The Birth Of Jesus of Nazareth

 Posted by on December 24, 2015 at 6:06 AM
Dec 242015
 

The NativityJoshua Ben Joseph (Jesus) was born at noon, August 21, 7 B.C.

Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.  The Birth of Jesus of Nazareth is the most significant celestial event ever to occur on our world, Urantia.  Over the course of some two thousand years, the truth about this event has suffered distortion, both intentional and accidental, but the possibility of learning the actual historical truth of his birth, life, and teachings became real in 1955, with the publication of The Urantia Papers as The Urantia Book.

As Urantians, it’s near impossible to get into the traditional Christmas spirit in August, so we don’t even try.  But we do try to remember that the Creator of our little slice of reality was born into this world as a helpless babe, by excerpting some parts of the story from The Urantia Book on December 25th.  Merry Christmas— to all mankind.

The Trip to Bethlehem

 

In the month of March, 8 B.C. (the month Joseph and Mary were married), Caesar Augustus decreed that all inhabitants of the Roman Empire should be numbered, that a census should be made which could be used for effecting better taxation. The Jews had always been greatly prejudiced against any attempt to “number the people,” and this, in connection with the serious domestic difficulties of Herod, King of Judea, had conspired to cause the postponement of the taking of this census in the Jewish kingdom for one year. Throughout all the Roman Empire this census was registered in the year 8 B.C., except in the Palestinian kingdom of Herod, where it was taken in 7 B.C., one year later.

It was not necessary that Mary should go to Bethlehem for enrollment — Joseph was authorized to register for his family — but Mary, being an adventurous and aggressive person, insisted on accompanying him. She feared being left alone lest the child be born while Joseph was away, and again, Bethlehem being not far from the City of Judah, Mary foresaw a possible pleasurable visit with her kinswoman Elizabeth.

Joseph virtually forbade Mary to accompany him, but it was of no avail; when the food was packed for the trip of three or four days, she prepared double rations and made ready for the journey. But before they actually set forth, Joseph was reconciled to Mary’s going along, and they cheerfully departed from Nazareth at the break of day.

Joseph and Mary were poor, and since they had only one beast of burden, Mary, being large with child, rode on the animal with the provisions while Joseph walked, leading the beast. The building and furnishing of a home had been a great drain on Joseph since he had also to contribute to the support of his parents, as his father had been recently disabled. And so this Jewish couple went forth from their humble home early on the morning of August 18, 7 B.C., on their journey to Bethlehem.

Their first day of travel carried them around the foothills of Mount Gilboa, where they camped for the night by the river Jordan and engaged in many speculations as to what sort of a son would be born to them, Joseph adhering to the concept of a spiritual teacher and Mary holding to the idea of a Jewish Messiah, a deliverer of the Hebrew nation.

Bright and early the morning of August 19, Joseph and Mary were again on their way. They partook of their noontide meal at the foot of Mount Sartaba, overlooking the Jordan valley, and journeyed on, making Jericho for the night, where they stopped at an inn on the highway in the outskirts of the city. Following the evening meal and after much discussion concerning the oppressiveness of Roman rule, Herod, the census enrollment, and the comparative influence of Jerusalem and Alexandria as centers of Jewish learning and culture, the Nazareth travelers retired for the night’s rest. Early in the morning of August 20 they resumed their journey, reaching Jerusalem before noon, visiting the temple, and going on to their destination, arriving at Bethlehem in midafternoon.

The inn was overcrowded, and Joseph accordingly sought lodgings with distant relatives, but every room in Bethlehem was filled to overflowing. On returning to the courtyard of the inn, he was informed that the caravan stables, hewn out of the side of the rock and situated just below the inn, had been cleared of animals and cleaned up for the reception of lodgers. Leaving the donkey in the courtyard, Joseph shouldered their bags of clothing and provisions and with Mary descended the stone steps to their lodgings below. They found themselves located in what had been a grain storage room to the front of the stalls and mangers. Tent curtains had been hung, and they counted themselves fortunate to have such comfortable quarters.

