the first Eden halted the course of the Adamic revelation before it had ever fully started...

"3. Melchizedek of Salem. This emergency Son of Nebadon inaugurated the third revelation of truth on Urantia. The cardinal precepts of his teachings were trust and faith. He taught trust in the omnipotent beneficence of God and proclaimed that faith was the act by which men earned God's favor...

"4. Jesus of Nazareth. Christ Michael presented for the fourth time to Urantia the concept of God as the Universal Father, and this teaching has generally persisted ever since...

"5. The Urantia Papers. The papers, of which this is one, constitute the most recent presentation of truth to the mortals of Urantia. These papers differ from all previous revelations, for they are not the work of a single universe personality but a composite presentation by many beings. But no revelation short of the attainment of the Universal Father can ever be complete..." (1007.4) 92:4.4

BIBLE TEXTS

"If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." Ps 66:18

"He who closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself cry out and not be heard." Prov 21:13

"And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him." 1 John 5:14,15

"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles." Ps 34:17

"The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight," Prov 15:8

"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you." John 15:7

"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Ps 37:4

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him." James 1:5

"And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart." Luke 18:1

"Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation." Mark 14:38

"Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Phil 4:6

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:19

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You shall seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart." Jer 29:12,13

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord." Ps 92:1

"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." Col 4:2

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God." 1 Thess 5:18

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