Joseph had thought to go out at once and enroll, but Mary was weary; she was considerably distressed and besought him to remain by her side, which he did.

The Birth of Jesus

 

All that night Mary was restless so that neither of them slept much. By the break of day the pangs of childbirth were well in evidence, and at noon, August 21, 7 B.C., with the help and kind ministrations of women fellow travelers, Mary was delivered of a male child. Jesus of Nazareth was born into the world, was wrapped in the clothes which Mary had brought along for such a possible contingency, and laid in a near-by manger.

In just the same manner as all babies before that day and since have come into the world, the promised child was born; and on the eighth day, according to the Jewish practice, he was circumcised and formally named Joshua (Jesus).

The next day after the birth of Jesus, Joseph made his enrollment. Meeting a man they had talked with two nights previously at Jericho, Joseph was taken by him to a well-to-do friend who had a room at the inn, and who said he would gladly exchange quarters with the Nazareth couple. That afternoon they moved up to the inn, where they lived for almost three weeks until they found lodgings in the home of a distant relative of Joseph.

The second day after the birth of Jesus, Mary sent word to Elizabeth that her child had come and received word in return inviting Joseph up to Jerusalem to talk over all their affairs with Zacharias. The following week Joseph went to Jerusalem to confer with Zacharias. Both Zacharias and Elizabeth had become possessed with the sincere conviction that Jesus was indeed to become the Jewish deliverer, the Messiah, and that their son John was to be his chief of aides, his right-hand man of destiny. And since Mary held these same ideas, it was not difficult to prevail upon Joseph to remain in Bethlehem, the City of David, so that Jesus might grow up to become the successor of David on the throne of all Israel. Accordingly, they remained in Bethlehem more than a year, Joseph meantime working some at his carpenter’s trade.

At the noontide birth of Jesus the seraphim of Urantia, assembled under their directors, did sing anthems of glory over the Bethlehem manger, but these utterances of praise were not heard by human ears. No shepherds nor any other mortal creatures came to pay homage to the babe of Bethlehem until the day of the arrival of certain priests from Ur, who were sent down from Jerusalem by Zacharias.

These priests from Mesopotamia had been told sometime before by a strange religious teacher of their country that he had had a dream in which he was informed that “the light of life” was about to appear on earth as a babe and among the Jews. And thither went these three teachers looking for this “light of life.” After many weeks of futile search in Jerusalem, they were about to return to Ur when Zacharias met them and disclosed his belief that Jesus was the object of their quest and sent them on to Bethlehem, where they found the babe and left their gifts with Mary, his earth mother. The babe was almost three weeks old at the time of their visit.

The Star of Bethlehem

These wise men saw no star to guide them to Bethlehem. The beautiful legend of the star of Bethlehem originated in this way: Jesus was born August 21 at noon, 7 B.C. On May 29, 7 B.C., there occurred an extraordinary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces. And it is a remarkable astronomic fact that similar conjunctions occurred on September 29 and December 5 of the same year. Upon the basis of these extraordinary but wholly natural events the well-meaning zealots of the succeeding generation constructed the appealing legend of the star of Bethlehem and the adoring Magi led thereby to the manger, where they beheld and worshiped the newborn babe. Oriental and near-Oriental minds delight in fairy stories, and they are continually spinning such beautiful myths about the lives of their religious leaders and political heroes. In the absence of printing, when most human knowledge was passed by word of mouth from one generation to another, it was very easy for myths to become traditions and for traditions eventually to become accepted as facts.

 

Many people live in such complete and utter detachment from true spirit reality, that the very notion of “God” being born as a human infant seems utterly absurd.  And yet, the story not only persists, it has been powerfully revealed in The Urantia Book, for all of mankind, for all time;  the amazing truth of our eternal destiny endures.

Happy birthday, Joshua Ben Joseph; happy incarnation, Michael of Nebadon; happy bestowal day, God.

To Life.

HELL DOESN’T LOOK LIKE THIS ANYMORE.

 Posted by on August 28, 2015 at 12:11 PM
Aug 282015
 

In Fact, There Is No Hell So It Doesn’t Look Like This At All.

Hell?
That’s right— no “hell.”

Well, wait.

There are all those thousands of supposedly rational, intelligent people who still believe that the all-loving, all-merciful God they profess belief in maintains a gigantic, universal “Lake of Fire”— at enormous expense, too, despite all the overpriced “lakefront” property he’s sold— and you just know a live feed is available on the Celestial Cable base-package under “entertainment”— because burning your children eternally is so …  um, “all-loving and all-merciful…  so yeah, every person who ever lived who sinned against him in the many ways enumerated by boilerplate Christian dogma get’s to be an eternally roasting sentient hotdog!

But heeah me tooday and remember me tomorrow:  there is no  actual  place called Hell.

Mmmm, okay, I almost forgot, there is the brain-box of Rush Limbaugh‘s enormous head;  that’s certainly the closest thing to a living hell I can think of.  But look he’s gotta be realllly close to a fatal karmic coronary, so. . .  let’s say there’s no eternal actual material place called Hell.

Just for the hell of it (see, now that just slipped out) let’s go back and recall what the Jewish traditions of heaven and hell and the “doctrine of devils,” as recorded in the Hebrew scriptures, have to say.  You may not know it, but they were founded on the lingering traditions of Lucifer and Caligastia,* but also too, they were principally derived from the Zoroastrians during the times when the Jews were under the political and cultural dominance of those nasty Persians. (Oooh yes, yes— the forefathers of the evil threat du jour, the Iranians. Below the Mason-Dixon line this is pronounced “Eye-Ranniuns.”)  

So Zoroaster, a heavy dude with a thing for white flowing garments and hipster beards, lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau and anybody who’s anyone knows it is the most desirable part of the plateau.  Location, people.
Yeah he totally taught the “day of judgment,” and one night after some bad hummus and feeling particularly apocalyptic, he connected this event with the idea of the end of the world.

And fun fact:  “The ‘Roaster“— as he was known to a small group of intimates— did not teach the worship of fire, he just tried to use the flame as a symbol of the pure and wise Spirit of universal and supreme dominance. Whew.   (Okay, but too true, his later followers both reverenced and worshiped said symbolic fire.)  Finally, after the conversion of a particular overwrought Iranian prince who shall remain nameless, this new religion was spread by the weapon of choice back then, the sword.  Shocking.  And Zo died in battle for what he believed was the “truth of the Lord of light.”

So where were we.  Ahh . Yeah, there is just the idea of hell, too;  that’s probably the most vivid and powerful form of no hell that there is, really;  and you might be surprised to learn that it isn’t kept alive by just the religious fundie-mentalists either.  It seems there are many weak-minded atheist trolls who, while claiming there is no hell (good so far) still insist on helping to keep the idea of hell alive by continually bringing it up whenever and wherever they can, in an effort to prove— get this— how dumb fundamentalists are. The irony— it burns all the way to the center of the earth.

Hmm. Well dammit, the center of the earth is a lot like every garden variety idiot’s idea of hell, too;  I mean if you could actually get there with a. . . Mm you know what, just forgeddaboudit.

 

* “Caligastia” was a Lanonandek Son of the secondary order.  For three hundred thousand years Caligastia had been in charge of Urantia when Satan, Lucifer’s assistant, made one of his periodic inspection calls.  In the course of this inspection Satan informed Caligastia of Lucifer’s then proposed “Declaration of Liberty,” and he agreed to betray the planet upon the announcement of the rebellion.  Loyal universe personalities look with peculiar disdain upon Prince Caligastia because of this premeditated betrayal of trust.

In all the administrative work of a local universe, no high trust is deemed more sacred than that reposed in a Planetary Prince who assumes responsibility for the welfare and guidance of the evolving mortals on a newly inhabited world.  And of all forms of evil, none are more destructive of personality status than betrayal of trust and disloyalty to one’s confiding friends. In committing this deliberate sin, Caligastia so completely distorted his personality that his mind has never since been able fully to regain its equilibrium.

 

The Apostle Matthew Levi

 Posted by on December 9, 2012 at 8:10 AM
Dec 092012
 

MATTHEW LEVI  •  Terry Kruger

Jesus the Son of God was a man among men, and the men closest to him were twelve diverse, unique personalities of that day.  The Bible and apocrypha contain scant few historical insights concerning these men;  until the appearance of The Urantia Book in 1955, almost nothing was known about their personal natures, not excepting in some cases even their actual names.

This is the seventh of those apostolic accounts from The Urantia Book.  —ED.

 

Matthew, the seventh apostle, was chosen by Andrew.  Matthew belonged to a family of tax gatherers, or publicans, but was himself a customs collector in Capernaum, where he lived. He was thirty-one years old and married and had four children. He was a man of moderate wealth, the only one of any means belonging to the apostolic corps. He was a good business man, a good social mixer, and was gifted with the ability to make friends and to get along smoothly with a great variety of people.

Andrew appointed Matthew the financial representative of the apostles.  In a way he was the fiscal agent and publicity spokesman for the apostolic organization.  He was a keen judge of human nature and a very efficient propagandist.  His is a personality difficult to visualize, but he was a very earnest disciple and an increasing believer in the mission of Jesus and in the certainty of the kingdom. Jesus never gave Levi a nickname, but his fellow apostles commonly referred to him as the “money-getter.”

Levi’s strong point was his wholehearted devotion to the cause. That he, a publican, had been taken in by Jesus and his apostles was the cause for overwhelming gratitude on the part of the former revenue collector.  However, it required some little time for the rest of the apostles, especially Simon Zelotes and Judas Iscariot, to become reconciled to the publican’s presence in their midst.  Matthew’s weakness was his shortsighted and materialistic viewpoint of life.  But in all these matters he made great progress as the months went by.  He, of course, had to be absent from many of the most precious seasons of instruction as it was his duty to keep the treasury replenished.

It was the Master’s forgiving disposition which Matthew most appreciated.  He would never cease to recount that faith only was necessary in the business of finding God.  He always liked to speak of the kingdom as “this business of finding God.”

Though Matthew was a man with a past, he gave an excellent account of himself, and as time went on, his associates became proud of the publican’s performances.  He was one of the apostles who made extensive notes on the sayings of Jesus, and these notes were used as the basis of Isador’s subsequent narrative of the sayings and doings of Jesus, which has become known as the Gospel according to Matthew.

The great and useful life of Matthew, the business man and customs collector of Capernaum, has been the means of leading thousands upon thousands of other business men, public officials, and politicians, down through the subsequent ages, also to hear that engaging voice of the Master saying, “Follow me.”  Matthew really was a shrewd politician, but he was intensely loyal to Jesus and supremely devoted to the task of seeing that the messengers of the coming kingdom were adequately financed.

The presence of Matthew among the twelve was the means of keeping the doors of the kingdom wide open to hosts of downhearted and outcast souls who had regarded themselves as long since without the bounds of religious consolation.  Outcast and despairing men and women flocked to hear Jesus, and he never turned one away.

Matthew received freely tendered offerings from believing disciples and the immediate auditors of the Master’s teachings, but he never openly solicited funds from the multitudes.  He did all his financial work in a quiet and personal way and raised most of the money among the more substantial class of interested believers.  He gave practically the whole of his modest fortune to the work of the Master and his apostles, but they never knew of this generosity, save Jesus, who knew all about it.  Matthew hesitated openly to contribute to the apostolic funds for fear that Jesus and his associates might regard his money as being tainted;  so he gave much in the names of other believers.  During the earlier months, when Matthew knew his presence among them was more or less of a trial, he was strongly tempted to let them know that his funds often supplied them with their daily bread, but he did not yield.  When evidence of the disdain of the publican would become manifest, Levi would burn to reveal to them his generosity, but always he managed to keep still.

When the funds for the week were short of the estimated requirements, Levi would often draw heavily upon his own personal resources.  Also, sometimes when he became greatly interested in Jesus’ teaching, he preferred to remain and hear the instruction, even though he knew he must personally make up for his failure to solicit the necessary funds.  But Levi did so wish that Jesus might know that much of the money came from his pocket!  He little realized that the Master knew all about it.  The apostles all died without knowing that Matthew was their benefactor to such an extent that, when he went forth to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom after the beginning of the persecutions, he was practically penniless.

When these persecutions caused the believers to forsake Jerusalem, Matthew journeyed north, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and baptizing believers.  He was lost to the knowledge of his former apostolic associates, but on he went, preaching and baptizing, through Syria, Cappadocia, Galatia, Bithynia, and Thrace.  And it was in Thrace, at Lysimachia, that certain unbelieving Jews conspired with the Roman soldiers to encompass his death.  And this regenerated publican died triumphant in the faith of a salvation he had so surely learned from the teachings of the Master during his recent sojourn on earth.

 

 

The Apostle Simon Zelotes: Simon The Zealot

 Posted by on November 25, 2012 at 7:27 PM
Nov 252012
 

Jesus the Son of God was a man among men, and the men closest to him were twelve diverse, unique personalities of that day.

Simon Zelotes, the Eleventh Apostle

Simon Zelotes   •   Terry Kruger
(After John Eastham’s portrayal of “Bartholomew” in Zeffirelli’s, “Jesus of Nazareth.”)

The Bible and apocrypha contain scant few historical insights concerning these men;  until the appearance of The Urantia Book in 1955, nothing was known about their personal natures, not excepting in some cases even their actual names.

Such is the case with Simon Zelotes, who is virtually unknown, yet the subject of many traditional beliefs, among them that he was crucified in Samaria, died peacefully at Edessa, was martyred at Weriosphora in Caucasian Iberia, and was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia.  The most widespread tradition is that after evangelizing in Egypt, Simon joined Jude¹ in Persia and Armenia or Beirut, Lebanon, where both were martyred in 65 AD.

The Urantia Book remarks Simon Zelotes was a high officer in the patriotic organization of the Zealots, a position which he gave up to join Jesus’ apostles.

There are far too many extraordinary things revealed in The Urantia Book to rank them on any scale of importance.  But in the small apocrypha surrounding the Fifth Epochal Revelation, it has been said that Dr. William Sadler, a key figure in the eventual appearance of the book in print, supposedly remained a skeptic of the Papers until he read the profiles of the twelve apostles in Part IV.  As a psychiatrist, he had a well developed sense of personality types and traits;  he perceived these accounts were genuine recitations of real personalities;  not fiction.

This is the eleventh of those apostolic accounts.  —ED.

Simon Zelotes, the eleventh apostle, was chosen by Simon Peter. He was an able man of good ancestry and lived with his family at Capernaum. He was twenty-eight years old when he became attached to the apostles. He was a fiery agitator and was also a man who spoke much without thinking. He had been a merchant in Capernaum before he turned his entire attention to the patriotic organization of the Zealots.

Simon Zelotes was given charge of the diversions and relaxation of the apostolic group, and he was a very efficient organizer of the play life and recreational activities of the twelve.

Simon’s strength was his inspirational loyalty. When the apostles found a man or woman who floundered in indecision about entering the kingdom, they would send for Simon. It usually required only about fifteen minutes for this enthusiastic advocate of salvation through faith in God to settle all doubts and remove all indecision, to see a new soul born into the “liberty of faith and the joy of salvation.”

Simon’s great weakness was his material-mindedness. He could not quickly change himself from a Jewish nationalist to a spiritually minded internationalist. Four years was too short a time to make such an intellectual and emotional transformation, but Jesus was always patient with him.

The one thing about Jesus which Simon so admired was the Master’s calmness, his assurance, poise, and inexplicable composure.

Although Simon was a rabid revolutionist, a fearless firebrand of agitation, he gradually subdued his fiery nature until he became a powerful and effective preacher of “Peace on earth and good will among men.”  Simon was a great debater; he did like to argue. and when it came to dealing with the legalistic minds of the educated Jews or the intellectual quibblings of the Greeks, the task was always assigned to Simon.

He was a rebel by nature and an iconoclast by training, but Jesus won him for the higher concepts of the kingdom of heaven.He had always identified himself with the party of protest, but he now joined the party of progress, unlimited and eternal progression of spirit and truth. Simon was a man of intense loyalties and warm personal devotions, and he did profoundly love Jesus.

Jesus was not afraid to identify himself with business men, laboring men, optimists, pessimists, philosophers, skeptics, publicans, politicians, and patriots.

The master had many talks with Simon, but he never fully succeeded in making an internationalist out of this ardent Jewish nationalist. Jesus often told Simon that it was proper to want to see the social, economic, and political orders improved, but he would always add: “That is not the business of the kingdom of heaven. We must be dedicated to the doing of the Father’s will. Our business is to be ambassadors of a spiritual government on high, and we must not immediately concern ourselves with aught but the representation of the will and character of the divine Father who stands at the head of the government whose credentials we bear.” It was all difficult for Simon to comprehend, but gradually he began to grasp something of the meaning of the Master’s teaching.

After the dispersion because of the Jerusalem persecutions, Simon went into temporary retirement. He was literally crushed. As a nationalist patriot he had surrendered in deference to Jesus’ teachings; now all was lost. He was in despair, but in a few years he rallied his hopes and went forth to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom.

He went to Alexandria and, after working up the Nile, penetrated into the heart of Africa, everywhere preaching the gospel of Jesus and baptizing believers. Thus he labored until he was an old man and feeble. And he died and was buried in the heart of Africa.

Toward the end of the Last Supper, Jesus said good-bye individually to his apostles;  as the Master went around the table talking to them, each of them rose when Jesus addressed them.  Jesus came to Simon Zelotes, who stood up and listened to this admonition:

 “You are a true son of Abraham, but what a time I have had trying to make you a son of this heavenly kingdom. I love you and so do all of your brethren. I know that you love me, Simon, and that you also love the kingdom, but you are still set on making this kingdom come according to your liking. I know full well that you will eventually grasp the spiritual nature and meaning of my gospel, and that you will do valiant work in its proclamation, but I am distressed about what may happen to you when I depart. I would rejoice to know that you would not falter; I would be made happy if I could know that, after I go to the Father, you would not cease to be my apostle, and that you would acceptably deport yourself as an ambassador of the heavenly kingdom.”

Jesus had hardly ceased speaking to Simon Zelotes when the fiery patriot, drying his eyes, replied: “Master, have no fears for my loyalty. I have turned my back upon everything that I might dedicate my life to the establishment of your kingdom on earth, and I will not falter. I have survived every disappointment so far, and I will not forsake you.”

And then, laying his hand on Simon’s shoulder, Jesus said: “It is indeed refreshing to hear you talk like that, especially at such a time as this, but, my good friend, you still do not know what you are talking about. Not for one moment would I doubt your loyalty, your devotion; I know you would not hesitate to go forth in battle and die for me, as all these others would” (and they all nodded a vigorous approval), “but that will not be required of you. I have repeatedly told you that my kingdom is not of this world, and that my disciples will not fight to effect its establishment. I have told you this many times, Simon, but you refuse to face the truth. I am not concerned with your loyalty to me and to the kingdom, but what will you do when I go away and you at last wake up to the realization that you have failed to grasp the meaning of my teaching, and that you must adjust your misconceptions to the reality of another and spiritual order of affairs in the kingdom?”

Simon wanted to speak further, but Jesus raised his hand and, stopping him, went on to say: “None of my apostles are more sincere and honest at heart than you, but not one of them will be so upset and disheartened as you, after my departure.  In all of your discouragement my spirit shall abide with you, and these, your brethren, will not forsake you.  Do not forget what I have taught you regarding the relation of citizenship on earth to sonship in the Father’s spiritual kingdom.  Ponder well all that I have said to you about rendering to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s.  Dedicate your life, Simon, to showing how acceptably mortal man may fulfill my injunction concerning the simultaneous recognition of temporal duty to civil powers and spiritual service in the brotherhood of the kingdom.  If you will be taught by the Spirit of Truth, never will there be conflict between the requirements of citizenship on earth and sonship in heaven unless the temporal rulers presume to require of you the homage and worship which belong only to God.”

And now, Simon, when you do finally see all of this, and after you have shaken off your depression and have gone forth proclaiming this gospel in great power, never forget that I was with you even through all of your season of discouragement, and that I will go on with you to the very end.  You shall always be my apostle, and after you become willing to see by the eye of the spirit and more fully to yield your will to the will of the Father in heaven, then will you return to labor as my ambassador, and no one shall take away from you the authority which I have conferred upon you, because of your slowness of comprehending the truths I have taught you.  And so, Simon, once more I warn you that they who fight with the sword perish with the sword, while they who labor in the spirit achieve life everlasting in the kingdom to come with joy and peace in the kingdom which now is.  And when the work given into your hands is finished on earth, you, Simon, shall sit down with me in my kingdom over there.  You shall really see the kingdom you have longed for, but not in this life.  Continue to believe in me and in that which I have revealed to you, and you shall receive the gift of eternal life.”

One other excerpt regarding Simon Zelotes gives some idea of how entrenched he was in his thinking. This event took place just a few hours after the admonition above, and approximately one hour before the betrayal in the garden by Judas Iscariot:

The apostles fell asleep only because they were literally exhausted; they had been running short on sleep ever since their arrival in Jerusalem. Before they went to their separate sleeping quarters, Simon Zelotes led them all over to his tent, where were stored the swords and other arms, and supplied each of them with this fighting equipment. All of them received these arms and girded themselves therewith except Nathaniel.

Nathaniel, in refusing to arm himself, said: “My brethren, the Master has repeatedly told us that his kingdom is not of this world, and that his disciples should not fight with the sword to bring about its establishment. I believe this; I do not think the Master needs to have us employ the sword in his defense. We have all seen his mighty power and know that he could defend himself against his enemies if he so desired. If he will not resist his enemies, it must be that such a course represents his attempt to fulfill his Father’s will. I will pray, but I will not wield the sword.” When Andrew heard Nathaniel’s speech, he handed his sword back to Simon Zelotes. And so nine of them were armed as they separated for the night.

¹ Jesus had a brother named Jude, but in The Urantia Book there was no apostle with that name.

Irreligiousness-ness

 Posted by on October 16, 2010 at 12:07 PM
Oct 162010
 

Yeah, it’s a damned short bus, but it’s a totally rad ride; might as well learn to enjoy it with a genuinely religious philosophy of living.


Amarnath Amarasingam Amarnath Amarasingam

In a recent article published in Sociology of Religion, sociologists Neil Gross and Solon Simmons use data from a new, nationally representative survey of American college and university professors to test the long-running assumption that higher education leads to irreligiousness. Based on their research, they argue that “while atheism and agnosticism are much more common among professors than within the U.S. population as a whole, religious skepticism represents a minority position, even among professors teaching at elite research universities.” This has been a long-running debate amongst those who study religiosity in higher education and pay attention to trends in societal secularization.

“…the evidence seems to suggest that instead of leaving religion behind, the intelligentsia, like the rest of society, rationally wrestle with ideas, scientific and religious, and attempt to find answers to the big questions that plague us all.” —A. A.

How do these numbers break down by discipline? Gross and Simmons explore how belief in God is distributed among the 20 largest disciplinary fields. In terms of atheists, professors of psychology and mechanical engineering lead the pack with 50 percent and 44.1 percent respectively. Amongst biologists, 33.3 percent were agnostic and 27.5 percent were atheist. Interestingly, 21.6 percent of biologists say that they have no doubt that God exists.

In contrast, 63 percent of accounting professors, 56.8 percent of elementary education professors, 48.6 percent of finance professors, 46.5 percent of marketing professors, 45 percent of art professors, and 44.4 percent of both nursing professors and criminal justice professors stated that they know God exists.

Holy effin’ balance sheets!  “Accounting professors” kicking the asses off “art professors” when it comes to knowing God?!?  Who knew.  Disturbing, really, that creative types are having a harder time discovering the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness than those who revere the work of the Master Mathematician.  But then, that may help explain a whole lot of meaningless art being cranked out at the university level these days.

Gross and Simmons also attempted to discover the proportion of professors who think of themselves as religiously progressive, moderate, or traditional. They found that professors in the social sciences and humanities are more than twice as likely identify themselves as religiously progressive (32.5 percent and 35 percent, respectively), while a larger number of physical and biological scientists see themselves as moderate (32.2 percent) as opposed to progressive or traditionalist.

Despite whether professors are progressives, moderates or traditionalists, most all of us still tend to crystallize our science, formulate our philosophy, and dogmatize the truth— because, well, we’re just mentally lazy in coming to grips with the progressive struggles of living.  And when you get right down to it:  Continue reading »

EVOLUTION IS A MYTH

 Posted by on September 27, 2010 at 12:01 PM
Sep 272010
 

With a firm grip on her huge banana, Christine sucked on a camel and wondered out loud in her mind if mice with fully functioning human brains would even give her the time of day. . .

. . .Christine is pondering about something far away, when she had been a tiny girl monkey, and she had seen an appearance of the Virgin Mary as a tea cup.  She had been in the woods, not too far from the Father’s house.  In fact she was close enough to see the house.  She had been out by the side of the road, daydreaming about mice, when the Virgin erupted into her tiny girl monkey mind;  only she was a tea cup, not a woman.  Later, Christine decided that this was a sign.

The Tea Cup Virgin had told Christine that prayers were a lot like ideas— but if they just stayed inside her head, they may never come out into the real world and become actual.  The Virgin suggested that Christine imagine what it was she wanted.  Imagine her ideas were getting on a little train, and pretend the train was going straight up to the Father and the Son, but especially the Holy Ghost.  The Virgin told Christine all three of them were way up above the house— way up in the air somewhere— The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

So Christine let her eyes roll back, and she Continue reading »

When Your Dogma Runs Over Your Karma

 Posted by on August 10, 2010 at 9:53 AM
Aug 102010
 

Mud thou art, and to mud shall thou return.

Christopher Hitchens is an atheist dogmatist. For all his witty brilliance, he hasn’t figured out that only an unqualified reality— an absolute— could dare to be as consistently dogmatic as he is.  And he certainly isn’t an absolute reality.

Yes, he can intellectually deny God— and still be morally good, loyal, filial, honest, even idealistic.  Anybody may graft many purely humanistic branches onto their basic spiritual nature and thus apparently prove their contentions in behalf of a godless existence, but in that kind of experience only social fruits are forthcoming;  not spiritual.  It’s the graft that determines the nature of the fruit, even though the living sustenance is continually drawn from the roots of an original divine endowment of both mind and spirit.

Many God-knowing individuals aren’t blind to the difficulties or unmindful of the obstacles which stand in the way of finding God in the maze of superstition, traditional backwardness, and materialistic/atheistic tendencies of our times.  They have encountered all these deterrents and surmounted them by living faith, and attained the highlands of spiritual experience in spite of all of them.

It’s true that many who are inwardly sure about God fear to assert such feelings of certainty because of the multiplicity and cleverness of people like Hitchens, who assemble objections and magnify difficulties about believing in God.  It actually requires no great depth of intellect to pick flaws or raise objections. But it does require brilliance of mind to solve these difficulties;  it’s too bad he no longer has the time to do just that.


If the nonreligious approaches to cosmic reality presume to challenge the certainty of faith on the grounds of its unproved status, then the spirit experiencer can likewise resort to the dogmatic challenge of the facts of science and the beliefs of philosophy on the grounds that they are likewise unproved; they are likewise experiences in the consciousness of the scientist or the philosopher.

Of God, the most inescapable of all presences, the most real of all facts, the most living of all truths, the most loving of all friends, and the most divine of all values, we have the right to be the most certain of all universe experiences.
—The Urantia Book